If you’re looking to save some money and have a peaceful, nature-based camping holiday in the Margaret River Region, look no further than the Warner Glen Recreation Area at Chapman Pool.
Chapman Pool is a beautiful place to camp, located in the jarrah forest on the banks of Chapman Brook near where it broadens into a deep pool just before joining up with the Blackwood River. The area is part of the Blackwood National Park, inland from Bussel Highway between Margaret River and Augusta.
As well as being a good campsite, it’s also a nice place to visit during the day for a picnic in the forest by the brook, a swim in the cold river or a peaceful short bushwalk to a lookout overlooking the Blackwood River
The Warner Glen/Chapman Pool Camping Sites and Picnic Area
We first discovered the Chapman Pool camping area a couple of years ago when we made a spur of the moment decision to jump in the car and head down to Margaret River for a couple of days. It was around New Year’s Eve (just about the busiest, most touristy time of year for the Margaret River Region) so we didn’t even try to book any accommodation. Instead we just packed some camping gear, hoping to find a nice place to camp by a river.
We were not disappointed by what we found at Chapman Pool! When we arrived we were lucky to find a campsite, as there was only one site left. It wasn’t one of the spots closest to the brook and the swimming area, but even still it had a beautiful setting in a small clearing beneath the jarrah trees.
At Chapman’s Pool we’d found our new favourite bush campsite in the Margaret River Region.
We love the way the campsites at Chapman Pool are peaceful and well-spaced from one another, nestled in among the jarrah trees. Most of them are fairly level and well-shaded. Walk trails behind the camping sites weave their way through the forest and along the brook.
The “no generators” rule is a big plus, as far as I’m concerned. I go camping at places like Chapman Pool to enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest and can’t stand it when the natural noises of birds and the wind rustling in the tree canopies are drowned out by the obnoxious roaring of someone’s generator.
However if you’re the sort of camper who likes all the mod cons then you may prefer the bigger Alexandra Bridge campsite on the Blackwood River, a short drive south of Chapman Pool. Anyone towing a caravan or boat would also be much better off going to Alexandra Bridge.
Campsite and Picnic Facilities
Chapman Pool has 9 small campsites close to the water, plus an area for large groups to set up camp. The small campsites are nestled in the bush and separated from the track by logs. There is not a lot of parking room, so the campsites are far better suited for car-based tent camping or campervans rather than caravans.
It is not possible to book a camping site at Chapman Pool in advance, so during busy times of year (long weekends and school holidays), there’s a chance the camping area will be full when you arrive.
Like most bush campsites run by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the Warner Glen Recreation Area has only the basic camping facilities. This means no drinking water, no showers and a long drop toilet. But you have to remember that these bush camp sites are cheaper and far more peaceful and natural than most caravan/holiday parks with better facilities, so if you don’t mind roughing it for a few days then it’s well worth it.
Camp Fires, Cooking and Picnics
Fire rings and barbecues are provided for campers and picnickers, but fires are subject to restrictions, depending on the weather and time of year. And you can’t rely on there being firewood available (although there sometimes is); better to bring your own! There are picnic benches pleasantly located down by the brook, and plenty more, plus an undercover shelter, up the other end of the camping area near the large group sites.
Chapman Pool Camping Fees
- Adults (16+): $7.50
- Concession: $5.50
- Child (6 – 15): $2.20
- 5 Years and Younger: free
Payment is collected by the national park rangers, or by self regulation (envelope of cash into the collection box) if the rangers don’t stop by. Only cash can be accepted, and make sure you have the right change.
- Washing water (not suitable for drinking)
- No showers/bathrooms
- Long drop toilets
- Fire rings and barbecues
- Picnic benches
Rules and Conditions
- No generators
- Fire restrictions apply during bushfire season
- Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Be aware that animal baits are used in the area
- Not the best camping area for caravans
- No bookings
Swimming in Chapman Pool and Canoeing the River
Chapman Pool is a great place to visit for a refreshing swim on a hot day. The water is cold and fresh. Basic bush campsites run by the Department of Parks and Recreation do not usually have showers, so I tend to seek out campsites such as Warner Glen where there is a clean, freshwater river to swim in nearby.
