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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 you’re already travelling.