Distance: 12.5 kms ( more or less, depending which route you take).
Where: Yanchep, 50 minutes from Perth
Time: 4.5 hours
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, 2L water and sturdy enclosed shoes
Cost: $12 entry per car.
NOTE: The park gate is open from 8:30pm to 5pm. Don’t get locked in!
Why Do This:
A trip to Yanchep National Park is kind of like taking a trip to a natural theme park.
You can see koalas, have a bbq beside a wetland, picnic amongst kangaroos, take a cave tour, have drink at the Inn, or choose from 9 walk trails that range from 500m to 17kms. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy commercial, there truly is something here for every age, fitness and personality type.
Although tempted by the koalas, we came with a mission: to do the Ghost House Walk. This 12.5km trail winds through the park’s wetlands, coastal heath, rocky plains, tuart forests and past the ruins of an old homestead. Despite their ghostly name, these ruins are far from spooky. In fact, they’re quite open, well lit, and are just one of the points of interest along this walk.
My favourite discovery was a shallow cave just past the Shappcott campsite, halfway along the trail. Accessible by a sneaky path through trees and vines, this small limestone cave was home to two large beehives. Having never seen a beehive in the wild before, it was a surprise to see delicate scallop-shaped sheets of honeycomb hanging from the cave ceiling. While their buzzing was quite threatening, the bees didn’t seem worried by our closeness or by my excited yelling and picture taking.
The caves weren’t the only place that local bees had set up camp. As we continued on the walk, we spotted many tree hollows and branches that have been turned into makeshift hives. (Tip: don’t sit on any fallen logs – I learnt that these also can be beehives.)
On the topic of trees, another highlight of the Ghost House Walk was travelling through a large stretch of shady Tuart forest. Perhaps I’m too easily impressed but these giant tuart trees really are something special, particularly for a hills girl who grew up around gangly Jarrahs.
After the forest, the Ghost House Walk takes you through a sandy coastal plain, past some old WWII radar bunkers and finishes in a car park. You can stop here and leg it to Yanchep Inn, or like us, you can add on the short Dwerta Mia or Boomerang Gorge Walks for some bonus caves and scenery.
My advice is to grab one of the free maps from the visitor centre before you begin. That way you can easily mix and match the trails to create your own adventure. That’s the beauty of Yanchep National Park – with such a variety of landscapes, trails and activities, you can do as much or as little as you like, maybe even sneak in quick visit to those koalas. Go on, you know you want to!
Map & Directions
The park is easy to find, with a signposted turn off from Wanneroo Road. Stop and pay at the gate and drive down to the car park. In the middle of the lawn area, you’ll spot the McNess visitor centre. One of the friendly park rangers will give you a map and clear directions to any walk you want to take.
If you do choose the Ghost House Walk, walk down towards the left side of the wetlands, until you see a giant blue rain drop. (Seriously). This is the start of the Wetlands walk which leads to the Ghost House Walk. Follow the clear trail until you see the entry sign. From then on, look for the yellow arrow with the ghost and bats. Easy!