Western Australia is home to some excellent free and cheap campsites, including many dog-friendly campsites, at least when they’re located outside of national parks. When travelling around Western Australia with your dog, consider camping at some of these great dog-friendly campsites in WA.
While some camp grounds are only accessible by 4WD, certainly not 2WD campervans or caravans, or require you to be self-contained, the majority of these sites I’ve selected are easily accessible by 2WD, close to sealed roads, and don’t require you to be self-contained. I stayed at many of these sites during my road trip around the state.
#1 Cosy Corner East, near Albany
One of the best formerly free camping sites in Western Australia, that’s accessible to 2WD vehicles and doesn’t require you to be self-contained, is the Cosy Corner East Campground, a 25-minute drive west of Albany or east of Denmark. However, as of 2023, a small fee is now charged – $15 per night for up to two adults and two children, or $10 for concession card holders including seniors.
Despite the introduction of fees, during peak season it can still be hard to nab a spot, with no bookings accepted. Don’t pay for a site until you ensure you have one reserved. However, we had plenty of sites to choose from when we stayed at this dog-friendly campsite in WA during winter.
The campsite is located in a beautiful location, right next to an off-leash beach where we spotted dolphins swimming. Access is largely by sealed road, with just a final 500m unsealed, but still fine for 2WD vehicles.
The sites are quite sheltered and private, at least in the upper section designed for caravans. There’s also a lower section only for tent camping. Pit toilets are provided, although top up with drinking water back in Albany. Note that during the peak season, from November to April, there is a seven-night limit.
#2 Big Brook Arboretum, Pemberton
Another campsite that isn’t free but still cheap is the excellent dog-friendly campsite at Big Brook Arboretum, near Pemberton in southwestern WA. This basic campground is located in the Big Brook State Forest, with a small fee charged for camping – $11 per adults per night, $7 for concession card holders and $3 per child. Dogs are free, but need to be leashed.
This campground can accommodate a small number of tents, camper trailers, campervans and caravans. Picnic tables, barbecues and toilets are provided, although no running water, with no bookings possible. During peak season there are camp hosts on site.
Note that the access road is unsealed, but well maintained. It’s a wonderful spot to camp surrounded by the tall trees of the Arboretum, a great place for dog-friendly camping in south west WA.
#3 Alexandra Bridge Campground, near Margaret River
The Alexandra Bridge Campground is a low-cost campground provided by the local council. Only a 30 minute drive from the town of Margaret River, it’s a great dog-friendly campsite for exploring the Margaret River region.
The 21 sites are not able to be booked, so it’s recommended to arrive prior to lunch if wanting to stay during busy holiday periods. If you can get a site, it’s $10 per adult per night, plus $5 for children, payable in cash at the self-registration box. There’s a maximum stay period of 28 days within a three month period.
A variety of basic facilities are on offer, including flushing toilets, cold showers, water, a gas BBQ and picnic tables. The adjacent Blackwood River is perfect for swimming, kayaking, fishing and boating, with a boat ramp at the day use area.
#4 Big Valley Campsite, Margaret River
Another great dog-friendly camping site in the Margaret River region, although somewhat pricier, is Big Valley Campsite. This campground is located on a family-owned sheep farm just 10 minutes southeast of the township of Margaret River. Rates start at $32 per unpowered sites per night for two people.
It’s a great spot to stay with children (don’t miss feeding the animals!) and dogs. The property has plenty of walks that you can do with your dog onsite, plus even their own fully fenced off-leash dog park. I’ve also heard reports that there’s a dog sitter onsite – ask when checking in, as this is probably just temporary.
#5 Varley Chicken Ranch, Wheatbelt Region
A fabulous dog-friendly campsite that I discovered in South West WA, but on a day that I already had a different destination in mind, was the Varley Chicken Ranch in the small rural town of Varley, about halfway between Ravensthorpe and Wave Rock.
This community-run campground has toilets, a cold water outdoor shower, drinking water, a dump point, a BBQ and power hookups. There’s even a kitchen shed with a microwave, toaster and sandwich maker!
Naturally, make sure you leave a donation to assist with running the campsite, especially if you plug in or use the other facilities. There’s only a limited space, so don’t arrive too late. Naturally, dogs are allowed.
#6 Blowholes Campground, near Carnarvon
The Blowholes Campground, also known as Point Quobba, is about an hour’s drive north of Carnarvon along the Coral Coast of WA. To reach the campground, turn left at the King Waves Kill sign past the blowholes, with the campground near the popular Aquarium snorkelling site.
