Western Australia is home to some of the best beaches in the world. With over 12,000 kilometres of coastline, you are spoiled for choice. Whether it’s the cold, crystal waters along the southern coast or the warm, untouched peninsulas in the north-west, WA has a beach for everyone. If you can’t find a beach to yourself, you aren’t trying very hard!
By now, you’ve probably realised I’m from WA and have spent a huge amount of time exploring our amazing state. I’ve been into fishing, diving and camping for longer than I can remember.
One of the incredible beaches in my home state of WA.
Perhaps the best part about WA is that there are hundreds of beaches you can camp on, either back a few metres or literally right next to the water. There’s nothing quite like waking to the sound of the waves rolling in, and watching the sun go down over the water at the end of the day.
With that in mind, here are 5 of what I think are the best beaches in WA for camping.
East of Bremer Bay
Some five-and-a-half hours south-east of Perth lies Bremer Bay, a little coastal town almost in the middle of Albany and Esperance. There’s only one main road in, which comes to an end where Devil Creek meets the ocean.
There are two caravan parks in the town itself if you are looking for a few more creature comforts. However, the best camping lies on the beaches east and northeast of Bremer Bay itself. You need a 4WD to get to these locations, and you’ll want to be self-sufficient.
To get there, drive to the end of Bremer Bay Road, and onto the big sand patch between the ocean and the inlet (as long as it’s not flowing). Deflate your tyres (down to about 16 or less, as the beaches are soft here!), and head northeast around the main beach. Just before the end of the beach there is a narrow track on the left-hand side, that takes you across to Peppermint Beach.
From there, you can either set-up camp right next to the water, or push on, and take the track on the left near the end of the beach, which heads out towards Doubtful Bay, House Beach, and Tooregullup Beach.
The trusty RV tent set up with one hell of a view in the background.
Be careful not to get lost
A little tip here – make sure you take a good quality GPS, with some satellite images of the area if possible. There are that many tracks around, you’ll get lost if you aren’t familiar with the area, or can see your exact position. You will eventually find your way, but it’s so much easier with a GPS.
There are at least four big beaches here where you can camp. Free of charge, and as long as you keep it clean and tidy they will stay open for everyone to enjoy.
Look at that sand. It’s copy paper white!
Pick your spot based on where the wind is going to blow from – it can get a bit blowy down there so you’ll want to be protected.
The beaches down here are absolutely magic. The water is cold, but it’s crystal clear, with more fish and crays than you need. Launching a boat is pretty easy, and regardless of where the wind is coming from you can easily find a protected bay to spend the day. Bremer is certainly worthy of a visit!
If big dunes, brilliant fishing, 4WDing, and more room to camp than you can poke a stick at tickles your fancy, Yeagarup is the place to go. Located just over four hours, pretty much directly south, of Perth lies Pemberton, where you can refuel and restock your water and food, and head out to the D’Entrecasteaux National Park via Old Vasse Highway and Ritter Road.
After checking out Lake Yeagarup, be sure to fill out the paperwork for entering and camping in the national park and pay your fees (some sites can be booked in advance online). Let your tyres down (16 psi maximum, but when it’s soft you will need to go all the way down to 10 psi!), and head out towards the coast.
Getting there and camping
There’s a little dune to get up at the start, and then you just follow the markers through the dunes that take you all the way down to the coastal track. Seventeen kilometres north of where you enter lies the Donnelly River, and roughly 2.5km south is the Warren River. You can camp where you want, but not where you’ve got to knock vegetation down!
If it’s not too windy anywhere along the beach backing onto the dunes is fantastic, or you can camp along the Warren River itself.
Camping up the Warren River at D’Entrecasteaux National Park.
Be cautious around the rivers
When you come to the rivers in this area, you need to be extremely cautious. I’ve seen photos of at least 4 vehicles that have sunk and are still buried. The sand can be like quicksand here, and you absolutely must walk the crossing before you drive it. The Warren isn’t flowing all year round, but it transforms dramatically over a few days as the river mouth opens up. If it is flowing, your best bet to cross the river is right at the ocean mouth.
If you’ve walked it, cross when the waves are out, and without excessive momentum – you shouldn’t be splashing water all over your vehicle. I’d always recommend doing it with another vehicle there to help, should something go wrong.
The Warren River opening up to the ocean and flowing fast.
Yeagarup is a brilliant location for fishing, with the usual tailor, herring and skippy around all year. However, come about Easter time, and the salmon start to run. You can pull them in one after the other if there’s a school around. Yeagarup is seriously popular for fishing.
We visited at Easter time a few years back and counted well over 100 4WDs. It’s not so much of an issue, though, because you’ve got plenty of space to spread out.
Leaving the area
When it comes to exiting, you have two choices – go out the way you came in, or tackle the notorious Calcup Hill. This is one of the biggest dunes in Australia, and possibly the biggest that you can drive a 4WD up. It consists of 3 sections (with flat areas to park in between) and is very soft and quite steep. When there’s been a lot of traffic, the tracks get badly chopped up as people don’t let their tyres down enough. You need to hit it with enough momentum to cruise up, without having to change your throttle much.
Leave room if there are cars in front, as often there isn’t room to drive around them. I’d say almost half of 4WDs fail on their first attempt when the sand is soft. Watch your engine temps, don’t push it too hard, and remember it’s all about tyre pressure and the correct gear choice – 10 psi is a good tyre pressure for most 4WDs when doing this, just don’t corner hard.
