I’m really thrilled and grateful to have a story in print again and this time in a new publication for me, 4WD Touring Australia. The story is on ‘Shark Bay – The Red White and Blue of Francois Peron National Park’ and the edition is dedicated mostly to Western Australia, ‘Westworld’ as it is titled. Unfortunately they have spelt my name wrong in the byline but despite that, hopefully the story does the region justice and the photos by myself and the publisher Carlisle Rogers, look stunning in the publication. I think one of the things that stood out most to me when visiting WA for the first time was the intensity and brilliance of the diametrically opposed colours of the landscape. This was no more obvious than when we visited this park.
The Peron Peninsula is around 830 kilometres from Perth, (between Kalbarri and Carnarvon). When we were touring we stayed in the town of Denham, definitely worth spending a few days there in itself, and only about 10 kilometres to the start of the National Park.
This is one of the most fun 4wd drives to take, it has everything from a deep red, soft sand, single track road, to glaringly white sand beaches to drive on and the turquoise Indian Ocean to dip into as a reward for the 50 kilometre drive to the tip of the cape. It is one for high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles, our Toyota Landcruiser loved it, but leave the caravan behind because you won’t get it through the narrow and deep rutted track.
The first thing we found really impressive was the tyre pressure station where you could quickly deflate tyres to a safe pressure, (they recommend 20psi, we went down to 16 and had no issues over any of the terrain). There was a lot of room here for vehicles to stop and others to pass and stations were set up on both sides of the track going in and out.
This is a park full of wildlife if you keep your eyes peeled, we saw goannas and emus aplenty. It was a stinking hot day when we were there, so much so that even galahs were seeking shade. Not us galahs though, the views were worth the heat and humidity, but one big tip is wear decent covered shoes while you’re trekking through the red dunes to get to the top of the scenic cliffs and lookout areas (not thongs like we were) to stop your feet from burning in the blisteringly scorching red dirt.
There are so many stand out places to visit within the park so give yourself at least a whole day to visit, or better still, throw in a tent and stay a while in one of the designated campgrounds.
In my opinion if I had to name two of the most absolute take your breath away, ‘I’m never leaving’ places to visit are Skipjack Point and Herald Bight.
Skipjack Point is mind blowing, if the photos make your eyes pop then magnify that feeling tenfold to experience it in person. The ocean is teeming with life and the manta rays here are just incredible to watch. At times they literally fly out of the water as they cruise by.
When we ventured down another red sand track towards Herald Bight we had to pinch ourselves that we had this all to ourselves, no one about, and only sharing the water with dolphins and manta rays, UNBELIEVABLE. If you get the chance to visit, pick a perfect sunny day and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
The combination of 4 Wheel driving, wildlife encounters, pristine beaches and solitude makes this a perfect destination for getting away from it all.
Viva Francois Peron National Park!