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A Guide to the West Coast Australia

Australia’s West Coast stretches for 2346 kilometres from Perth to Broome and beyond, and it’s breathtaking. It’s not on everyone’s trip itinerary, as this part of Australia is remote and isolated, and it is also challenging to visit due to the long distances and scarce population. If you plan a trip to the West Coast of Australia, you find a travel guide with valuable tips for planning your adventures.

Broome from the air
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The best ways to explore the West Coast of Australia

Take a flight from Perth or start at Broome’s Airport to explore the West Coast in reverse. Many airports at fantastic West Coast locations like Karratha, Port Headland, Monkey Mia, and more exist. A flight will help you save time travelling and allow you to spend a few more days in each place.

Get around by bus with the Hop-on-Hop-off service by Integrity Coach. With a 1500km pass, you can journey from Perth to Exmouth, Broome to Exmouth, and Exmouth to either of the destinations. The Hop-On-Hop-Off can be used for 3000km and 6000km journeys also. The best part about this experience is the ability to create destination combinations based on your travel itinerary. This is a very flexible service, and they even offer transfer shuttle bus services if you want to visit Kalbarri and Monkey Mia.

Enjoy the perks of a guided tour. Many road tours run from Perth to Broome that last a few days to a few weeks, like a 9-day Perth to Broome camping tour. You will find return tours like a Perth to Exmouth 8-day return tour or a regular trip from Perth to Exmouth or Broome.

Go on a road trip with a rented car or campervan to explore all the epic spots on the West Coast. You will find many paid caravan parks with ample facilities where you can power a campervan. There are a few free campsites from Perth to Broome but they lack toilet and shower facilities or areas to power campervans.

Places like Karajini National Park, Exmouth, Coral Bay, and Monkey Mia have sealed roads, so you will not have to worry about getting a 4WD campervan. Besides that, you can choose from a wide selection of campervans, including budget, luxury, family-style, and 4WD campervans.

Best Places To Visit On West Coast Australia

Perth and Rottnest Island

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is where to start any West Coast Trip. Walk along its Swan River, shop in the Murray and Hay Street malls, and soak up the sun at Cottesloe Beach.

Take a 25-minute ferry ride from Freemantle or a 45-minute ride from Hillarys Boat Harbour, and you’ll find yourself at the beautiful Rottnest Island. Being a car-free zone, the best way to get around is by bicycle. There are many fun things to do on Rottnest Island, including snorkelling, skydiving, and fishing.

Rottnest Island West Coast Australia
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Pinnacles Desert, Lancelin National Park

Take a self-driving day trip from Perth to The Pinnacles and Yanchep National Park. You should stop at the famous Lancelin Sand Dunes and spot rare Koalas at the park. Don’t miss out on the weathered Limestone pillars of the Pinnacles, which can reach 3.5m. You will have time to view the interpretative displays of the park in the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.

Pinnacles Day-Tour

Take a guided walk through the Pinnacles Desert. At sunset, view its sensational colours while indulging in some stargazing — experience dinner at a tavern in Cervantes with a scenic Indian Ocean Drive to end your day.

Lancelin National Park Day Tour

Stroll along the 240-metre koala boardwalk at Yanchep National Park. View the kangaroos, koalas, and birds in their natural habitat and get some insight into the Aboriginal culture at the Wangi Mia Meeting Place.

Geraldton

The seaside city of Geraldton is well known for its pink lake, diving atolls, and beautiful Aboriginal cultural trails. You can fly to Geraldton or take a 4.5-hour road trip along the Indian Ocean Drive from Perth. It is the most fantastic beach escape, with restaurants serving Australia’s prized rock lobster. Its gorgeous attraction is the Hutt Lagoon, also called the pink lake due to its vibrant and fascinating colour. You can view this spectacular lake from a scenic flight too.

