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Steep Point; the ultimate adventure in WA

Steep Point is the Western most point of Australian mainland, located in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, some 900km north of Perth. It’s known as one of the best land based fishing locations in the world, and has some of Western Australia’s most impressive coastline.

With massive cliffs, beautiful beaches and an incredible isolation you’ll be sure to have an amazing time. Steep point is most certainly included in the 30 unbelievable camp sites in WA.

Shelter Bay Camping

Our camp site at Shelter Bay

Where is Steep Point?

You’ll find Steep Point south east of Denham, on its own little peninsula in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. It’s roughly 50km from Carrarang Station, and 100km from Tamala Station. By road, its 232km from Steep Point to Denham, as you need to do a big loop down one peninsula and up the other.

Shark Bay World Heritage Area

Shark Bay World Heritage Area

Driving from Perth to Steep Point

You can drive from Perth to Steep Point in one day, but it is pushing it. With minimal stops, you can be on the gravel in around 9 hours, and then another 3 or so to get out to the Point. We found it was much nicer to break the drive into two days, and spend a night at Hamelin Station Stay, which is 724km from Perth and only 160km from Steep Point.

We comfortably did this with Oliver, who’s just under 11 months old. A quick stop in Jurien for breakfast, then lunch at the 440 in Geraldton and fueling up at the Overlander before 25km to Hamelin Station Stay.

You then arrive at Steep Point late morning/early afternoon and have plenty of time to relax and set up!

Hamelin Station Stay

Arriving at Hamelin Station Stay on day 1

Fee’s to access Steep Point

Steep Point is a National Park, so you either need an Annual or 4 week parks pass, or you have to pay $12 per vehicle. Camping fee’s are on top of this.

What’s the track to Steep Point like?

To get to Steep Point by vehicle, you need a 4WD.

Turning onto Useless Loop Road from Shark Bay Road, you drive down bitumen for some time before it turns to gravel. The road is usually in pretty good condition, and is graded from time to time. The further you travel, the worse the road gets, but its still pretty good up until the turn off to Useless Loop (which is a closed mining town).

We stopped and dropped air out of our tyres about half way along the gravel track as it was getting pretty muddy and corrugated, and with trailers in tow we didn’t want to do any damage. We then aired down even further at the information station just after Useless Loop. If you need more information on tackling gravel roads safely, check this out; the ultimate guide to gravel driving.

From the Useless Loop information bay to the first sand dune are some of the worst corrugations you’ll do – 15km of bone jarring fun. However, once you get to the first sand dune, the track is actually pretty good. The first two times I visited Steep Point this dune was badly chopped up with huge offset holes that made idling up the only option.

However, on our most recent trip, the dune was perfect and easy to drive up with tyres down below 20 PSI. Make sure you drop your tyres down to at least 20 PSI, or you’ll wreck the track for everyone and likely get stuck.

The first time we visited we had our tyres down to 12 PSI as it was so rough.

The rest of the track is easy; its got a few corrugations, a couple of dunes and has had lots of work done recently to make it easy. You’ll go past the turnoff to the blowholes, around a couple of salt pans and eventually end up on the beach at Steep Point. From there, it takes you back inland to the Rangers house, where you ‘sign in’, say G’day and proceed to one of the most amazing places in WA.

Please note Useless Loop Road gets closed after any rain, and you can get stranded out there if the weather turns bad.

Useless Loop Road condition

Airing down along Useless Loop Road

No 4WD? No worries

If you haven’t got access to a 4WD, there are still options out there for you. Shark Bay 4WD Tours run a range of tours to Steep Point, Dirk Hartog Island and Francois Peron National Park, and can even take you snorkeling in the areas.

Is it family friendly?

In the back of my mind I always thought of Steep Point as a rough, wild sort of place that would be no good for young children and families. I couldn’t have been further off the mark. Sure, there are some insane cliffs on the western point, big waves and swell that are suited only to the keenest fishermen, but on the other side is some of the best beaches in WA with no waves, crystal clear water and plenty of space to relax.

