Driving into Fitzgerald River National Park I was struck my how vast it seemed. Miles of open spaces with a few peaks dotted around so I decided to hike to the top of the closest one, West Mt Baron, to get a sense of the place. One look confirmed what I already knew, 3 days here would only scratch the surface of this place.
So here’s my whistle stop tour.
The park is known for it’s biodiversity, so far 1993 plant species have been identified. When I was on West Mt Barron, I met some people and one was introduced as ‘this is Paul, he’s an orchid freak’ I love when you are travelling nobody talks about work! He pointed out some other varieties of plant here and one that’s most associated with the area is the Royal Hawea.
The first night I camped near St Mary’s Inlet That afternoon I walked the Heritage trail along the cliff tops hoping to sight some whales that I had heard were around. I could see some water spouts in the distance but nothing close enough to catch a popper look.
Waking up to hear the pounding of the waves got me out of my tent and up the beach without any need for a wakeup coffee. Aqua stimulation. This time I was a little more fortunate with a whale sighting as one swam with her calf parallel to the shore for a while as I walked. Couldn’t think of a better way to start the day!
The day was to get even better, later that afternoon I was exploring another part of the park at West Beach, when a pod of dolphins started playing in the waves. By the time the sun came down I was sitting happily at my tent. Days don’t get much better than that.
On my last morning I went on an early walkabout on a segment of the Hakea Trail along the coast. All these jagged rocks on the shoreline captured my imagination. My childhood reading Enid Blyton kicked in, with memories of the Secret Seven and a story about smugglers. Imagine being a smuggler coming ashore in the dark in an inflatable boat onto these rocks – not good. There was no mystery for me to solve this morning however, nor smugglers strewn on the rocks. Instead the only puzzle is when can I come back to see more?