Coordinates: 34°40′46″S 117°52′23″E
Porongurup is a tiny township in the heart of the ancient Porongurup Range National Park approximately 350km south of Perth and 50km north of Albany. Formed around 1400 million years ago, the Porongurup Range is recognised as one of the world’s oldest hill ranges and thought to be a remnant of the pre-Cambrian collision which joined Australia and Antarctica until they separated in the Paleocene period. It takes its name from the Noongar word ‘Purrengorep’ meaning a ‘meeting place near water’.
Up until approximately 55 million years ago, the Porongurup Range was an island surrounded by the sea, with the Stirling Range forming the southern coastline. The present range stretches approximately 15km and consists of granite peaks levelled into domes. The highest point is the 670m (2,200ft) Devils Slide, but there are several other peaks above 600m, approximately 400m above the surrounding plain.
Aboriginal tribes lived in the plains around the Porongurup Range for many thousands of years before European settlement and very rarely moved out of the area. The Porongurup Range was first sighted by Europeans passing near Albany in 1802. Europeans began farming in the surrounding district in 1859, when vegetables were grown on the southern slopes of the range. The Porongurup’s giant karri and jarrah trees were first harvested for timber in the 1880s and timber leases did not begin to be withdrawn until 1925. The Porongurup Range National Park was gazetted in 1971 with an area of 1,157ha, which over the years has increased to 2,511ha.
A recent addition to the park is the Sky-Walk at Castle Rock which offers excellent breathtaking panoramic views. The park and close-by Twin Creeks Conservation Reserve are ablaze with spectacular wildflowers from September and the bird-life is prolific all year round.
For more information go to www.porongurup.com.