The national park is also fringed by wild, white beaches on the edge of the Southern Ocean. You can reach these on 4WD and walking tracks, some of which form part of the epic Bibbulmun Track. Visit Mandalay Beach to see the Norwegian shipwreck Mandalay, go surfing from Conspicuous Beach or soak up invigorating views from Conspicuous Cliff Lookout and Rame Head. Walk past grazing kangaroos to Gap Beach and relax in the aptly-named paradise of Peaceful Bay.
From Walpole you can also cruise along Walpole and Nornalup Inlets on a houseboat, or do the Knoll Scenic Drive along the peninsula that connects the two inlets. Further upstream lies Fernhook Falls, a popular place to walk, camp, swim and picnic. For spectacular views over the region’s forested valleys, tackle the short, steep climb to the top of Mount Frankland. Another great vantage point is Hilltop Lookout, east of town.
The region is rich in birdlife, from the karri and tingle forest to the shoreline and shallows of the rivers and inlets to the Southern Ocean coastline. You can spot migrating whales along Walpole’s windswept coastline from June to September. Between September and November, the region is cloaked in colourful wildflowers, from the coastal heathlands to the forest floor.
Walpole’s grand, soaring forests make a great introduction to the region’s other natural attractions.