Cape Arid National Park

Cape Arid National Park, Jiri Lochman / Australian Geographic
Barbecue Caravan Diving Fishing Park entry fee Toilets Wildlife Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Information Lookout Picnic area Ranger Walking

Introduction

Lying on Western Australia’s rugged south coast, Cape Arid National Park protects a stunning coastline of sweeping beaches rimmed by the intense blue waters of the Southern Ocean. In 1792, the French Admiral Bruni D’Entrecasteaux named ‘Cap Arride’ as he sailed past the coast; a decade later the name was anglicised by Matthew Flinders. The area was settled in the early 1870s, when graziers took up land around Thomas River and Pine Hill. The ruins of homesteads, buildings and dams are a legacy from this time.

In the north, the Russell Range rises to its highest peak at Mount Ragged. Elsewhere are sand plains, heathlands and rocky granite hills. The heaths are studded with wildflowers in spring and several species of orchids can be found on and near Mount Ragged. The 160 bird species include the ground parrot (endangered in Western Australia), the Australasian bittern, short-billed black-cockatoo and Cape Barren goose. Mammals include the bush rat and western brush wallaby, and there are a variety of reptiles and amphibians. Southern right whales are regularly spotted off the coast, especially during late winter and early spring, and seals occasionally visit the beaches.

There are a number of marked trails in the park: Tagon Coastal Walk (7 km return, 4 hours, medium difficulty) leads from Thomas River to Tagon Harbour; Mount Arid Walk (2 km, 1 hour, easy) offers great ocean views from the summit; while the strenuous Mount Ragged Walk (3 km return, 2 hours, difficult) climbs to the top of Tower Peak (585 metres). Coastal fishing from the beaches and headlands within the park is excellent all year round.

Fact file

Camping

Thomas River, Jorndee Creek, Seal Creek, Mt Ragged (latter 4WD access only); self-sufficient camping applies at all sites

Location and access

120 km east of Esperance via Fisheries and Tagon roads, or via Merivale Rd

Park information

  • DEC Esperance (08) 9083 2100
  • Park ranger (08) 9075 0055

Size

279 832 ha

Visitor information

Esperance 1300 664 455

See Also

Campsites

Jorndee Creek camping area

Jorndee Creek camping area is 1.7 km off Poison Creek Rd, 24 km south of Merivale Rd. In a small area on the foreshore behind the dunes, it’s 4WD only. Bring drinking water and a gas/fuel stove.... Find out more


Mount Ragged camping area

Mt Ragged camping area is in the northern part of the park, 3.3 km east of Balladonia Rd and 131 km south of the Eyre Hwy (Balladonia Roadhouse). The road is 4WD access only and can be closed when wet. Bring drinking... Find out more


Seal Creek camping area

On Poison Creek Rd, 26 km south-east of Merivale Rd reached via Fisheries Rd, Seal Creek camping area is in a coastal environment behind the dunes, with some shade and basic facilities available. A 4WD is recommended.... Find out more


Thomas Fishery camping area

The very small camping area at Thomas Fishery is 9.8 km off Poison Creek Rd, 18 km south of Merivale Rd. It offers visitors basic facilities at a popular fishing spot on the coast. Access is 4WD only along a rough track,... Find out more


Thomas River camping area

Thomas River camping area is 8.6 km along Thomas River Rd, off Merivale Rd, 105 km east of Esperance. The camping area is near the river, overlooking the ocean. Bring drinking water and a gas/fuel stove.... Find out more


See Also

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