240km north of Perth
An expanse of white sand to play on, turquoise blue water in a small sheltered bay, waves gently lapping the shore to lull you to sleep, and sunsets to enjoy while cooking dinner. That just about sums up camping at Sandy Cape.
An easy 240 kilometres north of Perth, Sandy Cape Recreation Park is perfect for a long weekend getaway especially for families.
However Sandy Cape is so popular over long weekends and school holidays that I suggest you escape Perth early to beat the rush as campsites cannot be pre-booked and are occupied on a first come first served basis. Off peak times, this is a quiet camp you might find you have all to yourself.
The campground is run by the Shire of Dandaragan and camping is restricted to four nights only, which allows a changeover of groups especially during popular seasons.
There are two campgrounds – with twenty bays in the south camping area and eighteen in the north camping area. We reached Sandy Cape at about 1.30pm after having lunch at Jurien Bay. The south camp was already full but we found a sheltered spot just behind the first line of sand dunes at the north camp with a foot track leading directly from our camp to the beach.
It wasn’t long before we had our camper set up, and the kettle boiling, before heading over to the beach to splash in the calm water of the bay and go fishing. Evidently you can catch all the usual species here found along this part of the WA coast (mulloway, tailor, whiting etc). Please be aware of the sanctuary zones as they are part of the Jurien Bay Marine Park and strictly no fishing. However the fish weren’t cooperative for us and we bagged only one whiting. The blowfish enjoyed taking our baits.
Despite the lack of fish it was a pleasant way to spend a late afternoon on the beach as there was no wind and the temperature was perfect.
After dinner we went for a walk and decided that the north camp where we had camped was preferable to the south camp where the spots seemed to be a lot closer together, although the south camp was slightly more shaded.
There is no camp kitchen, but there is a picnic shelter in the south camp. Toilets are long drop self-composting variety, and the water tank by the toilets is strictly non-drinkable. Please bring your own water supply for drinking, cooking, teeth cleaning and showers. If you run short of water or supplies Jurien Bay is only about a half hour drive away.
There is plenty to do at Sandy Cape. Beach walks, a boardwalk south of the camp brings you to elevated views over the bay (be aware of unstable limestone cliff formations) or you can climb the huge white sand dunes at the back of the campground. You can also go boating, snorkelling, canoeing and kayaking. Or bring your windsurfer. Whilst riding or driving of unlicensed vehicles is prohibited, there is beach access for 4WD vehicles north of the camp.
This is a breeding area for sea lions, which can be aggressive, so please do not feed them, and try to stay 10 metres away from them if you encounter them when swimming or beach walking.
Further afield you can visit Stockyard Gully caves, the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park, and Lesueur National Park which has over 900 known flora species and is an important flora conservation area.
At the end of the day we sat on the sand dunes and were treated to a brilliant sunset that lit up the sky in a kaleidoscope of colours.
Where is it: Approx. 240 kms north of Perth via Indian Ocean Drive. Turn off to Sandy Cape is 10km north of Jurien Bay, then 6km via gravel road to the campground, suitable for most conventional vehicles and caravans.
Facilities: Long drop toilets, non-potable water, no BBQs.
Wheelchair access: Nothing specific
Pets permitted on leash.
Camp fees can be paid direct to the camp host or into the envelopes at the Information Bay. Fees: $15 per site per night (for 2 adults and 2 children (3-16 years), additional adult $3, additional children $2/night.
Camping is restricted to 4 nights only.
Camp fires may be allowed in built fire places. Please check local fire bans and rules.
Bring all supplies including fuel and water and take away all rubbish. Rubbish bins are provided at the Information Bay.
Please do not dispose of chemical portaloos down the toilets. A chemical dump facility is located next to the Information Bay.
Bushfires are a real threat in the bushland areas of Jurien Bay and surrounds. In the event of fire, please stay on designated roads and avoid overgrown tracks and listen to local radio for updates.
More information: http://www.dandaragan.wa.gov.au/camping-information.aspx