South West WA

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 13:06
ThreadID: 132073 Views:2384 Replies:6 FollowUps:4
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We hope to travel from SA soon to visit this area over a 4 week period (outside wildflower season). Plan is to get to Ceduna in one day then slow down. Plan to spend time in Esperance, Busselton, Margaret River and Albany areas. Fully set up to free camp. Landcruiser and off-road caravan. Any recommendations of places to see or camp would be appreciated.
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 17:21

Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 17:21
Hi Mike, heaps of great places, can't name them all... If heading along the Norseman to Hyden road, Mcderrmitt? Rock was a nice place to camp.. About 120km west along the road.. Had the place to our selfs..
Prevelly Beach near Margaret River was good, not free though.. Parrys Beach, near Denmark has hot showers and flushing toilets, not free either, but at $50 a week.. Close enough.. Has height restriction, saw a few vans, being measured in the car park, and to high, so we're unable to enter..
Quaagi? Beach was awesome too, 150 odd km west of Esperance, near Stokes Nat Park, but $5 a night, instead of $15 or so at Stokes..
Heaps of other great spots, but we had an off road camp trailer, so access was never an issue..
We would go bush for a few days, then would get a powered site, charge up the batteries, have a shower, and fill the water tanks, then off again..
Plenty of info around, just got to do a bit of searching..
Good luck with the trip, happy and safe travels.. Cheers Odog
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 17:32

Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 17:32
Fabulous region.....hard to go wrong (BUT the weather might have other ideas - winter approaches and that coast can get a drubbing at times, just like SA). Places thoroughly recommended from here Include : Cape LeGrand Nat Park (Lucky Bay camping - top shelf). Stokes Inlet. Hammersley Inlet. Bremer Bay & Cheyne Beach.....any visitor orientated places on that coast are winners. Once up past Marg. River, maybe drift NE to Coolgardie / Kalgoorlie before coming back across the paddock ? But of course, there are a lot of great towns inland, around the southwest corner of Oz if you want to run E across to Hyden / Norseman. 4 weeks ? Just enough'll want to go back for sure.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 23:28

Saturday, Apr 09, 2016 at 23:28
Hi Mike

Most coastal shires do not have and free camping, but there are some low cost options. I have a full list for Esperance to Albany. East of Albany, there are three small free camping areas, but not suited to larger rigs, at Bettys Beach, East Bay and Normans Beach. The first two mentioned have quite a steep road from the coast and for this reason also caravans are not recommended.

The Augusta Margaret River council would be one of the fiercest against free campers. They have a number of low cost shire run campgrounds such as Alexandra Bridge and Warner Glen. Contos campground, Canebrake Pool and Sue's Bridge are run by Department of Parks and Wildlife and their fee structure applies.Busselton has nothing free or low cost.

Odog has mentioned the Hyden-Norseman Road if you want to return that way. It is a good unsealed road with a lot of signed features (there is a brochure of these), and you can camp at a number of areas, such as McDermid Rock and other large granite rocks, but my favourites are the Breakaways which is worth visiting even if not camping.Lake Johnston is more open and in sound and sight of the road, but a lovely place for the night too.

There are many opportunities for free and low cost camping through the inland areas, in particular the wheatbelt.

What to see? That depends on what you like, and which areas you can fit in your drive. From Esperance, go east at least as far as Cape Le Grand National Park, and it is not much further to Cape Arid National Park.Albany has a lot of history and now has the National ANZAC Centre, opened November 2014 to commemorate the first troops leaving Australia to Europe and World War I.

Between Denmark and Walpole there is the Tree Top Walk in a forest of giant Tingle trees. At Walpole I highly recommend the WOW Wilderness Eco Cruise on the Walpole-Nornalup Inlet. This is a very entertaining and interesting experience.

The Karri forests around Shannon River, Northcliffe and Pemberton are worth visiting.

Lots to keep you occupied for much more that four weeks. Bear in mind it will soon be winter, and once the rains come, the country becomes green and pretty, but you can strike cold weather or a rainy days. It is still a good time of year to see the south west.
Please tell us what sort places you like, and I'm sure you will get a lot to choose from.

You are welcome to email me for lots of detail about my "back yard".


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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 10, 2016 at 00:40

Sunday, Apr 10, 2016 at 00:40
I was in Esperance on Tuesday and it was pretty Wintery! 13 degrees, constant grey skies, regular showers, and a cold Southerly blowing!

When the wind picks up and turns around to the South, from now on, along the South coast of W.A., you will freeze!

The coldest day I can ever remember was one day in July 1984 - I was working at Mt Beaumont, East of Esperance - and a screaming, bitterly cold Southerly wind was coming straight off the Antarctic ice floes!!

The maximum temperature that day, in Esperance, was 8 degrees!
I was wearing heavy denim jeans, a fleecy shirt, a heavy woollen pullover, heavy overalls, and gloves - and I can still feel that bitter cold, even now! - 32 years on!! LOL

One good thing at present is the South Coast has had substantial amounts of rain recently, with many paddocks between Jerramungup and Esperance still holding large pools of water.
The countryside is looking very green and attractive, a far cry from the very dry Summery conditions we've had in most of W.A., up until recently.

However, the recent rain will have made a few places a bit treacherous - so exercise care where you see water from recent rain has been flowing, or collected.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Steve - Sunday, Apr 10, 2016 at 19:51

Sunday, Apr 10, 2016 at 19:51
I feel your pain, Ron but apart from the pullover, everything else is cotton. The worst you can wear in cold and wet weather.

We're hoping to head over there next February, so hoping we catch me the fickle weather in one of its better moods. Will be watching this thread with interest.
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Follow Up By: baznpud (tassie) - Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 09:26

Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 09:26
Thanks for the information guys, we are heading for WA in a few weeks, this will be handy info.
Go caravaning, life is so much shorter than death.

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Follow Up By: Mikee5 - Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:58

Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:58
Thanks Ron.
We will add extra warm clothes and waterproofs. Don't mind the cold if we stay dry.
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Reply By: Blown4by - Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 20:52

Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 20:52
Places to see: Duke of Orleans Bay East of Esperance, Hopetoun, Bremer Bay including the Wellstead family museum, Emu Point, Skywalk over The Gap, The Blowholes, Mount Clarence, ANZAC Centre War Museum, Whaling Station all at Albany, Ocean Beach, William Bay, Greens Pool, Elephant Rocks, Scotsdale Road all at Denmark, Boat Harbour, Peaceful Bay and Treetop Walk at Walpole.
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Follow Up By: Blown4by - Tuesday, Apr 12, 2016 at 09:52

Tuesday, Apr 12, 2016 at 09:52
Yeah sorry forgot to mention Ravy but Ron has covered that very well. Also should have mentioned the Stirling Range National Park but if you come from over East they are really just 'hills' and not 'mountains' although by WA standards they are big. Still pretty scenic though.
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 23:16

Monday, Apr 11, 2016 at 23:16
More - Ravensthorpe and numerous surrounding areas are also interesting spots.
There's a big hill 12km Sth East of Ravensthorpe with a big old gold copper-gold mine on it, called Elverdton.
Well worth a look-see, the views are good, and the big old headframe is still there.
Kundip is a nearby old gold-mining centre on the Hopetoun Rd, about halfway to Hopetoun - but there's not much left to see now, because it's been a ghost town since before WW2.
All the remaining spots worth a look around Ravensthorpe are mentioned in the following SMH article, and on the Ravensthorpe Historical Society webpage.

Ravensthorpe and surrounds

Ravensthorpe historical society

Cheers, Ron.
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