KARRATHA VISITOR CENTRE

Millstream National Park

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Millstream Chichester National Park is a comfortable two hour drive south of Karratha and offers some of the best nature based camping opportunities in the region. Covering an area of approximately 200,000 hectares around the Fortescue River  –  the heartland of the Yindjibarndi people  –  this lush oasis of deep gorges and palm fringed rock pools provides a stark contrast to the surrounding landscape of rocky escarpments and rolling spinifex covered hills.

One of the most scenic attractions in the Millstream Chichester National Park is Python Pool, which is easily accessible by road. Deeper within the park are camping areas at the beautiful Crossing Pool and Stargazer’s (seasonal), accessible only by unsealed roads.

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The run-off from the Hamersley Ranges flows via the Fortescue River into an underground aquifer that feeds the waters of the Millstream Chichester National Park. This natural reserve is believed to contain in excess of 1,700 million cubic metres of water and cover an area of almost 2,000 square kilometres. Attracted by the bounty of water, early European settlers established an active pastoral station here, which remained in operation for over 100 years. Today, the original Millstream Homestead houses the Millstream Visitor Centre and Museum. The Department of Parks and Wildlife produces a very informative brochure about the Millstream Chichester National Park which can be obtained along with other useful information from their website at http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/

 

 

Getting to the Park

The turnoff is just 15 minutes south of Karratha, or if you are travelling on the Roebourne / Wittenoom Road, the turnoff is 28 kilometres south east of Roebourne. Apart from the first 90km this road is unsealed / gravel. If you are driving a hire vehicle it is recommended you check with your hire company as to whether or not this is allowed.

Millstream Visitor Centre and Museum

Built in 1920, the homestead housed its last family in 1964, and between 1975 and 1986 operated as a tavern. The original Millstream Homestead is now home to the visitor centre and offers detailed information about the national park’s attractions and walking trails. It also features a museum with rooms dedicated to the local Aboriginal Yinjibarndi people. A mia-mia (hut) has been erected, complementing an impressive display of Aboriginal artefacts.

Camping in the National Park

There are well maintained bush-style camping facilities in some areas of the Millstream Chichester National Park, including bush toilets and gas barbeques. Fresh water is available at the Karratha Visitor Centre from the water dispenser in the car park ($1.00 per 50 litres). A Department of Parks and Wildlife National Park Pass is required to enter the park  –  there are several different options available which can be purchased from the Karratha Visitor Centre, Roebourne Visitor Centre and the local Department of Parks and Wildlife office. A Day Pass option is also available from the entrance station at the park. Camping fees are also payable at the entrance station or to the Rangers.

Animals and Plant Life

Tropical plant species, typical of Western Australia’s far north, thrive on the edge of permanent water pools throughout the national park. Of particular interest is the unique Millstream Palm, with its fanned, greyish-green leaves and smooth bark. Exotic date palms and cotton palms, originally introduced by pioneers, have now spread throughout the delta. Native animals are drawn to these rock pools, and during the cooler hours of the day you will see an amazing variety of birds at the water’s edge. Black flying foxes are also easily seen within the park, while in the wetlands 14 species of dragonfly and damselfly have been recorded.

Python Pool

Enjoy a picnic and a refreshing swim at pretty Python Pool, a permanent freshwater plunge pool at the base of the Chichester Range escarpment. This popular attraction is located on the Roebourne / Wittenoom Road, 78 kilometres from the North West Coastal Highway turn-off and 28 kilometres east of Roebourne. Check road conditions in the national park with the Karratha or Roebourne Visitor Centres before starting your journey.

Mount Herbert and the Chichester Range Camel Trail

Follow this eight kilometre heritage trail along part of the old camel road, across the rugged sandstone Chichester Range, to the top of Mount Herbert and Python Pool. At the mount’s summit you are treated to a splendid view of the savannah lands, including Pyramid, Sherlock and Warambie Stations. Allow three hours (one way), stout shoes are required and it is recommended that you arrange a pick up from Python Pool.

Aboriginal Landowners

Juluwarlu Aboriginal Corporation, representing the traditional landowners of the Millstream Chichester National Park, has produced ‘Ngurra Wardurala Buluyagayi: Exploring Yindjibarndi Country’. Published in full colour with hundreds of photographs, this book represents over a year’s work of mapping, research and field trips to photograph and record fifty sites of significance to the Yindjibarndi people.

In consultation with the Juluwarlu elders, the Corporation has compiled accurate site descriptions, including songs and stories that are linked to the land, in English and Yindjibarndi, to create an invaluable resource for future generations. The book also includes a fold-out (A3) map of the Millstream-Chichester National Park, making this an essential guide for any visitor who seeks a deeper understanding of Yindjibarndi country.

More details about the park can be found by visiting the Department of Parks and Wildlife website or alternatively, contact the Karratha Visitor Centre for more information about attractions and camping facilities in the Millstream Chichester National Park.

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