Driving north on a day trip from Perth, there are two outstanding national parks well worth a visit. Both of the naturally beautiful parks are great places to relax and visitors should easily manage to spot a Kangaroo or two. If you set off early enough, you could see them both in one day. Nambung national park is around two hours’ drive from Perth and Yanchep national park is less than hour from the city. It is hard to believe the equally stunning parks are so close to each other as they are set in very different environments.
Yanchep feels like a Victorian country park with historic buildings, gardens and a boating lake. We spent a day strolling around the lush green lawns and enjoying the beauty of the park. To us, it felt a lot like the parks in England, except of course for the Koala board-walk and the kangaroos. We strolled along under the gumtrees and spotted a few Koalas sleeping amongst the branches. None of them were brave enough to climb down for or a closer look or to pose for a picture like the Koala we met a Wilsons Prom.
The kangaroos on the other hand were certainly not camera shy. They bounced around the park without a care in the world, stopping to eat and allowing us to take their picture. The collective term for a group of kangaroos is a mob, which makes them sound like a frightening teenage gang. It conjures up images of inner city kangaroos hanging around their local skate park. Neglected since they were joey’s, with nothing to turn to but their mob family. Dressed in hoodies the kangaroo mob terrorise the neighbourhood in a spree of drugs, crime and violence. There is clearly a zero tolerance policy to gang culture in Yanchep, as the mob of kangaroos we met were very unthreatening. Leading us to question if the collective term should be changed to something less aggressive, a bound of kangaroos would be much more fitting.
The park is also home to lots of ducks and wild birds, making it an excellent place for wildlife lovers. There are also over 400 limestone caves in the park which visitors can experience on a variety of guided tours. One of the caves can even be hired out for special occasions; visitors can arrange for their next birthday party or even their wedding to be held in the “Cabaret Cave” at Yanchep.
Nambung national park is home to the famous pinnacles desert. The landscape here is in such contrast with Yanchep, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on another planet rather than 140 km down the road. Thousands of limestone pillars rise from the ground amongst the ever shifting sand dunes of the area. Formed over many thousands of years as calcium rich rain leeched through the sand dunes to create a solid limestone core. Gradually wind eroded the sand leaving nothing but the limestone structures standing proud in the desert.
Visitors can drive a 4 km circuit through the park to get a closer look at the eerie lunar landscape. The park was quite empty when we visited, with just us and two other vehicles driving the track. We pulled over a few time and got out to explore the alien environment. The structures reminded us of the giant termite mounds we had seen in Litchfield national park in the northern territory. They stood like proud old soldiers, occupying the land and waiting for their next instruction. We tip toed through them trying not to disturb their slumber as we marvelled at their stature.
Both Yanchep and Nambung national parks are located within easy reach of Perth. We would encourage anyone with some time in city to visit them both.