There is nothing quite as calming and healing as purposefully wasting time in nature. So, when was the last time you spent an entire day outdoors?
If you feel the urgent need to unplug and breathe in fresh air but your neighbourhood barely contains outdoor green spaces, consider exploring a national park like Mount Frankland National Park.
Park history, sights, and features
Mount Frankland is a massive granite mass located 30 minutes from Walpole in Western Australia. It is named after George Frankland, the surveyor-general of Tasmania, by surgeon-explorer Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson in 1829.
Wilson named the mountain after exploring the north and west portions of Albany. Mount Frankland’s Aboriginal name is Caldyanup.
Mount Frankland’s dome-shaped peak, which juts out of thick forests of jarrah, tingle, and karri, provides panoramic views of the Walpole Wilderness. In the wide expanse of the wilderness are forests, heathlands, wetlands, rivers, coastal cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean, and wildlife.
The Walpole Wilderness also encompasses forest conservation areas, nature reserves, and national parks, one of which is Mount Frankland National Park.
The park is sprinkled with scenic lookouts complemented by wheelchair-friendly walkways and shaded areas where you can rest before or after your walk. Interpretive panels tell visitors information about the park and the vast natural landscapes surrounding it. Barbecue facilities are available, and there is a picnic spot, too.
Different ways to experience nature at the park
Whether you are a lover of the wilderness or someone who wants to steer clear of the urban crowds for a few hours, there are a million and one things you can do at the park:
• Tackle the trails
Should you do only one thing during your visit, take a walk or hike into the woods.
The park boasts trails that suit different fitness levels. Depending on the weather and your stamina, you can choose a short, effortless trail or a steep trail leading to the summit.
Whatever it is you choose, all trails guarantee great views.
• Towerman’s Hut Walk
A relatively easy 10-minute jaunt that takes you to the old hut, which was constructed in 1956. Nearby is a site for picnics and barbecues. Visitors in a wheelchair can easily access this area.
• Wilderness View Lookout Walk
A 20-minute walk that leads to a viewing deck suspended above the trees. The platform presents magnificent views of the Walpole Wilderness. This place is also wheelchair-friendly.
• Summit Trail Walk
You know you have reached the summit when you spot the Towerman’s Lookout.
Here, you can marvel at the uninterrupted views of the Walpole Wilderness. When the landscape is not covered in mist, you can see the Frankland River winding towards the coast, the Porongurup and Stirling Ranges in the east, the Southern Ocean in the south, and Mount Roe in the north.
Fair warning though: while the 40-minute hike to the top follows a bitumen path, it could be difficult for some, as it involves conquering more than 300 vertical concrete steps and climbing steep metal stairs.
• Soho Lookout and Caldyanup Trail Walk
Upon descent, consider tackling the Caldyanup Trail. Pass by the Soho Lookout, then watch out for the wooden boardwalk along the granite slope of Mt Frankland.
The boardwalk, which signals the start of the Caldyanup Trail, soon gives way to a natural surface with mostly rocky terrain. Bask in the beauty of the granite dome and the dense karri forest while at it.
• Soak up the views
Experience awe-inspiring vistas by taking advantage of the various lookouts spread throughout the park. The Walpole Wilderness Lookout, Towerman’s Lookout, and Soho Lookout allow you to take refuge in nature and witness silence, beauty, and mystery at different angles and vantage points.
• Have a fun picnic
Pack your picnic essentials and your favourite nibbles and enjoy an outdoor feast amidst lush, towering trees. The area situated a few metres away from the car park and close to the Towerman’s Hut is equipped with picnic tables and gas barbecue facilities.
This is a perfect pit stop after hours of walking or exploring, especially if you have kids with you.
• Go bird watching
Whether you are a birdwatcher who takes pictures of birds or a photographer who captures birds in action, the tingle, jarrah, and karri forests support many species of these winged beauties – over 50 of them. Eagles, robins, fairy-wrens and so much more are often seen darting from one tree to another in the park.
Catch them during spring and early summer when they are in abundance.
• Sleep under the stars
Planning to go Mount Frankland National Park camping? Why not?
While Mount Frankland National Park does not host camping sites, you can still achieve your dream of sleeping under the stars in a national park. At the campground of Fernhook Falls in Mount Frankland South National Park, there are some tent sites and huts designed to meet your camping needs.
You can also indulge in bushwalking, or kayaking or canoeing on the Deep River to complete your adventure goals.
However, if you are looking for another option to spend the night, you may choose to stay at Walpole Rest Point Caravan Park, just a few minutes away. Aside from offering Walpole caravan and camping sites, the caravan park also provides shelters that do not involve actually sleeping on the ground, such as holiday units and self-contained Walpole cabins.
• Try forest bathing
You may have heard of this Japanese practice of nature therapy and wondered what it really is.
Forest bathing is simply immersing yourself in the forest and taking in the atmosphere’s silence and rhythms. Listen to birdsong, watch the leaves sway in the wind, savour nature’s scents, feel the breeze touch your skin – all under a canopy of giant trees and amidst beautiful flowers.
You will leave feeling much lighter and more relaxed.
Remember, if you must get away from it all, the easiest escape is to head to the great outdoors. If you are ever in the vicinity of Mt Frankland National Park WA, allow yourself to experience all its sights, sounds, smells, and everything in between.
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