Chapman Pool has a small sloping beach/ramp rather than just a steep riverbank or built platform, making it a great spot from which to launch canoes.
If you paddle or swim downstream to the left, you’ll find that Chapman Brook soon meets up with the much bigger Blackwood River. Upstream from Chapman Pool the brook narrows considerably and eventually becomes choked with reeds and branches.
Wild Life and Colourful Birds of the Jarrah Forest
For me one of my favourite things about camping in the forest is waking up to the sound of birds – even if they start singing at 5am! I find the Warner Glen jarrah forest to be especially rich in bird life.
Other creatures of the jarrah forest that you’re likely to see include possums (though there do not seem to be nearly as many as there are at Conto or Point Road campsites!), bobtail lizards and western grey kangaroos.
Where is Chapman Pool and How do you get there?
Although Chapman Pool is a little way off the main Margaret River tourist trail, it is easy enough to get to, and is a convenient location from which to explore the southern half of the Margaret River Region. Margaret River town and Augusta are both about 20 minutes away by car.
To get there, head down Bussel Highway then turn east onto Warner Glen Road. A small wooden sign marks the turn-off to the Warner Glen Chapman Pool Recreation Area. Turn right at the sign and follow the gravel road that leads down to the brook and campsites.
Things to See and Do Near Chapman Pool
The Blackwood River and Hardy Inlet
The Blackwood River is the biggest river in the South West of WA, flowing down from Boyup Brook to Augusta, where it becomes Hardy Inlet before reaching the ocean. The river is great for canoeing, boating and fishing.
For beautiful views of the Blackwood River close to the camp site, find the track from the picnic/camping area down to the point where Chapman Brook meets the Blackwood. You also get views of the broad Blackwood River from the Warner Glen Road bridge and Alexandra Bridge.
Alexandra Bridge is another camping area nearby, located on the Blackwood River. It is bigger and has more facilities than Chapman Pool, but at busy times is not as peaceful.
Beautiful Beaches and the Cape to Cape Track
If you’re camping at Chapman Pool, the closest beaches to get to are Hamelin Bay, Foul Bay and Cosy Corner. Conto Beach and Redgate Beach are also reasonably close. See the Margaret River Beaches page for the full list of beaches and other special places to visit on the Cape to Cape coast.
The Cape to Cape Walking Track follows the dramatic coastline between Cape Leeuwin and Cape Naturaliste. You can pick up a section of the track at many points along the coast including the beaches mentioned above and Cape Leeuwin.
Margaret River Caves
The spectacular and beautiufl caves beneath the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge are a big attraction in Margaret River. All but one of the caves open to tourists are located in the south of the region, within 20 minutes of Chapman Pool.
A short drive west down Brockman Highway then north up Caves Road will find you in the Boranup Forest, the prettiest place in the Margaret River Region. This regrowth karri forest grows almost right down to Boranup Beach and has a number of scenic picnic areas, walk trails, 4WD tracks and a 2WD-suitable gravel scenic drive.
Wineries and Things
Drive the full loop around Warner Glen Road and Brockman Highway on the way to Augusta and you’ll pass the Blackwood River Meadery, Hamelin Bay Wines and a couple of wineries. Or turn left off Warner Glen Road onto Rosa Glen Road, which will take you through scenic farm land to the Margaret River Berry Farm (sells berry wines, beers, liqueurs, jams, etc and has a tearooms).
Further north, the area south of Margaret River town is home to a cluster of top wineries including Leeuwin Estate and Voyager Estate. Even more wineries and gourmet food farms are to be found further north around Cowaramup and Yallingup.
Cape Leeuwin near Augusta is a landmark of the Margaret River coast, the south-westerly-most point of WA and the place where the Indian Ocean meets the Great Southern Ocean. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands at the very end of the promontory.
Last Updated: 6th November, 2014.
First posted on 14th January, 2014 by Bonny.
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