Cape Range National Park
Just 40km from Exmouth is the northern boundary of the Cape Range National Park; a spectacular region of rugged limestone ranges, breathtaking deep canyons and 50km of pristine beaches. The park covers some 50,581 hectares and is inhabited by abundant wildlife of all kinds, including many varieties of colourful and unusual birds, emus, bustards, red kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas and giant Bungarra lizards.
In ancient times the Cape Range was isolated as rising sea levels inundated lower lying areas. As a result, some species of plants and animals are endemic to the area, including the red centered variety of the Sturt Desert Pea.
All together 630 species of flowering plants have been recorded on the North West Cape and Cape Range. Over 400 caves have been catalogued in the area and it is believed that many more remain to be discovered.
On the eastern side of the park, accessible from the main road in to Exmouth, are two of the most spectacular canyons - Shothole Canyon (named for the shot holes left by seismographic charge explosions during oil searches in the 1950′s) and Charles Knife Gorge. The 4WD only gravel road into Shothole Canyon runs over dry creek beds along the gorge floor, while the road along the top of Charles Knife Gorge is 2WD suitable and provides breathtaking downward views into the multicoloured gorges with their steep, sheer drops on either side of the road. According to American visitors, these two gorges are like “Mini Grand Canyons!”
On the west side of the Cape Range National Park are more canyons – some as yet unexplored. One of the main ones is Mandu-Mandu Gorge where a well marked walking trail takes visitors up to spectacular heights and and around the entire gorge in about one and a half hours.
At the southern end of the Cape Range National Park is Yardie Creek – another spectacular gorge with a deep creek running up it for about 2km. Sightseers can take a boat tour up the length of Yardie Creek for a unique perspective of its ochre coloured, sheer cliffs. Yardie Creek is a magnet for wildlife, in particular kangaroos and rock wallabies which can be seen hopping around on the cliffs and creek edges.
Please be advised that per vehicle fee applies for entry into the western side of the Cape Range National Park.