It was a three-hour drive from Port Smith to our long-awaited destination, 80 Mile Beach. We stopped at the only camping place called Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park, located just 50 meters from the beach. Beach camping? Great!
The most unique feature of 80 Mile Beach was the huge shells we were able to collect.
Location of 80 miles beach
80 Mile Beach is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, about halfway between the towns of Port Hedland and Broome. It is situated on the northwestern coast of Australia, overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Biggest shells in Australia
80 Mile Beach is a vast expanse of white sand, stretching for miles and scattered with millions of shells of various types and sizes. It’s possible to drive on the beach, which is allowed in the area.
We met some people who told us that the further we drove along the beach, the larger the shells we would find. Intrigued, we decided to follow their advice and set out on a drive in search of bigger shells.
The shells we found came in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. But what made them truly remarkable was their size – some were as big as a large mango or a small watermelon. It was incredible to imagine that such large shells could be found on the beach.
80 Mile Beach Fishing
We heard that fishing at 80 Mile Beach was excellent, as we saw plenty of anglers fishing directly off the beach. While we hadn’t yet tried it ourselves, we heard that it was possible to catch some really good fish here, such as Trevally, Queenfish, and even Mackerel.
If you have access to a boat, you can try your luck at catching Coral Trout, or Emperor.
Our next door neighbor caught a small 50 cm shark, which was a miniature version of the huge beasts that are known to attack people. It’s all part of the balance – sharks eat people, people eat sharks – the balance is kept.
We spent a few hours fishing on the beach but unfortunately didn’t have any luck. Hunger eventually drove us back to our trailer, empty-handed in terms of fish, but with a bucket full of shells for Nell to play with.
Sunset at 80 Mile Beach
In the afternoon, we made it to the beach in time to catch the sunset, which was a beautiful raspberry-orange color.
As the evening arrived, the beach grew quiet and the anglers packed up for the day as the tide started to recede. The only creatures left to admire the beautiful spectacle were the seagulls and ourselves.
The sunset was stunning once again, reminding us of why we embarked on this trip in the first place. It’s moments like these that make us appreciate the beauty of life.
Western Australia is known for its stunning sunsets, with the sky often turning into a fiery red-orange hue. This is due to the combination of clear skies, low humidity, and the unique landscape of the region.
One of the best places to witness these red sunsets is in Darwin Mindil Market.
Cleaning the shells
At this point, we had collected so many shells from 80 Mile Beach that I was afraid to open the fridge for fear of finding more inside. Nell, on the other hand, was thrilled and would have gladly taken the entire beach home with her.
Collecting shells had also been a perfect activity for Nell. She had spent hours washing each shell individually, removing the sand, sorting them out, and drying them in the sun. With over a hundred shells already in her possession, the process was taking a long time.
I was tempted to gather all the shells we had collected, put them in a bucket, add some sand, and get Nell busy with them once again.
The funny thing was that every time we returned from the beach, we’d say to Nell that we had collected enough shells. But, then we’d end up coming back with another bucket, half-full of more shells. It was just too hard for her to resist the temptation of collecting them.
For those who may wonder, we never actually took any of the shells back with us when we left the 80miles beach. After all, we knew they belonged to the ocean, and we respected that.
Crystal Clear Azure Water
The waters around 80 Mile Beach had a wonderful azure color, and at the very horizon, there was only a thin navy blue line separating the sea from the sky. The beach itself was about 400-500 meters wide, and it was almost completely deserted.
The only thing missing for Marius was fish. He didn’t have a proper beach fishing rod, so perhaps that was the reason why he wasn’t having much luck. However, we didn’t see many other anglers coming back with fish either.
Sunrise at 80 Mile Beach
On our last day, I woke up just before sunrise. The sky was painted pink, so I decided to take one last walk on this amazing beach. We would have loved to stay longer, but time had flown by, and we didn’t know how long it would take to fix our car in Perth (issue with contaminated fuel was progressing).
Sadly, our 80 Mile Beach adventure had come to an end. The next day, we would be heading 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 even had the feeling that I was a roadrunner from Looney Tunes and started to look out for the coyote…
Port Hedland is a well-known iron ore mining town with a population of around 16,000 people. It is a highly industrial place, and accommodation and house prices are among the highest in Australia.
We did not enjoy our time in Port Hedland as there weren’t many tourist attractions and the town is heavily industrialised. The roads are crowded with cars, including frequent road trains. The town is covered in red dust due to the mining industry.
Accommodation options are limited and expensive, as most of the available spaces are taken by mine workers living in caravans. We were only able to get a tent site at a caravan park after convincing the receptionist that our trailer was small enough to fit.
Despite the uneventful stay, we made use of our time by doing some shopping and laundry. The following day, we plan to take a coastal route on our journey.
Our 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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Enjoy outdoors with Tentworld equipment
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