Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
5 May 2006 - Fitzgerald River National Park

Location map The Internet weather service I use was forecasting rain showers along the south coast today but one of the commercial television channels was forecasting a lower probability of rain. Hoping the drier forecast would be correct we set off in the morning for the Fitzgerald River National Park beginning just to the west of Hopetoun.

The bitumen access road quickly changed to gravel, as expected, before we entered the park itself. There is a main road through the park, initially with side roads going off to the south to various beaches and cliff lookouts. The road is generally wide enough for two vehicles to pass and the surface is mostly good gravel but the surface is quite heavily corrugated in parts.
Fitzgerald River Left: Fitzgerald River National Park stretched along the southern coast is accessible by gravel roads.
Fitzgerald River flowers Flowers in Fitzgerald National Park
Fitzgerald River flowers Flowers in Fitzgerald National Park

The Fitzgerald River National Park lies across different geological structures resulting in substantial variation in scenery, especially along the coast where Southern Ocean wave action has carved out some interesting scenery. Dominant vegetation is a form of heath with a wide variety of banksia type woody shrubs bearing an astonishing variety of flowers. Plants are generally a metre or less high so visitors can see for many kilometres across the scrub which is a verdant green despite the low rainfall. Red and yellow are popular colours for flowers in a bizarre range of shapes. The place must be truly remarkable in the main wildflower season in the spring. Reportedly many plant species are found only in this park.

There are many short and long walking tracks, mainly along the coast, and maps of the park are quite useful. The weather was generally reasonable but I had to wait for about ten minutes on one occasion until a rain squall had passed over a rocky cove I wanted to photograph.

Fitzgerald River National Park was a remarkable place which restored my flagging faith in national parks as places to visit for short periods. I look forward to going back there in the spring.