Sunday 3 December 2017
Leaving our campsite we followed Gairdner Road around Gordon Inlet with the intention of finishing the day at Hamersley Inlet.
We stopped at Quaalup – an historic homestead now operating as a wilderness retreat on 16 hectares of bushland excised from the National Park.
Banksias are named after famous British botanist Sir Joseph Banks who was with Captain Cook when he made his exploratory voyage of the east coast of Australia in 1770. ‘Banksia’ is used for both the scientific and common name. The ‘flower’ is comprised of hundreds of true flowers and is actually a spike or inflorescence.
I ascertained that the track into Point Charles that we had planned to use was closed and so we were forced to make our way further north-west to the main park entrance. There is a huge diversity of plant life at this entry point.
It is disappointing that visitors to the western part of the Park can access only Point Ann/Saint Mary River. It is poor value.
Note for groups. There is only one ‘group’ site in the designated camping area. This is not suitable for groups of more than three vehicles. All other sites are designed for visitors with a single vehicle. While a beautiful spot, these limitations and the distance/effort required to access it (even for single vehicle visitors), means that Point Ann performs poorly in the ‘bang for your bucks’ stakes. The Park Managers need to be more proactive in advising what the ‘state of the play’ is in regard to facilities, track closures/access and the overall visitor experience.
We made the long haul out of the Park along Pabelup Drive and Quiss Road to the South Coast Highway so we could access the eastern section of the Park. There were minor road works along West River Road before we entered the Park on Hamersley Road.
There is a rich variety of plant life along this drive. With 20% of the state’s flora species within tits boundaries it is for what the Fitzgerald River National Park is renowned.
The track eventually joins with the coast – rugged, beautiful and typical of Australia’s southern edge. Continually pounded by the relentless Southern Ocean, never calm and always some white water somewhere.
At the boot cleaning station the vehicle track turns right and descends steeply into a camping area and access to the beach. The rutted, washed out track is potentially dangerous for the unwary and Dan did a bit of ‘track repair’ before the ascent was attempted.
This is another camping area not suitable for groups. Beautiful beach.
With Quoin Head being unsuitable for our needs we did a quick time and distance calculation and decided that Hamersley Inlet camping area was to be our overnight abode.
The camping area at Hamersley Inlet was full (one empty bay) so after a bit of hunting around for an alternative, we set up camp in the adjacent boat ramp area, paid our self registration fee of $10 per head, and settled down for the evening.