Cape Range National Park near the town of Exmouth in Western Australia is rich with remarkable landscapes, a brilliant coastline the crown jewel of which is Ningaloo Reef and a wonderful variety of both flora and fauna.
One of the attractions within the park is Yardie Creek, which is about an hour’s drive from Exmouth.
In this normally dry region of Western Australia, Yardie Creek is the only permanent fresh water stream within the Cape Range.
There are good facilities at Yardie Creek, although camping is not allowed. Mostly the creek lacks enough water to be able to reach the sea, but it is deep enough for a tourist boat to take visitors on cruises along the creek and into the Yardie Creek Gorge.
Visitors can also do a couple of relatively easy walks. One follows the water course a short way along the banks of the creek, whilst the other walk is rather steeper, but does lead hikers into the gorge. Whilst the gorge walk does involve negotiating a couple of steep ascents and descents, it is not too tough, but walkers do need to be reasonably fit and agile in order to complete the walk.
Both the cruise and the walks are well worth the effort as the landscape here is magnificent.
The waters of the creek have a deep blue hue, but are quite clear and very clean. The gorge walls vary in colour from vibrant fire-engine reds, to vivid orange and bright yellows, so that the contrast in colour between water and rock is astonishingly dramatic.
This cavalcade of colour is further emphasised when you look from the gorge out towards the reef as the colours of the offshore waters vary greatly between bright luminescent greens to rich velvety blues where the waters deepen, to be highlighted by the pure white of the surf breaking over Ningaloo Reef.
Then there are the ochre ant hills which dot the landscape and the blackness of aged and weathered limestone which forms the rock upon which gnarled, stunted bushes and spinifex grass manage to barely exist.
There is a lovely shaded picnic ground located between the creek and the beach, and plenty of parking. Depending on the season cruises run either once or twice a day and last for one hour. Many people take the hour-long cruise, gaining knowledge about the creek and gorge from the on-board commentary, then do the walk, which takes about another hour for the return journey.
Yardie Creek is a true surprise as its majesty is truly unexpected, but it is a place well worth visiting simply for the pure joy of being there.