The WA Now and Then Travel Blog

East of Esperance and the south coast - Part 2.

Starvation Boat Harbour was so nice we decided to stay another night before moving on to Mason Bay about 20 kilometres west.

Some maps still show the road from Starvation to Mason as 4x4 only but it is a good solid limestone road - even if it is a bit rough. There is certainly no need for a 4wd vehicle.

Mason (like just about every other campsite we had visited on this trip) had been redeveloped. The front section by the sea is still available but anyone who relies on solar (like us) tends to park in the rear sites that don't have trees overhead. The front sites are certainly the nicest ones as you get a view of the bay from your window.


Mason Bay
Mason Bay


Facilities are similar to Starvation Boat Harbour with toilets and a dump point and there is a big water tank but we did notice that at Starvation there was a sign indicating that the water should not even be used for washing.

We saw whiting swimming in the shallows and a dolphin came past and seemed to be hunting the whiting.

It was a hotter than usual day again so the generator was put to use and the air-con got another workout.

Just opposite where we were camped we found a family of tawny frog mouths resting in a tree. We couldn't miss the chance the get some pictures of these elusive birds.


tawny frog mouth
Tawny frogmouths


The next day we followed the Southern Ocean Road to Hopetoun. The first part of the road is gravel and limestone and was pretty rough. Later we found that the arm holding the TV had snapped so I guess the road was worse than it looked.

Most of the way there was not a glimpse of the ocean (so much for the name) but after Twelve Mile Beach (where the road becomes sealed) there were a few glimpses but not much worth talking about.

We had planned to stay at the caravan park in Hopetoun but as the Telstra internet was suffering an 'outage' we filled up our water tanks at the refill point at the park opposite the hotel, and headed north to Ravensthorpe.




We have always missed the rest area at the northern end of the Ravensthorpe-Hopetoun road but this time we made time to go and have a look in case we had been missing anything worth while. We weren't, of the 4 rest areas around Ravensthorpe, this was by far the worst.

It is located next to a huge heap of mine waste and the rest area is very miserable looking. We stopped long enough to take a photo and then went into town.


rest area at the northern end of the Ravensthorpe-Hopetoun road
Rest area at the northern end of the Ravensthorpe-Hopetoun road


We topped up the fuel at Ravensthorpe and turned west following the road we had come out on.

About 60km east of Jerramungup is a sign on the main road that proclaims FITZGERALD, there are two dirt roads and then another sign facing the other way. We have never had a look up those dirt roads before but this time we were tired and were looking for somewhere to have lunch.

We turned into the northern road and not far along we found a huge rest area next to what looked like a pretty derelict house. A sign on the house started that trespassers would be 'shot' so we decided to stay well clear of that place.




There is a gazebo with seats and tables and information about Fitzgerald and behind that a large open space that we assumed as once the school oval. It was pleasant enough so we decided to stop for the night.

There only appeared to be one other house (obviously occupied) at Fitzgerald and a couple of huge water tanks that we could see no purpose for.

After a nice quiet night we went to Jerramungup to refuel and drove south towards Albany. We bypassed some sites we had visited earlier in the year and decided to go into Betty's Beach and see what sites were available.

The road in (Homestead Rd.) is partly sealed and the final stretch is mostly good gravel. There are some very steep hills especially going down to the beach area.


Bettys Beach
Betty's Beach


There are only a few sites at Betty's and we were lucky to get one that was more-or-less level.

This is not a place to try and get into when it is busy as far too many people come out and it gets very crowded.

We needed to do a lot of shopping in Albany including a new winding mechanism for the back window and a new support arm for the TV.

We will have to look at getting a professional repairer to re-do all the rear seals in the Coaster as we are still getting far too much dust coming through and it gets rather tiring cleaning it all out every time we go down a dirt road.

There were some problems with the 12 volt system as the cigarette lighter plug was shorting out. I traced it to a problem with a cable splitter but lost a 4 port USB charger that was fried in the process.

While we were in Albany we caught up with Gerry, (a friend from way back) who we haven't seen in about 10 years. Can't believe it has been that long.

Did as much shopping as we could but couldn't find a replacement arm for the TV. This is going to be a problem as when we checked later on the internet there was no sign of a similar model.

We did get a new winder for the back window of the Coaster only to find that the other one broke as we were installing it. This repair has now been abandoned and the winder removed in favour of a couple of metal bars to hold the window open instead.

The stop for the night was west of Albany at Muttonbird. There is a 'NO CAMPING' sign at the lookout but we stayed anyway as we could see locals camping on the beach so what's good enough for them is good enough for us.




Drove through Denmark and on to Elephant Rocks / William Bay. This has to be one of the most beautiful spots on the whole south coast.

Used the Phantom to get some pictures and video from the air and just soaked the place up as much as possible. One day I will actually spend the day at Elephant Rocks, just relaxing and enjoying it.


Elephant Rocks
Elephant Rocks


The next destination was Parry Beach campsite where we spent the night. The Coaster only just fits in as it is right on the height limit of 2.7 metres.

Big rigs and big vans cannot get in at Parry. The sites tend to be a bit small and there are lots of trees to contend with.

The toilets and showers are excellent and it is $15 a night per site.


Parry Beach
Parry Beach


We extended our time at Parry Beach as Saturday was going to get hot (33C) and we wanted to go into Peaceful Bay caravan park that day to do our washing and to sit under a shady tree with the air-con on.

It was about half an hours drive from Parry Beach to Peaceful Bay and we booked in to the caravan park for the night.

Got the washing done ($4 per machine load) and had a quick look around. We were there in mid-season which meant $36 for a powered site ($33 concession).

The caravan park is huge and gives plenty of room for people to spread out when it isn't busy.


Peaceful Bay
Peaceful Bay


The bay is sheltered and pretty and there are a lot of old holiday shacks in the town which have disappeared from most small coastal settlements. Personally I hope Peaceful Bay stays the way it is now and doesn't succumb to the greed of developers. The old shacks give the town an atmosphere of days gone by and a lovely relaxed feel. Modern houses would completely ruin that.

It seemed like a long drive from Peaceful Bay to Windy Harbour. It wasn't so much the distance as the continual hills and corners that slowed the Coaster down and made driving more demanding.

If the Shannon campsite had been open we may have decided to break the journey and spend a night there but as it was closed, all we did was have a break at the day use area.


Shannon day use area
Shannon day use area


We found most of the roads along the south coast to be less than satisfactory. They are being patched up in many places but in general, they are narrow, rough and full of holes.

Combine this with endless hills and sharp corners and the Coaster becomes a less than ideal vehicle for the area.

Eventually we arrived at Northcliffe and had a very brief look around. We had to pass through town on the way back from Windy Harbour so we didn't see the need to do much exploring until then.




Windy Harbour is a place you MUST want to go to because there is nothing else out there and it is the end of the road.

There isn't much to it, the main attraction is the beach and the campsite. The latter was quite boggy when we arrived and part was closed off. The campsite used to be bigger but a road has been put through one end of it so now there are fewer sites available.

The camp kitchen is good and has BBQ, gas stove, hot water and a sink plus seats and tables. It is all undercover.


Windy Harbour
Windy Harbour Campsite


Arrival time (Ie. The time you can pay and pick up your key) is from 5pm-6pm. Prior to that you cannot use the showers as they are locked up.

Unpowered site fees are $10-13 a night per person depending on concession cards. There are hot showers and drinking water is available from a tank.

There are 6 powered sites and there is an additional fee of $6.80 for plugging in. During peak season fees go up by 25%.

There are a lot of holiday shacks behind the campground and basic supplies are available from the office/shop just over the road from the campsite.


Windy Harbour
Windy Harbour


The ground in the campsite could be a worry after heavy rain as it was quite soft. Some drains were being installed to help alleviate this problem but anyone arriving in wet weather would be advised to check the ground before driving onto it.

Then it was back to Northcliffe and keeping north, on to Pemberton to refuel. We checked out the National Park campsites at Carey Bridge (Boat Harbour Road) west of Pemberton, but found they were only suitable for tents.


Snottygobble Loop
Snottygobble Loop - Carey bridge


We drove on to Nannup and then out to Barrabup Pool to investigate the new camping area. It turned out that the new area was useless for caravans and motorhomes so we went to the old Workman's Pool campsite where there are a few larger sites.


Workmans Pool
Workman's Pool


We had been driving through hilly country long enough, after a few days it got very tiring. It may be picturesque but it wears out the driver with continual gear changes and narrow roads. Being back on flat ground for a while would make life so much easier.

It was tempting to head west and go to Conto campground for a few days but instead we decided to head towards Busselton.

The new road (Mowen) from Nannup to Sue's Bridge Road was a great relief after the narrow winding nightmares of the past few days. There were still hills to contend with but as the road was pretty straight, it was possible to get up enough speed going down one hill to make it to the top of the next without dropping lower than 4th gear.

About 4km north of the Barrabup turn off was a large sealed rest area that would be quite useful if the sites at Barrabup were full.

At Sue's Bridge Road you can continue west to Margaret River, turn south to the Sue's Bridge campsite or turn north (right) towards Busselton.

There were quite a few rest areas along Sue's Bridge Road, none were that far off the road and they had no facilities, but some motorhomes were making use of them as overnight stops.

We pressed on to Busselton where we did some shopping and then made our way north east to Ludlow Mill. This is an old abandoned timber mill on Ludlow North Road and although it is fenced off there is enough to see to make it an interesting stop. There is also an old school building behind the mill that isn't fenced.


Ludlow timber mill
Ludlow timber mill


It is sad to see a facility like this just being left to rot, especially after the loss of the workshops at Yarloop in the fires earlier this year. Surely something could be done to save these old buildings and give the site a new purpose.

We stopped for the night at Ludlow Rest area just a little further north east on Ludlow Drive. 10 other vehicles had the same idea so the small site was a bit crowded. Thankfully everyone was well behaved and nice and quiet.

The only disturbance came from smoke from a nearby bushfire. We had everything packed up and were ready to move out just in case it came in our direction but in the end everything was ok.


Ludlow Rest area
Ludlow Rest Area


As we were not in a hurry to go anywhere we decided to stay at Ludlow another night. We also had some internet data that was due to expire so it was time to use up as much as we could before we lost it.

Most of the time we use Telstra while we are on the road but this was Optus and I have to say that I have never used a worse internet service.

There were very few places on this trip that we could get signal and in some, where signal was available, the internet wasn't. Even when we got internet it was so slow it was almost unusable. We will never bother with Optus again as their coverage is hopeless and their internet useless.

Ludlow was even busier on the second night with 16 vehicles overnighting in the rest area. If you are looking for solitude then this isn't the place to stop overnight. Even so everyone who stayed there was very well behaved and the site was quiet before 10pm.

We were now 4 weeks out with a week left to go before we got home and start dealing with the Christmas madness.

It was a bit difficult knowing where to go next but in the end, we decided to have a look at the new campsite at Logue Brook Dam (Lake Brockman) near Harvey.


Logue Brook Dam - Lake brockman
Logue Brook Dam - Lake brockman


The new area is managed by the caravan park and there are boom gates so you have to book in. You can look at the sites before booking but you need to check with the office if the site you want is available before moving into it as these sites can be booked in advance.

Dogs are allowed, there is washing water, camp kitchens, seats, tables, pit toilets and BBQs. There is also a black water dump point BUT you may need to get a key from the office BEFORE dumping waste.

During the week the lake is nice and peaceful but on weekends expect water ski boats and a lot more people.

If you want a site here at peak times then book ahead.


Logue Brook Dam - Lake brockman
Logue Brook Dam - Lake brockman


There are not many sites with lake views and they will be the first to go.

