If you’ve been following us for some time, you’ll know that we are a sucker for a good coastal campsite, and the closer you can be to the water, the better (unless there’s crocs!).
We’ve been lucky to explore a huge amount of the coastline in northern WA, and today we are sharing 5 amazing camp sites between Port Hedland and Broome:
Kicking off with the closest spot to Port Hedland is a massive station, with a huge amount of coastline that you are free to explore.
Pardoo Station is 200,000 hectares, and has a massive number of cattle. On the flip side of this, they run a very successful camping setup, which is clearly separated and loved by many.
From the moment you roll in you know this is a big operation that has been very well set up. The sites are green and grassy, there’s a fair bit of shade around and you have everything from a beautiful pool to a little store, with all of the amenities you’d expect from a caravan park.
Everything runs off a generator, and you’ll hear it in the distance (especially if you camp nearby), and all sites are powered.
The real fun for us though, was what lies outside of the camp ground; more tracks, beaches and creeks to explore than you can poke a stick at, and even after a couple of days driving around the station we still felt like we’d hardly scratched the surface.
Whilst we generally prefer to camp away from others, the ‘caravan park feel’ here is completely worth it for the huge amount of adventure you can have away from camp, and we had a heap of fun fishing the creeks, spotting turtles, watching the big brolgas from a distance, crossing huge tidal flats and just enjoying the change in scenery as the tide came and went each day.
Cost per night: $40 for two adults, with all sites being powered. Kids are $5 per night.
Half an hour away from Pardoo Station lies Cape Keraudren, another incredible coastal camp, with a number of different options of where you can camp.
You do have to pay a $12 entry fee, so its worth staying at least a couple of nights to average the cost out.
Camping can be done at Sandy Beach, Rabbit Proof Fence Site and Boat Ramp Bay (and some people stay at Cootenbrand Creek), with two creeks on either side of the sites that are popular for fishing, mud crabbing and just appreciating the amazing views as the tide goes up and down.
Like all coastal camping in Western Australia, it can be incredibly windy here, and you’d be mad not to arrive prepared for this.
Cape Keraudren is run by the Shire of East Pilbara, and there’s a ranger that lives on the road in with his family.
No water is available, but there are toilets, rubbish bins and even WIFI at two of the sites. You are allowed firewood, but you must collect it from outside of the reserve (and really there’s not much laying around anyway!).
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Cape Keraudren, and liken it a little to Cleaverville, further down the coast.
Cost per night: $10 for adults, plus the entry fee of $12 (per vehicle).
Eighty Mile Beach
A further 110km along from Cape Keraudren lies a hugely popular camping and caravanning destination called Eighty Mile Beach. There’s usually hundreds of people staying at this ‘caravan park style’ location, tucked behind the first dune from the beach and with immaculate, grassy sites.
There’s a huge number of long termer’s who spend months every year at 80 mile beach, and it has quite the community.
Beach access can be had by walking over the dune, or driving on with your 4WD during their opening hours. The sunsets here are amazing, and you won’t find a beach with better shells on it. Fishing is hugely popular for the elusive threadfin salmon, and the beach goes on and on.
Cost per night: $35 per night for unpowered sites, and $45 for power (the whole place runs from a diesel generator).
Port Smith Lagoon and Caravan Park
Another 250km North East lies a bit of a different Caravan Park called Port Smith Lagoon. It’s a 22km drive in from the Great Northern Highway, on a usually good condition road.
The Caravan Park is set back from the lagoon and beach (about a kilometre), and the lagoon is nothing short of spectacular. Watching the huge tides come in and out and the transformation that takes place is unbelievable, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
You can launch boats at the Lagoon if you time the tides correctly, but you need to be very specific for when you launch and retrieve, or you’ll be waiting for the next tide.
We had a heap of fun fishing here, enjoying the Lagoon (which really is like nothing else) and just soaking the area up.
The caravan park is older and hugely popular for those into fishing, and you have access to a creek nearby for another small fee.
Cost per night: $42 for powered sites.
Barn Hill Station Stay
We had seriously mixed feelings pulling into Barn Hill Station Stay. We’d heard so many people rave about it, and then had also heard so many others saying it was terrible, and not worth the visit.
You’ll find Barn Hill 47km North East of Port Smith, and about 140km South West of Broome.
We really loved Barn Hill, with its spectacular beaches, amazing red rock, great fishing, rock pools, playground for the kids (along with animals), laid back feeling, friendly staff and we had a great time spearfishing and enjoying the amazing marine life.
There’s much less designation when it comes to the camp sites, and some of the amenities are outdoors (shower under the stars!) and its certainly not your typical caravan park, but we really loved it.
Cost per night: $35 for an unpowered site per night, and $45 with power
Which is best?
Now, that’s a can of worms! Different people will like different spots. For us, Pardoo Station and Barn Hill take the cake every day of the week, and then Cape Keraudren and Port Smith/80 mile probably tie in last place.
We really loved them all, but Barn Hill and Pardoo Station just have a brilliant vibe, and have more opportunity for adventure, which we love.
80 mile is a spectacular place, but we found it a bit ‘bland’. It’s got lovely grassy sites, a nice beach and that’s really it. Honestly though, we are spoilt for choice, and you won’t go wrong at any of these places.
They are on our list of 5 amazing camp sites between Port Hedland and Broome for a reason!