D'Entrecasteaux NP - Eastern Section

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesNorthcliffe
FinishWindy Harbour Campground
DifficultyDifficulty 3.5/5
Suitable for4WD 
Distance192.24 km
Minimum Days2
Average Speed32.34 km/hr
Driving Time5 hrs 56 mins
Page Updated: 19 Apr 2010

Description

Virtually all of this trek lies within the eastern D’Entrecasteaux National Park national park which stretches along the coast from Black Point in the west to near Walpole in the east with Windy Harbour providing a convenient coastal ‘centre’.

It can be thought of as two separate sections: the eastern section from Chesapeake Road running south to Moores Hut and east to the Fish Creek area; and the western section encompassing the very scenic Mt Chudalup, Windy Harbour and Gardner River mouth. Mt Chudalup and Windy Harbour are easily accessible by 2WD but all other sections require 4WD and occasionally low to very low tyre pressures (particularly the Gardner mouth dunes).

Chesapeake Road will require fording adjacent to the Gardner River bridge (4WD) and covers sedgelands in the west and tall karri in the east. The Moores Hut to Fish Creek tracks require normal careful coastal driving through mainly peppermint woodland with some bullich east of the hut. The coastal places at the Fish Creek end comprise rugged scenic cliffs and headlands.

The Gardner River mouth can be accessed from Chesapeake Road via the Lower Gardner Road or from the Windy Harbour Road via Tragedy Track (these accesses can be swampy and are not indicated on this trek).

Alternatively as per this treknote, the mouth can be easily reached via a solid beach east of Windy Harbour (but watch swell and tides or you could get caught against the dunes halfway out) or via a track parallel to the dune lines. This track is a bit soft and cut up but is easy and there is an earlier beach access/exit marked via a waypoint here. If traveling on the beach all the way to the Gardner mouth, the dunes up from the beach are very soft and require a max. 14 psi if taking the ‘direct’ option especially. If taking the easier righthand option towards the river, be prepared for a mud hole near the exit which might present a problem depending on the season.

All the coastal places marked on the trek have good camping with DEC fire rings for the most part, and the historic Moores Hut itself is open and available on a ‘first comer’ basis. The Gardner mouth camping area is lovely outside peak holiday times.

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Environment

The climate is characterised by cool temperate with most rainfall in winter but frequent morning drizzle even in summer. Summer temperatures are usually moderate but occasional short hot spells occur.

D’Entrecasteaux National Park contains huge areas of pristine or largely untouched beaches, coast structures including magnificent dune systems and long beaches, as well as major wet and sedgelands providing for a large diversity of fauna and flora.

It lies wholly within the Warren bioregion which is characterised by dissected (rivers and streams) undulating country supporting karri on the loams, paperbark and sedge swamps in the extensive depressions and predominantly peppermint woodland and scrub progressively near the coast.

The coastal belt extends the entire length of the Park with widths between half a kilometre near Windy Harbour to up to nine kms towards the east. Black basalt cliffs predominate at Black Point but rocky shores and cliffs elsewhere are usually of limestone. Mt Chudalup is a major and spectacular granite emergent arising from a flat sea of sedgeland. The major river and creek system of this trek is the Gardner River.

The Doggerup Creek system surrounding Mt Chudalup is a nationally important acid peat flat wetland.

The flora of the Park is extremely diverse which holds up to 1000 species, with major families including orchids, sedges, pea groups and melaleucas (paperbarks).

The main east west coastal tracks between Coodamurrup and Fish Creek are dominated by peppermints and the usual south coastal plant communities with occasional stands of bullich. Mammals and birds are well represented in D’Entrecasteaux National Park withat least 21 species of the former and 123 of birds. Reptiles, in contrast are relatively poorly represented.

History

D’Entrecasteaux National Park was formed progressively over the period 1970-90 via the amalgamation of private purchases, existing conservation reserves, forestry reserves, pastoral leases and local government reserves; resulting from recognition by the Conservation through Reserves Committee (1974) that the State lacked a large single south coastal area preserved from human development.

Archeological evidence indicates continuing Aboriginal usage of the D’Entrecasteaux National Park area for at least 10,000 years with current custodians mainly from the Murram branch of the Noongar Nation.

Non indigenous history commences with early Dutch voyages from at least 1627. Captain Vancouver in the Chatham undertook the first hydrographic survey of the south coast in 1791. A year later French Admiral Bruny D’Entrecasteaux led a large scientific expedition which included the ships Researche and Esperance, and which named Point D’Entrecasteaux.

Little interest followed these voyages with activity mostly restricted to sealing and whaling. However, following settlement in 1831 terrestrial and further coastal exploration accelerated with farming being established to the north of the Park in the 1850s. Pastoral leases were prominent in the (now) Park in the 1880s with grazing continuing to the 1980s. These pastoralists built a number of coastal huts for summertime grazing (cattlemen huts) of which one, Moore’s (Coodamurrup) hut, is featured in this trek.

More recently, D’Entrecasteaux National Park contains scatters of recreational squatters huts at scenic locations such as at Gardner River mouth. These have been rationalized and are in the process of termination of permits following which rehabilitation of sites will take place.

The Park is highly valued by local communities such as those of Northcliffe, Pemberton and Nannup and surrounding areas, but is also increasingly used by Perth metropolitan visitors who can easily access the Park within a six hour drive.

Preparation

Preparation for this route should be as for any other 4WD track, including carrying sufficient fuel, water, food, supplies, communications gear, safety equipment and first aid, along with emergency backup supplies.

You will encounter other vehicles in the summer months. However, you might have to wait for a day or so for assistance in the shoulder or winter months. The roads and tracks mainly vary from well formed gravel to soft sand over which tyres must be deflated to 20 psi, and if travelling on the Gardner River dunes, to at least as low as 14psi. Maps show the key Chesapeake Road as being closed at the (upper) Gardner River crossing but a 4WD ford has been opened adjacent which is not well publicised.

Be well prepared with a GPS, Epirb or HF radio or Satellite phone. We advise that you refer to the latest information and advice about outback communications in the Communications Topic.

Make sure you have adequate recovery gear and tyre repair kits. A compressor is essential! Travelers should read the 4WDriving Topic for related articles and checklists for vehicle setup and driver awareness

Permits

The permit cost for entry into D’Entrecasteaux National Park is $10.00. Annual Local All Parks Pass costs $20.00 per vehicle for up to 8 legally seated people. This pass provides unlimited entry to one park (or a group of local parks) for 12 months. Once entering the D‘Entrecasteaux National Park, to visit beaches, you will also need the National Park entry pass.

Camp fees apply at most designated campsites and you will therefore need a camping permit if you wish to camp near Black Point. Visitors can obtain information about applicable fees at self registration points found in camping areas. For more information regarding entry and camping permits and fees, please contact:

DEC Walpole

Frankland District (Walpole)
Address: South Coast Highway, WALPOLE, WA 6398
Phone: (08) 9840 0400
Fax: (08) 9840 1251
Email: walpole@dec.wa.gov.au

ExplorOz also stocks Department of Environment and Conservation entry permits to Western Australian national parks. These are: Annual All Parks Pass, Annual Local Park Pass, Holiday Park Pass, and Gold Star Park Pass. These permits are also listed in the recommended reading section at the bottom of the web page.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol Fuel is available at Northcliffe. Please note - there are no fuel supplies or facilities at Windy Harbour.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 27 litres4cyl 31 litres4cyl 38 litres
6cyl 29 litres6cyl 35 litres6cyl 34 litres
8cyl 29 litres8cyl 32 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Windy Harbour
Distance from Trek Mid Point 11.76km S
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C23.223.823.522.019.917.716.817.017.618.820.821.9
Mean Min. °C14.414.613.612.110.79.48.69.09.410.311.813.1
Mean Rain mm15.915.330.769.9142.4174.8190.7161.9110.168.843.528.7
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Additional supplies are available at Northcliffe. Please note - there are no fuel supplies or facilities at Windy Harbour.

