Avoid the crowds – discover this secluded
haven in the bush
Avoid the crowds – discover this secluded
Walks and Wildflowers at Quaalup
The Fitzgerald River National Park is one of Australia’s most botanically significant Parks, You find 20 per cent of Western Australia Wildflowers here
This area is a must see destination if you want to see WA wildflowers at their best, many visitors comment that they experienced the best flora display here.
Don’t miss our botanical signposted Nature Walk.
So far, more than 1800 species have been identified, 75 of which are found no where else, for example the Hakea Victoria or the Qualup Bell, which was actually named after the Quaalup Homestead. There are Banksias, Grevilleas, Coneflowers, Conothamnus, Orchids and numerous other wildflowers and plants to be found in the Park and all around Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat.
Due to climatic changes and other factors during millions of years, like lateralization and low nutrient levels in the soil, as well as the establishment of a Mediterranean climate with seasonal rainfall ( wet winters and dry summers), a very special flora developed here.
A number of landscapes can be recognised throughout the Park, from Upland Plain to Marine Plain and Coastal Heathland, with flora of bewildering variety of form, colour and flowering time.
Our Nature Walk with botanical signs gives guests a good introduction to the unique Flora of the Fitzgerald River National Park.
It offers magnificent views over the valley in which the Retreat is situated and West Mount Barren.
There is also a lookout tower to climb ( at your own risk!) and enjoy the views. This walk takes about 45 minutes and can be extended up the ridge. This Ridge Top Walk offers great views and a different vegetation and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours return from the Retreat.Our new favourite is the Quaalup Gorge Walk it takes you to a great variety of flora and landscape. It ends on top of a beautiful quartzite outcrop with great view and wind-shelter.
There are many other walks around Quaalup and in the Park, some along the coast around Point Ann, e.g the Mamang Trail.
Twertup (4WD access), a Field Studies Centre and old Spongolite Quarry, also has some good walks.
Information on walks in the area are available in your accommodation and at reception
Birds and Animals
More species of animals live in the Fitzgerald River National Park than in any other reserve in South-Western Australia. They include 22 mammal species, 41 reptile species and 12 frog species.
The park also has more than 200 bird species including rare species like the Western Bristle Bird, Western Whipbird and the elusive Western Ground Parrot
West Mount Barren
The beautiful West Mount Barren is a great feature of the view from our nature walk.
It offers one of the most beautiful walks within the Fitzgerald River National Park
The starting point to climb to the top is 22km by 2WD. There is a path, a little rocky in parts, it takes about 45 minutes to reach the peak of West Mount Barren.
Once you are up there, you are rewarded with magnificent views over the National Park and the Southern Ocean.
Point Ann, Beaches and whales
Point Ann, which is just 33 km from Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat, is one of the two places in Australia ( the other being Head of the Bight in South Australia), where Southern Right Whales come to calve in large numbers in the calm waters of the beautiful bay of Point Ann and Trigelow Beach/Doubtful Island Bay ( just 12 km from Quaalup).
Each year during July to early October(best time July+August) mothers and calves can be seen from the shore or the viewing platforms, sometimes just 20 metres off the beach.
There have been sightings of up to 25 whales on some days. It is an unforgettable experience to see the whales, especially the playful young ones, so close.
Another visitor is the Humpback Whale, with increasing numbers in the last years. Even a Blue Whale has been sighted in 2004.
Sea Lions and Dolphins can often be seen with a bit of luck all along the coast of the Fitzgerald River National Park
Please note: Access to Point Ann is subject to closures by DBCA when conditions become to wet.
If you have a 4WD, you are usually able to drive to the beach at Gordon Inlet for whale-watching even when Point Ann is closed.
The Fitzgerald River National Park is blessed with numerous white sanded beaches with azure blue water, just like the Caribbean Sea.
The closest beach from the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat is Trigelow Beach, where the Gordon Inlet meets the Southern Ocean, just 12 km by 4WD.
