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The Pilbara National Parks & Wildlife WA

Ningaloo Marine Park

Offshore, the Ningaloo Reef stretches from north to south for 260km and protects a lagoon rich in marine life. Fantastic coral formations, rare starfish, Dugongs, Whale Sharks, playful Dolphins and giant Hump- Backed Whales are some of the fascinating marine life that inhabit the waters. In season, sheltered sand beaches serve as nesting rookeries for turtles. Several historic ship wrecks can also be found in the Park.

Leisure fishermen, angling for their own needs, are welcome in the Marine Park's recreation and general use zones. Special regulations apply and fishing and collecting are not permitted in the Park's eight sanctuary zones.

Fish are plentiful and common species include Sweetlip, Spangled Emperor and several types of Trevally. In deeper water, Spanish Mackerel, Wahoo, Tuna and Sailfish can be caught.

Some 220 species of coral and 500 species of fish have been recorded in the Park.

The world's biggest fish, the Whale Shark, regularly swims in these waters. Growing up to 40,000kg and 18m long, these monsters of the deep drift slowly across ocean currents filtering water for the plankton they feed on.

Marine mammals such as Dolphins, Humpback Whales and the Dugong can often be seen cavorting in or near the reef lagoon. During summer, green and Loggerhead Turtles make their way up the beaches to lay their eggs.

Cape Range National Park

Situated mostly On the west side of North West Cape, the Cape Range National Park is a spectacular place of rugged limestone ranges, deep canyons and 50 km of pristine beaches.

The park covers some 50,581ha and its boundary is only 40km from Exmouth.

Cape Range resulted from a gradual uplifting of the sea floor, fluctuating sea levels and the action of wind, rain and seaspray which weathered the range and plain.

Many rocks in the area are embedded with fossils. On the coastal plain on the west side of the range, fossilized coral reef are testimony to the primitive ecology of another time.

A highlight of any visit to the park is Yardie Creek. Here, a sand bar traps the deep blue water of the gorge catching striking reflections of multi-coloured bands in the sheer canyon walls.

A small population of rock wallabies dwell in the sheer walls of the gorge and add to its idyllic nature, while Euros and red kangaroos dot the coastal plain.

To fully appreciate the wonders of the park visit the MilyeringVisitor Centre. The centre has an array of models, videos, a library selection and many graphic displays.

The nearest towns for supplies are:
Exmouth 40km from the northern end of the park 85km from Yardie Creek,
Coral Bay: 70km from the southern end of the park 112km from Yardie Creek Gorge.

Cape Range it self is largely inaccessible, but two roads run from the Learmonth- Exmouth Road into the range from the east.

Shothole Canyon Road winds along the bottom of a steep-sided canyon.

Charles Knife Road runs along a razor- back ridge to the crest of the Range. (WAPET drilled for oil here, in the 1950s, and the capped well-head is at the end of the road).

While both roads are signposted, they are steep and winding and unsuitable for caravans and trailers. Please also note that there is no access through to the coast.

On the west coast, there are a number of camping areas and car parks on the shore of Ningaloo Marine Park.

Travellers should note that there is almost no permanent surface water in the Cape Range. Please carry water at all times.

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park is renowned for its spectacular mountains, gorges, water- courses and plateaux, and is second only in size to the State's Rudall River National Park.

Possibly its most remarkable features are the gorges in the northern section of the Park - dramatic chasms up to 100m deep, some filled with permanent pools of clear, fresh water.

A feeling of total exhilaration can be had at Oxer's Lookout; the junction of Red, Weano, Joffre and Hancock Gorges. Access is available, though at times not easy, to most gorges. Camping is only permitted in areas designated by CALM.

Wildflowers vary in abundance with the season and from year to year, but there is always something attractive in bloom, particularly in the cooler months.

Millstream-Chichester National Park

In contrast to the Kariljini National Park, scenes in this Park vary from magnificent views over the coastal plain to the permanent river pools of Millstream. Excellent swimming conditions and informal camping areas are available.

An uncharacteristic "oasis" of date palms believed to have been introduced by camel drivers last century, lily ponds and the Millstream Palm are major attractions. Another curiosity of this unique Park is the large colony of fruit bats, also known as flying foxes, which inhabit the area. Python Pool is a beautiful natural rock pool, beneath the Chichester Range, enticing to swimmers. A very informative visitors centre is located at the Millstream Homestead.

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