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Travel Guide to Walpole, WA
Walpole WA has some of the most beautiful and pristine scenery in the South West, there's no doubt about it.
The wild country surrounding this tiny town on the south coast of Western Australia has so much to offer travellers and sightseers, in particular those who enjoy bush walking, fishing, canoeing/kayaking and 4WD adventuring.
For me, the main reasons for having a holiday in Walpole are to get back to nature by going bushwalking in the wilderness, and swimming, boating and canoeing on the windswept choppy inlet, or on the peaceful rivers that flow through the old growth forests of huge karri trees. It's a place where you can really get away from it all.
I also enjoy driving along scenic roads through the forests, along the inlet and through the rich green pastures north and east of town.
The Walpole Wilderness Area
The magnificent Walpole Wilderness Area surrounds the little town of Walpole WA on all sides, with forests of towering karri trees stretching from horizon to horizon, all the way down to a pristine coastal estuary and the rugged Southern Ocean coast beyond.
Here's a page all about exploring the Walpole Wilderness Area.
- Discover the best places to see the giant tinglewood trees
- Wilderness waterways - Walpole's inlets and rivers
- Accessing the remote coastline near Walpole WA
- National Parks and Nature Reserves of the Walpole Wilderness
The Walpole Western Australia Town Site
The actual town of Walpole is set on the northern shoreline of the peaceful Walpole Inlet. It's only a small town, but it has a friendly community with enough shops and services to supply everything you'll need for an enjoyable stay.
- Things to do in town, or within walking distance
- The beautiful views and landscapes surrounding town
- Where is the town of Walpole WA, and how do you get there?
- Practical info for travellers (internet access, etc)
Walpole's Tinglewood Trees - The Valley of the Giants
If I had to choose one thing that really sets Walpole apart, it would be the tinglewood trees because they only grow in a small area within the Walpole-Nornalup National Park and are really quite remarkable.
They're ancient and gnarled and fire-blackened with huge hollows and archways inside their trunks, which are often big enough to stand in and shelter from the rain. Some of the hollows are absolutely humungous. They're so roomy that I've even thought of setting up home in one on several occasions.
Walking amongst the tinglewood trees has always felt magical to me, even though I'm now far too old to believe in the elves, possums and fairies that I once imagined living in their hollows.
The one big tourist attraction in Walpole WA is the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk and its adjoining Ancient Empire Trail, which both showcase the rare and unique red tingle trees.
The town of Walpole WA is built on the northern shores of the small and relatively sheltered Walpole Inlet, which is surrounded by forested hills.
The Walpole Inlet opens out through a channel between two forested knolls into the much larger Nornalup Inlet, which is permanently open to the Great Southern Ocean. The constant mixing of ocean water with the fresh water flowing in from the Frankland and Deep Rivers supports a thriving ecosystem of seagrasses, fish and other estuarine and marine life.
Needless to say, it's incredibly easy to catch fish in the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet. Black bream is by far the most common species caught, but there's also king george whiting, sand whiting, skippy, tailor and (in season) blue manna crabs.
Even if you're not into fishing, the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet is still one of the main attractions in the area, if only for its scenic beauty. Take the Knoll Scenic Drive for the best views across the inlet, stopping at Delayney's lookout, Coalmine Beach and the little fishing/picnic spots around the base of The Knoll.
Granite Hilltops - Bushwalks and Wonderful Views
The domed granites that characterise much of WA's south make their appearance at Walpole, cropping out as the highest points in the landscape. From the desolate rocky tops of these hills the views are amazing. The forest of the Walpole Wilderness Area stretches from horizon to horizon all the way down to the inlets and the coast.
The walk up to the top of Mount Frankland is my favourite bushwalk in all Western Australia. Mount Clare and Mount Pingerup are good too.
Interesting granite rock formations are also found all along the coast. William Bay National Park, about half an hour's drive east from Walpole and very close to Denmark, has some of the most interesting rocks of all and is easily accessible for any sort of car.
Remote Walpole Beaches, and the Best Places to Swim
To the south of town, on the far side of the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet, is a wild, rugged wilderness coastline and the Southern Ocean.
The Walpole Coast is largely inaccessible by road without a 4WD. The only beaches you can get to with an ordinary 2WD car are Peaceful Bay, Conspicuous Beach and Mandalay Beach. For this reason, Walpole WA isn't much of a summer beach holiday town, even though it does have some stunningly beautiful beaches.
The remoteness of the coast makes it all the better for those of us who like to go on hiking and 4WDing adventures - for us it is a fantastic place for a beachy holiday because we can really and truly get away from it all!
There are plenty of isolated fishing and camping spots all along the Walpole coastline, if you have a 4WD or the time and fitness for long distance walking.
If you're looking for somewhere to swim on a hot summer's day, easily accessible Peaceful Bay is as nice a swimming beach as any along the south coast, with beautiful calm water sheltered by granitic reefs and boulders off shore.
Alternatively, you could drive east to the beaches of Denmark (William Bay in particular), or swim at one of Walpole's inlet beaches. And don't forget about the Frankland and Deep Rivers. Circular Pool and Fernhook Falls are just a few of the nice places along the rivers for summer swims and picnics.
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