At the southern end of Western Australia is a stretch of coast so beguiling and picturesque that you’ll want to spend months exploring here. Following the map down sandy tracks to hidden beaches and secret coves, you will be endlessly blown away by what you’ll find. And yet, chances are you’ve never heard of most of them! Situated between popular Margaret River and the Walpole Wilderness Area and hugging the coastline is D’Entrecastreaux National Park.
For most visitors, a trip down to Windy Harbour, the gorgeous lookouts around Point D’Entrecastreaux and Tookalup Lookout is the only taste of D’Entrecastreaux National Park they will experience. But this is merely a taste of the scenery the expansive national park has to offer.
Much of D’Entrecastreaux National Park is accessible only by four-wheel drive meaning you’ll often find you have the place to yourself. However Point D’Entrecastreaux and Mandalay Beach are 2WD accessible so you won’t miss out on this incredible national park!
We spent two months based in Northcliffe exploring this region, so sit tight while I take you on a virtual tour of D’Entrecastreaux National Park. Moving from west to east our first stop is…
This stunning volcanic landscape is a wonder to explore. The dramatic black basalt columns formed 130 million years ago when Antarctica and Australia started to rift apart in the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana.
Black Point Camping
There are two campsites to choose from; Seal Cove and Humpback Hollows. Both are shaded in the scrub with clean drop toilets and plenty of space between sites.
Hot tip: keep an eye out and you may just spot seals playing about in the shallows
Black Point Lookouts
Stepping Stones offers the best sunsets (in my humble opinion) and easiest access down to the beach. You can walk from here along to the basalt column cliff though I urge you to check the tide before you set off. You check tides here.
Surfers Cove is a gorgeous easterly facing lookout. Walk a short way down the track to find this stunning rock ledge.
At Breakfast Holes you can walk quite far around the tip of the headland and watch the ferocious Southern Ocean crash over the black rocks forming glorious little waterfalls as the water recedes.
For full details of how Black Point formed, more about camping and how to access see Everything You Need To Know About Black Point. Compare these black rocks to the pink round rocks of Sugarloaf Rock in Margaret River and its quiet fascinating.
If you’re in the area you might want to check out the Best Swimming Spots in the Southern Forests
A gorgeous secluded beach along the Wapet Track between Lake Jasper and Black Point. This is a lovely spot to stop to stretch your legs or throw in a line. There is a small cleared area in of bush just back from the beach to camp.
Twin Karri Beach
Jagged sandstone cliffs and fallen boulders along Twin Karri Beach make it quite a fun little beach to explore. Watch at low tide for the small rock pools and crabs hiding between the rocks. There is a small protected camp site just back from the beach.
Lake Jasper is the largest freshwater lake in Western Australia and definitely one of the most tranquil. The first time we visited the picnic table had been placed in the water and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with our feet cooling in the water. On our last visit the picnic table had been moved back to dry land – but I think it was better in the lake – just saying 😉
There are three campsites along the shore of Lake Jasper just along from the day use area.
Black Point Road Trip
3 nights, 4WD, lower tyre pressure, high clearance
- Day 1: Starting at the intersection of Stewart Road and Black Point Road follow Black Point Road only a hundred metres or so and take the left onto Pneumonia Road. Follow this all the way to the Scott Road and take a right. You will pass the entrance and information bay for D’Entrecastreaux National Park. Lower your tyre pressure here. Follow Woodarburrup Road and signs to Lake Jasper. Camp here the night.
- Day 2-3: Follow the track back out from Lake Jasper and follow signs down the Wapet Track to Twin Karri Beach. Stop here for brunch and enjoy the scenery – quite different to what you will find later at Black Point. Next continue down the track to Jasper Beach and then on to Black Point. I would suggest spending at least two nights here as there is just so much to see. Besides, you’ll want to see sunset and sunrise from all of these lookouts!
- Day 4: Drive back out from Black Point and at the crossroads you can take Black Point Road back north to re-join Stewart Road.
Suggested places to stay before or after your road trip are Nannup, Pemberton, Augusta and Margaret River.
