It was a 3 hours drive from Port Smith to our next, long waited for destination – 80 Mile Beach. We stopped at the only camping place called – Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park. It is located 50 meters from the beach so what else we may want?
The most unique feature of 80 Mile Beach was the huge shells we were able to collect. Over the next few days, we collected a full 40 x 60 plastic box of shells to take home. We could not resist.
Biggest shells in Australia
80 Mile Beach is very long and wide with white sand and millions of shells of various types and sizes. Driving on the beach is allowed.
People we met said the further you drive the bigger shells you collect. So, this is what we did.
The shells were in so many different sizes, shapes and colours. But the most important thing was that they were huge, up to a big mango size or small watermelon. Can you imagine that?
80 Mile Beach Fishing
We heard the fishing is great as we saw plenty of anglers fishing directly off the beach. We have not experienced it empirically yet but we heard you can catch really good fish here like Trevally, Queenfish or even Mackerel.
Obviously, if you have a boat you can even catch Tuskfish, Coral Trout or Emperor.
Yesterday, our neighbour next door caught a small 50 cm shark – a miniature version of huge beasts that eat people. Sharks eat people, people sharks – the balance is kept.
We spent a few hours on the beach trying to fish without success. Only an empty belly drove us back to the trailer. We came back without fish, but with a bucket of shells.
Sunset at 80 Mile Beach
After a quick lunch, we still managed to see the sunset in the raspberry-orange glow.
In the evening the beach got quiet and anglers disappeared already as the low tide began. Only the seagulls admired this wonderful spectacle with us.
The sunset was great again. We again knew why we went on this trip. Life is beautiful again.
Cleaning the shells
We already have collected so many shells from 80 Mile Beach that I am afraid to open the fridge, because they are probably there, too. Nell was delighted and would gladly have taken the entire beach with her.
It was also a brilliant job for Nell. She had time to wash each shell separately, rinse them from sand, sort them out and dry them in the sun. And since she already has more than a hundred of them, it takes a long time to do it.
I was tempted to put all these shells back in a bucket, add some sand and get her occupied again.
The interesting thing is that every time we come back from the beach we definitely say that’s enough. Later on, we return with another bucket half full of shells as it’s not easy to resist collecting more of them.
Crystal Clear Azure Water
Around 80 Mile Beach, the water in the ocean has a wonderful, azure colour, while at the very horizon there was only a thin navy blue line. The beach is about 400-500 meters wide, and it is empty.
The only thing missing is fish for Marius. He does not have a proper beach fishing rod so maybe that was the reason. However, we did not see many anglers coming back with fish.
Sunrise at 80 Mile Beach
Last day, I woke up just before sunrise. The sky was pink so I went for a last walk on this amazing beach. We should have stayed longer, but time ran fast and we did not know how long it would take to fix the car in Perth (the car was getting worse).
Our 80 Mile Beach adventure came to the end. The next day we are going to Port Hedland.
The 250 km drive from 80 Mile Beach to Port Hedland was very monotonous. It is a straight road with only grassland and no trees or houses. Just vast emptiness.
At one point I had the feeling I was a roadrunner from Looney Tunes and I started to look out for the coyote…
Port Hedland is a known huge iron mine town with a population of 16000 people. It is a very industrial place and accommodation and house prices are the biggest in Australia.
We did not like it as it either does not have many tourist attractions. There are many cars on the road, and every second of them is a road train.
Everything is covered with a layer of red dust. We could only get a tent site at the caravan park as the mine workers live in caravans and everything is constantly booked out.
We managed to convince the man at the reception that our trailer was a tent size and he put us on a tiny spot right next to the playground with a nice view of the river and the city.
Accommodation prices in Port Hedland are also like in a good resort, but this is due to high wages in the mining industry. We used our afternoon to do the shopping and washing. Tomorrow we are on the road again. This time, for a change, we will bounce off the coast for a while.
Next destination – Karijini National Park
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Pardoo Station is located 150 km west of 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park and 200 km before Port Hedland. The station is a 200000-hectare working cattle properly and also offers a big caravan park with reasonable rates.
They have well maintained 4WD tracks that take you to and along the coastline. At Pardoo Station you can experience great fishing and bird watching
Keraudren Camping is located 8 km off the Great Northern Highway. There are 3 sections in the campground: Sandy Beach, Cootenbrand Creek and top camp, and Cape Keraudren Cliff Camp.
There is an entry fee of $12 per vehicle and $10 per adult per night.
Turtle Viewing – from October it is possible to see flatback turtles nesting on the beach. However, there are no organised tours to do so. There is an organisation that monitors flatback turtles called Care for Hedland. You can register and join their programs to help.
Cemetery Beach Park is a public well-maintained park with a view of the Indian Ocean. There are children’s playgrounds, swaying palms, public art and a lot of grassy space. It is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset in the evening.
Koombana Lookout is a water tower standing behind Cemetery Beach. The lookout is named passenger and cargo ship called SS Koombana sank near Port Hedland. Between October and March, with a pair of good binoculars, you can see flatback sea turtles nesting on the beach.
Cooke Point Viewing Platform is another place where you can watch Staircase to the Moon – a phenomenon where the moon is reflected off the sand at low tide causing a staircase effect.
Read and see photos from our Broome post.
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4WD Equipment Checklist
Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)
UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency
Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road
High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks
Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking
Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places