West Cape Howe National Park contains the most southerly point in Western Australia, Torbay Head. Almost completely covered in heathland and forest and bearing the force of the Great Southern Ocean, this National Park is worth the visit.
The Park's scenery is outstanding featuring dramatic sea cliffs, limestone outcrops, karri forests, heathlands, white sandy beaches and rock islands. It is home to around 500 species of plants including 50 different varieties of orchid. It is also a haven for birdlife.
Located south-west of Albany, West Cape Howe houses the famous Shelley Beach, and Shelley Beach Lookout where platforms are built into the side of the hilltop for hang-gliders and para-gliders to launch. You can drive to West Cape Howe from Albany or Denmark in under thirty minutes.
View the rugged end of the state at Forsyth Bluff, or visit Cosy Corner just outside the National Park for a stroll along the white sandy beaches, rocky headlands, or sheer cliffs! This area caters for bushwalkers, campers and is a popular fishing spot.
The rugged terrain can be accessed only by bushwalking or four-wheel-drive vehicle. If you intend to walk to Torbay Head, the southern-most point, it is a 15km round trip hike on undulating terrain with little shelter, or you can reach it by 4 wheel drive.
West Cape Howe has activities such as Hang Gliding or Paragliding, Fishing, rock fishing and bushwalking.
The trails are well signposted throughout the park. Dolphins, sealions and seals can be seen from the cliffs and whales travel along this coastline during winter and early Spring.
Millions of years ago this area of the Australian coastline was connected to Antartica.
West Cape Howe's dolerite sea cliffs make an impressive backdrop, and provide high quality climbing routes, remarkable rock climbing for experienced climbers!
The Bibbulmun Track passes directly through West Cape Howe National Park on is way from Albany in the south to Perth in the north. It traverses the Shelley Beach Lookout where the Track can be taken to Albany or towards Walpole.
This thousand kilometre walk is one of the world's greatest long distance walking trails. There are many other trails in this area including the Mundi Biddi trail, the Torbay Rail Trail, Torbay Bird Walk and Point Possession Trail.
Cycling through West Cape Howe National Park is a thrilling experience. Dunsky beach is a popular site for snorkelling and scuba diving.
Limited camping sites are located at Shelley Beach and Campfires and cooking fires are not allowed.
Australian salmon, groper, herring, shark, mulloway and whiting can be caught across the park.
Above, the view over Forsyth Bluff
Hang Gliding, Shelley Beach Lookout
Hang gliders and para gliders have 2 launch platforms custom built into the black granite headland above Shelley Beach, at the lookout. You must register with the Department of Parks and Wildlife before taking to the skies!
These platforms give uninterrupted views of West Cape Howe and Albany Wind Farm as well as Torndirrup Peninsula. Stay well back from cliff edges.
No pets are permitted in National Parks, including within cars, parking areas and on beaches. Poison baits are used in the parks.
The National Park with sea cliffs, coast and karri is run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Wildflowers in West Cape Howe National Park
Shelley Beach West Cape Howe National Park
Shelley Beach Lookout Facing South East past the Torndirrup Peninsula
Cosy Corner. The rocks between East and West.
The Shelley Beach Lookout is easily accessed by 2WD vehicles.
The Hang Gliding / Paragliding platforms at Shelley Beach Lookout.
DANGER: The Great Southern Ocean is unpredictable, sending surges even at calm times. BE AWARE when close to the water. Read the information on SURGES before visiting the park.
We recognise and acknowledge the Noongar people as the traditional custodians of West Cape Howe National Park.
More information on the south-west coast in our other Western Australian travellers guides:
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