Back in March, we had 3 perfect weeks of 4WDing and camping our way around the south coast of WA. One of the memorable places we stayed at was Waychinicup, just near Albany, WA. Waychinicup National Park is a truly magical piece of coastline, with plenty to see and explore. It is unique in many ways, with a small, protected inlet attached to the raging ocean, and flowing through to a river at Cheynes Beach.
Where is Waychinicup?
Waychinicup camp ground is 60 odd km's north east of Albany. To get there, just head north east along Chester Pass, then the south coast highway and turn right at Cheyne Road
What does it mean?
The word Waychinicup means ‘Land of the emu’ in aboriginal, and although we didn’t see any, I guess they must be around!
There isn't much here in terms of facilities. There is a drop toilet, and a day use area, but that's about the end of the list. Still, you don't need much; its a perfect location!
4WD Tracks around Waychinicup
The coastline around Waychinicup is truly remarkable. If you have a 4WD, you are able to access the best of it! If you head just back out of the Waychinicup camp grounds, there is a turn off on Cheyne Road that takes you through the bush and onto Cheyne Beach. You can drive up and down the beach in both directions for miles, but will eventually come out at Cheyne Beach Caravan Park. If you head to the northern most part of the tip near Cheyne Beach Caravan Park, a 4WD track starts that takes you right the way around the Waychinicup National Park.
You can see the tracks very clearly on Google Earth. The tracks are mainly sand and rocks, and you need a bit of clearance and the right tyre pressures. I wouldn't be going any higher than 18 PSI when it is soft!These tracks take you right the way around the point, and back onto Cheynes Road.
Animal life at Waychinicup
I would go back to Waychinicup just to see the wildlife. The birds alone are incredible, ranging from little wrens through to parrots, honey eaters and bigger birds that I’ve never seen in my life. At night time, we had a friendly Quenda visit twice, saw numerous possums and even saw a Quokka. There is a local racehourse goanna which wanders around during the day, and is a real pleasure to see.
We were woken many times by possums. They aren't afraid of anything, and will get into the annex of your tent if its accessible to look for food. Make sure you put anything that is even remotely edible well away if you want a good nights sleep!
If you have a canoe or kayak, I’d highly recommend you take it. You can easily launch it from the shore, and it will give you much better access to the better fishing locations within the river and inlet. If you don’t have one, fishing off the rocks is fine too, just make sure you don’t go too far down the river, or you will get nothing. Bream, herring, skippy and King George whiting are common from the inlet, and I imagine some bigger fish would swim in from time to time too.
The camp sites at Waychinicup are very small. The biggest 2 wouldnt even be 4 metres by 4 metres, and most of them are only 3 x 3 or 2 x 2. There are about 8 camp sites in total, and many of them require you to park your car and walk down to them. Some of the sites are only a couple of metres away from the cars, but a number are over 15 – 20 metres away. These are first come, first serve, and cost $7.50 per night. The ranger collects the fees.
This means that Caravans, camper trailers and Campervans are not permitted to camp here. I must say I wasn’t overly impressed with the campsites, but I suppose the DPAW have intentionally done it to limit the impact people can have on the area.
Is it worth a visit?
Absolutely. I highly recommend this place, but unfortunately it is limited to smaller tents. 2 sites do fit bigger tents (Oztent RV5 plus an extra room) but there is a good chance they could be taken when you get there. Campertrailers, caravans and campervans are not able to stay here, but you could go to Cheynes Beach Caravan Park instead, and travel across.