Access to nature – north of Perth
In recognition of the International Day of People with Disability we have selected ten parks and trails to help you access nature north of Perth.
If you need to discuss any special requirements, please contact the local Parks and Wildlife Service office or the park directly before you leave home using the contact details provided below. Please also note that mobile reception should not be relied on in our parks and that you may not meet any staff during your visit, so best be prepared.
If you haven’t already done so, check out the post on places south of Perth and watch out for a future post on places around Perth.
A short 200km north of Perth is the ‘must-see’ Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park where you can drive between thousands of huge limestone pillars that rise from the shifting yellow sand to form one of Australia’s most intriguing landscapes. Stop at one of the many points along the one-way drive.
The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre has displays, soundscapes, videos and objects explaining the pinnacles formation and the cultural and natural heritage values of the area. A shop that sells gifts and drinks is a welcome respite in summer. There are designated parking bays, unisex accessible toilets and sealed paths. Make sure you head up to the Pinnacles View Lookout for a stunning panorama of the pinnacles. The concrete path has gradients up to 1:10. Park entry fees apply, with concessions.
Pro tip – Sunsets and sunrises are particularly spectacular and although the centre is open 9:30am to 4:30pm, the other facilities are open during twilight hours.
To discuss any special requirements contact Parks and Wildlife Service’s Jurien Bay office on 08 9688 6000. More information on AccessWA.
Lesueur National Park
One of the most important reserves for flora conservation in WA, with much of its exceptionally diverse flora found nowhere else in the world, Lesueur National Park erupts into colour in late winter and early spring. This is a wildflower enthusiast’s paradise!
Driving is a great way to see the diverse wildflowers and the 18.5km bitumen Lesueur Scenic Drive takes in the most scenic parts of the park. Regular stopping points allow you to get out of the car and enjoy the plants close-up. Be sure to drop into Drummonds. Here you will find interpretive signs and a 250m trail to Wilson lookout that is sealed and low gradient and provides a good view over the valley. Further along the drive, stop at Cockleshell Gully in the heart of park for a picnic in the shady woodland. There is designated parking, accessible toilets and hardened paths at both sites.
Pro tip – Birds and reptiles are abundant in the park so keep an eye out for one of the 122 species of native birds and 52 reptile species, particularly Carnaby’s cockatoo and geckoes.
Kalbarri National Park
Offering both coastal and inland attractions, Kalbarri National Park surrounds the lower reaches of the Murchison River, which cuts a magnificent 80-kilometre gorge through the red and white banded sandstone. You can experience scenic gorge views from Nature’s Window and The Loop parking area, Hawks Head and the Ross Graham Lookout and soaring sea cliffs from Red Bluff, Natural Bridge and Island Rock. There are designated parking bays, unisex accessible toilets and sealed paths at these sites, but no toilets at Red Bluff and Island Rock. A 1.2km section of the Bigurda Trail between Natural Bridge and Island Rock has been improved with sealed paths and an 800m boardwalk to provide more accessibility. Park entry fees apply, with concessions.
Pro tip – Amazing wildflowers set the park ablaze with colour from July to November. Be aware that the park can be very hot at times and there is no drinking water available at sites.
For more information contact Parks and Wildlife Geraldton office on 08 9964 0901. For more information about Kalbarri sites check out AccessWA.
Monkey Mia Reserve
For one of the best known up-close wildlife experiences, head to Monkey Mia Reserve in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, where you can be within metres of wild bottlenose dolphins which visit the shores every morning. Three generations of dolphins living in the Shark Bay Marine Park are now regular visitors to the beach. Monkey Mia Visitor Centre has interpretive displays providing insight into dolphins and the unique Shark Bay regions. There is designated parking, unisex accessible toilets and sealed paths throughout the site. The beach is accessible on a 1:14 timber ramp and you can borrow a beach wheelchair with large pneumatic tyres, that can be immersed in water, from the visitor centre at no charge. Park entry fees apply, with concessions.
