UPDATE: It would appear that camping at Carrarang Station has come to its end. No new bookings are being permitted. If you have an existing booking, I believe it will be honoured. I have been waiting for confirmation from Tony, but haven't heard anything just yet. I'm told this is a management decision from Mitsui and Shark Bay Salt. I'm really saddened by this decision; the coastline there is truly magic and I believe with a decent management plan it could and should have been left open.
If remote camping on a station with some of the best access to the WA coast peaks your interest, this post is for you. Yep, we are talking about Carrarang Station. If you haven't heard of it before, we don't blame you. Up until now, its been a rather well kept secret, unlike Tamala Station, which is significantly more publicised.
Where is Carrarang Station?
Carrarang Station is located south of Denham, and about 75km from Steep Point. It's about 30km past Tamala Station, along the Useless Loop road. The map below covers the important locations in the area.
Why haven't I heard of it before?
Everyone talks about Steep Point, and for good reason. It is truly phenominal. If you've done a bit of digging you probably would have found out about Tamala Station too, but Carrarang has flown under the radar for many years. The station is primarily used as pastoral land, and although camping has been available, it hasn't been widely publicised.
It's not set up for thousands of tourists to flock to every year - you don't get a map, you might not even meet the owners and there isn't any real instructions. Really though, who cares; it makes the place even better!
What's at Carrarang?
Carrarang owns the land on one of the peninsula's, which is bordered on three sides by the Frecinet Estuary. The land is your typical coastal scrub, with tracks that lead throughout the station, from beach to beach. There are spectacular beaches, rocky outcrops and plenty of places to camp.
The homestead is on your way in, and there are numerous sheds around the place to help with their goat farming. Asides from this, there really isn't much else at Carrarang, and that's what makes it so attractive to so many people.
Where can you camp?
When you book in at Carrarang station, you are given a beach to yourselves. Yep, you read that correctly - you aren't given a camp site number, or a set area to camp. You are literally given an entire beach, and you can camp where you want. Looking to go camping with 20 of your mates and family? No worries at all - you will have plenty of space and privacy in some of the best camping locations you will ever see in your life.
We were given East Landing, which is probably about 100 metres wide. If we climbed up the dune behind where we camped you could see campers a couple of hundred metres away north and south, but you'd never know they were there otherwise.
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Getting to Steep Point
Access to Steep Point from Carrarang Station is very easy; you just head out to the Useless Loop road, and head north west. From the homestead, it takes about 2 hours to get to Steep Point, including time to stop after the turn off to deflate your tyres.
The main gravel road is kept in great condition, and majority of the track into Steep Point is good, except for the real sandy parts of the track. These have the worst bumps from side to side and up and down that I've ever been on. Luckily, they are only short sections, and mainly when you are going up and down the little dunes.
Once you make it onto the beach near Steep point its easy going.
We let our tyres down to 25 - 30 PSI once we hit the gravel road heading towards Carrarang. Around the station we kept similar pressures, unless we had to drive on the beach, and then we let them down to 15 - 20 PSI.
On the way to Steep Point we let them down to about 12 PSI to take it very slowly over the really rough sections, and given I was towing a boat it made it much more comfortable. The boat trailer tyres were down at 5 PSI!
What are the roads in the station like?
Carrarang Station has a heap of little tracks everywhere. The main ones that get used on a regular basis are in fantastic condition; we were extremely surprised and very pleased. The smaller tracks are a bit rougher, with some sections that you have to slow down substantially over, but none of them were difficult or nasty tracks.
Can I bring a boat, caravan or camper trailer in?
We saw Caravans, camper trailers, 4WD trucks and a variety of boats at Carrarang station. The main gravel road up until Carrarang is pretty good - anything that is reasonably robust would be fine. The tracks in the station are not all that wide in some sections, so you'd want to be careful where you drove if you had a wide trailer.
Launching your boat is a piece of cake on most of the beaches, as long as you are used to beach launching.
What does it cost?
Carrarang station is $5 per person, per night and kids are free. Whilst you might not get any amenities to use, its fantastic value for money given the places you can camp!
How do I book?
You can book your stay at Carrarang station by phoning Lorraine and Tony at 08 9948 3997 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you arrive at the station, either pay your money directly at the homestead, or put it in the slotted pole between the homestead and the shed (you won't miss it).
What's bad about Carrarang Station?
Really, there's not much we can complain about Carrarang station. It's a stunning place, but it wouldn't be suited to everyone. You need to be 100% self sufficient, remember the beaches are quite shelly in places, take your time and hope for good weather!
Can you have camp fires?
In season, providing you are sensible with your fires, you are permitted to have them. Tony and Lorraine ask that you keep them small, don't leave them burning and just use your common sense!
Fishing at Carrarang Station
We did reasonably well fishing at Carrarang station. Not as well as we'd hoped for, but not too bad considering we had never been there before. Of the beach we ended up with a number of sharks, whiting, trevally and a few other bits and pieces.
We fished a lot out in the boat, aiming mainly for Pink snapper, and despite catching stacks of little ones, we never managed to get any that were sized. We did catch a number of emperors, and little mackeral trawling, along with plenty of little sharks.
Fishing rules you need to know
In the Frecinet Estuary region, you are only allowed 5kg of fillets in your possession, per person (normally 20kg). This is a result of managing the regions sustainability. What does make life a bit difficult is that if you bring fish from another region into the Frecinet Estuary area, you must have under 5kg.
Essentially this means if you have done well at Steep Point, you aren't able to call in at Carrarang or Tamala station on your way home, as you'd be over the 5kg limit.
The other thing you need to know is the Pink snapper tag system has been abolished, and there is no maximum size on Pink snapper anymore.
Our review of Carrarang Station
There's something really special about Carrarang Station. Waking up to a glassy calm beach, metres away from the water with no one for miles around you is incredible. With the boat ready to go in the water, a fire crackling away and your mates having a laugh, you can't go wrong.
If you are looking for a peaceful getaway, Carrarang Station has you covered.
Would we go again?
We only made it to Steep Point for one day. If Carrarang Station is special, Steep Point is off the scale. We were totally blown away by the size of Steep point, the beautiful beaches, magnificent diving and fishing and the overall feel. We would most certainly head back to Carrarang Station, but Steep Point would be the priority next time.
There's less driving, better fishing, easier access to fantastic spots and as a group, we all enjoyed Steep Point more. That said, Carrarang Station is magic, and we will most definitely be back.
What else would you like to know?
If there's anything we've missed, or you would like to know, please leave a comment below and we will answer as best we can.
How many of you have been to Carrarang? What did you think of it? How does it compare to Tamala station?