Cape Range National Park is a stunning coastal wilderness located in Western Australia, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse wildlife. Situated on the west coast of the Cape Range Peninsula, the park encompasses a vast area of approximately 50,581 hectares.
The park offers a unique blend of rugged gorges, towering cliffs, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. It is part of the Ningaloo Coast, a World Heritage-listed area known for its exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity.
Visitors to Cape Range National Park can explore a range of activities and attractions. Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts are drawn to the park’s Ningaloo Marine Park section, which is teeming with vibrant coral reefs and an array of marine species, including tropical fish, sea turtles, manta rays, and even the majestic whale sharks.
Land-based activities include hiking and bushwalking through the park’s scenic trails, providing opportunities to encounter wildlife such as red kangaroos, emus, wallabies, and a variety of reptiles. The park also features breathtaking lookouts, such as Charles Knife Canyon, offering panoramic views of the rugged coastline and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
Camping is a popular way to experience Cape Range National Park, with several campgrounds available for visitors. The park offers both basic and more developed camping facilities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
Cape Range National Park is a haven for nature lovers, adventurers, and those seeking a unique coastal experience. Its stunning landscapes, rich biodiversity, and abundant marine life make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the remarkable region of Western Australia.
Do You Need A 4wd For Cape Range National Park?
Having a 4WD vehicle is highly recommended for visiting Cape Range National Park in Western Australia. The park features rugged terrain, sandy tracks, and several unsealed roads, which can be challenging for regular two-wheel-drive vehicles, especially after heavy rains or in certain sections. A 4WD will provide better traction, ground clearance, and stability, allowing you to navigate the park more safely and comfortably.
Many attractions within Cape Range National Park, such as Yardie Creek Gorge, Charles Knife Canyon, and some beach access points, require driving on sandy or gravel roads. Additionally, if you plan to camp within the park, some camping areas can only be reached with a 4WD vehicle.
It’s essential to note that road conditions can vary, and it’s always a good idea to check with local authorities or the park management for up-to-date information on road conditions and any specific requirements before your visit.
Is Cape Range National Park Sealed?
Cape Range National Park in Western Australia is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads. While parts of the park have sealed roads, there are also sections where you’ll encounter unsealed (gravel or dirt) roads. The condition of these unsealed roads can vary depending on weather conditions and maintenance.
The main road within Cape Range National Park, known as Yardie Creek Road, is partially sealed. It is sealed up to the Yardie Creek Gorge car park, which is a popular attraction within the park. However, beyond the car park, the road becomes unsealed, and if you wish to continue exploring the park further, you’ll encounter sandy tracks and unsealed roads in various areas.
If you plan to visit specific sites within the park, such as Turquoise Bay or other beach access points, you may need to drive on unsealed tracks or sandy paths. Some camping areas within the park are also accessible via unsealed roads.
It’s important to check with local authorities or the park management for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding road conditions and any specific requirements before your visit to Cape Range National Park.
How Do You Get To Cape Range National Park?
To reach Cape Range National Park, you can follow these general directions:
- By Air: The nearest major airport is Learmonth Airport (LEA), located approximately 36 kilometres south of Exmouth. You can fly into Learmonth Airport from Perth, Western Australia. From the airport, you can rent a car or arrange for transportation to Cape Range National Park.
- By Car: If you’re travelling by car, you can reach Cape Range National Park via the North West Coastal Highway (Route 1). Exmouth, a town located near the national park, is the main access point. The drive from Perth to Exmouth takes approximately 13-14 hours (around 1,260 kilometres) and is the most common route for visitors.
- Private Tours: Another option is to join a guided tour or hire a private tour operator that offers transportation to Cape Range National Park. These tours typically include transportation, accommodation, and guided activities within the park.
Once you arrive in Exmouth, Cape Range National Park is located to the west of the town. The main entrance to the park is accessible via Yardie Creek Road, which branches off Exmouth-Minilya Road (Route 994). Follow the signs for Cape Range National Park to reach the entrance.
It’s always recommended to check local maps, plan your route in advance, and consider any specific instructions or road conditions provided by the park authorities or local information centres.
Can You Stay In Cape Range National Park?
Yes, it is possible to stay within Cape Range National Park. The park offers camping facilities as well as a limited number of accommodation options. Here are the available options for staying in Cape Range National Park:
- Campgrounds: The national park has several campgrounds where visitors can set up tents or park caravans and campervans. Some of the popular campgrounds include Kurrajong, Osprey, Mesa, and Yardie Creek. These campgrounds generally offer basic facilities such as toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits. However, it’s important to note that campgrounds in Cape Range National Park can fill up quickly during peak seasons, so it’s advisable to make advance reservations if possible.
- Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottage: The Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottage, located near the tip of the Cape Range peninsula, offers a unique accommodation option within the national park. This historic cottage provides self-contained facilities and can accommodate up to eight people. Staying at the Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottage allows you to enjoy panoramic views of the coastline and experience the park’s natural beauty.
- Yardie Homestead Caravan Park: Located just outside the park boundaries, Yardie Homestead Caravan Park offers a convenient accommodation option for visitors. The park provides powered and unpowered caravan and camping sites, as well as basic amenities like toilets, showers, and a small shop.
It’s important to note that availability and facilities may vary, and it’s recommended to make bookings in advance, especially during peak seasons. Additionally, camping fees and park entry fees apply in Cape Range National Park, so be sure to check the official park website or contact the park management for up-to-date information regarding reservations, fees, and facilities.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Into Cape Range National Park?
