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