From Markt Pöllau with its imposing castle and the collegiate church in the middle of the town center, we first head to the traffic circle on the L 406, the entrance to Pöllau-Mitte. A short distance to the north and then branching off to the right, we reach the Hirschbirnweg, which is also marked with trail no. 942. On this path we go uphill to the Way of the Cross with its brick stations, which accompanies us to the Sacred Heart Church near Calvary, where we turn right shortly after to cross a stream and hike uphill through a forest towards Pöllauberg. The village of Pöllauberg, with its pilgrimage church visible from afar, has for decades also devoted itself with much love and flair to flower decorations and has been a multiple state winner and was even awarded the title of European Flower Village.
After a tour of the church and the 10 theme and adventure gardens around the church, we head north slightly downhill to the state road. At one of the theme gardens, the "flower island", we keep to the right and straight ahead we see already in about 300 m distance the turnoff of the high road. This road is also marked as the Pankratiusweg, which leads to Vorau with its famous monastery. But we follow this elevated road only about 600 m, then turn sharply to the right and soon again parallel to the road across a meadow to a prominent power pole. From here we go downhill into a shady forest and over a bridge, then uphill again and, after crossing a pasture, downhill again to a beautifully situated farm. The further path leads us to the Krollerkreuz, a beautiful place to stay in the Pöllauer Tal Nature Park. From here we continue straight uphill to the farm vlg. Scherf, where we now follow the Schachenweg to reach the highest point of the day, the Schwaig at 970 m above sea level.
On the Schwaig we now leave the Pankratiusweg and continue on the Weitwanderweg 07 across meadows and through forests down to a short section of an asphalt road. We leave this after about 1.5 km to the left into the forest, and after another turn to the left we reach a stream that puzzles us. A small brook does not follow the laws of gravity to the valley, but flows with little gradient through the forest. No doubt, it must have been artificially created. But by whom? It is very probable that this artificial stream was laboriously created in the primeval forest of that time about 900 years ago in connection with the founding of Hartberg and served to supply Hartberg with water. Of the more than 5 km of this artificial watercourse, we walk only about one fifth and come to a single point with the name Spielstätte. Where does this name come from? Legends tell of knights' games and all kinds of sacrilegious events.
From the playground we walk past the Hubertus Chapel up to the Ringwarte, which is situated at 789 m above sea level. Alternatively, we can descend directly to Hartberg at the junction and parking lot, but in this case we would miss the beautiful panoramic view from the Ringkogelwarte. Already in pre-Christian times the Ringkogel was inhabited by people. Remains of the fortification can still be seen, but nothing remains of the buildings. The present Ringwarte with 30 meters height and 99 steps was built in 1906 and renovated in 2007/08. We have already done a nice stretch, but we must not miss the ascent to the Ringwarte, because this panorama not only allows us to look back on today's stage, but also to already see our destination, the historic town of Hartberg with its surrounding vineyards. From the Ringwarte it is now only downhill. Before we reach Hartberg, the remarkable Steinerne Stiege with 92 steps helps us to descend. Finally, we reach the center of the historically rich town of Hartberg, which has also made a name for itself with numerous cultural events as part of the "Kulturgenuss im Grünen" ("Cultural Enjoyment in the Green"). A cultural walk allows us a glimpse into the eventful past of this beautiful small town. From the simple architecture of the Capuchin monastery to an architecturally excellent castle in the middle of town to the lively city center. Sophisticated and precious are the well-preserved houses and buildings, such as the impressive late baroque city parish church with the Romanesque Karner. Culture is on the agenda in Hartberg before we enter the thermal and volcanic land of Styria on our stage to Bad Waltersdorf the next day.