This low lying coastline, home to Shark Bay’s most extensive
mangrove community is also a popular spot for people making day
trips for fishing or camping overnight on long journeys north or south.
The old Gladstone port and townsite has an interesting history dating back to the early 1900’s. It was an important site for many years before roads connected the area, and boats alighting at the jetty would cart wool and sandalwood to ports further south. The remains of the jetty and some small ruins can still be seen today.
This strip of coastline runs parallel to the North West Coastal Highway and short unsealed access roads head from the highway to each of the tourist sites. Bush Bay and New Beach are all within 40km of Carnarvon and further south is Gladstone, around 110km further on.
Northern Sites – Bush Bay and New Beach
There are no toilets at any of these sites and only campervans with chemical toilets are allowed to camp here. Sullage tanks are provided to empty waste but there are no other formal facilities. You will need to bring your own water, food supplies and remember to take all your rubbish out with you. Carnarvon Shire rangers service Bush Bay and New Beach twice a week and remove rubbish. Dogs are permitted on a lead only. Visitor pressures in these areas have had a negative effect on the local environment, particularly the mangrove stands, so please tread lightly!
The Gladstone site has some basic facilities including two composting toilets, a boat ramp and an informal camping area. There is a gate between the highway and Gladstone – please keep this closed at all times. Small fees apply for camping which can be paid into the honesty box on-site or directly to staff at the shire office in Carnarvon.
Activities and Highlights
Camping is popular along this coastal strip but it is important to note that there are limited facilities, no fresh water and the site can be very exposed to the elements. The low vegetation and generally flat terrain provides little protection from the prevailing winds. The sites are also very fragile so please don’t drive off the established tracks and don’t use the local timber for firewood. The incremental damage to the local vegetation from campers is becoming an environmental issue.
Camping at Gladstone, Bush Bay, and New Beach are all administered by the Shire of Carnarvon. Please visit the shire’s guide for camping in the area here or contact them at the address below for more details.
- Shire of Carnarvon
PO Box 459
Carnarvon WA 6701
Ph: (08) 9941 0000
Fax: (08) 9941 0099
Fishing is possible along this section of coastline but is generally better in the deeper waters offshore. Whiting can be caught from the beach and other species frequent the deeper channels a few kilometres offshore. You can launch boats from the beach at Bush Bay or from the boat ramp at Gladstone.
There are special zoning restrictions along this section of coastline including:
- The Gladstone Special Protection Zone to help conserve the local population of dugongs which visit the area to breed during summer. The waters south of the Gladstone boat ramp are closed to boating between September 1st and 15th January and the waters north of the ramp are closed between 1st December and 31st March.
- The Disappointment Reach Special protection Zone just north of Gladstone is closed to fishing all year as a benchmark for monitoring the health of marine ecosystems. It is also important dugong habitat.
- The Wooramel Special Purpose Zone recognises the significance of the Wooramel seagrass bank in the Shark Bay ecosystem. Take care not to disturb turtles, dugongs and seagrasses.
For full details on the exact location of each of the marine zone visit our zoning maps.
Fishing regulations are also in place. Check our fishing pages out for details on Shark Bay’s special fishing bag limits.
At Gladstone there are some relics of a port facility constructed in 1910 for transporting supplies by boat between local pastoral stations and Perth. The lighters serviced several small ports in the local area and teams of camels carted wool and sandalwood to Gladstone from stations throughout the Murchison district.
The most obvious structure you will see today is the causeway and jetty, the remains of the most substantial wool-lightering structure on the Western Australian coast. The 287 metre long stone causeway lead from a wool-store shed to a 77 metre long timber jetty. The footings of the wool-store can still be seen today.
For your own safety please keep off the remains of the jetty.
There is a scenic lookout at White Bluff just off the Northwest Coastal Highway south of the Gladstone turnoff. From here you can get an impression of the massive size of Shark Bay with vistas across the shallow intertidal area towards Hamelin Pool and Faure Sill.
There are no entry fees for any of these locations along the Wooramel Coast. Camping fees are in place for Gladstone which can be paid in the honesty box or directly to Carnarvon Shire staff in Carnarvon.