national park in Western Australia
Oceania > Australia > Western Australia > South West (Western Australia) > Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is a popular national park in Australia's southwest, just a few hours from Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

The border between the Indian and Southern Oceans

Rugged cliffs, granite headlands and striking rock formations such as the Canal Rocks or the Sugarloaf Rock characterise the coast of the national park. If you come during winter or spring, you may be able to see humpback whales and southern right whales which can be observed from various points.

However, the main attractions in the park are the caves, of which over 100 have been discovered in the limestone cliffs to date . Their dimensions range from narrow tunnels to glacial potholes to large caves 14 km long. Guided tours are offered in some caves, others can be explored via a self-guided tour.

Further inland, in the Boranup Karri Forest contains stands of old, up to 60 m high karri and jarrah forests.

Another interesting point of interest in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is the most southwesterly point of the Australian mainland, which is the border between the Indian and Southern Oceans.

The park was severely damaged in the late 2021 WA bushfire season and as of April 2022, many of the park's attractions remain closed for repairs.

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The park's name derives from the two promontories lying at opposite ends: to the south Cape Leeuwin, which is considered to be the most southwestern point of mainland Australia, and to the north Cape Naturaliste. Between these two offshore capes, the coast runs almost exactly north-south. The national park runs almost continuously along the entire coast, whereby it is partly very narrow and partly stretches over 10 km into the hinterland.

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Get in edit

The park is approximately 270 km (170 mi) south of Perth. The park is accessible via the Bussell Highway and Caves Road from the nearby towns of Busselton, Margaret River and Augusta.

Fees and permits edit

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Map of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

See edit

Caves edit

  • 1 Calgardup Cave and Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Visitor Centre, Caves Rd, Forest Grove, +61 8 9757 7422, . 9AM–4:15PM daily except on Christmas and Boxing Day. A 300-metre long cave that is one of the more easily accessible caves of the park. It can be experienced on a self guided tour, and the cave is also one of the few caves in the region where one can see streams flow through. $19 per adult, $12.50 per concession card holder, $9.50 per child (aged between 6–16), $47.50 per family (two adults and two children). Children under 6 can enter free.
  • 2 Giants Cave, Caves Rd, Boranup, +61 8 9757 7422. WA school + public holidays: Daily 9:30AM–3:30PM, Oct–Apr (excluding school/public holidays): 10AM–1PM, May–Sep: Closed, except on school/public holidays. As the name of the cave says, the cave is large and is Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park's deepest cave, with a depth of 86 metres for a length of about half a kilometre. The cave requires you to go onto several tight spots and ladder climbs. $19 per adult, $12.50 per concession card holder, $9.50 per child (aged between 6–16), $47.50 per family (two adults and two children); children under 6 not admitted.  
  • 3 Jewel Cave, Jewel Caves Rd, Deepdene, +61 8 9757 7411. Best known for containing the world's longest straw in a tourist cave (i.e. one that can easily be visited) with a length of about 5.4 m (18 ft) with a stalagmite of over 20 t (metric).  
  • 4 Mammoth Cave, Caves Rd, Forest Grove, +61 8 9757 7411. 9AM–5PM. Contains the largest megafauna fossil deposit in Australia and this cave can be accessed via a self-guided tour.    
  • 5 Moondyne Cave.    
  • 6 Ngilgi Cave.    

Lighthouses edit

  • 7 Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.    
  • 8 Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.    

Do edit

The Cape to Cape Track is a walking trail is in the south-west corner of Western Australia. The trail is 123 km (76 mi) in length traversing the coast between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. It passes through the heart of the Southwest Australia Floristic Province, the second-richest floristic province on earth.

Its start and finish are the lighthouses at the tips of Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. The Track extends over 123 km of coastal scenery, sheltered forests and pristine beaches, and is in close proximity to the caves, vineyards and other features and attractions of the Margaret River Region.

The trail follows a network of existing bush trails, disused roads, newly cut paths and beach sections. The Track consists of a combination of different types of terrain and surface. It varies from smooth, wide, sealed paths, to narrow rocky paths, used and disused 4WD tracks, soft sandy beaches and a few rough scrambles. It is designed as a single-use walking track, and cannot sustain the wear and tear of other users such as horses, mountain bikes, and trail-bikes. Some sections are hard-surfaced for wheelchair access. The path from Ellensbrook Homestead to Meekadarabee Cave is paved and boardwalked, and there is a wheelchair-friendly section between Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Sugarloaf Rock. It takes most people 5-7 days to walk the full length.

Square pine posts mark most of the way, especially at intersection. There are a few folded-metal posts. Posts bear triangular labels. Larger wooden signs usually show the way off beaches.

There are not many water supplies along the track, especially not potable water. In summer it can become very hot, so you need a minimum of 2 L drinking water a day, and you may need twice that. Ensure you have the equipment to carry a significant load of water.

In summer ultraviolet radiation levels are extreme, so make sure you have what you need to "slip, slop, slap": slip on a shirt (and otherwise cover your entire body), slop on lots of sunscreen, and slap on a good, wide-brimmed hat. You need to carry enough sunscreen to reapply as frequently as recommended, which means about 4 ounces (120 mL) per day.

Significant sections of the track have no mobile telephone reception, so it is advisable to carry a Personal Locator Beacon if you are walking in a small group.

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Eat edit

  • 1 Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse Cafe. 10AM–3PM (closed Tu W). A small cafe next to the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse. The range is limited, but it's the only place to eat in Cape Naturaliste.

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If you're bushwalking along the Cape to Cape Track, the trail passes through the hamlets of Yallingup, Smiths Beach, Gracetown, Prevelly, and Hamelin Bay along the way. All have commercial campgrounds/caravan parks and several offer other accommodations. The trail also passes Contos and Point Road National Park campsites. Free campsites, sited roughly 1 day's walk apart (20–25 km), offer a toilet, water tank, and places to pitch your tent. Because of bushfire risk, open fires are prohibited throughout, so bring along your own cooking equipment.

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There are several campgrounds in the park. Bookings can be made at the DPAW website.

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This park travel guide to Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.