- Disabled Access
- No Pets Allowed
Sailing out on the waters of the Walpole Nornalup Inlets, cradled by the luxuriantly tree-clad hills of Walpole Wilderness Area, you are aware that you are somewhere really special. Local guide Gary Muir likes to call it ‘the belly button of the world’, which may be fanciful but reflects his passion for the area. The Muir family has been running cruises on the Inlets for generations, and Gary’s deeply informed narratives will have you as convinced as he is that all roads lead to Walpole.
The small boat of the WOW Wilderness EcoCruise chugs gently across the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets, surrounded by the Walpole Wilderness and Marine Park. These unspoilt inlets are magnificently serene with giant trees cloaking the hills and fringing the secluded bays. It is a rare miracle that it all remains so splendidly intact.
Boarding the boat from the modest Town Jetty in Walpole, you will meet Gary, who throughout the cruise shares his enthusiasm for the inlets with great humour and an astonishingly diverse knowledge of the area, in stories woven with many strands of science, modern history and pre-history.
The cruise crosses the Walpole Inlet between The Knolls, passing into the larger expanse of the Nornalup Inlet. The boat finally nears Deep River, where the inlet flows out to the Southern Ocean. Pulling into a tiny jetty nestled near the end of the inlet, you disembark to take (an optional) short hike over a sandy bush track, crossing a steepish dune system to reach a windswept bay facing the Southern Ocean. Here you can explore among impressive standing beach rocks, and in season, if you’re lucky, maybe spot some humpback whales.
Hiking back across the dunes, there’s tea and fresh cake at the jetty, before reboarding for the return ride to Walpole. The whole journey is 2.5 hours, full of interest and wonder and the privilege of seeing nature at its absolute best.
Note the WOW cruise boat takes only 33 people. The tours book out well in advance, especially in the summer season – so book ahead to avoid disappointment. If you do miss out – put it on your list for next time.
Banner photo: WOW Walpole Wilderness Tour.