After seeing photos of a lush, green beautiful parkland with kangaroos bounding about in their own natural environment, I immediately added Yanchep National Park to our bucket list. Now that the sunshine has finally appeared in Perth, we managed to tick this stunning National Park off our list a few weeks back.
Since our visit, I have discovered it is a bit of a hidden gem (and correct me if I am wrong) but not many locals seem to have visited this beautiful spot in the Northern suburbs of Perth. This is what inspired me to write my next blog about our adventures here! Here’s 8 reasons why next time you feel like a weekend drive you should go to Yanchep National Park. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit this amazing spot before, please feel free to add your tips and advice to the comments below.
1. An inexpensive day out
Jump in the car and you will arrive at this gorgeous location approximately 45 minutes from the centre of Perth. The only expense is the petrol to get there and just $12 per vehicle to enter the park. Pack a picnic, some walking shoes and a cricket bat and ball and you will be set for the day!
There are a few activities to do which cost extra, however it would be easy to spend at least half a day here without spending any money, if you choose.
2. Easy to explore
There’s no need for a compass at this National Park as there are clear signposts directing you to the main attractions and you receive a map of the park at the entrance. McNess House Visitor Centre is a short walk from the main carpark and is the perfect starting point for getting more information.
3. See koalas amongst the gum trees
We came to Yanchep having never seen ANY koalas in the wild and left seeing 5 of them! (We were told the colony is home to 10 cute cuddly koalas, so the other 5 must have some really awesome hiding spots)! The colony is located a very short walk away from the visitor centre and a great opportunity to see koalas chilling in their own natural habitat. We all had fun looking up amongst the gum trees from the raised boardwalk, searching for them. The boardwalk is an easy short walk and is wheelchair and pram accessible.
4. Take a walk at beautiful Loch McNess
Yes, there is a Loch outside of Scotland and it’s here! Loch McNess is a stunning lake where you can enjoy a gorgeous 2km walk around the wetlands. Instead of searching for a Lochness monster, you can watch the amazing birdlife here. We walked a short way around the lake path with our boys and they loved following the trail through the bush and over a gorgeous little boardwalk. There are some great photo opportunities here with picturesque weeping willows on the edge of the lake and stunning blues and greens.
5. Relax and have a picnic lakeside
Refuel after your walk right beside peaceful Lock McNess where you will find picnic tables, gas barbecues, toilet facilities and loads of grass. After having a picnic we played cricket and the boys enjoyed riding their scooters on the pathways nearby. If you don’t bring a picnic there are some light lunch options available close by at the Chocolate Drops Tearooms. If you are wanting to treat yourselves they also sell ice-cream, refreshments and specialty chocolate!
6. Get up close to kangaroos in their natural environment
One of the things that drew our attention to Yanchep was the Western Grey kangaroos chilling out in the National Park. We have since found out they come out of the woods early morning and late afternoon/early evening to graze on the park grass. Unfortunately we didn’t do our research and we arrived too late (at 11am) to see the kangaroos! The Visitor Centre advised us to take a drive down past the 9 hole golf course to look for them. Sure enough our boys were super excited when they spotted a few in the distance amongst the shade of the trees.
7. Experience the underground world of a limestone cave
Did you know there are over 580 caves in Yanchep National Park? One of these caves is open to tourists and is named Crystal Cave. If you have the time you should definitely take the very informative 45 minute guided tour of Crystal Cave. The tour takes you 13 metres below ground level and allows you to see amazing natural cave decorations such as stalagmites and stalactites.
The boys were beside themselves with excitement when they saw a padlocked gate open and we started to walk down some steps UNDER the ground. This was their first time going in a cave!
The tour takes you along a slightly uneven path with many stops along the way for photo opportunities, to allow the guide to tell us loads of interesting facts and to ask any questions. You are not allowed to touch the crystals and stalagmites as it causes them to discolour, however there is the chance to touch some crystals which were unfortunately broken off by vandals some time ago.
My boys absolutely loved this unique experience and my little dude was completely spun out by the fact we had actually been under the ground. We would recommend booking a tour at the Visitor Centre as soon as you arrive at Yanchep National Park. We had to wait 2 hours from when we arrived, as the earlier tours were already booked out. It worked out well for us as it gave us a few hours to have a good look around the park, including all of the above activities. The tour costs $15 per adult and $7.50 per child (our 4 year old was free).
8. Chill out at the heritage listed Yanchep Inn
When it comes to food and drinks, the popular Yanchep Inn is a gorgeous spot to sit and relax with its lake view beer garden, and restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Sunday afternoon it gets even better with live music. They have thought of everything for the kids including a bouncy castle, a kids menu and colouring activities too! Visit www.yanchepinn.com.au for all the details.