Author: Mrs A
Continuing our top 20 locations on our trip, here are the next five spots we really loved.
1. Dampier Peninsular – north of BroomeReason: We headed up here because of numerous recommendations to visit Cape Leveque (the tip of the Dampier Peninsula), but we would say the whole Peninsula is well worth a visit. Pristine beaches, warm waters (we didn’t see any crocs other than on Mr A’s feet) and perfect weather day after day. We stayed at Middle Lagoon, swam in the waters at Lombadina and also camped at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. Our only regret was leaving the caravan behind and taking only a tent – you shouldn’t always listen to advice on the road. The Zone would have easily made it up there with some careful driving.
2. Eighty Mile Beach – South of BroomeReason: While this is a popular spot (many south WA residents park up here for the whole winter), once you move about 200 metres away from the campsite you are totally alone. Miles and miles (more than 80!) of pristine beach, hundred of shells, great sunsets. We loved it here. It was also our first real experience of grass in a long while (yes, small delights!) – we had an unpowered campsite (plenty of solar and they provide you with water) and just loved the cycling. We didn’t have Princess Tassie with us at this point, but the campground at Eighty-Mile Beach allows cats but no dogs! Another reason to like it!
3. Exmouth – mid way down Western Australia CoastReason: The only reason to visit Exmouth is for its natural wonders, in particular Whale Sharks. We had the most magical experience swimming with two Whale Sharks on our day out. These gentle giants feed on plankton and travel along with their mouths open, slow enough for us to swim alongside them in our masks and snorkels – just incredible. I also did two dives on the Navy Pier there, some of the best diving since Byron Bay. And finally we managed one night in Cape Range National Park – it is otherwise fully booked – fabulous wildlife, snorkelling and paddling. We wished we could have got longer in here.
4. Waroora Station (pronounced warra) – Ningaloo Reef, just south of Coral BayReason: Well surely the photos speak for themselves? This was an incredible find – we booked in for two nights and stayed a week. Some people spend months here (though we suspect they don’t do much washing!). We were camped right beside Ningaloo Reef, turtles popping their heads out all along the beaches, whales breaching out beyond the surf break, spectacular powder soft sand and warm waters. We still miss our view now! This is located just south of Coral Bay (which we suggest you avoid like the plague – wall to wall tourist parks, cheek by jowl – yuck!)…
5. Francois Peron National ParkReason: We had no idea this area was so stunning or we would have camped in here. Instead we visited as a day trip from Denham. It requires a 4WD and tyres to be let down, but the national park provides compressed air at the entrance so you can re-inflate on your way out. We went kayaking in Big Lagoon and drove up to Cape Peron on the very tip. From there we could see a fantastic array of sea life including sharks and mantas swimming past. On the beaches, hundreds of pied cormorants lined up, apparently a sign there were tiger sharks about. The lookout was a long slow drive through sand dunes to reach, but so worth it. The dolphins at Monkey Mia (at the bottom of the cape) had commenced our day, not as twee and touristy as we had feared…definitely worth a look if you’re in the area!
Sneaky 6. Kalbarri Reason: We just had to sneak this one in because we had such a lovely time here. Kalbarri is within about 6 or 7 hours drive of Perth, so popular with the locals, but remains a sleepy little village. We ate dinner at one of the best restaurants we had found since Sydney (Upstairs), hiked in the national park and kayaked on the stunning waters. We were on a bit of a time limit to get down to Perth at this point, otherwise would have definitely stayed longer and done more paddling on the lower Murchison River. Lots to do and see here.
I can’t believe we have reached 10 (11!) already – only 10 more recommendations to make. There is going to be some tough competition for the next slot.
Where to find these locations: