Stokes National Park

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This national park, an hour’s drive west of Esperance on Western Australia’s southern coast, protects Stokes Inlet and its surrounding heathland. The largest estuary in the Esperance region and the only one with reasonably deep water, the inlet holds water while its bar stays closed, often for years at a time. As such, Stokes Inlet is a haven for waterbirds – at least 29 species have been recorded – including migratory waders such as the common sandpiper and red-capped plover.

Stokes Inlet and the Lort River were named in 1848 by Surveyor-General John Septimus Roe, after his friend John Lort Stokes. In 1873, Alexander and John Moir were granted a lease of 14 000 acres around Stokes Inlet, extended by 57 000 acres in 1888. They grazed sheep on the land, shipping wool and sandalwood collected from the surrounding countryside from nearby Fanny Cove. The ruins of the Moir Homestead, now a collection of roofless limestone walls, stand on the eastern side of the inlet, not far from shore. Access to the ruins is by 4WD vehicle only, en route to Fanny Cove.

In addition to birdwatching, the calm waters of Stokes Inlet are ideal for boating, canoeing and swimming. The fishing is excellent, with black bream, salmon and King George whiting the main targets. The Stokes Heritage Trail (2 km return, 45 minutes, easy) has interpretive signs and walkers will enjoy views over the inlet along the way. Although the main section of the park is accessible by 2WD vehicles along an unsealed road, Fanny Cove, Skippy Rock and Shoal Cape are accessible by 4WD only.

Fact file


2 campsites on shores of inlet

Location and access

80 km west of Esperance via South Coast Hwy and Stokes Inlet Rd

Park information

  • DEC Stokes National Park (08) 9076 8541
  • DEC Esperance (08) 9083 2100


10 667 ha

Visitor information

Esperance 1300 664 455


Benwenerup camping area

On Stokes Inlet Rd, 6 km south of the South Coast Hwy and 80 km west of Esperance, Benwenerup camping area is set among the scrub overlooking the inlet. You need to come equipped with a gas/fuel stove and drinking water.... Find out more

Fanny Cove camping area

With only 3 sites, Fanny Cove is a very small camping area on the beach off Farrells Rd, reached via the South Coast Hwy west of Esperance. With basic facilities and accessed by 4WD only along a sandy track, it is a... Find out more

Skippy Rock camping area

Skippy Rock camping area is in a well-protected environment of coastal scrub overlooking the ocean, in an area offering activities such as fishing and swimming. Access is 4 km off Springdale Rd, off the South Coast Hwy... Find out more

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