Lucky Bay, Kalbarri
Not to be confused with the Lucky Bay at Esperance, this spot is located roughly five-and-a-half hours drive north of Perth. It’s about 30km south of Kalbarri, and is accessible through Wagoe Station (for a fee), or you can enter on a track roughly 10km north of Port Gregory. Lucky Bay is 4WD accessible only.
It’s a beautiful part of the coast, which is protected by a huge reef that runs along the length of the bay. This results in a protected little bay which is fantastic for swimming and snorkelling. Backing onto the water is a huge set of sand dunes, which are a lot of fun.
Even when the swell is up, the bay is calm and protected. Behind the bay lies a huge area of sand dunes, where people enjoy using motorbikes, 4WDs and buggies.
The reef at Lucky Bay makes the waters very safe for swimming and snorkelling.
Camping and Activities
This is a Nature-Based camping area and fees are approximately $15 per vehicle per night, with bookings made through the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation & Attractions. Fires are permitted with restrictions in place, and as with any of the amazing places you can visit in WA, please tidy up after yourselves.
We’ve seen people kite surfing, jet skiing, scuba diving and windsurfing. You can do pretty well everything you want here, as long as you’ve got some common sense and respect for others.
A lot of boats are brought in and launched fairly easily into the bay. You can easily get out to the ocean, and moor your boat at the end of the day in the protected bay.
Lucky Bay does get busy over long weekends and school holidays, but it’s big enough to share with everyone. We’ve done very well spearfishing and cray fishing here, and love heading there just to relax for a few days on our beautiful coast.
Lucky Bay offers all sorts of protection. The reef offers protection for swimmers and snorkellers and the dunes provide a great place to camp.
Francois Peron National Park
You may have heard of the Shark Bay region, including Denham and Monkey Mia. It’s located roughly 9 hours north of Perth and is truly a beautiful part of WA.
Our preferred place to visit is within the Francois Person National Park, which is at the northern tip of the Peron Peninsula. It’s almost the western most point of WA, with Steep Point just sticking out a little further. The Francois Person National Park is 4WD access only and covers an area full of stunning red cliffs, incredible wildlife, and even better fishing.
The track is usually in good condition, but it does have lots of little ups and downs, so you need to take it slowly.
Camping availability and fees
Being a national park, it’s managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW). This means there’s an access fee, and nightly camp fees (but they are all a reasonable price). The DPAW recommend this region for ‘high clearance’ 4WDs only. Pretty much, if you have low range, understand tyre pressures and drive to the conditions, you won’t have a problem. VW Amarok excepted!
There are 5 campgrounds, all with decent toilets. All campgrounds have provision for at least 10 groups of people, with some significantly more – you shouldn’t have an issue getting a spot. You need to be 100% self-sufficient here – there’s no drinking water and no nearby shop to duck down to.
Stunning colours along the coastline on the Peron Peninsula in Francois Peron National Park.
South Gregories and Cape Peron
We spent a few nights camped at South Gregories, which was absolutely stunning. Camped on top of a small red dune, we had about 20 metres to the flat calm water, which was brilliant for the kayaks and to wet a line.
Cape Peron is a special place, right at the northern tip of the Francois Peron National Park. There’s a really good lookout and boardwalk here, where you can stand and watch the world go by. You’ll see whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, dugongs, and even big schools of fish.
Don’t forget to pay your park and camping fees!
I must pass on a huge credit to the DPAW for what they’ve done with this national park. From the moment you enter, you know it’s been set-up well. It’s got good signage, a compressor to reinflate your tyres, quality information, and great campsites.
Fishing can be brilliant in the area, although we never managed to pull anything very big in. Even though we saw tuna jumping from the point where the two bodies of water meet!
Last, but not least, is Cleaverville, where we spent 3 magic nights in August a few years ago. Located in the Pilbara area, in between Karratha and Point Samson. Cleaverville is a cheap campground run by the Shire of Roebourne. There’s a designated area where you can camp, and basically, if you can fit in, the spot is yours.
It was pretty busy when we visited, and we ended up on the beach, which was spectacular. Watch the tides here, as they can go up and down about 6 metres – you can’t camp too close to the water!
Cleaverville is 2WD accessible, but the gravel road in can be a little rough, and you need to avoid any sandy patches!
How’s this for a camp kitchen with a view? Perfect spot for breakfast don’t you think?
How popular is this beach?
Unlike the other 4 beaches I’ve mentioned, you’re going to have to put up with plenty of other people close by. It’s not a bad thing, but being so cheap plenty of grey nomads head there for weeks on end.
If you are camping here, you need to bring a portable toilet with you, but there are bins to use. Dogs are permitted, as are boats, which prove to be extremely popular here.
We caught plenty of fish and crayfish here and had absolute blast snorkelling around Dixon Island and the coral. I’ve never seen coastline stay so flat calm for the whole time we stayed either – at the most, there were little ripples in the water.
Getting supplies is easy too, with Karratha only being about half an hour drive away. Cleaverville is one of our favourite spots, and we will most certainly be going back!
A couple of blokes try their hand at some rock fishing. And, a ripper place to fish Cleaverville is!
What Are You Waiting For?
If you haven’t been to WA, you should! We’ve got some of the most spectacular places to visit in the country, and it’s not just the coastline.
I’m sure there are plenty of other places I could add to the list, like – Warroora Station, Middle Lagoon, Steep Point, Carrarang Station, Murchison House and Horrocks. However, I’ve got to stop somewhere!
If you have been to WA, how many of these places have you been to? What did you think of them?
About the writer...
If it involves four-wheel driving, Aaron loves it. When he isn’t writing for his blog, 4WDing Australia or the Snowys Blog, you’ll find him camping and driving around Western Australia.