view of the irwin river leading into the ocean in port denison

Port Denison Dongara Travel Guide

Kaya, hello. I’m Wendy, a Londoner who moved to Australia in 2000. Since then I’ve travelled the state extensively with my family.

Port Denison is one of our favourite getaways from Perth so we visit there frequently.

My guide to Port Denison and Dongara includes all the information I have gathered over the years along with my experiences.

This post may contain affiliate links (of companies I book through). This means I may receive a small commission if you book through them. You can read the disclaimer for more information.

Accommodation in Port Denison

Have you booked accommodation?

We use Booking.com for most accommodation bookings as they offer free cancellation on many properties and have a price match guarantee. We book through Stayz (part of VRBO) for private accommodation as we find it is often cheaper than Airbnb.

Tip: Accommodation gets booked quickly, especially during the WA school holidays. To avoid disappointment, book early.

Our top choice for where to stay in Port Denison is at the BIG4 Dongara Denison Beach Holiday Park right on Granny’s Beach. Their beach cabins are right on the front and have spectacular views over the ocean.

See how much the cabins are for your dates here or, if you are a Big 4 member, book direct for a 10% discount.

We also rented a chalet at Leander Reef Holiday Park, a great budget accommodation option. Chalets have a private bathroom, air conditioning/heating, flat-screen TV, microwave, fridge, stovetop, and toaster. The cabin was clean, and the holiday park was very quiet.

See latest rates and availability here

The Lazy Lobster Holiday Units and Chalets are also very popular, although we have yet to stay there.

Camping options are available at Big 4 Caravan Park, Leander Reef, and Dongara Tourist Park.

Beach Cabins at Big4 Port Denison overlooking Granny's Beach
Beach Cabins at Big4 Port Denison overlooking Granny’s Beach

Places To Eat in Port Denison & Dongara

Being a country town, there are limited food options compared to a city. However, the couple of restaurants we did eat at were very good.

ISeaspray Beach Café is open for breakfast and lunch. The food and service here are amazing. It’s very popular and is often full.

The Dongara Hotel pub is our favourite place for dinner (and the breakfasts are tasty too). The servings are big, and it has an extensive menu, delicious food, and friendly service. There’s an outdoor area as well as indoors. The fish and chips are scrumptious, as are the curries.

the front of the dongara hotel with outdoor seating
The Dongara Hotel

As with most Australian country towns, there’s a bakery in Dongara if you are after some sweet treats.

The Green Beanie, a quirky caravan-style coffee van, has great coffee for your caffeine fix, or Poppies By The Park in Dongara is always busy.

poppies coffee shop with seats outside in the park
Poppies in Dongara

How to get to Port Denison Dongara


Port Denison is on the Coral Coast of Western Australia, 350km north of Perth. The twin towns of Port Denison and Dongara are divided by the Irwin River.

International and domestic visitors will fly into Perth Airport. Find details about visas, prohibited items, currency, and safety in this Australia Travel Guide and tips on arriving into WA and other essential travel information in this Western Australia Travel Guide.

There are car hire booths at Perth Airport, but it’s best to pre-book your car rental.

To compare Australian car hire prices, Discover Cars is an award-winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly rated.

DriveNow is a good resource to compare campervan hire in Western Australia. It includes all the large companies like Britz, Maui, & Jucy as well as smaller ones.

Compare Rental Cars Here.

It will take around 4 hours to drive to Port Denison from Perth via Brand Highway or along the Indian Ocean Drive.

If you drive along the Indian Ocean, keep a lookout for emus. The drive is nice, with sand dunes and the ocean to break up the bushland view. You can stop in Cervantes and Jurien Bay (the bakery is good there) to break up the journey. Green Head is another option if you want a walk.

Port Denison Dongara Travel Guide
Jurien Bay

Port Denison Weather

The highest rainfall can be expected between May and August, with June being the wettest. Conversely, December is usually the driest month.

The hottest month is February when it averages 26.7°C, and the coldest is July, when it drops to 14.4°C.

pelicans in wetlands in port denison
Australian Pelicans around the wetlands in Port Denison

Brief History of Port Denison Dongara


I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Wattandee people who are the Traditional Custodians and First People of these lands. I would like to pay my respect to the Elders past, present, and future for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of the Wattandee people.

Lieutenant George Grey was the first European to pass through this region in 1839. Unfortunately, he became shipwrecked at Gantheaume Bay near Kalbarri and had to trek the 700 km back to the Swan River Colony in Perth.

In 1845, a team led by the Gregory Brothers discovered the Irwin River. They found a coal seam in a river bed and reported back to Perth.

The Wattandee people saw the first settlers from Perth arrive in 1850 with cattle and sheep.

The town was surveyed two years later and named Dhungarra – a name given to the area by local Indigenous people to indicate a “meeting place of seals.”

The first flour mill was built in 1859, now known as Denison House. The jetty at Port Irwin (now Port Denison) was built in 1867 to accommodate the ships collecting wheat, flour, wool, and sandalwood.

The townsite started to grow with the addition of shops, a police station, and a school, with a bridge being built in the late 1880s to connect Port Dension and Dongara.

It became popular for summer holidays after the Second World War and remains popular today.

view of the irwin river leading into the ocean in port denison
Irwin River taken from Dongara