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Camping at Sandy Cape was once considered an ace secret spot. Those days are long gone as Sandy Cape is the worst kept secret on the Indian Ocean Drive. Why is it so popular? And is it still worth camping at Sandy Cape? I shall answer these questions and plenty more in this post.
Where is Sandy Cape?
The Sandy Cape Recreation Area is located only 10 kilometers north of Jurien Bay. The turnoff is sealed for the first 5km and unsealed for the last 2km. It is located about halfway between Perth and Geraldton on the Indian Ocean Drive. It is about 2 and a half hours north of Perth and 2 hours south of Geraldton.
Camping at Sandy Cape
There are 78 unpowered campsites that are accessible by 2wd. There are toilet facilities and a couple of cold showers in the toilet block on the southern side of the campground. There is also a grassed picnic area with barbeques and sheltered picnic tables.
If you have a 4wd you can head further north or south of the main campground to find another spot however there are no facilities so you will need to be self contained.
Camping at Sandy Cape is monitored by a camp host who will come around to collect your camp fees during busy periods. There is also an honesty box at the entrance to the campground where you can pay your fees if there is not a camp host. It is $20 per night per site.
You are permitted to camp at Sandy Cape for up to 4 nights.
Is Sandy Cape Open to Day Visitors?
Sandy Cape is open to day visitors and you can drive in easily if you are staying in nearby Jurien or Greenhead. Please be aware that it is a camp site and try to park in allocated areas, rather than camp sites, and drive carefully as there are always plenty of kids running around.
Why is Camping at Sandy Cape so Popular?
There are a few reasons why Sandy Cape is so popular for camping.
First of all, it is very close to Perth which is great for Perth residents who are looking for a camp site close to home. It is also relatively cheap when compared to caravan parks in the region. It also has pretty good facilities
The main reason it is popular is because it is in a beautiful spot. The beach is a protected and peaceful bay with turquoise blue water that is known to be frequented by a pod of dolphins. It is protected by white rippled sand dunes to the other side of the campground.
What is Not Great About Camping at Sandy Cape?
Unfortunately you can’t book Sandy Cape. It operates on a first come first served basis and it gets very busy on long weekends and holiday periods. You will need to be aware that you could arrive and there might not be a site available.
Also, if Sandy cape camping is full it puts a lot of pressure on the toilets and showers which can be annoying if you don’t have your own facilities. The toilets can also get a bit smelly when its busy.
It can get very windy at Sandy Cape. The first night we camped there the wind was whipping the roof of our camper trailer and we were sure it was going to tear. (It didn’t) The best thing about the wind is that it might drive some campers off, so there may be a few more sites available.
What is There To Do While Camping at Sandy Cape?
There is plenty to do at Sandy Cape but you can also choose to just sit back and relax.
Spend time at the Beach
The beach is the highlight in my opinion. You can go swimming, kayaking, fishing or stand-up paddleboarding in the calm water. At the southern end of the beach, there are a couple of caves and a track behind them that led to endless white sand dunes and a lookout over the beautiful bay.
There was a snake print in the wind rippled sand and we talked to our girl about snakes. I told her, ‘we stamp when we walk so they can feel us coming and slide away, but if we see one we stay completely still and watch until they go.’ Then I said to her, ‘So what do we do if we see a snake?’ and she replied’ Stamp stamp stamp’ while stamping her feet with her face all scrunched up like she was angry. Oh dear, that’s not what I said. I will have to keep working on snake safety.
Drive Along Some of the 4WD Tracks
There are 4wd tracks north and south of the main campground leading to more secluded campsites and less crowded beaches. Be aware of others on the tracks and make sure you have your 4wd recovery gear.
Explore Lesueur National Park
Lesueur National Park is nearby and there are plenty of walks to do through the National Park and also a scenic drive. Lesueur National Park is a Western Australian wildflower hotspot, becoming a riot of colour in August and September.
Explore the Sand Dunes Behind the Campground
The sand dunes at the back of campground are great for a walk. There is no 4wd tracks leading to these dunes so you can go for a bit of a walk. We woke early on our last morning to watch the sunrise over the endless white sand dunes. It was misty and magical. We told Lala it was the biggest sand pit in the world.
I felt completely happy in Sandy Bay. Despite the wind, I found a deep sense of contentment there. The sun and the ocean felt healing. Every time I set foot onto the beach, I was light. I was happy. There were no problems in my world and I was flooded with gratitude. Perhaps that is a common experience at this special place and that is why camping at Sandy Cape is so popular.