As of September 2022, the entry fees for Cape Range National Park are as follows:
- Vehicle Entry Fee: A daily vehicle entry fee of AUD $15 per standard vehicle ($8 AUD for Concession), $8 AUD for Motorcyclists, and $ 7 AUD per person($2.50 Concession) for vehicles holding more than 12 occupants apply for entry into Cape Range National Park. This fee allows access to the park for the entire day and covers all passengers within the vehicle.
- Camping Fees: If you plan to camp within Cape Range National Park, additional camping fees apply. The fees vary depending on the campground and the facilities provided. It’s advisable to check with the park authorities or visit the official website for up-to-date information on camping fees and availability.
Please note that these fees are subject to change, and it’s recommended to check the latest information regarding entry fees and camping fees from the official park management or the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) of Western Australia. They can provide you with the most accurate and current fee details for Cape Range National Park. Please note no dogs or any other pets are allowed into Cape Range National Park.
Is There Phone Reception At Cape Range National Park?
Cape Range National Park phone reception can be limited or unreliable in certain areas. While you may find some areas within the park where you can get a signal, it’s important to note that the coverage can vary depending on your mobile service provider and the specific location within the park.
In general, areas closer to the town of Exmouth may have better phone reception compared to more remote parts of the park. However, once you venture deeper into the park, especially toward the coastline and more secluded areas, you may experience reduced or no mobile network coverage.
It’s advisable to check with your mobile service provider for coverage maps and to be prepared for potential gaps in phone reception. It’s always a good idea to inform someone about your plans and expected return time before heading into the park, especially if you anticipate being in areas with limited phone reception.
Can You Swim In Cape Range National Park?
Yes, swimming is one of the popular activities in Cape Range National Park. The park is known for its beautiful coastline along the Ningaloo Marine Park, which offers pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters. Here are some areas within Cape Range National Park where you can swim:
- Turquoise Bay: Turquoise Bay is a stunning beach within the national park known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs. It’s a popular spot for snorkelling and swimming. You can explore the underwater world filled with colourful fish and coral formations right from the beach. It’s important to note that while swimming at Turquoise Bay, you should be aware of the strong currents and the presence of marine life.
- Oyster Stacks: Located within the park, Oyster Stacks is another picturesque beach where you can enjoy swimming and snorkelling. The beach offers clear waters and an opportunity to observe marine life and coral formations.
- Sandy Bay: Sandy Bay is a beautiful beach within the national park that offers swimming and snorkelling opportunities. It’s a more secluded area and can be reached by a short hike from the Yardie Creek car park.
When swimming in Cape Range National Park, it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of any warnings or guidelines provided by the park authorities, especially regarding tides, currents, and any potential hazards. It’s also recommended to swim with a buddy, stay within your comfort and skill level, and take necessary precautions to protect the marine environment, such as avoiding stepping on coral or disturbing marine life.
What Animals Are In Cape Range National Park?
Cape Range National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, both on land and in the surrounding marine environment. Here are some of the notable animals you may encounter in the park:
- Red Kangaroos: The park is home to a population of red kangaroos, which are the largest kangaroo species in Australia. They can be spotted in various areas, particularly in the early morning or late afternoon when they are more active.
- Emus: Emus, the largest bird species in Australia, can be found in Cape Range National Park. These flightless birds are known for their distinctive appearance and can be spotted foraging for food in grassy areas.
- Euros and Wallaroos: Euros (also known as common wallaroos) and wallaroos are marsupials that are smaller than kangaroos but larger than wallabies. They can be seen grazing or resting in rocky areas and hillsides.
- Reptiles: The park is home to various reptiles, including western netted dragons, western bearded dragons, sand goannas, and western spiny-tailed skinks. Snakes, such as carpet pythons and western brown snakes, are also present in the park, so caution is advised while exploring.
- Marine Life: Cape Range National Park is adjacent to the Ningaloo Marine Park, renowned for its marine biodiversity. The marine environment is home to species such as humpback whales, dolphins, turtles (including loggerheads, green, and hawksbill turtles), dugongs, reef sharks, and a variety of colourful fish species. Snorkelling or diving in the park’s waters can provide opportunities to observe and interact with this diverse marine life.
It’s important to remember that wildlife should be observed from a safe distance and should not be approached or fed. Respecting their natural habitat helps ensure their well-being and the preservation of the park’s ecosystem.
In conclusion, Cape Range National Park is a remarkable destination located on the Cape Range Peninsula in Western Australia. With its diverse landscapes, pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant wildlife, the park offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.
Whether you’re exploring the rugged gorges, taking in the panoramic views from the lookouts, snorkelling among the colourful coral reefs, or encountering the diverse wildlife, Cape Range National Park has something to offer for everyone.
The park’s proximity to the Ningaloo Marine Park adds to its allure, providing opportunities to witness the wonders of the underwater world, including swimming with majestic whale sharks, spotting turtles, and encountering an array of marine species.
For nature enthusiasts, the park’s trails and camping facilities allow for an immersive experience, where you can connect with the natural surroundings and appreciate the tranquility of this coastal wilderness.
Cape Range National Park showcases the beauty and diversity of the Ningaloo Coast, a World Heritage-listed area, and offers a captivating blend of land and marine experiences. It is a destination that highlights the importance of conservation and provides a glimpse into the unique ecosystems of Western Australia.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a deeper appreciation for the natural world, Cape Range National Park invites you to explore its wonders and create lasting memories in this remarkable coastal paradise.
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