I speak from painful experience when I warn that Bluff Knoll, in the fabulously craggy Stirling Range, is not a walk to do with a middle ear infection! Climbing the tallest peak in southern Western Australia is more fun in good health with a fleece and jacket to protect against southerlies. (The Aboriginal people who lived in and around this area before European settlement wore knee-length kangaroo cloaks for warmth.)
Almost as important is a camera for snapping neighbouring bluffs, surrounding plains and wheat fields, and the wildflowers for which this corner of Australia is famous. Fifteen hundred floral species have been recorded in Stirling Range National Park, with 87 plant species found nowhere else in the world.
Now we’re not talking stratospheric heights, here. Bluff Knoll tops out at 1095m, and from the car park you gain only 600-odd metres in altitude over the 6km return walk, but the Stirling Range is the only place in Western Australia where snow has been recorded.
The track – sealed, then rocky, with occasional sets of wooden steps – takes you from post-bush fire regrowth eucalypts up through wind-stunted shrubs to crowning herbfields for breathtaking views north over the plains and south to the Southern Ocean.