With the distinction of being one of only two Biosphere reserves in Western Australia and 14 in Australia, this biodiversity hotspot supports 1,748 identified plant species, which represents almost 20% of the State’s described plant species. There are 75 species that are endemic to the park, a further 48 are seldom found anywhere else and 250 species are listed as rare. In 2016 Fitzgerald River National Park was included in the National Heritage List for its outstanding diversity of native plant species, including many plants, which are unique to the local area.
The Fitzgerald River National Park is located in WA’s south near the seaside towns of Hopetoun to the east and Bremer Bay to the west. At 297,244 hectares in size, it is one of the largest parks in Australia.
Fitzgerald River National Park features a tantalising variety of landscapes to explore from rugged peaks and headlands, rolling plains, and colourful breakaways, to stunning bays and inlets. Southern right whales shelter close to shore with their newborn calves during the winter months of July to October.
In geological terms most of the soils in the Fitzgerald Biosphere are very old, very poor and infertile. Despite this, they feature high numbers of rare endemic plant species that are often long lived, many of which have developed highly specialised ways of coping with the infertile soils.
The Fitzgerald Biosphere has retained international significance after United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation approved the site as a biosphere reserve in May 2017.
Until 2012, the Fitzgerald River National Park maintained one of the few remaining populations of the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot. Sadly recent surveys failed to find evidence that the population still persists.
Of the 200 bird species recorded in the park, other threatened species include the Western Bristlebird Dasyornis longirostris, the Western Whipbird Psophodes nigrogularis nigrogularis, the Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata and the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris.
The park has an active “Friends” group. The Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park, are an independent community group aiming to bring people together to appreciate this remarkable National Park.
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Bushwalking is the best way to enjoy the beauty of the park’s diverse plant life and stunning vistas. Walk trails include:
- Western side of the park
Campgrounds are located on the eastern side of the park at Four Mile Campground and on the western side at St Mary Inlet near Point Ann. Accommodation is also available at the renovated and heritage listed Quaalup Homestead.