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Directions

LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Northcliffe to Wheatley Coast Rd & Chesapeake Rd6.2 kmS192° 5 min
Wheatley Coast Rd & Chesapeake Rd to Chesapeake Rd & Andrews Rd1.65 kmS160° 1 min
Chesapeake Rd & Andrews Rd to Chesapeake Rd & Lower Gardner Rd7.65 kmSE153° 9 min
Chesapeake Rd & Lower Gardner Rd to Gardner River Ford4.7 kmSE129° 6 min
Gardner River Ford to Gardner River Bridge Closure0.34 kmN340° 7 min
Gardner River Bridge Closure to Chesapeake Rd & Gardner River Rd4.13 kmE99° 7 min
Chesapeake Rd & Gardner River Rd to Chesapeake Rd & Moores Tk9.73 kmSE123° 11 min
Chesapeake Rd & Moores Tk to Moores Hut10.6 kmSW232° 19 min
Moores Hut to Nice Camping Spot2.47 kmSW233° 8 min
Nice Camping Spot to Moores Hut2.47 kmNE53° 8 min
Moores Hut to Fish Ck Tk & West Cliff Point Access10.48 kmE107° 25 min
Fish Ck Tk & West Cliff Point Access to Fish Ck Tk & Fishing Shack Access3.09 kmSE156° 9 min
Fish Ck Tk & Fishing Shack Access to Fish Ck Tk & Fish Creek Camping Access1.53 kmSE146° 6 min
Fish Ck Tk & Fish Creek Camping Access to Views to Broke Inlet4 kmSE136° 12 min
Views to Broke Inlet to Fish Ck Tk & Fish Creek Camping Access4 kmNW316° 12 min
Fish Ck Tk & Fish Creek Camping Access to Fish Ck Tk & Fish Creek Camping Access0.05 kmNN/A
Fish Ck Tk & Fish Creek Camping Access to Fish Ck Tk & Fishing Shack Access1.53 kmNW326° 6 min
Fish Ck Tk & Fishing Shack Access to Fishing Shack2.17 kmW254° 5 min
Fishing Shack to Camping Area (near West Cliff Point)1.71 kmW284° 8 min
Camping Area (near West Cliff Point) to West Cliff Point0.05 kmNW331° N/A
West Cliff Point to Lean-to Shanty3.29 kmNE42° 9 min
Lean-to Shanty to Fish Ck Tk & West Cliff Point Access0.56 kmNE51° 2 min
Fish Ck Tk & West Cliff Point Access to Moores Hut10.48 kmW287° 25 min
Moores Hut to Chesapeake Rd & Moores Tk10.6 kmNE52° 19 min
Chesapeake Rd & Moores Tk to Chesapeake Rd & Gardner River Rd9.73 kmNW303° 11 min
Chesapeake Rd & Gardner River Rd to Gardner River Bridge Closure4.13 kmW279° 7 min
Gardner River Bridge Closure to Gardner River Ford0.34 kmS160° 7 min
Gardner River Ford to Chesapeake Rd & Lower Gardner Rd4.7 kmNW309° 6 min
Chesapeake Rd & Lower Gardner Rd to Chesapeake Rd & Andrews Rd7.65 kmNW333° 9 min
Chesapeake Rd & Andrews Rd to Wheatley Coast Rd & Chesapeake Rd1.65 kmN340° 1 min
Wheatley Coast Rd & Chesapeake Rd to Mount Chudalup (Parking Bay)10.69 kmS195° 9 min
Mount Chudalup (Parking Bay) to Salmon Beach14.92 kmSW232° 14 min
Salmon Beach to Tookalup3.22 kmS195° 5 min
Tookalup to Point D'Entrecasteaux1.15 kmSE155° 1 min
Point D'Entrecasteaux to Tookalup1.15 kmNW335° 1 min
Tookalup to Start of the Track to Walbingup6.18 kmE100° 8 min
Start of the Track to Walbingup to Walbingup Tk & Beach Access6.33 kmE102° 7 min
Walbingup Tk & Beach Access to Nice Campsite (Walbingup)4.37 kmE74° 9 min
Nice Campsite (Walbingup) to Walbingup Tk & Beach Access4.37 kmW254° 9 min
Walbingup Tk & Beach Access to Start of the Track to Walbingup6.33 kmW282° 7 min
Start of the Track to Walbingup to Windy Harbour1.57 kmW269° 3 min
Windy Harbour to Windy Harbour Campground0.26 kmSW215° 1 min
Northcliffe to Windy Harbour Campground192.24 km  5 hr 56 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

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