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-   -   Campervan in WA (http://britishexpats.com/forum/australia-54/campervan-wa-903494/)

MikeJ Sep 18th 2017 8:50 pm

Campervan in WA
 
Hi there
BE from Spain here. Can anyone give a bit of advice, please?
My OH and I are visiting Western Australia - starting from Perth - next month and we have booked a campervan.

1. Just wondering what's the deal on wild camping in WA or do we have to use authorised campsites.
2. What are the best websites for finding and booking low-cost pitches?

Many thanks in anticipation.

SoCalDon Sep 18th 2017 9:17 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
I have no knowledge of WA at all but I find this place http://facebook.com/FreeCampingAustralia7 very useful for finding free camps around Queensland. It's a very active group.

carcajou Sep 19th 2017 1:05 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
This site about camping from Tourism WA may help:

Camping & Caravanning - Tourism Western Australia

Mostly in WA there are "caravan parks" that feature powered or unpowered sites and that can be a starting point for you. Virtually every townsite, no matter how small, will have one.

One thing to note is that outside of Perth, there are a lot of unsealed roads in Country WA and not all of these are suitable for campervans. It would be advisable to ring the town visitors information centre of each place you plan to visit a park etc at to find out (not the central state visitors information centre in Perth - they won't know about local conditions outside Perth or Peel) to find out.

The Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife also sell monthly or annual national park passes - the annual one is $84 and is a terrific deal as usually the parks cost $12 per vehicle to enter.

Watch your petrol and keep tabs on kilometer distances. Once you get out of the Perth-Bunbury corridor and the South West, you can go a LONG time between petrol stops. Don't miss an opportunity to fill up in the Outback. Many small towns - but certainly not all - have 24 hour automated petrol stations these days and these are often marked on a map.

Also - it is very dangerous to drive at night in the regions. Kangaroos (who are active at night) and nocturnal animals on the road. In the north you will also get cattle as there are no fences along the roads. Plan to be at your campsite before nightfall.

verystormy Sep 19th 2017 5:59 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
In outbreak areas you can camp where you want. However, if going into outback you should do so with care and good preparation. I have spent a number of years in the oz outback and if you want detailed advice drop me a pm.

bcworld Sep 19th 2017 10:31 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
Just a quick caution on insurances, extra charges etc. You might already have booked an all inclusive type package, but in Aus and NZ almost all campervan companies will charge a large bond to your credit card...and I mean charge, not pre-authorise a holding amount. Typically they will levy a fee on that transaction, say 2%, plus if your card is not an Aussie card you might also be hit for foreign currency fees. Then you're also subject to exchange rate fluctuations and the fees again when it's refunded!

First time renting in NZ I declined the higher insurance coverage as my annual travel cover covered the excess. In the end I paid as much in fees and charges as I would've done for the top insurance package which would've also thrown in a gas bottle refill etc.!

carcajou Sep 20th 2017 2:32 am

Re: Campervan in WA
 
OP - it would be helpful if you give us an idea of where in WA you are going. There are many members on here including myself and verystormy who know this state very, very well (I live in the WA bush).

One distinction: There is a difference between "Country" and "Outback." Places like Geraldton and Albany, and as far out as Wave Rock, and their surrounding areas are not "Outback" and while thinly populated you will have no special issues travelling to them or finding services at regular intervals. Special preparations not needed at all other than not driving at night.

However, once you get north of, say, Kalbarri, or east of a diagonal line starting at Yalgoo and ending down at Ravensthorpe, that is where "Outback" starts and things like carrying emergency supplies etc, special preparations etc come into play.

There are plenty of people in Perth who think the world ends in Lancelin and on numerous occasions I've heard Bunbury described as "the biggest city in the Outback" and people cautioning that you need a 4WD to go to Albany. Play along and enthrall them by describing how you roughed it to get to Margaret River. But the advice you will get from them will be hysteria and not serious.

