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Hopetoun, Western Australia

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Escape to a the southern coastal town of Hopetoun, where the dramatic untouched coastline and magnificent Fitzgerald River National Park invite you to trek, swim, fish and explore one of the most bio-diverse landscapes in the world. Nestled on the shores of pretty Mary Ann Haven, three hours and 45 minutes east of Albany, Hopetoun is seven hours by road from Perth, making it the ideal place to stop on a south coast road trip from Albany to Esperance. Just nine kilometres from town, the 329,000 hectare Fitzgerald River National Park opens up before you. One of Australia's largest and most botanically significant national parks, it's renowned for its rugged hinterland, coastal scenery and more than 1,800 beautiful and rare plant species, many unique to the park. Explore this spectacular landscape in a four wheel drive, canoeing on the river or walking the many trails. In addition to 20 per cent of Western Australia's plant species, you'll find the park's shores and estuaries abound with bird life. During the winter months, you can also spot southern right whales as they come into secluded bays to calve - one of only three places in Australia where this occurs. Flanked by 200 kilometres of pristine coastline, Hopetoun boasts a string of stunning beaches where you can swim, surf and fish. Spend a lazy afternoon on Barrens Beach, swimming, snorkelling and exploring the rock pools. Visit the blow holes and cave at East Mylies. Or take the ocean drive from Hopetoun to East Mount Barren Lookout, enjoying the breathtaking coastal scenery and vistas along the way. With so much to experience, you'll want to extend your stay. Camp with kookaburras in the beautiful bush setting of Fitzgerald River National Park, or choose from a range of accommodation options in Hopetoun, including a hotel, motel, caravan park, chalets and holiday cottages. Your appetite is equally well catered for, with everything from a la carte restaurant dining to cafes and counter meals available in the town.

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