West Australia is a big, beautiful State, with so much to explore! Pristine coastline, white sand beaches, gorges, waterfalls – the list is endless. If you are short on time and are looking to explore some of the best spot’s WA has to offer, then this itinerary is for you! I highly recommend buying a Park Pass if you intend doing this route.
Kalbarri and Kalbarri National Park
Roughly 6 hours from Perth, Kalbarri is a nature lovers paradise. Gorges, hiking, snorkeling, beach bumming, fishing, you name it, you can find it here! In order to explore Kalbarri, I recommend staying 3 days minimum. Spend your mornings in the National Park; exploring the many hiking trails on offer. Z bend river trail, Nature’s window loop and Hawks Head, are some of my favourites.
The Kalbarri Sky walk is a great place to watch the sunrise or sunset. The National Park also extends out to the coastline, which offers sea cliffs and beautiful beaches. Red bluff beach and Island rock are great places to watch the sunset. You can drive your car onto the rocks at Red Bluff beach, no 4WD necessary. Other places to visit are Red Bluff lookout, Mushroom Rock, and Pot Alley. There is a short walk down to Pot Alley beach from the cliffs, which takes you through the gorges to a small, sheltered beach.
Had enough of exploring for the day? Blue holes is short drive from town that has great snorkeling opportunities and protected shallow waters.
Hutt Lagoon is a Salt Lake located roughly 40mins from Kalbarri. You can either make this a stop along the way to Kalbarri or as a day trip!
Depending on the time of day, this lake changes from a bubblegum pink to lilac colour, and occasionally a deep red. The best time to visit is around mid-morning on a clear day. Take a drive around the lake or stop and have a look at one of the Pink Lake lookouts. Swimming in the Lagoon is generally accepted as being safe. However, if you do intend to swim, please research further. It is extremely salty and recommended to wash off in freshwater afterwards.
Coral Bay is a small costal town located in the Shire of Carnarvon. If you follow this itinerary, it will take you roughly 7hrs to get there from Kalbarri. I recommend spending at least 2 days here, however you can easily spend up to a week or longer.
The laid-back atmosphere of this town makes it a great place to stay for a while. With beaches, shops, restaurants, and bars all in walking distance, there is no need to drive. The beaches of Coral Bay are calm and protected. The best part, if you want to experience some amazing snorkeling, you don’t need to go far offshore! Walk to the end of the sand bar to the shallow drop off, pop your head under and you will find marine life and plenty of coral.
There are heaps of tours and activities available at Coral Bay from deep sea fishing, snorkeling/diving tours, marine life interactions (whale sharks, dolphins, manta rays, turtles and more!), quad biking, four-wheel driving or sailing tours. Spend the day soaking up the sun on the white sand beaches, take a stroll along the beach to Paradise Beach or to the Shark Sanctuary. An amazing place for a short or extended holiday.
Roughly 1.5-2hrs from Coral Bay, Exmouth is a small resort town and the gateway to the Ningaloo Marine Park. I recommend spending at least 2-3 days here. Although Exmouth itself has a lot to offer travelers, the main attraction in my opinion is the Cape Range National Park. There are two sections of this National Park I recommend visiting, the Western and the Eastern side.
On the Eastern side, closest to Exmouth lays the gorges and the canyons. Charles Knife Canyon may be the best place to watch the sunrise in WA! This scenic drive will lead you over the canyon with heaps of places to stop and take it all in. There are a few walking trails that take you over the gorges, these are recommend being completed in the morning as temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees. Got a 4WD? Take the scenic drive through Shothole Canyon. This leads you through the bottom of the gorges, offering amazing views along the way.
On the Western side of the National Park is where you will find some of the best beach’s WA has to offer. There are heaps of camping spots available along this stretch of coastline, where you can camp right next to the beach. It is recommended to book in advance, as these do book out quickly in peak times. Visit Turquoise Bay and Oyster Shacks for some amazing snorkeling and some of the clearest water you will see in WA. Complete the short drive down the Yardie Creek where you can take a cruise or kayak. There is a hike that takes you along the gorges of Yardie Creek, which offers great views extending to the coastline.
Nambung National Park (Pinnacles)
The Pinnacles are located roughly 2.5hrs from Perth and can either be a stop along the way to Exmouth or on your way home.
The Pinnacles are made up of thousands of limestone pillars made from yellow sand, dating back to 25 000-30 000 years. In places the pillars reach up to 3.5m tall and come in many different shapes. Drive through the desert or take a stroll to truly soak up the beauty of this place. Be sure to visit the Discovery Centre to learn more about the history of this magical place.
If you have more time off to explore and want to see more of what West Australia has to offer; I highly recommend adding these places to your bucket list.
El Questro is in the Kimberley region of West Australia, it will take your roughly 3-4 days driving from Perth. Although the drive is long it is worth a visit. El Questro offers a unique landscape of gorges, waterfalls, hot springs, and watering holes. Take a helicopter ride over the gorges or venture out on one of the many amazing hikes on offer. The best time to visit is a month after the wet season, during this time the waterfalls are flowing and it’s simply beautiful! Top places to add to your bucket list, Zebedee Springs, Emma gorge and Pigeonhole Lookout.
James Price Point
Located roughly 52km from Broome and only accessible via 4WD. James Price Point is a headland located on the Dampier Peninsula, made up of rich red cliffs meeting the turquoise oceans. What used to be a secret is now slowly starting to become a very popular spot in the travelling community. There are heaps of free camping spots on the headland; I dare say some of the best free camping in WA! You will need to be fully self-contained in order to camp at James Price Point, as there are no facilities available.
Purnululu National Park (Bungle Bungles)
If you’ve ever wanted to be left in awe from the beauty of nature, the Bungle Bungles are for you. Situated in the Kimberley region of WA, this World Heritage Site is one of the most remarkable geological landmarks in the state. The beehive domes are composed of Devonian-age quartz sandstone eroded over 20 million years. Truly spectacular! The domes aren’t the only feature in the park worth visiting. Make sure to visit Echidna Chasm; for an interesting light effect through the gorge and Cathedral gorge to experience a natural amphitheater. This National Park is only accessible via 4WD as the roads into the park are unsealed and heavily corrugated.
Karijini National Park
This spot is less of a drive then the ones mentioned above, roughly a 2-day drive from Perth; easily made into a detour from Exmouth. Karijini National Park is spectacular after a fair bit of rain. There are heaps of waterfalls and watering holes to explore. Take a hike through the gorges, or to one of the many lookouts. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb Mt Bruce, the second highest peak in WA. I recommend spending minimum 3 days here.