Australia’s most widely-read author of literary fiction honeymooned here.
Not many years later – in 1984, I think – my beloved and I also “discovered” this glorious, singular place.
Few people know of its existence, but thousands of years ago Waychinicup had already been named.
The name derives from waitch – the Nyoongar word for emu.
Many place names in Western Australia’s southwest end in up; many people believe, wrongly, that up signifies water.
It actually means “place of…”; so, Waychinicup means “place of emus”.
In umpteen visits to Waychinicup I have never seen an emu…even though I have umpteen times seen emus in places nearby.
Our first visit was quasi-accidental.
Around an hour east of Albany, we had turned right off the highway, heading for Cheynes Beach.
A few kilometres before we reached our intended destination, on the right hand side there was just the one dirt road, unsignposted, apparently heading closer to the eastern flank of Mount Manypeaks
The bush was scraggily splendid and our hire car could manage the bit of track within view, so we drove in.
After a few minutes we reached what we later realised was the Waychinicup River – a modest creek, gently overflowing a ford.
I walked across it in bare feet; yes, the car could manage it…and the hire car company would never know.
A couple of minutes later, suddenly, we were looking at Waychinicup Inlet.
However jaw-dropping, one’s first encounter with Waychinicup barely begins to reveal just how very special is this place, how many facets it has.
Eventually, after quite a few years and a number of return visits, a modest signpost appeared at the track’s start, but Waychinicup has remained an almost-secret place.
For everyone I know who does know it, Waychinicup is one of their favourite places, anywhere.
In the best sense, there’s “nothing there”.
Recently, Tim Winton “spilled the beans” in Island Home: a Landscape Memoir.
That is such a superb book (and Tim has awakened so many people to just how wonderful – and how vulnerable – are Australia’s natural places, most especially Western Australian coastal places) that I can very nearly forgive Tim’s indiscretion.
That said, I was amused and pleased to see that someone has taken the necessary action; at least on September 11, 2016, the signpost was no more!
All photos in this post were taken on that day, when we did not do any vigorous walking; no vantage point in this post is more than a short walk away from the inlet, or from the track to it.
Be aware that you should NOT even think of towing anything caravan-like into Waychinicup
That said, any normal car will get you there.
On the rare occasions when the river would prevent 2WD crossing, at that point you are only a very easy 30 minutes’ track-walk away from the inlet.