On our most recent adventure in the Cape Range National Park – just a fleeting visit of 2 days and one night in the middle of a two-week stay in Coral Bay – we arrived at Yardie Creek late in the afternoon and decided to make it our campsite for the night.
The Yardie Creek campsite is the southernmost Cape Range National Park campsite that you can reach with a two-wheel-drive car. It’s a stunningly beautiful spot to camp, with the cool dark river, the red sandstone cliffs of the gorge and a beautiful long beach to explore.
After finding a free spot and putting up the tent, we set off for a walk along the cliffs of Yardie Gorge. We were the only people there and so had the ancient landscape all to ourselves as the setting sun lit up the red cliffs, then cast them into deep shadow.
Despite bringing along our binoculars, we didn’t get to see a single rock wallaby in Yardie Gorge, but we did spot 3 or 4 euros (small kangaroos/large wallabies) in the scrub by the track. The wild euros seemed unafraid of us and didn’t hop away as we approached.
At dusk I walked from the campsite down to the sandbar and the beach. The creek had broken the sandbar, but only just. The beach was strewn with hundreds of shells. I watched the sun set, followed by the rising of the new moon over the ocean. More stars emerged as the sky darkened, and after a while I could see thousands of them.
My camera broke on this trip, which is a real shame because I can’t share with you exactly what the campsite looks like, or how beautiful the sun set and moon rise was that night. But these photos sourced from Flickr should give you a good idea of what the place is like if you’ve never been there before:
Photo Above: Stefan L on Flickr
Photo Above: Juriaan Persyn on Flickr
2 Photos Above: BackM on Flickr
Yardie Creek Campsite: The Details
The camping area at Yardie Creek is located right near the beach in the lee of a sand dune. The mouth of the river/sand bar is a short walk away. Near the big carpark there’s an information sign detailing the Yardie Gorge bush walk, plus info on the natural environment. There are also long drop toilets, and a pleasant picnic bench area in the shade of some small trees.
Yardie Creek and the other bush campsites in Cape Range National Park are all very basic, with long drop toilets and no fresh water. So bring all the food you need with you into the national park, and most importantly all the fresh water you need for drinking and washing. If you want to restock your supplies, Exmouth town with its supermarkets and shops is about an hour’s drive away.
Zoom out to see the river and gorge.
Yardie Creek Camping Fees
Camping at Yardie Creek and elsewhere in the Cape Range National Park seems to be getting more expensive! Presently it is $10/adult/night.
Adult (16+): $10
Child (aged 6 – 15): $2.20.
In addition to the camping fee, you need to pay a national park entrance fee of $12 (for a normal-sized car or family van). This is a one-off fee, no matter how long you stay in the park for.
Campsite Bookings for Yardie Creek
Cape Range National Park is busiest between April and October. During this time you need to book your campsite to guarantee a place. Bookings can be made up to 6 months in advance, and no less than 48 hours before arrival.
Bookings for campsites in the national park are not taken during the low season. This is not usually a problem, because there is not so much demand during that time and it’s not hard to find a free campsite.
To make a booking:
– Visit this webpage
– OR call the Exmouth Parks and Wildlife Office on (08) 9947 8000.
- Picnic bench (in pleasant location)
- No drinking water
- No showers
- No BBQ’s/Cooking areas
- Camp wardens in residence from April to October
Rules and Conditions
- No open fires
- No pets allowed in the Cape Range National Park
- Generators are permitted
Attractions and Things to Do at Yardie Creek
- Explore beautiful Yardie Gorge
- Boat tours of the Yardie Gorge run during the day
- Hike the marked walking track along the top of the gorge
- Superb fishing
- Wildlife spotting – birds, goannas, euros, kangaroos, emus and black-footed rock wallabies are common!
- Beautiful beach to walk along, with shells
- Swimming in the creek or the ocean
- Surfing (long paddle out)
- Small boat launching possible with a 4WD
- Kayaking the creek or the ocean – kayaks can be hired from Exmouth and towed down
- Take a 4WD across the creek and south along the coast
My Thoughts on the Yardie Creek Campsite
After a glorious day spent exploring Charles Knife Gorge, visiting the lighthouse and the Mildura wreck, swimming at a couple of beaches and snorkeling at beautiful Turquoise Bay, we would have appreciated a fresh water shower to wash away all the salt, but instead we made do with a swim in the cold brackish water of Yardie Creek.
If you’re like us and love getting away from it all, then you’ll find that the beautiful nature, wild ocean at your doorstep, and stunning views at Yardie Creek (and other Cape Range NP campsites for that matter) makes rough camping in the national park totally worth while.
Difficult to Pitch the Tent!
The one problem we had with the Yardi Creek campsite was that it has just a thin layer of fine white beach sand over hard limestone, so it was really difficult to peg the tent down securely.
During the night the wind picked up considerably, blowing in from the west across the ocean. Despite the shelter of the sand dune separating us from the beach, our tent collapsed on us in the early hours of the morning, which wasn’t so much fun!
Last Updated: 6th July, 2014.
First posted on 6th July, 2014 by Bonny.
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