Last month we travelled to the Stirling Range, and although it’s taken a while I’ve now got some photos to share with you.
The Stirling Range National Park encloses the only major mountain range in the southern half of Western Australia, approximately 340 kilometres from Perth (a five to six hour drive, depending on your need for coffee, fuel or toilet breaks along the way).
Renowned for its spectacular cloud formations, the Aboriginal name for the range – Koi Kyenunu-ruff – means ‘mist rolling around the mountains’. The range is also one of few places in Western Australia where snow occasionally falls, which, in a state known for its blazing sunshine and beaches, is a prime-time newsworthy occurrence.
For our family the Stirlings are a special place. My grandparents first started the tradition by coming down with my Mum, aunt and uncle when they were children, and later the groups increased to include family friends and eventually grandchildren. My grandfather – ever the adventurer – kept climbing into his seventies.
The first time I climbed a mountain was before I was even born – my epic mother attempted Mt. Hassell two weeks before I was born (although she was firmly turned back part way because the rest of the group were afraid she’d topple over).
late afternoon light on bluff knoll, the tallest peak in the national park
black cockatoos gather in a canola field as storm clouds roll in
dusk descends over mt. trio
bluff knoll, on the day we climbed
mum & my brother rem tackle one of talyuberlup’s steep gullies
a baby western crowned snake (elapognathus coronatus) on mt. hassell
On the Sunday we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea at The Lily Windmill, about a ten minute drive from the Stirling Range National Park.
The Lily is an authentic replica 16th Century ‘ground-sail’ windmill, an incredible feat of engineering and construction by Pleun and Hennie Hitzert. It’s a five-storey Dutch mill, with a 22 ton cap and a sail length of 24.6 meters, and is the only operational flour producing windmill on mainland Australia.
Pleun and Hennie own and run all aspects of the busy property, including a variety of accommodation, guided windmill tours and operation of the restaurant (the relocated and reconstructed 1924 Gnowangerup Railway Station).
My grandparents have known Pleun and Hennie for decades, and over the years the Hitzerts have gotten to know more of our family as they visited.
They greeted us with such warmth when we descended upon them for afternoon tea, and Hennie prepared a mouth-watering sticky date pudding especially for the occasion. It brought back floods of nostalgia, as it tasted just as good as the one embedded clearly in my mind, eaten ten years ago at that very table.