If you’ve had the privilege of travelling much of Western Australia, you’ll know there are some brilliant places to explore. If you haven’t, put it on the bucket list. From some of the best beaches in the world through to what many people suggest is the best National Park in Australia (Karijini), you’ll have a blast.
When it comes to finding somewhere to camp for the night there’s no shortage, and today we are sharing 10 incredible places to get the travel juices flowing.
1. Thomas River
Starting on the southern coast, some 122km east of Esperance lies the Thomas River. This is a quiet spot in Cape Arid National Park with two campgrounds and some of the whitest beaches you’ll see anywhere in Australia.
You can camp at the DPAW (Department of Parks and Wildlife) campground at the top of the hill. Or you can camp right next to Thomas River in the shire run campgrounds. Both sites are managed by DPAW volunteers and have their own merits. They range in size but suit everything from tents to big caravans, and all are accessible by 2WD, although the road is gravel.
There’s a whopping 30kms of beach to explore at Thomas River in Western Australia.
If you have a 4WD, you can drive onto the main beach and head 30 km east towards Mount Arid. There are a few rocky headlands to drive around, but the driving is easy with the right tyre pressure and tide monitoring.
To the south is two amazing beaches – Big and Little Tagon. You can get onto Little Tagon by foot or Big Tagon by 4WD. The area is fantastic for finding your own patch of beach and relaxing! The diving and fishing are spectacular – I’ve caught plenty of fish here!
A friendly seal we met at Thomas River.
2. Waychinicup National Park
Waychinicup is located roughly 70km northeast of Albany and is a beautiful and unique place with a huge number of beautiful animals to watch. It’s a natural inlet from the coast where a small river flows into and is truly stunning. The southern coast is extremely aggressive, with huge swells and waves pummelling the rocks where the ocean meets the inlet. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves smashing in – it’s bliss!
The campsites are relatively small, and many don’t want you to park your vehicle next to camp. The fishing is great, as is the 4WD tracks along Cheynes beach and around the Waychinicup National Park.
The Waychinicup Inlet is only metres away from camp.
If you’re into animals, this is one of the best campsites we’ve ever stayed at. There are a huge number of amazing birds, several big lizards, plus quendas and possums at night. We even saw a big python waiting for a meal to come by!
We spent many hours just relaxing in different areas, watching the amazing animal life. You don’t need a 4WD to access the campgrounds at Waychinicup.
Our trusty RV tent set up at Waychinicup National Park.
The Pemberton area is a magical place. Big karri trees stretch for kilometres on end and many follow the Warren River which winds up on the coast at Yeagarup. Access is strictly 4WD only and requires extremely low tyre pressure to get back up the dunes.
It takes a good hour to drive into Yeagarup, and eventually, you’ll come down a dune onto the beach. This beach is massive so you can drive around 15km north-west or south-east. You can camp anywhere on the beach and in the already cleared areas.
It pays to find somewhere with a bit of protection e.g., behind a sand dune, or along one of the rivers as the wind can be quite strong. Pay careful attention to the beach conditions as it changes hugely from season to season.
Take care when crossing the Warren River in your vehicle.
Crossing the Warren River by 4WD has cost a number of people their 4WD’s. Walk the crossing first, make sure your tyre pressures are down at least to 15 PSI and cross nearest where the water flows out to the ocean. It pays to have a second vehicle with you, as the sand can be extremely soft!
The salmon fishing at Yeagarup is extremely popular for good reason. There are also lots of places to explore in the surrounding area, including Callcup hill – one of the biggest dunes in Australia.
Our campsite at Yeagarup – right on the beach!
4. Waroona Dam
Just an hour and twenty minutes south of Perth lies Waroona Dam, a popular place to head for the weekend. You can stay at the caravan park or bush camp near the dam itself. Water skiing is extremely popular, as are 4WD tracks, freshwater fishing and relaxing in the water.
It’s a picturesque place that’s close enough to Perth to really have a great weekend away. The bush camp has toilets, and that’s about it. You can also access the dam by a 2WD or a 4WD vehicle.
Waroona Dam Creek is a great weekend trip for those close to Perth.
Not far from Waroona Dam lies Dwellingup – a hugely popular camping destination. Just 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Perth, Lane Pool Reserve in Dwellingup has been enjoyed by thousands of people for many years.
