34° 22′ 32″ S, 118° 15′ 22″ E
Sitting on top of the world, with my head firmly in the clouds…
Welcome to the next blog from my Epic Easter Adventure™ in the amazing south coast of WA! Long story short, last month my bestie Sam and I packed up the car and headed down south for a long weekend of exploring, culture and giggles. We chose to stay in amazing Albany and planned a couple of adventures – including a day hanging out with giants in Denmark/Walpole, and of course climbing the highest peak in the Stirling Range, Bluff Knoll.
Proudly standing tall at 1,099 metres above sea level, Bluff Knoll is the third highest and one of the most spectacular mountain peaks in Western Australia.
We actually chose to climb Bluff Knoll on Easter Sunday. After an early start, we fuelled up at Kate’s Place for brekkie (hello, lush museli bowl) before rocking up at Church for an adorable Easter Day service at St. John’s. I’m not particularly religious, however mumma always raised me to appreciate the occasional Church visit,. I must admit, I always feel good after a few hours of banging out some hymns and being thankful to my guardian angels. Easter was always one of my favourite times to go to Church when I was a kid, and it’s still up there… plus, where else is it acceptable to sip vino pre-11am? As two of the youngest in the congregation, we even got Easter eggs from the adorable Reverend Tina after the service had ended. Praise THAT, girl.
And so, after spending the morning hanging out with with God, we decided to climb a mountain to be that little bit closer to him… Oh stop it.
Bluff Knoll is a popular mountain trail in the Stirling Range National Park, not just because it’s the tallest in the range, but because of its Insta-perfect, 360 degree views from the top. It’s also like 1,000 million years old which is pretty rad. The drive to the mountain in itself is a beautiful one – you almost forget you’re in Aussie as you drive along the infinite winding roads surrounded by the stunning peaky ranges, occasionally passing another vehicle on the way. Real Wolf Creek vibes, right there in the Stirling Ranges. Just without the crazy pig shooter guy.
As you set off from the Bluff Knoll carpark and onto the trail, the soaring cliffs above make it hard to believe that you’ll soon be one of the tiny little ants (fellow hikers) up there. The mountainside trail itself is gorgeous, treating hikers tackling the climb to gorgeous wild blooms, rocky obstacles and even the occasional cheeky reptile along the way. And oh, the VIEWS! Breathtaking. The initial path up is sheltered with gentle dappled forest, the swaying branches shading the sunshine and making the valley air quite cool. But as you advance layer upon layer of the mountain, you’re soon exposed to the raw elements, with misty breezes wrapping themselves around you as you tackle the sheer cliff drops and gigantic boulders along the way. Very Lord-of-the-Rings-esque. So Tolkien in fact that you half expect to see Frodo pottering along on his unexpected journey away from the Shire…
The climate surrounding Bluff Knoll differs from that of the surrounding district. We chose a perfect day to climb, with temperatures in the mid to late twenties, however the higher we got in the Range, the breeze was at times fairly chilly as the mood of the mountain shifted with every couple of hundred metres we climbed. Thankfully we were advised of this beforehand and so packed some extra layers in our backpack (WHICH I CARRIED THE WHOLE WAY UP, SAM!), along with lots of water, provisions and even wooly hats, just incase (the Girl Scout law never really leaves you…) – Bluff Knoll is one of the few places in WA that plays host to snow – ACTUAL SNOW IN AUSTRALIA, PEOPLE – during the wintery months. Given how many of the Aussie’s I’ve met haven’t even seen snow before, it’s pretty wild that WA does still get some, albeit in elevated places.
Reaching the top really was summit else – it took us around 1:30 to climb and the views were as gorgeous as we’d been promised. The hazy mists soon passed to showcase a stunning view of deep, textured, lush green national park for as far as the eye could see. As you can imagine it was a photographers dream up there, and so we spent close to an hour running around taking copious shots from just about every single point on the mountain top – which made the final edit for this blog even harder than usual! We headed down the mountain in about 1:15, and according to my Fitbit Blaze we finished up the day climbing the equivalent of 233 floors, marched out 17,363 steps and traveled just over 12km!
Twilight set in on the drive back to Albany, where we passed hundreds roos on our way to get F&C’s from The Squid Shack, before heading home for hot showers, cheap ‘fancy’ bubbles (kindly given to us by a cute elderly couple in the holiday unit next to ours) and back to back chick flicks until we slept like logs.
All in all, another incredible adventure in the amazing south coast! Our hike proved a challenging, yet rewarding trip I’ll never forget… Mainly because I can now add ‘mountain climber’ to my resume. If I had to summit up in a few words? An experience guaranteed to peak your interest. Why? You’ll just have to visit and see…
How’s that for a cliff hanger?!
Thanks to The Amazing South Coast for sponsoring this blog.
DISCLAIMER – I’m sorry mom about the cliff pictures.