Francois Peron National Park; paradise at Shark Bay

Western Australia has some truly spectacular places to visit. I can think of plenty of places that stand out for me – the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley, Cape Leveque north of Broome, Karijini National Park in the Pilbara, Bremer Bay on the south coast, Ningaloo Reef and the list goes on.

I’ve got another one to add to the list though; Francois Peron National Park! 

These places, including Francois Peron form the basis of 30 unbelievable camp sites in WA.

Sunset at Francois Peron
Stunning sunsets on the orange dunes
Amazing colours
The change in colour at Francois Peron is mind blowing
Francois Peron water
Magic colours and water
Francois Peron information
Francois Peron information

Where is Francois Peron National Park?

Francois Peron National Park is located roughly 830km north of Perth, right at the top of a little peninsula. The most common start point is 11 km north of Denham, which is a small town in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

Getting there

To get to the national park, head north from Perth through Geraldton and continue up the North West Coastal Highway, making a left turn onto Shark Bay Road.

This takes you passed the turn off to Steep Point, and into Denham. From Denham, its a short drive along Monkey Mia Road, where you turn off onto a gravel/sandy track called Peron Road.

From there, the track turns into soft sand, and you start your Shark Bay 4WD tracks.

Homestead Francois Peron
Airing down at the homestead

4WD Only

You can only access Francois Peron with a 4WD – do not take 2WD vehicles in, or you’ll get stuck!. The tracks can be very soft, and tyres must be reduced to at least 20 PSI.

Some parts of the track can have huge ups and downs, so maintain a reasonable speed and pay careful attention, or you’ll find your gear well shuffled. Last time we visited the corrugations were pretty average too, and low tyre pressures made a world of difference.

There is a compressor on the main track, just near the homestead to inflate (and deflate) your tyres. Make use of it!

Entry station
The entry station is well set up with everything you need to know

Don’t have a 4WD?

If you don’t have a 4WD, you still have options when it comes to getting to Francois Peron National Park. Shark Bay 4WD Tours offer a range of packages within the Shark Bay region, including Francois Peron, Steep Point and Dirk Hartog Island.

4WD at Francois Peron
You need a 4WD to get to the tip

Getting fuel in the area

You can get fuel at Denham, and the Overlander service station (130km from Denham). If you are heading out to Steep Point first, fill up at the Overlander.

When’s the best time to visit?

The weather is nicest in between October and May. However, the wind can be shocking, and for this its recommended you visit in any month that doesn’t have an “R” in it; May, June, July and August. This time of year the temperatures are a bit lower, but still comfortable and the wind is much lower.

Francois Peron Wind
Amazing weather, albeit a bit windy!

Francois Peron National Park Camping

The camping at Francois Peron National Park is fantastic. The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) have truly done an exceptional job. There are 5 camp grounds, each with a large number of sites.

Some of the areas are split into Generator and No generator regions. The 5 camp grounds are called Big Lagoon, South Gregories, Gregories, Herald Bight and Bottle Bay. Some of this is the best Beach Camping WA by a country mile.

Big Lagoon Camping
The camp site at Big Lagoon
Bottle Bay camping
Bottle Bay Camp Ground is great too

They all have drop toilets which are well maintained, and some have BBQ’s, shelter and tables.

In terms of Shark Bay Camping, the Francois Peron National Park wins every time. That said, we are planning a stay at one of the Caravan Parks in town (although we’ve stayed in town at a holiday home before) and will do a review on that too.

Camping at Francois Peron
Camped about 15 metres from the waters edge

My folks also say the Monkey Mia camping is quite amazing, although its set up to be a giant tourist attraction.

Monkey Mia Resort
The Dolphin Resort at Monkey Mia is pretty flashy

Can you take a camper trailer or caravan?

Camper trailers are doable, if you have a tow vehicle that is suitable and you let your tyres down properly. We’ve seen plenty of people get bogged on the sandy tracks though; so take it carefully.

Caravans often camp at Big Lagoon, but I haven’t seen any further in than that, and I reckon you’d be pushing your luck trying to do so.

Camped at Big Lagoon
Lots of vans head to Big Lagoon, but going further than that is pushing the friendship!

Day trips to Francois Peron

This national park is well and truly accessible just for the day, and we’ve done it before. You can head in from Monkey Mia and Denham, let your tyres down and still make it to the top in under 2.5 hours.

There are lots of stops along the way if you want, to break it into smaller trips.

Skipjack point Francois Peron
Looking out from Skipjack Point
Skipjack Point
Views from Skipjack Point are something else

Fishing at Francois Peron

The fishing at Francois Peron is supposed to be amazing. We never had a whole lot of luck, only landing undersize mackerel, some emperor and the usual whiting and flat head. A lot of people do very well fishing for Pink snapper, but they seem to know when we are coming!

Francois Peron fishing
We might not have caught much, but who’s complaining with a view like this!

Stop at the homestead

On your way in or out, make sure you stop at the homestead. It has some interesting displays of the various animals, and most importantly, an artesian hot springs, which is incredible to have a quick soak in. The water is steaming hot, so take your time getting in!

Artesian hot springs
Francois Peron Artesian hot springs
Kicking back in the hot tub
It’s a pretty amazing experience!

Nearby attractions

Denham is worth a look, and Monkey Mia too. This is a pretty touristy part of the world though, so be prepared for it.

Eagle Bluff is worth a look, as is the aquarium south of Denham. Steep Point is amazing, but requires a decent 4WD and either a massive day, or for you to camp. Hamelin Station Stay is a great spot to stay, and if you want an insane adventure, head to Dirk Hartog Island.

Shelter Bay Camping
Camping at Steep Point

Have you stayed at Francois Peron? What did you think of it?

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  1. Hey Claire,

    Sorry for the late reply; we’ve been off grid in the Pilbara!

    We run Wikcamps and Exploroz as apps, and have a couple of Hema books that are always useful.

    You’ll have a ball up there!

  2. We’re headed to Shark Bay these holidays. Really looking forward to it!

    Can you recommend an app or map book for WA 4WD maps?

    Thanks for the write up.

  3. Hey Kim,

    I couldn’t agree more; its one of the best national parks in WA by a long shot. The point is pretty special. I’m glad you had fun out there.

    All the best

  4. Such an underrated park Aaron and was so glad to have read this and ventured out to the Point. Definitely some spongy sand along the way but to see those colours contrasting was just sensational. Thanks for the inspiration to go!