Lucky Bay

by Aaron Schubert on January 8, 2010

P4140020 300x225 Lucky Bay

Lucky Bay from the dunes

There are two bays in Western Australia which are known as Lucky Bay. One is located in the south east of WA, near Esperance, and the other is located on the west coast of WA, near Kalbarri and Wagoe. They are both beautiful places to visit, but this post is on Lucky Bay north of Perth. I have visited Lucky Bay a number of times, and each time I have a lot of fun. Accommodation is camping only (including your Camper Trailer or Caravan), unless you stay at the Wagoe Chalets. You also need a four wheel drive to get to Lucky Bay. The bay has a reef that runs parallel with the beach out about 50 metres, and it blocks most of the swell that comes in. The result is a bay that is flat calm, with some great fishing, snorkelling and surfing (the waves are further south).

How do I get to Lucky Bay?

Lucky Bay is located in between Port Gregory and Wagoe (and Kalbarri). To get to Lucky Bay, you just drive up the normal road to Kalbarri. The entrance to the track is about 10 kilometres north of Port Gregory. The track is on the left (obviously!) and you follow the track for a reasonable distance. There are a number of shacks at Half Way bay which will stand out. From there, you take the track that continues on to Lucky Bay. It’s almost impossible to miss; a huge reef that runs along with a brilliant coloured bay. There are some massive dunes at Lucky Bay, so be careful where you drive! The track before the shacks can often be flooded in winter; check the depth before you cross. Also, the track after you pass through the shacks can be tight, and scratches on your car are common.

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Lucky Bay Point

Do I need a 4wd to get to Lucky Bay?

As mentioned above, having a four wheel drive is vital. If you don’t have one, then basically you can’t camp at Lucky Bay. The sand is very soft, and you will need the extra traction. For those cars that have little clearance and lack low range, you might want to give it a miss too, unless you are confident. You will need to run your tyres at around 15PSI, but there are areas where you may need to go much lower at times. A number of people tow camper trailers and boats into Lucky Bay, but you wouldn’t want anything too big, unless the sand is hard and you are very confident. Most of the boats that you see are smaller than 18 foot, and I have yet to see a huge caravan there!

Lucky Bay and Boats

To be honest, you don’t really need a boat at Lucky Bay. You can fish off the back of the reef, and you can easily get a good feed. In saying this, boats are popular (especially little dinghies). Launching is easy going as the sand close to the water is hard and the water is flat calm. Many people just drag their boats up for the night, but do what you are comfortable with. There is some great fishing outside of the reef, and you don’t need a big boat to get there. Be sure to let your tyres down on both the boat trailer and your four wheel drive, or you may find it hard going.

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Lucky Bay Reef

Lucky Bay Reef

The reef at Lucky Bay really makes the place worth going to. It has some great diving, and plenty of fish to see or catch. Spear fishing is permitted, but you still have strict bag limits and some species of fish cannot be shot. On a calm day you can snorkel around the back of the reef too, but be wary of the currents at the tip of the reef. There is plenty to see on the protected side of the reef, which is great if the wind and swell has picked up a bit. The water will flow over the reef occasionally, so don’t be too surprised if everything goes white and bubbly for a few seconds when you are swimming in the area!

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Snorkelling on the reef

Lucky Bay Fishing

Fishing off the bay often gets a good feed of herring and whiting, especially if you burley up well. For those looking for something a little bigger, you can fish off the beach further north or south, or off the reef. If the water comes over the reef more than a tiny amount it can be dangerous, so pay attention to the swell and what the weather is doing. We have caught some nice mulloway off the beach, and there are plenty of sharks, dart, tailor, garfish, parrot fish and other species. There is always a good place to go fishing at Lucky Bay; the beach heading north to Wagoe has some brilliant locations. Also, the tip of the reef had a lot of fish swimming around that you could catch easily no doubt.

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Lucky Bay Surfing

This is something that not a lot of people actually know about. Just south of Lucky Bay there is a break which seems to have some nice waves. There are quite a few people that go to Lucky Bay with surf boards, but you can’t expect waves every day. Just throw a board in and if the swell is up go for it. Otherwise, you can relax, fish, four wheel drive, go for a ride on the motorbikes or go diving.

P4140026 300x225 Lucky Bay

Riding a quad in the dunes

The dunes behind Lucky Bay

The dunes behind Lucky Bay are some of the biggest that you will see in Western Australia. Four Wheel Drives, motorbikes, buggies and sand boarders are often common in the area. You really want to pick the right line, as some of the dunes have odd shapes and it is easy to get into trouble. Make sure you throw in a sand board or two, as there is a lot of fun to be had on these monster sand dunes. Motorbike riding at Lucky Bay is permitted. Having a sand flag makes for a much safer trip through the dunes, and this applies for both 4x4 cars and motorbikes.

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The sunsets are amazing in this area

Wagoe

Wagoe is a few kilometres north of Lucky Bay, and is known mainly for the accommodation on the farm; Wagoe Chalets. The only way onto Wagoe beach is through the property, or through Lucky Bay. To get access onto the beach through Wagoe, you need to stay at the farm. The prices for camping and the homes are very cheap, especially if you go with a large number of people. The houses are fairly old, but they are comfortable and prove to be a great place to stay. You have private access to the beach, a great view and very friendly hosts.

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Cooking some food

What do I need to take to Lucky Bay?

