Yanchep National Park is one of the most 'urbanised' of our parks. It is located in what will soon become a major suburban area and it is one of the most popular parks because it is so close to the
In the 1940s and 50s a bus service ran from Perth Visitor Centre taking visitors to enjoy the attractions of the park that included a golf course, bird aviaries and boating on the lake. The park was
managed by the National Parks board from 1956 but only became a National Park in 1969.
Attractions include exploring the cave system, lunch or dinks at the inn or relaxing at one of the many picnic areas or walking around the lake shore.
The park dates from 1903 and land was set aside in the area as early as 1905 but little was done until the 1930s. Charles McNess was one of the main supporters of the park's development and the
lake was named after him.
This park is unlike many national parks that were established later in the 20th century. The original intent of this park seems to have been to act as a place of entertainment for people rather than for
the preservation of nature. Established gardens and stone buildings are not seen in modern day parks where there is much more emphasis on preserving and observing the natural environment.
In 1935 (one source says 1938) a koala colony was established in the park (the koala is not native to W.A.) and the breeding programme was so successful that the koalas remain one of the
park's main attractions today.
At last count there were 8 walk trails within the park including one coastal walk that takes 3 days (one way) to complete. Western grey kangaroos are a common sight along the walk trails and on
the manicured lawns.
The park is also home to a number of different bird species including grebes, swans, spoonbills, lapwings, pelicans, cormorants, egrets, kingfishers, parrots, wrens, honeyeaters, and the endangered Carnaby's black-
Although Crystal Cave is the major tourist cave in the park there are other less well known caves that have been open to the public at various times. In the 1930s a cave known as Cabaret was converted
into an underground function centre. The park encompasses one of the six major cave regions in W.A. and there are more than 600 caves documented so far. Most caves are quite small and close to the
surface and therefore are not as impressive as the caves found near Margaret River in the south west.
The Aboriginal people regarded one of the caves, known as Doorda Mia (or home of the wild dog) as a taboo place haunted by an evil spirit.
There are unique animals that inhabit the caves but due to falling water levels, these are now under threat of extinction.
A species of amphipod that lives in the underground pools relies on tree roots for shelter and food. Attempts are being made to pump filtered groundwater back in to
the caves in order to preserve the future of these small creatures.
In geological terms the area is relatively new, less than 1 million years old. The park lies across three distinct dune systems, the Bassendean, Spearwood and Quindalup. The Spearwood system is the one
containing the caves. It was thought that few life forms could survive in the cave but studies have revealed at least 36 species that are adapted to living with no light and little food.
Fossil deposits in the cave have revealed that Tasmanian devils, Tasmanian tigers and even koalas once called the area home. Outside the caves in the rest of the park 21 mammal species have been
discovered but as feral animals have made an impact on the park some native species have started to disappear.
The park is also home to a range of reptile species and more than 141 species of bird. 3 fish species are known to inhabit the lake and marron, gilgies and freshwater mussels have also been found.
As one of the older parks, Yanchep had deteriorated somewhat over time and in 1990 a programme was started to revitalise the area.
There is a campsite available for those who would like to stay longer and take a tent or caravan. Toilets and hot showers are provided but no power is available.
Following are some historic pictures of the park taken at a time when people's entertainment came before wildlife preservation.
NPW Website for more information
Best time to visit: