Top Camping in Western Australia
There is plenty of outstanding camping in Western Australia, but which sites are best? This page lists the ones that we'd tell you about if we were sitting around a campfire together.
There can be many reasons why one campsite stands out over another. Usually it's because of its natural features or uniqueness, but sometimes it's simply that it is cheap amongst many expensive alternatives.
Anyway, if you read the description, you'll figure out why we've included it in our "Top Camping in Western Australia".
Virtually all of the sites listed are readily accessed by your average car and caravan.
Please be aware that any pricing given is indicative only, and was current during 2008.
Blowholes Campground north of Carnarvon, WA
We've broken the listings up into:
- Free Camping in Western Australia
- Cheap Camping in Western Australia (less than $10 per site for a family)
- Good Value-for-Money camping in Western AustraliaMore than $10, but good value due to close proximity to towns/cities or attractions or campsite features.
- Unique Camping in Western AustraliaThis includes sites that may not be cheap, but are worthwhile due their uniqueness or special features.
- Good Roadside Camping in Western AustraliaStaying roadside is not generally the goal of a camping trip, but a means to an end. In an effort to save money en-route to a destination, we often find ourselves camping by the side of a road for a night here and there. Some of these roadside stops are better than others, so here we list some sites that we have actually enjoyed (not just endured!)
- Camping near Perth. It is challenging to find good, cheap camping accommodation around Australia's capital cities. Here is our suggestion for Perth.
Free Camping in Western Australia
As a result of the insurance crisis (a few years ago), opportunities for free camping in Western Australia are much rarer. Many of the campsites which used to be free (such as Cape Riche listed below), are now compelled to charge a nominal fee to cover insurance costs.
1. Benedictine Monastery Oval - New Norcia (132km north of Perth, approx 2hrs drive).
New Norcia is Australia's only monastic town. We found it a very interesting and worthwhile place to visit.
Self-contained vehicles can camp for free on the oval beside the monastery - ask for permission at the Visitor Centre.
2. Whalebone Bay - 27km South-East of Denham.
- There are 4 free-stays along this stretch of coastline within 10km of each other.
- Due to increasing regulation, a permit must be obtained from the Shire of Shark Bay prior to staying (ph. 08 9948 1218). (Otherwise risk a substantial fine).
- Maximum 1 night stay.
Cheap Camping in Western Australia
1. Parry Beach - 29km west of Denmark on William Bay Rd.
The first time we travelled around southourn WA, this was our favourite campsite of all! (Possibly because of its close proximity to one of our favourite places - Green's Pool (in William Bay NP).
2. Cape Riche
- $7 per night, including flushing toilets and showers. Showers were solar heated, so unless you got in early, they were quite cool!
- Peaceful, shady campsites. Campfires allowed (reasonably priced firewood sold on site).
- Excellent swimming and walking location.
- 4WD along the beach to excellent fishing.
- Don't miss Green's Pool (a sensational, naturally sheltered ocean pool). Also a fun, safe place for snorkelling and any beach activities.
- 115km north-east of Albany.
- $5.50 per night, including flushing toilets and cold showers.
- A few sites with supurb water views, but these sites are not great in windy weather.
- Fantastic swimming and fishing.
- Campfires allowed, but bring own firewood.
- Water available, but bring your own drinking water.
3. Mason Bay - 34km east of Hopetoun.
- $6/site per night. (honesty box)
- Swimming, fishing, bushwalking, relaxing - all in a gorgeous location.
4. Starvation Boat Harbour - 50km east of Hopetoun.
Don't be put off by the name! This place is pristine and hospitable. (Although we've always been fortunate to have good weather).
5. The Blowholes
- $6/site per night. (honesty box)
- Swimming, fishing, bushwalking, relaxing.
- northwest of Carnarvon (73km north, then 49km west of the highway).
6. Coronation Beach
- $5.50 per site / night.
- Awesome location right on the beach, with a lagoon area suitable for excellent snorkelling.
