One of the best sunsets and sunrises I’ve ever experienced is at Western Australia’s remote 80 Mile Beach. I’ve visited this piece of heaven several times, and the start and end of the day never fails to impress. Best enjoyed sitting back in a beach chair with your favourite wine! Be still my beating heart! This is a magic place.
Officially, it’s 220 kilometres long – Australia talks metric. But 80 Mile is what the locals call it, and it’s also the name of the tiny well set up caravan park there, just 50 metres from the sand, where you can stay to experience this paradise!
And yes, you probably will have to stay because when I say ‘remote’, I mean it! The nearest town is Port Hedland, 250 kilometres to the south, or Broome 365 kilometres to the north.
There are a few other places where I’ve stayed between Port Hedland and Broome – Pardoo Station is an example with camping facilities. Pardoo also has very basic dongas that I’ve stayed in – accommodation often used in mining camps. Mine was clean with a shower attached, but not a lot of room. Definitely very tight on space! Bookings for these weren’t been accepted at the time of writing (March 2021) – so you’d need to check with Pardoo if you wanted one. The main accommodation area is also well back from the beach. You’ll need to drive to reach the beach, which well worth visiting for its spectacular rocky outcrops. Wandering cattle are a road hazard en route from the accommodation area to the beach.
Pardoo does have a small cafe, but it’s not always open for meals.
For me, 80 Mile Beach is the choice spot to experience this coastline, famous for its beach fishing and bird watching. It is one of the world’s most important feeding grounds for small wading birds that migrate to the area, travelling from countries thousands of kilometres away. There’s an abundance of other birdlife to spot, including colourful rainbow honey eaters. I also lucked in last year on an Eagle that had come down to drink from a pool of water in the caravan park. It’s a great shell beach too with a wide variety of shells. 80 Mile is wonderful for beach walks, it provides abundant photo opportunities – and yes, it’s firm enough to drive your 4 wheel vehicle on if you want to find a stretch of sand or that special fishing spot just for yourself! But don’t expect to swim here! Sharks are locals you might not want to meet!
I’ve stayed at 80 Mile several times and always look forward to my return. The park is well run with plenty of shade and lawn for campers and caravaners. And its self contained accommodation is better than you might expect for such an isolated place. They have some older 2 room units which include kitchen and bathroom facilities. I’ve stayed in these with friends, and while a little old fashioned, they were more than adequate. On my latest trip in 2020, I stayed in one of their new cabins which bordered on ‘outback luxury’! Don’t get too excited. They are new, clean and well laid out. I’m not talking 4 star. But better than I expected. Mine was a one bedroom unit, with a comfy Queen size bed, a lounge, kitchen, a roomy bathroom, and even its own tiny outdoor area complete with a mini barbecue. There is a well stocked shop/mini mart with everything from ice creams to fishing bait available, and they offer some pretty tasty takeaway meals on Friday and Saturday nights. They also bake bread.
The first time I stayed at 80 mile was a missed opportunity. I arrived a day after Judith Durham of the Seekers fame had performed there for a big gathering of Vietnam Veterans and their families! There’s a Vietnam memorial at the caravan park, built there by Vets to commemorate those who have died in service. It was poignant for me as I lost a much loved cousin in the Vietnam war. The wives of Vets told me there wasn’t a dry eye when Durham sang.
I’m not a fisher, but my hubby is mad keen! And so he always packs his fishing gear if we are planning to visit 80 Mile Beach. Early morning, daytime, evening – you’ll always find fishers along the shore line at 80 Mile beach. They are usually hoping for threadfin salmon, blue nose salmon and mulloway – apparently high tide is the best time to fish, so you need to check those tide times.
You’ll find there’s no nightclubs here – it’s a place where you have to make your own entertainment. Mind you, don’t be surprised to walk through the caravan park in the evening to hear a little live music from a guitar. We spotted a chap we knew from our home town who had brought along his accordion, and treated us to an impromptu outdoor performance of Scottish tunes! In these remote Aussie places, expect the unexpected!