Seeking adventure and Western Australia’s endangered fauna emblem (the numbat), Lisa and her camping buddy Elaine, hit the road for a bush camp at Dryandra Woodlands National Park one weekend in April (Nyungar – Djeran season). Burn-off smoke hung low on the horizon when they left Perth with field guides, cameras, and a bag of mixed root vegetables to throw in the coals during the cool evenings.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Wiilman people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

The Dryandra Woodlands National Park is two hours from Perth in the Western Australian Wheatbelt. Flanked by agricultural land, this bushland habitat is a natural oasis for many living things, including critically endangered marsupials and the numbat.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace


The Old Mill-Dam at Dryandra

About Dryandra Woodlands National Park

Dryandra Woodlands National Park is run by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). This national park has no entry fee, but nightly camping fees apply. There’s no booking available.

People travel to Dryandra Woodlands National Park and surrounds in the cooler months to camp, experience unique wildflowers and see wildlife anytime.

If you like to hike, hiking trails of varying lengths are signposted throughout the park, and a visit to Barna Mia Sanctuary after dark is a must!

Dryandra Woodlands National Park History

Dryandra Woodlands holds historical and cultural significance to Traditional Owners, the Wiilman people. Extensive logging early in the century and tannin harvesting from the bark of the local Mallet trees turned most of the country into agricultural land.

Tannin is used for treating leather. In the 1920s, the Mallet trees were protected because, so few remained.

Western Australia’s Curtin University and the Australian Research Council have been conducting biodiversity research, ‘Healing Land Healing People: Nyungar Perspectives’ at Dryandra Woodlands in conjunction with the Traditional Owners for two years as part of a five-year project.

Today, the Nyungar people and DBCA work together to protect the bushland, which covers around 50 square kilometres. It’s one of the largest and most diverse remnant bushland areas in the Western Australian Wheatbelt region.

How to Get to Dryandra Woodlands National Park

Dryandra Woodlands National Park is an easy two-hour drive from Perth city. The roads are mostly sealed, with a short 14km gravel section just before you reach the York-Williams Road camping area.


Dryandra agricultural land

There’s no alternative transport to this neck of the woods, and the nearest town with facilities is Narrogin, another 40km from Dryandra.

The last town before Dryandra is Wandering, where Len Zuks’ bronze, ‘The Horses Came First’, stands. Wandering has self-serve petrol and a post office. It really is a ‘one-horse town’!

Where to Stay at Dryandra Woodlands National Park

Congelin & Gnaala Mia Campgrounds

There are two bush campgrounds to choose from. We stayed at Congelin Camp, located east of York-Williams Road, which is split into groups (to cater for 30) and eight van camping sites.

Gnaala Mia is located on the west side of York-Williams Road on a hilltop with eight tent sites and 27 van sites. Campsites are large and well-spaced for privacy.


Camping at Congelin Campground

Volunteer camp hosts are usually onsite to collect fees and answer questions. The sites have fire pits, self-composting toilets, and communal gas BBQs, and camping is a first-come-first-served arrangement.  While the sites have water tanks, fresh potable water is unavailable, so bring your own.

Dryandra Lions Village Cabins

Basic cottage accommodation at Dryandra Lions Village is available for those who don’t wish to camp and pre-booking is required.

The self-catering cottages, named after local flora and fauna, cater to small to large groups in dormitory-style accommodations (think school camps). You’ll need to bring your own sheets and towels.

Mobile reception is sketchy once you enter the national park. Congelin Campground was definitely off-grid!

Things to do at Dryandra Woodlands National Park

  • Hiking (self-guided) – day hikes and nocturnal
  • Wildlife spotting on the Darwinia Trail
  • Bird watching
  • Camping
  • Stargazing
  • Barna Mia Nocturnal Sanctuary (book by phone before leaving Perth)

Essential Gear List for Dryandra Woodlands National Park

  • Camping gear and sleeping bag/sheets and towels
  • All food for your trip (the nearest shop is 40km away in Narrogin)
  • Drinking water and bottle
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Firewood – if fires are permitted
  • Firelighters
  • Torches – red light for observing nocturnal creatures
  • First aid kit and medical requirements
  • Warm clothing – it can be cold at night
  • Camera and binoculars

What it’s Like to Spend Time at Dryandra Woodlands National Park

We’d heard reports of people seeing numbats in the wild and the incredible birds, echidnas, and nocturnal marsupials at Dryandra Woodlands National Park but had never visited. Dryandra Woodlands National Park did not disappoint and was so much more than I anticipated.

Set Up and Exploration

After setting up tents, we explored and walked the old railway track to Congelin Dam before night fell, treating us to an eerie sunset. Burn-off smoke turned the sun the same bright red as the scarlet-capped robin sighted earlier that day.


The distinctive red of the Scarlet Capped robin

We lit a fire as the temperature dropped, stoked the coals, and readied our foil-wrapped veggies for the roasting pit. A glass of red and another layer of clothing as the red sun disappeared. Mosquitoes briefly buzzed us, but the fire kept them at bay.

