Circular Pool Walpole Guide: Discover this Natural Beauty in WA

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Join us as we uncover the tranquil beauty of Circular Pool, a hidden jewel tucked away in Western Australia’s vast wilderness.

Our journey along Hilltop Road in Walpole culminated at Circular Pool, a serene finale following the scenic lookout and the majestic giant tingle tree.

Visiting in early February, we found the pool still, its surface mirroring the lush forest around it. Winter transforms it into a swirling cappuccino, thanks to the rapids and saponin from the plants, an interesting detail we learned from a lookout sign.

Circular Pool is the perfect place to head for a picnic and take a cool dip in the summer. However, it would be pretty busy during the school holidays. 

It presents an idyllic setting for keen photographers to capture nature’s vibrant palette.

Shelley and Lars at Circular Pool with the bottom pool behind us with granite boulders and forest in the background
Us, enjoying the gorgeous scenery at Circular Pool ©Lifejourney4two

Anyone passing us by at the first lookout might have thought we were planted on the spot. After hearing rustles in the forest undergrowth below, we spent about 20 minutes hardly moving.

Just the day before, we spotted a quokka on the Coalmine Beach Heritage Trail and thought Lady Luck might have just been striking twice. Despite the heat and our anticipation heightening with every passing minute, we remained in our best “ninja poses,” cameras at the ready.

After an eternity, the creature finally showed itself as we craned our necks over the lookout railing.

It was not a quokka.

It was a King Skink, and although all wildlife glimpses are unique, some are more exciting than others. Our sweating brows were not impressed.   

Lookout over the forest and pool ©Lifejourney4two
View of Forest from one of the lookouts
View of forest and circular pool from the viewing platform ©Lifejourney4two
Black scaled lizard in amongst grass and twigs
King’s Skink (Egernia kingii) in the undergrowth at Circular Pool ©Lifejourney4two

Discovering Circular Pool: in a Nutshell

Circular Pool, nestled in the heart of Walpole-Nornalup National Park in Western Australia, is a tranquil retreat and a photographer’s paradise.

Lars stood on rocks taking photos of the river with lots of boulders
Lars snapping away – not quite the spectacular wintertime rapids! ©Lifejourney4two

Circular Pool offers breathtaking vistas for photographers. Enhance your photography skills and gear for your next adventure with our guide on travel photography gear.

Here’s a quick summary for those on the go:

  • Location: A serene spot near Walpole, perfect for a day out amidst nature.
  • Best Time to Visit: Summer for swims in the calm waters or winter to see the ‘cappuccino’ rapids caused by swirling saponin.
  • Access: It’s reachable via Hilltop Road (one-way road), which offers a scenic drive through ancient forests and past the Giant Tingle Tree. It’s about 10km from Walpole and takes roughly 13 minutes.
  • Visitor Info: The park is free to enter, no dogs are allowed, there is ample parking, and it is not suitable for caravans. It features two top-level viewing platforms over the Frankland River accessible to all, picnic tables, and an additional lookout at the bottom level.
  • Safety: Watch for slippery rocks and boardwalks, be snake-aware in summer, and avoid diving due to hidden underwater hazards.
  • Environmental Care: To preserve the beauty of Circular Pool, stick to paths, take rubbish with you, and respect local wildlife. This will maintain the ecosystem’s balance.
  • Walpole: Explore more of Walpole and its surroundings, read our article on all the places we recommend you visit in Walpole.
Circular pool with forest reflections on its surface
Circular Pool, Walpole ©Lifejourney4two

About Circular Pool

Circular Pool is a peaceful spot near Walpole, worth visiting in conjunction with the Giant Tingle Tree off Hilltop Road.

Bottom level viewing platform looking out on to a still lake surounded by trees
Viewing platform looking out onto the pool ©Lifejourney4two

The pool is distinguished by its tannin-rich brown waters as part of the Frankland River’s journey towards the Nornalup Inlet. Its frothy foam creates a mesmerizing natural spectacle. The pool’s slow, circular water movements give it its name.

The Frankland River Rapids leading into Circular Pool in summer ©Lifejourney4two

Informative boards around the area share insights on the Noongar people’s use of the land and the history of the pools.

Over the years, access changes have been made for safety and conservation, enhancing the visitor experience while protecting this delicate ecosystem. In the past cars could drive ride down to the river, with a few sliding right in!

Circular pool with granite boulders within it sticking out and forest around it
Circular Pool ©Lifejourney4two

Flora and Fauna Around Circular Pool

Circular Pool is surrounded by a rich variety of flora and fauna that captivates nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Towering karri and tingle trees create a majestic canopy, while the understory is a flourish of ferns, wildflowers, and fungi, especially vivid during the wetter months. This dense foliage provides shade and beauty and supports diverse wildlife.

The pool’s clear waters and surrounding forest are a haven for wildlife. Birdwatchers can delight in spotting species such as the red-winged fairy-wren, white-breasted robin, and the elusive yellow-billed spoonbill. (For more on the birds found in the Walpole- Nornalup area, check out this PDF)

The forest floor and water’s edge attract the smaller creatures, including the quokka and ringtail possum, while the King Skink might be seen basking on sunlit rocks.

In the water, the patient observer might catch a glimpse of freshwater crayfish or the unique spectacle of frogs during their breeding season, adding an audible charm to the pool’s tranquil ambience.

Find out more about the plants and animals found in Circular Pool here at the Atlas of Living Australia.

Explore More: If you’re fascinated by the natural wonders of Western Australia, consider extending your Walpole adventure to include Swarbrick Art Loop, another gem where art meets nature, offering a unique lens through which to appreciate the region’s biodiversity.