- Turtles and other sealife swimming off the beach.
- Fishing, swimming, beach walking.
- Day trips to surf or snorkell at the well known Gnarraloo Bay or Red Bluff.
- Pit toilets, and no showers. Bring own water.
- north of Geraldton (28km north, then 8km west of the highway).
7. Cape Keraudren
- $10 per night
- Another great site for beach activities - surfing, swimming, fishing, walking and general relaxation.
- Bring own drinking water and firewood.
- Can fill up quickly in peak season. We missed out on our 1st attempt to stay here (having arrived in the afternoon). The next day we lined up at 8am and waited for someone to leave! It was well worth the effort.
- 166km north-east of Port Hedland.
- $7.50/vehicle per night + a once only $10 park entrance fee.
- Watching the tide work here is a spectator sport!
- Enjoy the coastal scenery, birdwatching, walking and fishing. Swimming not recommended as crocodiles have been spotted here.
- Bring drinking water and firewood. Pit toilets available, but no showers.
Good Value-for-Money Camping in Western Australia
1. Conto Field Camping Area - Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park (Approx 18km south-west of Margaret River).
2. Esperance Seafront Caravan Park
- Approx $6.50/adult per night and $2 per child.
- A good location from which to explore the Margaret River region.
- Located on the coast, overlooking great surfing and beautiful sandy beaches.
- Facilities provided include barbecues, toilets and firewood.
- Tank water (must be boiled before drinking).
- nb,No pets allowed.
We've always stayed here to 'get back to civilisation' for a bit after the trek across the Nullarbor. Not too many caravan parks make it into our "Top Camping in Western Australia" list, but this one deserves to be here. Why?
3. Shelley Beach Camping Area
- Reasonably priced: $29/night for our family, and if you stay 6 nights (which is easy to do in a place like Esperance), the 7th night is free.
- Located on the waterfront. Ask for a site on the front row or two, and enjoy the views. Also staying at the front allows easy access to the playground, two clean amenities blocks, and an undercover BBQ area.
- Walking distance to town.
- West Cape Howe National Park (38km west of Albany).
4. Ned's Camp
- Approx $6.50/adult per night and $2 per child.
- Small camping area right on a beautiful beach.
- Enjoy great bushwalking. Especially lovely in wildflower season.
- Bring your drinking water. No showers.
- Cape Range National Park
(northern boundary of the park 36km from Exmouth).
This is our all-time favourite place to stay in Australia. The campsite itself is not overly special, but what this location enables you to access certainly is! Cape Range NP stretches for about 80km along the amazing Ningaloo Reef. Ned's camp is the northern-most campground in the park, and has 15 campsites. There are about 10 other campgrounds within the park, each offering between 4 and 15 individual sites.
We like Ned's because:
- it is closest to the only available water in the park.
- it is closest for return trips to Exmouth for supplies.
- it has shade available and a better layout than some of the other campgrouds.
- boat launching facilities.
- lovely campground hosts during the main camping season, who organise a happy hour each evening.
But having said that, I would stay at any of the campgrounds just to have the privilege of camping in this national park! Cape Range National Park is amazing. What we love about it:
- $17/night for our family.
- Access to safe, world class snorkelling directly off the beach, in numerous locations throughout the park. Colourful, tropical fish in massive numbers, amid the best coral we've ever seen.
- Swimming with turtles, sting-rays, reef sharks, dugongs etc on a daily basis - for FREE.
- Opportunities to swim with massive whale sharks. (This is certainly not free, but may be one of those 'once in a lifetime' experiences that you are happy to pay for).
- Fantastic fishing - catch your own dinner!
- Safe and relaxing.
All campgrounds have pit toilets, but few other facilities, and you will need to bring your own drinking water. Plan to stay a while (we thought we would stay 4 nights, and ended up staying 11, and still this wasn't as long as we would have liked!)
5. Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) - Broome.
