Fitzgerald River National Park

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesBremer Bay
FinishBremer Bay
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable For4WD 
Distance300.81 km
Minimum Days4
Average Speed25.32 km/hr
Travel Time11 hrs 52 mins
Page Updated: 28 Jun 2012

Description

On this trek you'll visit one of the world's most diverse botanical regions with more than 1800 different species of flowing plants in a national park, which is less than 330,000 hectares in size. You'll also get treated to some of the best coastal scenery in the country, some phenomenal beach and rock fishing, and wonderfully isolated campsites.

Fitzgerald River National Park is blessed with magnificent scenery, mountain ranges, red cliffs, rivers, inlets and the incredible white sandy beaches accenting clear azure blue waters of the southern ocean.

Bushwalking provides the opportunity to spot endangered native animals like the dibbler, a small marsupial which has recently been rediscovered in the park. You can go whale watching from Bremer Beach and Point Ann, two places along the coast where Southern Right Whales come to calve during their winter migration.

The park can be accessed from the western side via Bremer Bay - arguably the Western Australia’s most interesting town, or from the eastern side via Hopetoun. The central area of the park is only accessible with a four wheel drive vehicle or on foot.

How to Use this Trek Note

Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places on each POI page.

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History

The coast around Esperance was first visited by the French - an expedition led by Admiral Bruny D'Entrecasteaux - in 1792. Much of the coast east of Hopetoun bears names assigned by these early French mariners. It is Matthew Flinders however who holds the honour of being the first European to visit the area around Hopetoun in 1802. The next Europeans in the area were sealers chasing the highly prized pelts of the New Zealand fur seals. Norwegian and North American whalers also who plied the coast chasing the southern right whales.

It is one of these early whalers, a man by the name of Thomas who visited the area in the 1820s and is thought to have named the bay upon which Hopetoun sits - Mary Ann Haven - after his daughter. The next significant visitor to the region was Edward John Eyre who camped at Jeradcuttup Lakes and Culham Inlet on his quest to be the first European to cross from South Australia to Albany overland.

Eyre and his Aboriginal companion, Wylie, were lucky to have made it to Hopetoun. Had it not been for a chance encounter with the whaling boat Mississippi in Rossiter's Bay (named by Eyre after the captain of the Missisippi) Eyre's epic journey may have ended very differently.

Edward Eyre named one of the district's most prominent geographical features - Mount Barren - and said of it in his journals: "Most properly had it been called Mt Barren, for a more wretched arid looking country never existed than that around it". How wrong could he be? The peak that he named lies in a region which has more than 1800 different plant species and is of international significance!

The area around Hopetoun was first settled by the brothers Dunn - one of whom, John, first visited the area as a whaler in 1860s. In 1871 John Dunn drove sheep overland from Albany - a trip which took him three months. He and his brother George were formally granted 4049 hectares of land on 1 January 1873 but the district's first pioneer never got to see the area reach its full potential. He was killed by Aboriginals in 1880 and his grave can be found on Concanarup Road (which runs off the South Coast Highway west of Ravensthorpe - the turnoff is at ST 1).

It was another of the Dunn brothers who was responsible for the ultimate development of the district. In 1898 he found gold and copper near the Phillip River. This resulted in a dramatic gold rush, the development of a smelter at Ravensthorpe, a railway line between Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun, a private jetty at Hopetoun (which was built in 1901) and a wooden-structured lighthouse (which was first lit in 1909).

Things started to decline in 1918 and by 1925 the railway line was closed and the port following shortly after in 1936. Sadly the jetty at Hopetoun, which would have been at least as impressive as the fuelling jetty at Esperance, was burnt to the waterline by the public works department in 1983 and little remains but the Port Hotel, the old telegraph station and post office and the old station building.

Bremer Bay (the bay, not the township) was named by Surveyor General John Septimus Roe in 1849 and took its name from the captain of HMS Tamar, Sir Gordon Bremer. It was first settled by the Wellstead family in the 1850's and the original township was actually named Wellstead. Bremer Bay locals petitioned the government to have the town renamed in 1951.

The Wellstead's property is on Toolenburrup Hill - 7KM south of Bremer Bay - and is now the site of a wonderful café/restaurant and a museum which you need an entire day to do justice to.

