Osprey Bay in Cape Range National Park; Exmouths’ best camp?

If there was a more picturesque place to camp in WA, I’d like to see it. Osprey Bay is located smack bang in the middle of Cape Range National Park, literally a stones throw away from the Ningaloo Reef and is a truly spectacular place.

If you are looking for Exmouth Camping options that aren’t in a caravan park, this is the pick of the bunch by a long shot, and matches the other Beach Camping WA spots that we’ve hand picked.

Exmouth water colour
The warm water, Ningaloo Reef and stunning beaches are world class
Osprey Bay
Osprey Bay is one of the best Cape Range National Park camping destinations

We booked a nights stay here just to check it out, and to see if it really lived up to its reputation. The answer is an astounding yes, in every way you can possibly imagine. I think it probably deserves its reputation as the best campsite in Cape Range National Park. 

Where is Osprey Bay Campground?

You’ll find Osprey Bay in Cape Range National Park, on the western side of Exmouth within Cape Range National Park. It’s coastline is part of the Ningaloo Marine Park, which is world renown and a truly spectacular place.

It’s an 80km drive from the centre of Exmouth, and puts you right in the middle of the amazing coastline, with great places to see both north and south.

Osprey Bay weather
Another incredible sunset at Osprey Bay

To get to Osprey Bay, simply head north out of Exmouth, turn left towards Cape Range National Park and keep going until you get to the sign. It’s roughly 40 minutes drive from the centre of Exmouth by car.

Do you need a 4WD to get there?

No, you don’t. The access road is good gravel, and is frequently accessed by anything from small vehicles through to large 4WD’s and Caravans.

Accessing Osprey Bay
Access is a very short, good quality gravel road

How much does it cost to camp?

Camping at Osprey Bay is $11 per night for adults, or $7 if you are a concession. Kids under 5 are free, and between 5 – 16 are $3.

Views at Osprey Bay
It’s a fantastic place to wake up

What’s so good about Osprey Bay?

Osprey is one of the newest, and largest camp sites in Cape Range National Park. It’s split between generator and non generator loops, has ocean views from most of the camp sites and is nice and open, with lots of different walks to do.

Ningaloo Beaches
What’s not to love about it?!

Sandy Bay is only a 630 metre walk north, and at low tide Osprey Bay is fantastic for walking up and down the beach.

Sandy Bay Exmouth
Its a short, easy walk to Sandy Bay

We visited almost every other camp site within Cape Range National Park, and would rate Osprey as the best, by a long shot. We did enjoy our stay at Mesa, which was nice for different reasons, but if we had to pick again we’d go to Osprey every day of the week.

Boat launching at Osprey Bay

Osprey bay has a ‘small boat only beach launching facility’, which consists of a small patch of gravel before going on the beach sand. You can launch here fairly easily, but retrieving is always more fun as trying to take off up the beach with highway tyre pressures doesn’t end well.

Even us, who’ve done this a thousand times managed to get a couple of vehicles stuck prior to letting air out. If you want to retrieve your boat, the best way to do it is to winch it up slowly from the safety of the gravel, or let your tyres down.

There can be some waves rolling in too, which makes life harder.

Osprey Bay Boat Ramp
The boat ramp is soft sand for the last 10 – 20 metres depending on the tide

Snorkelling at Osprey Bay

The snorkelling at Osprey Bay is supposed to be incredible. I never got in the water as we were only there for about 24 hours, but there’s a heap of great reef in close and lots of different opportunities for diving.

Expect to see incredible coral, sea turtles and a massive array of fish. If you’ve never done much snorkeling before, the Ningaloo Reef will blow your mind.

Osprey Bay diving
Exploring the underwater world at Osprey Bay
Options for snorkelling at Osprey
There’s so much reef in close to explore

Osprey Bay Amenities

Being a national park camp site, don’t expect much in the way of amenities. They have decent drop toilets, a camp host on site, rubbish bins, tables and some shelter, and some walking trails.

There is no running water, no showers, no power and you are a decent drive away from town for fuel, food and water, so you need to be fairly self sufficient. 

There’s plenty of sunshine around for most of the year, which makes it easy to charge your batteries with a decent solar system.

Osprey Bay Amenities
There’s a few picnic tables and shelters
Osprey Bay Toilets
The toilets are as good as they get for a National Park

Dogs and fires at Osprey Bay

Dogs are not permitted within the Cape Range National Park, and neither are camp fires at any time of the year. It’s a bit of a shame, but too many people leave a big mess (or take wood from where they shouldn’t) and with the way its been done up its easy to see why they’ve gone in this direction.

What’s worth seeing nearby?

There’s really not much nearby that isn’t worth a look. Yardie Creek is spectacular at sunset. Pilgonoman gorge is great, as is Mandu Mandu, Turquoise Bay, Lakeside and so much more.

The entire Cape Range National Park is spectacular, and if you have time to do the other side near the gulf you have Charles Knife and Shothole Canyon.

Book a tour to swim with the Whale sharks, or the Manta Rays leaving from the boat ramp not too far north of Osprey Bay, and you’ll have one of the most memorable days of your life.

Yardie Creek Sunset
Yardie Creek is absolutely worth the drive, especially at sunset
Exploring the Exmouth Gorges
Pilgonoman Gorge is spectacular, and an easy walk
On the beach at Exmouth
Pick any beach in the area, and it will be amazing
Exmouth Oyster Stacks
Oyster Stacks is well worth a visit
Mandu Mandu Gorge Walk
Mandu Mandu Gorge is worth the effort
Shothole Canyon
Shothole Canyon is spectacular

Beware of the wind

If you visit between May and August, you’ll have the best opportunities for fantastic weather. It should be calm, dry and warm.

However, you wont always get great weather, and we had a couple nights at Cape Range National Park that were freezing, with wind so strong it broke a caravan awning and forced a number of campers in tents to pack up and leave!

Exmouth Camping (in fact anywhere along the WA coast) can be seriously windy and there’s not much you can do about it, except come prepared!

Osprey Bay
Despite being such a picturesque place, it can blow, and blow and blow
Exmouth Sunset
You’ll love it, especially the sunsets

Want to see more? Here’s our YouTube series: 

YouTube video

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