There are no provisions at Lucky Bay, so you need to bring everything. This includes water for cooking and drinking, firewood, a toilet and supplies, food, camping gear, plenty of fuel, a compressor to pump tyres back up, first aid kits, fishing rods, surf boards, snorkelling gear and anything else that you might want. We have found that an inverter works miracles (plugs into the cigarette lighter and can power 240v lighting for a few hours easily). Also, having a fridge in your car is helpful if you are staying for a while. You really need to be self sufficient, as there are not always a heap of people staying there, and driving out to Kalbarri or Port Gregory is a pain. A tyre deflator is a good idea, as it makes deflating your tyres quick and easy. I have a Ferret tyre deflator, but the ARB Ezy deflator is well worth the money.

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Toilets and Lucky Bay

If you are visiting Lucky Bay, you need to take your own toilet with you. When digging a hole, please be sure to dig down at least 50cm - it's only sand and will take you a few minutes to dig down. There is nothing worse than visiting such an amazing place to see toilet paper (or worse) lying around everywhere. Please take responsibility for this area and keep it so others can also enjoy it.

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Camping behind the dunes

Where is the best place to camp?

Depending on the weather, most people will camp behind something that offers a bit of protection. The wind can be an issue when it is blowing off the ocean, so setting up behind the first dune can be a great source of protection. It also gives you a bit more privacy. There are no restrictions on where you can camp, so just find somewhere that is protected and private and set up. Of course, don’t camp on dunes or on the car tracks! There is no charge for camping at Lucky Bay, which makes it a great holiday for a family on a budget. Make sure you double check that you have everything you need before you leave! Camping can be terrible if you forget important items!

What to do with rubbish

Just near the shacks (that you drive past on the way in) there is a place for you to dump rubbish. Please ensure that all of your rubbish is taken away, and that the area is left clean. We have seen Hill River and Wedge Island closed for camping, and I would hate to give them a reason to close Lucky Bay.

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The beach north of Lucky Bay

Dogs at Lucky Bay

You are allowed dogs at Lucky Bay, but be sure to keep them under control. We found that the people at the bay were friendly and didn’t mind dogs running around freely, but keep an eye on them! It’s best if they are tied up at night, or when you are not able to look after them.

If you are looking for somewhere to camp that is quiet, relaxing and cheap to visit, then Lucky Bay near Wagoe is for you. It isn’t much more than 5 hours drive, but there is a lot to keep you occupied. Places like these are not very well known, but they are so worth telling people about.

  • Gail Knapton

    Hi Warren
    The northerly lagoon is great for that, very safe as long as you stay inside, we are in our 60’s and have snorkelled there, my partner is a big sook and wouldnt dare do that unless it was safe. If its calm enough in the southern areas then you can, personally I wouldn’t, too scared of sharks. We have caught off the beach shark, tailor, mullaway and stingray, oh and the odd submarine that goes through, no one yet has managed to land that one, I think there is a large shark with a lot of bling!!

  • Gail Knapton

    Hi WarrenThe northerly lagoon is great for that, very safe as long as you stay inside, we are in our 60′s and have snorkelled there, my partner is a big sook and wouldnt dare do that unless it was safe. If its calm enough in the southern areas then you can, personally I wouldn’t, too scared of sharks. We have caught off the beach shark, tailor, mullaway and stingray, oh and the odd submarine that goes through, no one yet has managed to land that one, I think there is a large shark with a lot of bling!!
    I can email a photo to you showing the size of the lagoon, contact me:
    mail2gail@optusnet.com.au
    Regards, Gail

  • Jimmy

    H iall, some questions:

    How busy is Lucky Bay over Easter? I assume its hectic, but can you still get a spot to camp? I’ve got an off-road camper trailer which I assume is ok to get in there but how full on are the tracks or are we talking seasonal soft vs hard sand (I’ve got a prado and recovery gear)? Google maps makes it look like one big sand dune so where do you camp once past the shacks, do most people go up to the lagoon area to camp or closer to the shacks? Is there a quieter spot for kids or just take it on anywhere?

    cheers campers
    Jimmy

  • http://www.4wdingaustralia.com Aaron

    Hi Jimmy,

    The great thing about Lucky Bay is it is massive! Most people camp either right on the beach, or behind the first dune. Most camping is done close to the lagoon, but there is nothing stopping you from going further north or south. You will be fine getting in there with the trailer; just let the Prado and trailer tyres down (15 maximum) and take it easy. The tracks are pretty well marked out, but they aren’t super hard.

    It is always busy over Easter, but because of the size of it there isn’t ever too much of a drama. Obviously the best spots get taken quickly, but you will always find a spot. It can be windy up there at that time of year too, but the lagoon is always good for snorkeling, even when the foam is rolling over the reef.

    Have a great time
    Aaron

  • Gail Knapton

    Hi Jimmy, we go there every Easter, also have an off road camper. Firstly, yes Easter is very busy as the weather is better than Christmas, and you will have no problems getting to the safe swimming bay at the northern end but take the more inland tracks from the shacks whilst your towing, you can go on the beach from and to the shacks when not towing, just ensure tyres are low pressure. There are so many spots to choose, google maps is deceiving it isn’t one big sand dune, find a bush on the southside (shelter from any wind), most people go north of the shacks. Enjoy!!

  • Jason

    Just got back from four days at Horrocks and did a day trip to Lucky Bay.

    Wish we had of just gone straight to Lucky Bay!

    Such a beautiful spot.

  • http://www.4wdingaustralia.com Aaron

    G’day Jason,

    You aren’t wrong; it’s an amazing place. Never mind mate; you know for next time. It will be just as beautiful the next time around, and hopefully you can spend a few days there!

    Aaron

  • http://www.4wdingaustralia.com Aaron

    Also, if you are looking for a bit more comfort, you can stay at Wagoe, and drive down – only about 20 minutes in the car. Check it out at http://www.4wdingaustralia.com/travel-western-australia/wagoe/

    Aaron

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