D’Entrecasteaux National Park, Western Australia

Filed in Gather Travel Essential by on November 14, 2010 0 Comments

In 2010, Lonely Planet named Western Australia’s Southwest as one of the world’s top ten regions to visit. I imagine it’s because the Southwest offers such a destination of diversity. The Southwest is spoilt with a Mediterranean climate, beautiful sandy white beaches in secluded bays, enormous cliffs with some pretty unique granite formations, and forests of towering jarrah and karri trees.







The Southwest is one of the world’s most biodiverse floral regions in the world and that was our primary reason for scheduling this return trip to the area.  But I also had it in my mind that I wanted to discover all the little secret coves that grace the Southern Ocean ….something we didn’t do last year.  And of course, Mag is up for anything….he loves the Southwest…it’s his most favorite place in Western Australia.  Long before me, Mag made trips down here on his motorcycle, when he wanted to get away from the hubbub crowds of Perth.








As for me, I love the solitude and peace one can achieve just meandering the shores. I love exploring new places, looking at unusual rock formations, and visualizing in my mind what natural forces created such wonders.



Our next stop on our journey was Windy Harbor situated at the end of a secluded peninsula that jutted out in the sea at D’Entrecasteaux National Park.  Just seeing the words “Windy Harbor” on the map excited me….as well as the name of the Park.  What was a French explorer doing down here?  I knew that Dutch explorers had been in this region….and of course the British used Australia as a penal colony after the American Revolution….but the French?  What part did they play?

Googling D’Entrecasteau I found out from Wiki that the park was named after the French Admiral Bruni D’Entrecasteaux who was actually the first European to sight the area and name Point D’Entrecasteaux in 1792.

Of course then I had to google Bruni and found out some really interesting facts about why he was in the area and what happened to his Expedition.  Wiki also included some entries from D’Entrecasteau’s journal about the topography as well as the flora and fauna he found in this new land.  I loved the description of the jarrah and karri forests:

When French explorer Bruni D’Entrecasteaux first saw this island in 1792 it was the forests that impressed him. He wrote of… “…trees of an immense height and proportionate diameter, their branchless trunks covered with evergreen foliage, some looking as old as the world; “closely interlacing in an almost impenetrable forest, they served to support others which, crumbling with age, fertilised the soil with their debris; “nature in all her vigor, and yet in a state of decay, seems to offer to the imagination something more picturesque and more imposing than the sight of this same nature bedecked by the hand of civilised man. “Wishing only to preserve her beauties we destroy her charm, we rob her of that power which is hers alone, the secret of preserving in eternal age eternal youth.”

















Cathredral Rock

Following the trail from Cathredral Rock to Pt. Entrecasteaux, once again we discovered banksia growing profusely in the heathlands.




It was now getting rather late in the day and we knew we needed to move on if we wanted to find a bed for the night.  Driving first through wild heathlands and then through towering karri forests we made our way to the small town of Northcliffe….but like Joseph and Mary, we found no accomodations, not even a stable.  Looking on the map,  it appeared as though the lumber town of Pemberton was our next likely candidate for finding lodging….another 100 km of driving.  It would soon be dark and one of the things one learns rather fast in Australia is the fact that kangaroos become most active at dawn and dusk and may jump across roads and highways.  Like moose in Maine, you don’t want to run into a kangaroo!


Imagine sleeping in a lumber mill cottage….that’s exactly what we did that evening.





Arriving in Pemberton, we spotted a sign saying “Backpacker’s Hostel”.  On first glance, it didn’t look too promising…an old ramshackle building with side porches with bunk beds up to the ceiling.  Young people were lounging around everywhere.  But we were rather desperate and Mag went in to inquire and was elated to find out we could have our own little cottage across the street.  Now I know it isn’t the Marriot Hotel, but the place was really clean and had some character….and we were really zonked from a full day of exploring.


The next morning I heard Magi rumbling around the kitchen making skinny white flat coffees around 5 A.M. and knew if I wanted to get in a shower and maybe brush my teeth, I best hop out from under the warm “donner” (Ozzie for comforter) and hit the floor running. Magi doesn’t tarry when he wants to hit the trail.

By 5:30, we were in the car heading for Augusta when we met Mr. Kangaroo….but of course that story will have to wait for the next photo/essay.

Photos by Magi and Bob.


About the Author ()

I am a child of the light, seeking truth beyond the horizon. I came of age during the late 60's and through my wanderings and explorations I discovered great truths about how I wanted to live my life. At the break of day, despite the wrinkles and liver s

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