South West National Parks
Few areas in Australia are blessed with the number and variety of national parks found in WA’s southwest. They offer breathtaking beauty and diversity – rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, magnificent wildflowers and some of the world’s tallest forests.
It is also one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Almost 80 per cent of the plant species are found nowhere else on earth. The varied range of wildflowers, forests and native animals all contribute to the rare and unique nature of the region. It is also renowned for its abundance of birdlife as most of WA’s endemics occur here.
You will also experience a vast array of habitats where you will see other wildlife. We’ll be walking through open woodlands, outback arid areas, an offshore island, coastal heaths, peppermint trees and karri forests.
We are only taking a maximum of 12 guests, led by two Coate’s naturalists; one will focus on the birds of the region and the second will guide you through some of the botanical hotspots in the area. It will be like having your own private guide.
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Extended Trip Details
|Day 1||Perth - Dryandra - Narrogin||This morning we’ll leave Perth around 7.30 am and head south east to Dryandra Woodland. Dryandra is an especially scenic area with magnificent woodlands and spectacular wildflowers in spring. Many interesting eucalypt species and flora are found here; it is also of international importance for birds and mammals, the latter including that most exquisite of marsupials, the striped numbat. Although the numbat is probably Dryandra's best known inhabitant, woylies, tammar wallabies, brushtail possums, tawny frogmouths, kangaroos and wallabies are regularly seen by visitors to Dryandra. More than 100 species of bird live in the area, including the mound-building mallee fowl. We will spend the afternoon exploring the area before enjoying a BBQ dinner. After dinner we will take a spotlight walk in Narrogin. Accommodation: Motel Narrogin LD|
|Day 2||Narrogin - Wave Rock - Hyden||This morning we’ll leave Narrogin and continue our journey eastward to Hyden. During the day we will pass through the wheatbelt towns of Kulin and Kondinin. Kulin Shire has an abundance of wonderful wildflower reserves. They are as rich and varied as any in the world. Hopkins Nature Reserve comes to life in early spring and is an extremely important flora conservation area. Roadside flora will also be abundant during the day. When we arrive in Hyden we’ll have time to visit one of WA’s biggest waves despite being a long way from the ocean. The famous rock formation called ‘Wave Rock‘ has been 700 million years in the making and rises 15 metres above the outback ground. Venture further into this ancient landscape and you'll discover a huge variety of striking geological features. Many are also the subject of fascinating Indigenous Dreamtime stories, and the site of beautiful Indigenous rock art. Accommodation: Motel Hyden BLD|
|Day 3||Hyden - Norseman||On our travels from Hyden to Norseman we’ll pass through a semi-arid zone. This area offers many interesting geological highlights, including McDermid Rock and the Breakaways. Accommodation: Motel Norseman BLD|
|Day 4||Norseman - Esperance||This morning we’ll head south to Esperance. We’ll travel via the Old Coach Road, visiting some natural history and historical sites along the way. Accommodation: Motel Esperance BLD|
|Day 5 & 6||Esperance||We will spend the next two days exploring the national parks in the Esperance area. We’ll visit Cape Arid and Cape Le Grande National Parks. Cape Arid lies at the eastern extremity of the South-Western botanical province and overlaps the boundary of the Eremaean botanical province (the arid zone). Therefore, as well as including beaches and the Thomas River and estuary, it also includes south-western and more arid vegetation types, providing a broad array of bird habitats. Wild coastal scenery, rugged granite peaks, and sweeping heathlands characterise Cape Le Grand National Park. Popular features in the park include attractive bays with wide sandy beaches set between rocky headlands. Accommodation: Motel Esperance BLD|
|Day 7||Esperance - Recherche Archipelago Crusie and Pink Lake - Esperance||Today we’ll set off on a morning cruise from Esperance through the Recherché Archipelago to the waters around Woody Island. Woody Island Nature Reserve is approximately 15km off the coast of Esperance and is one of nature’s wonders. The island is one of the one hundred islands in the Recherche Archipelago, known to locals as the Bay of Isles. The waters around the island make for great sightings of spectacular wildlife. All sorts of marine life thrive in these waters including fur seals, sea lions and dolphins, as well as a range of birds including Cape Barren Geese and White-breasted Sea Eagles. After lunch will travel to Pink Lake just out side Esperance. This lakes unique colour is the result of a combination of Green Alga and/or Brine Prawn. Pink lake is also well known for its bird life, being recognised by BirdLife International as an important area for Hooded Plovers and Banded Stilts. Accommodation: Motel Esperance BLD|
|Day 8||Esperance - Hopetoun||We’ll leave Esperance this morning and begin our journey westward to the Fitzgerald River National Park. Our drive takes us past Pink Lake and Stokes National Park (featuring one of the most picturesque estuaries along WA’s southern coast). We can also expect to see a great display of roadside wildflowers in the way to Hopetoun. Accommodation: Motel Hopetoun BLD|
|Day 9||Hopetoun - Fitzgerald River National Park - Bremer Bay||Today we’ll find ourselves on the doorstep of the Fitzgerald River National Park, which is one the largest and most botanically significant National Parks in Australia. Nearly 20 per cent of Western Australia’s flora species are found in the park, many of which only occur here. Our first point of interest is Mt Barren (which we’ll visit if the access road is open). We’ll continue our botanical journey travelling through the national park. Here we’ll see many plant varieties, including the Royal Hakea, Regelia Bottlebrush, Prostrate Banksia, Quaalup Bell, the Whipstick Mallee and Trigger plant. Accommodation: Bremer Bay Motel BLD|
