The highest mountain in Australia’s Southwest is 1‘095 m high and is situated in the Stirling Range National Park. The Stirling Range stretches over a length of 65 km from east to west and many of the mountain peaks are accessible for hikers. We have visited many national parks in Australia but we haven’t heard a lot about the Stirling Range National Park, so we didn’t know what to expect. We have been surprised by the variety of walks and hikes up different mountain peaks in the Stirling Range National Park.
During our visit to the Stirling Range National Park we climbed two peaks. Toolbrunup is 1’052 m high and offers amazing 360° views. Bluff Knoll is 1’095 m high and it is the highest mountain in southwestern Australia. Both hikes are totally worth it and the views from the peaks are breathtaking. Be prepared that some walks are grade 5 and you need a certain level of fitness for those hikes.
If you travel to the south of Western Australia during your Western Australia road trip, we highly recommend hiking in the Stirling Range National Park.
Climbing Toolbrunup Peak is like climbing a skyscraper
The hike up to Toolbrunup Peak is about 2 km. On the information board we read, that we should plan 3 to 4 hours for the hike up to the peak and back. We can’t believe that it takes so long to walk 2 km. Let’s go and find out.
Toolbrunup Peak is 1’052 meters above sea level and it’s known as a strenuous and difficult hike. There are lots of rocks to climb and it’s very steep in some sections.
We love to explore and we can’t wait to see how hard the hike is. The path is starting at the small parking area. The first few hundred meters are easy. We are walking through woodland until the path starts to get steeper. We cross a field of small loose rocks before we walk through dense bush again. Here we hardly see the pathway as the bush is taking it back. We notice that there are hardly any footprints of other hikers. It’s probably just a small number of people that climbs Toolbrunup Peak as it requires a good fitness level.
Beyond the woodland the path is getting steeper and steeper. We need to cross a field of loose rocks and scramble up. During the climb we have to stop regularly to catch some breath and enjoy the great views over the surrounding landscape.
We start to understand why hikers should plan 3 to 4 hours to get to the top. It’s all but an easy walk. It’s very strenuous but great fun and we really love it.
On the way up we find a path that diverts from the main path. We follow this little path and find a plateau where we can enjoy some great views.
OK, we are ready to do the short steep scramble to the summit. We’re nearly there.
Wow! Look at this stunning view. We are pretty impressed that Marcel’s parents did the climb to Toolbrunup Peak with us and they managed to reach the summit. Congratulations!
Bluff Knoll – We climb the highest mountain of Southwest Australia
We are keen to do more hiking. After the strenuous climb of Toolbrunup Peak we are ready for another challenge. Bluff Knoll is with its 1’095 meters above sea level the highest mountain in the Southwest of Australia and we read in the brochure that it is the best hike in the Stirling Range. About 20’000 people per year climb the Bluff Knoll. We’re not surprised that the parking area is much bigger and the hiking trails are very well maintained and much easier compared to Toolbrunup Peak. The view from the summit is breathtaking. Nevertheless, the 360° view we had on Toolbrunup Peak is unbeatable.
The parking area is at about 460 meters above sea level. The hike is 3 kilometer to the summit at 1’095 m. The first part of the path is gentle, paved path before it changes into a gravel path with hundreds of steps that constantly rises uphill. The trail is not difficult but it constantly rises uphill for the first two kilometers.
Fortunately, we start early in the morning. It’s not too hot yet, there is a breeze and the trees are offering some shade. That makes the hike up to the summit much easier.
On the last third of the hike we meet a family with two small children. The parents are each carrying one of the children. They greet us and say: “You’re nearly there. The last bit is a nice, easy hike. And the view from the summit overlooking the forest and the farmland is breathtaking.”
We made it to the summit. Happy and satisfied we enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Hard to imagine that quite regularly some snowflakes are falling in winter. About four hours later we are back at the parking area.
If you have no energy or if you’re not in the mood for a strenuous hike, you can also enjoy the view of the Bluff Knoll from the platform at the parking are. You get the best view of Bluff Knoll from the platform right next to the toilets.
Tips for hikers in the Stirling Range National Park
- Wear sturdy shoes
- Don’t forget sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, hat)
- Start early in the morning to avoid the heat
- Take plenty of water and drink regularly
- Bring your camera or smartphone for great photos
Is the hike to Bluff Knoll really the best?
That’s hard to tell as we have not been to all of the summits. For us the view from Toolbrunup Peak is impressive and definitely the highlight of our time in the Stirling Range National Park. If you are adventurous, we highly recommend doing the climb to Toolbrunup Peak. If you prefer a well defined and easy trail, we recommend the hike to the Bluff Knoll.
The selection of hikes in the Stirling Range is great
If you want to climb all the peaks of the Stirling Range National Park, you have quite a big variety. We could easily have stayed a few days longer but our travel plans force us to move on.
If you are traveling the Southwest of Australia, you should definitely visit the Stirling Range National Park. It’s totally worth a visit.
The national park fees are currently AUD 12 / USD 9 per vehicle. If you are planning to travel around Western Australia for a while and visit different National Parks, it is worth buying a holiday pass (valid for 4 weeks) for AUD 44 / USD 33 or an annual pass for AUD 88 / USD 66.
Here is a selection of hikes in the Stirling Range National Park:
- Mt Trio 3 km (856 m) – 2 to 3 hours return
- Mt Hassel (847 m) 2 km – 2 to 3 hours return
- Toolbrunup (1’052 m) 4 km – 3 to 4 hours return
- Talyuberlup 3 km – 2 to 3 hours return
- Baby Barnet Hill – 1.5 hours return
- Mt Magog (857 m) 7 km – 3 to 4 hours return
- Mt James Track – 3 to 4 hours return
- Yungermere Crescent – 6 hours return
- Ellen Peak (1’012 m) – 8 hours return
Ridge Walk – A multi-day hike
You love long-distance hikes? The Ridgewalk is a 25 kilometers long trail which covers three summits that are above 1’000 meters above sea level. It takes about two to three days to do the full hike. The trail is leading through bush and up to the summit of the Pyungoorup, the Isongerup and the Ellen Peak. The best time to do the Ridge Walk is in spring during the wildflower blossom.
Camping in the Stirling Range National Park
We stayed at the Moingup Springs Camp. The campsites are in the National Park and cost AUD 10 / USD 7.55 per person per night.
There are sites for campervans, camper trailers, RV’s and tents. Several BBQ’s with gas stoves, picnic tables and toilets are available. There is also running water (no drinking water, must be boiled before drinking) for use.
Scenic Drive through the Stirling Range
You can also explore the Stirling Range by car. The Stirling Range Drive is a 42 km scenic drive. The well-maintained gravel road leads through the Stirling Range and connects the Chester Pass Road with to the Red Gum Pass Road. On the way there are various lookouts and picnic areas where you can stop, enjoy the views and spend some time.
Driving through the Stirling Range gives you a great insight into the beautiful area.
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Do you like hiking? What is your favorite hike in Australia that we shouldn’t miss? Write us a comment. We look forward to your tip.
PS: Read more posts about national parks in Australia