7 of the best free camps in Western Australia

There’s nothing better than throwing the camping gear in your car and getting away from the city for a couple of days. There are so many amazing places to camp at, and you don’t have to travel for hours on end to get to them. Here are 7 fantastic camp sites near Perth, where you can literally pack on a Friday afternoon, head away and still get a great weekend in.

1. Walyunga

Walyunga National Park is probably the closest place to Perth where you are allowed to camp in the bush. Located just one hour northeast of Perth, it’s a fantastic spot to check out. I’ve often described this place as a cross between Dwellingup and Serpentine. It has the beautiful Avon river flowing through the National park, a myriad of walking trails, BBQ and picnic facilities and most importantly, a place for you to camp!

You need to book the campsites, which you can do by ringing 9290 6100 and speaking to a ranger. The camp sites are located a few minutes drive away from the main picnic and riverside area, but are in a nice cleared section of bush.

As it is a National Park, day passes apply (unless you have an annual pass). It’s $12 per vehicle. You can find out more about these here. The Camp fees are the usual $7.50 per night.

The wildflowers are spectacular here in season, and with plenty of tracks to walk on you’ll see heaps of them. If you want to know more about the national park, you can read the full post here: Walyunga National Park.

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Easy access, with fire rings available.

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Walking along the Avon River.

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Enjoy a picnic overlooking the river.

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BBQ Facilities available.

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Lots of wildflowers around in season.

2. Lane Poole Reserve

An hour and a half south of Perth lies Lane Poole Reserve, just out of Dwellingup. We’ve been going to Lane Poole Reserve every year for a long time now, and always love it. There are 10 different camp sites which vary from huge open areas to more private sites that only house two sets of campers.

The beautiful Murray River runs right through the reserve and is fantastic for swimming, canoeing, white water rafting and fishing.

Fires are permitted when the fire danger is low, and it is a brilliant spot to enjoy a good fire on a cold evening. It does get very cold in the middle of winter, so take your warm gear!

There are plenty of 4WD and mountain bike tracks in the area too.

Again, National Park and camping fee apply. The entry fee is $12 per vehicle unless you have a National Park pass. Camping fee’s range from $7.50 per night to $10, depending on where you stay.

You can read the full post here; Dwellingup. If you want to book a camp site, you can do so here.

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Fishing in a beautiful part of the Murray River.

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Watching the fog come in on a cold winters morning.

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One of the huge open campsites on a busy weekend.

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Enjoying the little rock slides.

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What a magic place.

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A good campfire on a freezing night.

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Plenty of 4WD tracks around the place.

3. Waroona Dam

Lake Navarino, or Waroona Dam, has long been a popular place to camp. You can stay at the Holiday park, or take the bush camping option (which we do every time!) and stay nearer the dam itself. Both are booked through Lake Navarino Holiday Park.

Waroona Dam is pretty big, and is well known for skiing and fresh water fishing. There’s also fantastic 4WD tracks around the Dam and plenty of places to relax and soak up the scenery.

Fires are permitted in season, and the camping fees range from $12 to $17 per person per night, depending on where you camp, if its peak season and if you need power or not.

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Camping within 50 metres of the Dam.

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Plenty of room for water skiing and tubing.

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When the wind dies off its a magic place.

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Exploring some of the 4WD tracks around the Dam.

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Sunset over the orange gravel is spectacular.

4. Belvidere

If coastal camping is more your thing, Belvidere is a great little spot we found a few years back. The actual campsite is a few minutes drive back from the beach, tucked in between Leschenault Inlet and Belvidere Beach. At only an hour and 40 minutes away from Perth, it’s easily doable on a Friday afternoon.

The beach here is soft, and you will need a 4WD to drive along it. It’s substantially quieter than Preston and Myalup Beach, but the fishing is just as good.

It’s a DPAW camp site, and the fees are $7.50 per person per night. There is also provision for camper trailer and caravan’s here, and the firewood is usually provided.

If you want to read the full post, you can find it here; Camping at Belvidere.

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Set up with the Oztents at Belvidere.

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Your typical camp site at Belvidere.

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Belvidere Beach; fishing for salmon.

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Lots of opportunity for good fish.

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We landed several nice salmon.

5. Honeymoon Pool

If you’ve ever seen the Collie River, you’d know it’s a beautiful spot to stop and soak up the scenery. Honeymoon Pool is a DPAW campsite located right on the bank of the river and is 2WD and 4WD accessible. It’s just 2 hours south of Perth and is a stunning part of the world.

The Lennard 4WD track is well worth the drive, but be aware that it does get closed once the rain hits, to avoid substantial damage to the track.

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Collie River just off the Lennard 4WD Track

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Amazing walks along the Collie River

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You can swim, but it gets cold!

6. Martins Tank

An hour and a half south of Perth, 10 minutes drive from the coast lies Martins Tank. It’s another DPAW camp site, set amongst the peppermint trees.