|Day 10||Fitzgerald River National Park||Today we’ll have the entire day to spend exploring the natural wonders of the west end of the Fitzgerald River National Park. The park covers over 120,000 acres and houses a wide variety of habitats including heathlands, wetlands, scrublands and rugged mountains (by Australian standards). We will walk the trails and may climb one of the mountains to enjoy the excellent views. The bird life here is abundant, ranging in size from large Emus to tiny Emu-wrens, Fairy Wrens and Thornbills. Accommodation: Bremer Bay Motel BLD|
|Day 11||Bremer Bay - Stirling Range - Albany||Today we’ll see the wonders of the Stirling Range National Park. On the way to the park you can observe the change in the vegetation to tall species of Eucalyptus, Jarrah and Marri. The Stirling Ranges are a striking feature of the landscape, with five peaks over 3000 feet high that rise abruptly from the coastal lowlands. The area receives more rainfall than its surrounding districts, allowing plants to thrive here that are not found elsewhere. Accommodation: Motel Albany BLD|
|Day 12||Albany - Waychinicup N.P. - 2 Peoples Bay - Albany||We will have an early start this morning to allow for a trip out to Waychinicup National Park. We’ll visit Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve boasting unspoilt coastal scenery. We will look and listen for the rare Noisy Scrub bird. Accommodation: Motel Albany BLD|
|Day 13||Albany - Denmark - Manjimup||Leaving Albany, today we’ll continue west and enter the main karri belt near Denmark. We’ll spend time walking through the karri forest, enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife. A visit to the Tree Top Walk and the Old Empire Walk in the Valley of the Giants will be a highlight of the day. Accommodation: Motel Manjimup BLD|
|Day 14||Manjimup - Perth||Leaving Manjimup behind we head to Perth. Our journey will take us through the coastal town of Bunbury where we will spend time exploring the wildlife found at Big Swamp and then onto Mandurah. Our tour ends with our arrival in Perth in the late afternoon. BL|
NOTE: the above itinerary may be varied according to conditions and advice.
Places AvailABLE ON 8 October 2022 DEPARTURE
๏Coates tour leader/ driver;
๏Coates Naturalist leader;
๏Well-maintained vehicle with all front-facing, seat-belted, coach-style seats;
๏Meals as per itinerary;
๏Morning tea each day;
๏Fresh fruit onboard daily;
๏All national park entrance fees;
๏Woody Island Cruise;
๏Tree Top Walk.
“It was a trip that I had longed for for many years and have now ticked off the bucket list and wish I could start all over again. Ray and Mike were wonderful tour guides….You have a superb business that I’ll shout from the roof tops to anyone who’ll listen.”
“A note just to say it how much I enjoyed and learnt on the recent trip with Peter and Alan. It was a great itinerary and they were such nice people. Peter is a great leader, organiser, driver and experienced wildlife expert and Alan’s botanical and historical knowledge and patience seemed to be endless. I would not have had such a fabulous experience of the south west on my own.”
“I’ve just returned from the South West Birds & Botany tour with Alan and Peter as leaders. It was fabulous, the knowledge they shared so readily and their obvious love of nature came through in every aspect of the trip. Their patience was amazing and they ensured we had a wonderful experience with lots of fun-filled memories.”
“Just a message to say how very much we enjoyed our tour, and how good a job Peter and Joe did. The whole tour was so well organised, and nothing was any trouble, so we felt well looked after all the way. Of course, the flowers and the wildlife performed their roles to perfection!”
“Thanks for a brilliant SW Birds and Botany trip. The design and execution were superb. In my view, the success of the trip was ultimately dependent on the guides. If they had lacked the expertise, it would have been too long and somewhat disappointing. Additionally, they also had great personalities – an expert guide is useless if s/he is not able to relate to all the clients (some can be quite difficult). You are very lucky to have them.”
“Sorry to be so long in providing feedback on this tour. I loved it! Alan and Peter worked very hard to give everyone the best tour. Often the needs of the botanists vied for time and sites with the birdos, but we were all well served. Lunches were great. It was everything I hoped for and more. I hope to travel with you again.”
“We have recently returned to NZ from WA. Writing to you to say how much we enjoyed the South West Birds & Botany trip last month. It was all very interesting with really good company. Rick is a very competent leader, very good knowledge of birds and ably assisted by Allen with extensive botanical knowledge. All the accommodation was very good and we were very well fed.”
“I would like you to know how much I enjoyed the Birds & Botany trip of the South West. My curiosity and deep interest in the wildflowers of Australia was amply satisfied. It was wonderful to have someone with the expertise of Alan Notley constantly at hand. Although getting to know the plant families was my prime objective, I was intrigued to realize that the most memorable things were to do with the other wildlife: birds and the sheer beauty of the landscape, particularly the exhilaration of getting up high on the ‘mountains’.
I shall treasure the memories of sighting two whales, even though at a distance that had to be brought nearer by binoculars and the thrill of watching the effortless flight of an albatross. Rick Curtis’s knowledge of birds and his ability to recognize them by their calls was astonishing and a challenge to me to try to develop a more sensitive ear. The two outstanding leaders and a lovely group combined to make a memorable holiday.”