During peak season, all the caravan parks in Broome fill up quickly. (Some are booked out a year in advance). Many people will tell you not to go to Broome if you haven't pre-booked accommodation, as you won't have anywhere to stay or it will be horribly expensive. But we had a very positive experience staying at the PCYC in Broome in peak season.
We stayed at a free roadside stop (Roebuck Plains Rest Area), 60km south-east of Broome the night before, and arrived at the PCYC by 8am the next morning. There is a high turnover of campers because the maximum stay is 7 nights, so if you arrive early, you can be fairly confident of securing a site.
What we liked about the PCYC:
- $30/night for our family, cheaper than anywhere else in town.
- The PCYC was located as well as any of the caravan parks (and far better than most). A casual half hour walk to the centre of town.
- Access to sporting facilities on site. (Our 2 younger children participated in kinder-gym, and our eldest participated in a free kids boxing lesson. We also enjoyed a game of basketball with some other families, using the available courts).
- Access to power, water and amenities. (Although no laundry).
Unique Camping in Western Australia
1. Taunton Farm Holiday Park - Margaret River Region (Approx 14km north of the Margaret River township)
We like this place because:
2. Middle Lagoon Natures Hideaway
- It is situated on a working beef and sheep property, centrally located in the Margaret River Region. We set up the campsite once, and then enjoy day trips radiating out to the various towns and attractions in the area.
- It is really spacious, with a peaceful rural outlook.
- There are farm animals around for the children to enjoy.
- It is possible to walk to a winery and a neighbouring cheese factory, as well as enjoy farm and nature walks.
- There is a large grassed recreation area & playground.
- There is a massive barn style campers kitchen with free gas barbeques and log fire. Great protection from bad weather, and just a 'fun' place to hang out with your family or other travellers.
- Full caravan park type amenities, including laundry.
- 145km north of Broome.
The road to access Middle Lagoon is pretty terrible (4WD recommended and usually necessary), but once you are there you'll realise that it is well worth the effort! The fee for our family (of 5) was $30 per night. We loved Middle Lagoon because of:
3. Kooljaman - Also referred to as "Cape Leveque"
- The Whales! We were there early August, and experienced whales up close in a way that we had never seen them before. We believe it is a type of whale 'nursery', where the calves spend time maturing before heading further south. From the beach the whale sounds were incredible, and we watched the mothers and their calves frolicking for hours.
- Stunning coastal scenery, swimming and fishing.
- Hot showers (if you get in early), and flushing toilets.
- Waterfront sites with stunning views, or shelter away from the weather in more private bush sites.
- Day trips to Aboriginal Communities, Cape Leveque and One Arm Point, possible from Middle Lagoon. Again, the road is not good (although more of it is getting sealed each year), so plan on leaving early to allow yourself plenty of travelling time even though the distances are not huge.
- 208km north of Broome.
- Terrible (but do-able) road - amazing and scenic location.
- Pretty expensive - $16/A per night + $6/child (6-16yrs) per night + $5 for power (if you need it).
- Flushing toilets, hot showers, and firewood is supplied. Bookings essential during the dry season.
- Caravans not allowed! It is considered a campground, so anything more than a campervan or camper-trailer set-up is excluded.
For around $60/night, you can hire a shelter overlooking the beach. These shelters are large, simple, timber structures with thatching for sun/wind protection, and a sand floor. Tents can be pitched inside, and still leave plenty of living space. Each contains an outdoor shower, a picnic table and has a wood BBQ for personal use. It is a short walk to the amenities building.
I imagine you would feel like Robinson Crusoe staying in one of these unique shelters. Quite a few travellers we've spoken with have sited this as their favourite experience of camping in Western Australia. With direct access onto the beach (from some shelters) and amazing views, it is well worth considering hiring one of these for a unique accommodation experience.
4. El Questro Station - Kimberley (Off the Gibb River Road, access from Kunanurra end).
- $15/Adult, children free.
