A guide to Cape Arid National Park at Esperance, Western Australia
Cape Arid National Park is a vast 279,415 hectares, located on the southeast coast of Western Australia, 120 kilometres east of Esperance.
Access to the park is from the sealed section of Fisheries Road. Nine kilometres of conventional drive all weather gravel road leads to park boundary. Another nine kilometres of the same quality roads lead to the main camp area at Thomas River. The majority of tracks within the park are rough four wheel drive and access is subject to weather conditions.
The park has magnificent coastal scenery, granite outcrops, swampy clay flats, several ruins and small mounts providing superb lookouts.
Vegetation in the park consists of young sand dune systems which support coastal heaths with patches of Yate, Banksia and Paperbark. Mallee stands, sometimes dense, occur, in the northern areas.
Diverse habitats within the park ensure a wide variety of fauna. Some of the more unusual species easily sighted include honey possums, brush tailed wallabies, cape barren geese, sea eagles and bustards.
Cape Arid National Park
Camping is available at Thomas River – conventional drive access, toilets, tables, water available for washing and bathing. Alternatively at Mount Ragged – Thomas Fishery, Jorndee Creek, Deal Creek and Poison Creek have four wheel drive access, barbecues, and toilets. Bring own drinking water. No boat ramps.
Supplies can be obtained from Condingup store 55 kilometres from the park.
Picnics can be enjoyed at Thomas River, Mount Ragged, Thomas Fishery, Jorndee Creek, Seal Creek, and Poison Creek.
Things to do in Cape Arid National Park
There are many self guided walks to choose from. They vary from one to four hour walks, for example at Len Otte Nature Trail, one hour; Pegged Trails, four hours; Tagon Coastal, four hours; Boolenup, two hours; Mount ragged, three hours; Unpegged – Mount Arid, two and a half hours.
Swimming at Thomas River. Most beaches in Cape Arid National Park are suitable for swimming but caution may be exercised as rips can develop quickly.
Best time for windsurfing is between November to February at Yokinup Bay.
Rock climbing is permitted in Cape Arid National Park with permission from the Ranger.
Best time to visit Cape Arid National Park is all year round.
Southern Right and Humpback whales are often seen between July to October.
Warning: Because the park is large, scarce in water and mostly unsignposted, all visits should be planned with caution. Access along all four wheel drive tracks is subject to weather conditions. Steep rock slopes to the ocean are subject to king waves and are slippery when wet.
Bring own drinking water and the closest fuel supply is Condingup, 55 kilometres from the park.
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