Waychinicup National Park
As well as boasting unspoilt coastal scenery, Waychinicup National Park, near Albany, is a vital areas for threatened animal species. In places, deeply incised gullies run down to the sea from bare rock exposures and boulder-strewn hilltops. Within these tree-filled gullies is a secret world of small streams, waterfalls and moss-covered boulders. Some rare and elusive animals have been isolated, yet protected, in these gullies by the fortunate combination of bare rock, moist gullies and almost impenetrable vegetation.
Waychinicup National Park covers the lower reaches and estuary of the Waychinicup River and the line of granite outcrops extending east to Cheyne Beach.
The park is a haven for a number of rare and uncommon mammals. The diggings of the quenda are common -- at times, areas particularly favoured by these omnivorous bandicoots resemble newly dug-over vegetable gardens. Quendas are often seen during the day crossing roads and tracks within the reserve, and are taken by birds of prey such as the little eagle. Western ringtail possums are occasionally seen in the low forest trees on Mount Gardner, where their dreys (basketball-sized nests made of sticks) are common.
For many years, the population of quokkas on Mount Gardner was one of few known on the mainland. These small mammals make tunnel-like runs through thick vegetation. Seldom seen in the thick cover, the runs and their distinctive droppings are often the only sign of their presence. In the early 1970s, the remains of many quokkas were found -- testimony to predation by the fox.
Thanks to a translocation program begun in 1983, the growing noisy scrub-bird population in the main mountain area of Mt Manypeaks Nature Reserve, adjacent to Waychincup National Park, became the largest single population. However, a major wildfire in January 2005 burnt virtually all scrub-bird habitat on the mountain, which was home to about half the total numbers of this species. This fire also burnt some habitat of western whipbirds and western bristlebirds - the latter were common on the lower slopes extending into the park, where scrub and thicket meet the open heaths.
Another endangered species, the western ground parrot (Pezoporus wallicus flaviventris) is also known from the lower heaths. A surprise sighting, near Cheyne Beach at the eastern end of the park in 1993, was the first in this area since 1975. These unusual ground-dwelling parrots occur in only two other locations along the South Coast, and their numbers are critically low. Numbers within the park appear to have declined in recent years, but the reasons are unknown.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Where is it?
Waychinicup National Park lies about 65 kilometres east of Albany.
45 minutes from Albany. Entry road can be hazardous or closed after bad weather.
What to do:
Sightseeing, nature study, swimming, bushwalking, rock climbing, fishing and family recreation.
Must see sites:
The inlet of the Waychinicup River is extremely picturesque, with polished granite rocks on both sides.
Small bush camping area, bush toilet, no fresh water (take your own).
Sping to autumn.
Nearest CALM office:
CALM Albany Regional Office.
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of The Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management