Suggestions for WA south coast in January

Submitted: Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 17:42
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I need some help planning an itinerary for a family getaway in January. Aim is to get my teenagers back into nature and to put a bit of adventure back into life. We want to avoid any hassles of finding camps full when we arrive so need some suggestions considering this time of year is summer school holidays. So flexible to go anywhere and tour around. Probably could have up to 2 weeks max (from Perth). We dont know the area too well from a camping perspective so finding it hard to plan but know its going to be the coolest option for camping in WA in summer in this region. Kids are 11 & 15. Those of you that know us, know we have swags and Oztents, no trailer, fully self sufficient, can handle anything. But this is a trip to keep the kids involved so needs a balance. Once we've figured out a plan we have some other 4WD friends that might meet up with us for some of it too. Ideas and details? Thanks
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Reply By: GeroBoof - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 19:26

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 19:26
Would highly recommend the Warren national park south of Pemberton and take the kayaks. this area was not affected by the fires earlier this year
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Reply By: disco driver - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 19:54

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 19:54
Hi Michelle,
If you need to use caravan/camping sites you had best book now. School Holidays are generally booked out.
There's plenty of opportunities to get out and about with the teens down this way.
Here's a few that I can suggest
One/two day bibbulmun track excursions,
Surfing lessons at Ocean Beach Denmark, Surfing anywhere that's safe.
Woodturners at work at the Denmark Visitor Centre (probably me)
Treetop Walk and Valley of the Giants (Big Trees and lots of birds, winged variety of course.
Fishing anywhere along the coast (beware of Big waves of course)
WOW cruise on Walpole inlet with Gary Muir (that's a real eye opener as Gary really knows his stuff)
Anzac Interpretive Centre in Albany (Really impressive and well worth a visit)
Plenty of good restaurants and cafes, good coffee.

and of course for you and David, plenty of really good wineries to sample, a brewery or two as well and in Albany a distillery turning out good spirits.

What more do you want?

See you in January

Disco
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 20:29

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 20:29
Needless to say, use Camps7 or similar to find the very infrequent free/low cost campsites on the South Coast.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:26

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:26
Hehe nah, we never go anywhere near crowds ... hence the need for help choosing where we can go. Thanks for all the ideas. We love Albany and Walpole and have done lots of touristy things in these regions but never a camping trip in summer with the kids without an agenda. Only ever been there when doing triathlon or adventure races. And its been 17 years since David and I explored through the region BC!
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015 at 11:57

Tuesday, Dec 22, 2015 at 11:57
Thanks Tony - just an update as we will try to find you at the Denmark Visitors Centre sometime between 27th Dec - 9th Jan! We are all sorted for our trip. Staying with friends for a week at Peaceful Bay CP - taking our boat, kayaks the lot. Then heading off to Fitzgerald NP so I'm sure we'll be swinging past and will definitely do the WOW cruise and hopefully see the wood turner! Merry Christmas to you.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 00:17

Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 00:17
Have a wonderful holiday Michelle. Happy Christmas to you, David and your daughters.

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 00:45

Wednesday, Dec 23, 2015 at 00:45
"Hehe nah, we never go anywhere near crowds" ... "Only ever been there when doing triathlon or adventure races"

Had a laugh at that...

Obviously out of context but found it a funny contradiction of terms.

Happy Holidays

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Notso - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 20:29

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 20:29
We spent a few nights in the Stirling Ranges. Might be a bit hot in January though!

Stirling Range Info

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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:03

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:03
This is on my list but wasnt sure about temps in jan... any idea?
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Follow Up By: Notso - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 08:07

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 08:07
This is data from Weatherzone

Mt Barker Weather facts
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Reply By: Cruznoz - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 21:09

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 21:09
Hi Michelle,

Check out the beaches either side of Bremer Bay. Plenty of 4wding and lots of bush/ beach camping available.
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 21:30

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 21:30
This wise man from the east would suggest that you consider Fitzgerald River NP. A big park with a variety of attractions. Its distance from Perth should make it less crowded than the Augusta to Albany area. Stokes Inlet in Stokes NP is also a very nice spot for say 3 or 4 days and well worth the drive if you go to Fitzgerald NP. I first explored the WA south west in 1965 in an Austin 1800 and been there many times since, a great part of Australia. If you want to incorporate some 4WD driving and some history, the Holland Track takes some beating. Someone mentioned the Stirling Ranges. These are also good but not as big. I can recommend Trio's Camp Ground, very big, very friendly, and not to commercial.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:06

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:06
Yes weve enjoyed the Holland Track quite a few years ago but that was in Oct. Thought it would be too hot in Jan for the kids... they would just complain if we mafe them walk up rocks in a heatwave!
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Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 23:59

Friday, Nov 06, 2015 at 23:59
Hi Michelle

Anywhere along the south coast does get packed out in January, be they campgrounds, National Park camping areas or caravan parks, but the inland areas are certainly hotter.

Walpole and Denmark are usually comfortable in the hottest weather. Getting out amongst the Karri trees is also cooling. Unfortunately the lovely Shannon River campground in the heart of Karri Country has been closed since it was burnt out, and the redeveloped campground is not open as yet and I do not know the estimated completion date.

If you do nothing else in the far south west, take the already mentioned Walpole Wilderness cruise on the Walpole Nornalup inlets with the entertaining and knowledgeable Gary Muir.

