Cape Range National Park
About the Park
Cape Range National Park is situated on the coast side of North West Cape Peninsula in Western Australia, and encompasses the northern end of Ningaloo Reef. This park protects a beautiful arid range that overlooks the amazing waters of Ningaloo Marine Park, and provides excellent access to the reef.
Ningaloo Reef is an underwater wonderland. It is outstanding in every sense of the word. Home to the world famous Whalesharks, it is also home to Dugongs, Turtles, Reef Sharks and massive Bull Rays with whom you literally share the water.
Incredible corals and an abundance of fish life just metres from the shore complete the picture.
Whilst it is hard to comprehend the beauty of the coastline and the reef, Cape Range National Park is also home to great wildlife, gorges, tunnels and caves, a fact that can be overshadowed by the treasures of the pristine beaches and reef.
Cape Range National Park is oriented in a north-south fashion as it hugs the coast. Campgrounds from north to south are: Neds, Mesa, North T-Bone, Lakeside, Tulki Beach, North Mandu, Pilgramunna, Osprey Bay, Yardie Creek, One K Camp and Boat Harbour.
Ironing board is for cleaning your catch!
The latter two are south of the Yardie Creek crossing, which much of the time is too deep for vehicular crossing, and is also saltwater. (Although access can be gained from the Coral Bay end of the park).
All campgrounds are small and well located with fairly generous sites and are a short walk to great fishing, snorkelling, beachcombing and boating.
In busy times, each campground has a campground host, who do a wonderful job of helping campers, cleaning toilets and generally keeping order. They also create a great family atmosphere with a happy hour each afternoon at many of the sites.
- Adult: $6.50 per night
- Children $2
- Concession: $4.50
Securing a campsite in peak times is not an easy task. With only around 90 sites all up in the park, it fills quickly, particularly in Whaleshark season, which runs to the end of June. After this date it is much easier to get a campsite.
During the peak season, we recommend camping at Lighthouse Caravan Park or Yardie Station for a night, which are just north of the park entrance, and then line up at the gates early (4am is our earliest) and wait for the ranger to turn up at 8am. It is a big ask but is well worth it.
Once the campground hosts have radioed in to advise of any available spots, the ranger puts them on a board and first in line gets first choice. If you don't get the campground you wanted, just take what is available to get into the park. Once in the park, you then have the choice to move to another campground when a site there becomes available (you are then ahead of any newcomers to the park).
The campground hosts are generally very helpful in assisting people to get into the campground they want.
Maximum stay is 28 days.
A system of booking campsites online for Cape Range NP (and selected other parks in WA.) will be trialled in the near future. Bookings will be via the
Dept. of Environment and Conservation website.
Best time of year
April to September. Days are generally warm and sunny with mild nights. Outside of these times it gets very hot.
Spring months are windy. Late Spring it is possible to see Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
Yardie Creek Crossing with waters of Ningaloo reef behind.
Exmouth by road is 40km form the northern end of Cape Range National Park and has all supplies. This is the best and easiest access to the park. It leads to Yardie Creek Road which is the main road of the Park and is sealed to Yardie Creek crossing.
Coral Bay is 70km from the southern boundary of the park and is best avoided for supplies as it is frightfully expensive.
Things to do
Pit toilets, picnic facilities, camping. Fires are not permitted in Cape Range National Park.
Well resourced Visitor Centre with public phone.
No drinking water in the park. (Exmouth Visitor Centre has a tap in the carpark that can be used to fill caravans, water containers etc.)
Good quality bore water is available on the western side of Yardie Creek Road just south of the Neds Camp turn-off. Long term regular campers assured us that they drink it, but this is not recommended by DEC. It is great water for dishes, camp showers etc. You are almost guaranteed to see Emus here as they come in for a drink after a camper leaves.
Invest in the best Free Camping Australia Guides
- The currents that move between the reef and the shore run strongly in some spots, and can be dangerous. These are generally well signposted and should not present a problem if common sense is used.
- Cape Range National Park staff informed us that the White and Black Tipped Reef Sharks are safe to swim with. Our experience is that it is exhilarating and safe to be amongst these beautiful creatures.
- Bushwalking in the canyons is not recommended from October to late March due to the heat.
National Park Entry Fees Western Australia
- Car per day $10 or $5 concession or motorbike, payable only once if camping.
- Holiday pass valid 4 weeks $35
- Annual Local Pass unlimited access to one park or a group of local parks 1 year $20 per car.
- Yearly pass- unlimited access to all WA parks for 1 year $75 per car $50 concession (current 2009).
It is well worth looking at a yearly pass
, annual local pass or holiday pass, depending on what area you will be travelling in. Basically the parks in WA are so beautiful that it is almost impossible to spend only one day in any one park. Given that each park will likely have you visiting a few times, it quickly becomes a good investment to have one of the multiple entry passes mentioned above.
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