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Pemberton has a strong history in tourism which was well-established by the 1930s, with guest houses and the stocking of rivers with feral trout. It also has an important place in conservation history, with Warren National Park being the first national park in the area, originally set aside in 1907 by the WA Conservator of Forests, Charles Lane Poole.

Pemberton’s attractions are manifold: in its vicinity are several national parks, including the Gloucester National Park with its famed climbable Gloucester Tree; Hawke National Park and Greater Beedelup National Park, both containing old growth forests that were part of major public campaigns for their protection; and the extensive D’Entrecasteaux National Park, with its huge mobile sand dunes stretching 130 kms along the coastline between Augusta and Walpole. A jewel in this national park is the once-threatened Lake Jasper (Yoondadadup) which, at 4 km wide, is the largest freshwater lake in Western Australia and a hugely important wetland for migratory birdlife. 

The cascading Beedelup Falls and the Warren River Valley draw keen bushwalkers to their karri forest walk trails. The peacefully meandering Donnelly and Warren Rivers also define the region. Eco-offerings include cruises on the Donnelly River, hiking and canoeing adventures in the Warren River area, and environmentally responsible 4WD tours that will take you into the heart of D’Entrecasteaux National Park.

These are some of the ways to sample a few of the remarkable places in the Pemberton area, either freely by yourself, or along with some special eco-guides – people who are passionate about the natural environment and have a lot more invested than just their business.

Pemberton is also a former mill town, with forestry important to the local economy into the 1990s. The region was an epicentre of struggles to save old growth forests from clearfelling and woodchipping. Key forest camps for forest rescue activists were located in the district’s Giblett forest block (1994 and 1997), which is now protected in the Greater Beedelup National Park.

This period was marked by fraught social divides between forest campaigners and local timber workers who were concerned for their livelihoods. However, these tensions are now largely resolved and Pemberton’s natural attractions underpin the many businesses catering to visitors.


Practical Information

DISTANCE FROM PERTH: 3 hrs 30 mins (327 kms) south via State Route 2 to Bunbury, turn right onto National Route 1 (Vasse Highway).