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Trip List by Melnq8

Exploring the National Parks and Nature Reserves Southwestern Australia

21 Oct 2006  Lover of the outdoors
4.0 of 5 stars based on 4 votes

Walks, tree climbs and spectacular scenery UPDATED Aug 14, 2010

  • Category: Roadtrip
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

    Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, which extends some 120 km from Bunker Bay to Augusta, has something for everyone. The park has rugged coastal cliffs, granite rock formations, caves, karri forest, waterfalls, bushwalking trails and coastal views galore.

    It can be accessed at various points including Busselton, Dunsborough, Yallingup, Margaret River and Augusta.

  • 2. Gloucester National Park

    3 km from Pemberton

    This is home to the Gloucester Tree, the highest karri tree in the immediate area and one of three fire lookouts that can be climbed by visitors. The Gloucester Tree is 60 meters high and has a 7.3 meter girth. A bit scary to climb, but the views from the top are pretty incredible.

    There are two other climbing trees near Pemberton; the 51 meter high Diamond Tree and the 75 meter high Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree. Yowsa, that's one tall tree!

    I suggest taking the 800 meter Karri Forest Walk as well as the longer walks in the area.

  • 3. Warren National Park

    Fifteen kilometers southwest of Pemberton is Warren National Park, home to virgin karri forest and the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, the tallest of the three climbing trees in the area that are open to the public. One hundred thirty pegs lead to the top of this 68 meter tree, offering fantastic views of the surrounding karri forest and the distant Yeagarup Dunes. The tree can be found 11km south of Pemberton, on Old Vasse Rd.

    Other features of the park include the Warren River, the 10.5 km Warren River Loop Walk Trail, the 12 km Heartbreak DriveTrail (part of the Karri Forest Explorer Drive) and the Marrianne North Tree, a massive misshapen karri.

  • 4. Beedelup National Park

    Twenty-two kilometers west of Pemberton on the Vasse Highway is Beedelup National Park, home to the Beedelup Falls, the Walk-through Tree and several walk trails. The park is also a stop along the Karri Forest Explorer Drive.

    Beedelup Falls are accessed via a short trail leading from the carpark. The trail continues on to the Walk Through Tree, a 75 meter, 400 year old karri tree with a hole cut through the center. From here the trail continues on to the Karri Valley Resort, alongside the lake and eventually returns to the carpark (3.5 mile loop, 1:30).

  • 5. Brockman National Park

    Ten kilometers south of Pemberton lies Brockman National Park, flanking both sides of the Pemberton-Northcliffe Road. This is a very small national park bordering the Warren River and the Warren River National Park.

    No visitor's services.

  • 6. Easter National Park

    Forty-five kilometers northwest of Pemberton lies Easter National Park, consisting of karri, jarrah and marri forest. The park is home to Easter Brook, Tom Hill Brook, and Barley Brook, which flow into the Donnelly River.

    No visitor's services, limited vehicle access.

  • 7. D'Entreacastaux National Park

    8 km from Northcliffe and 40 kilometers from Pemberton

    D'Entreacastaux National Park (pronounced don-truh-cast-oh, with slight stress on the last syllable) stretches for some 130 kilometers along the southwest coast.

    It can be accessed at Windy Harbour, 26 kilometers from Northcliffe. This remote park is all about stunning coastal cliffs, white sand dunes and pristine beaches. There are some great overlooks here, including Salmon Beach, where one can take in the seemingly never-ending white sand beach fringed by incredible cliffs.

    A short walk originates from Point D'Entreacastaux, leading to Pupulong Lookout for yet more spectacular coastal views over the Southern Ocean.

    There's a nice hike to Mt Chudalup (2 km) near Northcliffe that offers views of D'Entrecasteaux National Park and Yeagarup Dunes.

  • 8. Walpole-Nornalup National Park

    13 km east of Walpole

    Here you'll find the Valley of the Giants, home to enormous tingle trees which are only found within a 6,000 hectare area. Don't miss The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, touted as the world's longest at 600 meters, rising to 40 meters at its highest point.

