Highway One: Albany’s free coastal campsites

By Catherine Lawson | November 7, 2013

Catherine and David stop in at some scenic – and free – coastal campsites on their Big Lap around Australia.

Catherine Lawson and David Bristow, along with baby Maya, are doing a lap of Highway One, the road that circles Australia. 

I’LL TAKE A BUSH camp over a caravan park site any day, especially when I can get close to the beach. For me, solitude and the sound of waves and early morning birdsong out-rate a hot shower, and bush camping does wonders for our travel budget. While bush camps might be easy to find away from civilisation, when you drive into town, caravan parks are often the only option. This makes Albany on Western Australia’s southern coast a real exception.

The council maintains a string of waterfront camps within 100km of the city, on calm, tannin-hued inlets, white-sand beaches and tucked into shallow coves. The facilities vary – the camp at Cosy Corner East attracts a crowd with free gas barbecues, picnic tables, cold water showers and a boat ramp, while there are no facilities at my favourite – Betty’s Beach.

The campsites at remote Boat Harbour come with water views, tucked into the coastal heath around a communal shelter with picnic tables, a free gas barbecue, rainwater tank and adjacent wheelchair-accessible toilets. You can launch a boat off the beach and I hear the fishing is awesome. The best part about Albany’s seven coastal campgrounds is that the most you’ll pay is $5 per site at Cape Riche, while all the rest are free!

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