You jump off your hire bike and choose the sandy path before you. Once you’ve waded through the wild grass to the top of the dune, you shout ‘holy moley!’ and run with your arms flailing like Napoleon Dynamite.
As the seabirds scatter, you spin 360 to take it all in. This secluded white beach. This never-ending sky. This ridiculously translucent water. THIS. IS. W.A.
And don’t think it stops at ridiculous beaches. Expect friendly locals, historical towns, mystical forests, curious wildlife, delightful vineyards, expansive national parks and heaps of campsites.
So if you’re looking for a three week holiday, on a budget of $3,000, and a campervan is right up your street, we can recommend you the perfect taster trip of South Western Australia. Download the WikiCamps app and read on.
1. Perth – three nights
In Perth do three things. Visit Rottnest Island and have your own Dynamite moment. It’s a short ferry ride from Perth so go for the day, or camp overnight. The campsite has showers, BBQs and a nearby shop. You need one full day to hire bikes, pack a snorkel, some lunch and cycle your way around 63 secluded beaches, 20 bays and a shipwreck. Our no.1 spot with the almighty sand dunes is Little Parakeet Bay.
You should also ferry or train to Fremantle for the day. Our highlight was the Little Creatures Brewery which has a cracking beer garden.
Then pick up your Rookie campervan from Lucky Campers (approx $1,000). This budget van has everything you need and is the perfect way to explore independently while having a cozy bed to curl up in at night. Plus so much can happen in one day; you’ll have breakfast in the bush, a leisurely lunch on the beach and then a sunset BBQ for dinner. Top tip: Remember to pack torches and solar fairy lights for the van.
2. Margaret River – three nights
First stop – Contos Campsite for just $11 a night per person. Rustic and secluded, it’s ten minutes out of town and home to the local kangaroos. While you’re there enjoy a full day’s Mcloud family vineyard tour for around $115 per person and they’ll kindly pick you up from Contos. You should at some point take a walk along the coastal path by the campsite (where we saw dolphins), and set aside a day of beach hopping. Beach hops include Hamelin Bay where you’ll see eagle rays, Gnarabup Beach with nearby caves and Surfer’s Point at sunset. Top tip: shower at Margaret River’s leisure centre.
3. Pemberton, Walpole Forest and Peaceful Bay – two nights
Your next drive is to Peaceful Bay Caravan Park for around $30 per night, where you’ll earn a hot shower and fish and chips on arrival. The drive there is spectacular! Stop off in Pemberton, a retro Aussie town and a good lunch stop. Once you’re refilled drive five minutes further to Pemberton visitor centre to climb the 61 metre Gloucester Tree if you dare. On your second day in Peaceful Bay drive to Walpole Forest for a wholesome hike. Top tip: Detour on your drive back to the caravan park to Conspicuous Beach.
4. Albany – two nights
A great place to stock up at the supermarket. We only had a brief stay and used Albany as a base to go to the dazzling ‘Little Beach’ a short drive away. You must take an umbrella for shade. Frenchman’s Bay is also worth a snorkel if time allows. Top tip: Picnics are much cheaper than eating out, so try jazzing up your sarnies with pesto!
5. Fitzgerald National Park (FNP) – two nights
From Albany your adventure continues south-west with a pitstop in Denmark for treats at Raven’s Coffee. With limited camping spots we’d recommend arriving before sundown, and if you need to stop for dinner supplies you will pass through Hopetoun. Set up camp at the stunning Four Mile Beach for $11 per person (a playground for snorkelling) and be sure to hike up Mount Barren at sunset for spectacular 360 views. Top tip: Hopetoun beach has a shower block you can use on your way to your next destination…
6. Esperance and Cape Le Grand – as long as you have
… Esperance. Our favourite place in Australia (so far). It’s a beach lovers’ haven and our number one of them all is Twilight Beach. The town has a few camping spots, supermarkets and a tourist information centre. We recommend driving to Observatory Point to watch the sunset while having a cold beer out the back of the van.
You’ll also need a full day or ideally a night’s camping in Cape Le Grand National Park (book ahead). Whichever beach you visit will leave you speechless, and despite the shark warnings the water is irresistible. Our motto is “if the locals are in, we’re in”.
7. Back to Perth
Then you’re in for a long 9-hour drive back to Perth heading in-land as you pass Ravensthorpe (which you’ll know well by now). So put the tunes on and look out for emus among the fields and fields and fields and fields of yellow. Get as far as you can before parking up for your last night. Enjoy Masonmill Gardens for your last breakfast, lunch or dinner stop. It’s simply gorgeous!
Voila. Enjoy your adventure and please share your stories with us.