Different sections of the campsite are designated for different types of campers. Zamia camp is set aside for groups, Karrak is for tents only, Millars has the largest sites and is best suited for caravans and motorhomes and Bunuru and Quokka are good general areas for smaller vehicles and camper trailers etc.

There is access to the lake from either the boat ramp near the office or for walkers down steps from near site 12 in the tenting area (Karrak).

The campsite is quite well designed but motorhomes and campervans will need levelling blocks on most sites.

At the time of writing, fees are $10 per head per night or $6.60 concession. The older campsites around the lake are ALL being phased out so camping near your boat by the waters edge will be a thing of the past. It is hard to see what the boaties will do now as there are not many sites where you will have the room to camp and park a boat.

No fires are permitted from December 15 to March 14 each year and on days of total fire ban. Generators can be run from 8am to 9pm and there is a total noise ban after 10pm. Ignore it at your peril as signs everywhere say you will be immediately removed from the campsite if you do.

The new trend in camping is to stop individual sites and herd everyone together in manageable groups. Sadly this has come about because there are still idiots who come out to places like this and leave a pile of garbage behind them for others to clean up.

Logue Brook is truly beautiful and peaceful in the off-season but personally I wouldn't come near the place in peak times.

We were told that Hoffman's Mill had been burnt out during the February fires but since the National parks website didn't say it was closed we decided to go up and have a look, after all it was only 11kms from Logue Brook.

It was obvious that the information was wrong as there was no sign of damage at Hoffman's and everything was just as we remembered it.

It is a large free-form campsite accessed by Logue-Brook and Clarke Roads.

There are flushing toilets in the main camping area and pit toilets in the tenting area.

Washing water is available from taps scattered around the campsite. Fees are $7.50 per person per night or $5.50 concession.

There is a lot of shade - which means we needed to use the generator to re-chage batteries and most of the site is sloping but there are one or two level spots.

Tables and seats are located all over the place and there is a small stream (that becomes the Harvey River) running through the area.

There are also a couple of walk trails. The Bridges trail is 3 km return and the Formation Trail is just 650 metres and follows the old railway route.

The site now known as Hoffman's Mill was originally called New Hoffman. It was a small timber town that was relocated from a site 12 km north when a fire destroyed the old town in 1919. It was a timber mill and there were about 35 houses. The town was serviced by a general store, post office, community hall and a school with between 20-30 pupils. There were also sports grounds and a tennis court.

The mill was at its peak before the Great Depression and operated until the end of 1961. The old buildings were removed and little now remains to show what was once here.


Hoffmans Mill
Hoffmans Mill


We moved to Hoffman's to get away from the crowds at Logue Brook but being this close to a town there seems to always be a problem with noisy hoons turning up. Thankfully we are pretty insulated in the Coaster so it didn't bother us but other campers had to go over at 11pm and tell the idiots to shut up. Some people just don't get it, most of us go out into the bush for peace and quiet not noisy crap music being played at full volume. Of course they all took off early in the morning before the ranger could turn up and charge them for staying the night.

There was a camping area much further away from everyone else but being ignorant and selfish they just had to plonk themselves in the middle of all the quiet campers and disturb everyone.

In the morning we went to have a look at the old campsite at the far end of Logue Brook Dam. Nice view but nothing level to park the Coaster on and too much of a slope to use blocks so we gave up and moved on.

We were at a bit of a loss so went to Waroona to fill the water tanks. There is a black water dump point and water (drinking water on the opposite side of the building to the dump point) at the recreation ground.

We didn't want to go to Herron Point on the weekend so we just made our way in that general direction and found a recreation ground where we parked up and hoped not to be booted out.


End of Part 2

Back to Part 1

Updated December 2016

Go to the next blog installment Go to the next blog installment



in travel order


Mason Bay
William Bay
Parry Beach
Peaceful Bay
Windy Harbour





Bibbulmun Track

Western Rosella





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