Drysdale River National Park

Drysdale River National Park covers an area of 448 264 hectares in the far-north wilderness of Western Australia. It features open woodlands, the broad waters of the Drysdale River, pools, creeks and rugged cliffs and gorges. There are major waterfalls at Morgan Falls and Solea Falls and many smaller falls elsewhere. There are no visitor facilities and no marked walk trails within the park.

 

The wilderness value of the park offers superb opportunities for bushwalking and nature observation. An alternative way to see the park is by air, and a number of tours incorporating flights over the Drysdale River area are available from Kununurra and Wyndham.

 

Conservation Values

 

Rare and unusual plant species grow in the park, and scientists are still finding new records. Tree orchids grow in rainforest pockets found in some of the gorges. At least 594 plant species are found in the park. About 30 aquatic and swamp plants, including rare or unusual species, have been recorded in permanent pools of the Drysdale and Carson Rivers and in other parts of the park. The swamp plants include a number of bladderwort and triggerplants. Twenty-five fern species occur in the park. Two of these have not been recorded anywhere else.

 

The wealth of animal life includes short-eared rock wallabies, sugar gliders, water rats, many kinds of bats. There are 129 different bird species, including many sub-humid species, such as the green-winged pigeon and silver-backed butcher-bird. Frogs and reptiles are also plentiful. Many are undescribed and some are known only from the park.

 

On the western side of the Solea Falls on the Drysdale River there are rugged sandstone hills on which there is a tall open shrubland or low open woodland with a spinifex understorey. Fan palms and Kalumburu gum are common. Forest Creek, a permanent stream lined with tall paperbarks and other trees, enters the Drysdale some 10 kilometres below the Falls. Upstream, the creek forks and its two valleys contain dense vine thickets.

 

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

Where is it?
290km from Wyndham to the junction of Gibb River and Kalumburu Road.

 

Access is extremely difficult, via station tracks on Carson River Station from the Kalumburu Road. Permission must be obtained before using these tracks.

 

For access via Carson River Station contact Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation on (08) 9161 4300 or fax (08) 9161 4387 providing details of your intended visit. You will also need to call in at the Kalumburu Aboriginal Community to obtain and pay for a permit before entering Carson River Station.

 

All visitors accessing Drysdale River National Park via Carson River Station must register with the Kununurra office of CALM. Please advise in person, by phone/fax or writing of proposed dates and your itinerary in the park. The park can also be seen on scenic flights from Kununurra.

 

Travelling time:
Minimum 1 day from Wyndham by 4-wheel drive vehicle ONLY

 

What to do:
Flightseeing, bushwalking, nature observation, wild camping. Saltwater crocodiles inhabit the waters of the Drysdale River below Solea Falls. Do not swim and be wary near riverbanks. Camp well away from the river.

 

Safety:
The track through Theda and Doongan stations is closed, and camping is not permitted in these areas.

 

Facilities:
None. Visitors must be totally self-sufficient as the park is remote, isolated and extremely rugged. Visitors planning extended walks must be experienced bushwalkers and aware of the potential hazards that could be encountered.

 

Bush camping in the park is permitted but please leave no trace of your visit. Visitors may also camp at Bulldust Yards on Carson River Station if permission is obtained through Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation. Camping fees are charged at both these privately-owned locations.

 

Best season:
Winter (Kimberley dry season)

 

Nearest CALM office:
Kimberley Regional Office - Kununnurra

 

Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management

 

 

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