Dunn Rocks Campground, Cape Le Grand, another stunning free beach camp right around the corner from the popular beach Lucky Bay, WA. We are keeping with the Chapmans, they have been great company and LOVE a fire so we can’t complain. We drive into camp with the most amazing full moon sunset right on the beach, pull up just metres away from the water and crack a beer.
The next day we have some good weather so decide to go exploring, we hope that the beach and back tracks are accessible to reach Lucky Bay without travelling the long way around, and they were, a quick 15 minute beach/4wd track and we are there. The popular beach does live up to expectations, but seriously all the beaches in this area are amazing, and even better when you find one with no seaweed along the beach! I tried to find a cute baby Kangaroo to take a photo with on Lucky Bay, which is ‘the thing to do’ here, but no luck, a bit too much seaweed and 1 little kangaroo hoping away.
A quick trip around the corner we find one of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen, Thistle Cove, the colours are beautiful and it is much more secluded than its more popular neighbouring beach.
After a days driving we were in need of diesel so the closest spot to fill up was Condingup fuel station which was a bit out of our way so we leave the Champans behind and set off on what we thought was going to be a mundane exercise. In the end we were glad we took the detour as the service station attendant gives us the local tip, to head to a nearby beach called Wharton Beach. A stunning, deserted, white sandy beach all to ourselves.
We see a little bad weather come through on the forecast and head off in the morning before the weather hit to check out Esperance, this is where we said another goodbye to the Chapmans, but they get shorter as we are sure to run into each other again.
Camp Location: Dunns Rocks Campground, WA
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Cocklebiddy
Distance Travelled: 694 kilometres
We managed to catch a little sun in Esperance before the weather turned, we had a lovely walk along the esplanade and loved the nearby Blue Haven beach. We could see the big black clouds coming our way so a quick grocery shop before heading to camp.
We decide to head inland a little as we heard the winds were going to get very bad along the coastline, so we head to Ravensthorpe, have a drive around to a couple of free camp spots that we weren’t too impressed with, so eventually find a nice forest camp just north of the main town.
Camp Location: Overshot Hill Nature reserve
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Dunn Rocks Camp Ground, Cape Le Grand
Distance Travelled: 256 kilometres
Bremer Bay is our next stop and what a whirlwind that was, not the area itself but our day getting there, you’ll love this. So as always we check on Wiki camps to see where the closest free camp is, we hoped to go there early, drop off the caravan so we were free to drive in the troopy for the day. Lesson learnt; always check how far a camp is from your surrounding areas, even if it looks close on the map! From the free camp that looked to be just around the corner, we didn’t check that there was one, a river that you couldn’t cross, so two we had to go a long way around. So not only is this free camp over an hour away from our exploration around Bremer bay, but we are in the middle of the worst corrugation road we have ever travelled, I end up grabbing a beer and walking for a little while, haha. We ended up deciding to turn around in the end as we had so far still to drive and didn’t want to have to drive all of that again tomorrow. What seemed to be a quick stop off ended up being a 4 hour detour. All we can say is that we learnt a good lesson today and we definitely tested our patience. Bremer Bay ended up being nice, but a bit of a detour in the big scheme of things.
We ended up stopping in at another Nature Reserve along the highway, passed Bremer Bay, as we needed to make sure we would still have internet to watch the footy, my team The Broncos VS Zacs team The Bulldogs. A great little stop over between Esperance and Bremer Bay.
Camp Location: Pallinup River Nature Reserve
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Overshot Hill Nature reserve
Distance Travelled: 183 kilometres
The weather is still a little chilli for us so we do skip by these southern areas a lot faster than first thought, we take a quick stop into Albany to see the sights and get a move on. I find on Wiki camps a suburb called Denmark, which I had never heard before but looked like it had so much to do and see here so we stopped in at the first brewery we saw, loved it, and stayed for some beers and wine tasting. We chose a free camp not far away from here so we could explore the town more with the Troopy the next day.
