Yanchep National Park has become one of my favourite places to go to see wildlife. One of the things I loved when I arrived was that each time I went I saw something that amazed me.
This is one of the few places in WA where you can see koalas. They don’t live in the wild in WA as there aren’t any suitable areas – large enough forests with the right
kinds of eucalyptus trees. In Yanchep they live in eucalyptus trees in ‘open’ enclosures. Extra branches of food are provided in large containers. The raised walkway ensures that you can get a really good, close up view of them. Absolutely mesmerising.
There is also a large population of kangaroos. Arrive early enough and you will find them grazing on the lawns in huge numbers, or on the golf course. Later in the day, they will be lying in the shade resting.
This is where I first saw a bobtail (blue tongued, short tailed lizard) in the wild. There are many reptiles there, although you are unlikely to see them. Most people are more than happy to obey this warning sign.
And the birds? This is where I first saw a purple swamphen. The first time I saw one, it was a little camera shy and it took a while to get a decent picture. The next time
we visited, we discovered that producing a picnic helps them to overcome any nerves. It was raiding the food basket along with the ducks and took some effort to shoo away! Yanchep was also where I first saw a whistling kite – in fact, I saw a pair. The
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo is endangered, but you wouldn’t think so when visiting
Yanchep. Hundreds of them fill the trees and the sky. I have 2 gripes with this
species. Firstly, they like to perch very high up in very high trees, so it’s hard to get a good photo without a great zoom lens. The sky is so bright that they are always silhouetted against a bright background. Secondly, whenever I get home from Yanchep I have to wash the car as it is covered in cockatoo poo. Maybe I’ll have to invest in a cover. It’s a haven for many species largely because of the lake – there is so little open water in the region, especially by April when other lakes have dried up. There
are also emus in the park. I haven’t seen one there (it’s quite hard to find them) but I did see my first wild ones nearby, on the way home from the park. They were just by the side of the road, and they let me approach them to get a picture.
There are beautiful caves with regular guided tours for all ages – a big hit with the family. Once the lake is full, at the end of the winter, you can hire rowing boats. There’s a pub, a cafe and an ice-cream shop too. On bank holidays the park fills with families bringing picnics or food for barbeques. It’s not a swings and slides type of park at all but that doesn’t stop the children having a great time there.
Entry on foot or bike is free, but you pay per car for parking. We bought a park pass
which covers all the WA National Parks, great value for anyone intending to go to several of them.
Some birds you might see at Yanchep: white-tailed black cockatoo (also known as Carnaby’s black cockatoo), gallah, ringneck, purple swamphen, whistling kite, swamp harrier, Eurasian coot, dusky moorhen, white faced heron, white Ibis, musk duck, Australian wood duck, teal, Australasian shoveler, Great egret, clamorous reed-warbler, great crested grebe, darter, cormorant, honey eater, fan tail, emu (if you are very lucky!), wattlebird