- Choose from the large main campground (with all usual amenities) or 28 secluded campsites along the Pentecost River (No facilities at most of these, but you could drive to main campground for showers etc if desired).
- Our favourite activity around El Questro Station was the bushwalking. Particularly El Questro Gorge with a gorgeous waterfall and waterhole at the end.
- Short drive to Zebedee Thermal Springs (a series of thermal pools hidden amidst tropical vegetation and sheer cliffs). These are open between 5.30am - 12.00pm. During peak season it is worth the effort to go early and have a pool all to yourself. It is short walk from the carpark into the pools.
- During the dry season, there is often some form of entertainment in the evenings. A whipcracking show, country music, and a BBQ night were all on offer during our stay.
- Pleasant campground just for hanging around, with an on-site waterhole for swimming.
- Lots of guided activiites like horse treks, bushwalks, and boat trips, as well as plenty of 4WD tracks.
Good Roadside Camping in Western Australia
Roadside camping in Western Australia is relatively safe. We try to stop in places where other caravanners/campers are also set up. One sign that caravanners often use to let others know they are staying, is to hang a tea-towel out over the front of their van. This symbol basically says: "We're going to stay here overnight if others stop here too".
1. Moodini Bluff - Nullarbor Plain (26km east of Madura).
If you are in a hurry to cross the Nullarbor, and are doing so in 2 driving days, Moodini Bluff is a great stopover.
- Plenty of space.
- Long drop toilets, a few picnic tables and shaded areas.
- Campfires allowed.
2. Spring Creek - Just outside Purnululu NP (Bungle Bungles). (56km south west of Turkey Creek).
This one makes the list because it is FREE and nearby to a major attraction. Because you can't take caravans into Purnululu NP, many people camp overnight here and do a day trip or two into the park. Be warned though, it will be a very full day if you try to see the major attractions in 1 day. It is at least a 200km round trip on a windy dirt road, plus several bushwalks, so try to leave early, pack plenty of food, and plan for a big one (or two)!
Facilities at Spring Creek are limited to pit toilets and some shady trees, but it is pleasant enough, and keeps the Bungle Bungles accessible to caravanners.
Camping near Perth
It is challenging to find good, cheap camping accommodation around Australia's capital cities. We've tried a few of the caravan parks around Perth, but found heading south of the city to Coogee to be the cheapest and best option.
We stayed at the Coogee Beach Holiday Park (about a 10min drive from Fremantle, and approximately 30mins south of Perth). Why was this a good option?
- The price we were quoted over the phone was around $48/night. By asking about specials, and offering to stay 7 nights, we ended up paying around $30/night. A pretty good price for a family of 5 near the city.
- Fremantle has as much to offer the tourist as the city of Perth itself, so we spent as much time exploring Fremantle as we did Perth.
- Previously we've stayed at a caravan park in the Perth suburbs, and found that travel time from Coogee to the centre of Perth was far less than from the eastern suburbs. (Even though the distance was greater). Day trips to Perth and Rottnest Island were not difficult at all.
- Coogee caravan park is pleasant, and located right next to a beach and park.
Have you stumbled across a wonderful campsite as you've travelled in Western Australia? Or do you have a favourite that you keep coming back to? We'd love to hear from you!
We'll publish your submission so that we and other visitors to this site can benefit from your experience - thankyou...
What is YOUR Favourite Campsite?
A secluded beachfront haven? A national park teeming with wildlife? A well-located, value-for-money site with friendly hosts?
Whatever made it special, share it here...
What Other Travellers Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Minnivale Not rated yet
Big enough for big rigs. Has flush toilet & cold showers.
Directions: Turn N off the Goomalling-Wyalcatchem Road 15km East of Dowerin go along …
Nannup, WA Not rated yet
East of Margaret River on Capel Road.
Set amongst the forest, it's peaceful and sheltered. Easy access to most sites. Drop toilet.
Woodman Point Not rated yet
This campsite is really good, the beach is right next to it and you can go for a walk, take your caravan in summer or hire a holiday house there.
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