Circular Pool Interactive Map

Circular Pool Sign beside the road with a background of trees

How to Get to Circular Pool from Walpole

Route to Circular Pool from Walpole - 22 minute drive and 13.6 km via Hilltop road
Route from Walpole to Circular Pool via Hilltop Rd.

If you want to get straight to Circular Pool from Walpole, the quickest route is about 10km and will take around 13 minutes.

But the best way to drive to Circular Pool is via Hilltop Road. 

This one-way road, east of Walpole, has a fabulous lookout. It passes through the ancient Karri and Tingle forest and by the Giant Tingle tree. 

This route is more scenic for visitors and is good to combine with the lookout and giant tingle. 

View of pool from the bench alongside the lake
View of the pool from the viewing platform ©Lifejourney4two

For those enchanted by the allure of road trips, Circular Pool is a great stop on any road trip in the area. If you’re venturing through Western Australia, consider adding Gnomesville, a whimsical detour, to your itinerary.

Planning Your Visit: Essential Information for Circular Pool

  • Free entry to Walpole-Nornalup National Park
  • No dogs allowed (even in vehicles) 
  • Ample parking available 
  • The gravel road leading to Circular Pool is not suitable for caravans.
  • Top-level viewing platforms accessible by prams and wheelchairs
  • Picnic tables and additional lookout at the bottom level
  • Facilities include a toilet, picnic spots, and benches.

Planning a road trip to Circular Pool? Our printable road trip planner can help organize your adventure, ensuring you capture all the magic of Western Australia’s landscapes.

Circular Pool welcome sign with a map

Stay Safe While Exploring

  • Beware of slippery rocks and boardwalks, especially in wet weather.
  • Watch out for snakes in summer.
  • The pool is deep, but diving is discouraged due to unseen hazards.
View down towards the Frankland River
View of the Frankland River from above ©Lifejourney4two

Best Times to Visit Circular Pool

For those seeking the perfect shot or a moment of solitude, early morning or late afternoon light casts a magical glow over the pool.

Summer brings warm days ideal for a refreshing dip. At the same time, winter unveils the pool’s dramatic side, with swirling waters reminiscent of a frothy cappuccino.

Avoid school holidays if you’re seeking peace and quiet.  

Picnic bench beside the pool under the trees
Bench for quiet contemplation by the pool ©Lifejourney4two

Environmental Considerations

Circular Pool’s beauty is a gift to be cherished and protected.

  • Stick to marked paths to preserve the delicate underbrush and habitats.
  • Take all rubbish with you to maintain the area’s natural beauty for future visitors.
  • Respect wildlife by keeping a distance and not feeding the animals, preserving the natural balance of this exquisite ecosystem.
Circular-Pool-wooden-walkway in amongst the trees with three wooden steps and fence to the left
Walkways near the pool ©Lifejourney4two

Other attractions in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park

Walpole-Nornalup National Park is a sanctuary of untouched beauty, offering a variety of landscapes that beckon adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Here are some highlights to explore within the park:

  • Conspicuous Cliff: This impressive coastal feature offers panoramic ocean views and is a prime spot for beach walks and seasonal whale watching.
  • Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk: Walk amongst the treetops 40 metres above the ground in the ancient tingle forest, offering a unique perspective of this rich ecosystem.
  • Giant Tingle Tree: Witness the grandeur of one of the world’s largest living tingle trees, accessible via a short, scenic walk.
  • The Coalmine Beach Heritage Trail: Delve into the area’s rich cultural and natural heritage on this enlightening trail that winds through stunning landscapes and historical sites.
  • Knoll Scenic Drive: This drive navigates through the park’s heart, offering breathtaking views over the Nornalup Inlet and opportunities to spot local wildlife and flora.
  • Mount Clare: Trek to the summit of Mount Clare for sweeping views across the park. This adventure rewards hikers with unparalleled vistas of Walpole’s wilderness.
  • Wow, Wilderness Cruise: We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Explore the Walpole-Nornalup Marine Park with the enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and funny local Gary Muir.
Conspicuous Cliff beach
Conspicuous Cliff Beach near Walpole ©Lifejourney4two

These destinations within Walpole-Nornalup National Park showcase its diverse natural wonders, from the heights of ancient forests to the depths of cultural history, ensuring visitors have a profoundly enriching experience.

Circular Pool … That’s a Wrap

In summary, Circular Pool is a hidden gem in Walpole, offering a blend of natural beauty, tranquillity, and outdoor adventure. 

Whether you’re captivated by the serene reflections in the summer or the dramatic ‘cappuccino’ rapids in the winter, there’s something here for every nature lover. 

Remember to bring your camera, tread lightly to protect the fragile ecosystem, and immerse yourself in this special place’s peaceful yet vibrant atmosphere. It’s yet another jewel in the treasure chest of Western Australia’s natural landscapes.

Captured some magical moments at Circular Pool? We’d love to see them! Share your best shots and stories with us, and if you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our road trip photography tips for capturing those unforgettable moments.

Circular Pool Pinterest Pin
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Planning your travels?

These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.

For a more thorough list, visit our Travel Resources page here.

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Shelley, a former primary school teacher with a law degree, and her husband Lars co-own Lifejourney4two. Their adventure began in Perth, Australia, and has since taken them through Europe and Africa in motorhomes and bush campers. Shelley's travel guides combine practical advice with engaging stories, mirroring their shift from 'One Day' to 'Day One'. Together, they aim to inspire others to embark on their own travel dreams.

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