Preparation

For detailed checklists & advice regarding remote area travel, you are strongly encouraged to read the following articles: 4WD Driving Skills & Rules; What to Take; Recovery Gear Needs; Spare Parts and Tools; Food & Water; Water Tank; Long Range Fuel Tanks; Suspension; EPIRB; HF Radio; UHF Radio; Satphone; Staying in Touch as well as Travel Etiquette; Care for the Environment; Snake Bite Treatment; Outback Survival; & Driver Fatigue.
This is an easy trip that demands little special preparation. Fuel and supplies are readily available at Bremer Bay. It is important however, to ensure that you take with you adequate supplies of water and remember that this is an isolated stretch of the Western Australian coast. Emergency and breakdown services are some distance away, which demands common sense, sound vehicle preparation and a level of self-sufficiency.

It is also worthwhile noting that a bit of research pre-departure will make things that much more enjoyable. The access track to Quion Head is often closed after heavy rain, not just because the track may become impassable, but to protect the national park from the ravages of dieback. Similarly, the sandbar across Wellstead Estuary (near Bremer Bay) is often impassable after rains. Signage is provided by the Jerramungup Shire about the status of the sandbar, but taking the time to confirm its condition before leaving is advisable. Prudent travellers will also walk the sandbar rather than relying on the shire's signs or evidence of other vehicles traversing it.

Finally, the weather on this stretch is best described as changeable, whilst the sea breeze is something which can be relied upon to visit you every day with vengeance. Bear this in mind when you decide what equipment to take with you and when selecting your campsite.

Permits

Many WA National Parks charge both an entry fee and a nightly camping fee, whilst others may only charge a camping fee. You might like to consider gaining a WA All Parks Pass before you go. This Pass is available from the ExplorOz Shop (see recommended reading list for links) and provides access to all WA National Parks as many times as you like within a 12 month period. For more information for Fitzgerald River National Park, including permit costs, please click:DEC - Fitzgerald River National Park.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel Symbol Additional fuel supplies can be located at Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. Neither town is shown on this trek note.
DieselULPLPG
4cyl 42 litres4cyl 49 litres4cyl 60 litres
6cyl 46 litres6cyl 54 litres6cyl 53 litres
8cyl 46 litres8cyl 50 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

If you want to view the abundant wildflowers, then early spring and early autumn is the time to go. Whale watching is in season from July to October, although it can get quite cold in winter.

Closest Climatic Station

Jacup
Distance from Trek Mid Point 61.37km NW
 JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C27.527.425.922.919.916.815.616.718.721.624.525.8
Mean Min. °C13.013.712.510.78.56.55.55.66.27.69.811.5
Mean Rain mm35.319.729.842.330.639.550.747.347.442.432.527.6
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

Albany to the west and Esperance to the east for major supplies, whilst minor supplies can be found at Ravensthorpe, Hopetoun, and Bremer Bay. Only Bremer Bay is shown on this trek note.

