Located within the beautiful Porongurup National Park, the popular Granite Skywalk hike is one for the bucket list. Not only is it one of the best attractions of Australia’s southwest, the Granite Skywalk is located at the top of one of WA’s most unique natural landmarks.
Castle Rock is a large granite boulder that rises up from the dense karri and jarrah forest. The Granite Skywalk is an impressive lookout platform that was built at the top of the boulder showcasing a breathtaking view for those who reach the top.
After following a trail through the forest for 4.5km, you will scramble your way to the top of Castle Rock for an unbeatable panoramic view of the Stirling Ranges and surrounding countryside.
Completing the Granite Skywalk hike at Castle Rock is easy to do if you’re planning a weekend getaway from Perth to Albany. It’s also a great idea to include this hike as a stop on your Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary.
This detailed guide will give you all the information you need to know for hiking to the Granite Skywalk such as how to get there, what to expect from the hike, and more fun things to do in Porongurup National Park.
After completing this hike several times over the years, I’ve also included some useful insider tips to help you make the most of your experience!
Table of Contents
How to Hike to The Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock, Western Australia
What is the Granite Skywalk?
The Granite Skywalk consists of 2 large viewing platforms which are built into the granite boulders of Castle Rock. It is the most popular attraction in Porongurup National Park and a big draw for visitors to the southwest region.
The lower platform is the easier of the two in terms of accessibility. To reach the Karri Lookout, you still have to complete the 4.5 km hike through the forest, however it does not involve scrambling over rocks or climbing a ladder.
The Granite Skywalk is a suspended walkway located at the top of Castle Rock providing sweeping views over the surrounding countryside and the southern coastline in the distance.
Getting there is slightly more challenging than the Karri Lookout as you will need to take your fitness abilities into consideration before attempting it. Most people are able reach the top without running into issues.
As long as you are prepared with good hiking boots and are able to grip the steel handles that are bolted into the rockface, you will be just fine!
If you are hiking with young children or those with limited physical abilities, I would recommend avoiding the Granite Skywalk. The Karri Lookout will suit you better while still providing an amazing view.
Getting to the Granite Skywalk
The Granite Skywalk Castle Rock hike is located 45km north of Albany and takes around 35 minutes to get there by car. If you’re planning a road trip from Perth to Albany or simply seeking a weekend getaway from Perth, the Granite Skywalk hike will make a nice addition to your itinerary.
The hike is located in Porongurup National Park and makes a great day trip from Albany. As it should only take you around 2 hours to complete, you can also see some other sights nearby to make the most of your day in the national park.
To get there, follow the Albany Highway north from the town centre and then turn right onto the South Coast Highway. The highway eventually turns into “Chester Pass Road” which you will follow all the way until you reach the national park. See the full driving instructions here.
The Best Guided Tour from Albany to the Granite Skywalk
Duration: 5 hours
Included: Hotel pick up/drop off, lunch, wine tasting, professional guide, bottled water, entry to the national park.
If you’re staying in Albany and don’t have access to a car, taking a guided tour will make it easy for you to see the Granite Skywalk. This popular 5 hour tour will pick you up at your accommodation in Albany and begin the drive toward Porongurup National Park.
Your friendly local guide will then bring you to the first stop of the day, hiking the Granite Skywalk. After scrambling to the top, take in the 360 degree views of the Great South West from the summit of Castle Rock.
To reward your efforts after the hike, you will enjoy a delicious lunch of seasonal produce accompanied by a guided tasting of the local Porongorup wines. The lunch and wine tasting will take place at the fabulous Ironwood Estate Wines.
Is it Possible to Hike the Granite Skywalk on a Day Trip from Perth?
The distance from Perth to Porongurup National Park is just under 400km which will take you roughly 4.5 hours to drive. You should allow for 1 – 3 hours to complete the entire hike.
In my opinion, a day trip from Perth to the Porongurups will be very rushed and involves too much time spent in the car. To maximise your time and get the most out of the hike, I would suggest spending a weekend in either Albany or Porongurup National Park.
See the last section of this post for my top recommendations on where to stay for your weekend break in the south west.
Essential Things to Know for the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Hike
Difficulty: Grade 5/moderate – difficult
Length: 4.5 km
Hiking Time: Allow 1 – 3 hours to complete the hike depending on your fitness level and time spent at the viewing platform.
Park Fee: $15 per vehicle, $8 per motorcycle, free for those travelling by foot or bicycle.
Pets: Dogs are not permitted on this hiking trail.
Park Facilities: Toilets, picnic tables, and BBQs are available in the picnic area near the Castle Rock parking lot making it an ideal spot to have some lunch after your hike.
What to Expect for the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Hike
Upon arrival at the Granite Skywalk parking lot, you’ll be able to purchase your day pass for Porongurup National Park. If you already have an annual WA Parks Pass, then you don’t need to worry about buying a ticket. Just be sure to display your pass on the dashboard of your car.
The hike begins from the parking lot and follows a gradually inclining trail that meanders through the forest. As you near the end of the trail, the hike becomes increasingly more challenging.
Once you emerge from the forest, you’ll come across a large balancing rock that looks as though it may topple over at any moment. It is such a unique sight and provides the perfect opportunity for a fun photo.
This fascinating structure has actually been standing in its current position for thousands of years so don’t worry about it falling over!
As you get closer to the Granite Skywalk, you’ll see a signpost that gives you the option to either continue to the Castle Rock Summit or follow an easier pathway that leads to the Karri Lookout.
If you have a fear of heights or you’re not comfortable climbing a ladder and pulling yourself up onto large rocks, then the Karri Lookout is the best choice for you.
Following an easy 50m path from the signpost, you will soon find yourself at a platform where you’ll see a beautiful view of the surrounding landscapes and southern coast.
Granite Skywalk – Castle Rock Summit
It’s no surprise that the best views come after the toughest climb. If you’re up for a bit of a challenge, the epic scenery from the Granite Skywalk platform will certainly make your hard efforts worthwhile!
From the signpost, you will follow arrows that lead you up over several granite boulders until you reach the final leg of the hike, the enclosed ladder. It may look daunting at first, but once you reach the top of the 7 metre ladder, you can relax and take in the incredible views.
Granite Skywalk – Best Time of Year to Hike
The hiking trail is open to the public year round however you’ll want to time your visit right for optimal weather. Summer is a very popular time of year for the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock hike however temperatures throughout the day can be uncomfortably hot.
If you’re planning to do the hike during summer (November – February), aim for the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the midday sun. This is also a good idea to avoid peak hours because the Skywalk and ladder can get quite crowded when it’s busy during the day.
In my opinion, the best time of year to hike to the summit of Castle Rock is during spring. You can expect comfortable hiking weather between the months of September – November and less crowds.
Keep in mind that the rocks may be slippery after a rainfall so take the weather into consideration before starting the hike.
Insider’s Tip – No matter what time of year you hike to the Granite Skywalk, aim to do the hike at sunrise or sunset for an unforgettable experience. The views are made even more spectacular when you can watch the sun sink below the horizon while the sky lights up in shades of pink and orange.
Make sure to bring a flashlight or a head torch as the hike back down will be extra challenging in the dark. Unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way the last time I did this hike at sunset, so don’t make the same mistake I did!
Can You Launch a Drone from the Granite Skywalk?
With its striking appearance and stunning natural scenery, it’s no surprise that Castle Rock has risen to fame on social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. Flying a drone here has become a pretty common practice over the last few years.
You may be wondering though, is this actually allowed? While drones are allowed in most national parks of WA, it’s important to be mindful of other people. If the Granite Skywalk is busy and crowded, it’s obviously not a great time to fly your drone.
This is yet another reason why hiking to the Granite Skywalk is ideal at sunrise or sunset! Beat the crowds and get the best photos, it’s a win-win.
Find more detailed information here about flying your drone in Western Australia’s national parks.
Granite Skywalk Hike Packing List
Sturdy hiking boots – This hike involves scrambling over boulders and climbing a ladder, it goes without saying that you should wear appropriate footwear.
Collapsible water bottle – Stay hydrated at all times throughout your hike with an easy-to-pack water bottle.
Day pack – A small backpack to hold your belongings is a must when bushwalking.
Camera – Be sure to capture this hike of a lifetime with a good camera!
Sunscreen – While most of the trail is shaded by the forest, there is no protection from the harsh sun when you’re up on the Granite Skywalk.
Flashlight/Head Torch – This is one of those items that’s easy to forget when you embark on a hike during daylight hours. If you’re like me and plan to summit Castle Rock at sunset, you will certainly need this for the hike back down!
Portable phone charger – I never leave home without this item when I’m hiking in scenic locations. Once you reach the Granite Skywalk, it will be hard to put the camera down so be sure that your phone is fully charged before you get there!
