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5 Best Hikes in Koi Kyenunu-ruff (Stirling Ranges National Park) and Porongurup National Park

August 3, 2021

sunset toolbrunup

Travel Guides

Australia, destinations, Guest Author, Oceania, Travel Guides

While Western Australia is mostly famous for its extraordinary beaches, there are plenty of mountain ranges and hiking trails to explore. Our personal favorites are Koi Kyenunu-ruff (Stirling Ranges) and Porongurup, both located about five hours from the capital city of Perth.

These ranges are known for being some of the most biodiverse places on the planet with different native plant and animal species found nowhere else in Australia, let alone the world. The traditional custodians of these ranges are the indigenous Noongar people, and they have called this land home for tens of thousands of years.

Here are 5 best hikes in these two national parks:

The 5 best hikes in koi kyenunu-ruff (stirling ranges national park) and porongurup national park

starscape in bularmial

5. Castle Rock/Granite Skywalk – Porongurup National Park

One of the prized tourist destinations in Porongurup National Park is this short, steep, fun trail. The trail takes you right up to a series of massive granite boulders ascending nearly 700 meters up above the ground. Manmade iron rungs, ladders, and walkways have been drilled into the rocks and so you can climb to the very top and enjoy the views – that is, if you’re not afraid of heights! Although we always prefer nature in its natural state, this trail is pretty unique thanks to all of the additions. It tends to get a bit crowded, so like most tourist destinations we recommend getting up early and beating the crowds.

Trail distance and difficulty:

4.7 km return; 2.5 hours; Challenging (especially if you’re afraid of heights)

granite skywalk ladder
granite skywalk couple

4. Bular Mial (Bluff Knoll) – Koi Kyenunu-ruff

Bular Mial (Bluff Knoll) is by far the most famous and therefore most popular hike in this park. Unfortunately for us, both times we’ve made it up there’s been heavy cloud cover and we’ve never actually seen the views – such is life when you’re dealing with nature! But they are supposed to be spectacular, and the hike is really enjoyable. The trail is very well maintained, and aside from being a bit of a stair-master, it’s not nearly as challenging as our favorite hike, Mount Toolbrunup.

Trail distance and difficulty:

6.8 km return; 3-4 hours; Moderate

flowers in Bular Mial

3. Mount Hassell – Koi Kyenunu-ruff National Park

We found this trail when our plans to hike Bular Mial failed, and it turned out to be such a pleasant surprise. It’s a short, steep climb up to the summit, and involves a bit of a rock scramble. We don’t recommend it during the rain, as it was pretty slippery and a little scary, but it was an incredible spot to watch the storm clouds roll across the range!

Trail distance and difficulty:

3 km return; 3-4 hours; Moderate

hassel rock
scenery hassell

2. Nancy Peak – Porongurup National Park

Tucked away into the heart of the national park, you start this track by walking through forest of thriving, majestic karri trees. Karri trees are the tallest trees in Western Australia, towering 40-80 meters above the trail and filled with native flora and fauna like birds and wallabies. Once you gain some elevation, there are massive granite outcrops and boulders and, depending on the time of year, endless fields of wildflowers. For being a relatively short hike with moderate difficulty, the terrain and the views from this loop completely surpassed our expectations. The views from the peak southward to the coast and Albany are particularly stunning, and well-worth the effort to make it up to the top!

Trail distance and difficulty:

4 km circuit; 2 hours; Moderate

woman in field nancy peak
man between boulders nancy peak

1. Mount Toolbrunup – Koi Kyenunu-ruff

Mount Toolbrunup is by far the most challenging hike of this list, but as the saying goes – no pain, no gain. And there’s plenty of gain to be had on this trail – 1052 meters, to be exact! This peak sees fear less traffic than the other famous hikes in the range for this reason. The trail consists of mostly boulder and rock scrambles as it winds its way up a canyon and to the top of the peak. But the scramble to the top is more than worth it on a clear day. We hiked this trail for sunset and had the entire thing to ourselves – but if you’re going to do so, be prepared and bring plenty of all-weather gear and headlamps/light sources. The weather can change in an instant, and it gets dark rather quickly!

Trail distance and difficulty:

4km return; 1-2 hours; Challenging/Rigorous

sunset toolbrunup

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Travel time: 40 minutes – an hour drive from from Albany, WA or 4-5 hours drive from Perth
  • Activities: Hiking, camping, rock climbing, birdwatching, picnicking.
  • Best season: All year.
  • Facilities: Barbecues, toilets, picnic tables. Caravan parks and campgrounds nearby both parks. Cooking fires/campfires are not permitted, and trash bins are infrequent, so it’s important to pack-in-pack-out.
  • What to bring: As with all outdoor adventures, be sure to pack emergency gear and all-weather attire as there is limited service inside these parks and the weather tends to change rapidly. Be prepared with plenty of water, food, and appropriate hiking shoes, along with SPF and sun protection.

These ranges are without a doubt our favorites in south Western Australia. ’Porongurup’, is derived from a Noongar term meaning a ‘meeting place near water’ (this range rises up from the coast near Albany, Western Australia) and ‘Koi Kyenunu-ruff’ means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’ – very fitting as you can see in our photos! These places are incredibly spiritual and meaningful and should always be treated with the most respect and admiration. We hope you take the time to visit these ranges on your trip to Australia – you won’t regret it.

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5 Best Hikes in Koi Kyenunu-ruff (Stirling Ranges National Park) and Porongurup National Park
5 Best Hikes in Koi Kyenunu-ruff (Stirling Ranges National Park) and Porongurup National Park
5 Best Hikes in Koi Kyenunu-ruff (Stirling Ranges National Park) and Porongurup National Park

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