    The Ancient Empire walk through 400 year old tingle forest is also worthy of some serious exploration.

    The Giant Tingle Tree, reputed to be the largest living girthed eucalypt known in the world (24 meters) is also located within this park.

    I also suggest the walk to Circular Pool, so called because the water moves in slow circles when the river is flowing. Here a walkway leads to a few viewing areas overlooking the water, which looks an awful lot like tea, due to the tannin from native plants.

  • 9. William Bay National Park

    15 km west of Denmark

    Here you'll find Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove, an outcropping of massive rocks along the shoreline that vaguely resemble elephants. I love it here - it's the perfect place for a picnic, perched on a gigantic rock, gazing at the ever changing hues of the Southern Ocean.

    Nearby you'll find Greens Pool, Madfish Bay and Waterfall Beach - beautiful!

    This area is perfect for swimming and the views are gorgeous.

  • 10. Torndirrup National Park

    10 km south of Albany

    I suggest parking at the Isthmus Hill carpark, and walking at least a portion of the 16 km track to Bald Head. The entire walk takes 6-8 hours and is rated difficult.

    Note: Tiger snakes, which are venomous, are common in the area. We saw two, so they're definitely there!

    This is a really nice walk on top of the peninsula with gorgeous beach and water on either side; the Southern ocean on one, King George Sound on the other. The views are incredible. The portion of the trail we walked was moderately steep and became overgrown and more difficult to navigate the further we walked.

    The Blowholes are located off Salmon Holes Road. To get to the blowholes you walk an 800m path and down 78 steps. The blowholes don't always blow, it depends on the surf.

    The Gap and Natural Bridge are two natural features carved from granite. It's a short, easy walk to the lookout.

  • 11. Porongurup National Park & a couple of nearby wineries

    40 km north of Albany

    I suggest parking at Tree in the Rock, then taking the Hayward & Nancy Peaks walk (5.5 km circuit). This trail is marked moderate, but was plenty steep and rocky for the likes of us. Note: The granite and moss on the trail can be slippery and treacherous when wet.

    The short and scenic Bolganup Heritage Trail also starts at Tree in the Rock, as does the four kilometer Wansbrough Walk. We saw several kangaroos lounging on this trail the day we were there.

    If you're particularly energetic, I suggest climbing Devil's Slide (aptly named as it's very slippery), where you can sit high on rock and have a nice picnic overlooking the forest.

    There's also a 45 km perimeter road around the park, but it's unsealed and fairly rough

    Near Tree in the Rock you'll find Jingalla Winery, which makes a nice muscat. The owner told us that a busy day for them is two visitors!

    Duke's Vineyard is also nearby and they have some wonderful rieslings. They have a beautiful property, complete with roaming hens, fruit laden lemon trees, blooming flowers, vibrant blue wrens, and the vineyard with the Porongurup Range as a backdrop. Lovely!

    Duke's lost their entire 2007 vintage in the fire that burnt through 95% of the national park that year and effectively closed the park for seven months.

  • 12. Stirling Range

    40 km north of Porongurup

    This was my least favorite of the parks we visited. The long straight roads were deserted and seemingly led to nowhere. The red dirt, short trees and low lying shrubs reminded me of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. The range itself was pretty, but it was surrounded by a lot of nothing that wasn't particularly scenic. It appeared that the only way to get to the range was to climb, and we weren't up for scaling any mountains.

  • 13. Two People's Bay

    35 km east of Albany

    Suggested walk: Heritage Trail with detour to Little Beach (don't miss this gem)
    5.5 km return. Whales can be seen in the bay in the winter months.

  • 14. Waychinicup National Park - Waychinicup Inlet

    65 km east of Albany - whales can be seen in Waychinicup Inlet

    Here you'll find Cheyne Beach and the interesting granite outcroppings of Mt. Manypeaks Nature Reserve. Suggest walking to Waychinicup Inlet - serene, pretty and incredibly peaceful.

  • 15. About National Parks Passes

    From a visitor's perspective, the park pass requirements of WA can be confusing. Details on admission fees for each park can be found on the DEC website above.