Walpole-Nornalup National Park

Walpole-Nornalup National Park occupies a unique high-rainfall corner of Western Australia. It contains nearly 20,000 hectares of diverse vegetation and landforms, from towering karri and tingle forests to coastal heath and wetlands. The park surrounds the towns of Walpole, Nornalup and Peaceful Bay. Walpole-Nornalup National Park contains many pristine forests and a wilderness area with little evidence of human activity. The rugged coastline, peaceful inlets and rivers are a major feature of the park's beauty. But the park is probably best known for the huge buttressed red tingle trees, which are unique to the Walpole area.

 

Circular Pool

The Frankland River Circular Pool is attractive all year, both for the falls In winter and the large, tranquil pool in summer.

 

Best Season: All year.

 


Coalmine Beach and The Knoll


Coalmine Beach is on the south shore of the beautiful Nornalup Inlet. An introduction to the area is provided at an attractive shelter on Coalmine Beach Drive. A boardwalk leads to a high lookout above cliffs, the base of which contains a shallow seam of low-grade coal. A carpark, jetty and boat ramp is found at Walpole Yacht Club, which marks the start of a beach popular with morning and evening anglers and swimmers, while sailors enjoy ideal conditions during the reliable afternoon sea breeze.

 

The Knoll is a peninsula, which divides Nornalup and Walpole Inlets and is accessible by the one-way sealed Knoll Scenic Drive. This drive follows the perimeter of the Knoll, offering tantalising views of Walpole and Nornalup inlets. A mosaic of vegetation and landform features are found here, including colourful swamp bottlebrush heathland in the flats, coastal blackbutt, peppermint and bullich woodland adjacent to the headlands, and majestic karri and yellow tingle forest growing right down to the inlet.

 

Where is it?:
3 km east of Walpole along South Coast Highway.

 

Travelling Time:
From Walpole, 5 minutes by car, 15 minutes by bicycle or 30 minutes' walk from Pioneer Park along the Coalmine Beach Heritage Trail.

 

What to do:
Drive around the Knoll, visit several lookout points, swim, fish from the beach, jetty, boat or rocky shoreline of the Knoll, windsurf, sail, beachcomb, bushwalk on the heritage trail or on walk tracks on the Knoll, picnic at a lookout vantage point or at the barbecue located near the channel.

 

Best Season:
All year, but it's magic in autumn!

 

Conspicuous Cliff

 

This is one of only three places around Walpole that offer car access to the coast. (The others are Peaceful Bay townsite and Mandalay beach.) Take your time and appreciate the fabulous coastal heathland featuring swamp paperbark and, in summer, red flowering gum. This tree is endemic to this region, between Frankland River and Denmark, with a few populations east of Albany, although it is grown as a popular feature tree around the world. Arrive in winter and spring to witness the antics of whales, which annually cavort off this area. Seabirds and other marine life are found all year round.

 

Where is it?:
Access is just east of Valley of Giants Road off the South West Highway. Turn south on Conspicuous Beach Road and drive along the gravel road to the coast.

 

Travelling time:
30 minutes by car from Walpole, or 15 minutes by car from the Valley of Giants recreation area.

 

What to do:
See whales (in spring), take photos, beachcomb, surf (experienced surfers only), and fish from the beach. Rock fishing is hazardous here, as in most coastal areas, so be careful of freak waves. Conspicuous Cliff has a carpark and toilet, and stairs lead down to the beach past permanent freshwater springs. Beach and rock anglers and surfing enthusiasts have long known about the spectacular coastal views, including unspoiled beach, limestone cliffs and granite headlands. Beware, the beach has rips at all times, so swimming is not advised.

 

Best season:
Salmon fishing all year; surfing mid–late summer; whale-watching and wildflowers in winter and spring.

 

Hilltop

 

>>Hilltop Drive is a one-way gravel road 3km east of Walpole, leading through outstanding karri and tingle forest. Hilltop Lookout is the first stop. From here, look across the Frankland River and Nornalup inlet to the Southern Ocean and casuarina isles.

 

>>The Giant Tingle Tree is the site of a huge fire-hollowed red tingle tree. At an information shelter near the carpark on Hilltop Drive, find out about the tingle forest and the many walks available in the area. A short walk leads to the Giant Tingle site, where a protective boardwalk has been installed in the heaviest traffic areas. An optional 300-metre return track follows an old access track alignment, which will form part of the Bibbulmun Track extension to Albany. Toilet, picnic tables and benches along the walk track will complete the facilities at the site.

 

Mandalay Beach

 

Mandalay beach takes its name from the Norwegian barque Mandalay wrecked there in 1911. Mandalay is popular with anglers, but even if you don't fish, it's worth the visit for the spectacular views of the southern ocean and of Chatham Island, which looms out of the water 3 kilometres offshore. Signs tell you more about the wreck of the Mandalay.

 

Where is it?:
18km west of Walpole. Turn off the South Coast Highway at Crystal Springs and follow the narrow winding road to the beach. Take extreme care.

 

Travelling time:
35 minutes from Walpole.

 

What to do:
Fishing, walking, sight-seeing, photography (especially at dusk), beachcombing, swimming (beware of strong rips).

 

Facilities:
Walktrail to beach, boardwalk and stairway to beach, interpretation display.

 

Best Season:
All year.

 

Valley of the Giants

 

The Valley of the Giants has long been one of the area's most popular tourist destinations. This famous area, now part of Walpole-Nornalup National Park, gets its name from the large red tingle trees that are found there. It is the easternmost occurrence of this forest type, which is only found within 15 kilometres of Walpole. The Valley of the Giants is the most popular destination for visitors to the Walpole district.

 

Ancient Empire.
The Valley of the Giants site includes a boardwalk through a grove of veteran tingle trees known as the Ancient Empire. This area contains the 'Giants' for which the forest was named.

 

The Tree Top Walk.
The whole family can experience the excitement of exploring the canopy of the magnificent tingle forest along a walkway that rises up to 38 m above the forest. A small admission fee is charged, and family passes are available.

 

Where is it?:
From Walpole, travel 13 km east along South Coast Highway past Nornalup townsite to Valley of Giants Road. This sealed road leads to the Valley of Giants recreation area.
Travelling Time: 20 minutes by car from Walpole.

 

What to do:
Visit the Tree Top Walk and explore the Ancient Empire, picnic.

 

Best season:
All year.

 

Nearest CALM Office:
Walpole phone (098) 40 1027 or fax (098) 40 1251, or contact Southern Forest Region.

 

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

 

 

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