Finding mountains to hike up in Western Australia isn’t easy, as most of the state is relatively flat. When we heard about 1,000+ meter high mountains a 4.5 hour drive from Perth, we were intrigued. The Stirling Range is home to quite a few mountains, with Bluff Knoll (1,095 meters) being the highest for a thousand kilometers in any direction. There are plenty of short and long hiking trails in the Stirling Range, and Bluff Knoll is the most popular. At only 6km round trip on a well maintained path, the hike is easily doable and you will be rewarded with beautiful views from the top.
Bluff Knoll is 400kms from Perth and it should take you roughly 4.5 hours to get there. The road to the Bluff Knoll parking area is signposted so it’s easy to find once you’re inside the Stirling Range National Park. As the Stirling Range is a Western Australia National Park, there is a $12 entry fee per day unless you have a national parks pass. There is a self payment box and information board just after the turnoff to Bluff Knoll.
The Hike up Bluff Knoll
The hike up Bluff Knoll is 6kms round trip and should take 3-4 hours according to the information board. It took us roughly an hour and a half to get to the top and about an hour to get back to the parking area. The path first leads through a forest where you may see beautiful wildflowers if you visit in spring. It then climbs continuously higher up, with the vegetation changing as you reach a higher altitude. The trees disappear and give way to bushes and shrubs. A small stream and waterfall cut through the trail at one point but it is still easy to navigate. The entire path is maintained, making the hike up Bluff Knoll accessible for most hikers.
As we neared the summit we started seeing animal droppings and small paths between the bushes. There are quokkas on Bluff Knoll, so we were hoping to spot one on our hike. We started relatively late in the morning and didn’t get lucky, but all the traces indicated that the nocturnal quokkas are definitely around.
The summit is a large area with plenty of rocks to sit on for a rest. There is a couple hundred meter sheer drop off from the summit, and standing close to the edge is definitely a little scary even if you don’t mind heights. It was pretty cloudy at the time of our visit, so the views from the top of Bluff Knoll were a bit obscured. On a clear day you should be able to get pretty spectacular views of the Stirling Range.
They way back down is easy and only took us a little over an hour. There are plenty of hikes in the Stirling Range, so if you have more time it would be worth checking out a few others, like Toolbrunup and Mount Trio.
Where to stay
There are multiple campsites within the national park, only a short drive from Bluff Knoll. All of the campsites inside the Stirling Range National Park have a fee (the cheapest is $10pp), so if you’re looking for a free campsite, you’ll have to drive for a bit. We ended up staying in the tiny village of Borden, where you are allowed to camp for free at their public rest area. There are toilets and a free BBQ, so if you don’t mind the fact that you’re staying in town, it is a good spot to overnight in the area.