The Best Camping in Western Australia’s South for under $15

Australia’s South West. A region of Western Australia comprising of deep red dirt and towering endemic karri forests, contrasted with bleached white sand and startling blue oceans.

Everywhere you look, you’re struck with the regions startling unique beauty. 

A beautiful sunrise over Little Beach while camping in Western Australia

We spent a month in our camper van, circling the south-west with jaws on the ground and excitement in our bellies as we took on every adventure and ridiculously amazing landscape.

Camping within the South West amongst these giant karri trees, looking up at the billions of twinkling lights above – Or on the ocean’s edge, close enough to feel the sea mist, is a luxury no hotel can offer.

At least not for less than $30 a night for two!

There are countless benefits to camping in South West Australia. Not only will you gain the best natural experiences, getting up close with native animals and stunning scenery, but you will be situated perfectly for all the epic activities this West Australian region has to offer. 

I’ve put together a list of our absolute favourite campsites in South West Australia, complete with all the information you’ll need to camp there yourself – including the best activities to do in the surrounding area. 


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Shelley Beach 

We knew we had picked a winner as we emerged from the forests and started winding down a dirt road cut into the steep sides of the coastal mountains. Shelley Beach lay serenely below, glassy water lapping at the fine white sand.

Huge 1,100 million-year-old granite boulders border the crescent-shaped beach at both ends, providing a slightly sheltered cove for swimming, surfing and fishing.

Beautiful Shelley Beach from the lookout while camping in Western Australia

Hang-gliders frequent the hill above and make for the perfect pass time as you sunbake on the powdery sand and watch them soar. 

These hang-gliders were convenient for more than something fun to watch… they informed us of a shark they saw circling the darker waters further out to sea! 

No wonder we spotted a little Sea Lion catching waves close to shore.

Lucky the waves weren’t surf-able that morning…

We weren’t too sad about this as Shelley Beach was the perfect place to relax.

Camping in Western Australia's amazing Shelley Beach Campsite

How to Get There

Beginning from Albany (35km east) or Denmark (38km west), it’s a 40-minute drive to reach Shelley Beach in West Cape Howe National Park. After turning off Lower Denmark Rd, the last 9 kilometres on Hortin Rd and Shelley Beach Rd consist of a dirt road which is in good condition for 2WD cars and vans.


Camping at Shelley Beach is $11 per person. A little pricey but worth it for the views and seclusion.

A national parks pass is required to enter West Cape Howe National Park. You can pick up a holiday pass for $25 for 5 days, $40 for 14 days, $60 for 1 month or $120 for a year. Visit the Parks website for more details.


Shelley Beach camping area consists of a clean long drop toilet with hand sanitiser, plenty of flat grassy spots for tents and good phone reception. 

Shelley Beach is the only 2wd accessible area in the national park, making it a busy little campground on summer weekends. The small nature of the Shelley Beach camping area makes it unsuitable for large caravans or big camping trailers.

No dogs are allowed as it’s a national park and there is no drinking water.

Closest Attractions

In Albany, a 50-minute drive east, there are plenty of surf breaks and the famous Natural Bridge.

Elephant Rocks is a sight not to miss, located 15 minutes west of Denmark. Unfortunately, they were doing repairs on the boardwalk while we were visiting and we had to miss this phenomenon.

We were gutted!

Just over an hour to the west is the Valley of the Giants Tree Top walk. For $21 you can take a walk 40m suspended in the sky amongst the tops of the tall Tingle Trees.

Enjoying the view from the tops of the trees at the Valley of the Giants Tree Top walk while camping in Western Australia

The Valley of the Giants Tree Top walk is a short and cheap experience that’s good for the whole family… Just don’t look down if you’re scared of heights!

Norman’s Beach

Norman’s Beach is awarded our favourite – legal – free camping in Western Australia. This cosy campsite is the least popular among Bettys Beach and East Bay due to the fact it lacks beachfront views. Though what it lacks in ocean views, it makes up for in beauty.

