Cape Le Grande Na­tional Park


Vision Magazine - - Contents - english Text By ava Zhang chi­nese Text By ca­role lu

Cape Le Grand Na­tional Park is lo­cated on the rugged south coast of Western Aus­tralia, east of Esper­ance. The park is host to plains of un­du­lat­ing heath­lands speck­led with wild­flow­ers and groves of Banksia trees in spring­time. The in­ner heath­lands are de­light­fully in­ter­spersed with swamps and fresh­wa­ter pools. Colos­sal gneiss and gran­ite peaks tower over the re­gion, re­veal­ing breath­tak­ing views of the bays of white sand and calm turquoise waters.

The Na­tional Park was named in 1792 af­ter Le Grand, an of­fi­cer of the L’esper­ance, a French ex­pe­di­tion ship com­manded un­der Ad­mi­ral D'en­tre­casteaux.

Is­lands of the Recherche Ar­chi­pel­ago speckle the hori­zon, with gran­ite domes peak­ing just above the wa­ter. Crys­tal clear waters pro­vide the per­fect con­di­tions for ex­plor­ing the abun­dant marine life in the area, while un­der­wa­ter gran­ite walls, boul­ders, caves and reefs are also on dis­play. The park’s rich nat­u­ral land­scape of­fers a va­ri­ety of recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties such as swim­ming, fish­ing, boat­ing, snorkelling, kayak­ing, camp­ing and trekking.

Cape Le Grand Beach

The view from the colos­sal gran­ite head­land that over­looks the beach re­veals an open space filled with glis­ten­ing white sand and clear waters. Nearby rests a tow­er­ing head­land where one can rel­ish the mes­meris­ing sight of the coastal sands and ocean lin­ing the hori­zon.

Lucky Bay

Dur­ing a haz­ardous sum­mer storm in De­cem­ber 1801, Lieu­tenant Matthew Flin­ders sought shel­ter at Lucky Bay, and hence dubbed it for its pro­pi­tious­ness. Lucky Bay ex­tends for over five kilo­me­tres and is home to deep pulpous masses of sea­weed that at­tract the park’s res­i­dent kan­ga­roos seek­ing a scrump­tious din­ner. Vis­i­tors must share the site with crowds of kan­ga­roos, which can be seen hop­ping around on the beach or laz­ing about on the sand.

This­tle Cove

on 10 De­cem­ber 1802, Lieu­tenant Mathew Flin­ders’ ship­mas­ter, John This­tle safely com­man­deered the HMS in­ves­ti­ga­tor into the Cove. Flin­ders named the cove af­ter This­tle who trag­i­cally drowned at Cape Catas­tro­phe, South Aus­tralia some ten weeks later. The bay lies be­tween two im­pos­ing head­lands. A mys­te­ri­ous whistling noise rings from a nat­u­ral mono­lithic struc­ture at the be­hest of the call­ing winds. The cove is scat­tered with rocky boul­ders in ragged forms seem­ingly mor­phed by the un­for­giv­ing wind and wa­ter. Sit­u­ated be­hind the cove is a pic­turesque bay, prone to the thrust­ing of waves and wa­ter.

Hell­fire Bay

Some be­lieve Hell­fire bay was named af­ter St Elmo’s fire, a bluish flame-like elec­tri­cal dis­charge that oc­curs above a ship’s mast, while oth­ers be­lieve that it was named af­ter the orange-tinged rocks that en­cir­cle the edges of the sandy white beach. Aside from the turquoise sea, white sand and orange rocks, wild­flow­ers and Banksia trees dom­i­nate the sur­round­ing shrub­bery.

Coastal Trail

This 15 km scenic hik­ing trail hugs the coast­line from Cape Le Grand Beach across Hell­fire Bay, This­tle Cove, Lucky Bay, through to Ros­siter Bay. The en­tire trip takes about 6-8 hours to com­plete through both flat and un­du­lat­ing sur­faces, of­fer­ing the full spec­ta­cle of the rugged south­ern coast of Western Aus­tralia.

The Peaks

Mt Le Grand, French­man’s Peak and Mis­sis­sippi Hill are lo­cated in the south­west corner of the park. This ma­jes­tic chain of peaks was formed from mas­sive rock out­crops of gneiss and gran­ite, shaped by ero­sion and move­ments in the Earth’s crust over an in­cred­i­ble 600 mil­lion years. Pow­er­ful wave ac­tion and un­der­wa­ter cur­rents are thought to have carved out the unique caves and tun­nels of the peaks.

Mount Le Grand

Mount Le Grand is a 3-hour re­turn trek at 345 me­tres, of­fer­ing a stun­ning view from the peak. The east­ern side of the moun­tain con­tains a pair of caves sure to de­light the ad­ven­tur­ous ex­plorer.

French­man's Peak

The ex­plorer and sur­veyor Alexan­der For­rest thought the rock looked quite like a French­man’s cap, thus dubbed the for­ma­tion ‘French­man’s Peak’ in 1870. French­man’s Peak is a short 2 hour re­turn trip at 262-me­tres.

Mis­sis­sippi Hill

Mis­sis­sippi Hill is a 30-minute re­turn stroll from Lucky bay at a mod­est 180 me­tres in height.

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