Your best source of information aside from what you find online will be to ring the local visitors centres directly, or even campervan hire agencies in the larger regional towns where you are going - they will be helpful even if you aren't hiring from them.

ozzieeagle Sep 20th 2017 4:50 am

Re: Campervan in WA
 
There are more free camp sites in WA than any other state..... Stick to the bitumen in a camper van. The hire company will probably have that rule anyway.

Here's a starter.

Go to paid camping grounds the first couple of nights and chat with the locals, they will give you lots of tips....oh and try and get there before 3PM so as to get the best sites. If you're travelling more than say 6 hours a day, you're doing it wrong ;) Unless there are specific points you really crave seeing.


Even after 36 years here, I get over ambitious with the amount of distance I can cover in a day. WA is going to be far far far bigger than you ever imagined so do not get disappointed if you can't make it to certain places and don't wreck your holiday by trying to get to them.



https://caravanontour.com/free-camps...australia.html

carcajou Sep 20th 2017 5:18 am

Re: Campervan in WA
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ozzieeagle (Post 12342075)
There are more free camp sites in WA than any other state..... Stick to the bitumen in a camper van. The hire company will probably have that rule anyway.

Here's a starter.

Go to paid camping grounds the first couple of nights and chat with the locals, they will give you lots of tips....oh and try and get there before 3PM so as to get the best sites. If you're travelling more than say 6 hours a day, you're doing it wrong ;) Unless there are specific points you really crave seeing.


Even after 36 years here, I get over ambitious with the amount of distance I can cover in a day. WA is going to be far far far bigger than you ever imagined so do not get disappointed if you can't make it to certain places and don't wreck your holiday by trying to get to them.



https://caravanontour.com/free-camps...australia.html

Yes, and to put it in perspective for OP - we are leaving on a road trip very, very soon. It will take three full days of driving (day only) and we won't even reach the state border.

ozzieeagle Sep 20th 2017 7:28 am

Re: Campervan in WA
 
The other thing, if you're heading from Perth the natural instinct is to drive as far up the coast towards Broome, Cable Beach, Sunshine and all that entails. However, it's probably far more interesting and more picturesque South of Perth and around towards Albany, albeit far cooler. I'd call that a pretty difficult choice, especially when you throw in beautiful Mandurah and it's abundant dolphins, Margaret river the surrounding caves and the old forests all along the way into the mix.

I definitely want to drive to Albany through to Perth as it's got some great scenery along the way. AFAIK once you get about 400k's North of Perth and the consequent 2 or 3 days continuation onto Broome and potentially same way back again of comparative dead driving, then that makes it a very different proposition, especially if you've only a few weeks of hire to do it in.

I'm not driving to Broome until I've got at least 5 months up my sleeve.... I'm talking from Melbourne though. Reason being the logical way to go is to carry on to Darwin from Broome, whereas if you've got a couple of months, then Perth from Melbourne via the South is a very rewarding drive. I'd say given only a few weeks, then I'd advise the South of Perth really. A few weeks will be too rushed to go to Broome IMO, especially as you will be going over the same ground twice, whereas, with the South of Perth, you can either go Inland as far as the Bitumen will take you before heading to the coast, and then back along the coast to Perth, that would be a good 1 month of taking your time sightseeing in very beautiful country, some of the best in the country for the most part, plus the Inland portion will give you a feel of the Outback and to be frank, after 3 days worth, out of a month, that will probably all you want to see of it.

It's up to the OP, just my personal view after a long time living here.

carcajou Sep 20th 2017 9:43 am

Re: Campervan in WA
 
If OP is going to go down Albany way, I would recommend that when he circles back to Perth, he do so through the Wheatbelt and visit some of the huge granite monoliths - I believe almost all have some kind of camping facility and regardless see my comment on even the smallest towns having caravan parks. So that would be Wave Rock (at Hyden), Kokerbin Rock (near Bruce Rock - this is actually the third biggest monolith in Australia, after Mt Augustus and Uluru), Elachbutting Rock and Beringbooding Rock (both near Mukinbudin), Sandalford Rocks near Westonia. Of those - Wave Rock is probably my least favourite and the two at Mukinbudin (only about 10 km apart from each other) the best.