Nestled into the Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Melaleuca trees, the six designated camping spots at Norman’s Beach provide a welcomed shelter from the beating sun and crazy southern winds. 

Our cosy campsite at Normans Beach while camping in Western Australia

A short walking track takes you to Norman’s Beach, stretching 2.5 kilometres from Manypeaks Nature Reserve to the east and meeting Bettys Beach to the west. The wide-open nature results in a treacherous ocean at times and supplies some epic advanced surfing closer to the points. 

While there may not be views of the ocean, Norman’s Beach campsite sits alongside an inlet that’s perfect for a lazy swim, especially if the beach is too hazardous. 

Birds eye view of the ocean and inlet of Normans Beach while camping in Western Australia

Salmon fishing is huge along this stretch of coast from the middle of February through to the end of April. If you stand atop the lookout above Normans Beach, you’ll most likely spot a school of salmon. 

Be aware though, when there’s salmon there’s a much higher chance of sharks as well. So maybe only dip a toe or two in the ocean through these times…

How to Get There

Norman’s Beach campsite is a 45-minute drive (50km) east of Albany along the South Coast Hwy.

It is 2WD accessible, though the last 14-kilometre on Homestead Rd and Normans Beach Rd is dirt and quite corrugated the closer you get to Norman’s Beach. This may add a little more time for smaller cars.

And Camper Vans for that matter! Our van Percy had to take it quite slow.


Norman’s Beach campsite is FREE! With a maximum of 7 days stay.


The campsite at Norman’s Beach offers long drop toilets, bins and picnic tables. An information board about the area is located at the beginning of the campground. Next to this information board is the only spot of Telstra reception… weird, I know! 

Large caravans aren’t suitable for this campsite due to small turn around areas and limited camping sites.

Closest Attractions

Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is 50 kilometres west of Norman’s Beach and is home to this ‘Insta Famous’ rock at Little Beach…

Sitting on the iconic rock at Two Peoples Bay while camping in Western Australia

Snorkelling around these bays is the perfect morning activity, followed by lazing in the rock pools for the afternoon.

There are plenty of world-class surf breaks, including Nanarup which is located around the point of Two Peoples Bay to the west.

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Cape Le Grand 

The secluded beaches of Cape Le Grand were voted the best in Australia. Need I say more?

Cape Le Grand is our favourite campsite and second favourite national park in South West Australia – nothing could beat the towering Stirling Range National Park.

Dylan trying to catch his hat at our cosy little campsite in Cape Le Grand on our big trip camping in Western Australia

A campground tucked in behind the sand dunes, a stone’s throw from Cape Le Grand Beach. Each designated site closed in by trees, perfect for a hammock and some privacy. Needless to say, Cape Le Grand’s camping site took our breath away.

The calm turquoise waters of Cape Le Grand beach were perfect for a snorkel along the rocks, and the startling white sand was hard-packed enough for Percy – our fat 4-tonne camper van – to drive onto the beach. 

Could you think of a better place for an afternoon beer and picnic?

candace enjoying a beer on le grand beach while camping in Western Australia

How To Get There

Cape Le Grand is an easy 45-minute drive (55km east) from Esperance along Merivale Rd. The only turn being right on Cape Le Grand Rd. The entire way up to the car park outside Cape Le Grand’s camping spot is bitumen. 


Cape Le Grand camping is $15 per person. It is the busiest campground we came across in Western Australia and we were lucky to jag a spot. Booking far in advance is recommended for Cape Le Grand or Lucky Bay, which is even more popular.

A national parks pass is required to enter Cape Le Grand National Park. You can pick up a holiday pass for $25 for 5 days, $40 for 14 days, $60 for 1 month or $120 for a year. Visit the Parks website for more details.

This is the most expensive campsite on my list, though for good reason…


There is a shower! Absolute gold for Van Lifers and well worth the $15.