Map

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What to See

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Where to Stay

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Directions

Bremer Bay to Cardiminup
Driving: 9.61 km
Heading: 263°
Avg Speed: 44.98 km/hr
EST Time: 12:49
Cardiminup to Swamp Rd & Gordon Inlet Rd
Driving: 12.07 km
Heading: 328°
Avg Speed: 64.89 km/hr
EST Time: 11:09
Swamp Rd & Gordon Inlet Rd to Bremer River, Gordon Inlet Rd
Driving: 1.82 km
Heading: 92°
Avg Speed: 58.08 km/hr
EST Time: 01:52
Bremer River, Gordon Inlet Rd to Gordon Inlet Rd & Murray Rd
Driving: 3.8 km
Heading: 51°
Avg Speed: 56.1 km/hr
EST Time: 04:03
Gordon Inlet Rd & Murray Rd to Murray Rd & Devils Creek Rd
Driving: 8.38 km
Heading: 356°
Avg Speed: 55.51 km/hr
EST Time: 09:03
Murray Rd & Devils Creek Rd to Collets Rd & Gairdner Rd
Driving: 6.92 km
Heading: 80°
Avg Speed: 24.84 km/hr
EST Time: 16:42
Collets Rd & Gairdner Rd to West Mount Barren
Driving: 12.12 km
Heading: 93°
Avg Speed: 39.73 km/hr
EST Time: 18:18
West Mount Barren to Pabelup Drv & Point Ann Rd
Driving: 7.83 km
Heading:
Avg Speed: 29.18 km/hr
EST Time: 16:06
Pabelup Drv & Point Ann Rd to Cheadanup
Driving: 14.34 km
Heading: 100°
Avg Speed: 37.39 km/hr
EST Time: 23:00
Cheadanup to Point Ann
Driving: 0.33 km
Heading: 61°
Avg Speed: 22.22 km/hr
EST Time: 00:53
Point Ann to Cheadanup
Driving: 0.33 km
Heading: 241°
Avg Speed: 22.22 km/hr
EST Time: 00:53
Cheadanup to Pabelup Drv & Point Ann Rd
Driving: 14.34 km
Heading: 280°
Avg Speed: 37.39 km/hr
EST Time: 23:00
Pabelup Drv & Point Ann Rd to Pabelup Dr & Fitzgerald Inlet Trk
Driving: 3.84 km
Heading: 19°
Avg Speed: 24.95 km/hr
EST Time: 09:14
Pabelup Dr & Fitzgerald Inlet Trk to Junction Hill
Driving: 42.25 km
Heading: 29°
Avg Speed: 15.78 km/hr
EST Time: 02:40:38
Junction Hill to Fitzgerald River, Fitzgerald Inlet Tk
Driving: 9.33 km
Heading: 74°
Avg Speed: 18.78 km/hr
EST Time: 29:48
Fitzgerald River, Fitzgerald Inlet Tk to Fitzgerald Inlet
Driving: 8.71 km
Heading: 110°
Avg Speed: 14.89 km/hr
EST Time: 35:05
Fitzgerald Inlet to End of Fitzgerald Inlet Track
Driving: 1.54 km
Heading: 133°
Avg Speed: 7.41 km/hr
EST Time: 12:28
End of Fitzgerald Inlet Track to Fitzgerald Inlet
Driving: 1.54 km
Heading: 313°
Avg Speed: 7.41 km/hr
EST Time: 12:28
Fitzgerald Inlet to Fitzgerald River, Fitzgerald Inlet Tk
Driving: 8.71 km
Heading: 290°
Avg Speed: 14.89 km/hr
EST Time: 35:05
Fitzgerald River, Fitzgerald Inlet Tk to Junction Hill
Driving: 9.33 km
Heading: 254°
Avg Speed: 18.78 km/hr
EST Time: 29:48
Junction Hill to Pabelup Drv & Point Ann Rd
Driving: 39.72 km
Heading: 203°
Avg Speed: 29.63 km/hr
EST Time: 01:20:25
Pabelup Drv & Point Ann Rd to West Mount Barren
Driving: 7.83 km
Heading: 181°
Avg Speed: 29.18 km/hr
EST Time: 16:06
West Mount Barren to Collets Rd & Gairdner Rd
Driving: 12.12 km
Heading: 273°
Avg Speed: 39.73 km/hr
EST Time: 18:18
Collets Rd & Gairdner Rd to Gairdner Rd & Gordon Inlet Rd
Driving: 16.27 km
Heading: 133°
Avg Speed: 23.22 km/hr
EST Time: 42:02
Gairdner Rd & Gordon Inlet Rd to Gordon Inlet
Driving: 3.95 km
Heading: 65°
Avg Speed: 13.3 km/hr
EST Time: 17:49
Gordon Inlet to Gairdner Rd & Gordon Inlet Rd
Driving: 3.95 km
Heading: 245°
Avg Speed: 13.3 km/hr
EST Time: 17:49
Gairdner Rd & Gordon Inlet Rd to Gordon Inlet Rd & Doubtful Islands Rd
Driving: 5.23 km
Heading: 241°
Avg Speed: 31.31 km/hr
EST Time: 10:01
Gordon Inlet Rd & Doubtful Islands Rd to Whalebone Point
Driving: 14.84 km
Heading: 112°
Avg Speed: 16.37 km/hr
EST Time: 54:23
Whalebone Point to Corner Cove
Driving: 0.17 km
Heading: 299°
Avg Speed: 3.22 km/hr
EST Time: 03:10
Corner Cove to Whalebone Point
Driving: 0.17 km
Heading: 119°
Avg Speed: 3.22 km/hr
EST Time: 03:10
Whalebone Point to Peppermint Beach
Driving: 6.32 km
Heading: 240°
Avg Speed: 10.17 km/hr
EST Time: 37:17
Peppermint Beach to James Cove
Driving: 6.15 km
Heading: 291°
Avg Speed: 10.3 km/hr
EST Time: 35:49
James Cove to Bremer Beach
Driving: 1.78 km
Heading: 260°
Avg Speed: 21.26 km/hr
EST Time: 05:01
Bremer Beach to John Cove
Driving: 3.57 km
Heading: 222°
Avg Speed: 16.27 km/hr
EST Time: 13:09
John Cove to Bremer Bay
Driving: 1.6 km
Heading: 265°
Avg Speed: 10.29 km/hr
EST Time: 09:19
Distance is GPS recorded distance based on the travel mode shown (Driving, Straight, Cycling, Walking etc), Direction is straight line from start to end, Avg Speed & EST Time is calculated from GPS data.

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