If you’re searching for the best Blackwood River camping experience, then look no further – you’ve just found it. Barrabup Sanctuary in Nannup, Western Australia features peaceful and picturesque private camping grounds that are perfect for small or very large groups. That’s the best part – they’re completely private so whether you book for 2 people or 30, the whole campground is yours.
This secluded spot on the banks of the Blackwood River is everything you want in an escape from city life. It’s 3 hours south of Perth and just 15 minutes from Nannup town centre.
The two separate camp sites can be booked year round and accommodate caravans, camper trailers and tents with plenty of room to spare. My partner and I enjoy camping in a tent and there are many convenient places to set up.
The best Blackwood River camping experience
Barrabup Sanctuary is about a 15 minute drive from Barrabup Pool – another perfect place for summer swimming. It is a short drive from Nannup town centre where you will find many little gift shops, antiques, cafes, a pub, art gallery, groceries, liquor store and more.
My partner and I have stayed at each of the camp sites at different times of the year and they are both wonderful for different reasons.
At both campsites you will be treated to an amazing chorus of birds day and night. The gorgeous little fairy wrens will pop in to visit each day while they hunt for their little meals. (This is always one of my favourite parts of the camping trip. I could watch these sweet little birds for hours.) If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to other wildlife sightings too. We have seen an emu with their chick, sand goannas and kangaroos.
I love waking up in the morning, brewing a coffee and walking a few steps down to the river to listen to the sounds of the running water as the forest wakes up. The mist rising off the water as the sun starts to heat up the earth is breathtaking.
If you’re into star gazing, then this spot is absolutely magical. On clear nights we sit in the dark in our portable hammock with a glass of wine and stare at the stars. You can see the Milky Way, shooting stars, satellites and all kinds of constellations.
When you arrive at Barrabup Sanctuary Headquarters (HQ), stick to the right to get to Campsite 1. Simply follow the signs for “The Bird Hide” and the road will lead you there. (The Bird Hide is chalet style accommodation, also on site.)
Campsite 1 is closer to the part of the river that runs a little faster so you get that beautiful rushing water sound at certain times of the year. The big communal under cover cooking area structure has stacks of chairs and large tables for you to use. It’s great if you’re with a group and everyone is trying to prepare food at once!
This campsite is a really inviting place, made with groups in mind. There are big long wood benches and a gas BBQ grill plus single side burner for your kettle. You will find a large, stone encircled spot for open bonfires, but if you happen to be camping on a wet weekend, you can build a smaller drum fire under cover to keep cosy.
The showers are heated with gas and believe me, a hot shower while camping is a luxury you simply have to experience. (We felt very spoiled.) Within the shower and toilet block, there are two separate, divided sides with a toilet and shower on each. If you are with a group, you can designate one side for gents and one for ladies if you wish. The staff at Barrabup Sanctuary keep them very clean and provide little tea light candles all over the camp site for your convenience.
The site area is raised and sits on fine gravel. It has great drainage and doesn’t turn into a mud pit, which is important if it rains. Campsite 1 doesn’t have the same stainless steel food prep area and sink that Campsite 2 has so consider bringing a small washing basin. A fresh drinking water tap is available only a few steps away.
The last time we stayed at Campsite 2, we came with a group of friends. This site is closer to the quiet part of the river near the swimming hole. To get to this campsite, drive into Barrabup Sanctuary HQ, taking the dirt road around the left of the farmhouse. This under cover camping structure is set up beautifully with a stainless steel food preparation bench, fold out tables, chairs and a gas BBQ grill with side burner as well.
Again, you will find a large stone encircled area so you can enjoy a bonfire at appropriate times of the year and a smaller drum for cooking fires. An added bonus of this campsite is the hand built wood fired pizza oven! Once upon a time, some campers built the oven and it still sees a lot of use to this day.
Up the nearby stone steps you’ll see the toilet and shower block just in front of the industrial hemp paddock. There are 4 toilet stalls, 2 sinks and 2 hot showers in the block. (This is such an incredible luxury to have while camping, especially with a group!)
The sites feature many places for vehicles, trailers, tents, generators and whatever else you need. Each site has its own large rubbish and recycling bins.
If you plan to have a fire I recommend bringing your own newspaper, fire-lighters and an axe. Sometimes wood is available but it may not always be dry. It is worth bringing a bag or two of your own if you’re able to.
Book a campsite
You can also call Barrabup Sanctuary Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm at (08) 9756 1332.
Campsite bookings are only $20 per night per person and under 18s camp free.