Cape Keraudren, what a beautiful gem nestled on the Pilbara Coastline. We chose to stay here for a couple of nights once we left Broome on our slow journey down south for the Summer.
After being locals in the Pilbara and Kimberly for the last 8 years, we somehow had never ventured to this location but had only heard amazing things about it from everyone who had made the stop here.
We know it has been a very busy season up the north end of Western Australia this year, so we weren’t sure what the road condition was going to be but, we were overjoyed when we arrived to see that the gravel road in and around the location was extremely well maintained and all the amenities were well looked after as well (as good as the old bush loos can really be). There were some key features about this spot that we didn’t know were provided leaving us rather surprised. There were heaps of great bush loos, big dump skip bins, undercover seating areas to relax with great views, and chemical loo dump points.
Cape Keraudren is just an overall beautiful spot to get out from the hustle and just relax. It offers so many different locations to choose from which means that there is a spot for everyone no matter what you’re looking for! They are spread out enough for you to claim your own slice of paradise no matter which spot you decide on.
How to find Cape Keraudren:
Cape Keraudren is approx. 150kms North of Port Hedland. If heading north, you can find the road on the left just before you reach Pardoo Roadhouse. Once you have turned off the highway the road into Cape Keraudren is around 13kms long and the majority of that is sealed.
If you are heading there for an extended stay, forgot some general supplies, or just need a top-up, Pardoo Roadhouse is just around the corner (roughly 14kms) with a small general store and hot food.
Things to do:
Swimming – If the tide is right at Sandy Beach or Top Camp you can take a dip in the crystal blue waters to cool down. However, the whole north side of Cape Keraudren (around the Cliff Camps) is surrounded by sharp jagged rocks that have formed over time with the large tides smashing against the shore. This did make jumping in for a little paddle in the water quite dangerous. However, where we camped on the beach near the cliff faces, as the tide was going out the rocks formed beautiful little rock pools that were amazing for quick little dips to cool off from the hot days when the tide was heading out. You do however have to be extremely careful which pools you choose as some of them had quite a current making it dangerous if you weren’t hanging on. You may also find a friendly crab or two.
Going Fishing – Although we didn’t manage to catch a single fish, Beau and his dad had a blast going up the creek for a shore-based fish, and from what we have been told, there is a reason that you see so many boats at Cape Keraudren, the fishing is meant to be fantastic. We are aware that the tides are not huge all year round, but when we were there, they were quite large (just over 7 meters), completely emptying the bay where the boat ramp is on low tide and making the creek super hard to fish with such a fast and rapid current going through. High tide was also overnight meaning that it made the window for heading out in our little boat very restricted. This was quite disappointing considering it does cost $10 per day just to have the boat there, but more on that later.
Relax – That is right, just relax and take in the surroundings. It is so peaceful to just take in the gorgeous blue water and views. The fact that there is so much room for everyone means that even when there are a lot of campers around you still get plenty of space to yourself.
As we mentioned before there is plenty of space to choose from depending on what it is you are looking for.
There are 4 main spots to choose from:
Cootenbrand Creek - Perfect spot to pull up and just leave a line in the water. Remember when choosing a spot, watch the tide lines and check the tides in general as in this area you can park right up next to the creek, and you don’t want to get caught out with an incoming tide! Another thing to remember is that being in a creek with mangroves means that there is going to be an increase in sandflies and mosquitos, so don’t forget to bring a lot of bug repellent.
Sandy Beach - we personally didn’t pull into this spot because there were so many campers there, right on top of one another. We are sure it would have been a wonderful spot with a magical view right over the ocean. If only there were fewer people there.
Cape Keraudren Top Camp (Boat Ramp Bay) – This is a very popular spot to look out over the beautiful boat ramp bay and be wowed by the stunning sunsets. Although this spot is quite popular there is heaps of room for everyone to have their own space.
Cliff Camp – This spot looked to be the most beautiful of all, as long as you didn’t want to go into the water from your campsite. Its sharp washed-away rock structure makes it super difficult to fish or jump in for a swim. That being said, the views and colours were just so picturesque.
