Camping at Sandy Cape Western Australia
With no work scheduled for the weekend and wanting the feeling of disconnection from the daily grind, we packed up the car, leaving the cat with a big bowl of biscuits and headed North of Perth to camp on the beach for the night.
Jurien Bay is the furtherest north we’ve been, so it was a bit of a new experience for us to drive towards what is widely known as W.A’s turquoise coast. Speaking of drive, it was fairly straightforward, once we were on Wanneroo Road it’s virtually one single carriage road for almost the whole way.
The journey to the first main town of Lancelin was pretty ordinary, passing a lot of cleared desolate looking land, the area looked like a seen from Z for Zachariah. I guess it’s land pending housing development? The scene outside the window improved when we approached Lancelin. Sand dunes rose up in stark contrast to the low lying green bushland. Beautiful rolling hills of black boy trees appeared and eventually Indian Ocean Drive lived up to its name because the sparkling blue coast appeared! The road unravels inland and you can veer left to reach the seaside towns of Cervantes and Jurien Bay. We decided to skip the towns and stop on the way back.
The weather forecast wasn’t looking the best with winds and a slight chance of rain. It was grey skies for the whole drive, but according to Mr Weatherman, Sunday was looking up. We reached Sandy Cape Road after driving through Jurien Bay. One sign caught our interest at the entrance, a warning of asbestos fragments in the area. Hmmmmmm. I guess it is a good thing the local council have made the warning clear. The 7km pea gravel road was pretty rough with loads of corrugated patches. We passed a mine site entrance and figured the big trucks were likely contributing to the road’s condition. Also explains the nice wide road.
We stopped off at the information bay to deposit the camping fee in the envelope box. Be sure to keep the receipt on the car dashboard in case the caretaker comes around to check. The camping ground was looking full including tent land where we were hoping to nab a spot. As we drove through, it was a slight let down to see a campsite taken up by a trailer or portable toilet by the adjoining occupants. Looked like most people had fun shopping at the local BCF. Having a tent, we searched for a sheltered area and found one spot in the open, not ideal, however, we were able to use the car to cut off some of the wind exposure. Apart from the fact that we forgot the mallet, pitching up the tent was almost seamless. It was a good feeling to have everything sorted with just enough time to enjoy the sunset and the bottle of red wine opened.
We were glamping this evening! Aside from bringing the pillows, I brought along a meat mince prepared earlier at home for nachos. While the mix was heating in the pot, we made a salsa of goat cheese, olive oil, tomato, onion and cucumber. It was a pretty uneventful evening and yet the MOST relaxing one. It rained lightly during the evening with the wind shifting, a few gusts catching us on alert. It was a bit of a test for the tent, one corner of the outer fly sheet flapped constantly but it did stop the wind from reaching the 2nd layer. As long as we woke up with the tent still pitched – all would be good! We fell asleep to the sounds of the waves behind the sand dunes. Perfect.
The next morning was as Mr Weatherman promised, the ocean pristine and the sun warm in a clear blue sky. I woke wide eyed with the sun and grabbed the camera for one of my wanders leaving Derek snoozing away in the tent. When we camp, I have this tendency to disappear from the tent at sunrise for a bit of an explore. I love the calmness of the day, the light is low, no one is around and the scene looks picturesque. There is a big sand dune system behind, or could it be in front of the campsite? Depending on way you look at it. The sand is virtually untouched, it’s cold on my feet too. On top, are views of the campsite and sand walls that shift over time and you wouldn’t even notice. Afterward my wander, I climb back into the tent and sleep for an hour or two.
When we both woke, we packed up and walked to a gazebo on the dunes, made a coffee, ate some awesome dark chocolate, all the while overlooking this beautiful calm bay – postcard perfect. When things possibly couldn’t get any better, a pod of dolphins appear near the shoreline in our view.
Part of the beach allows 4wd access towards the lookout. We walked up to the lookout, finding the start of the path behind the rocks. It’s a short rewarding climb up the sand dunes. The lookout was impressive with 360 degrees of the Indian Ocean. You can see the contrast between the calm bay in front of the camping ground and the wild ocean on the other side.
Sandy Cape campsite is definitely a beautiful spot, the location on the beach is magic. Being a ground solely for holiday makers, the onus is on everyone to help preserve the beauty of the area. Unfortunately, beer bottles and cigarettes left in the dunes and rubbish thrown on the road in the camping ground the next morning was a little disappointing to see. The sand dunes between the campsites and beach are showing signs of people creating their own paths and basically trampling all over the vegetation. Hopefully we can take more care holidaying in this perfect spot.
Stuff to know
- Camping fee envelope to be deposited at information bay
- Rubbish bins opposite information bay. Couldn’t see any in the grounds, so best to bring some rubbish bags
- Drop toilets on site with toilet paper.
- Camping map with rules here
- No drinking water facilities on site, bring your own
- Generators to be turned off at 9pm
- Drive safe! Granted there is little chance of becoming lost on the straight road, driving tired or distracted can lead to head on accidents in the area so with this in mind we decided to drive up during daylight hours.
On Google Maps I noticed there was an area called Bee Keepers Reserve and I was curious about it. So I did a quick google when we returned home and found out Bee Keepers Reserve is a natural reserve where the local honey comes from, the vegetation is so special that fertilizers and pesticides are not necessary to produce the honey. This is worldly unique and gosh we are so lucky to have this Western Australia.
Something I also stumbled on whilst looking into Bee Keepers Reserve is unconventional gas activities in the area and well, potentially along the WA coast. It’s called Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking). Shale gas is a natural clean and energy efficient fuel however there is nothing clean about the process used to extract the gas. The process of fracking releases known carcinogenic and toxic chemicals into the air and water supply. It also uses a hell of a lot of water. Australia is one of the driest continents on the world. We have water restrictions in WA to conserve our water. We as a state have no firm back up plan for our water supplies. Fracking taps into ground water, not to mention it will pollute the water aquifers. Although, if its close to the coast they may use sea water? There doesn’t appear to be an rehabilitation potential (I could be wrong?).
One company, Norwest Energy’s have tenements (licenses granted by government) all along the coast for potential exploration and if approved at some stage in the future they will be able to to conduct fracking all around our beautiful coast. ( map ) Although at the moment they have approval to complete low impact seismic survey of a section of the Bee Keepers Reserve. In my mind I believe this could open the entire coast line to potential mining industry activity. If you are a resident of Jurien Bay, Cervantes, Leeman, Green Head, Lancelin, Dandaragan and Badgingarra did you receive the letter from Norwest Energy? Telling you they won’t be drilling anywhere near the Pinnacles? But what about near your home and water supply??
I normally don’t do this on my blog however having stumbling across this I am a little concerned, and If you are concerned like me, please sign the Conservation Council of Western Australia’s petition advising the government of your concern about the health risks of shale gas fracking poses to our water, land and the health of communities around the sites (which could be Sandy Cape campsite one day or anywhere on the map!). All you have to do is fill out name and postcode and click send, the drawn up letter is attached.
Interestingly France, Germany and the Australian state of Victoria have protected their water and land by adopting moratoriums on gas fracking. Western Australia has not, infact from what I have read, the industry appears to not even be regulated at this current moment.
Clean Water Healthy Land is a group of locals concerned about the unconventional gas fracking industry in Western Australia and you can read more at this link. http://cleanwaterhealthyland.org.au
For more information about gas fracking, have a read of this website http://www.livescience.com/34464-what-is-fracking.html