West Coast Road Trip Day 1: Broome
Nestled in Western Australia’s Kimberley Region, Broome is a beautiful beach resort town along the Indian Ocean that’s perfect for rest and relaxation.
- Enjoy the white sands and turquoise waters of Cable Beach, a quintessential part of any Broome tour. You have to catch a sunset here, and you can do it while riding a camel! If you’re lucky enough to be in Broome during the Staircase to the Moon events, you have to take advantage and witness this natural spectacle.
- Gantheaume Point is a popular cliff diving spot, but if that’s not your thing, you can also see ancient dinosaur footprints here. That's right, when the tide is low, at the bottom of the cliff you can see real dinosaur footprints preserved in reef rock from over 130 million years ago.
- You can experience Broome’s rich history by walking around it’s Chinatown. During the infancy of Broome’s pearling industry, many migrants from Asia settled in the town to work on pearling boats, and as a result, this area is vibrant with authentic Asian culture.
- The Japanese Cemetery shows a darker side to Broome’s pearling industry. Many divers faced their death under water, and it’s truly jarring to see the scale of this while walking through the cemetery.
- Broome’s History Museum and Aboriginal Art Galleries are great places to soak up more of Broome’s history and culture.
- Head over to Matso’s Brewery and indulge in local cuisine and some of their famous flavoured beers.
West Coast Road Trip Day 1: Eighty Mile Beach
When you leave Broome to start your west coast road trip, you'll be driving about 4 hours to get to Eighty Mile Beach, so make sure you start your day early. Nearly 220 kilometres in length, Eighty Mile Beach forms a coastline where the Great Sandy Desert approaches the Indian Ocean. You should allocate at least half a day to explore Eighty Mile Beach.
- Eighty Mile Beach is picturesque with its golden sands and pristine blue water making it the perfect place to soak up breathtaking views.
West Coast Road Trip Day 1: Port Hedland
While not nearly as picturesque as Eighty Mile Beach, Port Hedland is a great stop along your west coast road trip to rest up for the night. It's a 2 and a half hour drive from Eighty Mile Beach.
- While in Port Hedland we’d recommend staying at the Discovery Parks caravan park that’s situated right above Pretty Pool beach, you can catch some great sunsets here.
- There’s some cool free things you can do around town. Visit the giant crocodile statue, Rio Tinto’s huge salt piles, and the endless iron ore trains.
West Coast Road Trip Day 2-3: Karijini National Park
Right in the heart of Western Australia’s Pilbara region, Karijini National Park is an essential part for any West Coast road trip. With it being over 20 billion years in the making, this epic landscape has so much to offer for adventurers. The drive to Karijini from Port Hedland is about 3 and half hours. We would recommend staying two nights here.
- Walk along Dale’s Gorge and swim the freshwaters of Fortescue Falls. You can also swim at the nearby Fern Pool.
- We would strongly recommend staying at Karijini Eco Retreat which is owned by the local Gumala Aboriginal Corporation. Karijini Eco Retreat offers a lot of lodging options from camping sites to deluxe eco-tents with full facilities.
- Be sure to visit Oxer Lookout and it’s unforgettable views which many have dubbed the most spectacular spot in all of Western Australia. Oxer Lookout will give you the opportunity to see spectacular views over four gorges: Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre.
- You also have to visit the natural, heart shaped "spa pool" at Hamersley Gorge. Getting there is a bit of a challenge, a kilometre hike to be exact, but it’s definitely worth it. The spa pool is great for people who are looking for a relaxing bath and scenic photos.
From Karijini National Park you’ll be driving over 650 kilometres to the Ningaloo Coast home to one of the longest fringing coral reefs in the world. This is the longest single drive without any stops during your west coast road trip. This amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site is 300 kilometres of untouched natural wonder and it’ll be a stand out on this West Coast road trip..
West Coast Road Trip Day 4-6: Exmouth
You first stop within the region will be Exmouth, the Ningaloo Coast’s main town. To get to Exmouth you will have to drive about 8 and half hours from Karijini National Park. Wildlife is abundant in this area and it’s possible that you could cross paths with kangaroos, emus, eagles, monitors, turtles, manta rays, and rock wallabies. We recommend spending three nights between here and Coral Bay.
- This goes without being said, but you have to get underwater as soon as possible to witness the reef’s beauty. You’ll need to book a tour, and I’d recommend doing it from the Navy Pier which is meant to be one of the ten best diving sites in Australia.
- Swimming with the biggest shark in the ocean might sound dangerous, but don’t worry, it's not! Whale sharks won’t bite you but you but they will happily swim beside you. To book this excursion we recommend going with Ningaloo Bookings.
- Cape Range National Park is the perfect place to go on a scenic walk and the beaches there are perfect for snorkelling. Some highlights of Cape Range are Yardie Creek and Turquoise Bay, the colour of the waters here are breathtaking and really need to be seen to be believed. Other notable things to do here include hiking Mandu Mandu gorge and a drive into Charles Knife Canyon.
- Vlamingh Head Lighthouse is located 17 kilometres north of Exmouth and is one of the few locations in Australia where both the sunrise and the sunset can be observed.
West Coast Road Trip Day 4-6: Coral Bay
Coral Bay will be your second stop along the Ningaloo Coast. The drive from Exmouth to Coral Bay take a bit longer than 90 minutes.
- This village is a lot smaller than Exmouth and as a result less crowded. I’d recommend stopping here if there were activities that you wanted to do in Exmouth that you couldn’t get to.
- Coral Bay is also a great place for sunbathing, pub crawling, and doing small tours.
