Yardie Gorge Trail
Cape Range National Park
Directions - Located about 90km from Exmouth, head north out of town on Murat Road and take a left on Yardie Creek Road. Follow the signs for Cape Range National Park and drive all the way to the end of Yardie Creek Road where you will find a large car park. The trail starts on the south side of the car park with an information board for the two walks in the area.
The Hike - With the depths of winter descending on Perth and one of the wettest Julys on record, it was a blessed relief that another family holiday had been planned with the in-laws for early August at the sunny location of Exmouth. This is starting to become a bit of an annual tradition with Grannam wanting to escape the cold of Perth and the north of the state providing warm relief. Given my visits to "Australia's Coral Coast" have been limited to a few visits to Lancelin and Jurien Bay, I was keen to explore one of the last big areas not covered on the website, plus snorkel some of the best coral reef in the world along Ningaloo.
With a week long trip on the cards, I had roughly planned out what I wanted to do but would adjust plans to suit the weather and what everyone was keen to do. First up on the agenda, the day after we arrived, was a bucket list item for many travellers to this part of the world and one thing I was looking forward to the most, a swim with the Whale Sharks. The full day excursion with Ningaloo Blue was really enjoyable but just as luck would have it, it was only the second day of the season where they didn't have a Whale Shark come through. While it was slightly disappointing that we didn't get to swim with the gentle giants of the ocean, we had a great day out spotting an Orca pack as they successfully hunted a baby Humpback (was an exciting but sad experience to witness) and I got to swim with some Manta Rays. Given there were no Whale Sharks, we have a coupon for a return visit and this is a good excuse to plan a road trip next year for more Coral Coast adventures.
With that adventure in the books, the following day was set aside to explore Cape Range National Park and some of the area that is part of Caris' family history. Back in the '60s, her family had the pastoral lease for a significant part of this region, including parts of what is now the township of Exmouth. Her mother and aunt, who were both on this trip, grew up on the Yardie Homestead (now a caravan park) with Grannam as the matriarch of the family. They sold the lease a while after the Americans arrived to build their military bases and the radio towers that dominate the northern part of the cape. As part of today's expedition we would be visiting Yardie Creek to do the boat tour but I also had my sights set on the walk trail that takes you along the edge of the creek. Caris, Candy and Hal were all keen to join me so we set off a little earlier than everyone else so we could get in the hike well before the boat tour and while it was still relatively cool.