Now it’s time to prepare. To make the most of camping in beautiful Western Australia, you’ll need to think ahead.
We’ve created a comprehensive list of camping hacks, derived from real-world experience, to ensure you have the very best weekend escape in Western Australia.
Many campsites in Western Australia now require online booking, this will ensure you don’t arrive at a site on a busy weekend to discover there are no camp sites left.
Researching online first will assist you find the right spot, to fit your timeline and needs. Is the campsite secluded and quite? Close to other campers?
Online maps can help you plan well ahead of time for the trip you desire. You can select a place with toilets and cooking facilities, pet-friendly locations and more. Book a spot using the DPAW website to ensure that you have a secured when you arrive.
For more ideas and places to go, take a look at WesternAustralia.com
Camping sites in National Parks may charge a fee per head for camping, and also a fee for vehicle access. If you plan on camping regularly, you can save money on the vehicle access fee by buying an annual parks pass for your car.
If you haven’t booked a site online ahead of time, make sure you have sufficient cash available. Camping fees are often $5-10 per head or more, and EFTPOS will almost definitely not be available at the campsite.
Strategic Camping Travel
Looking for a new camping adventure, but perhaps you’re short on time?
One smart way to do camping in Western Australia, if you’re based in Perth, is to leave work on a Friday afternoon and aim for a good campsite closer to town.
This is especially useful if you want to get out for two nights but have to work Friday and Monday. Book a spot nearby (Yalgorup or Lane Pool are not far away from Perth) so you only have a short drive out on the Friday night.
The following day, use the opportunity to find a new campsite farther afield.
For example, aim for Yalgorup National Park south of Mandurah for Friday, then on Saturday enjoy a bushwalk and breakfast – then pack up and head out to the Margaret River region or South Coastal region. Or head to Guilderton from Perth at Moore River, then onto Cervanties, Jurian Bay and the start of the Coral Coast region for the rest of the long weekend for a beach camping adventure.
This is a strategic way to fit in a lot of great camping in a short time for trips outside of the Perth metro area. You’ll need to be fairly organised with your gear and timing to pull this off.
Camp Meals – Eat Like a King
Don’t risk getting ‘hangry’ on your big camping weekend, and avoid an over reliance on snacks. Eat well while you camp by making a big cheese board platter and arrange your meals around that. Ensure that the esky has sufficient ice to stay cool for the required time.
Buy all of your favourite cheeses and cured meats. Add in hamburger patties, tomatoes, lettuce, condiments and bread for dinner, eggs for scrambled eggs for breakfast (use the same bread), and use the dinner ingredients to make sandwiches for lunch (sans the hamburger patties).
Add cheeses and cured meats to all of these as you see fit. Make sure that anything which might be damaged by water submersion is stacked on top of your beers or cool drinks, or sealed inside watertight containers.
Camping Hacks in Western Australia, equipment ideas: The bare minimum equipment you’ll need for camping.
• A swag or sleeping bag
• A butane stove (link and price) for cooking
• A billy and camping pan
• A large esky with ice, for fresh food and drinks
• A good torch or lantern (invest in a head torch for hands free convenience)
• A big water bottle (at least 20 litres in case of vehicle breakdown)
• First aid kit
• A quality tent
• Comfortable footwear appropriate for the elements (water, dust, dirt, rocks)
• Smart clothing choices – hoodies and jackets for cold nights, T-shirts and shorts for warmer days, long, thick socks. Bug spray, sunscreen and hat for sun and insect protection.
• A picnic bag (with plates, spoons)
• Camping chairs
• A dedicated box of camping extras (cooking utensils, dish cleaning equipment, extra torches and batteries, emergency rations, spare butane, a small towel, assorted toiletries).
• A marquee and tent for all-weather camping, and a table.
• A large round hotplate with a flat side and a griddle side to save on space, while allowing for flexibility in cooking.
• A secondary butane stove for the second round of coffees in the morning while breakfast is cooking.
• Pack games to get us through those periods when we can’t be out exploring (rain, heat, or after dark); scrabble is a favourite, but we also carry backgammon, playing cards and travel catan.
One of the smartest camping hacks is getting your car prepared well. Keep a bag of camping essentials permanently packed and ready to go. It might help to have a written list of necessary items in this box as your needs change, or if you have a habit of removing items.
We drive a Hyundai i30 and with all of the chairs down can fit an immense amount of equipment in the back. Packing your car smartly to fit everything in comfortably; Chairs lie flat in the boot, a 3x3m marquee sits on top and runs straight down the middle of the car, resting on the centre console, the esky and camping box sit on the left, the double swag sits on the right, and the water bottles and butane stoves fill in the gaps.
Keep in mind that campsites are often not lit so can get very dark after sundown; if you don’t have a good lantern, putting a torch against your clear water container can help disperse the light and increase ambient light immensely. Also try putting a clear drinking bottle on top of a bright smartphone screen.
Fire season is strictly controlled and should be monitored regardless of if you’re staying in a National Park or not. Check the DPAW website ahead of time to see if campfires are permitted, and always bring your own firewood so as not to damage the habitat of the local fauna by stealing their wood. You can buy firewood at many service stations on your way to a campsite.
Keep in mind that bags of firewood bought from servos often do not have pieces small enough to use as kindling, so you might have to bring some extra kindling or an axe/tomahawk.
Always remember that the condition of the campsite and the communal equipment is a big part of the camping experience, so make sure to leave everything in the same condition as you found it.
Don’t move or destroy any of the surrounds, take all rubbish away with you, and clean up the communal areas. We remember that we all make mistakes and will sometimes accidentally leave something in poor condition, so we try to always leave a campsite in better condition than we found it.
Also keep in mind that other campers are out there to get away from noise and distraction, so try to minimise the use of generators (and turn them off overnight), and keep music levels to a minimum.
There are numerous different activities to undertake during the day. There are plenty of beaches on the way down south – make sure they are accessible to your vehicle before making the attempt. Most campgrounds have walking or hiking trails nearby for people of different abilities.
The there are lots of mountain biking trails if you have your own bikes or don’t mind hiring one. The Munda Biddi mountain biking trail runs through Dwellingup. While staying at Lane Poole Reserve, drop into town to hire some bikes to go for a ride through the beautiful forest.
The Bibbulman walking track runs all the way from Perth to Albany; it has weather shelters placed to provide overnight shelter for people walking end-to-end, or just short multi day trips. We’ve spent many nights on the Bibbulman track over the past several years and have now covered about 25% of the overall path.
The further south you go, the more wineries and breweries are also available for those looking for a more relaxing way to spend the day. Make sure you have a designated driver to get you back to your campsite.
North of Perth, explore the coastal regions including attractions like The Pinnacles – camp near beaches or waterways in areas like Jurian Bay, Moore River and Geraldton. Pass the time fishing, snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, 4WD exploring or bushwalking.
Camping Ideas in Western Australia
Further So Perth Camping Articles
- Top Beach Camping Locations in Western Australia.
- Glamping in Western Australia – Top Locations for Camping in Style
Visit WesternAustralia.com for more ideas on where to go camping and caravanning in Western Australia.
This article was originally published by So Perth.