It’s not possible to pre-book campsites. Instead, the local council recommends arriving and choosing out a site, then paying via the online payment system. Rates are $11 per adult per night, $8 per night for seniors and $3 per night for children. There is a 30 day stay limit during the peak period from 1st April to 1st October.
No power is available and it’s recommended that you are self-sufficient, due to the long distance to the toilets at the day use area next to the Aquarium. Dogs are required to be kept on a leash, and be wary about possible baiting in the area.
#7 14 Mile Campground, near Coral Bay
Along the coastline stretching north of Point Quobba are numerous station stays and beachfront campgrounds, perfect for a relaxing coastal stay during the winter months, camping with dogs in WA. Just be aware that the sites within the Cape Range National Park are off limits to dogs.
One campground that allows dogs is the 14 Mile Campground within the Nyinggulu Coastal Reserves, about 40km south of Coral Bay. This campground is strictly 4WD only, with a high-clearance 4WD with low-range gears required. You also need to bring your own chemical toilet, with a dump point about 1.5km away.
A nightly fee of $8 per adult applies, or $6 concession, plus $3 per child. It’s possible to make a booking up to six months in advance, with a maximum stay period of 14 days when overlapping with school holidays, or 28 days the rest of the year.
In return you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful swimming beach, with great snorkelling nearby. Keep an eye out for the regular visiting turtles, although be wary of sharks.
#8 Miaree Pool Rest Area, near Karratha
Due to the long driving distances in Western Australia, many of the roadside rest areas permit short stays of up to 24-hours, to help break up your drive. These sites are also always free.
This brochure lists the rest areas along all major highways, including whether they are a 24-hour rest area. Dogs are permitted at these rest areas, but must stay on-leash, particularly as 1080 baiting frequently occurs in Outback WA.
One of our favourite rest area stays was Miaree Pool Rest Area, less than an hour south of Karratha on the North West Coastal Highway.
The rest area is situated next to the lovely Miaree Pool, a freshwater waterhole that’s a lovely swimming spot. The water was a bit chilly when I stayed during July, but I still had a quick dip, and I’m sure swimming-loving dogs would love to do the same, particularly during the hotter months of the year.
The best waterside camping spots are only accessible by 4WD. They’re also popular with locals, so are often camped out, particularly on weekends. The main parking area next to the pit toilets isn’t that large, but can still fit a fair number of caravans. It’s best though to have levellers, with even flat-ish spots difficult to find. We still recommend it as the best roadside rest area along this stretch of the NW coast.
#9 Cleaverville Beach Camping, near Karratha
Heading on past Karratha, one of the most popular spots for low-cost dog-friendly camping along the beach is Cleaverville Beach Camping. We skipped this campground as it was still early morning when we drove past the turn-off, 19km east of Karratha, but I’ve heard great reports. Note that it’s a 12km gravel road to the coast – take it slow if it’s rough!
During peak season, from May to September, it costs $16 per night or $92 per week to camp next to the beach, without water or power. There’s a maximum stay period of 28 days in each three-month period. Everyone needs to be self-contained, although toilets are provided for day users.
There’s a caretaker onsite during peak season, to help with site selection, or finding your site if you booked online. Not all sites are suitable for caravans. After setting up, there’s nothing much to do except fish, swim at the beach (with protective shoes recommended) and enjoy the sunset views over the ocean.
Outside of peak season, camping is free, with a maximum stay period of 3 nights per 28 days. However, the midges can be really bad, so skip a stay here unless you have a well-sealed van. Also be wary in late September.
#10 Ngumban Cliff Rest Area, near Fitzroy Crossing
Another popular 24-hour rest area in Western Australia is Ngumban Cliff Rest Area, just over an hour’s drive east of Fitzroy Crossing. We had actually been recommended Mary Pool Rest Area by other travellers, but Ngumban Cliff was a more convenient spot to stay, and we’re glad we stayed there.
The best part of camping at Ngumban Cliff is that you’re at the top of the cliffs, with beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, particularly at sunset. We experienced our favourite WA sunset while camping here!
The facilities are basic but adequate, with sheltered picnic tables, pit toilets (bring you own paper) and a dump point provided. There’s plenty of room for a large number of vehicles. It’s just a short drive off the highway, but there’s not too much traffic overnight.
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About the Author
Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.