Yardie Creek Gorge Walk – All You Need to Know

The Yardie Creek Gorge Walk is a great way to get a feel for the rugged beauty of Cape Range National Park. The Yardie Nature Walk and longer Yardie Gorge Trail follow the only permanent creek in Cape Range National Park. On the Yardie Creek walk you can spot lots of wildlife, wildflowers and get great views of the red limestone cliffs and Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.

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Cape Range National Park Sign

Getting to the Yardie Creek Walks

It takes 60 minutes to get to Yardie Creek Gorge from Exmouth or 40 minutes from Yardie Creek Homestead on the reef side of the peninsula. You will be entering Cape Range National Park so if you don’t yet have a National Park Pass, there is a pay station just beyond Yardie Creek Homestead.

The drive is on sealed roads the whole way and takes you past the turn offs to some of Ningaloo’s best snorkelling including Turquoise Bay, The Oyster Stacks and Lakeside Sanctuary. You can also pop into the Milyering Visitor Centre for snorkelling, tour and camping information.

It is a spectacular drive, keep an eye out for Sturt Desert Peas just off the road and the tall Australian bustards (they’re birds) on the side of the road too. Cape Range is an imposing sight for the length of the drive to Yardie Creek Gorge with several canyons to peer into as you drive along.

Preparing for the Yardie Creek Walk Trail

There are toilets at the Yardie Creek walk car park, but no other facilities so make sure you have some water and dress for hot weather. The sun can be pretty intense as you walk along the top of the gorge. You will also want decent walking shoes if you are doing the steeper Yardie Gorge Trail Walk.

Yardie Creek Walk Signage

Yardie Creek Walk

You will know when you arrive at Yardie Creek. Go past the turn off to the Yardie Creek Campground and you will come to a decent size car park. You might see some people driving on – they are the ones looking to cross Yardie Creek at low tide – which you can do in a 4WD. There are campsites and eventually Coral Bay further down the coast.

But if you have come to do the Yardie Creek walk, park and follow the signs. Depending on your energy levels there are 2 walks – the Yardie Creek Nature Trail or the slightly longer Yardie Gorge Trail. They both start at the same point. Follow the signs up past the jetty to get started.

Yardie Creek Walk

Yardie Nature Trail

The Yardie Nature Trail is a 1.2km return walk that takes 30 – 50 minutes The well-formed dirt track is actually very flat and quite accessible. You get some fantastic views of the gorge walls and Yardie Creek. Keep an eye out along the path, there are always some wildflowers in bloom. You might also see some wildlife. Emus and red kangaroos are seen in the area, but the black footed rock wallabies are the ones to watch out for.

With an amazing ability to quietly and nimbly get up and down what looks like an unclimbable rock face, the black footed rock wallabies can be tricky to spot. Your best chance is later in the day when they emerge from the hides to feed. Also keep an eye on the sky for the resident osprey eagles, although we saw more of these further along on the Yardie Gorge Trail.

Some of the nicest views are saved up for the return walk. When you turn around not only do you get the view of Yardie Gorge and Creek, but that is contrasted against the lovely blue water of the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.

Yardie Creek Wildlilfe

Yardie Gorge Trail

This is just an extension of the Yardie Nature Trail – but it gets quite a bit steeper. The Yardie Gorge Trail walk is a 2km medium difficulty return walk that takes 60 to 90 minutes. The first part of the track is the easy Yardie Nature Trail, further along. the gradient increases quite a bit as you follow the rim high above Yardie Creek.

The walking track is more uneven and obviously steeper, but you are well rewarded for your effort. The Yardie Gorge Trail gives you the best views of the nesting osprey eagles on the other side of the gorge. You can’t miss them; their nests are huge, and the eagles are often coming and going. They are a great sight although you will want a camera with a decent zoom to get a good picture of them.

The Gorge Trail sort of peters out at the main bend in the creek which is where the cruise boat also turns around. And like the shorter Yardie Creek Nature Trail, there are some fantastic views of the reef as you make your way back to the coast.

Yardie Creek Cruise

Yardie Creek Cruise

If you would rather not walk or want to see Yardie Creek from another angle, jump aboard the 60 minute Yardie Creek Cruise. Run by local operators who have a great knowledge of the area’s natural history, the cruise is a fun way to see the ospreys and wallabies that live on the steep cliff face.

We didn’t do the cruise, but it was on while we were walking and the acoustics in the gorge are so good, we heard some of the commentary – which was really interesting. It was clear that the cruise is a family friendly activity, the guides were very inclusive. Passengers were coming off the boat as we finished our walk above Yardie Creek, and there was no doubt everyone had a good time.

Mandu Mandu gorge

If you like the Yardie Creek Walk, try the Mandu Mandu Gorge

If you are not gorged out and want to get in a few more steps, on your way back from the Yardie Creek Walk stop in at Mandu Mandu Gorge. Unlike the permanent water at Yardie Creek, Mandu Mandu Gorge will likely be dry, but it is a spectacular walk with great views of the reef on the return leg.

The Mandu Mandu Gorge walk is a 3km medium to difficult return hike along the pebbly creek bed then up to the gorge rim. The hike up to the top is the tough part, you’ll want proper shoes to negotiate the rocky track. The white creek bed looks great from above, there are lots of wildflowers and the views of the red gorge walls, white creek and blue water are fantastic.

The turn off is just after the Oyster Stacks if you are coming from Exmouth or Yardie Creek Station and on the right after the North Mandu Campground from the Yardie Creek Gorge direction. It is a tougher hike than the Yardie Creek walk but another great chance to explore Cape Range National Park.

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