We divided the drive back from Esperance to Perth with a stop at the Stirling Ranges National Park, 75km north of Albany. We initially did not plan this detour. Travellers we met along the coast recommended visiting the only major mountains in the southern part of Western Australia to do Bluff Knoll Hike. It sounded like a nice change from the beaches we had seen for the last ten days. Moreover, after climbing Frenchman Peak in Cape Le Grand, we were in the mood for reaching another summit.
We approached the Stirling Ranges National Park at the magic hour. The warm colours of the sun on the golden field of wheat with the ranges in the background added some magic to the end of our long, boring drive. From Esperance, the GPS indicates to drive straight for… 4.5 hours!
The peaks of the Stirling Ranges rise in the middle of the flat land, offering an incredible view to those who make an effort to climb one of them. As we got closer, we could distinguish the relief on the ridges of the mounts. We got excited thinking about the next day and wondering which one was the highest, Bluff Knoll, as we were planning to conquer this popular summit.
The Bluff Knoll camping at Moingup Springs was very well located. We were surrounded by trees and funny insects I had never seen before! If like us, you’re travelling without an icebox to keep food refrigerated, you can grab food (and meat for the barbie!) by turning left to the town centre of Ongerup.
Not a fan of camping? The Stirling Range Retreat is the closest accommodation to Bluff Knoll. Or if you want to upgrade and relax in a spa bath after the climb, check out the 2-bedroom cottage at Kendenup*, approximately 45 minutes away from the Stirling Ranges. And if you have time to drive even a bit further, Tanen Farm* offers a secluded and comfortable experience that looks fantastic.
Bluff Knoll Hike: to the Summit of the Stirling Ranges
Bluff Knoll hike is the most popular in the area. It’s the highest peak in the South of Western Australia (1,099m). At the summit of Bluff Knoll, the 360° view of the flatlands gives the rewarding feeling to be on top of the world. Some even say that they see the horizon of our round planet earth falling.
Bluff Knoll hike is a 6-kilometre round trip. With an easy-to-follow path, there is no significant difficulty except going up a lot. However, the weather can become a real challenge.
In this area, the weather can change quickly, so it is recommended to bring warm and water-resistant clothes. The group who told us about this hike could only stay a few minutes at the summit because of the cold. Our experience of Bluff Knoll hike less than a week later was an entirely different story. We hiked during a 40° sudden heatwave, and we felt like making efforts in a sauna. The summit was slightly cooler with a bit of wind, which was nice!
It took us 1h20 to reach the top, and the same amount of time to go down. The views when going down were stunning. We spent 40 minutes enjoying the summit.
42 km Scenic Drive through the Stirling Ranges
After finishing the Bluff Knoll hike, cooling down with the car air-con during the scenic drive was a fantastic option! We had a beautiful drive in the heart of the national parks. It was charming to see the changing landscapes and discover the mounts from different angles. The dirt road was well-maintained so that 2WD can enjoy the views too.
I wouldn’t classify the Stirling Ranges as a must-do in Western Australia if your time is limited. But the Bluff Knoll hike was a nice stop on the way back to Perth.
What do you think of Bluff Knoll hike? Are you planning a road trip in Western Australia? Or have you been there already? Have the Stirling Ranges made it to the list? Tell me what you think in the comments!
Where are the Bluff Knoll Hike and the Stirling Ranges?
The Stirling Ranges are the only major mountains in the southern part of Western Australia. They are approximately 300 km from Perth, and a nice detour if you are in the Albany or Denmark region.