Pro tip – Dolphins visit the beach whenever they choose but mostly in the morning, so best to allow plenty of time in your travel schedule and phone the centre to ask about the best time to visit.
When in the area, check out Eagle Bluff Lookout, Shell Beach and Peron Homestead.
For more information contact Monkey Mia Visitor Centre on 08 9948 1366. For information on AccessWA.
Francois Peron National Park
Once a pastoral station, Francois Peron National Park in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area provides a great experience to what life would have like on a remote sheep station. The park also offers rare wildlife and spectacular coastal scenery with dramatic contrasts of red cliffs, blue water and white beaches of the Shark Bay Marine Park. The Peron heritage precinct is accessible by two-wheel drive with a small interpretive centre, self-guided walk on compacted limestone paths, unisex accessible toilet and change room and ‘hot tub’, where you can soak in hot artesian water that once supplied stock. If you want to venture further, a high clearance four-wheel drive is essential. The tracks of deep soft sand to Cape Peron and other sites offer challenging conditions for drivers, however you are rewarded with stunning landscape, coastline and chance to see wildlife, both land and marine. A new campground at Big Lagoon has hardened camp sites, accessible toilets and compacted paths. A great place for adventurous souls. Park entry fees apply, with concessions.
Pro tip – North of the heritage precinct is an amazing place, but it’s not for everyone, make sure you are prepared for your visit and that the facilities meet your requirements.
When in the area, check out Monkey Mia, Eagle Bluff Lookout, Shell Beach and Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve.
For more information, contact the Parks and Wildlife Denham office on 08 9948 2226. Information about Peron Homestead on AccessWA and for information on other sites in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area on AccessWA.
Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Marine Park
Where the desert meets the sea, Cape Range National Park boasts rocky gorges of arid, rugged ridges providing a spectacular contrast to the vibrant Ningaloo Marine Park. Both in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage listed area, the parks can be appreciated along the stunning drive on sealed roads all the way to Yardie Creek. Along the way, stop off at Milyering Discovery Centre for information and interpretive displays of the parks. There is designated parking, accessible toilets, small shop with souvenirs and refreshments. Check out Turquoise Bay, Sandy Bay and Yardie Creek where you will find designated parking, unisex toilets and hardened paths. If you like to camp, check out the facilities at Kurrajong and Osprey campgrounds. Park entry fees apply, with concessions.
Pro tip – Looks stunning but can be harsh, temperatures soar in summer so ensure you have plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing. There is no drinking water available other than at the discovery centre.
When in the area, check out the Jurabi Turtle Centre and nearby Hunters Beach in Jurabi Coastal Park to watch the humpback whales or turtles (seasonal) from the purpose built viewing platforms and shelters along the beach.
For more information, contact Milyering Discovery Centre on 08 9947 2808.
Millstream Homestead Visitor Centre
Millstream Homestead is an oasis in the desert and the hub for exploring the Millstream Chichester National Park which is sacred land for the Yinjibarndi people. This 1920’s ex-pastoral station homestead has been retained as an interpretive centre, allowing you to experience the way life used to be for the pastoralists and the Yinjibarndi people. A haven in this harsh landscape, the homestead is open daily but not staffed. There is a parking area, hardened paths throughout the site, unisex accessible toilet and shower and picnic facilities. The Homestead Walk is a 750m long interpretive trail looping through the Millstream wetlands and Jirndawurrunha Pool. There are bridges and seats along the way and most of the trail surface is compacted, however some areas can get boggy and loose after rain.
Pro tip – Jirndawurrunha Pool and surrounding streams has deep cultural significance to the local people, so as tempting as it is, swimming is not permitted.
When in the area, check out Miliyanha Campground, Cliff Lookout and Deep Reach Pool. The 20km scenic Snappy Gum Drive transects Millstream from range, to woodlands, to wetlands and river (two-wheel drive only when signs indicate). During summer, temperatures frequently top 40 degrees Celsius. There is no drinking water in the park except at the visitor centre.