Zac heads off to grab some firewood and soon comes walking back with his head down and confesses that he just lost his wedding ring in the bush, to make it more ironic it was also our 6 month wedding anniversary. Anyway he shows me where he thinks it might be, I start looking and find it straight away, score! We set up a roaring fire, enjoy some drinks, some more drinks, and as we do every night lock the Troopy before bed, as we head into the caravan… it is locked! We have been having some random occurrences of the caravan lock switch falling to lock by itself, and this time it happened when we were both outside the van. Now we are locked out of both the van and the troopy, Zac thankfully had hidden a key somewhere, but too well hidden for us to find in the dark (the beers & wine didn’t help either). Again thinking we were doomed, we search any windows that may be slightly open or any other ways into either vehicle, we look for the spare key one last time and find it, thank god!
I have Greens Pool on our list to visit, and lucky us, this was close to Denmark so our first stop in the morning is here, and finally now with such a nice sunny day we decide to go for a snorkel (which signs suggested was a great place to do so). We still put on our long wetsuits as the water was still a bit cold for us Queenslanders, had our gopro and dome in hand and loved our swim.
Next stop was one with good beach driving and fishing, however we stupidly thought we could get away with not letting air out of the tyres this time, stop in soft sand to watch a couple fishing and get stuck. Still stubborn to let the tyres down to easily get out we end up digging ourselves in too far. The couple we were near were happy to help us out but ironically they also get stuck, with our troopy being the best option to dig out and then now retrieve them. We finally get there, find a different spot to park up, and celebrate our retrievals with a couple of beers with our new friends. On the way back to camp the Chapmans message us to let us know that they are now at the Brewery around the corner, so of course we drop in for another cheeky beer and then take them back to our camp.
We love what this area has to offer, so we stay another night to explore a little more the next day, we head to a lookout and a cider brewery that really stunned us. Learning about how real cider is made and tasting the varieties was really interesting (made by fermenting cider apples & nothing else). We walked away with a yummy cider bottle and a bottle of apple cider vinegar (one that doesn’t taste horrible).
Camp Location: Hay River, Denmark
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Pallinup River Nature Reserve
Distance Travelled: 152 kilometres
We had organised in the morning to meet the Chapmans again in the afternoon at another campsite 2.5 hrs away. We stopped here so we could all go beach and dune 4 wheel driving at Yeagurup Beach. We had a great day out together, found 2 loads of perfectly cut up wood so our fires are now set for ages.
Camp Location: Connollys Flat, Northcliffe/Pemberton
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Hay River, Denmark
Distance Travelled: 177 kilometres
Time to hit up Margaret River I have been looking forward to this! We are now however struggling to find good free camps or any in fact, and realise this might be the case for the rest of WA. On our way into Margaret River we stumble across the Chapmans, their clutch had just carked it. They call the tow truck but he doesn’t have the right towball for their camper, so the only way to get us all to camp is for us to tow their camper and the towtruck to tow our caravan (weird right I know, it was too complicated to try and explain). A quick photo to Zacs parents with their caravan on the back of a tow truck was an interesting story.
Base camp was 20km north of Margaret River at a farm stay in Metricup, a great ‘cheaper’ campsite for $15/night and we have it to ourselves. From here we do day trips into Margaret river and the surrounding suburbs.
Day one we walk around Margaret river town window shopping, try some cheese at the dairy factory then head to lunch at Fishbone winery. The food was Japanese inspired, which I had been craving and it had been a while since we treated ourselves to a good lunch so we were so happy. We loved the food and wine, and ended up buying a yummy fortified wine. We then made use of multiple free tastings at other wineries and finished our day at the Cheeky Monkey Brewery. We met the Chapmans here for an arvo beer, they insisted on shouting us a beer for our help with their car the previous day, lucky us!
We were then planning to head off the next day but as our camp was quite central to other northern suburbs also we did another day trip without the van. We checked out Surfers Point where heaps of the surf comps are held, and you can see why when you get there.
We then trailed our way north along the coastline and checked out some other cool places like Graceville, Cape Naturaliste and Meelup beach. We ended up around Dunsborough and on the way home stopped in at a popular ice creamery, yuummmyy!
Our base camp has been great, one that saved us from paying big bucks at caravan parks, gave us our own space and serenity and so close to heaps of areas.
Camp Location: Peaceful Park, Metricup
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Connollys Flat, Northcliffe/Pemberton
Distance Travelled: 180 kilometres
Margaret River area has so much to offer with food, wine, local produce and amazing beaches; you could definitely spend more time here and really relax at each stop. We can’t spend forever here unfortunately and it is time to move on to explore more of what WA has to offer.