2010 - PERTH NORTH WILDFLOWERS

2010 - PERTH NORTH WILDFLOWERS
7 DAY ROAD TRIP

FAVOURITE PHOTO


Hubby and I enjoy an adventure.   We love travelling overseas and experiencing different cultures and checking out diverse countryside.   But every so often it is great to go somewhere here in Australia that we have not seen yet.   
We love our road trips.

Hubby and I also have a photography interest together.   Howie has one of those bigass DSLR's with a huge birding lens that I would need a golf buggy to transport that around lol.

I on the other hand like my smaller crop sensor DSLR because it is much lighter and has a turn around back photo screen so that I can take pictures without having to crawl on the ground.  Plus, any failing in picture resolution by my camera can be easily fixed using photoshop.   I don't cheat.  Honest!  Well maybe just a little bit. 
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So, as the title of this blog suggests, this road trip is all about the fabulous wildflowers of Western Australia and in particular the northern region where certain wildflowers are predominant.    
One of which is pictured above.

Hubby and I have done a few wildflower trips north over the years.   Wildflower season is September/October and a good season is heavily dependent on the winter rains. 

 I have blended a few trips together here to come up with what I feel is the ultimate 7 day round circle trip.  I hope that my photos will encourage you to want to visit and check out this unique part of Australia.

Apart from the wildflowers, you will experience a town that has a love affair with vintage cars, an historical monk town that produces one of the best beers I have tasted, a town with some amazing graffiti art work, and a national park that has the oldest living thing and something to do with pinnacles.



All of this amongst showcasing some of my finest photos of these glorious wildflowers.  

So, let's get started.


Below is just a small snippet of what you might see if you were to do the same trip.











So please follow along as I showcase the best of these towns along the way and the fabulous wildflowers you can expect to see in each location.

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PERTH TO TOODYAY - 2 1/2 HRS
VIA SWAN VALLEY WINERIES
DAY 1

FAVOURITE PHOTO


I am sure you have your favourite little outback town.  You know, the one that has a cosy inviting atmosphere that you enjoy every time you visit.   This is how I feel about Toodyay.

Hubby and I often come up here for a long weekend and a little R&R.  

After a bit of sight seeing, there's nothing better than sitting back with some wine and a cheese platter.  

Good trip planning involves forward thinking.   Don't worry, I have done that for you.

On the map below you will see that I have directed you past the Swan Valley, home of many fine Western Australian wines.


Sandleford makes some good ones, is very popular, has a nice garden should you want to do lunch, and the wines especially the elements range are well priced. 

Olive Farm Winery does some real fine wine and next door is the Cheese Barrel. Yes...cheese! Chili cheese, Bree and a good sharp chedder are my favourites.  They also have a nice quince paste which is semi sweet and goes fabulously with the chili cheese on a cracker.   Actually a tasting plate here is better than Sandford if you prefer to eat lighter.   They have a verandah with roof that overlooks lovely native bush.  Get in early though because it is very popular.

Now if you wanted to include another winery, my favourite is Lancaster.   It also has my favourite Chili cheese, but you will need to do it after Sandalford and then back track to the great northern highway and Olive Farm.  Lancaster is not too far out of the way.  

Given the choice, I would go to Lancaster and then Olive Farm Winery and the Cheese Barrel.



 Sandalford Winery

Lancaster Winery


Povidore for oils, chutneys, dessert wine etc

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TOODYAY

Like most outback towns, Toodyay has one main street where the action is.

Connor's Mill in the main street is a lovely stately building.  It is a steam driven flower mill and is still operational.  The cafรฉ on the corner across the road from Connor's Mill is good for coffee and a cake.   There is parking beside the cafe or you can park at IGA.

There are a few quaint gift shops including an awesome tea shop.   I bought some flavoured tea leaves and a teapot with a wildflower picture.

   Fremasons Hotel near Connor's Mill is the best pub for a feed in Toodyay.

Sophia's Mediterranean is the best restaurant in town.   Not cheap, but I can guarantee that the food is worth what you pay for.   It has a lovely outside garden alfresco dining area.













For some reason you will always see a vintage car in Toodyay.   Toodyay seems to have a love affair with vintage cars.

