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The Nguyen family: Our advice for winter camping in Karri Valley

As a family that loves outdoor adventures, we were thrilled to spend a few days at RAC Karri Valley Resort. Even though it was winter, the features and facilities of the property made for an enjoyable and comfortable stay. Our whole family loved the experience. 

The Nguyen family standing on the lookout at Beedelup Falls.

Here are our top tips for families considering a winter camping trip to this beautiful part of Western Australia.

1. The drive: Enjoy the journey

Plan a few stops along the way. The four-hour drive from Perth to Karri Valley takes you through lush rainforests and charming small towns. It’s perfect for stretching your legs and grabbing a coffee or some food along the way. We enjoyed the scenery and felt the excitement build as we approached Karri Valley.

2. Easy check-in and warm welcome

Check-in at the reception is a breeze. The friendly staff provided us with a rundown of all the activities available, as well as information about on-site dining at Lakeside Restaurant. A top tip, if you’re wanting to dine in for dinner it’s recommended to place a reservation online prior to your arrival. The information from reception helped us plan our stay and maximise our fun despite the chilly weather.

3. Setting up: A view to remember

When booking our winter getaway, we opted for a powered slab site due to it being in winter. With the possibility of rain, the less mud/grass in the van, the better! Our caravan overlooked the stunning Karri forest, and we were so excited to see kangaroos hopping around and coming onto our site.

The Nguyen family's caravan set up on a slab site atop the campground hill.

4. Warm up at Lakeside Restaurant

After setting up at the campground we headed resort-side for some light food and drinks at Lakeside Restaurant. The fire was burning which made for a cosy, comfortable experience. It was a perfect way to unwind and start our holiday on a relaxing note.

5. Evening fun at the Lodge

Take advantage of the Lodge’s amenities. After unwinding at Lakeside Restaurant, we headed back to the caravan park and had dinner at the Lodge. The kids played table tennis and we watched the footy with the fire keeping us warm. The prices were reasonable, and the bar offered a good selection of drinks for both kids and adults. Back at the caravan, we toasted marshmallows to end the night. During the permitted fire season, fire pits are allowed on your campsite (must be enclosed and 30cm off the ground), or you can hire one from reception.

The Nguyen family's fire pit at RAC Karri Valley Resort.

6. Explore Pemberton and surrounds

Plan a day trip to Pemberton and see all the sites! On our second day we visited Pemberton town centre. We had lunch at the local bakery and explored the train station- unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to take the train around the Cascades, but we can only imagine how beautiful that would’ve been! We also checked out the Gloucester Tree. The walk around Beedelup Falls was easy and our 4-year-old did it with ease. In a few sections, the trail was a bit tricky due to the wet conditions, so we recommend packing a good pair of gum boots, but it was still a great time! We all especially loved crossing the suspension bridge. We recommend getting a National Parks Pass as a few of these spots require it (another top tip- RAC members get 50% off when purchasing via the RAC Online Shop). Or, you can pay when you arrive at the location.

The Nguyen family dining at Pemberton bakery.

7. Fun on-site at RAC Karri Valley Resort

Bring bikes for the kids. There’s an awesome pump track at the caravan park next to the playground. The playground is fantastic and has a BBQ area. Our boys loved riding their bikes there and it provided them with plenty of entertainment. There’s also a basketball court and tennis court on the campground side (with rackets available for hire at reception, or bring your own). Over at the resort, there are plenty of activities for the kids too. They offer animal feeding at the cuddly animal farm, hiring of kayaks and SUP’s at the lake, archery, fishing, mini golf and more! Some activities are free of charge, and some require payment and booking ahead of time, so plan your days before arrival and reach out to the reception team to help secure your bookings.

8. Indoor activities for rainy days

Have a backup plan for indoor activities. On our third day, the weather was quite rainy. After visiting Big Brook Dam and having lunch at a pub in Pemberton, we spent the afternoon in the camp kitchen making brownies and enjoying snacks. It was a cozy and fun way to spend a rainy day in front of the fire! Other ideas for rainy days could include arts and crafts, family games, or even a cosy caravan movie if you’re lucky to travel with portable devices. Given how internet reception can be weaker in some areas, we recommend downloading a few movies or TV shows ahead of time to watch offline.

9. Explore the onsite trails

Don’t miss the trail walks around the caravan park and the resort! Before packing up on our last day, we managed to do a little trail walk in the bush behind the caravan park. We saw emus, kangaroos, and various bird species. It was a great way to end our trip before packing down the caravan and in between the rain! If the rain holds out, you can also tackle the longer loop from the resort side taking you past Beedelup Falls and around the lake.

Child smiles for the camera in front of kangaroos on a misty morning.

10. Check-out and departure

Our checkout was easy and efficient, and we left with plenty of wonderful memories. The view from the top of the hill looking down at the caravan park and the Karri forest is breathtaking. We highly recommend getting a powered slab site, as this sits higher than the other sites at the caravan park, is close to all the amenities, and offers a (mostly) mud-free base for your caravan.

Final thoughts

Camping in Karri Valley during winter was a fantastic experience for our family. Despite the colder weather, the features and facilities at RAC Karri Valley Resort made our stay comfortable and enjoyable. From the stunning scenery to the variety of activities, it’s a perfect spot for a winter getaway. If you’re considering a trip, follow these tips to make the most of your stay. Don’t let the cool weather deter you, and happy camping!

Seeking a cosy getaway of your own?
If the Nguyen’s family holiday has inspired you to take a break at RAC Karri Valley Resort, check availability and get your booking started now.
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