Leeuwin–Naturaliste National Park

As you set off along a boardwalk through the forest, you talk about the historic Ellensbrook homestead you are leaving behind, with its stories of struggle and love, and children who died. After a short distance, you come to a rocky cliff softened by green draperies of foliage. The waters of Meekadarabee Falls trickle down the rocks, and at its foot gapes the dark, mysterious entrance to a grotto. According to Aboriginal legend, this is the ‘bathing place of the moon’ and the spirits of two lovers, Mitanne and Nobel, dwell here.

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Stretches 120 km from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste

Don't Miss

Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.

■ The caves! Visit at least one of the spectacular limestone caverns that honeycomb the Margaret River area (see CaveWorks and Lake CaveCalgardup Cave, Giants Cave and Mammoth Cave).
■ Gnarabup beach with its beautiful white sand and clear turquoise waters, great for swimming and snorkelling.
■ Boranup Karri Forest, which lies between Caves Road and the coast. The strange, grey-trunked karri trees grow up to 60 metres high.
■ Boranup Forest Maze (extra cost, budget), which is on the outskirts of the park, along Caves Road, Karridale; (08) 9758 5582. This is a fun way to explore a lovely forest area.

Fabulous Facts

Ellensbrook Homestead was a family-run beef and dairy farm. Alfred Bussell built it in 1857 with the help of local Aboriginal people, using the surrounding trees, crushed shells and limestone. He named it after his wife, Ellen. When Ellen churned her butter, she carried it all the way to the Meekadarabee Falls to keep cool. Ellensbrook reveals the harshness of life for early European settlers. Three of the Bussells’ infant children died here, and the family left in 1865.

Insider Tips

■ Leeuwin–Naturaliste National Park covers a huge area and includes beaches as well as forests, lighthouses, limestone caves and the homestead.

■ The walk described leads from Ellensbrook Homestead and takes about 40 minutes. The Meekadarabee Falls are at their most impressive between June and November.
■ Ellensbrook Homestead is open weekends and Monday public holidays (extra cost, budget). It is located at Ellen Brook Road, Margaret River, (08) 9755 5173.
Warning: when walking among the karri trees in the Boranup Forest, be alert to sounds that may indicate falling branches.
■ There are various vantage points along the coast where you can look for humpback and southern right whales from Septemeber to December.
■ There are a few campgrounds with basic facilities in the park.

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