All these locations aside from the Cliff Camp have access to Public Toilets (Bush Loos). If you are going to set up camp at the Cliff sites you need to make sure that you have your own Chemical Toilet.
There may only be 4 official sites, however, there are plenty of other spots to choose from. Just make sure that you are not venturing off any pre-existing tracks and be respectful of the land and others.
We spent half the day driving around trying to find the best spot for how we like camping and found a wonderful little spot up near the Cliff Camp that is right along the waterfront that was within a short walk from a nice sandy beach for our dog Luna to be able to just go crazy as she does.
How much does it cost?
The cost! This is the one thing about Cape Keraudren that has us really unhappy. Not only is the information on the East Pilbara website and the signage just off the highway misleading, but it is also incorrect to what you see once you get to the pay station.
When we arrived at the payment booth, we were met by a sign saying:
Vehicle Day Entry:
$12 per vehicle per day
Camping Cost Per Night:
Adults - $10pp
Concessioner - $7.50pp
Children (3-17) - $3pp
Children (Under 3) – Free
Boats: $10 per day
Payment Example: 2x Adults camping overnight with 1x vehicle entry is $32.00
We paid: 2x adults camping ($20) + Day Entry: ($12) + Boat ($10) = $42.00 per night
Now our problem with this is, nowhere on the website does it say that if you are paying the camping fee that you must pay the Vehicle Day Entry in addition, nor does it mention that if you have a boat as well you will have to pay to an extra $10 Fee.
Yes, Cape Keraudren is pet-friendly! Dogs are permitted but must be always on lead, and please don’t be nasty, make sure to pick up their poops! It is always good to point out that there is the use of 1080 Baits in the area so please keep a careful eye on your fur babies.
Something we do in areas that we haven’t been in before is put a muzzle on Luna to just be sure until we learn the area a little more. Watching their fur baby succumb to 1080 bait poisoning is something no one should ever have to witness. A lot of people know about 1080 being in certain areas, but a lot of people are unaware that birds and other animals quite often pick up the baits and drop them anywhere they feel like, which means that the bait isn’t always just where it is signposted.
As you will find pretty much anywhere along the Kimberley / Pilbara Coastline, sandflies (Midges) and Mosquitos are a given. Especially when they love you as much as they do Madi, you are sure to find some of these little buggers. But we found the with the use of the Thermacell that we mentioned in our blog post ‘Our Top 5 Must Haves for Life On The Road’ we found that they were manageable.
What are our overall Thoughts?
Cape Keraudren has so much to offer for such a wide variety of interests. From the beautiful colour of the water to the magical sunsets and every little part in between, it is hard to believe that anyone couldn’t fall in love with this little slice of heaven. It is extremely quiet and peaceful at night which is a wonderful step up from those highway roadside rest stops and watching the Kangaroos bounce their way through the campsites and the turtles popping up their heads is a magical sight to see.
We did really like Cape Keraudren, but unfortunately for us, the misleading information around pricing right at the beginning of our experience at Cape Keraudren left us with quite a sour taste. This is something that could easily be avoided by making the official website clearer and updating their signage at the highway. Yes, we could have been misinterpreting it incorrectly ourselves, however, the fees do need to be made clearer regardless.
In our honest opinion, we skipped Port Smith Caravan Park because of the price and the timing. But in hindsight, with what we ended up having to pay we believe we would have been better off going to Port Smith Caravan Park where for what we paid we could have got a powered site, given our money to a small business that works their but off to provide for everyone in such a remote location, and relaxed in what we have been told is a great atmosphere.
So, without not truly knowing what Port Smith Caravan Park is really like we suppose that we cannot make a fair comparison. We do however regret our decision to not give it a go and support their small business.
Would we return to Cape Keraudren? We did love the spot, don’t get us wrong, but we would probably not hurry back, but we never say never really.
Have you been to Cape Keraudren? Let us know if you think there is anything we missed out or if you have any other suggestions on what we could have done while in the area.
Now don’t forget to get out there and chase your dreams guys.