If you are looking for remote, beach front, off grid camping on some of the best coastline in the world then Warroora Station might just be the place for you. Perched right on the Ningaloo Reef, this station has a huge reputation built up over the years, and is a spectacular stay for a few days, or weeks at a time. With world class fishing, camping and boating away from the crowds, its well and truly worth a stay.
We’ve just come back from a week camped at 14 mile, and life was hard to beat:
I’m not sure whether people just couldn’t pronounce Warroora station, but its commonly referred to as Warra Station.
Getting to Warroora Station
You’ll find Warra Station almost smack bang between Carnarvon and Exmouth (around 190km each way). 14 Mile camp (the northern most camp) is just 18km south of Coral Bay, making it an easy place to visit for the day. This is a beautiful place in itself, and easily deserves a day exploring.
To get to Warroora Station, you have a choice of entering from the north entrance, or the south. The northern entrance is often in better condition too, and is the popular choice for those camping at 14 mile.
The road in is gravel, and is rocky, a bit sandy in sections and can be quite corrugated. It’s important that you let your tyres down properly, and drive at a speed that is both comfortable and safe. We saw a number of higher clearance AWD vehicles around the place, which would be fine for 14 mile and the ridge, but any camping near the other beaches would probably be pushing your luck.
There are a lot of on road caravans and trailers that make their way into Warroora Station. If you take it slowly, you’ll be OK, but you do have a higher chance of failure. As long as the camp site suits, you’ll have no issues getting a big, full size off road van in either.
Who manages Warroora Station?
Not too long ago there was a change in management at Warroora Station, and also Ningaloo Station (located between Coral Bay and Exmouth). In the past, Warra managed their own camping, as well as the farming side of things. However, DPAW (Department of Parks and Wildlife) have since taken over the coastal camping side of things, and now manage the day to day tourist side of Warroora.
I will make a point of mentioning here that you can still camp at the actual station, by getting in contact with Warroora. For all coastal camp sites though, you need to deal with DPAW.
Warroora Station Camping
There are 12 camp grounds at Warroora Station. 11 of them are run by DPAW, and the last is the homestead, managed by the station itself.
You can stay at:
- 14 Mile
- The Ridge
- Stans Camp – overflow camping
- Sandy Point
- Elles Beach
- Stevens Camp
- Warroora Homestead (not managed by DPAW)
- Black Moon Cliff
- Nicks Camp
- Amherst Point
All sites need to be booked prior to arrival. This is done online here. You cannot arrive and expect a spot, or book then, as these are often booked out for months in advance.
What do you need?
This is not a caravan park. It’s station camping, and you must be self sufficient. That means you need enough fuel, food, water and gear to last your stay. There are no taps for fresh water (although there is a bore on the station), no shops (except the homestead sells bait and ice creams) and certainly no showers or toilets available.
Chemical toilets are compulsory for camping at Warroora Station. These can be hired from the station itself, or from the volunteer caretakers at 14 mile camp. Alternatively, bring your own, but you must contain your waste.
There are dump points available to empty your chemical toilets, but they don’t have water to flush it with, so you need to grab some sea water, or bring your own fresh water. There are rubbish bins available to put your waste in.
Fires and Dogs
Amazingly, you are allowed both of these. Fires must be contained in a fire pit (you can also hire them) and ash needs to be disposed of in the ash bin. You must also bring in your own fire wood, as there’s pretty much nothing around worth using, and it would wreck the area if you took any of it.
Dogs are permitted, however you would be wise to keep them on a lead, as there have been reports of 1080 on the property and that is not something you want to be involved with.
What does it cost?
Day access to Warroora Station is free, since DPAW took it over. Camping is $8 per adult, per night, which is pretty reasonable given what you get.
Non camping accommodation
If you are after something a little more luxurious, you can stay at Warroora Station in a number of different locations – Dudley Hill Ocean View Villa, the Homestead, Cottage, Stockmen’s rooms and Charlies.
