Cape Range National Park
Situated on the west side of the North West Cape is the Cape Range National Park, covering over 50,000 hectares. The National park is a dramatic backdrop of rugged limestone ranges, breathtaking deep canyons and 50km of pristine, white, sandy beaches.
In ancient times the range was isolated as an island as rising sea levels inundated lower lying areas. As a result of this geographic isolation there are some species of plants and animals that are endemic to the area.
Over 700 caves are catalogued in the area and many remain undiscovered. There are numerous gorges and sanctuary areas that provide a haven for wildlife and are ready for exploring!
On the West side
This sanctuary zone area of the Ningaloo includes a bird hide which overlooks a lagoon area. A variety of birds roost in the lagoon at high tide and many feed on small fish and other marine life in the shallow waters.
Milyering, the National Park Visitor Centre is 52km from Exmouth. Here interpretive displays, audio-visual facilities and a library containing a wealth of information on the National and Marine Parks, Whale sharks, Mantas, Humpbacks and other wildlife are on hand to help visitors appreciate the natural environment. National Park rangers are on site to assist with enquiries.
Mandu Mandu Gorge
A 3km walking trail allows access into this dry gorge. The trail starts from the end of the Mandu Mandu track and follows the northern ridge of the gorge, offering stunning panoramic views. Snorkelling from the site is also spectacular with the advantage of being the closest point to the Ningaloo reef – just metres from the beach!
One of the best bays for snorkelling from the beach. This bay has a mild tidal current which forms a fantastic relaxing drift snorkel, in stunning colours. Make sure to read where to enter and exit the water.
Another Ningaloo snorkelling gem. Check out this bay at high tide to see a huge array or corrals, fishes, turtles and more!
The road from Exmouth through Cape Range National Park ends at Yardie Creek. Centuries of erosion have formed a spectacular multi-coloured gorge. Hidden within the safety of the gorge walls is a colony of black-footed rock wallabies. Yardie is the only gorge in the area with permanent water, in the form of salt water fed from the ocean. The beginnings of the gorge are deep in the limestone range. There is a relatively easy path along the top of the of the gorge or you can view the gorge by boat from one the boat cruises.
On the East side
Turn off the Minilya Exmouth Road 14km south of Exmouth. This canyon was named after the shotholes left by the explosive charge fixed to set up miniature earthquakes for seismographic studies during the oil searches in the 1950’s. The gravel road meanders over dry creek beds along the gorge floor and offers close examination of the colourful rock layers of the sheer canyon walls. At the end of the 15km road there is a picnic area and a short walking trail.
Charles Knife Canyon
This scenic drive is not to be missed. Turn west off the Minilya Exmouth Road 21km south of town. The mostly gravel road follows the razor-backed ridges of the range and provides breathtaking downward views into the stark multicoloured gorges. There are several lookout points that provide fantastic photo opportunities and a marked walking trail from Thomas Carter Lookout.