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.
If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
- Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
- You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
- If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
- If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.
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.
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.