Off the beaten track - West Cape Howe National Park

West Cape Howe National Park is a national park between Albany and Denmark.

Image Credit: Jordan Cantelo

Image Credit: Jordan Cantelo

Torbay Head, the most southerly point of the mainland of Western Australia, is situated within the park.The park is abutted against the coast of the Southern Ocean and takes up approximately 23 km of the coastline between Lowlands Beach and Forsythe Bluff.

The park began as being vested in the Shire of Albany in 1977 for the purposes of recreation. By 1985 the area was gazetted as C Class Reserve after agreement between the shire and vested in the National Parks and Nature Conservancy Authority. Following the addition of an extra 41 ha (100 acres) that was a timber reserve along the northern boundary the park was given an A Class status in 1987. The park is now a single reserve (26177) and is made up of an area of 3,517 ha (8,690 acres). The rare and ancient Main's assassin spider, currently listed as threatened, was found to inhabit the park during a survey conducted in 2008.

The park is home to a range of habitats including karri forest, coastal heath and wetlands each of which support a diverse array of vegetation and plant species. The area around Lake William supports a dense sedge scrub and rare species such as Amperea volubilus and an unnamed species of Melaleuca. The Albany Pitcher Plant, Cephalotus follicularis, is also found in the park.

Due to the sandy nature of many of the tracks, much of the park is accessible only to four-wheel drive vehicles, although all vehicles may reach the popular Shelley Beach where a campground is located. Shelley Beach also has a look-out, toilet and barbecue launching facilities for hang-gliders. The nearby Golden Gate Beach is also a popular location for surfers.

Western Australia's long-distance walking trail, the Bibbulmun Track passes through the park. The park has many facilities for bushwalkers, with a 15 kilometres return trip spur-trail from the track to Torbay Head and a boardwalk section of the track In the West of the park, there is an overnight shelter for walkers that sleeps 12-15 persons, named 'West Cape Howe Campsite'.

Places to enjoy on your road trip - Beaufort River

The Beaufort River starts near Melbourne Vale at an elevation of 262m and ends at an elevation of 228m merging with thenear Duranillin.  It is about 80 kilometres in length.

Beaufort River.jpg

The only tributary of the river is the 7.5 kilometres (5 mi) Beaufort River East that joins the main river just east of where it crosses Albany Highway.

The river was named in 1835 by John Septimus RoeSurveyor General of Western Australia, after a friend Rear Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort who was Hydrographer of the Navy from 1829-1855. He is best remembered as the originator of the table for estimating wind force at sea, the Beaufort Scale. Roe knew Beaufort well, and in his journal he states ‘I called it “Francis Brook” and had the pleasure to name the river to which it was a tributary the “Beaufort”, after my esteemed friend Capt Francis Beaufort, Hydrographer to the Admiralty’.

The river's catchment falls within the Blackwood catchment's Beaufort zone as part of the Beaufort system. The system is composed of broad valley floors with a grey sandy duplex and was previously a wandoo sheoak woodland but has now mostly been cleared for agriculture

Off the beaten track - Stirling Range

The Stirling Range or Koikyennuruff is a range of mountains and hills approx 98 km from Albany. It is over 60 km wide from west to east, stretching from the highway between Mount Barker and Cranbrook eastward past Gnowangerup. The Stirling Range is protected by the Stirling Range National Park, which was gazetted in 1913, and has an area of 1,159 km2.

Image credit: Photograph by Gnangarra... via Wikimedia Commons

Image credit: Photograph by Gnangarra... via Wikimedia Commons

The range is one of the richest areas for flora in the world. The low-nutrient soils support five major vegetation communities:  shrubland and mallee-heathland at higher altitudes; and  woodland,  wetland and salt lake communities on lower slopes and plains. Ninety families, 384 genera, and over 1500 plant species occur there, 87 of which are found nowhere else. This represents more than a third of the known flora of the southwest, and includes more species of wildflowers than in the entire British Isles.

The range has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports populations of endangered short-billed black cockatoos and western whipbirds, and is visited by endangered long-billed black-cockatoos. Significant biome-restricted or range-restricted bird species found in the range include red-capped and regent parrotswestern rosellasrufous treecreepersred-winged and blue-breasted fairywrenspurple-gaped honeyeaterswestern spinebillswestern thornbillswestern yellow and white-breasted robins, and red-eared firetails.

The range is an important site for endemic mygalomorph spiders, and for land snails. Some 20 species of native mammals, including the reintroduced numbat, have been recorded.

The plains in the Stirling Range region were the hunting grounds for small groups of Indigenous Australians  before European settlement. At least two tribes frequented the area: the Qaaniyanpeople in the west, and the Koreng people in the east. The Stirling Range played an important role in their culture, appearing in a number of Dreamtime stories.

The first recorded sighting of the Stirling Ranges by a European explorer was by Matthew Flinders on 5 January 1802. While sailing along the south coast of Australia, just east of King George Sound, he noted at a distance of eight leagues (44 km) inland a chain of rugged mountains, the easternmost of which he named Mount Rugged (now called Bluff Knoll).

Notable features include ToolbrunupBluff Knoll (the tallest peak for a thousand kilometres or more in any direction and most popular tourist attraction), and a silhouette called The Sleeping Princess which is visible from the Porongurup Range. Popular recreational activities include bushwalking, abseiling and gliding.

Off the beaten track - Maradup

Muradup is a small town in the Great Southern region of Western Australia located between Kojonup and Boyup Brook. The town is situated along the Balgarup River.

Settlers had appeared in the area in the 1850s but it was not until 1899 that land was set aside for a townsite. The Shire of Kojonup requested for lots to be surveyed in 1905, this was carried out in 1906 and the town was gazetted in 1907 as Muradupp. More land was opened for selection in the area in 1909.

