Western Australia’s Best Family Camping and Caravan Spots
– By Western Australian Family Camping & Caravanning Enthusiast Vanessa Brown
Western Australia is a camping and caravanning nirvana. We are fortunate to have a plethora of destination options that will accommodate every type of camping and caravanning style, regardless of your budget.
Many places are within an easy drive of Perth, making a quick weekend away an achievable option for your family.
Caravan parks are a good way to ease into camping. They are well organised and maintained, provide ablution blocks, camp kitchens, and many provide tennis courts, bouncy pillows and bikes for hire. These options ensure that both kids and parents have an enjoyable experience. Not to mention the social aspect. Kids make friends. They explore. They can wander the relative safety of the caravan park.
Here are a few of our top picks for camping and caravanning spots in WA.
WA Family Caravan Park Spots
Where are the best spots for family holiday park camping? Let’s take a look…
Denmark Ocean Beach Caravan Park
Denmark is a beautiful spot on our south coast. It is a 4.5 hour drive from Perth, but definitely worth the drive, even with the kids. The caravan park is eight kilometres from Denmark, and wedged between the quiet waters of the Denmark inlet, coastal bushland and Ocean beach. The camp plots are a generous size and have well maintained lawn coverage.
The ablution blocks are exceptionally well maintained. They are cleaned several times each day and even in peak times, waiting times for showers are minimal with plenty of hot water available. The camp kitchen is large and well equipped. The park has sealed roads throughout so take bikes and scooters for the kids. Pedal go-karts are available for hire. The park has tennis courts, mini golf and a large bouncy pillow that is sure to keep the kids entertained. Just remember that whilst beautiful, our south coast can have inclement weather any time of the year. Always pack your winter warmers… just in case!
A couple of kilometres down the road from the caravan park is Ocean Beach. This is an excellent beach for wanna-be surfers. Boards are available for hire. The break is long and consistent and has been voted in the top five learner surf breaks of Western Australia. It is a great spot for you and the kids to learn to surf! If you have a four-wheel drive, venture out to the back beach. It is visually stunning and a great spot for fishing, but if you don’t want to venture far then there are fishing and crabbing spots directly across the road from the park in the inlet.
Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks are an absolute must! Take a picnic and spend the day exploring the rocks and playing on the beach. Albany is a 45 minute drive. You can easily spend a full day here exploring. The recently built Anzac Centre is a must-see!
There is so much to see and a fantastic way for the kids to appreciate and understand our involvement in the world wars. The Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk is a 45 minute drive from Denmark. The walk is an engineering masterpiece and the visitors centre has an amazing visual display of how the walk was created. Walk above the trees then take the walk below. It’s equally beautiful and educational.
Location: Ocean Beach Rd, Denmark
Distance from Perth: 4 hours 35 minutes (417.2 km) via Albany Hwy
Jurien Bay Tourist Park
Jurien Bay is an easy two hour drive north of Perth. The caravan park backs onto the beach with easy access to a kid’s playground, beachside café and the jetty. Take your fishing rod and try your luck for tailor, herring or squid off the jetty or the beach. The caravan park has some grass covering but due to the climate and soil, the plots do get a bit sandy in peak periods.
Roll out some shade cloth to ensure the kids don’t trample half the beach into your tent! The shade cloth allows sand to fall through and unlike a tarp, won’t pool any water. The park has a mix of paved and dirt roads so kids can ride bikes and scooters. There is also a big bouncy pillow for entertainment during the day. The ablution blocks are well maintained and there is a good sized camp kitchen.
Jurien Bay has stunning beaches. Pure white sand and clear blue water. Enjoy swimming, surfing, and fishing. All of these activities are within walking distance of the park. Or just north of Jurien is Green Head which has a beautiful protected bay named Dynamite Bay. This is well worth exploring, offering calm protected water for swimming and snorkelling. For the keen fishers there are many rock ledges and reef tops offering good fishing into deep water. For keen surfers, there is a good surf break at Point Louise, which is also a good location to fish for tailor at sunrise.
Venturing further inland, explore Stockyard Gully. Most of the drive is 2wd but you will need a 4wd to access the last few kilometres. It’s a fascinating network of limestone caves that you can walk through that were once used by drovers to shelter animals. It is an easy but enjoyable walk. Allow at least an hour or two to enjoy exploring the caves. Just don’t forget your torches to explore the 300m long cave. It is pitch black inside.
The Pinnacles are another spectacularly fascinating place to visit and very close to Jurien Bay. The kids can venture out amongst the limestone formations. It is a fabulous location for photos at sunrise and sunset where the colour is rich and the shadows long.