Don't be surprised to see a stack of bikers too with their flash Harleys.    Motorbike clubs in Perth are big.   I call it middle age boys with their toys.    Some weekends the country roads are inundated with big bike groups enjoying the weekend together, especially long weekends.





If you love photography like us then head to Newcastle Park.  There you can cross the Avon River via walking bridge and there are plenty of photo opportunities.






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When we go on our wildflower trips we usually take advantage of the early October long weekend.


If you are visiting in September/October and want to do the wildflowers, you will need to book your accommodation in advance.   Although it is winter here and the weather can be dodgy, the wildflowers are so popular that it is important to book accommodation early, even in the remote outback towns.

So, glamping or a cabin with a spa?


BOSHACK OUTBACK


Glamping is great in summer and also great for photography.   Glamping is basically glamour camping.

If you have small children, glamping is fun.   You can also do the farm animal thing.   Boshack Outback has it all.   

There are big tents and also a-frame tin shed accommodation. You can include any combination of breakfast, lunch and dinner in your booking.   We had dinner which was a fabulous good old Aussie style bbq.

This is a fabulous destination if you are into photography as you can see below.






 









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BLACK WATTLE RETREAT

Winter and wildflower season,   I would suggest the cabin with a spa.   Black Wattle Retreat cabins have pot belly stoves which are lovely to sit around with a good glass of red, crackers and cheese.   

Each cabin has its own outside spa placed in a position of privacy but still with a view of surrounding bush.   

Town is not too far away for supplies.   We bought ours from IGA groceries which is up the street beside Connor's Mill.











First attempt at Astro photography


Now getting better




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CANOLA FIELDS

Toodyay is in the wheatbelt and one of the first settlements in Western Australia, so it is not surprising to see fields of glorious Canola in bloom from mid August along with the gorgeous wildflowers.   Certainly makes for lovely pictures.






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WILDFLOWERS

You won't see fields of colour here in Toodyay, apart from canola.

But if you stop off on the side of the road and take a walk in the bush, you will discover small single wildflowers like Orchids, Peas and Kangaroo Paws.   

Obviously the further north you go, the more wildflowers you will see.   Nevertheless, Toodyay won't disappoint.   Remember, Orchids are very small so keep your eyes open.

Warning – please do check your body every day because the bush here is full of ticks.  Don’t be worried if you find one.  Grab your tweezers and just pull it out.  

It's good also to grab a small book on wildflowers to help ID them.   This can be fun, trying to find the wildflowers that you have seen in the book.   We bought our book from Kings Park in Perth - a colour guide to spring wildflowers.  These books are set out in colours so that it makes it easier to identify the flower.   

We had a mini competition on our wildflower trip south in 2013 to find and ID the most wildflowers. Check out my other blog.

Purple Enamel Orchid

Spider Orchid

Cowslip Orchid

Cowlicks Orchid

Bacon & Eggs Pea

Triggerplant

Bristly Cottonhead

Grannys Bonnet

Spider Orchid

Red Hakea

A nice way to make small wildflowers stand out is to carry some wrapping paper in your camera bag to place behind the wildflower.  Coloured cellophane also works well as you can see in some of the photos above.  
Here I removed the stem in Photoshop.


A splash of red in the bush.
Our friend May Sue from KL. 
๐Ÿ˜ƒ


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TOODYAY TO THREE SPRINGS - 5 HRS
VIA LAKE NINAN, WONGAN HILLS, 
NEW NORCIA AND BADGINGARA
DAY 2

FAVOURITE PHOTO




LAKE NINAN

No need to stop here for long.   But this place affords you some great photo opportunities.





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WONGAN HILLS

Next stop, Wongan Hills.   I would recommend the Christmas Rock Walk trail.   I liked the sea of orange wildflowers that covered the ground around huge rocks and the many varieties of red Bottlebrush.   

Don't waste too much time because the highlight of today will be the wildflower walk at Badgingarra.

The IGA grocery store in the main street is good to buy any supplies that you need as they will be expensive in Badgingarra and Eneabba.


Petrophile Wildflowers




Orange Immortelle

Mouse Ears

Grevilia

Red Bottlebrush




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NEW NORCIA

Ok, I have just discovered that the New Norcia Hotel is shut down.  That is a real shame so if you are not into history, the just bypass New Norcia and head straight to Badgingarra.

