Criss-crossing up 'n' back the Western Australian coast, get unplugged and away from the city for a journey full of highlights. Featuring dramatic scenery from the desert to the sea, wind along hilltops overlooking turquoise surf, ride giant white sand dunes, hike through tiger-striped gorges, and marvel at the graceful sight of local marine life. Question why chimney-like limestones stick out of the desert at The Pinnacles or how the Stromatolites still exist at Hamelin Bay. Explore Kalbarri and Karijini National Parks, and have your breath taken away by the underwater worlds of Shark Bay and Ningaloo, before ending each day with a spectacular sunset.
Ages: 18 - 99
Accommodation: Hostel (6 nights)
Free-spirited we cruise up the Coral Coast, where ironically it feels like our adventure begins in the desert. Stop at Nambung National Park for a guided tour of The Pinnacles, where ancient limestone spires, jut spookily out of the desert. It’s then on to Geraldton, a township renown for rock lobster, pearls and shipwrecks, if time permits enjoy a visit to the pink lake (seasonal) before spending the night in Kalbarri.
With endless beauty, it’s easy to imagine dinosaurs roaming the ancient interconnecting gorges of Kalbarri National Park. Carved out by the Murchison River and lined with red river gums, the towering cliffs are striped with a blood-red hue and contrast spectacularly with the azure hidden waterholes. Best vantage points are from Natures Window and Z-Bend lookouts or for the ultimate rush there’s the option of abseiling down. Toast the day in Denham, the gateway to Shark Bay.
Be blown away by the mysterious creatures of the big blue at Monkey Mia. With over 4000 square kilometres along the seabed, its literally splendour in the seagrass attracting the likes of turtles, whale sharks, bottlenose dolphins and dugongs. The wonder continues with the 3 billion-year-old Stromatolites, creating a carpet-like sculpture beside the sea at Hamelin Pool. Watch the sun sink and the stars come out at Coral Bay.
The day is yours to explore paradise on earth at Ningaloo Reef. You can float the day away, but do remember to put your head under to see an explosion of colour, thanks to the 250 species of coral and over 500 species of fish. For those braver, choose to do a boat tour (additional cost) and swim beside turtles and manta rays or go for a snorkel on the Ningaloo Reef, only metres from the shore. Blissfully salty and sandy, we spend a night in Exmouth.
After breakfast you can choose to swim with the whale sharks (additional cost) who are well known for being the gentle giants of the ocean. Or, spend the day exploring Cape Range National Park, the result of ancient reefs pushing out from under the sea. Known for its contrasting scenery of rugged limestone ranges, deep canyons and beautiful beaches; you’ll spot wildlife such as emus, euros, red kangaroos, bungarras, bustards and a variety of birds. Take multiple dips at Turquoise Bay, before revelling in the last golden rays setting on the horizon at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse.
On the road again we head south, so get comfy and switch off as the colour of the outback speeds by. A pit stop in Carnarvon is a no brainer, thanks to supplying the vast majority of Western Australia with prawns, scallops, crabs, fish, fruit and vegetables. For our last night together, we’ll get a taste of real country life, feeding animals, playing farm-hand and listening to local stories under the stars.
Slowly meandering back to Perth, we stop to visit Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park. A wildlife sanctuary promoting conservation and animal rescue; get up close to dingos, emus, orphan kangaroo joeys, saltwater crocodiles, handle lizards and even snakes. We then head to the incredible white sand dunes of Lancelin to test your skills at Sandboarding. Before first drop-offs in town around 6.30pm; take your final selfies, swap contacts with fellow travellers and plot your next adventure…otherwise you’ll want to U-turn and experience it all again.
- Greenough Wildlife Park