Location: Roberts Street, Jurien Bay
Distance from Perth: 2 hours 26 minutes (221.6 km)
Fonty’s Pool Caravan Park
Manjimup is a pretty three hour drive south of Perth. The caravan park sits alongside the stunning fresh water Fonty’s Pool. It is a popular spot with locals as well as visitors. All camping spots are covered in lawn. The ablution blocks are well maintained, however they can get busy during peak times and there may be some wait for showers. The two ‘family’ showers are a great option for those with young kids. There are two camp kitchens at either end of the park.
Fire pits are provided free, however you will need to supply your own fire wood. If you have room, pick up a bag at a local service station or Bunnings and bring it with you. For those staying in the park, access to the pool is easy and there are large tractor tyres available. Please remember the nights can be cold, even in summer, so make sure you bring a few warm clothing options.
For the brave, take your kids to climb the Diamond Tree. There is a viewing platform at the top. That’s 51 meters off the ground! It’s also worth taking your kids to see the King Jarrah Tree, its sheer size is amazing and a great remnant of forests past. And to make sure the camping trip isn’t just about the kids, stop by the Truffle & Wine Co. They are the world’s largest producer of the black truffle. It’s an interesting and educational stop. If you want to get back to nature, then pack a picnic and let the kids explore along the Donnelly River via the Bibbulmun Track. Give the kids compasses and maps. Have them plot your walk. It’s a great activity for them!
Location: 699 Seven Day Road, Manjimup
Distance from Perth: 3 hours 27 minutes (302.7 km)
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Hamelin Bay Holiday Park
Hamelin Bay is located 15 kilometers north of Augusta. The caravan park is nestled amongst the leafy peppermint trees with a short walk over the sand dunes to the beach. Being beside the beach, the plots are sandy so take your shade cloth for outside the tent. Fire pits are allowed in winter and like all the south-west, the weather can be a little unpredictable so take warm clothing. The park offers free gas barbeques, a well-equipped large camp kitchen and well maintained ablution blocks that are cleaned twice a day.
Hamelin Bay beach has featured in many iconic photos with the rustic wooden beams of the former jetty stretching out from the beach. The beach is renowned for the visiting stingrays which come close enough to shore to touch. Hamelin Bay is a beautiful beach, so take buckets and spades and throw in the fishing rods. There is a good chance the kids will catch dinner for you! Drive to Augusta and check out the lighthouse. The Boranup Forest is spectacular. It’s definitely worth a visit and there are parking spots en-route that offer the opportunity to explore and take photos.
The smooth stark trunks of the karri trees stand tall throughout the valley often with the light filtering through. Margaret River is only a 30 minute drive north. Visit the various caves in the area and check out the world renown surfing break, not to mention the world famous wineries! Many of these have playgrounds for the kids that will keep them entertained while you are able to taste and enjoy the local delicacies and appreciate the high quality wines.
Location: Hamelin Bay Rd, Hamelin Bay
Distance from Perth: 3 hours 23 minutes (311.6 km)
Wave Rock Caravan Park
Hyden is a 3.5 hour drive east of Perth. The landscape and terrain are vastly different from Perth and the south west. It is generally flat open lands with the occasional granite outcrops. Many tourists flock to the Wheatbelt region during the main wildflower season of August to December when about 2,500 varieties of wildflowers can be found in the district. The caravan park has only a sand covering, so take your shade cloth for use outside the tent. There is a pool to keep the kids entertained and a large lawn area with a playground. There is also a large undercover area with tables, chairs, a TV and a spacious camp kitchen. The ablution block is clean and well maintained.
Wave Rock itself is an imposing natural phenomenon. It stands approximately 14 meters high and approximately 110 meters long. There are plenty of walking trails surrounding the rock that is well worth exploring. Make sure to take the kids to view Mulka’s cave. It is home to some of the most significant Aboriginal rock art sites in Western Australia.
Whilst you are out in the Wheatbelt, take the opportunity to visit the rabbit proof fence. It is approximately 50 kilometers east of Hyden and a fascinating piece of history. Not much remains of the original fence, but it’s worth exposing the kids to this part of our past whilst you are out that way. Plus it’s a good way to see the landscape of long straight roads and large paddocks.
Location: 2 Lynch St, Hyden
Distance from Perth: 3 hours 40 minutes (336.2 km)
Taunton Family Holiday Park
Margaret River is known globally for its exceptional beaches and surf breaks, as well as its wine. There are numerous places to stay in the region, but it is extremely popular during peak times and accommodation options so be sure to book ahead. The Taunton Farm holiday park is a great option for kids as it has a large playground, bouncy pillow and the kids can feed the animals. Whilst clean and well maintained, the ablution block can be a little crowded during peak times so there may be some wait for showers. Most plots have good lawn coverage. There is a well-equipped camp kitchen with barbeques and undercover areas.