If you are into history then you will love New Norcia.  New Norcia was founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine Monks. There are a lot of stately buildings here and history boards with a ton of information.

Hubby and I however loved New Norcia for the local beer, Abbey Ale.

It is no secret that monks have been brewing beer for since whenever.   New Norcia Hotel was famous for its own brewed monk beer - Abbey Ale.    I probably like it because it has a distinct Belgium beer flavour.   Nice glasses too.  You will still be able to obtain Abbey Ale from the local Bottlo’s.  I would look for it in Wongan Hills.

So, below are a few photos of nice memories of the old Hotel that was located at the Monastery. 







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BADGINGARRA WILDFLOWER WALK

I know it looks like we are going out of the way.  You could change your trip and do Badgingarra as a day trip from Cervantes if you stayed there an extra night.   That is always an option.   We visit Cervantes later in our trip.

Vern Westbrook Heritage Wildflower trail is located on the north-west road just north of Badgingarra.   Or make a quick pitt stop at the roadhouse and they will direct you.  Or if you have bypassed New Norcia for lunch, then there are 2 places here you can choose from, the Badgingarra Roadhouse or the Tavern just up the road.  Both of them will be able to direct you to the Wildflower Walk.

This is a nice easy walk that takes you through woodland and across a stream, beyond the black stump, which is an Aussie term for out in the whoop whoop, the sticks, beyond the back of Bourke!  No wait!  We have already been there.
๐Ÿ˜
  See my 2009 Cairns to Darwin blog.

The variety of wildflowers here is amazing!   Every time that we have visited, we have been totally blown away by the colours and many different species.   Everywhere you look, there is a photographic opportunity.   Sorry for so many pix, but we love this place!! 
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Morning Iris

Milkmaid

Snakebush

Snakebush

Firebush

Orchid

Fringe Lily

Starflower

Blue Leschenaultia

Blue Leschenaultia

Milkmaid

Morrison Featherflower

Morrison Featherflower

Travelling Postman

Smokebush

Hakea

Flame Pea

Bush Pea

Firebush Pea

Yellow-eyed Flame Pea

Brown Pea

Hairy Yellow Pea

Hairy Yellow Pea

Brown Pea

Hakea

Calendrinia

And Some Coloured Fungi


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And a wildflower taken with wrapping paper behind.   

The other photo was using the 'little world' technique on Photoshop Elements, then cropping the bottom.




Some more photos of wildflowers with colourful wrapping paper backgrounds.







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LAKE INDOON

Quick leg stretch stop between Badgingarra and Three Springs is Lake Indoon.  Don't stop at Eneabba as there is nothing much there except for a Roadhouse that is expensive.


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THREE SPRINGS

We stayed at Three Springs Tourist Lodge, 4 Carter Street - which was the old hospital.  Nice breakky and just a stroll from the Pub.  

After searching for it on the web, I see that it has shut down. That's a shame.  But anyway, I will post our photos here as a nice family memory.

So plan B, next best choice for accommodation is the Commercial Hotel in the main street.  We had a good feed there and the reviews are not too bad.










~~oOo~~


THREE SPRINGS TO MINGENEW - 2 1/2 HRS
VIA PERENJORI
DAY 3

FAVOURITE FLOWER


Nothing like hitting you straight away with the highlight of this part of our trip.   Yes this stunning wildflower is in my opinion the ultimate!   

The way they grow on the side of the road in the dirt is just mind blowing.   But, they are difficult to spot unless you know where to look.   More about that later.


Today's journey from Three Springs to Mingenew is only 2 1/2hrs.   You will spend quite a bit of time in Perenjori, home of the wreath flower.



The road from Three Springs to Perenjori is mostly straight but has pockets of different wildflowers.   Keep an eye out for posts with pink ribbon on.   That is where you will find the wreath flower.   There are dedicated wildflower spotters who mark out pink ribbons on posts where the best displays are. 

You will also see a lot of kangaroo paw and catspaw as well as plenty of smokebush, amongst other species as shown below.













Flame Grevilia



 
Old Socks

Woody Pear

Be sure to stop at the crossroad where the Three Springs Road meets the road to Perenjori.

Here you will find a whole mob of cockies.  These guys are obviously used to being photographed and will happily pose for you.







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PERENJORI



Pub grub is good at the hotel here.   Equally good is a Mrs Mac pie from the small store up the road and a take away beer from the pub.   Across the road is a nice park with all sorts of colourful native bottlebrush and grevilleas.









 




Perenjori also has amazing graffiti art paintings on the buildings.   These are beautifully done and are certainly eye catching.

I should have removed that bin.  Photoshop?




Do call in at the museum which is part of the information centre. It's very cute and has some really interesting stuff.  I enjoyed the food and household bits and pieces with well known Australian names.  Many don't exist any more but I still remember them from my childhood. The old black singer sewing machine is in pristine condition. I remember my mum had one the same.  The Perenjori Museum is well worth a look and please give a small donation.









At the information centre they will give you a mud map (map with hand drawn directions) on where to find the wreath flower.

It's out of town a way and you hit the turnoff and over the rail crossing (watch for trains) - hang a right at the windmill - then look for a post with a white bucket on.   That is the spot. 

Last time we were here, they had a wildflower sign at the turnoff which helps.  The following is what you can expect to see here.  


Grevellia


Bitter  quandong


Hakea


Windmill marks the spot

And here they are!















And looking the other way, I finally found my lone tree in the paddock!

I had been looking forward to obtaining a photo of a one tree paddock for a long time.

--oOo--


MORAWA

Heading towards Mingenew you will stop at Morawa.   The information and gift shop here is nice.   Love the wildflower book marks.  

 They will also show you where the wreath flower can be found.



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MINGENEW

Mingenew and in particular Coalseam National Park is the home of a stunning sea of yellow and pink wildflowers commonly called Everlastings or Paper Daisys.   A good season is dependent on good winter rain. 

Best to stay in town and visit Coalseam early morning as it tends to draw quite a crowd, especially if you choose the early October long weekend like we usually do.

Next blog will showcase these amazing wildflowers of Mingenew, but here is a little teaser.

~~oOo~~

PS..... BTW, I think sepia works well on this kangaroo paw. Don't you?
~~oOo~~

MINGENEW

FAVOURITE PHOTO


Mingenew, in particular Coalseam National Park is the home of the fabulous Everlastings or Paper Daisys.   In wildflower season which is September/October, the ground becomes a sea of glorious colour. 

But first of all, where to stay.

If you have a campervan, obviously the best place is right in the national park.   If you have a tent, rug up because it is very cold at night here.   We have stayed a 2 places in town - the Caravan Park and the Pub.   My pick is definitely the pub.   It's too cold in a caravan.  

The owners at the hotel are very welcoming.   They have cabin accommodation which we chose.   Sunday roast is the best!   The alfresco garden area is a pleasure to sit in.   I would recommend staying here.  Oh and they have a cute, huge, cuddly dog!!






Turn off to Coalseam

COALSEAM
DAY 4

The drive to Dongara is not too far so you will have plenty of time to spend at Coalseam. There are nice hikes and of course there are everlastings wildflowers everywhere!   Great photo opportunities.




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Thirsty work this flower spotting


And the obligatory photo in amongst them, however hubby just had to remove my wrinkles didn't he.   

I look like a wannabe 21yro lol.   

Can never understand why people want to get botox.   It's just so fake.   No I'll keep my wrinkles thank you.   Laughing lines add character.
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MINGENEW TO DONGARA - 35 MINUTES
DAY 4


It's tempting to drive like 007 on these long stretches of outback road but beware that this is farming land and you will come across big farm machinery that takes up the full width of the road or alternatively long road trains so be sensible.


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DONGARA


Dongara is on the coast.   Cabins in the caravan park are a good place to stay with a beach and close to town.  Unfortunately they go quick in wildflower season so make sure you book early.


The tavern in town is good for lunch.  It has a nice garden courtyard to enjoy lunch as you people watch.  I love the tree lined street in Dongara.

Season Tree Cafe makes the best coffee to go.


Sorry, not many pix.   
Enjoying beers and relaxing.
๐Ÿ˜



~~oOo~~

DONGARA TO JURIEN BAY - 2HRS
VIA LESUEUR NATIONAL PARK
DAY 5

FAVOURITE PHOTO


On The Road Again


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LESUEUR NATIONAL PARK



Today we are travelling down the coast road to Jurien Bay with a detour through Lesueur National Park. 