Your options here are unlimited, with the beautiful Murray River flowing past many of the campsites, lots of walking and 4WD trails, white water rafting and canoeing, along with downhill mountain biking, freshwater fishing, rope swings and more.
In summer it’s great for swimming and relaxing, and in winter it’s fantastic for rafting and relaxing around a fire. The roads around Lane Pool Reserve are gravel and kept in good enough condition, so you can drive a 2WD vehicle on them if you’re careful.
The Murray River flows past the campsites so you can make the most of it.
6. Sandy Cape
Another fantastic weekend getaway is Sandy Cape which is 2 and a half hours north of Perth right on the coast. Sandy Cape is a shire run campground, which has just had some upgrades completed.
If you like you can stay at the more formal campsites. Or if you prefer ‘bush camping’ you can camp anywhere in the Sandy Cape Reserve which covers around 10km of coastline.
Boating with smaller boats is popular in the area, as well as beach fishing and exploring the 4WD tracks. There are some protected bays that are truly stunning, with lots of scenery to enjoy. You can access Sandy Cape by 2WD to the main camping areas, those that are more ‘remote’ need 4WD access.
Sandy Cape provides prime fishing spots, and opportunities to take the boat out.
7. Little Bay, Horrocks
5 and a half hours north-west of Perth lies a quiet little town known as Horrocks. If you’re self-sufficient, you can stay at Little Bay which is a protected beach with 3 small camp areas. This campground is 4WD accessible only, and you need to let your tyres down.
This campground is shire run, so it’s very affordable and the rules aren’t as strict. There’s a couple of very clean and modern camp toilets at this campsite, and activity wise there is plenty of great fishing to be done.
If you’re in need of burning some energy off, there’s a ridiculously steep dune right behind the camps, and a rope to pull yourself up. The dune takes at least 10 times longer to climb as it does to go down, but you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view at the top.
Our fishing gear lined up and ready to go at Little Bay.
If you ask a number of people who have travelled across Australia where their favourite national park is, I guarantee Karijini would be a regular contender. Karijini is often said to be the best national park in Australia, and it’s easy to see why.
With amazing red rock formations surrounding truly magic waterfalls and gorges, it’s an absolute bucket list destination.
There are so many gorges, rock formations, and waterfalls to see in Karijini.
The national park is quite big and has gravel roads throughout. 2WD vehicles will be able to handle it, just keep in mind the roads can be rough depending on traffic and weather. You can camp at Dales campground (run by DPAW), or the Eco Retreat which has campsites along with glamping options.
You can explore a couple of gorges each day, with Fern Pool being an absolute must for a short walk. It’s got amazing scenery, and you can go for a refreshing swim. Karijini is a good 14-hour drive north-east of Perth, so do it over several days for maximum enjoyment.
Fern Pool is undoubtedly a must visit in Karijini.
Pulling over the last hill my jaw dropped as I saw the view that Cleaverville had to offer. With glassy calm water, pristine islands and at only a few dollars a night per vehicle, I knew it was a winner!
Cleaverville is located in the Pilbara region, which is between Karratha and Point Samson. The coastline is amazing, the fishing is fantastic and the weather is pretty good for several months of the year. As Cleaverville is only 40km from Karratha, it’s close enough to duck in to grab anything you may have missed but also far enough to escape the hustle and bustle.
The campgrounds only have a toilet, which means you need to be self-sufficient in every other way.
The Cleaverville campground in Western Australia offers great views but has limited facilities.
10. Windjana Gorge
The Gibb River Road in the Kimberley is jam-packed full of incredible campgrounds, but Windjana Gorge has to be one of the best. With flushing toilets, solar showers and an amazing rock backdrop that lights up as the sun goes down, you’ll love it too. A short walk takes you to Windjana Gorge – one of the few places you can see wild freshwater crocodiles.
The Kimberly region is home to the stunning Windjana Gorge.
As you can see, Western Australia is full of incredible campsites just waiting for you to explore. With everything from coastal areas and beaches, to gorges and rivers, and national parks – if you haven’t camped here, then you definitely need to visit!
Where’s your favourite hidden gem in Western Australia? Let us know in the comments below.
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