Perth and Western Australia isn’t a well known tourist destination, in fact its most well known for being the most remote city in the world. Nowadays though, there are numerous flights from South East Asia heading to Perth, that make it an easy add on to a South East Asia trip.
I’ll be honest, Marco and I hadn’t seriously considered a trip to Perth or Wester Australia. However, with it being only a 3hr flight from Bali, we wanted to take the opportunity and see what it had to offer for families.
Once we started to research our trip, we were blown away by the amount of wild places we could visit. The following itinerary is for those families who only have 5 – 7 days to spare, to see both some inland sites and as well as the phenomenal coastline.
We did the trip in 6 days, with a rented six birth camper van from Britz. After spending 3 months in Western Australia, I can confirm that they only way to see Australia is with a camper van, the reason being you are able to get off the beaten path easily and have the benefit of staying inside some of the fantastic National Parks and Nature reserves.
Day 1 – 2 Yanchep National Park
Only 40 minutes drive from central Perth this is a brilliant first stop to ease you gently into camp life, plus if you have just flown into the city on the same day, but don’t want a long drive. Yanchep is not a remote national park, it has a quaint combination of of man made and nature based attractions, with great facilities and lots of activities for kids its ideal for families.
We arrived at Yanchep late in the afternoon, just in time to see the kangaroo’s playing on the green as the sun set over the wetlands. We were yet to see kangaroos in such numbers, so it was a real treat as well as getting so close to them.
The small campsite is perfect for families, there was a onsite caretaker that we reported too and although we hadn’t made a booking, as it was late in the day the care taker told us the ranger will come around in the morning, so could pay the park and campsite fee.
There are plenty activities to keep any family occupied for at least 3 days, from the limestone caves, wetlands, wild kangaroos, koala’s, and in the spring the wildflowers.
Day 2 – 4 The Pinnacles Desert – Nambung National Park
The unusual landscape and scenery of the Pinnacles Desert is must see if you are headed north of Perth. Our first thoughts were that the kids might not enjoy the experience, as it was just walking, with no obvious wildlife to see. Surprisingly the kids loved it; what made the experience so fun, was the landscape was so diverse from the rest of places we’d visited.
The rock formations are so unusual the limestone pinnacles made the desert look almost like another planet, we even thought we could bump into a dinosaur, well that’s what we told the kids! We made it really fun for the girls, and followed the walking trail, pretending to be hunting dinosaurs and even had a games of hide and seek. What added to the atmosphere was the wind, we were all nearly getting blow off our feet.
It’s possible to even drive around the pinnacles on marked dirt roads. We weren’t able to do this, as we had large 6 birth camper van that was over the height restrictions permitted.
There is the standard $13 national fee which includes access to the informative visitor centre, which explains how the raw material for the limestone of the Pinnacles came from seashells in an earlier era that was rich in marine life. These shells were broken down into lime-rich sands that were blown inland to form high mobile dunes. However, the manner in which such raw materials formed the Pinnacles is the subject of debate.
Day 4 – 6 Jurien Bay
After the desert, it is best to stay in either Jurien Bay or Cervantes. We opted for Jurien Bay, a small coastal town in the Wheatbelt region with beautiful beaches and all the amenities you could want.
There is a big range of campsites with various facilities. But as with nearly all small towns in WA they all have amazing parks and playgrounds for the kids, which as any parent knows, can be a life saver especially on a road trip, where the kids are fed up of being in the car.
As with most of travels in Australia, we adore the more remote and simple locations, where we are surrounded by nature, even if this means less amenities. During this trip we had all the amenities and luxuries onboard with our camper van from Britz campers. A fellow camper had mentioned the Sandy Cape campsite describing a lovely little campsite right on the water, we couldn’t resist taking a look and we glad we did.
The beach and water here, are simply stunning, huge sand dunes fall down to the water which make a superb natural playground for the kids. It’s really safe to swim, very shallow perfect for young kids. It can be windy depending on the time of year, but still such a great spot and we all loved waking up to sound of the ocean and just a few steps to the beach for a swim was magic and all for just $22 a night.
Campsites like these have really impressed us in western Australia, although the amenities are simple, the location and natural habitat that surround them are stunning and we would advise forgoing a few creature comforts to enjoy some of these spectacular places. If you after a full service campsite with full amenities and play grounds check out this list.
Follow our top Tips for Road tripping and camping in Western Australia
Download the Wikicamps app to get full information about many small campsites including some very remote ones in the many National Parks. Avoid travelling in the school holidays and national holidays, because the remote and beach side campsites have limited spaces fill up in busy periods. The more remote campsites don’t have fresh water, check online prior to arriving and ensure you bring plenty of fresh water to last your stay. Not all of these camps have showers, many only have compost toilets and BBQ facilities. Many of the camps you can’t book online, so it is first come first served basis, so its best to have a back up plan.Many campsites have a care taker on site, who you should visit upon arrival for payment and they will direct you to the available spots. Check the camp rules and be considerate of other campers, always cleaning up and leaving no rubbish, also for the safety of the wildlife. Due to high risk of bush fires in Western Australia – camp fires are not permitted in every campsite check with your camp host and look for signs.Some campsites that are in wooded areas have height restrictions so check online prior to arriving.When road tripping in Australia, always have enough fuel and water, some towns and villages can be very remote and the nearest town with a petrol station can be a lot further than you ever imagined.
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