My family and I are currently two months into an eight-month caravanning adventure travelling Australia.
For the next couple of months, we will be working our way up the Western Australian coastline, checking out a number of coastal camp sites and tourist attractions.
I bought a little kayak to throw on the Rhino Rack Pioneer Platform as we passed through Perth and it has been put to good use – from paddling with dolphins in Lancelin to fishing several of WA’s national parks.
To enter the national parks in this state, you require a Parks Pass from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
We bought an annual All Parks Pass for $120, which allows access to all 30 of Western Australia’s national parks – worked out far cheaper.
These need to be printed and displayed in your vehicle’s windscreen.
In addition, you generally need to pay a fee to stay the night in your van, which is about $15 per night.
This can be done either online or go to the onsite caretaker, as we did.
Sandy Cape, 10km north of Jurien Bay, and Lucky Bay, which is 50km south of Kalbarri, were a couple of favourite locations.
We were lucky, scoring some great weather, and spent four nights at each.
They were simply stunning, with their huge sand dunes, crystal-clear waters and rugged scenery.
Lucky Bay was where I finally threw on a wetsuit and jumped into the water to grab a few western rock lobsters.
In my opinion, these are even tastier than the tropical rock lobster I spent years catching around Cape York and the Torres Strait.
Unlike Queensland, you cannot spear WA lobster – you must use either a snare or your hands.
This proved somewhat challenging because they sit deep in cracks and crevices – thankfully, they’re quite abundant and, after a bit of practice, I managed a few.
Though check there isn’t a wobbegong shark sitting under the ledge before you shove your hand in.
Be mindful that Western Australia has strict possession limits for most species of fish and a separate WA recreational licence is required to harvest lobster, throw a cast net and fish from a powered boat.
Rangers and fisheries officers regularly patrol the national parks on buggies, so it pays to know the rules.
As a Queenslander, I was initially surprised and annoyed about the licences, however now I know that the revenue is spent on a range of projects that benefit fishers – from facilities, fish aggregating devices and stocking programs.
WA also has some of the cleanest national parks I’ve been to, with ample facilities in the form of bins, dump points and such for travellers.
Lucky Bay, with its protected lagoon and four-wheel-drive tracks, was definitely a favourite spot.
It was there I met a fellow traveller who had a roof-top tinnie and kindly invited me out for a fish with his son.