East Mount Barren: Everything You Need To Know

byMark Pybus
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Towering over a landscape of rugged beauty, endless horizons and countless varieties of wildflowers, East Mount Barren is a fantastic little gem. With 360 degree views from the summit, this is also the best place in Fitzgerald River National Park to catch the sunset.

If you’re looking for a quiet place to enjoy a relaxing holiday then you can’t go past this often overlooked national park on the south coast of Western Australia.

What Is It:
Containing 20% of the state’s flora species in one tiny pocket of national park, Fitzgerald River is a botanists dream location and it’s no coincidence they fly in from all over the world to marvel at the different wildflowers and plants that are founds here.

East Mount Barren is the highest peak on the eastern side of the park and a lot of money has gone into upgrading this part to improve the visitor experience. Rising almost 300m from the nearby Southern Ocean, this quartzite peak is a challenging climb through a series of different landscapes and spectacular views.

Where Is It:
Located between Albany and Esperance in the state’s south and 600km from Perth, Fitzgerald River National Park is split into two access points. East Mount Barren is on the eastern side with paved roads all the way from nearby Hopetoun (21km drive).

A new causeway over the Culham Inlet has been installed so access issues when heavy rain falls should be a thing of the past.

What To Do:
Full of great beaches, campgrounds and hiking trails, you won’t be left wanting for activities with a visit to the east side of Fitzgerald River National Park. The main adventure here is to climb up to the summit of East Mount Barren with a walk trail winding through the ever-changing landscape.

Along the way marvel at the wonderfully unique and colourful Royal Hakea, climb through jagged sections of rough quartzite and stand in awe of the never-ending beauty of the Southern Ocean. Once you’ve navigated through the little canyon to reach the summit then you’re in for a treat.

With views back to the Culham Inlet and Hopetoun, the stunning series of ranges to the north, the “Mid-Barrens” to the west and the expansive Southern Ocean to the south, this is a pretty magical spot to be.

What Not To Do:
Being a very sensitive and important ecosystem, the threat of dieback is a particular concern in Fitzgerald River. A lot of money has gone into sealing the roads to the popular tourist areas but please make sure you wash down your car before entering the park (there is a good car wash at Hopetoun) and make good use of the dieback boot spray stations at East Mount Barren.

Please also respect the wildflowers and do not pick them, remove plants or go off track as this can result in unnecessary damage to the environment.

Anything else?
With some world class beaches located within the park and easy access to most on the eastern side like Four Mile Beach, Barrens Beach, Mylies Beach and West Beach, there is a good chance you’ll have a slice of paradise all to yourself.

With millions of dollars being invested into the park, the campsites have received an upgrade with Four Mile and Hamersley Inlet now accessible via paved roads. I believe Four Mile Beach is the only Parks and Wildlife run campsite with hot shower facilities and there are plenty of gas barbeques to make life easier.

For the more adventurous hiker, the two day Hakea Trail begins from Cave Point and is a really rewarding way to explore the park a bit further. There is a hikers only campsite at Whalebone Beach with a shelter, lovely decking and two water tanks.

If you’re planning a trip to the area in spring then make sure to check out the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show and Spring Festival that runs for a few weeks in September. An internationally famous event, it showcases the wonderful biodiversity that this place is known for. Take part in nature walks, workshops, 4×4 drives, art exhibitions and more.

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About the author:
Mark (The Life of Py) is a Perth based outdoor enthusiast that loves exploring the trails of Western Australia in his free time. When he isn’t out taking photos he is busy planning the next adventure. See more of his content here.