If you’re lucky you might even be able to spot the southern lights from here! Check out this time I saw the Aurora Australis from Lake Clifton.
The first of the river mouths you will find in D’Entrecastreaux National Park is the Donnelly River. The Donnelly Boat Landing is accessible from the Vasse Highway and here you can launch a boat, or a kayak, and paddle the 11km downstream to the river mouth. For a less energetic viewing of the beautiful river you can always opt to board a Donnelly River Cruise. At $75 per adult for a 4 hour cruise I think this is very reasonable. Towards the ocean you will pass a small hamlet of houses only accessible by boat. What a wonderfully tranquil place to live this would be.
Check out the Donnelly River Cruise website.
Camp close by at Carey Brook with 11 sites nestled along Snottygobble Loop.
Yeagerup Dunes and Beach
For a little more excitement you could put your off-road driving skills to the test and head up the Yeagerup Dunes. Coming through the karri forest you could be mistaken for thinking this might be an easy drive, but turn the last corner and you are greeted with a wall of white sand. If you can make it up this hill, you’ll probably be ok to drive on the first section of dunes.
Yeagerup Dunes Camping.
You can camp at the base of the dunes at Yeagerup Lake. Alternatively there is the option to camp in a clearing at the end of the first stretch of sand dunes, or along the forest track before the big hill down to the beach.
If you are not confident of your vehicles ability to climb soft sandy inclines, stop here! To continue from this point down to the beach may be ok on the way down but it’s a hefty climb back up. If you do make it down to the beach you can drive along to the mouth of the Warren River.
This is another drive for the no-so-faint-hearted and another big sand hill called Callcup Hill. However, as you approach the river mouth from the opposite side from Yeagerup you will find a nest of little tracks and clearings making the perfect little spots to spend the the day.
Accessible down the Summertime Track from Windy Harbour Road this beach is popular for fishing. Stop where the track meets the ocean to explore another interesting landscape with freshwater streams running over the rounded rocks to the ocean.
This wide sweeping stretch of beach is popular for fishing. Walk along to climb on the giant fallen rocks and see the layered sandstone up close for yourself.
This drive takes you to all the points around Point D’Entrecastreaux, all of which are wheelchair accessible and most have ammenities.
It is a short walk out to the Tookulup Lookout but the view will take your breath away. Don’t forget your camera!
From the carpark at Point D’Entrecastreaux you can walk the 400m Pupalong Loop Walk and learn about the Noongar People; the traditional owners of this land, and the cultural significance of this area. Stop at The Window to peer through the rock window to the rough ocean below.
This trail is fully paved with no steps so accessible by wheelchair. This also makes a great location for some whale watching, just beware that it can get very windy up there.
Coastal Survivors Walk
Ideal if you are staying at Windy Harbour, this scenic 3.2km trail goes from the town along the coast and up to Point D’Entrecastreaux.
Cliff Top Walk
This easy 1.3km (one way) walk links Point D’Entrecastreaux with Tookulup making it easy to park up at one site and enjoy taking a stroll to all the sites at the top of the headland and taking in the panoramic views along the way.
Cathedral Rock Beach
Sheltered from the afternoon sun this gorgeous little cove is the perfect place to escape the summer heat. Awe at the size of the huge sandstone boulders that collapsed to form the ‘cathedral’. This beach is a short walk from town.
Windy Harbour Beach
Windy Harbour deserves it’s name, it certainly is windy a lot here! But when the wind is down and the sea is calm you could be mistaken for thinking you are visiting Greens Pool here on Windy Harbour Beach. The small pool created by rounded granite boulders (note different to the adjacent sandstones of Point D’Entrecastreaux) protect this little paradise. And the water is a gorgeous temperature too.
Stepping away from the coast (but only slightly) Mount Chudalup is a granite monolith offering panoramic views over the karri forest and all the way to Point D’Entrecastreaux and Windy Harbour. From the peak you can see all the way to Fish Creek in the west.
The walk is only 1km up a wide pea gravel path with a slight gradient, but ascending the short granite climb at the end may be a bit challenging. The effort is worth the reward though! We loved it so much here we visited maybe 7 times during our stay!
