Yesterday we visited Yanchep National Park, north of Perth. I went there on my first visit to Perth in 1966 (when I played golf for the first and last time in my life – I was not very good at it!), and so I was looking forward to the chance to go back.
We were provided with maps by a friend, and had figured out that we could get there by public transport: bus into Perth, train to Butler, then another bus, which would leave us by the side of a busy road a few kilometres from the park. It turned out that there was no footpath beside the road, so we simply had to take our chances. A park employee later told us that the local public transport authority has no interest in providing transport to “tourist attractions”, and despite having been asked often to extend the bus route the short distance into the park, has refused to do so. How stupid is that?
Anyway, we walked by the side of the road, and finally reached a point where a path (part of several marked trails) passed adjacent to the road. So with a sigh of relief we took the path and had a wonderful walk. At the end, a park official berated us for not obeying the rules, which require you to fill in and sign a form before you set out on a trail (just in case the park catches fire!) Of course we hadn’t seen the rules. They are not on the map; if you come by car you will probably see them, but it seems people are not supposed to arrive at a national park on their own feet!
The trail we followed was the Ghost House Walk Trail, a circuit of about 12.4km. All that is left of the Ghost House is a doorway, but the path itself went through extremely varied terrain with a great variety of plant life including many lovely wildflowers. Since I posted some Kings Park wildflowers last week, I thought I would concentrate on animal (including bird and insect) life this week. As well as these, we saw many other birds including ringneck parrots, cockatoos, galahs, crows, willy wagtails, and Pacific black ducks.
As a final nod to Nicolas Baudin, the cockatoos we saw were probably Baudin’s black-cockatoo, though they may have been Carnaby’s.
See Yanchep while you can. A block of land right next to the park has been bought by a developer; the whole area is being bulldozed and turned into Perth suburbs, and no doubt it won’t be long before Yanchep is reduced to an isolated urban green space. (Of course it may be easier to reach by public transport then!)