Feature National Park: Stokes National Park

Paperbarks on the banks of Stokes Inlet, Stokes National Park. Photo: Colin Ingram

Featuring one of the picturesque estuaries along WA’s southern coast, Stokes National Park is a great place for fishing, camping, bushwalking and bird watching. The 14 square kilometre Stokes Inlet features long beaches and rocky headlands backed by sand dunes. Dense bush and shady paperbark trees fringe the water’s edge. Stokes Inlet is the largest of a number of estuaries around Esperance, and the only one with reasonably deep water.

Stokes National Park is about wild places and quiet places. The campsites are located along the inlet, but once beyond the sheltering sand dunes, one is exposed to the exciting waves and wind of the wild Southern Ocean.

A Trip Advisor reviewer stated, “ Loved it! We walked the estuary out to the beach. We set out only to walk to a corner to see what was there, and then the next and then we saw the sand bar and had to get there. A Whistling Kite soared above us and we didn’t see another soul in four hours – so peaceful!

Another reviewer shared, “Fish, walk, explore or just relax. Great to hear bird life in morning and go on search for orchids and many flowers in area”.

Discovering whale bones on the wild Southern Ocean beach at Stokes National Park. Photo: Colin Ingram

Day visitors and bushwalkers can enjoy Stokes Inlet, Skippy Rock, Shoal Cape, the Moir Homestead Ruins and Fanny Cove. One can walk to the Estuary Mouth if water levels allow. Abundant bird life (34 identified species) frequents the inlet, its shores and associated lakes.

The inlet is rich with fish and also popular for canoeing and kayaking, as it is possible to launch small boats from the campsites. Although the area of water looks large there are extensive areas of shallows and rocks. Species caught include black bream, Australian salmon, King George whiting and mullet.

The main entrance is from Stokes Inlet Road, which is gravel and provides easy access for two-wheel drive vehicles and large caravans. The remainder of the park is four-wheel drive only. Visitors can camp at Benwenerup (suitable for two-wheel drive), Skippy Rock and Fanny Cove (four-wheel drive only). For more information visit: