FITZGERALD RIVER NATIONAL PARK

 

Fitzgerald River National Park

 

GPS 33 56 33 S 119 57 36 E

 

 

 

Entry fee and / or camping fee charged Toilets available Tables and / or seats and / or shelters provided Fire places or BBQs available Tent camping sites Pets prohibited Boat launching possible Swimming allowed Fishing allowed (some sites may require a freshwater license.) Sight seeing area Walk trails Ranger or caretaker on site

 

 

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Fitzgerald River National Park lies on the south coast between Hopetoun and Bremer Bay and covers some 297,244 ha.

There is a campsite on the western side of the park at St Mary Inlet near Point Ann but facilities are limited. Access to this site is possible by 2 wheel drive. Other sites, only accessible by 4 wheel drive, are available at Quoin Head and Fitzgerald Bay.

Other campsites - suitable for 2 wheel drive vehicles - can be found on the eastern side of the park.

The first you will reach when coming from Hopetoun is Four Mile. If you have any doubt about your vehicle's ability to climb steep gradients then this is the one we would recommend.

Further west across a large hill is Hamersley Inlet. The Hamersley Inlet site has a gradient of 25% on the way so be sure your vehicle can handle it.

The eastern campsites are operated by the shire of Hopetoun but because this is a national park, pes are not permitted.

The area is cut by deep gorges and fringed by beaches. It is one of the largest and most botanically significant National Parks in Australia. 1,883 plant species have been identified with 75 of those found nowhere else.

More animal species are found here than any other reserve in South West Australia.

22 mammal, 41 reptile, 12 frog and 200 bird species have been identified.

The area is regarded as so significant that the central area has no vehicle access.

Mathew Flinders sailed past the coast in 1802 and named the mountains East, West and Mid Mount Barren. Had he landed and climbed through the hills he would have found that his names were very misleading.

The mountains are thought to have formed 1000 million years ago when the Australian land mass collided with the Antarctic.

Early land-based exploration by Europeans started with a visit by William Baxter in 1826 and then by James Drummond in 1847. They were followed by James Newell, James Manning and Edward John Eyre.

Grazing leases were established from the 1850s and some hopeful prospectors searched the area for valuable minerals.

The difficult terrain meant that much of the area remained undisturbed and in 1950 the West Australian Naturalists' Club proposed that a reserve be established. The first reserve was a 'C' class nature reserve covering 246,804 ha and was declared in 1954.

A report on the park sums up the area this way:

'The park sits astride the incised valleys of four major river systems, which flow south-east to the coast. Dominating the southern section is a low range of rugged quartzite hills known collectively as The Barrens, while the core of the park is an extensive undulating plain....The flora of the park is exceptionally rich and diverse. Although the Park is only 0.2 per cent of Western Australia's land surface, over 20 per cent of Western Australia's plant species occur there. Many of the plant species are endemic to the region, reflecting the tight and varied plant/soil mosaics. Vegetation varies, from woodland on the richer soils through to mallee and mallee heath.'

'There are more recorded species of birds, mammals and frogs than in any other reserve in south-west Australia. This is partly a reflection of the park size, but also because of the blending of wet country and dry country species which occur in the park.'

Official figures for the species found in the park are: 184 bird species, 22 mammal species, 41 reptile species and 12 frog species. Plant species exceed 1750 with at least 75 species being found nowhere else.

There have been severe fires in the park in the past with one notable event occurring in 1989. Almost 50% of the park was burned out in a space of 10 hours. Fears about plant re-generation proved to be unfounded as even previously rare species germinated in such profusion that they were taken off the endangered list.

After the fires 84 orchid species were found growing in the park. Orchids seem to flower most actively after large fires and so in the spring following a summer fire they are easier to locate.

Due to the park's rugged nature, it is a haven for 4wd enthusiasts. RAC W.A. has maps of the park available which detail the tracks and roads through the park.

From the top of West Mt. Barren on a clear day you can see the Stirling Range 100 km to the west.

There is no drinking water available in the park.

 

 

Walk trails

 

East Mount Barren. 2.6km. 3 hours, moderate difficulty rating.
Barrens Lookout. 250m return. Easy.
Sepulcralis Hill. 600m return. Easy.
No Tree Hill. 3 kilometres. 3 hours. Easy.
Twertup. 2 hours.
Hakea Walk. 46km return. Moderate difficulty. Cave Point to Quoin Head.
Point Ann Heritage trail. 1km return. 1 hour. Easy. Spectacular views over Point Charles Bay.
West Mount Barren. 1.7km return. 2 hours. Medium difficulty. During wildflower season look for the Qualup bell flower as you walk this trail.
West Beach Point. 1 hour.
Mount Maxwell. 200m return. 30 minutes. Easy. Walk goes to a lookout platform.
Mamang walk trail. 31km return. 12-13 hours. From Point Ann to Fitzgerald Inlet. There are a series of lookouts along this walk.

 

Please note that in order to reduce the spread of Dieback disease, the area above 150 metres on the mountains is now restricted and walking in this area is prohibited.

 

Camp Sites

 

Point Ann / St. Mary's. (accessible by 2 wheel drive) 66km via Devil's Creek Road or 64 km via Quiss Road and Pabelup Drive.
Quoin Head. (accessible by 4 wheel drive).
Fitzgerald Bay (accessible by 4 wheel drive). 57km via Hamersley Drive.
Four Mile Beach. (accessible by 2 wheel drive from Hopetoun.
Hamersley Inlet. (accessible by sealed road but gradients of 17% and 25% must be negotiated.)

 

Expect unsealed roads in the National Park to be rough.

 

An alternate place to stay is at Quaalup Homestead on the western side of the park.

 

NPW Website for more information

 

 

Best time to visit:

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

 

 

 

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