Going up north - Ningaloo Reef and Karijini National Park are only a few hours apart and combining the two would be a trip you never forget - in my view this itinerary should be given strong consideration if you haven't already got your plan sorted, particularly as you can go up the coastal road and then back the inland road. Add on the Kennedy Ranges near Carnarvon and if time Mt Augustus or Millstream-Chichester. Cue is an interesting overnight stop if coming back via the inland road.

louie Sep 20th 2017 1:24 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
I'm amazed no-one's mentioned Wikicamps. We've been on the road full time for more than 18 months now and use virtually nothing else in planning our stops. Best $8 you'll ever shell out.

If you prefer paper, Camps9 should be your bible.

We've not made it to WA yet (that's next year's plan) but everyone we've spoken to waxes lyrical about it. Next month should be relatively quiet too.

Dorothy Sep 20th 2017 1:28 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
We went for a bit of a road trip last week (we live about an hour north of Perth near Yanchep) down to Pemberton. We head down to Bridgetown quite often as that's where my partner's kids live but thought we'd head a little farther south for a change.

There's a bunch of nice scenic drives around the area through the karri forests and on Friday we managed to go on about a 3 hour drive all through the old logging roads (which are pretty well maintained still). Not another vehicle to be seen, but really easily drivable unsealed roads. Saturday we found a bunch of backroads and headed to Denmark for lunch :lol: 5 hours' driving for lunch.

In a couple of weeks we're going to drive up to Geraldton for a weekend - it's a 4 hour drive. We go to Albany for long weekends a couple of times a year, too.

When you're in WA, a 4 or 5 hour drive is just what you do if you want to go anywhere.

carcajou Sep 20th 2017 2:10 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dorothy (Post 12342361)
We went for a bit of a road trip last week (we live about an hour north of Perth near Yanchep) down to Pemberton. We head down to Bridgetown quite often as that's where my partner's kids live but thought we'd head a little farther south for a change.

There's a bunch of nice scenic drives around the area through the karri forests and on Friday we managed to go on about a 3 hour drive all through the old logging roads (which are pretty well maintained still). Not another vehicle to be seen, but really easily drivable unsealed roads. Saturday we found a bunch of backroads and headed to Denmark for lunch :lol: 5 hours' driving for lunch.

In a couple of weeks we're going to drive up to Geraldton for a weekend - it's a 4 hour drive. We go to Albany for long weekends a couple of times a year, too.

When you're in WA, a 4 or 5 hour drive is just what you do if you want to go anywhere.

Dorothy, climb those lookout trees in Pemberton now while you still can. The first time some idiot gets drunk, climbs halfway up and then falls - the next morning the government will close them forever.

When you head up to Gero, ring the visitors' centre in Mullewa to see if the wreath flowers are still out - it's been a bad wildflower season but there were quite a few wreath flowers out a few weeks ago out by Pindar. Pindar if memory serves me is about a 90 minute drive from Gero but the Everlastings were out in spots on that road as well so worth it if you have a morning to spare.

The "4 or 5 hour drive" - I put 5,000 to 6,000 kms on my car every month . . .

MikeJ Sep 20th 2017 4:30 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
Thanks for all the replies - I'm overwhelmed by your responses.

We won't be going outback - we are restricted to a maximum of 20kms from the hardtop and then only for access.

We are planning to start in the Margaret River areas and we have pre-booked a couple of nights in Busselton to get started. We were the hoping to meander up the Indian Ocean coast. We were hoping to be able to stop when we found a nice place and just chill out and enjoy the scenery. Having to book fixed sites in advance is a bit limiting and adds quite a lot of cost. We aren't planning on going much further north than Geraldton or maybe Kilbarri.

carcajou Sep 21st 2017 12:15 pm

Re: Campervan in WA
 
Kalbarri will be worth it, if you can get that far. It's only about 90 minutes north of Geraldton.


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