Fitzgerald River National Park

East Mt Barren, Fitzgerald River National Park, Greg Harold / Auscape International
Barbecue Diving Fishing Park entry fee Swimming Toilets Watersports Wildflowers Wildlife Accommodation Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Information Picnic area Ranger Walking

Introduction

Lying between Bremer Bay and Hopetoun on the south coast of Western Australia, Fitzgerald River National Park is renowned as one of the most diverse botanical regions in the world. This vast, flora-rich area is one of only two national parks in Western Australia to be gazetted by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve.

Fact file

Access

From west via South Coast Hwy, Devils Creek Rd and Pabelup Drive; from east via South Coast Hwy, West River Rd and Hamersley Drive

Best season

Spring and autumn

Location

180 km north-east of Albany; 240 km west of Esperance

Park information

  • DEC Albany (08) 9842 4500
  • Park Ranger (08) 9835 5043
  •  

Size

329 882 ha

Visitor information

Albany (08) 9841 9290  

Hopetoun (08) 9838 1277

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Spot a southern right whale in the waters off Point Ann

    Take a bushwalk in spring to see the wildflowers

    See the white spongelite cliffs along the banks of the Hamersley and Fitzgerald rivers

See Also

A look at the past

The Wudjari people once roamed the area now protected within the national park but there are few reminders of their presence here. The Europeans who first explored this coast were distinctly unimpressed by what they saw. In 1802 Matthew Flinders gave the three prominent coastal peaks the uninspiring names of West Mount Barren, Mid Mount Barren and East Mount Barren. In 1841, explorer Edward Eyre described the area as ‘a wretched and arid looking country’. The heritage-listed Quaalup Homestead, situated on the western side of the park, was built in 1858 by settler John Wellstead from quartzite carried from the river. It is now part of the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat, offering accommodation to park visitors.

Natural features

Surrounding the inlets of the Gairdner, Fitzgerald and Hamersley rivers, the park has a spectacular coastline of sweeping beaches and rocky headlands. Inland are undulating sand plains, out of which rise quartzite mountains with rugged peaks known collectively as ‘the Barrens’. The Fitzgerald and the Hamersley rivers, which cut through the park’s heathlands, are renowned for their white spongelite cliffs. This soft rock was formed by the silica skeletons of ancient sponges and sediments, deposited some 36 million years ago when this area was under the sea.

Native plants

In an area that covers only 0.1 per cent of Western Australia, this extraordinary park boasts nearly 20 per cent of the total number of plant species in the state. More than 1800 plant species have been recorded here, some 75 of which are found nowhere else. One plant found only here and the Stirling Range is the strikingly beautiful royal hakea, with its variegated leaves of brilliant yellow, orange and red, edged with green. Some other plants endemic to the region are the oak-leaf dryandra, the Quaalup bell, the dense clawflower and the rare weeping gum.

Wildlife

The wide variety of native animals and birds includes 22 mammal, 41 reptile and 12 frog species. Birdlife is also prolific, with 184 species recorded including western bristlebirds, western whipbirds, owls and the rare ground parrot. The park is also a haven to a number of endangered animals, such as the brush-tailed bettong and tammar wallaby. The southern dibbler, a small marsupial, and the heath rat, once thought extinct, have been discovered in the park.

Introduction

The park offers delightful locations for birdwatching, photography and camping. If swimming be careful of the offshore rips. Although most of the park’s main attractions are accessible by car, a 4WD vehicle is  needed to reach Fitzgerald Inlet, Trigelow Beach, Quoin Head and Whalebone Beach; the central wilderness area is accessible by foot only. The park may be closed to vehicles during wet weather, so contact the ranger before visiting to check weather conditions and road closures. 

Bushwalking

There are many walking trails, often well signposted and leading to great views: Mount Maxwell walk (100 metres); West Beach Point walk (2 km, 1 hour), West Mount Barren walk (3 km, 1½ hours); and East Mount Barren walk (4 km, 3 hours). Point Ann Heritage Trail (1.5 km, 45 minutes) is also worthwhile.

Canoeing/kayaking/boating/sailing

Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat has a kayak that can be hired for a quiet paddle down the Gairdner River to Gordon Inlet.

Fishing

Both beach and offshore fishing are popular along the coast and target fish include shark, tuna, nannygai, queen snapper, herring and, when in season, pike and salmon. The inlets offer good fishing for bream. There are boat-launching ramps just outside the park at Hopetoun.

Whale-watching

Point Ann has a viewing platform and southern right whales can be seen offshore from June until the end of October.

Campsites

Fitzgerald Inlet camping area

On Fitzgerald River Track, 20 km east of Pabelup Rd and 80 km north-east of Bremer Bay, this large, open clearing is around 2 km from the beach on the west side of Fitzgerald River National Park. It has basic facilities... Find out more


Hamersley Inlet camping area

Hamersley Inlet camping area on the east side of Fitzgerald River National Park is on Hamersley Inlet Rd off Hamersley Dr, 23 km west of Hopetoun. With basic facilities in a coastal environment, it is popular with... Find out more


Quaalup Homestead Caravan Park

Quaalup Homestead is situated 75 km south-east of Jerrmungup via South Coast Hwy, Devils Creek Rd (turn-off 28 km south of Jerramungup), then Collets and Gairdner rds. Visitors will find a good range of facilities in a... Find out more


Quoin Head camping area

Quoin Head camping area is on Telegraph Track off Hamersley Dr, 45 km west of Hopetoun, on the east side of Fitzgerald River National Park. It has basic facilities close to the foreshore. The steep access track is open... Find out more


St Marys Inlet camping area

St Marys Inlet camping area has basic facilities in a coastal setting on Point Ann Rd, off Pabelup Dr, 67 km north of Bremer Bay on the west side of Fitzgerald River National Park. Fishing and swimming are the main... Find out more


Shire Reserve camping area

Shire Reserve camping area is within Fitzgerald River National Park on Hamersley Inlet Rd, off Hamersley Dr, 26 km west of Hopetoun. This secluded area has basic facilities and shady campsites on the water’s edge,... Find out more


See Also

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