Cape Range National Park
North West Cap was named in 1818 by Captain Phillip Parker King. It was deemed unsuitable for development, and the first settler arrived in 1899 only.
Arid limestone landscape with plateaus up to around 300m. There are a number of canyons on the east side of the park and deep, rocky gorges. The west side of the park is a long series of beaches that give access to the Ningaloo Marine Park.
Flora and fauna
White-bellied sea eagles, Rock Wallabies, Emus, Kangaroos and Echidnas are common and easily seen.
The Ningaloo Marine Park has hundreds of species of fishes and corals. Turtles, octopus, sting rays, manta rays, whale sharks, tiger sharks, reef sharks can all be found in the inner or outer (mata, whale sharks) parts of the reef.
Climate is very hot and dry almost all year round with temperatures going daily over 40°C during summer, and over 30°C the rest of the time. The vegetation is arid without trees, so no shadow and no water. Be prepared and have sufficient water (5l/person per day is recommended).
Drive or tour from Exmouth There is no public transport for hundreds of kilometres around.
$11 per car per calendar day. Holiday permits for $40. Camping fees per night per person.
The main road along the coast of the Cape Range is sealed, and easily accessible to all vehicles. Some roads are 4wd only, in particular going along the coast past Yardie Creek - the sand crossing across the head of the lagoon is 4wd only, and can be inaccessible in certain tidal or flood conditions.
The east of the park is accessed by the road south of Exmouth, while to access the west side of the park (and the reef), you need to drive past Exmouth and all around the cape.
There is a gift a souvenir shop in the same complex as the visitors centre. It hires snorkels and fins. It is open until 3:30pm daily (and hire items must be returned by then). There is nothing else to buy inside the park.
Bring your own food. The gift shop at the Visitors Centre sells microwaved pies, sausage rolls and pasties (until 3;30pm) if you are desperate.
Bring your own. Water can only be found at the visitor center and at a turn point off Yardie Creek Rd a few kilometers north of the visitor center. There are always emus, kangurus and wallabies waiting near the 'waterhole' to benefit from the spills when tourists take water making it a nice stop before dusk.
There are several established campsites - the largest probably being at Yardie Creek Gorge. There are no amenities except for toilets. There is almost no shadow and there is no water in any campsite.
Back to Exmouth - not too many other options - single road in and out.