Merriwa is a little outer suburb of Perth in the Wanneroo Shire that lies close to the coast near Quinns Rocks, about 40km north of Perth’s CBD. There are ample launching facilities around here to get the boaties out for some great fishing and diving on the reefs, which are quite close to shore. The beaches beckon the swimmer and there’s a well-appointed marina at nearby Mindarie Quays. A few kilometres north of Merriwa is the burgeoning resort area of Yanchep and the popular Yanchep National Park, which has some impressive limestone caves underground, tuart tree forests and supervised wildflower walks in season. The quaintly-named Loch McNess lake is a wildfowl sanctuary within the park. The part of the coast near Merriwa was visited by European mariners long before the British established the Swan River colony in 1829. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship, Vergulde Draeck foundered off this coast in 1656, to the north of Two Rocks. Only 75 crew reached shore with a few provisions. Seven of the crew sailed to Batavia (Jakarta) for assistance, leaving 68 survivors stranded on a barren shore.