Cape Range National Park - Canyons & Gorges

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May 15th 2019
Published: May 15th 2019
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One of the surprises of the endless flatness on the drive to Exmouth is the Cape Range National Park. It is almost as if nature pushed up the flatness of the land and then took a giant knife to gouge out the landscape. In fact, we started our exploration at Charles Knife Canyon.

From the main highway south of Exmouth we took a road that climbed a few hundred metres. We passed by tremendous views of what looked like a mini Grand Canyon. Soon we reached the Thomas Carter Lookout which is a picnic site and the start of a hiking trail.

We started out on a hike on this meandering trail which was rocky in places, and traversed up and down over several hills. After 2.6 kilometres we reached Shot Hole Lookout which overlooks another canyon with views of the Indian Ocean on the west side of the Cape Peninsula. We had started on the eastern side with ocean views to the east. After a picnic lunch with fly nets in place it was time to return. The most important thing in these parts is to have adequate water and secondly, fly nets, because anywhere in the bush, the flies can be overwheling.

Shot Hole Lookout was so-called because in the 1950s, explosives were detonated in the area. These created holes in the surrounding hills and geologists picked up seismic signals as to the presence of oil. The first producing oil well in Western Australia was drilled here in 1953, though it was determined to be not financially viable. We came across one of these old wells a couple of kilometres from Thomas Carter Lookout.

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