We had been unable to visit a number of these beaches when touring the area in 2005 due to a fire on Mount Manypeaks. Waychinicup was not accessible to us with our caravan so we bypassed that too.
From Oyster Harbour east, there are a series of National Parks and Nature Reserves with only a few breaks. Commencing at the heads of Oyster Harbour, the east head is part of the Mount Martin Nature Reserve, which adjoins the Gull Rock National Park. Divided by Nanarup Beach and the Taylor Inlet, the corridor continues with the Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve, parts of which are not accessible by the public to protect the habitats of the endangered species in this reserve. After a break the next wildlife corridor has Waychinicup National Park (west and east sections) joined by the Mount Manypeaks Nature Reserve. These are also important habitats for endangered species. There are plans to expand the Waychinicup National Park
Ledge Beach and Ledge Point are in the Gull Rock National Park, one of the newest parks in Western Australia, being declared in 2006, and camping is no longer permitted. There is good unsealed road to access both Ledge Beach, and up to Ledge Point overlooking King George Sound to Albany across Gull Rock, and to Michaelmas Island and out to sea from the other side of the point. A number of sandy four wheel drive tracks gave access down to the beaches.
Nanarup Beach is at the Taylor Inlet, an inlet closed by a sandbar.
Why the intriguing name Two Peoples Bay? It was named Two Peoples Bay back in February 1803 when Captain Nicholas Baudin of the French ship Géographe met American Captain Isaiah Pendleton of the American ship Union. In those days, a people referred a republic with an elected head of state. There were only two of those in the world back then; the United States of America and France. Sourced from Kalgan Community Website.
Heading towards Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, our group stopped in at a Nippers Café, Bird Park and Marron Farm, approximately two kilometres prior to entering the reserve. With coffee and all sorts of delicious cakes and sweets our morning tea was a sweet treat. On thanking our young waitress, she said “It’s my first day”. She had come for a job interview at the time the café received our group booking, and was told “Put an apron on – you are starting now”. She did the job so well.
On the way to Two Peoples Bay and within the reserve we passed two large freshwater lakes; Moates Lake and Gardner Lake. This series of pure fresh water lakes which includes Angove Lake to the north of the Nature Reserve are part of a fresh water wetland. Sourced from Angove Creek (Angove River) this water provides around 20% of the water supply for Albany and Mount Barker. The creek into Lake Moates is not used at present to protect the habitat of the critically endangered species, the Western Trout Minnow, which is now confined to Goodga River, Black Cat Creek and Moates Lake, the Angove Creek and Angove Lake, and the upper Kent River.
An informative visitor centre at Two Peoples Bay has displays about the re-discovery of the noisy scrub bird and Gilberts Potoroo, other wildlife and recovery programs for threatened species. During summer months, the centre is usually open from 10 am to 4 pm. At other times of the year, the centre is open when staff are present, however when closed the colourful displays can still be viewed from outside. A picnic area and gas barbecues are nearby. No camping and no drinking water available in the reserve.
Gilberts Potoroo was rediscovered at Mount Gardner in 1994 after having been thought extinct as the last recorded sighting was 115 years earlier. An underground fungi found in the Mount Gardner area is important in the diet of the potoroo. See more about recovery work for Gilbert's Potoroo following fires 2015/2016 #
Little Beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches on the south west coast, with turquoise water and white sand against a backdrop of hills with rocks striated with colour. On a dull rainy day, we could see how beautiful the scene would be in clear weather. At the far side of the beach a short walk over the headland goes to Waterfall Beach where a small waterfall gushes down from the rocks and on to the beach, but with the inclement weather we did not take this walk.
A 4.6 kilometre heritage walk starts at the rear of the visitor centre and winds through peppermint woodland then loops back along the beach, with a five kilometre spur from this loop to Little Beach.
Heading out of the Two Peoples Bay Reserve there was a small marsupial on the roadside. A Potoroo? Very doubtful and most likely a Quenda (Southern Brown Bandicoot).
Other mammals which are considered endangered that inhabit the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, Waychincup National Park and the Mount Manypeaks Nature reserve are Southern Brown Bandicoot (Quenda), Honey Possum, Western Pygmy Possum, Western Ringtail Possum, and Quokkas. Australian Sea Lion and the New Zealand Fur Seal also visit the coastline. A Chuditch (Western Quoll), a vulnerable species in the South West, had not seen in the Albany region for more than fifteen years. The Quoll was sighted by a Department of Parks and Wildlife officer at Two Peoples Bay in July 2014.
Other threatened birds inhabiting the park are the Western Ground Parrot, and Australasian Bittern. Three threatened species of cockatoo (Baudin’s, Carnaby’s and forest red-tailed black cockatoo) also use habitats in the reserve. The critically endangered Western Ground Parrot is Western Australian rarest bird. As part of a recovery programme, seven birds have been taken to the Perth Zoo for an off site breeding programme.
There are also endemic and threatened flora species within this unique park.
Additionally 440 species of fungi have been identified in the reserve, including many previously undiscovered species.
After no recorded sightings for 72 years, the Noisy Scrub-bird was presumed extinct until 1961 when a small population was discovered at Mount Gardner. The Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve was established in 1967. Despite successful relocations, the Noisy Scrub-bird remains one of Australia's rarest birds.
The male bird has a loud and pierced call and like its relative, the Lyrebird, can imitate a number of other birds. The female is virtually silent.
Noisy Scrub-birds dwell on or near the ground in dense scrublands, foraging for small invertebrates that live in deep leaf litter. They nest near the ground in wetter areas with cover of sedges and small shrubs. Hidden in the sedges, a dome shaped next is woven from sticks, leaves of the sedges, paperbark and other vegetation. The female lays only one egg each season. This lifestyle makes the species particularly vulnerable to fire and predation.
Bettys Beach is at the only a few kilometres to the east of East Bay and is the site of a seasonal fishing village on a sheltered bay. Toilets are provided, and camping is permitted although available space is only small. Caravans are not permitted due to space restrictions and a very steep rise to climb out of the village area. Fishing season is from February to April and camping is discouraged during this period.
East Bay is approximately eight kilometres from the Hassell Highway via Homestead, Bettys Bech and East Bay roads, and is near the freshwater Lake Angove.
At the northern end of Two Peoples Bay, three beaches are accessed from Homestead Road, which turns south from Hassell Highway approximately eight kilometres west of Manypeaks townsite. These roads are unsealed.
I was somewhat amused by the road sign on the most corrugated and dusty part of the road saying
Above: From Bettys Beach to Mount Manypeaks
Below: Looking across the bay to Normans Beach from Bettys Beach.
Normans Beach is accessed from Homestead Road and Normans Beach Road. Camping is permitted at an unserviced area alongside the wide and enclosed from the sea estuary of the Norman River, a short way from the beach. Maximum stay is three days. Small caravans can access the campsite but the access track is sandy in places. Pets are permitted. The inlet adjoins the western section of the Waychinicup National Park.