This was done up in 2013 and caters for tents, caravans and camper trailers. Campfires are permitted in season, and fees are $10 per person per night.

This campsite must be booked online in advance, which you can do here.

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Enjoying our own little slice of the beach.

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Martins Tank Campsites.

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Enough shade and the usual facilities.

7. Wellington Dam

The last, but certainly not least camp site near Perth is Wellington Dam. At just over 2 hours south of Perth its a great drive to an even better location. Potters Gorge is the formal DPAW campsite, which has recently been refurbished and caters for a number of campers. This site, however, gets extremely busy very quickly.

If you have a 4WD, there are plenty of other campsites around the dam if you are prepared to do a bit of driving. Even on a popular long weekend, we had no issues finding a handful of good campsites along the banks of Wellington Dam and ended up camping in a beautiful location.

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Could you ask for a better spot?

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We’ve had plenty of fun enjoying the 4WD tracks.

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Sunset over the dam; what a way to end the day.

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Huge tree’s rustling in the breeze.

Look after these places

It is a huge privilege being able to access these amazing camp sites. Don’t wreck them for everyone else; take your rubbish home, go to the toilets responsibly, have a fire with some common sense (when allowed) and don’t be a muppet.

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Wilsons Promontory

Wilsons Promontory is a very popular camping destination. It is Victoria’s largest coastal wilderness. We didn’t camp here but visited for a couple of hours.

A panoramic view

It is really not much to see just from a drive through. One really needs to get out and walk the bush and walk to the beautiful beaches. From the info there is quite a diverse range of micro climates from beach dunes,  heath lands, rocky outcrops and mountain rainforests.

One of the pristine beaches
Rocky outcrops

Tidal River is the main location for accommodation and camping. Just outside the parks offices, shops etcis very poplar with campers though personally it was not my sort of camping area. There are other camping areas that have much more grass and secluded areas etc though maybe further from toilets. Each to their own.

Campground at Tidal River office/shop area

Marlay Point at Lake Wellington

Marlay Point Free Camping Site is just in front of Lake Wellington Yacht Club which is approximately 18 kms from Sale on Clydebank Road. Note: The turnoff is easily missed, so keep an eye open and use the GPS coordinates to help you find this great location.

It offers nice grassy areas (just near yacht club), a boat ramp and toilet facilities. Lake Wellington is part of the Gippsland Lakes. Though being such a shallow lake at just 3 metres deep it is quite brownish looking.

The wind was blowing a gale when we camped right on the foreshore of Lake Wellington. I loved being near the water watching the birds, mostly seagulls from inside the warmth and dry of the motorhome.

Beware that Marlay Point is also home to the who hold regular yachting regattas over the summer period especially over the Labour Day Long weekend and no camping is allowed this weekend.

The cooler evening lent itself to a warm curry for dinner, Massaman Curried Chicken, which I will post up next..

What to do on the Mornington Peninsula

We started with the colourful bathing boxes at Mornington. These glorified sheds are timber boxes, the size of a single garage shed. Apparently they are not allowed to have any plumbing in them. Thus no toilets or plumbed kitchen. Still if you were going down to the beach for the day, at least you can don’t have to cart a shade, chairs, tables etc. Most are privately owned and some can be rented out. A hut sold for just over $600,000 recently, though most are handed down from family to family. Still that makes it one of the priciest pieces of real estate in Victoria.

I prefer a sandy beach myself, not the rocky foreshore that is at Mornington. I have been spoilt with the fabulous sandy beaches of home back in Wollongong.

Beach at Mornington

On a separate day whilst heading for our ferry across to Queenscliffe, we thought we’d drive around Morning Peninsula a bit.
Sorrento is a rather a upper class touristy beachside area. We could see a sign directing us to London Bridge but in the end the sign to the actual location is not easy to spot. However we found it and hopped out to have a look. The area is the most northern beach in the Mornington Peninsula National Park.

London Bridge at low tide

We found the bridge at the end of a relatively short bitumen footpath. It provides stunning views of this famous landform and the surrounding beach which is composed of sandstone and has been formed through weathering action of thousands of years of wind, rain and waves.

Apparently you can access the beach too but it is a very steep set of steps which we didn’t even try to attempt.

It was weird to turn around and see a swathe of artificial turf in what should be a National Park. Apparently there is a golf course for the rich here and I gather that they could get natural grass to grow on the very sandy soil. It seems wrong to me!

I love the recycled wood table and bench seats

Oh well, there didn’t seem to be much to see by car in this area so we went into Sorrento and had a fabulous fish and chip lunch. We had to wait a long time for the food but it was worth it. I love the table and seats were from recycled timbers.

The lovely SeaRoad Ferry

Finally we hop onto the Searoad Ferry. The ferry leaves Sorrento every hour on the hour and the trip is relatively short.

Looking back to Sorrento

Sadly I didn’t find the crossing nor the views anything spectacular. Maybe I am too blase from going on the Manly Ferry too often which I never tire of!

Michelle relaxing with a paper

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