Australia Tips

A Two-Week Itinerary of Western Australia

Jun 29

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With some of the best beaches in the country, spectacular coral reefs, and diverse national parks, Western Australia is one of the most underrated regions in Oz. It may be a far distance from hotspots like Sydney and Brisbane, but this region should not be overlooked. If you’re looking to take an unforgettable road trip, or you’re just after an authentic Australian experience, head to the West Coast.

You could easily spend months exploring this massive state, but I’ve put together a two-week itinerary that takes you from Perth to Broome with 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.

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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 with an almost otherworldly appearance.

Kalbarri – 1 night

Explore Kalbarri National Park and hike through the gorges, go rafting or canoeing, or view some of the 800 species of wildflowers. Be on the lookout 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’re guaranteed to get up close and personal with them. There are also a range of 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.

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The drive from Monkey Mia to Coral Bay is nearly 8 hours, so if you’d like to stop along the way, try Carnarvon, which is roughly 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 a 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 is my favourite place in Australia. It’s incredibly beautiful and I was blown away by the marine life at Ningaloo Reef. (It’s actually more impressive than the Great Barrier Reef, in my opinion!) If you plan to try various water activities or just want to relax and lounge on the beach, I’d recommend spending 3 nights here. Alternatively, you could split your time between Coral Bay and Exmouth, which offers additional activities like surfing and bush walking.

Tip: There’s only a handful of hotels, caravan parks, and one small shopping centre with a supermarket and a few other shops in Coral Bay. The supermarket has a limited selection and is very expensive, so I’d recommend buying food and other necessities before you arrive.

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The drive from Coral Bay to Broome is 15.5 hours (!), so you may want to stop at Karratha or Port Hedland along the way.

Broome- 3 nights

Broome is a historic pearling town and home to one of Australia’s best beaches: Cable Beach. There’s plenty to see and do here, from whale watching to pearl farm tours and sunset camel rides.

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!

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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 like Jetstar, Tiger Airways, and Virgin Australia.

Getting around Western Australia

Renting a car or camper van is generally the best option because it’ll give you more freedom and flexibility when mapping out an itinerary. Wicked Campers offers a selection of cars and vans to rent.

I was traveling solo in 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.

If you’re looking for a group of travel buddies for a road trip, check Gumtree’s Rideshare and Travel Partners section.

You can fly to certain destinations or take a train as well.

Travel Insurance

If you need a good reason to purchase travel insurance before visiting Western Australia, just remember the state is home to approximately 3,586,984 animals that can kill you. That may or may not be a slight exaggeration.

But seriously, if you’re looking for travel insurance, I personally use and recommend World Nomads. They offer flexible coverage for nomads and travellers, and you can even purchase insurance while youโ€™re already travelling.

Would you like to visit Western Australia? If you’ve already been, what were your favourite spots?

21 Comments

  • Reply janandrussroundoz Jun 29 at 9:08 pm

    Wow, lots of kilometres in such a short time. We take about 3 months to do all that spending 4-6 weeks Denham (bigger town near Monkey Mia) and the same in Coral Bay. Plan to take longer than two weeks on this trip if at all possible so you actually get the feel of these towns.

    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 30 at 10:11 am

      Yes, definitely the more time you can spend, the better!

  • Reply renucas Jun 30 at 1:03 pm

    I have been to NSW and Victoria. Western Australia sounds fun. Your suggestions are quite practical.

  • Reply HannahontheMap Jul 07 at 9:50 am

    Great suggestions, and the wildlife looks amazing!! I’m planning to go to Australia at the beginning of next year. I know visiting W. Australia is on my itinerary, I just need to plan time to see it all!

    • Reply ashleywanders Jul 07 at 12:27 pm

      Thank you! Hopefully you can fit WA into your itinerary because you will love it!

  • Reply Arianwen Jul 09 at 2:14 am

    I’d love to visit WA but I ran out of time on my recent trip to Australia. If I ever come back, I’ll definitely use your tips!

  • Reply http://studiopublicrelations.com Aug 17 at 12:15 pm

    Continue the truly amazing posts. I prefer reading stuff like this.

  • Reply thetrustedtraveller Apr 18 at 4:38 am

    Great post Ashley. I’m planning a trip around Australia for a few years starting early next year so this post has helped me figure out parts of my WA drive. Just wondering what hotels/hostels etc you stayed at when doing this trip? I prefer to stay in places recommended by others.

    • Reply ashleywanders Apr 18 at 11:25 am

      Thank you, Jen! I stayed at Moonlight Bay Suites Hotel and the Kimberley Klub hostel in Broome, Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, The Ningaloo Club in Coral Bay, and I can’t remember the name of the hostel I stayed at in Perth, but it wasn’t great anyways! Goodluck with your trip planning ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply thetrustedtraveller Apr 18 at 5:43 pm

        Thanks Ashley!

  • Reply Katie Sep 21 at 2:21 am

    This looks a lot like what I’m planning on doing during my trip! Thanks for the tip on the Greyhound pass. I’d love to find some people to ride down with, but if I can’t find travellers on a similar timeline, this seems like a great alternative! Love the flexibility of it, too. Did you find it difficult to explore Kalbarri without a car?

    • Reply ashleywanders Sep 23 at 6:47 pm

      You’re welcome! I couldn’t find anyone in or around Broome to travel down with, but luckily the Greyhound was pretty convenient! Yeah, I couldn’t cover much ground in Kalbarri without a car, unfortunately. I think that’s the one downside travelling by Greyhound – it’s not as easy to explore the national parks!

  • Reply Heather K Dec 09 at 6:17 am

    This is amazing. I’ve been planning a western Aus trip for February (I’m living in Melbourne at the moment) and I might follow this guide exactly! And throw in Karijini NP as well. Thanks so much!

    • Reply ashleywanders Dec 13 at 6:54 pm

      You’re welcome, Heather! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy your time on the West Coast – it’s amazing!

  • Reply Mel Mar 13 at 12:20 pm

    I just got back from WA and my boyfriend and I did a week long road trip through the SW region. Over to Wave Rock, down to Raventhorpe, then to Esperance and along the coast back up to Perth. We had a week but definitely could’ve spent two – one in Esperance alone! Next time we go back (bf is originally from Perth) We’re planning on heading north – so thanks for this itinerary!

    • Reply ashleywanders Mar 19 at 10:08 am

      You’re welcome, Mel ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve heard Esperance is amazing! If I ever return to WA, it’s definitely on my wish list!

  • Reply Nicole Astudillo Aug 19 at 12:57 am

    Does grey hound have flexible timetables?

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 20 at 2:14 pm

      From what I remember, they were quite flexible! But it also depends what cities you’re travelling between. Departures from Broome, for example, were more limited than others.

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