Gardner River Mouth
You can either take the slightly bumpy track from Windy Harbour Road, or if the tide is low drive along the beach to the Gardner River Mouth from Windy Harbour. Camping is allowed at the mouth making this a great place not too far from town to set up for a weekend of fishing.
If you’re enjoying reading about how this landscape formed why not check out:
- Crystal Quest at Sugarloaf Rock
- Trace Fossils of Kalbarri National Park
- Living Fossils of Lake Clifton
- A landscape transformed – Wooleen Station after a storm
Coodamurrup Hut was constructed in 1911 and is a throwback to the history of this area. Nowadays you can camp at the hut and use it as a base to explore the 4WD tracks and beaches near by.
By far my favourite site in D’Entrecastreaux National Park and the biggest surprise was Fish Creek. Coming through the karri and marri forest you may think you are going to pop out at another sprawling white sand beach, but what emerges is a cliffy coastline and exposed rocky reef system so gorgeous it amazes me that it is not more famous. Take your time here, there is plenty to explore and I’m not going to ruin the surprise 😉
Suggested Road Trip
3 days, 4WD, lower tyre pressure, high clearance
- Day 1: From Northcliffe follow Windy Harbour south then take a left onto Chesapeake Road. Cross the shallow river crossing and continue until you see the entrance to the national park on the right. Lower your tyre pressure here. Within the park the sites are signposted. Head to Coodamurrup Hut for the first night.
- Day 2: spend the morning on Coodamurrup Beach before heading out to Fish Creek. Enjoy the sunset from one of the many headlands.
- Day 3: a morning swim in the rock pools at Fish Creek before heading back home. From here you could return to Northcliffe or continue on towards Walpole and…
This large shallow estuary is seasonally open to the ocean. There are several 4WD tracks to the inlet. It is popular with birdwatchers.
Supposedly one of the the best beach camps in WA and it’s easy to see why. This protected bay creates the perfect calm shallows to swim and cool off.
The walk down from the carpark to the beach reveals a stunning view looking around the bay to a large island. In 1911 twelve men miraculously survived being shipwrecked on the beach when their vessel the Mandalay broke up in rough seas. They waited on this remote stretch of beach for four days until one of the men went for help. By pure chance he bumped into an early settler and his family and the men were saved. The local community helped the men to Denmark, then to Albany where they boarded a train to Fremantle. Once there they were able to arrange passage back home to Norway.
Whale Watching in D’Entrecastreaux National Park
With the whale watching season in D’Entrecastreaux extending from June to early December you are in with a good chance of seeing a whale! Humpbacks, Blue Whales, Minke Whales and Southern Right Whales can be seen from the coastal lookouts. My top whale watching spots would be:
- Point D’Entrecastreaux
- Black Point
- Fish Creek
- Salmon Beach Lookout
If you’re in the Margaret River region you can check out my 7 Best Spots for Whale Watching in Margaret River.
Are you continuing your travels west from here? Why not have a look at the the Best Beaches for Families: Walpole and Denmark Edition, Hiking Mount Frankland and Family Fun at Valley of the Giants.
Where to camp in D’Entrecasteraux National Park
Lets recap! There are so many places to explore in D’Entrecastreaux National Park that you will want to hang around for months – just like we did 😁 So where are you going to stay?
National Park Camp Sites
- Black Point
- Jasper Beach (free)
- Lake Jasper
- Yeagerup hut
- Carey Brook
- Gardner River (free)
- Coodamurrup Hut (free)
- Fish Creek (free)
- Crystal Springs
- Banksia Camp
Camping in the Donnelly District (the eastern half of D’Entrecastreaux and hinterland)
Some helpful links!
- DPAW Banksia Campsite info
- DPAW Crystal Springs and Walpole’s Eastern Beaches
- DPAW Mandalay Beach
- DPAW Donnelly District Camping (the eastern half of D’Entrecastreaux and hinterland)
- DPAW D’Entrecastreaux National Park Brochure