Having seen photos of the Burrup Peninsula, one place we were super excited to stay at was Dampier, which is a small, busy and fairly noisy town near the mining activity. Its right on the coastline, and is responsible for exporting millions of tonnes of iron ore every year.
The only place you can really stay is the Damper Caravan Park, which is shire run, and looked after by volunteer caretakers.
Where is Dampier Caravan Park?
If you take the main road into Dampier, you’ll go past the foreshore playground (which is excellent) and end up with the caravan park on the right hand side.
Its not very large, but is located on a fairly quiet road which is fantastic. The caravan park overlooks the water, and is a short walk across the road, down a small 4WD access track and onto the sandy and rocky beach.
When is it open?
This caravan park is only open in tourist season, between April and October. It’s looked after by a volunteer who has to do a fair chunk of work to keep it operating smoothly.
Maximum 3 day stay
Its worth knowing you can only stay here for 3 nights at a maximum, so the turn over is quite fast. A lot of people only stay one or two nights, and there really isn’t much else you’d miss out on in doing this.
Accessing the beaches nearby
I mentioned above that you can easily walk across the road, and down a short track to the beach. Its sandy for the most part, with bigger rocks closer to the water.
Fishing is popular here, and we saw a number of people flicking lures around. We fished one night and managed to get a couple of undersize emperor, but nothing else (except losing a number of rigs to the rocks!).
What else can you do in Dampier?
The foreshore playground is brilliant if you have kids, and there are some amazing beaches around the place. Beyond that, you have lots of 4WD Tracks, fishing opportunities and you can quickly drive into Karratha to find more things to do.
Burrup Pensinula access
The main attraction for the area is the Burrup Pensinsular, which is a very fascinating place. On one hand you have some of the best beaches around, with incredible creeks and mangroves, and on the other you have more man made operations than you can poke a stick at.
There are a lot of roads that are ‘private’ and essentially off limits to anyone who doesn’t directly work there.
The southern end of the Burrup is easily accessed by any type of vehicle, with Hearson Cove being a huge hit for those looking for a nice beach to walk and swim at. Once you go much further north of this though, you need a 4WD, and the tracks deteriorate pretty quickly.
It starts off as rocky sections, and you’ll quickly end up at the Jump Up, which is a famous 4WD obstacle that only those with decent experience/bar work/confidence should attempt. Even the bypass is not much easier, with huge holes that would easily get you in trouble.
The 4WD tracks start off at Whitnell cove, and a lot of people launch their boats not far from here.
Just off Dampier is a collection of around 42 islands, known as the Dampier archipelago. They look absolutely stunning, with the red rock and blue/green water providing the ultimate contrast.
The fishing is next level, and this is made very clear by the abundance of boats that head out at every single opportunity.
Be prepared for noise
Dampier Caravan Park is noisy. There’s no other way of saying it. You have an iron ore ship loading facility right out the front, and the trains roll in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You’ll hear them shunting, along with sirens and other noises throughout the day, and all through the night too. Its not so bad that you cant sleep, but it’s a far cry from the usual bush camping that many are used to.
What’s at the Caravan Park?
Dampier Caravan Park is quite small, but has all of the amenities you need. There’s a grey water dump point, toilet dump point, washing machines and lines, a place to fill water tanks and then lots of sites to camp at.
What did we think of Dampier Caravan Park?
As a town, we really enjoyed Dampier. 3 nights was probably too long for us, especially after declining the opportunity to drive the jump up and not being able to get to the top of the Burrup Peninsula.
The caravan park is reasonable, with no major complaints asides from the annoying noise. Its got good shade, decent amenities and the caretakers were awesome when we stayed.
If you want to see everything we got up to in Dampier, check this out: