A mysterious name, the proximity to the wild Southern Ocean, a promise of both forests and white uncrowded beaches alike – D’Entrecasteaux National Park in Australia’s South West was beckoning!
With two nights up our sleeve, a fridge loaded with goodies and the camping gear in place, we were pointed south at the crack of dawn and off to explore. And after our obligatory roadside bacon and egg sandwich breakfast, a few of our favourite tunes and some beautiful driving through Bridgetown, Manjimup and toward Walpole, after no time at all we were airing down at the start of Fisherman’s Track.
Fisherman’s Track meanders through the dunes between the Southern Ocean and the Broke Inlet before following the stunninng inlet’s shoreline to where it meets the ocean. As the inlet has been restricted to make it’s final push seaward it has managed to carve it’s way through the limestone leaving some stunning sections of cliff.
The beach here at the mouth is as vast as the ocean is wild – perfect for throwing a line or for a quick dip for the brave. The inlet was not flowing to the sea this time, I’m sure it’s quite a sight when it does.
Camping here is allowed and is free, other than your National Park day fees. There are no facilities meaning it’s best for the prepared. We find these types of camping areas are often the best – more wild, more space away from other campers and they give a greater sense of being away from it all.
It was a long weekend when we visited, and yes there were some fellow campers, however we headed back inland and found a secluded nook overlooking the inlet and settled in for the night. Being able to look out over the inlet at a stunning sunset, star filled night and spectacular sunrise was memorable. This spot is definitely worth the effort and I’d be prepared to bet that at off-peak times you’d likely have the place to yourself!
After morning coffee and breakfast, we were packed up and headed off to explore some more in this great park. We had a short burst on the tarmac to get north of the inlet and before long, we were cutting back down Broke Inlet Rd and then back north-west on Chesapeake Rd. We then headed down Fish Creek track, back to the ocean and the campsites of Fish Creek Beach and West Cliff Point. From tall and lush Karri forrest, through coastal scrub and then back to the whitest sand and the power of the Southern Ocean – compress these side by side and you have someplace special.
From here we dropped on to the beach to take an alternative route back around and up Fish Track again. Further west we took the Moore’s Track and ended up finding a nice little spot to setup for the night at the Coodamarup Bush Camp – another free/facility free campsite.
Our final day saw us pop down to farewell the ocean before heading back out of this beautiful place and through to Northcliffe, Pemberton and back home to Perth.