Western Australia is the country’s largest state and is well-known for sunshine, diverse and dramatic landscapes, and breathtaking natural beauty. It also boasts some of the best beaches in the country, spectacular reefs, numerous national parks, and lovely sea-side cities and towns. This part of the country may be a far distance from popular cities like Sydney and Brisbane, but it should absolutely not be overlooked.
You could easily spend months exploring this massive state, but I put together a two week itinerary that takes you from Perth to Broome and includes a mix of cities, national parks, and various sights and attractions.
Perth – 3 nights
Perth is known as the ‘sunniest capital city’ as it averages an annual eight hours of sunshine per day. Visit King’s Park in the middle of the city, dine at some of the best restaurants in Australia, visit museums and galleries, or head to Cottesloe Beach.
Fremantle is 30 minutes from Perth and is known for its rich history, markets, street buskers, art collections, beaches, and lively nightlife. The city is best explored by foot or by bike and there are an abundance of cafes and restaurants on the ‘cappuccino strip’.
Rottnest Island is a short ferry ride from Perth and offers 63 beaches, 20 bays, and great snorkeling spots at the various coral reefs and wrecks. The island is car-free and renting a bike is the main mode of transportation.
The drive from Perth to Kalbarri is 6.5 hours, so stop along the way at Nambung National Park to see the famous Pinnacles- limestone rock pillars that rise from the desert and have an alien-like appearance.
Kalbarri – 1 night
Explore Kalbarri National Park by hiking the gorges, go rafting or canoeing, and view some of the 800 species of wildflowers. Be on the look out for birds and other wildlife, including emus, western grey kangaroos, whales, and dolphins.
Monkey Mia – 2 nights
Located in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Monkey Mia Reserve is a paradise teeming with marine life. Wild dolphins have been visiting ‘Dolphin Beach’ daily for 40 years, so you are guaranteed to be able to get up close and personal with them. There are also many other aquatic activities available so you can try to spot sharks, manta rays, turtles, and dugongs- all of which inhabit the area.
Tip: Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is just steps away from Dolphin Beach and offers accommodation options for every budget.
The drive from Monkey Mia to Coral Bay is almost 8 hours, so you could stop in Carnarvon, which is about halfway between the two. Here you can visit the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre or a banana plantation.
Coral Bay – 3 nights
Coral Bay is a small town and popular holiday spot for Aussies and tourists alike. Just meters off the beach, you can access the spectacular Ningaloo Reef. There’s no need to take a tour as you can grab your own snorkel gear and swim the short distance yourself.
You can swim with Manta Rays year round, and if you’re visiting between April and June, you can swim with Whale Sharks. Humpback Whales visit the area between June and November as well.
Coral Bay was my absolute favourite place in Australia. I was blown away by the white sand beach with some of the most clear, azure water I’ve ever seen, and I found Ningaloo Reef to be more impressive than the Great Barrier Reef. Because I loved it so much, I recommend you spend 3 nights here. However, other than exploring the reef and relaxing on the beach, there isn’t much else to do. So, if you’re looking for a little more excitement, you could split your time between Coral Bay and Exmouth– which is about a 2.5 hour drive away. You can still access Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth, along with other activities, like bush walking and surfing.
Tip: In Coral Bay, there is only a handful of hotels, caravan parks, and one small shopping centre with a supermarket and a few other stores. The supermarket has a limited selection and is very expensive, so I would recommend buying food and other necessities before you arrive.
Broome- 3 nights
Broome is a historic pearling town and well-known for having one of Australia’s best beaches: Cable Beach. Activities here include taking a hovercraft ride to see dinosaur footprints, Whale Watching, visiting a Pearl Farm, or taking a sunset camel tour.
Tip: Be sure to check out Matso’s Restaurant and Brewery for good food and unique beer and cider flavours. The Ginger Beer is delicious.
In my opinion, Western Australia is one of the most underrated regions in the country. It’s a stark contrast to the East Coast, and the wild natural beauty, vast landscapes, unique wildlife, and stunning beaches make the extra effort to visit completely worthwhile. If you’re looking to take an unforgettable road trip, or just want an authentic Australian experience, head to the West.
Two weeks is the minimum amount of time I would allot to exploring Western Australia. If you have more time, I would highly recommend exploring this area a little slower and more thoroughly.
Getting to Western Australia
Perth is the gateway to Western Australia and domestic flights can be fairly inexpensive when flying with budget airlines such as Jetstar, Tiger Airways, and Virgin Australia.
Getting around Western Australia
I was traveling solo through Australia and didn’t want to drive, so I used Greyhound. They offer a ‘Kilometre Pass‘ which allows you to hop on/hop off at any destination within a certain amount of kilometres. I was traveling between Broome and Perth (which is roughly 2,300 KM), so I purchased the 2500 KM Pass for $439.
Renting a car or camper van is also a great option because it will allow you more freedom and flexibility when mapping out an itinerary. Wicked Campers has various cars and vans available for rent.
Tip: You can check Gumtree’s Rideshare and Travel Partners section if you’re looking for a group of travel buddies for a road trip.
You could fly to certain destinations or take a train as well.