Stokes National Park
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.
2 campsites on shores of inlet
Location and access
80 km west of Esperance via South Coast Hwy and Stokes Inlet Rd
- DEC Stokes National Park (08) 9076 8541
- DEC Esperance (08) 9083 2100
10 667 ha
Esperance 1300 664 455
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