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The Granite Skywalk, an incredible structure of metal and glass, sitting atop a massive granite monolith named Castle Rock, has to be one of the most unique spots to visit in southern Western Australia! Castle Rock itself, is 570 meters (1,870 ft.) making it one of the higher places you can visit in this part of Western Australia.
The Granite Skywalk is the more challenging of two lookouts which are located at the end of the Castle Rock Walk Trail which is 4.4km in length. Opened in 2012 this truly is an engineering marvel!
This is a relatively steep class 5 hike, which means that reasonable fitness is required. It can be steep in sections, but is overall a very charming forest walk passing through yate, marri and karri trees.
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Should I Do The Castle Rock Trail With Kids?
So the question is – is the walk to the Granite Skywalk suitable for kids? It is a steep hike, but possible if you are regular walkers and of decent fitness. It took us to do 1.5 hours up with a 4-year-old and a nearly 8-year-old. I carried the 4-year-old in the Ergo carrier from about 1.2km to 1.7km – just 500m. He would have made it by himself, but it was better to keep him going. There are some steep sections with some biggish steps that are a bit of a challenge for little legs.
You know that you have made it when you get to the 6 meter high Balancing Rock, a massive granite monolith balancing on a tiny base!
From the Balancing Rock you can continue on to a lookout over the Porongurup Ranges or head up to the challenging Granite Skywalk which involves two scrambles, and then climbing a 7metre ladder
The first scramble we did with both kids. The 4-year-old found it challenging as we had to lift him over bits. However, the 8-year-old’s legs were just fine. The second scramble was too hard for both kids and they sat in a safe crevice between the rocks while we took turns going up to the Skywalk. Mumma went up first, then Nanna went up next.
The 7m climb is challenging for someone who doesn’t like heights, like me. My legs were jelly and my heart was palpitating. I did it nonetheless, these days I push myself that bit further to provide an example for my kids. Plus I was there, and you never know when you might be going back! 74-year-old Nanna has no concerns with height and she went up after me, while I sat with the kids.
Absolutely spectacular views greet you at the top. Personally, I don’t know which is more breathtaking, the 360 views, the structure of the Granite Skywalk, or the feeling of standing on top of the world.
What Will I See At The Top Of The Granite Skywalk?
There are amazing views all around, from the Stirling Ranges in the North (one of Western Australia’s highest mountains, Bluff Knoll 1099 metres) to the ocean down at Albany.
The gnarled, ancient and thoroughly beautiful features of the granite rocks at Castle Rock are stunning.
Finally, the Skywalk is an amazing structure that is bolted into the granite. Yes, it challenges you but it also makes you feel brave and free!!!
Is The Castle Rock Walk Suitable For Kids?
This is the second time that we had done this walk. Last time was with a 5-year-old and a 2.5-year-old. Both had managed it well on that day which was later in the year (maybe May?) and cooler than this February day which was pretty hot.
Our 2018 hike verdict was that this is a challenging hike for everyone when it is warm. If you are hiking in the summer months, certainly start early and finish before lunch. While the terrain is steep, it is possible to do with younger kids if you go slow and take plenty of breaks. We’d suggest that the best months to do this hike are the shoulder months like Sept – November, and then March to May.
Is the Granite Skywalk suitable for kids?
I think that any kid, tween or young adult that wants to do the Granite Skywalk needs to have a good head for heights. By the time they are 10-years-old it should be achievable with relative ease, as long as they are fit. We spent about 30 minutes at the top and the walk back down was a breeze. There was rocky, slippery terrain on the way down, but otherwise a very nice forest walk.
Tips for hiking the Castle Rock trail
- In the summer months November through February leave early in the morning and avoid the heat. I’ve also read blogs that the wind gets very bitter in the afternoons, so it might be best to not leave your hike too late, regardless of the time of year.
- Go slow & take plenty of rest breaks.
- Wear decent footwear. Sneakers or sandals were fine.
- Take hats and sunscreen, as well as a sweater for up on the Skywalk.
Where Is Castle Rock & The Granite Skywalk Located?
It is located in the Porongurup National Park, about 35 minutes north of Albany. Take Chester Pass Road from Albany and turn left at the Porongurup’s/Mt Barker Rd sign. Take the signed turnoff left to Castle Rock and the picnic area which is the trail head for the hike.
The hike is located in the Porongurup National Park and a $12 entry fees applies per vehicle. Fees are payable at the information station before the car park.
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