WHEN A CLOSE FRIEND tells you that a certain place is their favourite location in the whole of Australia, it would be hard not to pay a visit to see for yourself if you’re in the vicinity. When explaining to said friend I would soon be travelling through WA, he insisted I stop at Yallingup.
Yallingup is famed for its surf break and the town is a mecca for surfies, but there’s more to this region which is blessed with many different examples of natural beauty, countless leisure activities, and a Top Tourist Park right in the heart of things. When you see the elevated views this park has of the inviting local beach, it’s hard to argue with the managers, Peter and Vicki Samuels, that this is “the best located park in WA”.
On arrival – sadly under a blanket of cloud rather than beautiful blue skies – we were greeted by Peter Samuels and the very friendly staff. They were close at hand to suggest local activities and supply maps and brochures, and it soon became apparent there was far more to do in the immediate area than our time allowed.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is simply take time to relax. This tourist park is a fine place for doing so, as you only need to take a few steps from your van to enjoy the expansive ocean view of Yallingup Bay, with the intoxicating sound of breaking surf ensuring that this feels like a proper beach holiday.
The area for caravans isn’t huge (space is always at a premium in attractive coastal sites) but the setting amongst well-established trees is attractive. Considering we visited during a summer weekend, it would surely feel more spacious at other times of the year.
There are plenty of powered sites on offer. These are mainly on flat grassy land, so if you’re after one of the concrete sites, be sure to put in an early request when making a booking. There are numerous cabins in the park as well, which command the best ocean views.
The three ablutions blocks have been recently refurbished, and were very well maintained during our visit. A real plus is the instantaneous warm water in the showers thanks to the gas hot water system – in our drought-stricken times such a system is much appreciated. The three blocks are all separate from one another so it is never far to walk to get to showers and toilets, while two laundries are on hand for those needing to freshen up the wardrobe.
There are two separate barbecue areas in the park, one with a rather stunning view overlooking the ocean. Here is the perfect spot to cook up something special, open a bottle of wine from the local Margaret River region and enjoy the sun setting over the ocean. Unless of course, as we found, the clouds do their best to cover the spectacle!
Thanks to the park’s choice location, it is a popular spot for family holidays. There is a small playground for the little ones, but most prefer heading the short distance over the road and onto the pristine beach.
The reception area provides some essential grocery items alongside chilled drinks and ice creams, and it also carries ice, bait and very handy gas refills. For more substantial shopping, the bigger town of Dunsborough 8km to the north-east and has the usual large supermarkets.
SPOILT FOR CHOICE
You’ll have no problems happily filling your time in Yallingup for a few weeks. The town itself is very small, with the main draw being the surf beaches, but Yallingup Beach (right opposite the park) has a fully protected, reef-enclosed lagoon for relaxed, safe swimming.
If you enjoy catching your dinner fresh, you can take your pick of beach, boat or rock fishing. In winter, you can watch the whales that regularly visit Geographe Bay at Dunsborough.
If you love a good coastline, Geographe Bay and Bunker Bay just to the east of Cape Naturaliste are must-sees. Visiting here helped me understand why my friend rates this place above all others in Australia. In stark contrast to Yallingup’s spectacular roaring surf, the sheltered waters here, only a short drive away, are pristine, calm and the most beautiful turquoise blue.
The town of Busselton about half an hour away is also worth a visit. The coastal Caves Road en route features a never-ending row of millionaires’ homes with views to die for, and Busselton itself has some classy restaurants and an impressive wooden jetty which, at 1841m in length, is the longest of its type in the southern hemisphere.
The famed Margaret River wine region is also worth a day trip. It produces only three per cent of the nation’s grapes but is responsible for 20 per cent of Australia’s premium wines. Most of the wineries are located closely together and the wine quality is to die for. The town of Margaret River itself is a short drive south from Yallingup, and it’s worth picking up the complimentary map and guide to the studios and galleries of the South West Capes Region. Local artists obviously find this area as inspirational as the tourists do, and you can make a fascinating day trip out of stopping off at studios and galleries.
The world-class Yallingup Ngilgi limestone cave is a leisurely 3km walk from the caravan park and has a striking display of stalagmite, stalactite, helictite and shawl formations. For bushwalkers, I can recommend the beautiful Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, and handily one of its trails can be picked up just across the road from your caravan site.
If you throw in golf, horse riding, a family fun park and a fauna park – all under an hour from Yallingup – you truly are spoilt for choice. Yet you never feel you’re in a commercialised tourist region: the natural beauty was the region’s original draw card and thankfully it remains unspoilt.
What better way to enjoy it than at the local caravan park with the bush on one side and the ocean on the other? It really is worth finding out for yourself whether this is the best located park in WA.
Yallingup Beach Holiday Park is a 3.5-star member of the Top Tourist Parks group. It’s along Valley Road, right on the water by the main beach, Yallingup, WA 6282, (08) 9755 2164 or freecall 1800 220 002, www.yallingupbeach.com.au.
The park overlooks a protected, reef-enclosed lagoon. The beach itself is very attractive, while the surf and surfers are always enjoyable to watch. The town is very small but there are larger towns close by.
Yallingup is an Aboriginal word meaning “Place of Love”, and along with the beaches and ocean, it is a popular tourist destination thanks to its limestone caves and the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park that surrounds it.
Source: Caravan World May 2009