The Granite Skywalk Caste Rock Western Australia is an incredible structure of metal and glass sitting atop a massive granite monolith named Castle Rock. It 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. Marketed as one of the main places to see on the amazing South Coast, I read that the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock combo attracts a whopping 95,000 visitors a year!
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 – find out more about how the Granite Skywalk was built below!
The Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Combo 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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Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Difficulty
So the question is – how difficult is the Granite Skywalk? 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. The kid’s grandmother – aged 74 at the time – came along and also successfully did the entire Castle Rock Albany trail.
The Hike To Castle Rock Western Australia
As mentioned above the Castle Rock Walk trail is 4.4km in length. Roughly that means 2.2km up and 2.2km down.
You know that you have nearly made it to the top 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. To be honest, the entire Castle Rock Albany hike would be worth it just for this view. It truly is stunning!
Of course, if you have done the entire hike up, you are going to give the challenging Granite Skywalk a go! To start with, this involves two scrambles and then climbing a 7-meter ladder. In case you don’t know, a scramble means literally going on your hands and knees over rocks!
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 Granite 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 of the Granite Skywalk. 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. It is a huge achievement to climb to the top of this structure
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 meters) 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!
Tips For visiting the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia
- 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.
- We took over 3 hours to do the hike and took lots of water.
- Wear decent footwear. Sneakers or sandals were fine.
- Take hats and sunscreen, as well as a sweater for up on the Granite Skywalk itself.
- This is a bush environment. Be aware of snakes.
- In Spring flies can be awful, wear insect repellent, or even a fly net.
- Given there are so many visitors to the Granite Skywalk the scramble and ladder area can be quite busy. Please be courteous. There are people who are very afraid of heights (like me!) and rushing them doesn’t help their confidence.
Important! The Granite Skywalk does not have a staff member supervising. I am not sure if there are load limits for the walk, but be both smart and cautious and don’t go up on the Skywalk if there are a lot of people up there!
Is The Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Suitable For Kids
This is the second time that we had done this walk. The 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.
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.
Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia History And Info
How Was The Granite Skywalk Built
The Granite Skywalk is truly an engineering wonder that wraps around a vertical rock face. Riggers abseiled into location to drill the anchor points into the granite before gluing and testing for stress. The Skywalk spans were delivered by helicopter to the summit of Castle Rock and lowered by pulleys to the riggers to assemble. Stainless steel was used for the construction as it does not rust and tarnish the rock or leach toxins which might kill rock flora.
Other Granite Skywalk Facts
- The lookout at Granite Skywalk cost $1.5 million to build.
- It replaced an old ladder and lookout that had become dangerous.
- The new lookout was built to last with minimal maintenance.
- The height of the Granite Skywalk is 670m.
Where Is Castle Rock Albany Located
Castle Rock Granite Skywalk 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 trailhead for the hike.
I noticed the Granite Skywalk listed as one of the Things to do in Denmark WA! I wouldn’t consider it in Denmark, it is most definitely located in the Porongorup National Park and is much closer to Albany than Denmark. However, it would make a nice day trip from Denmark WA and takes about 1 hour to reach if you take Spencer Road, via Narrikup.
If you wish to visit the Stirling Range National Park after climbing Castle Rock it is a further hour’s drive to Bluff Knoll Carpark.
Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Fees
The hike is located in the Porongurup National Park and a $12 entry fee applies per vehicle. Fees are payable at the information station before the car park.
Things To Do In Porongurup National Park
The Porongurup National Park mountain range is 12km long and lies 48km north of Albany city, approximately halfway to the Stirling Ranges. Unbeknown to most, the Devil’s Slide is the highest of the Porongurup’s granite peaks, not Castle Rock
Porongurup National Park is spectacular for its granite rock outcrops, beautiful forest, and the views in every direction.
The Porongurup Range is also reputed to be the oldest mountain range in Australia at a mind-boggling 1.2 billion years old… that is seriously old! The range formed deep below the earth’s crust when the Western Australian Craton collided with the Mawson Craton (Antarctica).
The Porongurup National Park is located 35 minutes from Albany Western Australia, 15 minutes from Mount Barker, and about 1 hour from Denmark WA.
The Porongurup’s are most famous for the hike up to the summit of Castle Rock and the innovative lookout platform known as the Granite Skywalk. It does give 360-degree views of the entire Amazing South Coast of Western Australia and is an engineering marvel. In addition to doing the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk, there are the following things to do in the Porongurup area.
Enjoy Some Plantagenet Wines
The entire Plantagenet area is becoming increasingly renowned for its fine wines. Some of the Porongurup Wineries close to Castle Rock are:
- Castle Rock Estate
- Mount Trio
- Ironwood Estate
- Zarepath Wines
We were super excited to learn the Great Southern Distillery has opened in the Porongurups! We’ve yet to visit, but a place that offers Tiger Snake Whiskey and Dugite whiskey with the promotional blurb (which I LOVE!) “Like the deadly Western Australian snake from which it earned its name, Dugite Whiskey is smooth and unassuming but finishes with a bite”. The Dugite whiskey is crafted in the Porongurups, which is also a home for the dugite!
For more about this innovative winery (which stopped production to produce hand sanitizer during the early part of the COVID epidemic) check their website here.
Discover A Little Known Escape – Porongurup’s Accommodation
The Porongurup accommodation ranges from simple campgrounds to boutique hideaway retreats. There are some excellent Porongurups Accommodation options that all feature fresh area, quiet natural environments, and a chance to escape the rat race.
- Thorn’s Mountain Retreats Porongurup WA
- The Sleeping Lady Private Retreat
- Cloud Nine Spa Chalets
- Porongurup Range Tourist Park offers campsites opposite the main entrance of Porongurup National Park.
Hike Nancy’s Peak
A great circuit walk, Nancy’s Peak traverses the main peak of the Porongurup Ranges. It is 5.5km and takes about 2 hours to complete.
As well as the beauty of the moss-covered granite rocks and the lush forest, the views are magnificent with the Stirling Ranges visible to the north and, on a clear day, you can see the Southern Ocean.
Starting out from the car park, the trail passes by the famous ‘Tree in the Rock’ before ascending to the top of the outcrops. From here the trail continues over a few peaks before descending into a pass between Nancy’s Peak and Devils Slide, and then back to the car park.
This is one of many trails in the Porongurup National Park. Others include the three-hour return hike to Marmabup Rock which is recommended for experienced bushwalkers.
Wildflowers In Porongurup National Park
As part of the South West Western Australia biodiversity hotspot that is internationally recognized, Porongurup National Park has a high number of plants in a small area. Some of the wildflowers you could expect to see are flame-peas (Chorizema), rice flowers (Pimelea), native myrtles (Myrtaceae), kangaroo paws (Haemodorales), and banksias (Proteales).
The best time to visit Porongurup National Park for wildflowers is in spring, from August through to November. Some of the more common wildflowers are Purple Enamel Orchids, Cowslip Orchids, Blue Lady Orchids, Scarlet Flame Peas, Candlestick Banksias, and Native Wisteria.
More Information on Granite Skywalk
For more information, take a look at the parks websites below:
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The Verdict -Hike To Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia
The Granite Skywalk Caste Rock Western Australia is incredible. While the hike might be challenging for little legs and people afraid of heights it is definitely worth visiting. While a great hike year-round, it can be hot in the summer months which makes the hike more difficult.
After your hike to Granite Skywalk, make sure you check out other things to do in Porongurup National Park. From wildflowers to wineries, the region has something for everyone to explore and love.
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