Quabba and Gnaraloo Station: The Wild West
Off the beaten track in western Australia is a small stretch of land that upon first look is seemingly insignificant but here in this barren desert landscape that can expose you to the harshest conditions you will find a simple oasis and a spectacular holiday destination. Here two working stations survive some of the most barren landscapes with some of the most stunning views and destinations. From world class surfing and kiteboarding to snorkeling in an UNESCO world heritage site this lonely dirt track on the edge of the Indian ocean will fill your camera and your memory with priceless moments. The perfect chance to disconnect and unplug awaits as you drive away from cell phone reception and experience the simple life with no shops, fuel stations, and sometimes not even showers or running water. So pack the surfboard and the fishing rod and get ready to reconnect with nature.
Your journey to the wild west will begin in the town of Carnarvon, a small regional town in Western Australia that is known for its production of the majority of the state’s fruits and vegetables during the winter months. Considering that you are about to spend the next few days in the harsh desert climates, enjoy the lush tropical surrounds of Carnarvon while you can. Once you have finished stocking up with fuel, fresh water, and provisions you are ready to start the drive to Quobba Station.
From Carnarvon it is about a 1 hour drive to the famed Quobba blow holes. Here you can watch the spectacular show nature puts on as massive waves crash into coastal cliffs and propel large spurts of water high into the sky through small caves and caverns found in the cliffs. From the blow holes it is another 10 minute drive to Quobba Station. During your stay there are 4 different options for accommodation that range anywhere from station stays to unpowered sites. We will outline them all below so you can pick the one that best suits your needs and interests.
Quobba station is the easiest station to access with a 2 wheel drive and offers a bit of luxury and comfort if you are not ready to rough it out in the wilderness just yet. Here you can book camp sites, fishing shacks, cottages, chalets overlooking the ocean and all with access to hot showers, toilets, limited fresh water and power.
If you are feeling more adventurous then drive another 60 kilometers up the road to the famous Red Bluff. Here you will find world class surfing waves with a left hander point break that is world renowned. The campsites are perfect for those who want a more rustic camping experience or for those who wish to roll out of bed and straight into the surf. The small shanty town of Red Bluff offers basic unpowered camping sites, glamping tents and chalets as well as drop toilets. Be aware that there is no running water or showers here. However there is a small store here that sells basic provisions as well as some cooked food and cold drinks if you can’t be bothered cooking. The smoothies from the store at Red Bluff are growing famous so if you have the chance grab the fresh Carnarvon mango smoothie and sit and watch the surfers conquer one of the more challenging waves on the west coast.
Past Red Bluff you will enter Gnaraloo Station. The first stop here will be 3 Mile Camp. This is the perfect spot if you are after a campsite that is slightly more civilized than Red Bluff. Here you will find access to hot showers (bore water), flushing toilets, a sink area for washing up and laundry as well as the option to purchase internet from the reception area. This spot also has a famous surf break called tombstones. Another break that is world famous, massive and only for experienced riders. This camp attracts many windsurfers and kiteboarders in the spring and summer months as the sea breeze kicks in so if you are after a spot that puts you right in the middle of the action then this is it. However eb aware that there is little wind or sun protection at this site completed to Red Bluff so be ready to be sandblasted and sun scorched.
Next up is Gnaraloo Homestead. This spot offers some newly renovated accommodation options that include self-contained units that include a private kitchen, bathroom and shower in every unit. So if you are after some privacy and luxury while exploring the area then this should be your home base. Gnaraloo homestead is also the closest accommodation to Gnaraloo bay which is the perfect destination for calm water well suited for families and snorkel enthusiasts. Here you will find some of the most stunning corals and marine life as well as one of the largest populations of loggerhead turtles. There is also a boat launch here (in the soft sand) so if you are keen for some fishing off your tinnies this is a great spot to head out of.
So pack up the 4 wheel drive with the essentials and head on out to the wild west. Hop on one of WA’s most famed left hander point breaks, spear or line fish for a tasty fire cooked dinner, kitesurf the afternoon sea breeze at Tombstones, and snorkel the most southern tip of the UNESCO world heritage Ningaloo Reef. You can also catch a stunning sunset at monument cliffs and snorkel the 3 Mile Lagoon. There is no shortage of fun to be had here. With heaps of 4wd tracks all throughout the area all you have to do is take one wrong turn and you will be on your way to discovering the next snorkel spot or that perfect secluded wave.