We spent 9 days at Steep Point with our 11 month old, and had a ball.

Family Friendly at Steep Point

Oliver had a ball

Steep Point Camping

Camping here has become so popular that it is now a booking only system, and it is often booked out 8 – 10 months in advance. You can make bookings up to 10 months in advance, so set a date and lock it in!

Most of the camp sites are located along Shelter Bay, set back a few metres from the beach with amazing views and fairly good protection from the wind. You can camp out on the cliffs too, which those keen on fishing often do, but its a much harsher environment.

It’s $7.50 per adult to camp at Steep Point, and worth every cent.

Steep Point Camping

Our camper trailer, about 15 metres away from the water

When’s the best time to visit?

The most popular time to visit Steep Point is between March and August. This is when the weather is nicest, winds lower on average and the fishing is good. Water temperatures here vary a lot from year to year, and this influences the fishing considerably. You can visit outside of these months, but it gets warmer and the wind can be absolutely shocking.

Bring everything!

The only thing at Steep Point is drop toilets. You need to bring absolutely everything; fuel for the vehicles and boats, drinking, washing and cooking water, food, first aid, fishing, diving and any other gear you’ll use. Pay careful attention to how much weight you bring, and where you put it as there have been plenty of broken 4WD’s and trailers!

Water recommendations

When you fill in the camping forms, it says that you must bring 10 litres of fresh water per person, per day. If you are staying there for a while, this amounts to a logistical nightmare. For 3 people staying 9 days, we ‘needed’ 270 litres of water. This requirement is probably fairly accurate for the warmer months, but we wouldn’t have used anywhere near that amount. We took about 230L of water, and had plenty left over.

However, better to have more than less, as its a good 4 hour drive into Denham for more!

Camping away from Steep Point

A lot of people visit Steep Point for a day trip, and we did this on our first visit. Carrarang Station is about 50km away from Steep Point, and Tamala around 100km. If you get up early and head out you will have a good time. We dragged the boat in, and it was a big day. Carrarang was absolutely amazing, but we were disappointed we hadn’t stayed at Steep Point; it blew us away.

Carrarang Station camping

Our camp site at Carrarang Station

Steep Point Fishing

To be known as one of the best land based fishing places in the world says something. Fishing from the cliffs is most popular and yields Spanish Mackerel, Tuna, Wahoo, Sail fish and lots of sharks. You’ll also get plenty of bottom dwelling species like Baldchin Groper, Pink Snapper, Spangled Emperor, Coral Trout and Rankin Cod.

To me, fishing from a cliff offers little appeal; its too much work. We prefer to use a boat, and with a tinny and trailer that’s been built and designed to go to places like Steep Point, we make use of it. We did very well trolling for fish, reasonably bottom bouncing and very well spearing.

Expect to see a LOT of sharks; we would head out 200m from our campsite at Shelter Bay and within a minute or two have at least a couple of sharks circling our tinny, looking for fish frames. They are all docile and friendly enough, although we weren’t game enough to jump in with them!

Cobia at Steep Point

A big Cobia caught trolling

Mackerel at Steep Point

Lots of Mackerel

Fishing at Steep Point

More fish

Taking a boat into Steep Point

You’ll see a lot of boats at Steep Point. You have two ways of getting them there – tow them in on a well built, robust trailer (and suitable boat!), or drive them over from Denham. The drive over from Denham is roughly 50km and can be done in under an hour with a bigger boat if it is calm and the tides are right. However, I know of those who have taken 3 – 4 hours to do the trip when its rough. Watch the tides and plan your route too; a bloke got stuck on a sand bar and had to wait for the tides to turn around not long ago!

Also, remember you need to bring a fair bit of fuel if you are going this route.

