Charles Darwin Reserve – which is owned and managed by Bush Heritage Australia – is located 355 kilometres north-east of Perth and 60 kilometres east of Perenjori. It is named in honour of naturalist Charles Darwin.
The Reserve covers 68,600 hectares and falls largely within the Southwest Botanical Province, Australia’s only internationally-recognised ‘global biodiversity hotspot’
It also extends into the more arid Eremean Province to the north, creating an interesting ‘melting pot’ of plant species.
Charles Darwin Reserve was established in 2003 when Bush Heritage Australia acquired what was formerly known as White Wells Station.
Stock were removed from the property soon after, and the Reserve now provides habitat for more than 230 animals – including mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians. So far more than 680 plant species have been recorded on the Reserve, with the daisy, pea and eucalypt families being particularly well represented. The diversity of wattles is also very high – with more than 55 species recorded.
The history of extensive clearing throughout Southwest Australia makes the Reserve an important refuge for animals and plants that were once widespread in the region.
Visiting Charles Darwin Reserve
Visitors are welcome to stay at Charles Darwin Reserve during its open season – from April to October. Bookings are essential, as sites are limited and need to fit around other Reserve activities and management requirements.
After setting-up camp at the Reserve’s ‘Samphire Campground’, surrounded by a grove of paperbarks, visitors can walk or drive around parts of the Reserve.
If they are lucky, they might spot Malleefowl, Major Mitchell Cockatoos, Peregrine Falcons or Australian Bustards among the wide variety of wildlife.
Lizards can also be spotted – sunning themselves on the picturesque rocky outcrops that dot the property – and sunsets afford unforgettable views across the plains to Mt Gibson.
A ‘Camping Guide’ is available to download for details of the facilities, vehicle requirements and preparation that visitors need to be self-sufficient during their stay at the Reserve. There are a number of self-guided driving tours around the property and visitors are recommended to stay a minimum of two days to get the most out of the reserve.
Visit the Charles Darwin Reserve website for more details: https://www.bushheritage.org.au/places-we-protect/visit/charles-darwin