Along the coast the surrounding vegetation is low lying probably due to the coastal winds.   If you travel north to Geraldton you will notice many leaning trees due to the strong winds.


Head south from Dongara on the Indian Ocean Drive.  Turn left onto Coorow-Green Head road, then take a right on Cockleshell Gully road which takes you through the National Park and out onto Jurien road to Jurien Bay.

We have not stayed in Jurien Bay however for the purpose of this blog and to get the best out of this trip I feel that a night stay in Jurien Bay would be the best thing to do.  So I found a nice B&B just out of town called the Heights B&B.


In spring Lesueur National Park bursts alive with a glorious sea of colour.






Not only is Lesueur famous for wildflowers but it is also a birders paradise with some 122 species including the endangered Carnaby's black cockatoo.   These birds rely on the many wildflowers here for survival.   In fact there are 820 identified species of wildflowers making Lesueur one of the world renown National Parks for wildflowers.   

Be mindful not to walk of the many walking paths as the park is in danger of suffering from dieback disease which you may have on the bottom of your shoes.

After my first wildflower trip I became a convert.    I love tropical flowers with red hibiscus being my favourite followed by frangipanis.   I always thought Australian wildflowers were not pretty, however I am now amazed at the many varieties and colours.  Colours range from white, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and blue. A lot are very small, especially the Orchids.

Hubby and I have fun trying to spot various species and then identifying them.   We have a colour coded spring wildflowers of Western Australia book that is a great help.   I probably get some wrong though as I am no expert haha.   You are welcome to let me know please if you spot a mistake.

So here goes.

Pink Kunzea


Purple Kunzea

Parakeelya


Cottonhead

 
Flame Pea

Catspaws

Cowslip Orchid

Kangaroo Paw

Lots of smokebush and grass trees

Family Fun in the Flowers









And a few macro photos.

Macro is tricky.  Best is to go fully manual and move your body in and out until the picture comes clear.  It takes a lot of practice and patience.

















 

Morning Iris

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JURIEN BAY

Jurien Bay is a pretty little spot on the coast.

We stopped and picked up pies and chips from the Gallery Cafe and had a picknic in the park at the beach.








Tomorrow we'll visit the famous Pinnacles and discover the oldest living fossils on earth!!
Stay tuned.


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JURIEN BAY TO YANCHEP - 2 1/4 HRS
VIA CERVANTES AND GUILDERTON
DAY 6

FAVOURITE PHOTO


Cervantes is the gateway to the famous Pinnacles which are located in Nambung National Park.   More about that in a minute.




First of all I want to draw your attention to the not so famous Stromatolites at Lake Thitis - a unique off the beaten path tip. 

What are Stromatolites you say?




Stromatolites are the oldest living fossil on earth.   Pretty amazing hey!!   There are 2 places you will find these unique living things, here and north in Hamelin Bay, Shark Point.

The stromatolites are located just out of town at Lake Thetis.  You will traverse a wooden walkway through what looks like baron mud flats to get to the lake.   At first I didn't know what I was trying to find, but a quick glance at the notice board and back to the lake and I was in awe!!   This tidal lake has salinity levels twice as high as the ocean, creating perfect conditions for the formation of stromatolites.

These living organisms are some 3.5 billion years old!   Imagine living that long!   No wonder they look like a huge old round shrivelled rocks  haha.   But seriously, I was pretty amazed by this.   So interesting, unique and certainly a great off the beaten path experience that I totally recommend.

















Visitors flock from all over the world to visit the famous Pinnacles here near Certantes. Nambung National Park is easily accessible from Perth and is a popular day trip.   I suggest that you head out to the National Park early to avoid the tourist rush and also obtain some nice morning pics.

The dirt track road is lined with rocks to make sure you don't detour off and get lost.  It’s about 4 k's long and takes you in a big circle around the Pinnacles.   There are plenty of places to stop along the way for photos or walking. 

These Pinnacles are amazing natural limestone structures formed about 25,000 years ago after the sea subsided, leaving deposits of sea shells.   Coastal winds removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars exposed.   Some pinnacles are almost 5m tall.  










 I enjoy finding unique pinnacles.