You can find a sheltered spot to laze around and have a picnic in the beautiful coastal dunes, with views to the Doubtful Islands.
Point Ann, offering small bays and a long beach, is 33 km from the Retreat by 2WD. The view from there over to Mid- and East Mount Barren is absolutely stunning.
The Doubtful Island Area (serious 4WD only!), south-east of Quaalup, offers many bays with sheltered waters ( e.g. House Beach, Drages Beach) or surfing opportunities at Peppermint Beach. There is also a spectacular Blowhole and a giant Sand Dune to explore. The area is around 15 to 20 km from the Retreat.
Very basic Mud Map for this area is available at the reception
Canoeing the Gairdner River
The Gairdner River winds its way to the Gordon Inlet, where the Southern Ocean and Trigelow beach lie just behind a sandbar.
In some years the river breaks through to the ocean and the Gordon Inlet turns turquoise blue, which can look especially beautiful.
It’s a peaceful waterway, with lots of bird life like Pelicans or Black Swans and other waterbirds as well as sea eagles or parrots
It takes about 3 1/2 hours return by canoe or kayak right to the Inlet, shorter trips to red cliffs can be done as well.
There is one 2 person canoe, and one 4 person canoe for hire at the nearby boat access, which is only 2.7km from the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat.
As an idea: You could share the experience with friends, one group kayaking down to the Inlet, the others can drive there and kayak back up the river. There is no strong current either way.
The heritage listed Quaalup Homestead from 1858
The Homestead can be visited by guests.
Also booked dinner is served here (which has to be ordered 3 weeks in advance).
About the history of the Quaalup Homestead:
Quaalup Homestead John Wellstead built Quaalup Homestead in 1858. The Wellstead family resided in Bremer Bay, however they free-ranged this area with cattle and sheep to preserve their own pasture. During this time they built the Homestead which was initially used as an outpost, and the barn which stored the various fodder that they cropped. The original Homestead consisted of three rooms: the kitchen, bedroom and sitting room.
In 1890, John Hassell took out a Pastoral Lease extending from Jerramungup to House Beach (located at Hood Point). The Hassell family grazed only sheep and one brother lived at the Homestead. He had a teamster working for him by the name of James McGlade. James was in charge of shepherding the sheep from Quaalup to House Beach. They were shorn there and the fleece loaded onto rafts that were then floated out to clipper ships just off the coast.
James’ daughter, May McGlade, died in 1927 at the age of 18 years from a chest complaint. On return from shepherding sheep (2 days later) James took a tall kitchen cupboard out of the Homestead, knocked the shelves out and that became Mary’s coffin. Mary was buried on the side of the track leading to Quaalup (the lonely grave on the nature walk).
Mick Hassel married in 1930 and the Homestead was extended by three rooms. The Hassel family deserted Quaalup and the House Beach area, once a main road was build from Jeramungup to Albany. The shearing shed at House Beach and James McGlade´s cottage were pulled down and the materials utilized to extend the main shearing shed at Jerramungup.
The Lugge family was next to live at Quaalup after swapping land they owned with the government. However, because of health problems they soon returned to Perth. Quaalup then became part of the War Service Settlement Scheme made up of 13 blocks. Unfortunately, due to the land not being viable to grow food crops on, it was never taken up. Quaalup was eventually sold off block by block. Two of those blocks have gone to the National Park and the remaining are owned by 6 different owners.Quaalup Homestead
Geoff and Norma Keen bought Quaalup Homestead in 1974. He was the Park Ranger at that time and the family spent years restoring the Homestead, which was badly vandalised. The old barn was a solid building up to the seventies, when somebody stole the roof and it started to fall apart.
In 1989 the O’Brien family purchased Quaalup. They furnished the Homestead as a museum and offered meals in the dining room.
Since June 2004 it has been owned by Karin and Carsten from Hamburg, Germany. The 40 acres of native bush surrounded by the Fitzgerald River National Park are now the Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat with the Homestead being part of it, giving guests and visitors an impression of the early settlement days.