Lake Jasper is a huge lake located south of Perth, near Pemberton. It is the largest freshwater lake in Western Australia, and is used for skiing, canoeing, fishing and just having a good time. It is known primarily for its high quality water and the great campsites to have some time away! We often use the water for washing dishes, but I wouldn’t advise you drink it! If you want to camp, the only way to get to the Camping grounds is to drive (or you can hike in but it’s a long walk!), and you need a 4WD to get there. Sometimes the tracks can be easy, but there is always the odd chance that the sand could be dry and soft (and it would have to be when you choose to go without a 4WD!).
My first visit to Lake Jasper was done on a small four wheel driving trip from Pemberton to Black point and along the coast a bit, and then to Lake Jasper. The coastline to the south of Perth is quite impressive, so be sure to check it out! We had an absolute blast, although a cars clutch went (making it awfully difficult to continue) and we will definitely be heading down there again.
What is the D'entrecasteaux National Park?
Lake Jasper is found in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park. The D'entrecasteaux National Park can be found south of Perth, and can be found near black point and Augusta. Much of the park is in its natural and original state, which is why very few facilities are provided. There are some very isolated camp sites, as well as hiking tracks which are a pleasure to do. I have actually hiked down there for several days through the D’entrecasteaux National Park, and thoroughly enjoyed it (even though I usually don’t like walking and hiking!).
How do I get there?
The 4WD tracks start just out of Pemberton. Your best bet is to go and purchase a four wheel driving book with the day tracks in them. You can get some books that are quite cheap which will show you so many tracks that you can go along. We started off from a small hut in Pemberton where the kangaroos and emus like to gather. The first night that we went Camping we stopped at Black point. It costs a few dollars to stay there, but its well worth it. From there, it’s only about a 30 minute drive along some tracks to Lake Jasper.
What can I do there?
The lake itself has several campsites surrounding it. If you want, you can stay the night, and enjoy the views over the lake. The camp sites are close enough to the water and most have fire places. Again, its a few dollars each per night to stay at the sites, but it all goes to maintaining the area, so don’t try to get out of it. The ranger is often around in the mornings, and they are likely to ask for the money.
If you have a kayak, you can explore the lake in peace. Power boats have since been banned at the Lake. If the weather is nice you can also go for a swim. When we were there it was simply too cold to even think about jumping in the water. There are a number of 4x4 tracks which go around the lake, but be sure to check the depth of any puddles. If it’s been wet, there can be massive puddles which will drown your car in no time.
What is nearby?
As mentioned above, just around the corner is Black point, which is a great fishing spot (many black rocks with some amazing places to drop a line). Be sure to stay well clear of the swell though; we have seen the waves come in very fast and wet a long way up the rocks. Occasionally people are killed on the coast of Western Australia, because they are unaware of how dangerous it can be. If you need to, you can drive into Pemberton, but I don’t know how long that takes. I assume that there is a real road that goes into Lake Jasper, because I've seen a lot of ski boats towed in and they don’t work so well in the sand. I don’t actually know this though; if anyone does, please leave a comment.
Other than that, there really isn’t much nearby. The camp sites tend to be fairly well spread out which means that you get exactly what you came for – a break from all the hustle and bustle! The views are amazing if you pick the right spot, and having a good fire at night is a great way to unwind. The bush in the D'entrecasteaux national park is unique, and quite amazing to walk through.
What should I take?
As far as I am aware, firewood is not available at this spot, but I know people tend to take things out of the bush. Whether or not the ranger wants you to do that I am not sure, but it’s probably a good idea to take some wood along with you. A kayak is a good way to have some fun in the water, or , but leave the boat at home if you have one. Like other trips, take recovery gear and spare parts (driving home in a car without a clutch is not fun at all). Having a kit of at least the basics can save you a heap of time and stress. The beaches in the surrounding area's can be very soft; make sure you know what to do in regards to Beach Driving.
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When should I go?
This depends on what you want to do. We went during winter, and it rained a bit, but it was still great fun. The advantage of going then is there are no flies and the vegetation is quite green. Of course it’s usually to cool to swim in the lake (unless you are from New Zealand!) but there’s still lots to see. If you are an avid water skier, then just take a wet suit and you can ski all year round! Be aware that the campsites fill up very quickly if you go during the school holidays.