Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Porongurup's and the Granite Skywalk (Eek!)

Funny name, amazing walks.

I'd seen photos of the Granite Skywalk in all the brochures having anything to do with Albany and was desperate to have a go. It is only a 40 minute drive from Albany and in a break from our daily habit of only being organised enough to do anything by around 11am, the Uyhuis and the McGarys managed to get out of camp and on the road by 9am for some hiking action.
At the lower deck of Castle Rock, looking out toward Albany.
The drive out of Albany reveals one of the main functions of this city- that of an agricultural hub, with machinery of every size and description delighting Caesar as we made our way up to the Porongurup's. Farms and cows (including an organic strawberry farm selling the sweetest berries for $6 a kilogram) dot the hillsides.
Albany from the Porongurups.
The Porongurup's are a 'small' mountain range and the Granite Skywalk is at the top of Castle Rock, only a 2 km walk one way but straight up. Almost immediately the view was pretty amazing with a patchwork of canola in blinding yellow bloom, pink netted  stonefruit and grains in varying colours of green and brown all the way to the Stirling Ranges in the North and Albany in the South. It was breathtaking.
Climbing the ladder with Master Independent.
The Granite Skywalk.

On a much closer level, the wildflowers were also out.
The amazing view North to the Stirling Ranges.
So the McGarys beat us to the top; hey, it’s been a long time since we’d been traipsing through a national park or gorge and Marguerite in particular was showing signs of fatigue very early in the climb. I don’t think we’ve ever had to cajole her up a hill this much! Even the competition factor of Matilda, bounding up the hill like a forest nymph, wasn’t enough to get her moving. Instead she whinged and moaned, shoulders slumped, feet like cement and voice at an earsplitting tone of whine. I blame the McGarys… over achievers as usual. But we made it to the top and the view was spectacular.
Our Noosa posse on Castle Rock.
The climb up and over the rocks to the actual skywalk was a bit Karajini-esque right down to my heart palpatating  as the kids wandered over to the unfenced rock edge and up the steep ladder. Luckily, the skywalk itself is enclosed in clear perspex so all we had to do was block the ladder to ensure the children didn’t careen out into the wide open blue. 
Granite Skywalk.

This was our last major activity with the McGarys before they hotfooted it to Perth, the plane and 'normal' life back in warm sunny Noosa. And despite the tightness of my belt and the perpetual state of mild hangover I'd felt over the last two weeks, it was wonderful to share this corner of Australia with beautiful friends. Thanks McGarys- we had a blast!

Yay for friends- See you soon!

And more wildflowers...

...and more!

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