The options available for kids around Margaret River region are many and impossible to complete on a single visit. Have the kids pick a few a destinations to visit.
The beauty of Margaret River is that there are plenty of things to see and do that will suit every budget. From free beach exploring to visiting entertainment parks. Check out our world famous surf break that is the home of the Margaret River Surf Pro! Moses Rock is a fabulous beach for the kids to explore any time of the year. Wander the beaches and climb the large rock formations along the shore. In the winter, it is an easy walk to see the Quinninup Falls.
The Yallingup Maze is a fun day out with the kids. The café offers puzzles and there is also a playground. Canal Rocks is beautiful to visit in the late afternoon with the long shadows.
There are many walk trails in this region that let you explore along the coast. Check out the Cape to Cape walk trail which is 135 kilometers but offers short walks to see the spectacular coastline. And when the adventuring is over and you need something to eat and drink, then enjoy the many and exceptional wineries of the region.
This is just a small selection of possible destinations within close proximity to Perth that can kick-start you off on your camping adventure. Caravan parks make camping easy.
They provide the basic elements of shower, toilet, kitchen and laundry. Plus you meet other people and families who have camped in other places. You have an opportunity to discuss and share destinations, tips and suggestions. So get out there. Western Australia has so much to offer! Take the first step. You won’t regret and your kids will create memories to last a lifetime!
Location: 8113 Bussell Hwy, Cowaramup
Distance from Perth: 2 hours 45 min (253.5 km)
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Once you have been camping a few times and have enjoyed the relative luxury of a caravan park, then it’s time to take a step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the truly ‘back to nature’ experience of bush camping.
Being out in the bush away from the bright city lights and hum of constant electrical appliances is a magical experience. You cannot believe how quiet it is, how still it is, and how stunning the night sky can be! For a city dweller, a night or two in the bush is such a unique experience, it will leaving you wanting to return for more!
Whilst bush camping is fantastic, it does take more organisation and extra equipment to ensure you have an enjoyable time! There are no shops to run to for last minute supplies. If you forget the toilet paper you will be acquainting yourself with the Bear Gryll’s method of using leaves or moss!
We are so lucky to have so many places to visit in Western Australia that offer bush camping. There are options within our many national parks that have been designated for the enjoyment and appreciation of campers.
Many are located on rivers and dams providing a water source for entertainment as well as an opportunity to shower.
See parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au to find a campsite that suits you.
So before you hit the road for your ‘back to nature’ adventure, make sure you have a few key elements to ensure the stay is enjoyable for everyone.
A friend of mine has always maintained there are three aspects to successful bush camping. Consider how you will sleep, what you will eat and how you will toilet. Prepare for these three things and the rest will take care of itself.
I’m not talking about the CamelBak hydration pack variety, I’m talking large scale 20litre water containers. Many of the well-established bush camping sites will provide a water access point. As a general rule the water available is drinkable but should always be sterilized. The ‘taste’ and quality can vary so best take your own to ensure everyone remains well hydrated. Take enough water for drinking and cooking. Large water bottles are readily available and relatively inexpensive. Ensure you have plenty of water for the time you are away, or know where you are able to refill containers.
This may seem obvious but we use electrical items every day without consideration.
The kettle, the toaster, electric frypan, the coffee maker. When you are camping in the bush you have to consider alternatives for all of these items. Water can be boiled in a saucepan, but your cup of tea will ‘taste’ better if prepared in a stovetop kettle. Camping stores have stove top toasters. Treat yourself to a new stovetop frypan for home and take the old frypan camping. Stove top coffee percolators will ensure that your day starts off as it should, with good quality strong well-made coffee! Do not leave home without this essential item! These are also available at camping stores.
Blow-up mattresses are inexpensive but are not a guarantee for a good night’s sleep. Check out the many self-inflating mattresses available. There is something for every budget and they come in single, double and queen size. When you are camping, the quality of your bedding and sleeping is important! Make sure you have plenty of warm blankets or sleeping bags. Swags are also a great option. They are bulky but most provide shelter in any weather with a flyscreen layer to ensure good airflow.
Pop up change rooms are a great option to house your solar shower. There is truly nothing better than ending the day with a hot water shower when camping. It’s a veritable luxury! For the public toilet-long drop shy user, invest in a chemical toilet. They are compact, fit easily inside the pop up shower (when not in use) and ensure your kids will feel relaxed whenever they need to use the bathroom!
Where Are The Best Spots In Western Australia For Family Camping?
Dwellingup is just an hour and a half south of Perth. The various camping areas are situated amongst the steeply wooded slopes, alongside the banks of the Murray River and pools and amongst the wandoo, jarrah and marri trees. The various options mean you can return multiple times to truly experience the area.
