Cape Range National Park
Camping or caravanning can be the difference between driving half an hour to a beach and strolling 200 metres to it in the morning. Nowhere is this more appealing than the Cape Range National Park on the North West Cape peninsula, where the beaches are just a short snorkel away from the coral colour, rays and tropical fish frenzy of the Ningaloo Reef.
Head in the other direction, and landlubbers have rugged outback scenery and caves to explore.
There’s no need to be worried about there not being space either – sites at campgrounds such as Tulki Beach, Yardie Creek and the newly reopened Osprey Bay can be booked online up to 180 days ahead via Park Stay WA. See parkstay.dpaw.wa.gov.au.
Purnululu National Park
Ever increasing numbers of the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s 265 campgrounds offer online booking through the Park Stay WA system – and this includes two within the Kimberley’s Purnululu National Park. They’re the closest you’ll get to the mysterious red and black-striped rock towers known as the Bungle Bungles. The Kurrajong campground is in close proximity to the Echidna Chasm, a bat-lined, palm-fringed gorge with a relatively easy walking trail, while Walardi is nearer to Piccaninny Gorge and the Domes Walk.
Individual and multiple park passes can be bought online via shop.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park-passes, or rac.com.au/travel/australia/wa-holidays/park-passes for RAC members.
Fitzgerald River National Park
Fitzgerald River is a perfect example of how to use National Park stops to break up a road trip – which the ExploreParks WA site (see parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au) and ParkFinder WA mobile app are mighty handy for planning.
In a plum spot on the route between Albany and Esperance, ‘the Fitz’ is home to half of WA’s orchid species – 70 of which occur nowhere else. During wildflower season between August and November, the park becomes a patchwork of colour.
The other key season is from July to October, when southern right whales and their calves hug the shore. They’re regularly spotted from Point Ann – which is also the start point of the new 15.5km Mamang Trail. It can be tackled as a 26.8km day walk to Point Charles, going out past several hillside lookouts, and coming back along the beach.
The trail’s not all that’s new either – several of the campgrounds have had brand new facilities installed.
Karijini National Park
WA’s highest mountains can be found in the Pilbara’s Karijini National Park – a major highlight on the big road trip north. The collection of gorges, waterfalls, lookouts and swimming holes makes it an adventurous traveller’s dream.
Karijini also offers the opportunity to try out glamping – the indigenous-owned Karijini Eco Retreat offers en-suite tents with hotel-style facilities, a full service restaurant and prepared packed lunches.
Yalgorup National Park
A camping trip doesn’t necessarily require long drives and plenty of leave – there are several options within a short drive of Perth. The Yalgorup National Park, 60km south of Mandurah is a brilliant spot for wildlife. Watching wading birds on the lake, spotting ring-tailed possums by torchlight at night and taking the 6km Lake Pollard Trail to a specially-installed bird hide are amongst the highlights for campers at the newly redeveloped (and online bookable) Martins Tank Lake campground, just one of the many campgrounds benefiting from the State Governments Royalties for Regions funding improving the nature-based camping product in Western Australia, including new services and improved digital communications. And, as a bonus, Preston Beach is superb for swimming.
Beelu National Park
Another easy break from the big city is the Beelu National Park, which offers jaw drop-worthy views out over the Mundaring Weir. The well-equipped and online bookable Perth Hills Discovery Centre campground is a perfect toe in the water for first time campers – especially those with young children. Barbecues, fridges, picnic benches and hot water showers mean full-on roughing it is not required. The About Camping section of the Park Stay WA website is a very handy resource for any novices wondering what they need to bring. The CampingMate mobile app offers handy packing lists too.
The Beelu is also perfectly positioned for the Bibbulmun Track long distance walking trail and Munda Biddi mountain biking trail.
Stirling Range National Park
The Stirling Range is one of many national parks that bust the misconception of needing a 4WD vehicle. The 42km Stirling Range Drive through the heart of the park is mostly unsealed, but deliberately graded to ensure conventional vehicles and caravans can use it.
It’s bushwalkers rather than drivers who get the most pleasure, though. Most of the key trails through wildflowers, huge granite outcrops and photogenic gullies branch off from the Drive. And the all-natural vibe continues while camping amongst the jarrah and marri trees at Moingup Springs.
Dirk Hartog Island National Park
Sometimes, though, the relative inaccessibility is part of the appeal. Camping on WA’s largest island feels like an adventure at the end of the world. Getting there either requires either a boat or a high clearance 4WD judder to Steep Point then a barge across. The rewards are pink lakes, wild Sahara-esque sand dunes, top drawer fishing and staggeringly pristine beaches such as the one at Turtle Bay. Near the latter is Inscription Point – where, 400 years ago in 1616, Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog became the first European to land in Western Australia.
Warren National Park
The dramatic, tall karri forests of the south are best discovered in the Warren National Park near Pemberton. Daredevils can test their nerve on the three vertigo-inducing climbing trees – the Gloucester Tree, Diamond Tree and Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree – which are ascended via a series of pegs around the trunk.
It’s also home to WA Wilderness, an initiative that removes the need to lug equipment around. En-suite tents, beds, BBQs, burner stoves and more are set up at Drafty’s Campground ready for your arrival, then taken down and cleaned after you leave.
Nambung National Park
The Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park offers one of Australia’s most entrancingly strange landscapes, with thousands of rock formations poking out through the sands. Strolling around the weird pillars feels like a walk on an alien planet. The Pinnacles Holiday Park in nearby Cervantes shows off the range of options usually available in such parks along the WA coast. Powered and unpowered van and tent sites are accompanied by a series of cabins aimed at different budgets, plus shared shower and toilet facilities. Don’t forget to visit the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.
On a camping and carvanning adventure in Western Australia, you can explore the largest and most diverse expanse of extraordinary landscapes in Australia.
To plan and book your next camping holiday visit Park Stay WA
Discover your next caravan holiday at Caravan WA