There is *some* average phone reception in spots at Warroora Station. If you are staying at the Ridge, just up the hill is a location everyone refers to as ‘Telstra hill’. There’s a big antenna that you’ll see people standing near every day, and its enough to browse the net and make calls on most days.
The weather must affect it all a fair bit though, as there were times where people couldn’t get anything.
Getting to the Ningaloo Reef
This incredible reef runs for around 260 kilometres long, and ranges from several kilometres off shore to a stones throw away. There are a number of places in Warroora where you can comfortably snorkel from the shore, and if you have access to a boat then your options are unlimited. At 14 mile, the reef is only 2km out, and is a short drive in a small boat.
The fishing is obviously better the further you go out, as is the diving and snorkelling, but be aware of the swell and weather conditions, as its very easy to get into nasty trouble here.
Boating at Warroora Station
There were a lot of boats at Warroora Station. By far and away roof toppers and small tinnies were most common, but there were some significantly bigger boats around too, Particularly at Maggies and Sandy Point.
Launching at 14 mile is a case of just pushing the boat into the water as the beach is quite soft, and steep. Sandy Point has a designated beach launching location, which looks like it would be more suitable for larger boats, or you could launch in Coral Bay and drive down, and leave it out at night
We pulled our boat in every evening, just using a 4WD and snatch strap to gently tow it up the hill a bit. Our tinny is a bit too hard to man handle with all the gear in it!
If you plan on taking your boat, make sure your trailer is sound, and that you are prepared to do some damage on the way in and out. The roads are not designed for normal road built boat trailers, and welds frequently break.
Sharks and other marine life
There are a LOT of sharks in coastal area’s like this. They have a few resident larger ones, and a heap of the usual smaller reef sharks. It wasn’t uncommon to be diving and see several within 30 metres of you, especially when spearfishing.
In general they will leave you alone, but you are wise to watch their behaviour, get any fish out of the water as soon as you can and take a cautious approach. When fishing at night, expect to see sharks cruising up and down the coastline, and they’ll happily take your bait!
You’ll also see a heap of turtles, and often the annual migration of whales heading south. We saw a heap of fish jumping many times a day, along with dolphins and sharks cruising around.
Warroora Station Fishing
Any of the coastline in this region has brilliant fishing. Warroora has had a lot of visitors over the years and I suspect this had had some influence, but the fishing is still good. We didn’t get as much as we’d normally do, but it takes a long time to find good spots and the weather plays a big role.
We did end up with a few squid, some big Spangled Emperor, Mackerel, Parrot fish and other bits and pieces. Easily enough for a good feed each day, but we didn’t bring much home.
Surfing at Warroora
Like most of the Ningaloo Coastline, there’s some great spots to surf here. Stevens and Sandy Point are both popular places to grab a wave, along with plenty more secretive spots that you’ll have to find yourself!
It gets windy!
If you haven’t done much coastal camping, you need to be prepared for a lot of wind. There are days where it will blow, and blow, and blow. If you have a setup that can’t handle this, or you can’t get out of the wind, you won’t enjoy yourself.
By nature May, June, July, and August are the best months to visit in terms of average wind, but they still have windy days. On one day that we were at 14 mile we left and headed into Coral Bay because it was howling in, and wasn’t forecast to get any better. A few hours in Coral Bay, and we came back again and you’d hardly recognise the beach from either extreme.
What’s our review?
If you want a break from it all, and are prepared for off grid camping, Warroora Station is stunning. It’s exactly what we chase; 4WD tracks, amazing beaches, great camping spread apart from others and access straight to our little boats. The underwater life is truly insane anywhere along this coast, and with a few friends and some family, you are guaranteed an amazing time here.
In terms of comparing this to Ningaloo Station, Gnaraloo and Red Bluff, I’d take Warroora any day of the week. It’s got far better access to the coast, its cheaper and the marine zones are not so frustrating. You’ll have a ball at all of them, but Warroora for us takes the cake.
Have you been to Warra? What did you think of it?