It’s true. A good campfire offers more than just a place to sizzle your snags. It’s about keeping cosy on a wintery night. Connecting face-to-face. Setting aside screens in favour of more old-school entertainment: crackling flames and camaraderie.

“I’m never happier than when I’m sitting around a campfire,’ says Kellie Tannock, the lady behind Walk Talk Taste’s gourmet glamping setup amidst vines and bushland just south of Margaret River.

“It’s a primal joy… Sitting under the stars, you want for nothing more.”

But before you light up, there are a few things to consider.

Walk Talk Taste's gourmet glamping setup is pure winter magic. Photo: West Beach Studio

Safety First

WA’s hot and dry summers come with an extremely high fire risk, hence campfires are banned for several months of the year (roughly from December 1 until March 31).

During the cooler periods when campfires are permitted, it’s best to bring your own wood. A slow-burning hardwood like jarrah or karri produces good hot coals for cooking.

The Explore Parks website is a great resource for checking the campfire conditions and availability of firewood at WA’s many campsites.

Practicalities aside, it’s time to get creative with your cooking. Here’s our pick of the region’s best firepit-friendly fare.

Augusta Abalone Photo Credit Samira Damirova
Fresh abalone, the jewel of WA's coast. Photo: Samira Damirova


Subtle, sweet abalone is the jewel of WA’s pristine coastline. A sea snail rather than a mollusk, it can be eaten raw (think ceviche-style with lashings of lime and chilli), or steamed in foil over coals.

“I love it sliced and pan-fried simply with butter and herbs,” says Kellie. “With that touch of fire and smoke from the campfire, it’s just delicious”.

Ocean Pantry at Augusta Boat Harbour sells sustainably-farmed green lip abalone from their ocean ranch. Choose from live, frozen whole in the shell, or sliced and tenderised.

A campfire to keep you warm, inside and out. Photo: West Beach Studio


Endemic to the streams of the Margaret River Region, marron are WA’s largest freshwater crayfish. Similar to a rock lobster, the flesh is firm and sweet with a slightly nutty flavour.

I chatted to local food photographer and ex Masterchef Australia contestant Samira Damirova about how to prepare it.

“I cook it in copious amounts of butter with a generous handful of roughly chopped garlic. I start by melting butter in a large pan, then add garlic and sautée until the garlic releases its aroma. Then, I place the marron flesh side down and cook over a high heat for 1-2 minutes. Finally, I flip the marron over, add a splash of dry white wine, close the lid on the pan and cook the marron until it turns reddish in colour.”

The most humane way to kill marron is to chill it in an Esky for an hour until it’s insensible. Then, place it on its back and cut it in half lengthways in one fast movement from head to tail.

Source it at True Blue Marron in Nannup, or try Old Vasse Trout & Marron Farm in Pemberton.

Stuff the fish with lemon and herbs to build flavour. Photo: Tim Campbell


Paul Iskov is a man who’s eaten crocodile, barbecued cherabin, and baked goanna in a ground oven. He’s the chef behind Fervor’s pop-up degustation dinners. Bush food aside, Paul’s go-to on family camping trips is fish.

“I just go rock fishing to see what I can catch… maybe a few herring or a skippy. I love the simplicity of cooking a whole fish over the fire; it’s one of the tastiest and easiest things,” he says.

“It takes a little longer than cooking a fillet but it’s really sustainable because you’re eating every single part of the fish… And the beautiful thing for me is eating with your hands.”

It takes a little longer than cooking a fillet but it’s really sustainable because you’re eating every single part of the fish.

Use a well-oiled fish grill for deliciously crispy skin. Score the skin and rub with olive oil and herbs. Stuff the cavity with lemon and herbs to build flavour.

Cast your rod in at one of the region’s family-friendly fishing spots (no licence required from the beach) or head to Chris’ Sea to You Seafood in Busselton.

Venison and Beef

Gamey, lean, and proteinaceous, venison makes a great winter campfire stew. Cook it up in a cast iron Dutch oven with onions, carrots, pearl barley, stock, wine, bay leaves, and whatever else you fancy.

Or, for a quicker but equally hearty feed, try a seared wagyu. Rub with olive oil, rock salt, pepper, and rosemary and sear in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet for the most even heat distribution. Remember to wash and season your cookware with oil after every use so that it doesn’t rust or stick.

Margaret River Venison on Caves Road sells free-range venison in almost every cut imaginable. Margaret River Wagyu in Cowaramup specialises in beautifully marbled Tajima-bloodline wagyu, lovingly reared in the region.

Bettenays Nougat Margaret River
The perfect way to finish - local nougat from Bettenay's. Photo: Russell Ord

Sides and Sweets

Damper (bush bread) is the quintessential campfire side (and a handy vessel for mopping up salty meat juices, too). It’s easy to make and requires no yeast or proving time. Just wrap your bread dough in foil and place over coals for about 30 minutes. Or, roll it into a snake, wind around a stick, and toast it over the fire.

Camembert or brie, warmed in a pan over the fire, makes a gorgeously gooey accompaniment. Drizzle it with local Karri honey and toasted macadamias.

Vegetables can be skewered or wrapped in foil and cooked over the coals. Try corn, capsicum, red onion, and mushrooms seasoned with preserved lemon, salt and plenty of olive oil or butter.

Swap the traditional marshmallows for local nougat. Southwest honey, Australian nuts and local dried fruit go into the impressive range at Bettenay’s in Cowaramup.

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