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 Western Australia itinerary that takes you from Perth to Broome with a great mix of cities, national parks, and all those can’t-miss 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, explore 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 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’s also a range of aquatic activities available on offer here, 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 bushwalking.
*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 it’s 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. Their ginger beer is delicious!
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 for travel within WA because public transportation is limited in this region. Wicked Campers offers a selection of cars and vans to rent.
I was travelling solo in Australia and didn’t want to drive, so I used Greyhound’s Kilometre Pass – which allows you to hop on/hop off at any destination within a certain distance. However, it appears that this service is no longer available. Integrity Coach Lines is currently the main operator between Broome and Perth (and they stop at various destinations in between the two cities).
If you’re looking for a group of travel buddies for a road trip, check Gumtree’s Rideshare and Travel Partners section.
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.
Do you want to visit Western Australia? If you’ve already been, what are your favourite spots?
*This post contains affiliate links to products and services I use, love, and recommend.
For more Australia travel tips, check out these posts:
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.
Yes, definitely the more time you can spend, the better!
I have been to NSW and Victoria. Western Australia sounds fun. Your suggestions are quite practical.
WA is definitely fun! So much to see and do.
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!
Thank you! Hopefully you can fit WA into your itinerary because you will love it!
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!
Great!! Hopefully you can return!
Continue the truly amazing posts. I prefer reading stuff like this.
Thank you for reading!
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.
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 🙂
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?
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!
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!
You’re welcome, Heather! 🙂 Enjoy your time on the West Coast – it’s amazing!
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!
You’re welcome, Mel 🙂 I’ve heard Esperance is amazing! If I ever return to WA, it’s definitely on my wish list!
Does grey hound have flexible timetables?
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.
you mentioned you used Greyhopper Bus Company.
I could only find a route from Broome to Darwin, but nothing from/to Perth.
Which year did you use them? They might have changed routes.
Do you happen to have a schedule/timetable?
Thanks in advance,
Hey Dan, thanks for the heads up! Unfortunately I used that pass back in 2011, so the Greyhound schedule must have changed. I just did a quick search and it looks like this company is probably your best bet for bus service between Perth and Broome – http://www.integritycoachlines.com.au/