The WA Now and Then Travel Blog

Coaster and Dinghy - Testing out a new combination.

We have never tried going away with our Coaster and dinghy at the same time. We wanted to test this combination to see if it would work so after modifying the trailer by installing a boat rack and some extra tie-down points we wanted to find a nice location where we could hand launch the boat as we didn't want to move the Coaster every time we used the boat.

We selected Turner Caravan Park in Augusta as we could get a site close to the water and there was a boat ramp in the caravan park.


Coaster and dinghy ready to go
Coaster and dinghy ready to go


In order to hand launch the dinghy we bought a small boat-dolly that uses a standard tow-ball connection to attach to the boat trailer. The boat trailer is a Mangrove Jack collapsible trailer and is both light and very strong. (This is by far the best portable boat trailer we have ever owned.)


Boat dolly and Mangrove Jack trailer
Boat dolly and Mangrove Jack trailer


The week before we left, the weather was fine, warm to hot and blue skies. The day we left? Rain and high winds. The forecast wasn't promising for the coming week but we were pre-booked at Turner Caravan Park so we had no choice but to go and hope for the best.

The whole way down there was no let up in the rain and when I checked the Coaster's wheel hubs at Bunbury, I noticed that one was running hotter than the others.

We dropped in to see a mechanic at Busselton and were told we would 'probably' be ok to get to Augusta and back home before we needed to do anything. We pressed on hoping that he would turn out to be correct.

We got to Augusta and when I checked the hub again it didn't seem so hot, so I just kept monitoring it to see what would happen.

The weather did let up enough for us to get the tent set up and the boat rigged and on the trailer. In fact it looked like the weather was clearing a bit.

Any notion of improved weather was put to rest the next day as rain came down and the wind blew and blew. The tent almost collapsed when some pegs pulled out but it was saved just in time and bigger pegs driven into the ground.

Any hopes of filming the reviews we had planned were put on hold until the weather cleared a bit.

We were staying at Turner Caravan Park for the first time and it certainly wasn't cheap. $364 for 3 of us for the week and that was supposed to be their CHEAP RATE!

$52 a night is pretty over-priced for a patch of dirt and a few dollars worth of power and water. This is a shire park too, so the overheads would not be as bad as they are for a privately owned park.

We needed a boat ramp near to our campsite for hand-launching our boat, so this was the only real choice. On the plus side, it is a very nice park with an excellent camp kitchen and the location right on the inlet is beautiful.


Our campsite at the caravan park
Our campsite at the caravan park


The first night was pretty rough but the following day the weather did start to clear.

We finally managed to launch the boat but I screwed up the filming of the first hand launch!

Fishing didn't look promising until we had moved a couple of times. Then we started catching herring and King George whiting. Unfortunately the whiting were all undersized but we did manage to come back with plenty of herring.

There were also some juvenile Australian salmon around and they are quite similar in appearance to herring (they are actually related). The salmon have a smoother feel, smaller eyes and the spot pattern is different so with a little experience it is easy to tell them apart.

In the end it turned out to be a nice day although the evening was quite cold.

We were able to moor the boat in front of the caravan park so instead of launching and retrieving it each day we were able to leave it moored and just wander down when we were ready to go out.


The fishing was better than we expected
The fishing was better than we expected


The following day turned out to be the best of the trip both in terms of fishing and weather. Beautiful blue skies and the herring were going crazy.

The next day the weather turned a bit cloudy and the wind was up but we still managed to get out fishing and caught, wait for it, more herring.

I had the pleasure of feeding the eagle rays and they were quite persistent, if you don't feed them they will bump your legs and come and sit on your feet. Care has to be taken as they do have venomous spines at the base of their tails.

The river mouth at Augusta was opened up closer to town a few years back and this seems to have improved the fishing in the inlet.

We had caught enough fish and the forecast wasn't looking great so we decided to bring the boat up and pack it on to the trailer.

This was the bit I had been worried about as getting a boat down a slope is always going to be easier than bringing it back up. Thankfully it turned out to be pretty easy. It could be done with just one person but having three of us available made it a real doddle.


Eagle rays, very gentle and friendly.
Eagle rays, very gentle and friendly.


Rain came in overnight but it cleared in time to make a nice day.

We did some shopping in town but due to the high cost of staying at the caravan park, we didn't have a great deal of extra cash to spend. Caravan parks that charge so much really do take trade away from other local businesses.

We found a great bookshop run by the Lions club (near the post office) and spent some time (and a bit of money) there. The Lions Club also run a big Op-Shop in town that is open on Monday and Thursday.

We took the Coaster for a drive out to Cape Leeuwin and went to have a look inside the lighthouse. A bit on the expensive side at $20 a head ($18 concession) but we now have a few decent pictures from the top.


View from Cape Leeuwin lighthouse.
View from Cape Leeuwin lighthouse.


More rain again in the late evening but by morning it had cleared. It would have been perfect for fishing but we caught enough and there was no reason to take more than we needed.

It was just a rest-day around camp so we cleaned up some gear and packed away everything we didn't require to save time when we had to leave.

The weather continued to improve and we were able to pack up a nice dry tent.

It was a beautiful sunny day to mark the end of the trip and the only real sour note was the left hand rear hub of the Coaster running hot. We will have to get this checked ASAP as we have another trip scheduled in a couple of weeks.


Augusta, still our favourite town in W.A.
Augusta, still our favourite town in W.A.


Updated March 2017

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Margaret River


Cape Leeuwin - Naturaliste




Cape Leeuwin lighthouse

Water wheel at Cape Leeuwin

White naped honeyeater







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