Cape Le Grand’s camping ground offers a sheltered bbq area, flushing toilets, showers, bins and non-drinking water.

No dogs or fires are allowed inside the national park. There is hardly any phone reception, though there is wifi at the front of the campground that is there for site bookings… though you’d have to be super lucky to grab a site on the day!

Closest Attraction 

Cape Le Grand National Park offers incredible views of sweeping hills, rocky coastal peaks and kangaroos…

The famous Lucky Bay is home to a colony of curious and friendly kangaroos that are often found sunbaking on the stunning white sand. This is another beach which you can drive a 2WD onto and another perfect picnic spot.

Candace hanging out with the kangaroos at Lucky Bay while camping in Western Australia

For a little more adventure, the park offers plenty of walking tracks that link many of the rugged coastal sections between Le Grand Beach and Rossiter Bay. A walk up Frenchman Peak is a must. The panoramic views are worth the climb. 

If that isn’t adventurous enough for you, rock climbing is popular for the pro’s at Frenchman Peak and Mount Le Grand.

Esperance is worth a peek along your travel. A beautiful coastal town surrounded by ripping surf breaks that cater to all levels of surfers. Make sure to check out our favourite – West Beach.

Glen Mervyn Dam

Glen Mervyn is our favourite free bush camping in south-west WA. We picked this one with only a few hours of light left and were pleasantly surprised.

Tall trees enclose the dam, making for the perfect hidden getaway. And being inland, it isn’t as popular with the tourists, providing a much quieter experience. 

Our favourite free bush campsite at Glen Mervyn Dam while camping in Western Australia

Swimming in the freshwater is almost as good as a shower and if you’ve got a boat, these waters are perfect for waterskiing and fishing. Make sure to check the water levels before visiting though, as droughts in WA is a common occurrence.

How To Get There

Glen Mervyn Dam is a 2-hour drive (147 km east) from Bunbury. Turn west off Collie-Preston Rd onto Best Rd. Best Rd is a well-maintained dirt road, though once turning left off it, things get a little hairy. Nothing our 2WD camper van couldn’t handle…

Well, sort of. We bounced our way through the skinny, overgrown track with clenched jaws!

Goole Maps tells you to go the long and bumpy way. Instead, follow the makeshift signs and turn left earlier than google says. 


This campsite is completely FREE!


Glen Mervyn campground is equipped with a long drop toilet and some patchy Telstra reception. Dogs are allowed and any sized caravan is acceptable – if you can get down the sketchy road!

There are a few nooks a little farther from the dam that is good for a night if you can’t make it to the water’s edge. 

Closest Attraction

South West Australia surprised us with multiple mountain bike trails. Glen Mervyn is closest to Wellington Mills Mountain Bike Park – a 30-minute drive west – which offers some awesome and raw gravity trails.

Dylan mountain biking at Wellington Mills while camping in Western Australia

Black Diamond Lake is a 30-minute drive north and boasts of startling blue waters contrasting with almost white crumbling banks. The lake is an old mine site that filled up with water after being decommissioned in the ’50s. 

Enjoying the solitude at Black Diamond Lake while camping in Western Australia

It’s popular amongst Instagramers for its beauty and with the locals on a hot day. The recommendation is to keep your head above water due to possible contamination. So grab those floaties and paddle-boards and float to your heart’s content.

Our most exciting find was Gnomesville. Yep, you read correctly. 

Gnomesville is located a few minutes outside of Wellington Mills – 30 minutes west of Glen Mervyn – and is home to a community of thousands of Gnomes! 

The well at Gnomesville that we stumbled across while camping in Western Australia

The story is a cute one, beginning over a decade ago with a single gnome placed in a tree next to a junction where the school bus stopped. From there, gnomes began popping up like wild mushrooms after rain. Read the whole story in the picture below.

