CAPE ARID, WA

Esperance’s pearlescent shores. Pic: parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

The untouched wilderness of the Cape Arid National Park presents a remarkably engaging face to the traveller, in a way that’s singular to Western Australia’s southern coastline.

The distances are never easy, and rarely even manageable, over in the Wild West, but it’s true that the best spots are worth putting in the hard yards for.

Cape Arid is certainly one of these. Perth metro residents will need to hitch up the trailer in preparation for an 870km highway march that’ll take the best part of a day to traverse, so it’s worth allocating a full week for this trip.

Cape Arid is located a little over 100 clicks further east than it’s far more famous sibling Cape le Grand and offers up a landscape just as visually striking, although populated by far thinner crowds.

A journey out to the Cape Arid National Park is quite a commitment, but it’s one that’s certainly worth planning out and making happen.

STUFF TO DO

4WDING is possible on a number of tracks within the park as well as on the park’s long, hard-packed sandy beaches.

Popular tracks include Telegraph Track, Thomas Fishery Track, Balladonia Track and Gora Track. Track closures sometimes occur during wet conditions, with updates available from the park rangers.

FISHING is a mainstay of the area; with big hauls of Aussie salmon dominating winter catches. Whiting are a popular target during spring and summer and large mulloway patrol the deeper gutters. Powerful groundswells are relentless during winter, so fishing exposed headlands is a bad idea.

BUSHWALKING is the best way to experience the park’s wildlife at a relaxed pace. The Tagon Coastal Trail is a 15km return track that follows the parks rocky headlands and can take up to six hours to complete.

The track allows walkers opportunities to view migratory humpback and southern wright whales during late winter and spring.

IMPORTANT INFO

LOCATION: 870km east of Perth, access is via State Route 40 and National Route 1.

CAMPING is available within the national park at Thomas River, Thomas Fishery, Seal Creek, Jorndee Creek and Mt Ragged campsites. Fees apply, although campsites are not bookable and work on a first come, first served basis.

FUEL is available at Perth, Ravensthorpe, Munglinup and Esperance.

MORE INFO is available at www.parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au