More Things to do In Porongurup National Park
Although the Granite Skywalk is the most popular attraction in the national park, there are a few more things to see and do while you’re there. If you’re thinking of basing yourself in the nearby town of Albany, read our post to discover the best things to do in Albany before you go.
Some of the highlights listed below are not located within the park but they are worth adding to your itinerary if you plan to spend some time in the area.
Porongurup National Park is home to several vineyards surrounded by stunning natural scenery. After driving past them on previous visits, I finally decided to stop at a few cellar doors to give the local wines a try. They definitely didn’t disappoint and I was really glad I finally tried them out!
Visiting any of the cellar doors below is the perfect chance to try some locally produced wines and pick up a bottle to enjoy with a picnic meal after the Castle Rock hike.
- Wignalls Wines – This lovely vineyard is conveniently located on the way from Albany to Porongurup National Park and makes an easy stop on your drive.
- Abbey Creek Vineyard – An award winning family owned boutique winery in a scenic location with a backdrop of towering hills.
- Castle Rock Estate – Pop in here to try their delicious range of Rieslings while taking in an epic view of the Stirling Ranges.
- Ironwood Estate Wines – A great place to try some award winning wines and enjoy lunch in an incredibly picturesque location.
More Hikes in the Porongurups
Devil’s Slide – A two hour hike will bring you to the top of the highest peak in Porongurup National Park. This moderately challenging hike is a 5 km return trail and classed as Grade 4 difficulty. As you can probably guess, you’ll find an epic view from the summit which sits at 670m in elevation.
Nancy’s Peak – This 6.7 km trail takes you in a circuit across the peaks of the Porongurup Ranges. Passing through karri forests and granite outcrops, you’ll get a great mixture of scenery on this trail. The hike also takes you past the “Tree in the Rock” which is a must-see landmark in the Porongurups.
Wansborough Walk – Follow an 8 km return trail that runs along the gully between Nancy’s Peak and Devil’s Slide, passing through lush Karri forests. This walk is a good alternative for those who aren’t up for a steep hike to the top of a peak. The trail is mostly flat and you can see an abundance of pretty wildflowers during spring.
Little Beach – Two People’s Bay
This gorgeous beach can be found by driving about 40 minutes east from Albany or 1 hour south from Porongurup National Park. Located within Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve, Little Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia.
This beach is certainly worth going out of your way for, the scenery is truly spectacular and it offers the perfect spot to cool off post hike. For the perfect day, you could hike Castle Rock in the morning and then spend the rest of the afternoon lounging on the soft white sands of Little Beach.
Stirling Range National Park
Travel for a further 40km from Porongurup National Park and you will end up in the amazing Stirling Range National Park. The park is known for its stunning mountain ranges with outstanding hiking trails and some nice camping spots.
Stirling Range National Park is home to the famous Bluff Knoll which is the highest peak in Australia’s south west coming in at 1098 metres above sea level. The Bluff Knoll Summit Trail is one of WA’s most popular hikes, following a steep Grade 4 trail that brings you to the top for a spectacular panoramic view.
Other hiking trails in the park include Mt Toolbrunup and Mt Talyuberlup which are equally challenging and rewarding.
Where to Stay for the Granite Skywalk Hike
Most people who venture south to do the Granite Skywalk hike prefer to base themselves in Albany for a long weekend break. While this is a convenient option, you also have the choice to stay within the national park to be closer to the trail.
If you’re keen to hike to the Granite Skywalk for sunrise or sunset, the second option will suit you much better. See below for a few of my top accommodation picks near the Granite Skywalk and also in Albany.
Porongurup National Park
Porongurup Range Tourist Park – If you’re camping or travelling by van/RV, this peaceful campground is perfectly located in the national park.
Thistledown Cottage – Stay in a rustic cottage surrounded by fields of grazing sheep and kangaroos. This charming cottage will provide the ultimate weekend escape from the city.
Karribank and the Karri On Bar – Ideally located in the heart of the national park, this highly reviewed hotel has a bar and restaurant on-site so that you can enjoy a drink and a meal after a big day of hiking.
Big4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park – Choose from a selection of cute bungalows and villas with seaside views and all the amenities needed for a comfy stay.
Dolphin Lodge – The perfect choice if you’re seeking self-contained apartments by the beach.
Country Comfort Amity Motel – Located in the heart of Albany, this cosy motel has everything you need for a long weekend getaway.
Read More WA Travel Guides
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- 8 Amazing National Parks in Perth
- 10 Awesome Things to do in Pemberton, WA
- Perth to Esperance Road Trip – The Ultimate 11 Day Itinerary
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