There are changes afoot on a popular stretch of WA’s Turquoise Coast where a massive redevelopment of four camping destinations between Jurien Bay and Kalbarri is currently taking place. In response to overwhelming visitation from self-sufficient travellers and a $1.5 million injection from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions fund, construction work has begun on two new campgrounds, while others in the region will be improved and expanded to keep caravanners, campers and motorhomers local for longer.
By the end of May, the first of two new campgrounds at Lucky Bay near Port Gregory will open to travellers, while a new user-pays campground at Milligan Island north of Green Head will replace the lovely freebie at Billy Goat Bay. Both sites are likely to attract camping fees similar to the über-popular and soon-to-be-expanded Sandy Cape Recreation Area near Jurien Bay, which currently costs $15 per site.
Camped on the Cliff
Remaining gloriously fee-free despite the addition of new amenities and an updated access track is the very scenic camping area at Cliff Head south of Dongara. This excellent destination with grassy beachfront camping stretched along the base of long limestone cliffs, is the first in the area to attract an overhaul.
By the end of April, a new access road off the Indian Ocean Drive will seal the way to Cliff Head’s three camping areas – north, south and central – where new amenities will include toilets, picnic shelters and a fire pit. The site will continue to welcome campers for stays of up to three nights at no charge, and with toilets on site, there is no requirement for rigs to be fully self-contained.
Cliff Head’s campground improvements come on the back of concerns about bushfire safety and the ability of firefighters to locate and warn campers who are typically strung out at beachfront nooks right along the coast. While Irwin Shire management hopes to lure travellers to the Cliff Head camps by providing better facilities and access, they have said there are no plans to close the two neighbouring free campgrounds located to the south at Freshwater and Knobby Head.
Also remaining free is the waterfront camp at 7 Mile Beach north of Dongara and an overnight camping area at Dongara’s Town Oval, both suitable for fully self-contained rigs only (i.e. those with a toilet and grey water storage on board). The town camp is convenient for travellers keen to explore Dongara itself, spend a night on the town or make use of the town’s free public Wi-Fi, its dump point (also on Town Oval) and top up precious drinking water supplies at the Recreation Boat Ramp in nearby Port Denison, before heading north. Famous for its thriving crayfishing industry, Dongara and Port Denison are home to a very large fishing fleet and its seafront is a pleasant place to picnic, exercise and play.