Cape Arid National Park is on the southern coast of Western Australia near Esperance. It is less than an hour away from Cape Le Grand National Park  which we just featured in last week’s blog. We recently featured a seven part series on the National Parks and nature parks near Perth. Now we are heading away from Perth but still staying in Western Australia to explore some of the more remote National Parks in the state. We are in the southwest corner of the state and we have covered some of the beautiful national parks there including Mountain Hiking in Stirling Range National Park, the Biodiversity of D’Entrecasteaux National Park, and Walking Among the Giants in Walpole – Nornalup National Park. Now, we are featuring Cape Arid National Park.

cape-arid-np12

Yokinup Bay in Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Cookaa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8776387

cape-arid-np9

Tagon Bay in Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Cookaa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15782049

cape-arid-np11

Bay near Tagon Point Photo Credit: (Wikipedia) By Cookaa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15782261

About Cape Arid National Park

cape-arid-np2

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

cape-arid-np

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

cape-arid-np7

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

Cape Arid National Park is known for its biodiversity, but also has a diverse landscape. The coastal park is wildly rugged with sandy beaches, sand-plains, sandheaths, mallee, rocky headlands, and low granite hills, Mount Ragged, the Russell Range, and woodlands filled with saltbush and bluebush. The highest point in the Russell Range is Tower Peak at 600 metres above sea level that is made of ancient uplifted quartzite. Visitors of the park will appreciate the diverse vegetation and wildlife within the park and the marine life just off the coast. Things to do in the park include bushwalking, beach fun, relaxing in the bays, whale watching, four wheel driving, and camping.

Flora and Fauna of Cape Arid National Park

cape-arid-np10

Banksia in Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

cape-arid-np8

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

cape-arid-np6

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

Since there are so many different landscapes in the park, that makes up for different habitats for the flora and fauna that live and grow in the park. There is vegetation throughout the park including woodlands of saltbush and bluebush, paperbark trees, mallee trees, banksia, yate, orchid, ferns, sticky-tail flower, and the like. There are animals within the park, especially nocturnal animals including honey possums, wallabies, and kangaroos. Other animals you might spot anytime of the day include the western brush wallaby, quenda, brush rat, small marsupial predators, reptiles, and amphibians. Of course, there is a large array of marine life off the coast in the Southern Ocean and plenty of coastal and migratory birds including western ground parrot, Australasian bittern, Carnaby’s cockatoo, and Cape Barren geese. All of these plants and animals enjoy the protection that comes along with the National Park status.

Things to do in Cape Arid National Park

cape-arid-np5

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

cape-arid-np4

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

cape-arid-np3

Cape Arid National Park Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

It’s a fun park with a variety of things to do that match the variety of landscapes. Some things to do in the park include bushwalking, beach fun, relaxing in the bays, whale watching, four wheel driving, windsurfing, boating, hiking, and camping. Since it is in such close proximity to other National Parks in this region, you can combine your park adventures between one or more parks. You can make a longer holiday of it and camp in the park or seek accommodations in nearby Esperance.

Cape Arid National Park Walking Trails

mount-ragged-walk-trail

Mount Ragged Walking Trail Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

There are three different walking trails in Cape Arid National Park: Tagon Coastal Trail, Len Otte Nature Trail, and the Mt Ragged Walk Trail. No matter the length of your walk, be sure to plan ahead, understand the fitness level requirements, have the right shoes and attire, bring plenty of drinking water, have emergency supplies with you, and make sure that someone not travelling with you knows when you are expected back. When you take all these necessary safety precautions, it ensures that you will have the most enjoyable time exploring the far reaches of this part of the world. It is also important to always remember that you are a guest in nature and National Parks are all protected for a reason. Bring a bag with you to take your own rubbish away. Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures.

  • Tagon Coastal Trail: This is a moderately difficult track that is 15 km including the return. You should allow 6 hours to complete it. The trail is in the southeast corner of the park along the coast and includes some magnificent, sweeping views over the Cape Arid coastline. During whale migration season in late winter, you can see the southern right and humpback whales swimming right off the shore from the lookout at Dolphin Cove. You might also see dolphins, seabirds, and rock-basking lizards.
  • Len Otte Nature Trail: This is a moderately easy track that is classified as a class 3. It is a 2.7 km loop and takes about one and a half hours to complete. The nature trail will allow you to see most of the plants in the area and through the woodlands. Seasonally, you will find yellow hibbertia, scarlet honey myrtle, and the golden southern plains banksia. Views include the coastal heathland to Thomas River and Yokinup Bay. The trail was designed by Len Otte, the first resident ranger in Cape Arid National Park, who designed the trail and later had it named after him posthumously.
  • Mt Ragged Walk Trail: In addition to walking the trail at Mt Ragged, you can plan a picnic at the provided shelter, and camp in the Mt Ragged Campground. To get to this section of the park, you will need a four wheel drive vehicle. The trail takes you within 500 metres of the summit and is rated a difficult class 5 classification. You should allow 3 hours for the hike. Sections are very steep, so this walking trail should be reserved only for experienced rock and mountain climbers. The trail is located in the northern section of the park where the Randall Range is located.

Cape Arid National Park Campgrounds

jorndee-creek-campground

Jorndee Creek Campground Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

mount-ragged-campground

Mount Ragged Campground Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

thomas-fishery-campground

Thomas Fishery Campground Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

thomas-river-campground

Thomas River Campground Photo Credit: Parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

There are four campgrounds within Cape Arid National Park: Thomas River, Thomas Fishery, Jorndee Creek, and Mt Ragged. Several locations in the park are very remote and you should be fully self-sufficient with all of your camping gear, drinking water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, tool kit, spare tyres, spare parts, recovery gear, CB radio, and any other necessary emergency supplies. You also should let someone know where you will be and when you are expected back. Here is a little bit about each campsite:

  • Thomas River Campground: This is located in the southwest corner of the park near the coast near Yokinup Bay and the Thomas River. Site activities include bushwalking and fishing. The facilities at this campground include a picnic table, entry station, and toilets. There is also camping nearby at the Thomas River Shire Reserve Campground.
  • Thomas Fishery Campground: This campsite is located close to the southernmost tip of the park. There are limited facilities here with just toilets, it is a basic campsite. Activities here include swimming, snorkelling, and fishing.
  • Jorndee Creek Campground: This is also a basic campsite with only toilet facilities. It is a popular spot because of its proximity to one of the more sheltered beaches. Activities here include swimming and fishing.
  • Mt Ragged Campground: The Mt Ragged Campground is near the walking trail up the mountain. There are picnic tables and toilets at this basic campsite. Bird watching is a popular activity here in the northern section of the park near the mountain range.

Getting to Cape Arid National Park

esperance-car-hire-map

Esperance Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

cape-arid-np-map

Cape Arid National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

Cape Arid National Park is very close to Cape Le Grand National Park is about 5 hours west of Albany on the southern coast near Esperance. Cape Arid is just an hour west of Esperance. You can hire a car in Albany  or rent a vehicle right at the Albany Airport. If you are in Esperance, you can hire a car in the Esperance City location  or if it is more convenient, hire your vehicle right at the Esperance Airport. Just click on any of the links to get a quick and easy rate quote. Speak with one of our knowledgeable and friendly agents and they can help you pick out the right vehicle for your needs. We have a selection of all-terrain and 4WD vehicles in addition to cars. Hiring a vehicle gives you the freedom to get around on your own schedule without worrying about catching tour buses or paying for taxis. While you are in Western Australia, check out these other travel ideas from our blog:

Make it an Amazing Holiday in Awesome Albany, Western Australia

Esperance and the Southern Coast of Western Australia

Wine, Waves, and Caves of the Margaret River Region

The Pinnacles and Nambung National Park

Perth Road Trips: Rottnest Island and Lancelin

Visiting Perth on Holiday

Free Things to do on Holiday in Perth

Holiday Getaways near Perth and Surrounds

Korung National Park in the Perth Hills

Your Taste Buds will Enjoy the Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Here are our previous blogs on the National Parks and nature parks near Perth:

Part One: National Park Excursions near Perth

Part Two: National Park Excursions near Perth

Part Three: National Park Excursions near Perth

Part Four: Regional Parks near Perth

Part Five: Regional Parks near Perth

Part Six: Marine Parks near Perth Western Australia

Part Seven: Nature Reserves near Perth