Meelup - place of the moon rising 

Meelup Regional Park an important Class A reserve vested in the City of Busselton and managed by delegated authority by community volunteers known as the Meelup Regional Park Management Committee. The park is approximately 577 hectares and extends 11.5 kilometres along the coastline from Dunsborough to Bunker Bay. The park’s coastline faces north east, which is rare in Western Australia, therefore it is sheltered from prevailing salt bearing south westerly winds, and so, in many places, tall trees and dense vegetation grows down to the water’s edge.

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Photograph courtesy of Christian Fletcher Photography

The Wardandi people (‘forest people by the sea’) are the Aboriginal custodians of the area, and named Meelup ‘place of the moon rising’ because the full moon appears to rise out the sea on a few days of the year. The park offers excellent recreation facilities among pristine coastal bushland and has a stunning visual landscape, due to its protected coastline and the stark contrast between the rustic granite outcrops and turquoise ocean. The park is a special place for visitors, providing a unique connection to the ruggedness, beauty and inspiration of nature.

Meelup Regional Park lies within the Busselton-Augusta ‘biodiversity hotspot’, the only one in Australia that is recognised internationally. A biodiversity hotspot is an area rich in plant and animal species, particularly high in endemism and under pressure from a variety of threats. The park’s size and relatively pristine condition of much of the vegetation means that it has both local and international conservation significance.

In 1801 a scientific expedition under the command of Captain Nicolas Baudin and Capitaine de fregate (commander) Hamelin visited Geographe Bay in the corvettes Geographe and Naturaliste. After making landfall at Cape Leeuwin on 27th May 1801, the ships travelled up the coast and into Geographe Bay to study the natural resources in the area. Many places along the coastline are named in honour of that journey.

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New Dieback Hygiene Stations in the Park

The City of Busselton with support from CoastWest has recently installed 7 dieback hygiene stations in locations where walkers are entering dieback free areas. Walkers are encouraged to stop and clean their boots to remove any soil which may contain dieback spores to prevent the spread of dieback in the Park. The dieback hygiene stations will be the first in Meelup Regional Park.

Other dieback management measures recently implemented include limestone sheeting of trails, phosphite foliar spraying and community Dieback Green Card training.  

Phytophthora dieback is an introduced disease that is a major threat to the diversity of south-west WA. It kills up to 40% of all native plants, including iconic species such as Banksia and Grass Trees. The movement of infected soil, plant material or water containing it spores, particularly under warm, moist conditions, will spread the disease into uninfected areas. To prevent the spread of the disease, it is critically important to manage human access in native vegetation areas.

A Dieback Interpretation and Mapping Report were undertaken of the Park in February 2017 resulting in the mapping of 25.5% of the Park as dieback infested, 61% uninfested (with the remaining 13.5% as unprotectable).

Dieback is a major threat to the biodiversity values of the Park and the City of Busselton/ Meelup Regional Park Management Committee have made the management of dieback a high priority.