Although it covers around 830km, this trip can be done in two days, especially if you take off down to Pemberton on the Friday night. But, like most of the routes outlined in this publication, the more time you have to pause, take in the spectacular scenery around you and explore, experience and appreciate your environment, the more you’ll enjoy yourself.
Once again, the route can be included as part of a longer stay sampling the wines, the trout, the marron and the hospitality of the fabulous Pemberton Karri country. The trip notes begin and end in Pemberton and take you down past Northcliffe to Callcup Hill and Warren Beach in beautiful D’Entrecasteaux National Park, then over the amazing Yeagarup Dunes and back to Pemberton again.
Please note that you can purchase this and 17 more great day trips out of Perth in 4WD Weekends out of Perth
Park Passes are now required to enter most national parks and camping fees are also applicable in this region. A Day Pass costs $12.00 per vehicle ($6.00 if you’re a senior) so, if ever there was a case for having an Annual All Parks Pass, or being an old codger, Pemberton is the place. Passes can be purchased at the Visitor Centre, DPaW Headquarters, the Gloucester Tree and a few of the wineries. For a bit of luxury camping in the middle of the National Park and in complete privacy, with shower, toilets, big raised under-cover area and paved fire surround, contact Toni or Graham at Pemberton Discovery Tours on 0427 133 335 or go to wawilderness.com.au. If you intend marroning, make sure you have a current licence and that your gear is legal. Also, please note that the Warren River within Warren National Park has been set aside for snare fishing only during the marron season. To help conserve stocks, other methods of marron fishing are not permitted in these waters.
The tracks followed by the trip notes are fairly straight-forward and the only places where you may have difficulty are the steep slopes of Callcup Hill when the sand is dry and loose. Callcup is not known as ‘The Widowmaker’ for nothing.
When 4Wdriving in these national parks the following tips are worth observing:
* Ask for advice before you go. call into or
ring the local DPaW office.
* Remember all vehicles entering parks must be fully licenced for the road. The parks are not off-road vehicle areas.
* Deflate your tyres
when driving on soft
sand. Tyre pressures
required depend upon
the sand conditions,
your tyres and the
weight of your vehicle.
If you do not deflate
your tyres you will
chop up the track and raise the ire of other users including the local ranger.
* Select the correct gear. High second or low third will keep most 4WD vehicles moving at a comfortable pace and generally provide enough power not to stall when the going gets heavier, but don’t be afraid to experiment.
* Keep to the track. Drive on existing tracks only, don’t create new ones or drive in
* For more information about 4w-driving, pick up a ‘Going to the Coast’ brochure from
the local DPaW office or call DPaW Pemberton
on (08) 9776 1207.
To finish the trip we’ve varied the return from Yeagarup Dunes by backtracking over the Barker Road crossing of Warren River, then re-crossing that stream on Heartbreak Crossing to take in the excellent river campsites that are now such a feature of the Heartbreak Trail through the Warren River National Park. The new route still swings within a kilometre of the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, a Karri named after a local politician, the author of a book on the history of karri country treetop fire lookouts. It isn’t one of the original network of treetop lookouts, being specifically constructed in 1988 as part of the celebrations to commemorate 200 years of European settlement in Australia. Visitors can mount the 130 climbing pegs to the 75 metre lookout giving spectacular views over 40 kilometre vistas of karri forest, farmlands, vineyards and orchards.
Total Distance: approx 830km, 162km trip noted.
Terrain: This route has just about everything: bitumen highways, formed dirt roads, forestry tracks, sand tracks, river crossings, bare dunes and beach drives. The tracks range from stony and rutted to slippery clay surfaces, the dunes are long and steep and the beaches are sublime. You will need to reduce tyre pressures in the dunes and on the beaches, so don’t go without your air compressor.
Pemberton, named after an early settler, Pemberton Walcott, began in 1913 as a timber town housing workers from the No. 2 State Sawmill. The timber workers’ cottages and the many other weatherboard buildings in the town give the place a unique character. There is a wealth of activities available to choose from in and around the town and your first stop should be the Visitor Centre in the old school to check out the possibilities. You can climb a forest lookout tree, you can visit vineyards and sample delectable wines, you can try fly-fishing in private lakes stocked with Brown and Rainbow trout, take a tram ride on the old timber tramway through towering forests down to Warren River bridge or take the kids to Mountain Bike Park. The possibilities are endless. Although Pemberton still has a sawmill operating (Bunning’s Karri Mill offers free guided tours each weekday excepting mill and public holidays), the town is surrounded by national parks. Adjoining the town boundary are Gloucester National Park, Warren National Park and Beedelup National Park, while Shannon National Park and D’Entrecasteaux National Park are also within easy reach.
Regardless of the type of adventure you are embarking on, keeping the basics in your vehicle means that you should be bale to deal with most situation that may arise.
Great for getting yourself out of a sandy situation. They also work really well in mud.
You never know when you are going to have to dig yourself out of trouble or when there is a call of nature that requires a hole.
You don’t always need this equipment BUT when you do, you do. Best to ensure that it is always in your vehicle.
Much better than a stick and a lot more accurate. You will more than likely need to adjust tyre pressure on this trip.
If you need to let your tyres down for any reason then you will also need to pump them back up again.
Being so close to Perth is no reason to disregard the basic planning process. Make sure you let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be home. Mobile phone coverage should not be relied upon. This could impact how well Google Maps (or equivalent works) and you should either invest in a good quality GPS unit or ensure you have a map of the area.
Something to deal with minor cuts and scrapes as well as compression bandages to treat snake bite.
Make sure you have some sunscreen and insect repellant with you.
Ensure there is enough water in the vehicle for everyone who is coming with you.
We use and recommend HEMA’s HX2 GPS navigator. The unit does not require mobile phone signal to operate, shows you exactly where you are and what is around you (including points of interest and facilities). The HX2 also gives you turn by turn navigation when back on the bitumen if you need it.
Your other option is to grab a copy of one of HEMA’s maps or 4WD atlas relevant to your area of travel.
If you have a smart phone or an iPad (preferably one that can take a mobile SIM card – you don’t need a SIM installed) you can look at HEMA’s CamperX or 4×4 Explorer.
Keep a roll in the car, along with hand sanitiser and maybe some wipes. Make sure you have a rubbish bag handy and bring all of your rubbish home.
Don’t spend the entire trip driving, make sure you stop and explore. It’s a great opportunity to build some memories with the family.
Time your trip so you stop at Mt Observation and have either morning tea or a picnic lunch there. Spend some time exploring the area and take in some of the views.
When you stop and sit for a little while you will be amazed at the amount of wildlife that you will spot.
Take a camera and try your hand at some scenic shots or even some macro. It’s also a great spot to get some nice portrait shots of friends and family or even a candid shot of them enjoying nature.
There are a couple of ways that you can get your hands on the instructions for this little adventure.
Grab a copy of 4WD Weekends out of Perth from our web shop or your nearest 4WD accessory store.
You can also purchase our basic Fact Sheet and Map from our web shop for $2.95