Lancelin is a small town north of Perth, right on the beach. It is well known for its huge sand dunes, great windsurfing spots and rock lobster fishing. If you are looking for a week’s holiday or even just a day trip, you can’t go wrong with Lancelin. There is so much to do, and you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money to do it either.
Location and Route
It takes around an hour and a half to drive from Perth to Lancelin, which makes it a destination that a lot of people visit. If you want to get a taste of what it is like to Travel Western Australia, then make sure you have a look at Lancelin! To get there, you simply drive north along the Mitchell freeway. At the end, you turn right and then left onto Joondalup Drive. Five kilometres later you turn left onto Wanneroo Road, and you can follow that right up until Lancelin Road.
What to do
If you ever get bored at Lancelin, then you are doing something wrong. I would highly recommend you visit the bakery, which is at the back of the main shopping complex (which is quite small). They have some great food. Another great place to take a look is the Lancelin Jetty, which is just north of the shops. Here the Crayfish boats come and unload their catch and then re stock up on bait. Be careful of vehicles driving on the jetty while you are there. The jetty is quite a good place to fish, so throw out a few lines if you’re into fishing.
If you have a boat, just next to the jetty is where you can launch it. There is no official boat ramp at the present, but the sand is rock hard most of the time. There is also a tractor there to hire if you have a big boat and are not too confident in your car! There are some truly amazing places to visit if you have a boat, with reef systems running everywhere. There are also 14 different ship wrecks that you can visit and dive on. A lot of large fish are caught in Lancelin, both on the shore or off a boat; don’t be shy on the fishing!
If you go to the Point, you will most likely see a lot of people with windsurfers. Lancelin is a great place to do windsurfing because the water is relatively flat. A large island (Lancelin Island) manages to block most of the wind that creates chop, which makes it ideal. Kite Surfers are also common as well, and these can be great fun to watch. The beaches are safe to swim at, and there is often some good surf as well. In fact, every year a surfing and windsurfing competitions are held regularly. You can drive out to the back beach, and the sand is quite hard, but check it out before you drive a two wheel drive car there (although I often see them out on the beach).
One of the main reasons I go to Lancelin so often is the Sand Dunes. These can be found by following the main road through Lancelin, turning left and then you will see a big sign saying ‘off-road area’ on the right. If you have a two wheel drive car you can still drive in, just make sure you park on the hard rocky surface at the base of the dunes. Don’t try and take a two wheel drive car through even a little bit of sand; we have pulled a number of tourists out! The dunes get used by buggies, motorbikes, sand boarders and four wheel drives. There are usually at least a few serious injuries at these dunes each year (primarily motorbike riders), so make sure you are careful. You can hire motorbikes out by the hour (but it’s expensive) or you can simply walk around and have a good time.
If you have a Sand board, this is the place to use it! If not, they can be hired from the Travel lodge, or in town at the recreation store. They are cheap for the day, and will allow you to have a lot of fun. Only problem is there is no chair lifts to take you all the way back up! Be careful where you go down as well, as there are rocks at the bottom of some dunes; my brother broke his arm on these! Sand boarding is best done on a dry day with little wind. It’s rather unpleasant having sand blowing in your face all day and wet sand doesn’t seem to work so well for sand boarding. If you aren’t interested in the whole adventure thing, then at least take a look at the dunes on sunset or sunrise; it’s pretty cool.
If you have a four wheel drive, you can venture into the dunes. The only thing is make sure you have a basic understanding of four wheel driving, and how to recover yourself. Some days the dunes are solid, whilst other days they are quite soft. I would suggest letting down your tyres to at least 25 PSI before you even consider driving into the dunes. Many people prefer to go as low as 15 PSI. As you can see from the pictures, it’s easy to get well and truly bogged. I highly recommend going with a second vehicle and a snatch strap. Also, bring a shovel; they work wonders if you are in trouble.
The dunes can be quite dangerous when driving around, especially if you are new to the 4x4 scene. Steep descents can tip your car easily; take it slowly and logically. If you can’t see over the bonnet, get out and check it out. Trust me; it’s worth it in the long run. There are a large number of cars that roll each year in these sand dunes, and that is costly and dangerous – something we all want to avoid. Driving in dunes can be great fun, but do it safely and look out for others.
You can find a number of places to stay in Lancelin, ranging from Chalets on the beach through to the Lancelin Lodge, holiday homes and a caravan park. As always, Camping is quite cheap at the caravan park. I would highly recommend the Lancelin Lodge, having stayed there several times myself. You can stay for as little as $25 a night, depending on what you do. There is a great shared kitchen facility, a good television, table tennis table, beach volleyball court, pool, good showers, and even a wood fired pizza cooker. The owners are very friendly and will help you out with anything that you need.
More things to do
Something which I love to do is to drive to Wedge Island. You can get there by sticking left when you enter into the off-road area, and following the tracks. From there, you can either drive along the beach or you can take the inland track. The inland track is longer, but at least you won’t get stuck. Whether or not you take the beach route really depends on your confidence and what the tides are doing. At high tide there is very little room to drive, and you will usually get a wet car, if not worse. If unsure, take the inland road. This is a fairly long, bumpy and boring road, but it’s sure worth it. Wedge Island is a small island north of Lancelin where many people have set up houses behind the first dune. You can camp at Wedge Island, but be sure to check with the ranger. Recently the use of motorbikes at Wedge Island has been banned, so don’t get caught there with a bike.
Ledge Point is just south of Lancelin, and is even smaller. There is also good fishing, boating, snorkelling and many newer houses that you can rent out. I have stayed there for a little while, and really enjoyed it. If you like Dunsborough, you will definitely like Lancelin.