Yeagarup Dunes Walk
D'Entrecasteaux National Park
Directions - From the centre of Pemberton head south along Vasse Highway until you reach the turnoff where Vasse Highway heads right at the tourist information boards. Keep driving for 9.5km until you reach the turnoff for Old Vasse Road, turn left and then an immediate right onto Ritter Road. Follow this all the way to the Leaning Marri Campsite, parking at the Yeagarup Lake sign to start the walk.
The Hike - I sound like a broken record when I say this all the time but Yeagarup Dunes is a place I've been meaning to visit for a while now but never got around to it. I did have this planned on a previous South West road trip back in 2018 but a broken catalytic converter on my Audi reduced my highway speeds to a crawl and I had to cut down my planned Pemberton itinerary. The idea was to do the hike during the day and then come back at night to do it again and shoot the Milky Way from the top of the dunes.
Fast forward to 2022 and I was in Pemberton as part of another whirlwind road trip that would see me get through six trails today, with Yeagarup Dunes being the first one of the morning. After enjoying breakfast at my BnB in town, I drove out on a chilly morning to the Leaning Marri Campsite where the walk trail starts from. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the massive fire that ripped through both Hawke & D'Entrecasteaux National Parks earlier in the year and was a bit sad to see the devastation that extended all the way to the campsite. It wasn't ideal but as I'll explain later, it did produce something good out of the destruction. Parking up at the Yeagarup Lake sign, I was keen to explore the area and check out the lake that for obvious reasons, wasn't affected by the fire. There is a maze of trails leading around this day use area but with the undergrowth burnt, it was easy to see the way to the edge of the lake. After spotting a few wildflowers and orchids including Red Beaks, a Pink Fairy Orchid and a few Cowslip Orchids, I arrived at the visitor shelter that provides a little information about the wider D'Entrecasteaux National Park area.
Wandering down to the edge of the lake, there is a curved walkway leading out over the water with a refreshing lack of handrails everywhere, apart from at the end. The perfect place to perch yourself and watch out for the birds that call this lake home, I sat down at the end of the boardwalk and enjoyed the serenity of the morning air. The lake has formed thanks to natural process where leaf litter and debris has settled over the sand dunes over time and effectively stopped the water draining through. Unfortunately I was not joined by any bird friends but the views looking across the water to the dune system were a good substitute. Eager to head out there and experience what is the largest inland dune system in the southern hemisphere, I got to my feet and walked along the management track that follows the edge of the lake, eventually reaching the start of the shared 4x4 track leading to the dunes. Care must be taken from this point as there is a good chance you will come across a vehicle on your walk, especially on weekends.