Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Ranges National Park is a 1099m hike ideal for active families and those who like a good challenge. The walk itself is only 3.1km to the summit, easy right? Think again, this hike is not for those who are unfit but is great for building resilience in your kids. You expect the walk to take around 3-5 hours depending on fitness levels and how long you want to stay at the summit.
We each packed back packs full with layers of clothing, a water proof (weather changes very quickly on the mountain), sunscreen, hat, lots of water, snacks, toilet paper (just in case) and a small bag to collect rubbish and nature treasures along the way. You definitely need good footwear for this walk!
To start with there’s a long pathway to the foot of the mountain, we did a mini treasure hunt for our walk and the kids were asked to find 10 items on the list…brown leaf, stick with 2 forks, bottle brush, spot a butterfly etc.. etc.. this kept it interesting before it became a difficult climb. We packed lots of mini snacks to keep them busy and energy levels up.
The initial part of the climb is mostly a dirt track, you will cross some rocky streams and may possibly get wet feet in certain times of the year. We did our walk in April so it was very dry. You’ll come across these stairs which are a killer on the legs and knees and the way back down, or perhaps it was just my age?
Then you start getting to the serious park of the walk, this was probably the toughest part as you have to watch your footing with loose rocks and pebbles and ankles can easily be turned.
We busied the kids with spotting things on their treasure hunt list, one of which was a mushroom.
There are encouraging distance markers throughout the walk so we could gauge how much further we had to go…because they kept asking “are we nearly there yet”!!!!
We stopped LOTS for a breather, water, snacks and to take in the views. Sometimes you can be so focused on getting somewhere you don’t stop and take in the journey and experience of getting there.
The terrain changes throughout the hike, this part was one we weren’t expecting, shortly after this photo when we were only a KM or so from the summit the pathway becomes very narrow with a sudden HUGE drop at the side. You can also see at this point how high up you really are and unfortunately my 9 year old got vertigo and didn’t want to go any further. We tried to persuade him the best we could because we knew what a huge achievement it would be to reach the top with all his friends and family but he went into a shock so that was that. My husband decided to walk back down with him.
So me and my 7 year old continued on with our friends and their kids who were aged 6 and 8years old. Once we were around the edge of the mountain the terrain changed again and we saw open fields of green that went on forever in the distance. We felt like we were very very nearly there!
I had to make a few promises that we were definitely very nearly there every few metres.
We made it to the summit eventually and it was certainly much cooler and windier so we wrapped up warm whilst we took in the sights and had some lunch.
It was a bit cloudy for us when we got to the top which the kids loved, they’d never been in a cloud before 😉
In winter snow sometimes falls on the mountain and it becomes suddenly very busy on the mountain so plan your trip wisely. It wasn’t too busy when we did our walk in April.
The descent is less physically demanding but can put more pressure on bones and joints. Take your time and hike down at your own pace. Parts of the descent can be steep and slippery so please take care. I personally had sore knees for the next two days!
I’m super proud of my 7 year old for making the summit, I can’t say whether she’d do it again but it was definitely a big achievement and something she’ll remember for years to come.
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