D’Entrecasteaux National Park is one of the wildest and most rugged places you’ll find down south. Think jagged cliffs, lonely beaches and sand dunes that move on their own. A large part of the park is only accessible by four-wheel drive, but luckily for us proud Yaris owners, it’s also got a sealed road that takes you right up to the edge of some spectacular scenery. Heading down Windy Harbour Road from the town of Northcliffe, here are four places that are worth stopping the car for.
1. Mount Chudalup
Mount Chudalup doesn’t look like much from the road but don’t let that fool you. Surrounded by tall forest, the short 1km walk to the top of this giant granite outcrop rewards you with incredible 360 degree views of the national park. Even the trail itself is interesting, with vegetation that changes dramatically from lush karri trees, to dry banskia and grasstrees, to colourful moss and lichens as you climb the rock. Once you reach the summit of Mount Chudalup, you’ll have an excellent view of sand dunes, coastal cliffs and kilometres of heathlands.
For a different perspective, check out Way To Much Coffee’s blog post on Mount Chudalup and its surrounds.
2. Salmon Beach
The next stop is secluded Salmon Beach. Edged by huge, ominous-looking cliffs, this white sand beach looks like it could be the set of a fantasy film; or at least inspire some poetry. We visited late Tuesday morning mid December, and we could only spot one other set of footsteps on the sand, so if you visit out of school holiday season, you’ll most likely have the beach to yourself. While this isn’t a spot for swimming, it does make a great place for a walk, dramatic selfie or just a moment of complete peace and quiet.
The view from Tookalup is a good reminder than you’re just one tiny person in a giant world. Tookalup lookout gives you sweeping views across the cliffs of Salmon Beach to Point D’Entrecasteaux, and outward to an endless expanse of deep blue ocean. Signage at the lookout mentions that Tookalup is an excellent vantage point for spotting humpack and right whales during May to November. If you’re lucky enough to spot a whale from this magical spot, please let me know so I can be very, very jealous.
4. Point D’Entrecasteaux
Point D’Entrecasteux is the last stop on the drive and it goes above and beyond with scenery. This point is the start or finish of a number of short walks, including the Coastal Survivors Walk that takes you down to Cathedral Rock and Windy Harbour (this trail looked awesome, I probably should have done it) and the Pupalong Loop Walk that offers fantastic cliff views while being 100% wheelchair accessible. Another highlight of this spot is The Window – a hole in one of the cliffs that gives you a slightly frightening yet very photogenic view of the steep drop to the ocean below.
While these were my four highlights of D’Entrecasteaux National Park, there are plenty more to explore nearby and along the way, like the tiny holiday settlement of Windy Harbour, Sunset Lookout, Gardner Lookout and Cathedral Rock. Plus lots of off-road adventures for those lucky enough to own a 4WD.
One final note:
There are no shops in D’Entrecasteux National Park so bring plenty of water and snacks for the trip. You can stock up on supplies at Northcliffe – I have it on good authority that Northcliffe bakery does a good old-fashioned chicken and salad roll!
Map & Directions
We accessed D’Entrecasteaux Drive via Windy Harbour Road from Northcliffe.
The town of Northcliffe is approximately a 35 minute drive from Pemberton.