Gnomesville sign that explains its history that we stumbled across while camping in Western Australia

Sids Campground

Sids Campground is the quirkiest of campsites we visited on our Australian Road Trip. Located on private property, the owners have gone above and beyond to make a unique campground out of junk – for lack of better word – including an old car canopy for a toilet roof and a ‘Ritz Hotel’ sign to welcome you to the camp kitchen. 

Candace happy in our site at Sids Campground while camping in Western Australia

The bush camp is beautifully peaceful. You’ll often see Sid drive down to check things out, giving a friendly wave and sparking warm conversations.

How To Get There

Sids Campground is located on Riverway Road, 5 minutes south from Northcliffe and 2 hours (162km) east of Margaret River. Google Maps knows of the campground and gets an A+ for directions.


$5 per person will get you an unpowered site at Sids Campground and for an extra $5 each, you will have the luxury of power. This has to be the cheapest full amenity campsite we have stayed at.


Sids has it all. A solar-powered shower, flushing toilets, drinking water, powered sites and a full camp kitchen complete with two stovetops and even a kettle. 

Phone reception is strong here and dogs are allowed. 

Closest Attraction

National parks surround Sids Campground and are full of walks and peaceful scenic drives through karri forests.

Though you cannot venture to this neck of the woods without attempting the climb up one or both of the old Fire Lookout Trees. 

The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree and the Gloucester Tree were once used to watch for fires and are now there to test your courage. 

The Gloucester Tree is the smallest of the two, reaching 58m. Test your fear of heights climbing this one before moving on to the tallest. 

Climbing Dave Bicentennial tree, the old fire lookout near Pemberton while camping in Western Australia

The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is 65m tall and consists of 165 pegs. The heart pumps hard climbing to the top of the fire lookout. Feel as one with the surrounding trees as you sway in the wind. 

These climbs are not for the faint-hearted. Climbing down is even more stressful than climbing up! But it is oh so worth it for the adrenaline and the view.

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Boranup Campground

Set deep into the Boranup Forest is a tiny campsite hidden almost completely by trees. Boranup campground produces the full bush camping experience and its secluded remoteness makes for a cosy catch up with nature. 

We felt as if not another soul was near as we whiled away an afternoon swinging in the hammock.

Our awesome set up while camping in Western Australia is shown perfectly at Boranup

It is only suitable for small vans and tents due to the dense bush and low lying trees branches. We managed to fit our VW Crafter, but anything bigger would struggle.

How To Get There

Boranup Campground is located on the smooth dirt road of Boranup Dr, west off Caves Rd. It is a 30-minute drive (35km) south of Margaret River.


The only downside to this campsite is the cost. $11 per person is a little steep for a bush camp. But because the Margaret River region is becoming increasingly popular, it’s hard to find anything cheaper – let alone free!


A long drop toilet and phone reception are available at Boranup Campground. Unfortunately, no dogs are allowed and there isn’t any drinking water. 

Closest Attraction

Boranup Forest is 10 minutes from Hamelin Bay, home to the greatest natural animal experience in South West Australia… swimming with stingrays! These guys are so amazing to see in their natural habitat. 

Giving a stingray a high five at Hamelin Bay while camping in Western Australia

Feeling the stingrays sliding up against a leg gives you chills of excitement. 

Caves Road is not named by random and provides more than a stunning forest drive. The road from Augusta to Yallingup sits atop a network of underground caves. 

exploring Lake Cave near Margaret River while camping in Western Australia

There are four caves – Jewel Cave, Ngilgi Cave, Mammoth Cave and Lake Cave – you can visit on a guided or partially guided tour. Each is impressive in their own way and won’t disappoint.

And of course, you’re situated perfectly at Boranup for the numerous world-class surf breaks littering the South West coastline. Make sure to check out Yallingup and Surfers Point for some serious surfing.

Admiring the sights of Contos Beach while camping in Western Australia

Herron Point Campground

Now we’ve all heard about the famous Western Australian sunsets. But nothing prepares you for how incredible they are. They quite literally light up the sky with dozens of shades of pink and red and blue and yellow. 

