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Parks in Western Australia

Western Australia has many magnificent parks, both on land and under the water. From the heights of Mt Augustus, Australia's largest isolated rock (twice the size of Uluru) to the depths of the coral reef in the Ningaloo Marine Park, WA has it covered. The list below is by no means exclusive, but will get any outdoor enthusiast started on places to visit in Western Australia's great outdoors.
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Cape Arid National Park
125km east of Esperance, Cape Arid is an exceptionally scenic park and an important habitat for the conservation of birds, having more than 160 species, including some that are threatened. Making use of the available walking trails is the best way to spot birds, migrating whales and to enjoy spring wildflowers.
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Cape Le Grand National Park
55km east of Esperance Cape Le Grande National Park’s sandplains, swamps and freshwater pools support a variety of flora and fauna. Massive granite outcrops form an impressive chain of peaks including Mt Le Grand. Visitor facilities include walking trails and camping grounds to make the most of wild coastal scenery, miles of sandy white beaches, rugged granite peaks, abundant wildlife and spectacular spring wildflowers.
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Cape Range National Park
Cape Range National Park extends along the western side of the North West Cape and boasts spectacular rocky gorges and canyons and a beautiful Indian Ocean coastline adjacent to Ningaloo Marine Park.
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Fitzgerald River National Park
One of the largest and most botanically significant national parks in Australia, Fitzgerald River National Park is home to nearly 20 percent of Western Australia’s flora species, many of which only occur within the park. Between Hopetoun and Bremer Bay on the South Coast, this park offers spectacular recreational opportunities including bushwalking, camping, fishing, canoeing, swimming, and surfing. Migrating whales can be seen offshore in spring.
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Geikie Gorge National Park
Geikie Gorge has been carved out of the Fitzroy River's natural watercourse over thousands of years in the north west of the state. During dry months, the river is a quiet stream that winds its way through the gorge's towering cliffs. In the wet season the waters rise more than 16 metres to scour the limestone walls and flood the surrounding area.
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John Forrest National Park
John Forrest National Park, just 26km east of Perth, is Western Australia’s oldest national park. Here you can get close to the wilderness even without leaving the city. There are scenic drives, walk trails and picnic facilities making it an ideal day trip destination from the city.
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Jurien Bay Marine Park
Dive or snorkel the extensive limestone reef system of the Jurien Bay Marine Park to see Australian sea lions, rock lobster and sea birds just 200km north of Perth.
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Kalbarri National Park
Kalbarri National Park, 600km north of Perth, has more than 2,000 species of wildflower that are native to the region. You can wander through fields of riotous colour as everlasting daisies, banksias and kangaroo paws bloom in spring and early summer. Walk trails take you through scenic gorges to spectacular lookouts and soaring coastal cliffs.
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Karijini National Park
Karijini National Park, between the towns of Tom Price and Newman, is steeped in Indigenous culture with waterfalls, gorges, subterranean waterways and spectacular scenery more than 2 billion years in the making. While you’re there take a dip at one of the magnificent waterfalls or crystal clear rock pools.
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Kings Park
Kings Park offers spectacular views overlooking Perth City and the Swan River. It’s home to WA’s Botanic Gardens and has year-round flowering plants. Picnic facilities, walk trails, adventure playgrounds and retail outlets make this a must-see destination, even if you’re limited with time on your visit to Perth.
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Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
Extending from Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin, the ridge beneath this park is riddled with limestone caves, some of which are open to the public for viewing. The coast offers a variety of conditions from sheltered beaches where the waters are calm enough for swimming and beach fishing, to the world-class surf breaks around Margaret RIver, to rocky shores with violent ocean swells.
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Marmion Marine Park
Just offshore from the northern suburbs of Perth, sea birds, sea lions and other marine wildlife inhabit the lagoons, reefs and small islands of the park. The area is popular for water-based activities such as wind surfing, scuba diving, kite surfing, boating and whale watching (in season).
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Millstream Chichester National Park
150km south east of Karratha, the Chichester Range has rocky peaks, tranquil gorges and hidden rock pools. Chinderwarriner Pool, a fresh water spring at Millstream that is fed by the Fortescue River, is an important place for Yinjibarndi people, the traditional owners of the area. There are camping and picnicking facilities and areas where swimming, fishing, rowing and canoeing are permitted. There are a number of well-established walk trails of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty and park rangers can advise on current conditions.
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Mitchell River National Park
Mitchell River National Park and the adjoining Prince Regent River National Park lie in a remote part of the Kimberley. Scenic flights by plane or helicopter are a great way to see these vast and remote areas that might otherwise be inaccessible.
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Montebello Islands Marine Park
Amazing diving and fishing experiences at Montebello Islands Marine Park make it worth the visit. There are over 200 low-lying limestone islands approximately 120km offshore from Karratha, many with fringing coral reefs and beautiful sandy beaches to enjoy.
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Nambung National Park
Visit the unique Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park near Cervantes. The thousands of limestone pillars emerging from the sand dunes have to be seen to be believed.
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Ningaloo Reef
Australia's largest fringing reef is a haven for water lovers. Just metres from the shore in some places, it is possible to enjoy snorkelling and diving just off the beach. You can expect to be standing just knee-deep in water with brightly coloured fish milling around your feet. Between April and July, swim with the world’s largest fish – the majestic whale shark. The reef extends 260km in length, along the North West Cape from Coral Bay to Exmouth.
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Purnululu National Park
Home to the iconic Bungle Bungle Range and steeped in thousands of years of Indigenous history, Purnululu National Park is 3,000 square kilometres of breathtaking beauty approximately 300 km south of Kununurra. One of Australia’s last true wilderness areas, Purnululu is known not only for its distinctive sandstone and rock towers, but also for gorges and chasms, beautiful waterfalls and ancient Aboriginal art, including cave paintings that have survived for thousands of years.
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Rowley Shoals Marine Park
This is a dedicated conservation park complete with coral gardens and abundant marine lies 260km north west of Broome in the Indian Ocean. Charter operators can take you there for suberb diving and snorkelling experiences and fishing is allowed in appropriate areas.
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Shark Bay World Heritage Area
Shark Bay has countless bays and islands contained within the peninsulas creating an amazing sheltered environment for marine life. The bays are shallow, with waters that seem to be sparkling and perfectly clear. On any given day visitors are likely to see turtles, dugongs, manta rays and countless fish, just below the surface of the water. The area is perhaps most famous for its colony of wild bottlenose dolphins who swim to shore daily.
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Shoalwater Islands Marine Park
This park, just 50km south of Perth, is home to several small islands including Penguin Island. The marine life in the area is diverse and visitors have the opportunity to see bottlenose dolphins, penguins, seals and even migrating humpback whales.
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Stirling Range National Park
Stirling Range National Park encompasses the rugged peaks of the Stirling Ranges, five of which are over 1,000 metres. It is a popular area for rock climbing and birdwatching and is home to more than 1,500 species of plants, many of which grow nowhere else in the world. Cross country bushwalking offers a challenge as the trails are steep and uneven. Walkers should be well prepared by carrying sufficient food and water and contacting the park rangers for more information. This is one of the few places in Western Australia where snow occassionally falls.
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The Recherche Archipelago
This is a group of more than 100 islands off the southern coast of Western Australia. It stretches 230km from its eastern group at Israelite Bay to Esperance at its western end. The islands are mostly comprised of granite outcrops with steep faces and underwater reefs. Many of them have no beaches. The waters around the islands support a variety of marine life including scallops, seals, sea lions and dolphins.
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Torndirrup National Park
Just 10km from Albany the Southern Ocean has sculpted massive granite outcrops into features such as Natural Bridge, The Blowholes and The Gap. Throughout the park there are boardwalks and walk trails with view points and lookouts offering stunning vistas over the coast and great photo opportunities. The Bibbulmun Track passes through parts of this park.
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Walpole-Nornalup National Park
400km south of Perth and 120km west of Albany is the Walpole-Nornalup National Park. Home to jarrah, karri trees and red tingle trees that occur nowhere else on earth, this park includes sheer coastal cliffs that overlook the Southern Ocean and is an important part of the Walpole Wilderness. In the Valley of the Giants you can gently ascend 40 metres into the forest canopy on the stunning Tree Top Walk. The nearby Ancient Empire is a fascinating stand of 400 year-old red tingle trees.
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Whiteman Park
Just 20 minutes’ drive from the heart of Perth, Whiteman Park is a huge bush reserve that’s home to Caversham Wildlife Park and lots of flora and fauna. Discover the village shops, transport museum or ride the park trains.
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Wolfe Creek Crater National Park
Created by a meteorite approximately 300,000 years ago, Wolfe Creek Crater is the second largest crater in the world at 880 metres across. The National Park is 145km south of Halls Creek in Australia’s North West.