Free and low cost are not abundant along any of the coastal Shires and would be hard to get into in the peak period of the January school holidays. I am sure you know how to find my detailed travelogues of the south west corner of the state, my Q&A, and campground lists. There are a number of farm stays in the area that may be appealing to you and your family, such as Ayr Sailean between Walpole and Denmark as an alternative to overcrowded camping areas.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:09

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:09
The farm stay & inlet tour sounds good thanks I'll look it up.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:18

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 00:18
Someone mentioned Bremer Bay. We used to have a farm in the vicinity, and the mornings in summer could be so hot, then around mind day the wind would come in and you could practically smell the Antarctic ice. Inland a little way from Bremer Bay Tozer's Bush Camp sounds great. I have not been there as it is new since we were in the area.
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Reply By: nickb - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 02:36

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 02:36
Esperance, specifically Cape Arid NP is fantastic. We go each January for a couple weeks but we make sure we don't arrive until the second weekend in January. By then most of the crowds have gone and you can pick any spot you like along the beaches.

Same for Fitzgerald River NP and Stokes Inlet, plenty of space then too.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 11:20

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 11:20
Have been to Stokes and Cape Arid but that was 17 yrs ago! Wow time flies. Good to hear its quiet then. We were hoping the 2nd Jan would start to quiet down thanks.
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Follow Up By: nickb - Sunday, Nov 08, 2015 at 20:23

Sunday, Nov 08, 2015 at 20:23
2nd of Jan may be pushing it, there may still be spots but there will definitely be crowds.

The last time we went down there we were running late so decided to stop at bathers cp, it was about half full. This was on a Sunday this year, the 10th or 11th if January. The lady said if we came yesterday she would have turned us away as they were completely full!!
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 12:17

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 12:17
Thanks nickb - I actually made a typo there, I meant to say 2nd week of Jan. But thanks for confirming my suspicions about being crowded up til then.
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Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 06:42

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 06:42
Hi Michelle,

We spent quite a bit of time in that part of WA just this past May and June and i have written up my blogs which you can have a look at, and may find useful. Stokes's is lovely but might be very crowded in January..not sure how hot! But there is water there to cool off in, as well as huge tiger snakes, even in winter!

Cape Arid being more remote might be quieter and there are a few camping options there, National park and Council run and I think more remote camping which requires 4WD to access along the beach maybe. With our caravan we were limited!

Cape le Grande is lovely too but I think all the national park campgrounds would have to be booked anywhere over the school holidays for you to get a spot.

Someone mentioned the Mt Trio caravan park near the Stirling ranges which we stayed in a few years ago now and was lovely, but i would think would be very hot in January and the fabulous walks would be very hard work in the heat (trying to convince teenagers to participate might be interesting)!

Fitzgerald River N Park is stunningly beautiful and has a number of campgrounds, great walks...we accessed it from Hopetoun which is a lovely town with good facilities and a couple of caravan parks too.

Millers Point on the road into Bremer Bay (a few kms of dirt road) has a campground and one long drop toilet which required some maintenance (cleaning and emptying) when we were there! But there is camping along the water and also on the point...supposedly has a caretaker but all he does is collect the camping fee.

I loved Peak Charles N Park and also the Norseman Hyden road with all its scenic camping spots but both would be very hot in January I think.

We visited all of these places for the fishing, walking, and nature...birds, plants, views.....and because we love being away from the crowds however i reckon it will be very hard to find anywhere which is not packed at that time of the year.

regards,

Heather
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 12:30

Monday, Nov 09, 2015 at 12:30
Yep it looks like I've narrowed it down to Fitzgerald NP. I'm also thinking of doing a little stint up north just to Dongara - maybe take our boat & kayaks there. Thanks for your help.
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 08:21

Saturday, Nov 07, 2015 at 08:21
Hi Michelle,
We travelled along that coast in 2012 and checked out and stayed at a number of little camping areas that were a bit off the beaten track. Have a look at our 2012 blogs for more details and pics. As others have said, Fitzgerald River NP, Cape le Grand and Cape Arid would be the top spots but getting a campsite in school holidays might be an issue unless you book early.
Hope you find a lovely spot to have a well deserved breal with the kids.
Cheers,
val
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Reply By: Member - KBAD - Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 00:42

Tuesday, Nov 10, 2015 at 00:42
Israelite Bay, Kennedy Bay just before the Nat park very sandy track going in and if it rains wait until the track drys out as you will see from the depth of the old bogs on the track, alright particularly with no trailer, few spots to camp going that way Alexander Bay but could be busy there don't know about the Nat parks around there as i camp with my dogs so don't bother with them, Fitz's bush camp at Ravensthorpe, Quagi Beach, and the other usual suspects marked in the Camps 7 / 8 books. For a couple of nights under cover spoiling yourself Che Sara at Walpole if you can get in. Avoca farmstay at Youngs siding just been sold not sure if new owners are going to continue or not.
Stick close to the coast and it will be cooler.
Albany Normans or Betty's beach and also East bay which is very nice no caravans or large RV's allowed at East Bay all have small campgrounds, East Bay has a bit of a pinch going in and a small turnaround area hence no caravans. Lots of options all good. Lots of beach and sandtrack driving all through that area, Two peoples bay, etc.
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