Image Source: Hidden Treasures

Image Source: Hidden Treasures

A railway siding existed in the town on the Kojonup to Bridgetown line.

In 1913 the local progress association asked for a school to be erected on a block that had been set aside in the town.

The lands department changed the name of the town from Muradupp to Muradup after deciding the double P at the end of the name was superfluous.

Land was granted in the area to returned soldiers in 1918. The first soldier to receive land was O. Fitzpatrick who received 1,160 acres of land that had been confiscated from an enemy alien subject who had been interned.

The town was named after the nearby Mooradupp pool which was first recorded in 1846 when the area was surveyed. The name is Aboriginal in origin but the meaning is not known.

The circa 1957 double brick and tile church has been converted to a two-bedroom home with a large open-plan living area featuring original polished jarrah floors and stained glass windows.

A War Memorial believed to be the oldest one in Western Australia, commemorates those from the Muradup Football and Cricket Clubs who served in World War One, World War Two, the Malayan Emergency and the Borneo Confrontation.  The monument was originally erected to commemorate those from the district who enlisted in World War One and is maintained by the locals.

Off the beaten track - Gibraltar Rock

Gibraltar Rock is a granite outcrop, and is in the Porongurup National Park, which has thirteen total named peaks including Twin Peaks, The Devils Slide, Nancy Peak, Castle Rock, and Elephant Rock. From the rock, which is 2,100 feet (640 metres) high, Albany and the Great Southern Ocean can be seen. Since the 1970s, the Rock, along with some other local peaks, has become a popular venue for rock climbers.

Western view of Gibraltar Rock, Porongurup National Park, as seen from Bates Peak walk trail  Image Credit: AndrewD MBarker via Wikimedia Commons

Western view of Gibraltar Rock, Porongurup National Park, as seen from Bates Peak walk trail

Image Credit: AndrewD MBarker via Wikimedia Commons

Gibraltar Rock is part of a range that sits at 660 metres (2,170 ft) highThe rock is made of rough granite. Its appearance has been compared to the Rock of Gibraltar

In the early 1990s, the Rock was yielding small amounts of gold to the "dollying" process. It shares characteristics with other terrain in the area which was successfully mined in the late 1800s. The lack of water in the area made more successful mining of the rock difficult in the early part of the twentieth century. As of 1962, the average annual rainfall in the area was roughly 32 inches (810 mm) per year.

Gibraltar Rock has been described as "an enormous hunk of rough granite that provides the longest and most serious slab climbing in WA." The first organised climb by the Climbers Association of Western Australia was done in 1974. One of the faces of the rock is called Dockyard Wall. It was originally graded 17 crux climb. Two climbing bolts were added to this route in 1992. Other routes up the mountain include Second Anniversary Waltz, Crime of Passion, Dinosaur, Apes Den, Illusions of Grandeur,Possum, ApeswayMain Street, Sucked in Ben, Moorish Steps, Europa Point, Rooster Carnage, Joint Venture, and Zeppelin.

Source: Wikipedia

Off the beaten track - Mount Manypeaks

Mount Manypeaks is a distinctive peak located approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi) north-east of Albany, Western Australia, 10 kilometres (6 mi) north-east of Two Peoples Bay and 6 km south-east of the town of Manypeaks.

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The mountain is the dominant feature in the area and was named by Captain Matthew Flinders in January 1802 whilst surveying the south coast region in the "Investigator". Flinders noted in his journal "There are a number of small peaks upon the top of this ridge, which induced me to give it the name Mount Manypeak". The plural form has now become the accepted form of spelling.

The Mount Manypeaks formation has a total length of 22 kilometres (14 mi) and has a width of 3 kilometres (2 mi). The ridge is made up primarily of a type of graniteproterozoic porphyritic biotite granite as well as adamellite. In places limestone lies over the granite block.

The Mount Manypeaks Nature Reserve forms part of the Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its significance in the conservation of several rare and threatened bird species.

Farming in the northern part of the Manypeaks landscape is mixed cropping (mainly canola, wheat and barley) and sheep production with a change to cattle farming the higher rainfall areas to the south, where extensive areas of blue gum plantations have been established and there are small pockets of intensive horticulture.

Threats that affect the biodiversity of the Manypeaks landscape are many and include altered hydrology, various dieback diseases, introduced predators, inappropriate fire regimes, human recreation, historical and current clearing causing habitat fragmentation, weeds and grazing.


Source Wikipedia Encylopedia

Off the beaten track - Waychinicup

Waychinicup National Park is i 65 kilometres east of Albany. The park is bordered by the Southern Ocean to the south, Mount Manypeaks Nature Reserve to the east, and agricultural land to the north. Its coastline runs between Normans Beach and Cheynes Beach, near Bremer BayBald Island Nature Reserve is located offshore nearby. The park offers and array of landscapes, from the rugged coast to boulder-strewn hilltops. Tree-filled, deeply-incised valleys have freshwater streams flowing through them, with moss-covered boulders. Facilities provided include a camping area and bush toilet near the inlet of the Waychinicup River.

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Hughesdarren (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The park is home to some of the rarest animals in Australia. Species found in the park include quendaring tailed possums and one of the few mainland populations of quokkas.

The park forms part of the Two Peoples Bay and Mount Manypeaks Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its significance in the conservation of several rare and threatened bird species.The critically endangered noisy scrubbird, which was once thought to be extinct, is found within the park; a small population of 14 were translocated from Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve in 1983, followed by another 16 in 1985. By 1994 it was estimated that 223 male birds had been heard singing in the area

The western bristlebird is another vulnerable species that is found within the park. Most of the birds remaining population is found in Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve and Waychinicup National Park. Populations of the bird that have been on the decline since the late 19th century has started to stabilise.

Source Wikipedia Encylopedia