The other option is to tow your boat in, which many people do. I’ve seen a variety of fibreglass and aluminium boats go in from the 3 – 6 metre mark. It all comes down to your tyre pressures, tow vehicle, boat and trailer strength and how you drive it. There have been many trailers and boats damaged on the track in!

Our little tinny and trailer runs big 33″ tyres, and we let them down to 5 – 7 PSI. The tyres take most of the punishment, with the springs taking the rest.

You can launch the boat at the bay you are camping at with relative ease. The water doesn’t drop off that steeply, but its enough to launch a boat and pull the trailer up with a winch or snatch strap.

We left our boats in the water for the whole 9 days, with an anchor out the front (bow of the boat facing away from the beach) and one on the beach. Make sure you do this properly, or you’ll wake up to no boat!

Steep Point with a boat

Our boats at Steep Point

Boat trailer for our tinny

Our 4WD boat trailer

Sharks at Steep Point

Say G’day to lots of these

Dirk Hartog Island

I thought Steep Point was unreal, and then I went across to Dirk Hartog Island on the barge. This place is truly amazing. With a wild west coast and incredible beaches and bays on the eastern side, there’s somewhere for everyone.

The Island is huge – roughly 80km long and 12km wide, making it 32 times the size of Rottnest Island! The only way around the island is by boat or 4WD, with lots of 4WD tracks around the place. You can camp at various places around the Island through the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW), or you can stay at the homestead in rooms or camp.

It takes a good 4 hours to drive from top to bottom by 4WD on rocky and sandy tracks, so be prepared.

There are two ways to get to DHI – by boat, or with your 4WD on the barge. This leaves from Steep Point, and operates when ever anyone needs to travel. It ranges from about $350 to $600 return, with some good deals on camping available from time to time.

Dirk Hartog Barge

Ferrying 4WD’s across to Dirk Hartog Island on the Barge

Dirk Hartog Homestead

Looking out from the homestead at Dirk Hartog

Dirk Hartog Island

The wild west coast of Dirk Hartog Island

False Entrance

On the way into Steep Point you’ll turn right at a T junction, away from False Entrance. This is a pretty amazing spot, with blowholes and a big beach. A lot of people fish off the cliffs here too, and I believe you are allowed to camp here as well.

Have you been to Steep Point?

We love Steep Point, and highly recommend it as an awesome adventure. Have you guys been there? What did you think of it? Let us know below!

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16 comments… add one
  • SHIRLEY SOUSA September 5, 2018, 8:12 PM

    Thank you so much for all your information, very helpful, but I have two questions, please:
    What’s camping name/site to book it?
    I have a Nissa XTrail 4WD. Do you think it will be easy to get in the Steep Point with it? Do I need to have specials tyres or I can use my normal ones which are in very good conditions?

    Thank you,


  • Aaron Schubert September 6, 2018, 5:43 PM

    Hi Shirley,

    As discussed, if the track is in good condition, you let your tyres down and you know how to get out of a boggy situation you’ll be fine. If you aren’t confident though, give it a miss – its not the place you want to be waiting for help.


  • Nicola February 28, 2019, 11:08 AM

    Hi heading to steep point in April for day trip from monkey mia in pajero. If we go In with full take of fuel will we need to take back up jerry cans

  • Aaron Schubert February 28, 2019, 6:07 PM

    Hi Nicola,

    Is it petrol/diesel, and what size fuel tank? It’s about 225km one way, with only the last 35km being slow travel. You should be OK, but a jerry can never goes astray


  • Mike Lyons July 19, 2019, 8:17 PM

    First went up there in the mid 70’s, a very rough trip out but worth it. Then in successive years we saw the changes as the area was “discovered”. More rubbish, fish frames filling the crevices on the cliffs and abusive campers. Things changed and not for the better. Now it seems to be far too crowded for me, but each to their own. “call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye..” The Last Resort, The Eagles.

