Introducing Porongurup National Park
The 24-sq-km, 12km-long Porongurup National Park has 1100-million-year-old granite outcrops, panoramic views, beautiful scenery, large karri trees and some excellent bushwalks.
Karris grow in the deep-red soil (known as karri loam) of the range's upper slopes; nurtured by run-off from the granite, this area's karris are 100km east of their usual range. The rich forest also supports 65 species of orchid in spring and, in September and October, there are wildflowers among the trees.
Bushwalks range from the 100m Tree-in-the-Rock stroll (just what it sounds like) to the harder Hayward and Nancy Peaks (5.5km loop). The Devil's Slide (5km return) is a walk of contrasts that takes you through a pass of karri forest and on to the stumpy vegetation of the granite. These walks start from the main day-use area (Bolganup Rd). The Castle Rock Trail to Balancing Rock (3km return) starts further east, signposted off the Mt Barker–Porongurup Rd. In 2012, the newly opened Castle Rock Granite Skywalk provided spectacular and more convenient access to the summit of the rock.
A very lovely 6km scenic drive along the northern edge of the park offers great views towards the Stirling Range, which from this angle looks like a woman lying on her back. If you're driving anywhere around here near dusk, take it slow and watch out for kangaroos.
Porongurup is also part of the Great Southern wine region and there are 11 wineries in the immediate vicinity.