The South-West Wine Region Sights

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Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park

Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Review

This national park clutches one of Western Australia's most spectacular coastlines, from Cape Naturaliste by Geographe Bay in the north, to Cape Leeuwin, close to Augusta in the south. The park is not a composite destination, rather a narrow patchwork of protected areas along the coast, intersected by beach access roads and small beachside villages, and traced by the Cape to Cape Trail.

The mostly-unspoiled coastal vistas are as awe-inspiring as any in the world—on a calm day the view northwards from Yallingup past Sugarloaf Rock towards Cape Naturaliste is nature at its best and it's often sprinkled with surfing dolphins. Farther south, between Cowaramup Bay and Karridale, scenic lookouts allow you to access coastal cliffs and rocky shoreline that bear the brunt of giant ocean swells generated across thousands of miles of Indian Ocean.

In addition to the scenic attractions of the coast, the park sits over limestone ridges where numerous caves have formed over the millennia, leached out by dripping water. A number of these caves are open to the public, including Lake, Mammoth, Jewel, Moondyne Joe (June–December only), and Ngilgi. Boranup Karri Forest, near Karridale creates a contrast to the coast—the distinctive, pale-bark hardwood giants reach 190 feet or more and dominate the hills and valleys of this area. This is the farthest west that karri trees grow in Western Australia, and, interestingly, Boranup is a regrowth forest; it was cut over by loggers more than 100 years ago, and 1961 wildfire destroyed many trees. The most breaktaking stretch lies about 20 mintues' drive south of Margaret River on Caves Road—you'll know it when you hit it because the beauty is unmistakable.

Updated: 01-15-2014

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