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Published September 26th 2019
The Best Things in Life are Free
Camp on the beach (Guido Santner / BY-SA 3.0)
Perth is packed with playtime activities but our massive state has easy escapes from the office grind. Western Australia has plenty of camping sites lining the coast and dotting a landscape as vast as Western Europe.
Skip the city's foodies, selfie-takers and politicians as you grab a tent and sleeping bag to flee Perth for the weekend. Take your pick of these top 5 camping sites, each in a pristine landscape and accessible in everyday road cars. Oh, and they're completely free!
At each campsite, you'll sleep beneath a blanket of thousands of shimmering stars. Lie back and ponder the reasons you 'went bush':
Pleasures - Digital divide. Savour serene silence, away from streaming TV, inane smartphone games, mobile phone zombie pedestrians and viral video junkies.
- Natural detox. In the time it takes to pitch a tent, the next batch of celebrity-inspired books, supplements, recipes, shakes, smoothies and pills will hit the market. Don't succumb to their miracle cures of wrinkle-free skin, the secret of life or abs of steel. Instead, breath fresh air, drink pure water, take a brisk hike amongst hundreds of plant and animal species, and ask yourself, "How's the serenity?"
- Logfire lunches. In the CBD, anxious officeworkers are clawing at plastic packaging to access pre-packed, preserved, processed portions of 'food'. In the outback, you'll feast on barbecued fish, veggies grilled over a hotplate, sweet damper dipped in golden syrup or eggs sizzling over a campfire. It's all guilt-free after exploring nature's wonder.
- Aussie beauty. Hiking through WA's diverse landscapes, from lush forests and pristine waterfalls to ancient cliffs and rocky valleys, you'll be touched (but not bitten) by Australia's unique natives, from the vibrant rainbows of colour in the wildflowers and butterflies to curious kangaroos, koalas, wombats and lizards.
- Outback adventurer status. Swap tales with your nature-loving idols, including Bindi Irwin, Bear Grylls and even Dick Smith (just don't mention Ozemite).
-Warm glow of slightly smug pride. After surviving your outback expedition, return home to plumbing, refrigeration and restaurants.
Light up your camp night (Max Pixel / CC0 1.0)
Overcome with the desire to hit the great outdoors? Finished studying episodes of Survivorman? Begin the adventure at one of these top 5 free campsites in Western Australia.
James Price Point
In the Kimberley Region, 52km north of Broome, the James Price Point camping grounds are nestled beside the largest humpback whale nursery in the world. Laze on white sandy beaches beside the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Check out the Point's Indigenous legacy, the giant fossilised footprints believed to be the imprints of Emu-Man, an ancestor from the Dreamtime. In 2016, scientists dubbed the site "Australia's Jurassic Park" after discovering the largest single dinosaur print in the world amongst the large variety of impressions left by the massive reptiles.
Pets are welcome (the dinosaurs are extinct) and you'll enjoy warm showers when the sun is shining over the solar panels. You can fish for trevally and salmon while spotting turtles and dugongs.
Fresh coffee at your beach camp (Max Pixel / CC0 1.0)
Drive 5 hours east of Perth, you'll reach a dam built in the late 1800s from slabs of the region's granite rock. This marvel of civil construction functioned as a cooling source for steam trains loaded with gold from Kalgoorlie.
Fish for yabbies to cook at the site's barbies. Karalee Rock also has picnic tables, toilets and showers but you should bring drinking water and wood for a campfire.
The site's name might have been coined by an unlucky prospector after he searched in vein for some of WA's gold. You won't need a metal detector to find the rich ochre soil and tall green myrtle bushes topped by flaming blossoms.
Wander the rugged granite steps before building your own cairn beside a bevy of balancing towers of stacked stones. Scan the ground for a gnamma hole, an Indigenous water source tucked in the granite hollow.
Visit in spring for the rainbow of colour as wildflowers thrive atop the largest A-shape rock formation in Australia. You'll share the site with sunbaking lizards.