Discovering Western Australia's National Parks
The diversity of Western Australia’s National Parks really is like nothing I have ever seen before. I had the pleasure of discovering a few of these beauties during a recent trip. From red sand roads meandering so far that they disappear into the horizon, to the yellow limestone columns that make up the Pinnacle National Park; there really are no two parks the same.
I never took Western Australia as a place for incredible national parks. When thinking of vast and beautiful parks, Canada and the USA instantly spring to mind. Imagine a place where you can hike for miles without seeing a single person, surrounded only by incredible landscapes and nature. That’s what you can expect in the national parks of Western Australia.
Francois Peron National Park - Image: Annabelle Evans
Francois Peron National ParkImage: Annabelle Evans
Francois Peron National Park
Francois Peron National Park is located on the Peron Peninsula in Western Australia, 451 miles north of Perth, located within the boundary of the Shark Bay World Heritage area. On entering the park, drivers are required to let down their tyres to prepare for driving on the sand. Once this was completed, we then took off and travelled deeper into the park. During our 1.5 hour journey across the park, we saw one other car, and four different species of animal. One of which, the ‘Thorny Devil,’ we found particularly amusing – because of its spikes of course.
We reached the tip of the park at around midday and were welcomed with the most spectacular view. I was taken aback by the vibrance or the red sand rolling onto the white sand and turquoise waters of Australia’s Coral Coast. During our time here, we caught oysters from the sea and cooked/ate them on the beach. After a few hours of exploring and swimming, we then headed back up from the beach, and stopped at one of the park’s many barbecue spots for some food. Our guide ‘Capes’ cooked us fresh local fish, which we enjoyed whilst soaking up the last of these incredible views before heading back.
Top tips for Francois Peron National Park:
- Only head into the park if you have a 4-wheel drive car
- Take your lunch with you, and cook it on one of the barbecues there
- Wear shoes that you don’t mind changing the colour of – as the red sand will dye them
Natures Window, Kalbarri National Park - Image: Annabelle Evans
Natures Window, Kalbarri National ParkImage: Annabelle Evans
Kalbarri National Park
Head 300 or so miles north of Perth, and you’ll reach Kalbarri National Park, a sprawling landscape of the Australian Bush. This park is most famous for places like Natures Window and the Z bend and is a great place for hiking trails. The Murchison River gorge runs through the park, which is also an ideal spot for a bit of paddling – as the park can get quite hot during the day! Both Natures Window and the Z Bend are a must see and are clearly sign posted in the park for visitors to drive to.
What I really love about this park is that you can spend the day exploring, and then end up in the town of Kalbarri to watch the sunset. The best spot for this is on the seaside cliffs.
Top tip for Kalbarri National Park:
- Watch the sunset at the cliffs, and then head into the town for some freshly caught lobster at the Upstairs Restaurant.
Nambung National Park - Image: Annabelle Evans
Nambung National ParkImage: Annabelle Evans
Nambung National Park
Head 124 miles northwest of Perth, and you’ll reach Nambung National Park. We decided to head into this park in the evening for the cooler temperatures, as well as the opportunity to watch the sunset over the Pinnacle Ranges. We parked up at around 4pm and chose to walk. The great thing about the pinnacles is that you can drive through the ranges, so you can witness these spectacular limestone monuments from the comfort of your own car. If you walk, you can watch the sunset from the viewing platform which is only accessible by foot. Once the sun had set, we headed back down and made our way to the car. This is a lot harder than it sounds, as there are four entry points into the ranges, and its super easy to forget which one you came in from.
Top tip for Nambung National Park:
- Make a point of remembering where you parked your car!
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