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Francois Peron National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe beautiful Francois Peron National Park is located approximately 450 miles north of Perth in Western Australia. Situated at the northern tip of the Peron Peninsula , this gorgeous and remote area is part of the renowned Shark Bay World Heritage Area. The Shark Bay Marine Park encompasses the seas surrounding the peninsula. The town of Denham lies on the southern border of the park. 50 miles to the north lies Carnarvon.
The national park’s landscape consists of flat, arid shrublands, red-colored dunes, and sand plains, all surrounded by crystal-clear, shallow, blue waters. It is a heaven for 4-wheeler enthusiasts. Where the empty red plains end and the shallow seas begin, there are several beautiful lagoons, home to many fish species. The arid interior is covered with colorful flowering plants in spring.
Some of the animal species in Francois Peron National Park are among the most endangered in Australia and even in the world. The area is especially known for its abundance of birds. There are, for example, Wedgebills, Finches, and Emus. In addition, there are more than 100 reptile species, among them, exotic species such as Thorny Devils, Geckos, and Pythons, and mammals such as Kangaroos and Echidnas. The seas are home to Bottlenose Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Manta Rays, Dugongs, and several Shark species.
HistoryThe area has been inhabited by Aboriginals for more than 25,000 years. The Peron Peninsula’s name in the Malgana language is ‘Wulyibidi’. For most of the time they were there, the Shark Bay area was a very arid region with almost no fresh water sources.
The first Europeans to visit the area were French explorers. The naturalist, François Péron was one of them. He wrote down extremely detailed descriptions of the area and its features during expeditions in 1801 and 1803, and provided an invaluable resource on the peoples, fauna, flora, and climate of Shark Bay. This is the reason why the national park now bears his name.
From the 1880s, the peninsula was home to a pearling camp. It was located at Herald Bight and visitors can still find remains of it on the beach. In the beginning of the 20th century, the peninsula was managed as a sheep station. This continued until 1990 when the station was purchased by the government of Western Australia. Francois Peron National Park was established in 1993. Peron Homestead, the center of the sheep station can now be visited.
Things To See and DoThings to do in Francois Peron National Park include outdoor activities such as fishing, bushwalking, camping, sea kayaking, snorkeling, canoeing, and off-road driving.
One of the most popular things to do is fishing and boating. Boats can be launched from various locations: Big Lagoon, Herald Bight, Bottle Bay, Gregories, and South Gregories. Bigger boats are best launched in Denham or Monkey Mia. Due to the vulnerability of some areas, it may not be allowed to fish there. Information can obtained at visitor centers in the region.
There are several coastline campgrounds, all with access to the ocean and providing excellent fishing opportunities. Those campsites are very basic; pets are not allowed, and visitors are obliged to take all their trash home. Swimming is allowed at all campsites.
Sea kayaking may be the best way to explore the Peron Peninsula. The seas are shallow and calm and offer great views of the spectacular coastline. A great way to see the park from a different perspective is by small airplane. There is an airstrip nearby and it is possible to book scenic flights over the peninsula and Shark Bay.
A hugely popular activity is 4-wheel-driving. There are several off-road trails crisscrossing the red plains of the park. It is important to be prepared as vehicles could get stuck in the soft sand. A safer way to do this is by booking a 4WD tour.
Peron Homestead is open to the public and offers a look at what life on a remote, outback sheep station used to be like. There is a self-guided trail leading past the shearing shed, stock yard, as well as other places. Big Lagoon is a shallow bay and its warm waters are an important fish nursery. While it is forbidden to fish there, it is allowed to kayak or canoe in the lagoon; a great way to see this natural feature of major importance. Other places of interest in and around Francois Peron National Park are Shipjack Point, Cape Peron, Herald Bight, Bottle Bay, Gregories, and South Gregories.
How To Get ThereThe national park is located 450 miles north of Perth]. The park’s entrance lies about four kilometers east of Denham. Peron Homestead is usually accessible to 2WD vehicles, but it is smart to be informed. Other regions of the park can only be reached by 4WD.
Similar LandmarksThe Shark Bay Marine Park lies adjacent to Francois Peron National Park. They are both part of the world-famous Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Further north along the coast of Western Australia lies the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park. On the east lies the much bigger and much more visited Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Other national parks located on a peninsula is Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria and Freycinet National Park in Tasmania.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 06, 2014