Camping on the WA Coast; be prepared for wind

Having lived in WA for more than 30 years, I’m pretty proud of the amazing state that we call home. Its got some of the best camp sites in the country, and many of them are on the coastline metres away from some truly world class beaches and turquoise water that is the envy of people across the globe.

The one thing you might not hear too much about though, is the wind! The WA coast can be downright horrible when it comes to wind, and that’s not just in the off peak season.

Camped on Ningaloo
We’ve got some of the most epic coastline around, but it can be very windy!

We’ve literally been through nights where its blown 40 – 60km/h all night, and seen people’s tents broken in the middle of the night, or those who’ve packed up mid blow and slept in their cars.

I’ve seen caravan awnings get ripped to bits, flapping awnings so loud you cant sleep anywhere near them and plenty of tired faces in the morning after a night where its blown and blown.

The WA coast can have relentless wind, and its really not pleasant when this happens. The thing to know though, is it can be managed if you are prepared for it.

Unfortunately our picture perfect coastline isn’t always picture perfect, and that includes all of the amazing camp sites in Cape Range National Park, the incredible Warroora Station, around Carnarvon and Shark Bay, Geraldton and basically all of the way down to Perth (and even beyond sometimes!).

Windy camping
Our old camper trailer getting hammered by wind at Wooramel Station near Carnarvon

Expect wind

If you travel outside of the best months for wind in WA (which we go into below) you should expect wind, and a lot of it. The truth is WA can be an extremely windy place on the coastline, and when you are camping that can be quite frustrating and tiring.

Expect it to be windy, and soak up any calm days that come your way as they can be few and far between.

Glassy calm
A perfectly still day at Bush Bay near Carnarvon

What seasons are best for wind?

If you want the best seasons for wind, the locals will tell you that any month without an ‘r’ in it will be suitable. That means May, June, July, August. 4 months of the year, where your chances of getting the best wind are greatly improved.

Now, the sad thing is that just because you’ve booked within that time frame doesn’t guarantee that you are going to get no wind. We’ve just come back from Exmouth towards the end of June and had several days where it blew over 40km/h for several hours of the day.

This is an important point to remember; you can have amazing days where it is windy for a small portion (usually around 10AM – 2PM) and the rest of the day is pleasant, or deadly calm.

The number of times that it will get to around 3PM and glass off is astounding, and that applies for the whole coastline from Broome right down to Perth.

James Price Point
You’ll get some calm days and some windy days even in the best months

What can you do to prepare for the wind?

Ultimately, how you set up, and what you set up in will make or break your trip when the wind pounds in. Ideally, monitor the weather and wind regularly and make adjustments if its going to pound in.

On the night that we got terrible weather in Exmouth, we knew it was coming and I made sure to peg our awning down extremely well, and put away anything that was likely to get picked up and sent across to Africa in the breeze.

Pack away if its windy
Make sure everything loose is away if its going to be windy

Its important that you set your tent or setup up in the right direction, so the wind either blows over it easily, or it blocks the wind from where you are kicking back. If you have a caravan or something solid, setting up with the van blocking the wind will make or break your trip.

Even better, if you have a drought skirt put it up and use it; they are amazing and can make it deadly still while the wind is blowing in at a rate of knots.

Know your gear

You should know how much punishment your camping gear can handle. If you have a roof top tent, it will have a wind rating and you should avoid camping in anything that exceeds the level.

Our awning on the camper trailer is one of the strongest out there and will take a beating, but we have had to pull it down at Nambung station in 50km/h + wind. 

windy at Nambung Station
We pulled our awning down at Nambung due to extreme wind

Caravan awnings are notorious for getting damaged, and should be put away before you go to bed if its going to be windy. They often tear, or get ripped off and they are expensive to repair.

For the quick time and effort required to put them away, its better to be safe than sorry (and then you won’t be kept awake all night be the flapping!).

The exception to this is if you have set it up for serious wind – pegged down, walls into the ground etc etc.

Kokoda awning
Put your awning away at night

Wind levels throughout the day

You’ll find that some days in WA it just blows all day long, but generally the mornings tend to be less windy, with a period in the middle of the day where it dies off as the sea breeze swings around, and then it can often die off again late in the evening. 

Weather at Pender Bay
Generally the wind follows a pattern

Where can you check the wind?

We get our wind forecasts from a number of places, none of which seem to be perfect. Seabreeze has a number of different forecasts for different locations (Perth, Lancelin, Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome etc) and tends to be reasonable.

Willy Weather works as well, and then we’ll often go to BOM to check it out. Generally the best forecast comes from my dad, who has learnt to read the weather maps and can predict quite well what things are going to do.

WA can be windy

WA can be a seriously windy place, and its amazing how one place can be so beautiful one day and absolutely feral the next, when the wind comes in. If you are going to travel WA you need to expect, and be prepared for the wind. If not, you’ll have a rather unpleasant time!

Long term camping
Those who travel WA know it can be windy, and often prepare for it

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  1. Hey Luke,

    I’m not really sure to be honest. I’ve only ever seen people use shade cloth – its cheap, easy to use and works well

    All the best

  2. Luke Barnes says:

    Where can you buy the best wind break sheets?