VISITING NATIONAL PARKS

Entry to many of Western Australia’s parks, and use of most facilities found there, is free of charge. Where fees do apply, funds go directly to conservation programs and to develop and maintain facilities. More information, including a complete list of parks and any applicable fees, is available from the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife at www.dpaw.wa.gov.au
Many parks are only accessible by gravel or dirt roads which may have loose or corrugated surfaces. It is recommended you drive at a reduced speed, leave extra distance from any vehicles in front and don't brake suddenly. Dust on unsealed roads can obscure vision; it is advisable to reduce your speed or stop and wait for the dust to clear. As many roads throughout Western Australia are unfenced, wildlife can be a hazard to drivers and particular care must be taken at dawn and dusk. If you are driving a rented vehicle ensure your agreement permits its use on unsealed roads. When planning a route through isolated outback areas make sure you carry plenty of water (at least 5 litres of water per person per day) and adequate food and fuel supplies. Advise someone of your route, destination and expected arrival time. If you have a breakdown do not leave the vehicle under any circumstances.
Dogs, with the exception of guide dogs accompanying visually impaired people, are not permitted in most parks in consideration of the rights of other park users and to protect indigenous fauna. Dogs may travel in boats in marine parks and marine management areas. All other pets are prohibited in parks because of the risk they pose to most native fauna.