For more information, contact Parks and Wildlife Karratha office on 08 9182 2000.
Karijini Visitor Centre, Karijini National Park
The Karijini Visitor Centre is a great place to start your exploration of the expansive Karijini National Park with its spectacular rugged scenery, ancient geological formations and variety of arid-land ecosystems. The design of the visitor centre building represents a goanna moving through the country and is symbolic to the Banyjima Aboriginal people. The world-class interpretive displays take you on a journey of places and people, past and present, through stories of geology, plants, animals and Aboriginal people and their culture. Local Aboriginal people manage the centre providing you with the chance to speak with them and learn about their lives. There is designated parking, accessible toilets and showers and a small shop selling refreshments and some items.
Pro tip – Look out for the goanna artwork on the rock at the front door of the centre explaining the building design concept.
When in the area, check out Dales, Fortescue Falls Lookout, Hamersley Gorge and Circular Pool. Although access into the gorge may not be possible, there are sealed paths to lookouts giving spectacular views. During summer, temperatures frequently top 40 degrees Celsius. There is no drinking water in the park except at the visitor centre.
For more information, contact Karijini Visitor Centre on 08 9189 8121.
Geikie Gorge National Park
Famed for its spectacular multi-coloured gorge, abundant wildlife and awesome boat tours, Geikie Gorge National Park is sacred land for the Bunuba Aboriginal people. The gorge has been carved by the Fitzroy River through part of an ancient limestone barrier reef which snakes through the west Kimberley. Geikie Gorge boat tours take place from May to October and are a great way to experience the stunning river landscape and river wildlife. The new boat, Ms Casey Ross, can accommodate people in wheelchairs. There is a charge for the boat tour with concessions. There is designated parking, accessible toilets, shelter and hardened paths throughout.
Pro tip – Don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and water particularly if you’re going on a boat tour as it can get quite hot.
For more information, contact Parks and Wildlife Broome office on 08 9191 5500 or email [email protected].
Mirima National Park
Also known as Hidden Valley, Mirima National Park is only a kilometre east of Kununurra. The drive along Hidden Valley Road provides a spectacular view of the natural rock formations, similar to those of Purnululu National Park. Mirima is a culturally significant place for the local Miriwoong people and ceremonies continue to be performed at special sites within the park. Hidden Valley has a small parking area taking you right amongst the rock formations with designated parking, accessible unisex toilet and hardened paths. The Looking at Plants Nature Trail heads off from here and is a 400m loop trail of hardened path and boardwalk featuring trailside signs about the plants of the valley. Park entry fees apply, with concessions.
Pro tip – Although the dry season of May to October is the most popular time to visit the Kimberley, Hidden Valley is accessible and worth seeing all year round.
For more information contact Parks and Wildlife Kununurra office on 08 9168 4200.
You will find some helpful tips on planning your activity including park closures on Explore Parks WA.
Park entry fees apply, with concessions, at some of these sites and funds go directly to conservation programs and developing and managing facilities. If you plan to visit a number of parks or over an extended period, park passes offer value for money and convenience. The Annual All Parks Pass and Goldstar Pass are also available at a concession rate. Contact us to see if there is an Annual Local Park Pass available for your area. You can purchase these from our online shop, at Parks and Wildlife offices and selected retail outlets.
Organised outings for groups with disability, aged and infirm groups accompanied by carers may be eligible for an entry fee waiver. Contact us if you would like to apply for a fee waiver.
For many years now, Western Australian national parks and attractions have been designed with accessibility in mind. You may not know, but most of our major attractions are suitable for people with a range of accessibility requirements.
Parks and Wildlife design all new recreation sites and renovate existing sites to provide access for people with disability wherever possible. We plan and manage for a range of experiences and access levels from highly developed and accessible, to remote areas with minimal visitor facilities and access modifications.
Our designers and land managers weigh up the level of accessibility against protection of the area and provide as much accessibility as possible without compromising the experience of the place or its natural or cultural values.
We hope you enjoy your experience in nature.