Journey to a distinct part of the Great Southern, a little range of granite domes that not many people from Perth get to see. The Porongurups have the views, clear light and pure air of a classic hill station and the distinctiveness from their surrounds that all mountain regions seem to possess.
They rise like an island from a sea of surrounding farmland and 55 million years ago that’s exactly what they were: part of a chain of granite islands off a southern coastline of Australia that ran somewhere near the Stirling Ranges. The park is an island of biodiversity too, containing stands of Karri trees which are normally found in the higher rainfall areas further west and that are thought to have been genetically isolated here for more than 5000 years. There are ten species of plant here that can be found nowhere else. The cool and moist habitats are also home to some trapdoor spiders that are relics from when this was all part of Gondwanaland, including one that only builds its nests in old, unburned Karri logs. There’s giant earthworms, ringtail possums and carpet pythons – all protected fiercely by a dedicated group of locals who, when they aren’t producing wine, work hard to preserve everything that makes this area unique.