The 7,104-acre park has nine walking trails ranging from 1,640 feet to 29 miles. The 1.5-mile wetlands loop is flat and pretty, with just a few muddy spots to dodge after a good rain. On the 787-foot koala boardwalk, you’ll see koalas lazing in the eucalyptus trees at eye level. Yanchep is also home to hundreds of limestone caves, including the popular Crystal Cave. Guided tours take 45 minutes and must be booked in advance. Yonderup Cave is a bit more adventurous, involving 90 minutes of guided crawling and climbing (hard hats essential).
Like the koalas, the western grey kangaroos that frequent Yanchep are fairly accustomed to people. Ozzies just ignore them but out-of-towners creep within 10 to 20 feet to snap their picture. Although some park-goers have reported dozens of kangaroo sightings in Yanchep, we counted maybe five during our visit. Bummer. Park rangers recommend the early morning or late afternoon for the best turnout. But like anything in nature—if you want a guaranteed sighting, go to a zoo.
Chocolate Drops, an old-fashioned chocolatier and tearoom located inside the park, sells hot and cold drinks, thick shakes, sandwiches, and handmade confections. It’s nothing special. The better option: BYO meat and grill on one of the park’s numerous lakeside barbecues.
Pro move: Stopping at South African Essentials in the north Perth suburb of Joondalup en route. The store is tucked into a nondescript strip mall with a pole-dancing school and pool care center. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but the selection of spicy biltong and other South African treats (chewy fruit leathers, peri-peri sauce, coils of sausage as thick as a garden hose) serve picnickers well. A takeout counter in the back serves ready-to-eat fare, including bunny chow.
The Yanchep entrance fee is $12 AUD ($9.41 USD) per vehicle. If you’re exploring other parks in Western Australia, get a four-week holiday park pass for $46 AUD ($36 USD) per vehicle. This may be purchased at the Yanchep gift shop.
Yanchep National Park: Yanchep, Western Australia, Australia; +61-8-9303-7759.
South African Essentials: 10/200 Winton Rd., Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia; +61-8-9301-1977.