It is fifths day of our Western Australian trip and here we are, in the rainy Albany. Yesterday after we checked in into apartments, we spent almost 2 hours trying figure out what should we do next. The weather forecast for the rest of our trip through South-West Coast clearly says: “windy, heavy rain all the times”. What should we do? Should we stay here and hope that the wind changes? Or should we go further, hoping that the it will not be THAT wet as bom.gov.au says?
Next morning the forecast is slightly better. It is not raining in Albany and there is a small chance that the weather will be warmer tomorrow as well. So for today we decided to stay in Albany for one more night and explore Stirling Ranges and Porongurup National Parks located nearby.
Stirling Range National Park encloses the only major mountain range with in the southern half of Western Australia. The rugged peaks, which rise to more than 1000 metres above sea level, feature stark cliff faces, sheltered gullies, magnificent views and a rich diversity of unique and colourful wildflowers. The park is one of the world’s most important areas for flora with 1500 species, many of which grow nowhere else, packed within its boundaries.
There is a number of trails located in the park. Bluff Knoll is the most popular trail with outstanding 360 degree views from the summit. “Stunning views”, we thought, “that is exactly what we’d like to see”, so here we are.
Bluff Knoll (1095m) is the highest peak in southern half of Western Australia. The main face of the Bluff forms one of the most impressive cliffs in the Australian mainland. It takes three to four hours to complete the 6km return walk. Walking is not recommended in wet or windy conditions or in extreme heat.
Bluff Knoll was called Pualaar Miial ('great many faced hill') by the local Aboriginal people. This was because the rocks on the Bluff were shaped like faces. The peak is often covered with mists, which curl around the mountain tops and float into the gullies. These constantly changing mists were believed to be the only visible form of a spirit called Noatch (meaning dead body or corpse), who had an evil reputation.
When we arrived to the start of the trail, it was windy, wet and, yes, the peak was not visible at all. We decided to proceed in a hope that the weather becomes better once we reach the summit.
The route is pretty straight forward. It follows the path from the car park, and then you have to climb the many steps around the front and up the side to the summit. The climb involves a lot of stairs, especially for the first half of the walk.
Nearing the summit the trail becomes more open to the element as the stunted vegetations here do not provide sufficient protection.
I had to believe to those who says that from the top of the peak on clear days, you could see all the way hundreds of km away. When we arrive there there is literally NOTHING, except mist around us. We can barely see each other, so after having a small snack we decided to proceed back to the carpark.
Stunning view, they say, isn’t it? :)
Luckily for us the weather on our way back changes and sometimes this gives us a view of the worm-sized roads and ant-sized vehicles somewhere far-far away…
Once we back, the mountain finally shows its face:
Thanks, Bluff Knoll, that you've changed your mood and give us a chance to see how beautiful you are :)