Nocturnal Creatures

The first creature that hopped through our camp was a Woylie, a medium-sized marsupial with small ears and a sweet little face. She came close, grazing our camp chairs as she went. We saw and heard many Woylies that night.

A brave possum eyed us from the base of a tree not far from our fire, occasionally scampering to the top. She watched expectantly as we unwrapped our roast vegetable parcels. Park rules request that you don’t feed the animals, so despite pleading eyes, there was no roast pumpkin for that possum.

In the morning, the soil around camp looked like a truffle pig had been through. A quick look at Elaine’s book on Western Australian wildlife gave no clues, and being off-grid, Google had to wait.


Breakfast after a night of wildlife spotting!

That evening, when we visited Barna Mia Sanctuary, we discovered it was the delicate Woylie digging for fungus beneath Wandoo trees. Not far from a truffle pig!

Numbat Spotting

We woke the following morning with numbats on our minds, keen to take photos of one of the area’s few diurnal (daytime) creatures. The sky was cloudy and rain a possibility – a contrast following yesterday’s sultry day, so we set out after breakfast. The evening before, helpful camp host volunteer Barry, had dropped by with DBCA pamphlets and a map so we knew where to go and how to approach them.

The Darwinia Drive Trail, ten minutes’ drive from camp, is 24km long and winds through the stunning Wandoo forest where numbats don’t fear to tread. The numbat population at Dryandra is 50% of the entire Australian population.

Barry had informed us that a slow-moving vehicle is less likely to spook the little numbats than if we hiked through the trail. He said to creep along at 5km per hour and keep our eyes out and wished us luck!

Snacks, water bottles, and cameras packed, we strapped ourselves in for a (very) slow journey through the forest. Half an hour in, Elaine spotted one on her side. Until now, I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for – I’d seen the pictures and may have seen one at Perth Zoo, but I wasn’t prepared for how small and delicate they are.

I fumbled with my seatbelt and stalled the car, getting out to take a pic. My beeping door-open alarm didn’t help! She sat on a log watching us, her mouth filled with leaf litter and bark. Suddenly she was gone, and my camera captured nothing but bush.

Encouraged by our first sighting, we inhaled some lolly snakes and rolled on. Super ready for the second sighting; my camera was locked and loaded, and my finger ready to release my seatbelt. This time on my side, a small scampering creature with a mouthful of nesting material. She sat and watched us from a log, turned to the right, and posed again – displaying her fluffy underbelly.


Hey little fella

Satisfied, we decided to head back to camp as roast vegetable wraps were calling! We didn’t see any more numbats but stopped and chatted with a fellow spotter, who’d also seen two.

Barna Mia Nocturnal Wildlife Experience

That evening we visited Barna Mia Nocturnal Sanctuary – best to book before leaving Perth as tours are popular! We saw marsupials that no longer exist in the wild such as the Boodie and the Mala.

We even caught a glimpse of the crazy ears of a shy bilby as it hopped into the clearing where we sat bathed in red torchlight.

With the Milky Way and Elon Musk’s Starlink traversing the sky above, we listened to crunching marsupials feeding noisily on fruit supplied by the rangers.


Munching marsupials at Barna Mia Nocturnal Wildlife Sanctuary

That night was cold, and we woke to dew-covered tents and Rufus treecreepers (a bird) hopping about. After a leisurely breakfast of pancakes and coffee, it was time to head back to the city. I patted my camera and looked forward to reliving the weekend for a second time when I got home.

The elegant Rufus Treecreeper

Tips For Visiting Dryandra Woodland National Park

  • Take it slow – the roads are unsealed and wildlife is everywhere
  • Download maps before you go – mobile coverage is spartan
  • Leave your pets at home – dogs aren’t permitted in the park


FAQs Dryandra Woodland National Park

Where is Dryandra Woodland National Park located?

In the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, around two hours drive from Perth.

How do you get to Dryandra Woodland National Park?

It’s an easy two-hour drive from Perth. The roads are mostly sealed, with a short 14km gravel section just before you reach the York-Williams Road camping area. There’s no alternative transport to this neck of the woods, so driving is it!

When is Dryandra Woodland National Park open?

The national park is open year round, but it’s best to check the WA Parks and Wildlife Service website before heading off.

Do I need to book my visit to Dryandra Woodland National Park?

Campsites at Dryandra Woodland National Park can’t be booked in advance, but are first come first serve. But you will need to book the Barna Mia Nocturnal Wildlife Experience in advance.

When is the best time of year to visit Dryandra Woodland National Park?

During spring the wildflowers are in bloom, so this is one of the most beautiful times to visit the national park.

How many days should I spend at Dryandra Woodland National Park?

It’s perfect for a weekend getaway or longer.

Do you need a 4WD to get to Dryandra Woodland National Park?

No 4WD is needed to visit Dryandra Woodland National Park.

Is Dryandra Woodland National Park free?

Yes! Visiting Dryandra Woodland National Park is free.