- Coral Bay is a popular place to go snorkelling with manta rays.
West Coast Road Trip Day 7: Carnarvon
Carnarvon is a quaint coastal town more than 200 kilometres south of Coral Bay and is also known as the fresh produce hotspot of Western Australia.
- Drive along the coast to see the Carnarvon blowholes shoot up water as the waves roll in.
- You can pick fresh fruits and vegetables at Morel’s Orchard. Also for an extra treat, you can try their natural fruit ice cream!
- Worthwhile free attractions in Carnarvon include the One Mile Jetty, The Fascine, and the Heritage Precinct Museum.
- Check out the Carnarvon Space the Technology Museum to learn about how Carnarvon played its part in the space race.
You will one to spend one night here before driving 3 hours to Shark Bay. Before stopping at Shark Bay, you’ll want to stop about an hour north to see the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites. The Hamelin pool will give you an indication of what the Earth looked like 3.7 billion years ago as it’s home to some of the world’s largest and oldest living fossils.
West Coast Road Trip Day 8: Shark Bay/Monkey Mia
Shark Bay is Australia’s most westerly point and yet another UNESCO World Heritage site on your west coast road trip. This is the area where the outback really meets the ocean and you get stunning views of the red dirt meshing with the white sand with the turquoise Indian Ocean as the backdrop.
- There’s a few reasons why Shark Bay is a World Heritage site, it has the largest sea-grass beds in the world, the world’s largest dugong population, and it has the best example of stromatolites in the world.
- Drive up to the town of Denham, this is where you can grab a bite to eat and lodge for the night. From here you can walk to Little Lagoon, a crystal clear shallow water lagoon. There are plenty of wild birds and emus to observe here.
- You can then travel up to Monkey Mia to feed the friendly population of wild bottlenose dolphins.
- If you have time you should also try to visit Eagle Bluff where you can see an array of different wildlife like dugongs, turtles, sharks, exotic fish, rays, osprey and sea eagles.
West Coast Road Trip Day 9-10: Kalbarri National Park/ Kalbarri
From Shark Bay you’ll be headed 3 and half hours to Kalbarri National Park. There are two entry points leaving Highway 1 that will take you through some park highlights (see below) before reaching the town of Kalbarri. We recommend spending 2 nights here.
- While exploring the park you’ll want to visit the Z Bend where you have options to do two different walks, the Z-Bend Lookout is a 1.2 km return walk and the Z-Bend River Trail is a 2.6 km return walk. Either walk will provide you with beautiful scenery with the highlight being views over the Murchison River Gorge.
- You can also walk an easy 1km return walk through Nature’s Window, a sandstone arch that borders around the Murchison River.
- You’ll also want to do The Loop Trail which is an 8km loop that will take you into the river gorge.
- The main town of Kalbarri is where you will lodge for the night. Some things you can do in and around the town include pelican feeding which happens daily in front of pelican cafe. You can also visit Rainbow Jungle where you can see an parrots, garden ponds, and explore a giant maze.
- Upon leaving Kalbarri on your way to Jurien Bay, you’ll want to also stop at the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs which are about 20 minutes south of Kalbarri. You will also want to see Hutt Lagoon also known as Pink Lake, which is yet another site on this west coast road trip that you need to see to believe.
West Coast Road Trip Day 11: Jurien Bay
Jurien Bay is a nice little coastal town in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region.
- If you miss all the diving and snorkeling you did during the earlier days of your west coast road trip, Jurien Bay Marine Park will satisfy your appetite.
- Take a Sea Lion Charter to visit these cute guys, you also have the option to snorkel with them as well.
- If you’re on your west coast road trip between July and September, you need to visit Lesueur National Park to see some truly spectacular wild flowers. Lesueur is located 30 minutes east of Jurien Bay.
West Coast Road Trip Day 12: The Pinnacles (Nambung National Park)
From Jurien Bay, drive 40 minutes south down the Indian Ocean Road to reach the Nambung National Park, home to The Pinnacles Desert.
- Firstly you’ll want to visit Hangover Bay, a white sand beach good for swimming and snorkeling.
- The main attraction of this stop, The Pinnacles are east of Hangover bay on Pinnacles Drive. Here you will be able to see thousands of ancient limestone spires. The best time for an excursion through The Pinnacles is during sunrise or sunset, when the colours of the sand change and become otherworldly.
After seeing the Pinnacles, you'll be driving 2 hours to Perth, where you can either crash for the night or begin exploring the last stop on your west coast road trip.
West Coast Road Trip Day 12-14: Perth
You’ve finally made it to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. I know at this point you’re probably exhausted from your long journey and are looking forward to some much needed rest. However, with all that this city offers, you’ll need to put your rest on hold for a few days to explore Perth.
- Walk, run, or bike along the peaceful Swan River.
- You can see the cities skyline from Kings Park. While still located within the city, Kings Park provides you with the opportunity to connect with nature while still in Perth.
- Explore the Perth Hills and visit the vineyards.
- Fremantle is a port city right outside of Perth. You will want to shop around the Fremantle Markets and take a stroll on the Fremantle Harbour.
- You can learn more about this great city by visiting the Perth Cultural Centre. This area is home to art galleries and museums that you can visit to learn more about Perth’s rich history and culture.
We hope that this west coast road trip itinerary helps you out on your upcoming journey. Remember, you can use GAFFL to find travel mates for your trip. Backpackers are using GAFFL every day to connect with each other all over Australia. Additionally, if you want some local recommendations of things to see along the west coast, you can connect with locals in Australia using GAFFL.