You will need to book a site to stay and as it is a very popular location with campers, spots do fill quickly during the peak holiday periods. At Nanga Brook, each site comes with a fit pit, barbeque plate and a hook to boil your billy. There is also a picnic table and chair provided on each site. Nights in the valleys and alongside the rivers can be cold, even in summer, so remember to bring a few winter warms.
The Dwellingup region offers a myriad of fun things to do, see and experience. Explore the bushland, partake in the high ropes course, enjoy the many walking trails found in the region, or take a ride on the steam train. For canoes, white water rafting and mountain bike riding check out Dwellingup Adventures. Whilst there are plenty of options available, don’t forget that providing kids with their own adventure is easy and inexpensive to do. Give them a map, a compass and plot a start and end destination for them. It’s a great opportunity to see them work together and explore the surrounding bush.
Location: Lane-Poole Reserve between Dwellingup and Waroona
Distance from Perth: 1 hour, 25 min (115.4 km)
Honeymoon Pool is situated along the banks of the Collie River within the Wellington National Park.
It is an easy two hour drive south of Perth and from the main road you wind your way down to the valley floor. There are limited campsites available and sites cannot be booked.It is a ‘first come, first serve’ basis. This means that on peak weekends, the sites are taken quickly so it’s always good to explore alternative options just in case all sites are taken. Rangers come and collect fees each morning. Most of the sites have a firepit, barbeque plate and picnic table and chairs.
As Honeymoon Pool is located at the bottom of a valley, the nights can be very cold! Pack appropriately!
Bring your kayaks and explore the Collie River. A large deck extends out over the Collie River making access safe and easy for swimming and kayakers. There is an excellent walk trail along the Collie River from Honeymoon Pool to the dam and for those with 4wd’s, you can explore along the opposite side of the Collie River. The Wellington National Park has plenty to offer. There is actually no need to go anywhere else, but if you need to venture into Collie to stock up on supplies, check out the range of old trains at the Collie Railway Museum to give the kids a hands on experience.
Location: River Rd, Worsley
Distance from Perth: 2 hours, 8 minutes (189.9 km)
Bluff Knoll is the largest peak in the south west of Western Australia. It’s a 4.5 hour drive south of Perth and you can spot it amongst the Stirling Ranges. It is the tallest peak in the South West at 1,099 meters.
Moingup Springs is a small ‘open’ campground with room for approximately 20 tents, and there are long drop toilets and gas barbeques for use. Campfires are not permitted at any time of the year so this is worth remembering if you are staying in winter! It is cold.
Bluff Knoll is an extremely popular walk / climb. The return trip is approximately 6 kilometers and takes you up and around the peak before you emerge at the top. Allow 3-4 hours to complete the walk. It is not difficult but it is a consistent climb. The views from the top are stunning and well worth the effort.
Close by is the Castle Rock Skywalk. This is another engineering masterpiece built on top of a large granite outcrop with views of all the way to the ocean. Allow 2 hours to make the 4.4 kilometer return trip but the kids will love climbing rocks and exploring along the way. There are plenty of walk trails to explore in both the Porongurup’s and the Stirling Ranges. It’s a great way to experience the bush, and to tire your kids out!
Location: 6357 Chester Pass Rd, Woogenellup
Distance from Perth: 4 h 19 min (392.8 km)
Big Brook Arboretum
Three kilometres past Big Brook you will find the Arboretum camping ground. This is a unique spot where you can wander through groves of exotic trees that were planted to see how they would perform in the local climate. The ‘open’ camp area has no individual sites and provides picnic tables, barbeques and long drop toilets. Bookings cannot be made and campfires are generally permitted between April and November. And if you keep your dog on a leash, then they are welcome to join you on this family adventure.
Big Brook was built in 1986 to supplement the Pemberton township. There is a sandy beach for easy swimming access, a sealed walk trail around the dam, so take your fishing rod as the dam has been stocked with trout.
The Glouster Tree is a climb not for the faint hearted, but the views from the top are spectacular! Pemberton is an exceptionally pretty town with towering Karri forests, rolling hills and rich agricultural lands. If you want to enjoy one of the many wineries in the area, stop by Lost Lake Wines and enjoy lunch on the balcony overlooking the lake.
Location: Channybearup Road, near Pemberton
Distance from Perth: 3 hours, 42 min (318 km)
Bush camping is an experience in itself. When you step away from the fast-paced, scheduled lives most of us live, you can just sit, relax and appreciate.
There is nothing quick about bush camping. The art of food preparation becomes an activity of creativity, patience and thought. Cooking on only one or two small burners, or over an open fire, will test your timing skills. Take that book you have been wanting to read. Absorb the wonder of the night sky. Set up the hammock. Enjoy being unplugged.
Take advantage of the fantastic state in which we live and make memories with your kids!
– By Vanessa Brown
This article was originally published by So Perth.