PEAK CHARLES NATIONAL PARK

 

Splendid fairy wren

 

GPS 32 53 00 S 121 10 00 E

 

 

 

Toilets available Tent camping sites Caravan access possible Pets prohibited Sight seeing area Walk trails 4 wheel drive access only

 

 

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Peak Charles (658 metres) and Peak Eleanora (502 metres) dominate the skyline as most of the surrounding area is dry sand plain heath and salt lakes. The peaks are islands of granite (known as inselbergs) in a sea of bushland. They have much in common with real islands as populations of animals and plants that live on the outcrops may not be found in the surrounding bush.

These large rock formations are estimated to date back 300 million years. They are places that harbour species that could not exist in the area if the rock was not there. The rain run-off from the rock going into pools and soaking into the soils around the rock's base, means animals and plants can survive here but not in areas away from the rock.

The rock expands in the heat of the day and contracts in the cool of the night and this continual cycle leads to eventual fracturing of large slabs of rock. Bush fires can hasten this process and the resulting boulders and rock sheets provide a perfect home for small creatures.

Soil collects in fissures and cracks and plants take advantage of this so that the rock is further prised apart by plant roots.

There are a number of 'wave' like formations around the base of the rock but these are not widely known due to the isolation of the area.

Birds are attracted to the rocks due to the thicker growth of plants. Over 59 species including wedge tailed eagles inhabit the area. There are at least 35 different reptile species and 8 native mammal species.

Sadly the number of mannal species found in the area today is much reduced compared to those that inhabited the area previously. Just some of the missing mammals include the brush tailed phascogale, the dibbler, western barred bandicoot and the quenda.

There is a campsite at the base of Peak Charles and currently no fees are charged for camping.

Access to the park is via the Coolgardie to Esperance road and the Kurmal to Lake King Road then on to Peak Charles Road. The park is roughly 100km north of Esperance and 510 kilometres from Perth.

A walk trail leads up to the top of Peak Charles. It is a 2km climb and it can take between 1 and 3 hours to complete the loop. Climbing past the lookout is not recommended due to exposed rock scrambles and steeply angled slabs. Walkers should be fit and healthy and should carry drinking water. The park covers roughly 40,000 hectares and is part of the much larger Great Western Woodlands that cover a massive 16 million hectares.

 

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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