  • Aaron Schubert July 19, 2019, 8:22 PM

    Hey Mike,

    I’ve heard similar things; it really is a shame that people can’t look after these great places. We’ve still loved our times there in the past, but its not nice to know that things were better before


  • Ben August 26, 2019, 2:49 PM

    Hey, Aaron! I am hoping to spend a few days out at Steep Point. I just wanted to know what the track is like once you hit the sand. I’m in a Ranger with a 2 inch lift, winch, MaxTrax, and I am pretty sure all will be right, but I would hate to just be trying to get out of soft sand the whole time.

    Thanks for your time,


  • Aaron Schubert August 26, 2019, 7:03 PM

    Hey Ben,

    You’ll be fine mate. It’s only the first long dune that can be problematic when its badly rutted/holed, and with low tyre pressures you’ll be fine.

    Before that can be some terrible corrugations for about 15km, but once you are past the dune its a piece of cake

    Enjoy; its a spectacular place


  • Troy November 4, 2019, 11:28 PM

    G’day Aaron,

    Great article!!. I was curious as to where the cut-off point is before you have to start paying for campsites in the park. Was thinking of doing this trip sometime next year, and i’m just trying to be a tightass and save on camping fees. (I’d rather spend money on a good cabin or something, instead of paying to sleep on dirt.) And does entry need to be Pre-booked or can it be purchased at the Ranger Station?

    Thanks bud, Coming from Victoria so its going to be quite the trip!
    Enjoy your day!

  • Aaron Schubert November 5, 2019, 5:52 PM

    Hey mate,

    If you are referring to Steep Point, its all National Park. Your alternatives are private property which will cost you even more. There is a free camp closer to Denham but you’ll spend way more in fuel getting out there. The national park camping costs are cheap, especially for how much else its going to cost getting out there. I would just pay them, and way in advance or you may find it very hard to get spots. They are literally booked out for months in advance during the better months.

    All the best

  • Lee June 19, 2020, 5:14 PM

    Hi Aaron
    Would you advise taking a camper trailer and would you also recommend letting the tyre pressure on that down to what ever the car tyre pressure is?

  • Aaron Schubert June 19, 2020, 7:38 PM

    Hey Lee,

    Camper trailers are generally fine as long as they are off road capable and not too heavy. Tyre pressure should be determined by the weight on each wheel and the tyre construction, but around the same is a good reduction. 30% less than your road pressures for the gravel, and more for the soft sand as required

    All the best

  • Ben July 14, 2020, 1:42 AM

    Hey mate, nice job with the article. Heading to shelter bay for 5nights at the start of August, and am wondering if we’re over/under preparing…2 adults; vehicle is a Holder Colorado with the basic fruit on it (lift, AT tyres, dual batteries and a couple fridges) also towing a 4m tinny with a 25hp Yammy 4stroke. Trailer is a stock standard 13″ rim/tyre setup and will be carting 2swags, 2diesel and 2or3petrol jerrys in the tinny on the way there. Reckon that’ll be too much weight for those little tyres to handle on the corrugations? Also keeping water rations to a minimum, 50L for 2 adults (we’ll be drinking mostly beer). Sound about right to you? Appreciate your feedback, cheers mate.

  • Aaron Schubert July 14, 2020, 4:17 PM

    Hey Ben,

    It all depends on the road condition when you get there. I’ve been there when its amazing, and when there’s about 15km of shocking corrugations. Let the tyres down a fair bit, take it easy and you’ll be right. I’d be more concerned about the trailer than the tyres – check your leaf springs and rollers etc are in good nick before you go.

    You’ll have a ball

  • Craig August 24, 2020, 7:23 AM

    Hi, can someone please advise if the Ranger/s are Paul and Pam Dickerson (formerly from Useless Loop) ?

  • Aaron Schubert August 24, 2020, 4:35 PM

    Hey Craig,

    As far as I know they are. I’ve made an enquiry; will let you know otherwise

    All the best

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