Monster Rock

Dog Rock

Mountain Rock

Small Mountain Rock

Turtle with a wide open mouth Rock

Jesse Jumping Rock






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CERVANTES

Back in Cervantes and having built up a thirst, the Tavern on the hill is the best place for a coldie.
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The wine was pretty cool too.


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GUILDERTON

FAVOURITE PHOTO



If you have time, Guilderton is a short 10 minute ride to the coast and is a good place to stretch your legs and take a few beach photos.

Living in the northern suburbs of Perth, we holiday in Guilderton often.  The Moore River as the locals call it has a Caravan and Camping ground right on the beach behind the dunes and the river inlet for us to launch our boat. 

I have a full story on my Perth blog if you are interested.





~~oOo~~


YANCHEP NATIONAL PARK

FAVOURITE PHOTO



Discover koalas, kangaroos, caves, aboriginal show, walk track around the lake and an old Inn with a cozy fire, dining, great Aussie gift shop and much more.




It was a big toss up for my favourite photo.   Yanchep National Park has so many wonderful photo opportunities as you will see below.


Yanchep is only 1 hour drive from Perth so if you want a nice day out and you have a car, then I would recommend you pay a visit. 


If you have been following along with me on this great wildflower itinerary, then this is the last stop.   Yanchep is the outer northern suburb of Perth.  One day eventually the rail line will go all the way to Yanchep making it easy to visit by public transport, but for now driving is best.


Yanchep has so much going for it - resident koalas, kangaroos, birds, caves, an aboriginal show, a quaint gift shop, a cafe, a picturesque lake to walk around, plenty of picnic and bbq spots and a fantastic old  Inn.  Lunch outside on the weekend is coupled by lovely lake views and cool entertainment.  Dinner in the inn is best in winter when they have the roaring fire.


Accommodation here is about 3 out of 5.   To be honest, they could really make a lot more money by upgrading the accommodation.  Maybe build some cabins in the bush, include private spas and advertise more.   Tourists just love this place.  Us locals love it!!   With the abovementioned upgrades, I'd be staying overnight more often.  

But then I suppose being a National Park, and with the wide variety of wildlife here, it is probably better to keep it low key and more natural.   
I get that.


There is also a golf course here if you are interested.  Playing with the roos.



KOALAS

The koala enclosure is so natural and well done.  





KANGAROOS

Kangaroos roam around wild here.   The best time to see them is early morning or late in the afternoon.   And they are always on the golf course.







CAVES


The crystal cave tour is ok. There are better caves down at Margaret River however that is further away.   Kids love it.


They also hold weddings here.   That would be unique, having your wedding in a cave with all the nice lighting.





THE LAKE

There is a walking track around the lake.   It is easy and not too long.   They have row boats in summer and there are plenty of ducks and great photo opportunities.   

Look out for the tap tree.












I had a practice photographing rock in the mud splashes which was fun.




CAFE & THE GIFT SHOP

I love the gift shop here.   Whenever I want to buy a special present for my overseas friends, I usually head here for some nice aboriginal pottery.

The cafรฉ sells a wide range of homemade chocolate.   I must say that the pumpkin soup here in the Cafรฉ is great too.








Looking down from the Gift Shop

YANCHEP INN


The Inn was built in 1936 and during WWII became a rehabilitation unit for servicemen.   At the end of the war the RAAF vacated and a private enterprise took over.   

Today Yanchep Inn is a great place for families to enjoy lunch, dinner or just a weekend drink enjoying the entertainment, scenery and local wildlife





WALKING TRACK AROUND LAKE,
BIRDS & DUCKS

Surrounding the lake is a walking track and there are paved paths as well with plenty of picnic tables and bbq's.   

Yanchep is also a birders paradise with many different species and lots of ducks too.
















WILDFLOWERS

Past the Cafe and heading towards the koala enclosure is a nice native garden walk with many banksias and grevilleas that attract an array of birds and colourful parrots.







Sunset overlooking the lake at the end of the day is stunning.



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YANCHEP TO PERTH - 1 1/2 HRS
DAY 7


Last day.  

Yanchep National Park to Perth is 1 1/2 hrs along the coast line.  As you can see from the map there are a few places to stop along the way.

Being the last day, I would enjoy a leisurely lay in and take advantage of breakfast.  Maybe take an early bush walk around the lake at Yanchep.

PERTH


~~oOo~~

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