Wedge Island has been a favorite place of mine for a long time now. However, there have been a number of changes in the last year, and there will be more to come. There is now a Bitumen Road that goes right into Wedge Island. Camping is not permitted in between Lancelin and north of Cervantes. Fines are quite hefty, and the rangers regularly patrol the area. The Beach Shacks have 4 months left, until a Parliamentary Recommendation is made. This will determine what happens to the shacks. Rumor has it that the area is likely to be turned into a Camping grounds (presumably paid) which anyone can access.
Getting to Wedge Island
On the beach
On low tide (and when the beach isn’t too chopped up) you can drive to Wedge Island from the Lancelin off-road area. This isn’t a beach run for those who are inexperienced. It’s not uncommon to be driving on a fair side angle, with very limited room to turn around. To top it off, the sand is often quite soft (but this does vary a lot from season to season). If the tide is up, take the bitumen road along Indian Ocean Drive to get there.
Through the inland track
I wouldn’t recommend anyone going along the inland track anymore, unless you have a good GPS and you really know the area. The tracks have all been modified around the firing range, and it doesn’t appear that there is a road that goes straight to Wedge. I drove the tracks for quite a long time (and many of them are rocky and slow) and got lost a few times! I would suggest the beach run or Indian Ocean Drive.
Via Indian Ocean Drive
Unless the beach is low tide, this is the way I will go every time from now on. Instead of turning off the highway into Lancelin, keep going along the new highway (Indian Ocean Drive) for 46km. There is a turnoff just after a lookout on your left to Wedge Island. Another 3km along the road and you will be right in the Wedge Island settlement. 2wd cars can drive through there, and even onto the beach (through most times of the year as it is hard enough) but you want to avoid any soft looking sand!
Camping at Wedge Island
Something that I am very disappointed about is the Camping ban in between Lancelin and even north of Cervantes. I know a huge number of people that spent great weekends camping near Wedge Island (including myself) and now you are not allowed to do it. If you want to camp now, it has to be quite a bit further north of Cervantes. I know this affects a massive number of people, which shows poor planning. Please click on the image to the right to see a larger view.
Beach Shacks at Wedge Island
There has been a lot of controversy over the Beach Shacks at Wedge Island. People that have used the area for over 30 years are now looking at having their shacks knocked down. I don’t want to see this happen, but there isn’t much I can do about it. Around August of 2011 a Parliamentary Recommendation will be made determining the fate of these shacks. With over 350 of these on the coast, it would be devastating to see them go. There are plenty of protestors over the planned action.
The Navy Firing Range
The firing range south of Wedge Island has always been out of bounds. There are now more fences (unless they are covered by dune movements) showing where this is. You are allowed on the beach in between Wedge and Lancelin (for now) but you can’t stay there overnight. I did hear that they were looking at closing the beach, but time will tell.
My thoughts on Wedge Island
Personally, I am not happy with what has been done. I know many people who would regularly enjoy Wedge Island (and look after it too) who now have lost one of the best places to camp. As for those who have put many hours into building shacks (and had many hours of enjoyment as a result) it would be a devastating loss. A bitumen road now allows access for everyone, which is going to make it even harder to police, with more problems occurring. This shows poor planning.
I would like to see some serious thought put into the future changes of Wedge Island. It is somewhere people go to relax and have a great time, and taking that away without much thought seems ridiculous to me.
Please let me know your thoughts below