Enjoying the sunset at Herron Point while camping in Western Australia

Herron Point Campground, situated on the eastern shores of the Peel-Harvey inlet puts on a spectacular show at sunset. Not only that, but the beautiful campsite is also full of hilariously annoying Australian Ringneck Parrots. 

Don’t accidentally feed one like I did, unless you want them sitting on your head and bombarding you every time you’ve got food.

Watching the cheeky parrots at Herron Point while camping in Western Australia

How To Get There

Herron Point Campground is 1.5 hours (100km) south of Perth and located west of the Forrest Hwy on Herron Point Road. 


Being so close to Perth, its a surprise to find any cheap campsites. But Herron Point delivers with only charging $8.50 a night.


Flushing toilets, bins and water are found at Herron Point Campground. Phone reception is strong and dogs are allowed on leads. 

Closest Attraction

Perth is the obvious attraction close to Herron Point and offers all you could want from a city. Make sure to stop in at Mandurah on your way north. It’s a beautiful coastal town with tasty cafes and pristine beaches.

Serpentine Falls is a 50-minute drive north of Herron Point. The entire Serpentine River Valley is beautiful, with walks available throughout the park. But the stand out is the waterfall, cascading down smoothed granite rocks into a delightfully fresh pool.

Cooling off in Serpentine Falls while camping in Western Australia

Dylan decided to jump from the top, which I should not recommend… 

And no, I don’t have a photo of him jumping as he ummed and ahhed for so long I got bored of holding the camera. 


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Tonys Bend Campground – Lane Poole Reserve

Winding waterways and vibrant forests make up Lane Poole Reserve, a 50,000-hectare park in the northern jarrah forest. 

Plenty of campgrounds are located along the flowing banks of The Murray River. We chose Tonys Bend, the campsite closest to the river and felt happily at home surrounded by the chirping birds and rushing river. 

Our secluded campsite in Lane Poole Reserve while camping in Western Australia

Lane Poole Reserve is brimming with walking tracks and the river offers a few fun rapids to guide a canoe down.

If you don’t happen to travel with a huge arse canoe, swimming is a perfect plan B.

How To Get There

Lane Poole Reserve is located 1.5 hours south (121km) of Perth. Follow the Kwinana Fwy south before veering east onto Pinjarra-Williams Rd and finally turn right onto Nanga Rd.

Google sent us on a wild goose chase trying to find Tonys Bend Campground. It will tell you to go down a track that is now blocked off due to private property. And all the ‘river crossings’ you see are small bridges that are easily accessed. Unless of course, a huge rainfall has occurred recently.

Make sure to check before driving in.

The proper entry to the reserve is off Nanga Rd, where you will see a sign for Lane Poole Reserve. On the contrary to what Google says, you can get to the other side of the river from here. Once you’re in the reserve, signs will help guide you to the right campsite.

After giving up on Google, we used WikiCamps to help figure out if we were on the right track.


Being a reserve, these campsites are quite pricey. However, the $11 a night does cover the entry fee into Lane Poole Reserve.


Tonys Bend Campground is equipped with designated campsites and a long drop toilet. Dogs are allowed in this reserve as are all types of camper vans and camping trailers.

Sadly (or gladly) there is no reception at this campsite.

Closest Attraction

Lane Poole Reserve is home to Murray Valley Mountain Biking, a park that surpassed our expectations immensely. Consisting of three downhill tracks and two up trails, you could spend hours lapping the perfectly groomed berms and fun tabletop jumps. 

Candace jumping at Murray Valley mtb while camping in Western Australia

There are runs for beginners through to advanced here and we found this was the perfect MTB park to practice our jumping skills. 

Perth is an hour and a half drive north from Lane Poole Reserve, making this a great alternative to camp while visiting the coastal city.

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