The waters near Exmouth are a fisherman's paradise. Both sides of the cape produce excellent fishing with game fishing tournaments
now a regular event.
Cape Range is a rugged outcrop of hills running south from Exmouth almost all the way to Coral Bay.
At its highest point it reaches 314 metres and contains a number of weathered canyons. Two, Potshot and Charles Knife are within easy reach of
Although the canyons of the cape are well known to visitors, much less well known are the caves that dot the area. Most people are surprised to
learn that more than 400 caves are located through the range.
The caves are a sanctuary for a number of animals that have adapted themselves to a subterranean lifestyle. The fauna in the caves indicates that
a humid tropical rainforest once covered the area.
Most of these cave-dwellers lack eyes and have lost most pigment in their skins. spiders, millipedes, pseudo-scorpions, crickets, wood-lice and
cockroaches are just some of the life forms to be found here. More than 40 species have been discovered in the caves but most will remain unseen
and undisturbed as casual exploration of the caves is prohibited.
A 4wd trip down the west side of the range with a stop off at Yardie Creek is a must for all those with adventurous spirits. Try to take some
camping gear with you and stop overnight. Travelling slowly and exploring the area is most rewarding. Remember to take plenty of water as
there is none available.
As with most of the north west, Exmouth is best visited between April and October when the cyclones and hot weather are absent.
Learmonth Jetty used to be an excellent fishing spot but some idiot decided to pull the old wooden jetty down and construct a horrible metal and
plastic 'thing'. It has been ruined as a fishing spot forever. Bundegi jetty, although quite small also turned on some good fishing when the bait fish
shelter round the pylons but that too has now gone.
Much of the town has been re-built since cyclone Vance in 1999 but sadly Exmouth has been 'discovered' by the tourist hordes and the whole laid
back atmosphere is gone forever.
I have to admit to having a special place in my heart for Exmouth and the cape so it was very sad to see the changes that 'progress' has wrought
on the town. Thankfully the National Park on the west side of the cape was as beautiful as ever.
In June 2002 Exmouth received 305mm of rain in just 24 hours. If you check that average YEARLY rainfall you will see that this exceeds it by
12mm. In April 2014 there was another large 'rain event' that cut the town off for a few days and closed campsites and roads on the west side
of the cape. This was one of the rare occasions when Yardie Creek broke through to the sea.
CAPE RANGE PHOTO GALLERY
The cape on which Exmouth is located was probably first sighted by Europeans in 1618 when the Dutch ship Zeewulf passed on route to the
Dutch East-Indies. Early maps refer to a river, which is believed to be a reference to Yardie Creek. (as there are no rivers in the area.)
The French explorer Baudin visited the area in 1801
and in 1811 the American ship 'Rapid' was wrecked near Point Cloates; the first of what would be a long period of contact with the Cape by Americans.
The first pastoral lease was taken out in 1876 by J. Brockman and covered the whole peninsula. Thomas Carter, a famous ornithologist,
purchased property from Brockman and constructed a number of wells on the peninsular.
After a number of shipwrecks along the coast, lighthouses were constructed at Point Cloates and Vlamingh Head in 1911-12.
A whaling station opened at Point Cloates and operated intermittently until 1957.
The name Exmouth originates from Viscount Exmouth who served in the Royal Navy. The name was originally given to the gulf by
Anyone familiar with the Hornblower books and TV series will remember the name
Admiral Pellew. Pellew was a real person, who joined the
Royal Navy at the age of 13 and rose rapidly through the ranks to become an Admiral and finally was named Viscount Exmouth. He was a war hero and unlike
the fictional character Hornblower, Pellew really did exist.
At the top end of the North West Cape, Exmouth served as a submarine base in WWII which was bombed by the Japanese.
There are even reports of a landing party from a Japanese submarine coming ashore at Yardie Creek in the search for the nearby base.
In 1953 test drilling found oil on Rough Range but it turned out to be a single small deposit. It was not until 10 years later that another oil source was found 150
miles north east on Barrow Island.
Later (1962) the joint American / Australian communication station was set up and Exmouth town was developed to support defence facilities on the cape.
The money spent on facilities for the Americans by the state and federal governments seems to have upset one of the local councillors who had been trying for
some time to get facilities for local residents. He is quoted as saying:
"Why should those toadying sods in Canberra and Perth spend millions to impress a handful of Yank sailors... ...For the money the politicians have spent on
swimming pools, golf links and chrome plated shit houses, they could have dammed a couple of rivers and made a start on making this country produce
something that the world really has need of - food... ...Murdoch talks about a shop window but he doesn't tell you there's no stock in the shop except a
couple of iron mountains out in the cactus which the Yanks bought at a bargain price to sell to the Japs."
Exmouth town site was gazetted in December 1963 with the shire being declared in January the following year. Prime Minister Harold Holt officially opened the
town on September 17th 1967.
The Americans and their left hand drive vehicles have long since departed (moving out in 1992), and the communications base is now back in Australian hands -
as it should be!
There are 38 known ship wrecks on the coral coast and all but 12 have been located. This makes the area a Mecca for scuba divers who have both the wrecks
and Ningaloo Reef to attract them to the area.
A time capsule was buried at the opening ceremony with the details of all the town's residents at the time. It is not due to be opened until 2067.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
No information for this section yet. If you know of something we can add here please contact us and let us know.
Learmonth Jetty, Shothole Canyon, Charles Knife Canyon, Wapet Creek, Yardie Creek, Cape Range, Vlamingh Head, Ningaloo Reef, The Tamarisks,
Pebble Beach, Town Beach, Bundegi Beach, Point Murat Beaches, The Wreck Road, Surfers Beach, Tantabiddi, Lefroy Bay, Winderabandi Point,
Cape Range National Park.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
Vlamingh Head lighthouse 1912.
State : North West Coastal
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6707
Local Government : Shire of Exmouth
Click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.