A Guide to Fitzgerald River National Park
Located six hours from Perth between Albany and Esperance, Fitzgerald River National Park is one of the best parks in the state thanks to its amazing beaches, unique flora, stunning coastline and jagged peaks. With over 20% of Western Australia's flora species, this biodiversity hotspot is a hidden treasure along the southern coastline with a great opportunity during the whale season to see them frollicking off the coast.
Split into two parts, east and west, the park offers some fantastic facilities that can be utilised to stay within the park or you can stay at one of the many towns bordering the park. A road trip to Fitzgerald River will never disappoint and the scenery there will amaze you. With the out of the way location, expect to have the place almost entirely to yourself (apart from peak periods) so pack a towel, some sunscreen, your hiking boots and some camping gear and enjoy this slice of paradise.
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Point Ann Heritage Trail
Fitzgerald River Inlet
West Mount Barren
St Mary's Inlet
The western side of the park is home to some fantastic hikes including the Point Ann Heritage Trail, West Mount Barren and the feature hike being the Mamang Trail. There are two campsites to enjoy but the Fitzgerald River Inlet campsite can only be accessed by hiking in on the Mamang Trail.
The beach that can be accessed via St Mary's Inlet campsite is world class and you can take your 4x4 on it if you please. With views over the Southern Ocean from Point Ann towards the Mid Barrens, this location is breathtaking and perfect for doing nothing but relaxing.
Access - Coming in from Gnowangerup - Jerramungup Rd (from Albany), take the turnoff when you reach Jerramungup to head south on South Coast Hwy. Access to the park is via the Devils Creek Rd turnoff, this road is paved for 25km then becomes a gravel road until you reach Point Ann. Depending on when the road was last graded, it can be rough but manageable with a 2WD car if you take it easy. Follow the signs and take the Pabelup Drive turn and then finally the Point Ann Rd turn.
Campgrounds - There are two campsites on the western side but only St Mary's Inlet can be accessed by vehicle. There are great new facilities here (Toilets, BBQ, Tent Pads, Camper Spaces) but no water tanks so be prepared. The Fitzgerald River Inlet campsite has a toilet but no water. It used to be accessible by vehicle but all access has been thoroughly blocked and it is being left to be reclaimed by nature. For hikers on the Mamang Trail, this is the best Leave No Trace option for camping overnight on the trail.
Nearby Towns - There are two towns within an hour of Point Ann if you don't want to camp within the park borders. Bremer Bay is the best setup for visitors with plenty of accommodation options and a lovely restaurant at the Bremer Bay Resort. During Orca season (January to April) and whale watching season (June to October), there are plenty of tours leaving from Bremer Bay if you want to get out on the water and see these amazing spectacles. Jerramungup is the other town located the western side and is a good place to refuel/food shop on your way to the park.
Start - Point Ann
Length - 15.4km (One Way)
Time - 1-2 days
The Mamang Trail is the premier trail of the western side of the park with a two day (recommended) walk from Point Ann to the Fitzgerald River Inlet and back. Take in some pristine white beaches before heading inland and experiencing the wildflowers, coastal views and finishing with some epic views over the Fitzgerald River Inlet and the Mid Barrens.
Start - Point Ann
Length - 1.5km (Loop)
Time - 1 hour
A great introductory experience to the area, the Point Ann Heritage Trail is a short loop taking in the spectacular views of the Southern Ocean, the turquoise bay and the views off towards the Mid Barrens. Explore the history of the park with information boards telling you about the Rabbit Proof Fence and telegraph line.
Start - Off Pabelup Rd
Length - 1.7km (Return)
Time - 1-2 hours
The highest point of the western side of the park, West Mount Barren (or Queelup) is a short but steep trail taking you up to the summit. Encounter wildflowers all the way to the top along with some excellent views looking back towards Bremer Bay, Mt Bland, Point Ann and across the park to the Mid Barrens and East Mount Barren.
East Mount Barren
Four Mile Beach
The eastern side of the park is the more visitor friendly access point as the town of Hopetoun is a 15 minute drive away and the roads are sealed all the way to Hamersley Inlet Campsite. Home to some of the best trails in the park and a couple of fantastic campsites, the eastern side showcases some of the best scenery as you explore the rolling hills, jagged peaks and gorgeous beaches.
If you are looking for a quiet holiday spot with all the facilities for a comfortable camping trip then look no further than the eastern side of Fitzgerald River National Park. A lot of money has been poured into this park to improve the visitor experience and it shows with some top quality facilities in amazing locations.
Access - Coming in from Gnowangerup - Jerramungup Rd (from Albany), continue east past Jerramungup as it turns into South Coast Hwy. When you reach Ravensthorpe take the road south along Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe Rd until you reach the sign pointing you into the park (Hamersley Drive). Take this road over the Culham Inlet and follow the signs to your preferred campsite or attraction.
Campgrounds - There are two campsites on the eastern side and both have all the facilities you would expect from a recently redeveloped campground. There are toilets, benches, BBQs, various sized campsites and undercover areas (no water tanks are provided so please bring your own supply). Four Mile Campground is located closest to the entrance and is perfectly situated next to Four Mile Beach and Barrens Beach. Hidden tent pads give extra privacy and the BBQ facilities provide an extra level of comfort.
Hamersley Inlet Campground is located further into the park next to the expansive Hamersley Inlet and Beach. A little more compact than Four Mile, it is still an excellent place to stay and you have the added option to bring your canoe/kayak and explore the inlet. Hamerlsey Inlet is also an access point for the Hakea Trail if you want to break up the hike into smaller sections.
Nearby Towns - There are two towns within an hour of the park entrance with Hopetoun being the closest. A small coastal town with a lot of character, you can enjoy a nice meal at the pub, stop in for breakfast at one of the cafes or if camping isn't your thing then there is the holiday village and caravan park. Explore the beaches around the town for great fishing and spectacular views looking back towards the park.
Ravensthorpe is the other town located near the eastern entrance and is the largest town in the area. Located on the northern border of the park with views of the Ravensthorpe Range, this lovely town has all the facilities you would need to resupply and refuel. Check out the cafes and shops on the main strip along with the recently painted silo art (hard to miss driving in on the South Coast Hwy).
Start - Hamersley Drive
Length - 2.3km (Return)
Time - 1-3 hours
The best of the day walks within the park, East Mount Barren is a multi-layered hike up to the summit where you will experience 360 degree views over the landscape. Be in awe as you look out to the might of the Southern Ocean and then gaze upon the Mid Barrens in the distance, the Eyre Range to the north and then back towards the Culham Inlet.
Start - Cave Point
Length - 23.5km (One Way)
Time - 1-2 days
Arguably one of the best hikes in Western Australia, the Hakea Trail is a fantastic coastal walk taking in some of the most rugged and beautiful stretches of coastline in the park. Experienced better as a two day hike, this trail offers some world class scenery and a pretty comfortable shelter to rest your weary legs at night. A must hike trail.
Start - John Forest Road
Length - 6km (Return)
Time - 1-3 hours
One of the lesser known trails in the park and requiring a 4x4 to access, No Tree Hill is a walk through the wild heathland of the eastern side providing some stunning views of the surrounding ranges and letting you experience the unique Weeping Gums that are in abundance here. True to its title, there are no trees on top of the turnaround point at No Tree Hill.
Start - Hamersley Drive
Length - 500m (Return)
Time - 30 mins
A short walk located on the gravel road leading north out of the park, Sepulcralis Hill is home to the Weeping Gum legend and is not a bad place to get your bearings of the park. The lookout provides sweeping views of the surrounding area and during the wildflower season you will be surprised at how long a 500m section of trail can take.