Region: Albany, Great Southern Region, Western Australia |
Gull Rock National Park takes its name from a small island off Ledge Beach, which is in fact not part of the park. High vista points in the landscape offer outstanding views of Breaksea and Michaelmas Islands, King George Sound and Torndirrup Peninsula. Boiler Bay at the eastern end of Ledge Beach is a popular swimming area.
Thanks to Tom Kennedy for sharing the below photos of some epic rides through Gull Rock.
Horse-riders to be banned from Gull Rock National Park?
In addition to being enjoyed by horse-riders and bushwalkers alike, Gull Rock National Park is also home to a rare orchid, known as ‘the Queen of Sheba’. On Friday, 3rd July, ABC news published an article around apparent fears that the Queen of Sheba orchid habitat might be destroyed by horse trails.
Coined ‘the holy grail’ for orchid hunters, it is an orchid which now only grows wild in the state’s south-west, after being eliminated by large scale land clearing in Perth.
Horse -riders and wildflower enthusiasts are currently at loggerheads as new horse trail signage is installed. Lyn Alcock, who is a member of the Adopt an Orchid Program, believes horses can pose a serious threat to the orchids. According to Lyn, this is largely due to horse manure being left behind in the park. In what could be described a rather bombastic statement, she claims that as a result of the manure, “weeds will start growing the area where the Queens grow, the weeds will spread rapidly and choke out the Queen areas.’
However, despite Ms Alcock’s claims, a study in the USA showed that while horse hay and manure may contain a small number of seeds of invasive plants, the seeds do not successfully germinate on trails.
Additionally, there are a great many examples of National parks which see a high volume of horse rider traffic in which environmental management is top notch. Gull Rock National Park itself has comparatively small numbers of horse-riders accessing what are very clear designated horse trails. These trails are confined to less than 20 percent of the national park.
Horse-riding had been permitted in the Gull Rock National Park long before it was vested to the Conservation Commission, after which it was agreed with the Gull Rock Working Group that horse-riding would remain. Horse-riders have shown they respect the area and remain on the trails provided.
Here’s to saddling up and enjoying the stunning Gull Rock National Park from horse back for many years to come!
Further information can be obtained from the links below
1. Rainbow Coast Visitor’s Guide https://www.rainbowcoast.com.au/maps/gull-rock-national-park
2. Parks and Wildlife Service https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/gull-rock