Kalbarri National Park

The Kalbarri National Park has located 485km from Perth in the mid-western region of the West Coast. The spectacular Murchison River gorge, coastal cliffs, and fantastic natural rock formations are here. The park is open all year round and is home to a diverse range of wildflowers that bloom from winter to early summer. Don’t miss out on a scenic cruise along the Murchison River and flights over Kalbarri National Park.

Nature's Window in Kalbarri N.P. West Coastr Australia
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Kalbarri River Gorge Flight

Enjoy a 45 min scenic flight over the Murchison River and the Kalbarri National Park spectacular sights.

Shark Bay With Denham

Shark Bay is a World Heritage Site situated 800 km north of Perth. It has the most exceptional natural features and diverse sea-grass beds. The dome-shaped stromatolites and unique rock-like structures make it a popular spot. Denham also has an attractive beach and jetty to enjoy fishing and boating. You will find some comfortable accommodation options, ranging from resorts to hotels, campsites, and tourist parks.

Shell Beach

In the Shark Bay region of Western Australia, you will find the most fantastic beach covered with shells for 60 km. The tremendous Shell Beach is one of only two beaches made entirely from shells. You can spend a day roaming around this incredible location, picnicking, and picking shells.

Shell Beach Western Australia
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Francois Peron National Park

This national park, 726km north of Perth, is known for its red cliffs, white beaches, and blue waters. It has a lovely small campground at the Big Lagoon and a splendid site for launching boats. Cape Peron has picnic tables, toilets, and beach access at the northern tip.

Monkey Mia

Take an exciting Outback adventure in Monkey Mia, a place with blue skies and sunshine almost every day of the year. You can fly from Perth to the Monkey Mia airport or drive down within a day. It has the exciting Shark Bay World Heritage, where you can feed bottlenose dolphins and explore Crystal Beach.

Hamelin Pool and Stromatolites

Do visit the remarkable Hamelin Pool stromatolites in Western Australia. They are the oldest and largest living fossils on Earth. Visitors can walk on an overlooking jetty to view them, and there are also opportunities to swim with them on board a snorkel tour.

Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool, Denmark WA
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Carnavaron

This is a coastal town about 900 kilometres north of Perth. South of this town is the fantastic Shark Bay heritage area, while on the north lies the Ningaloo Reef. It is a great place to make a stop at and enjoy an abundant tropical food experience. If lucky, you might visit during the annual Gascoyne Food Festival.

Coral Bay and Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef

If you are a keen driver, 1,200 kilometres north of Perth, you can reach the beautiful town of Coral Bay. This name comes from the coral gardens lying near the pristine white beaches. It is a top place for snorkelling and seeing coral reefs off the shore. You can have a lot of fun quad-bike trekking, taking a scenic flight over the beach, or even seeing the coral gardens from a glass-bottom boat.  Travel north to reach Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef as top places for snorkelling on Australia’s West Coast.

Coral Bay West Coast Australia
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Exmouth Day-Tour

Enjoy a guided cruise tour on Ningaloo Reef, where you will observe magnificent Humpback whales. You will also be able to listen to the sounds of the whales with a hydrophone.

Turquoise Beach

Located near the town of Exmouth is the aptly named Turquoise Bay, where you can spend your afternoon relaxing, swimming and snorkelling. The best time to go snorkelling is at high tide to witness the stunning coral reef gardens just metres from the shore. Make sure to get out of the water before you reach the northern point of the beach because the current can get pretty intense.

Turquoise Bay Ningaloo Reef
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Cape Range National Park

Next to the Ningaloo Marine Park, you will find the rocky gorges and beautiful Cape Range National Park coastline. Take a guided boat tour to enjoy the Yardie Creek Gorge’s tranquillity and wildlife. The park is full of spectacular canyons and the Mangrove Bay Bird Hide.

Broome

Finally, after a long drive from Perth, along the spectacular coastline, you get to Broome, the pearl of the West Coast.  It is a chance to see abundant marine life and spot turtles. You can also go on a boat tour to experience pearl farming, and if you are sporty, maybe go kayaking.

Suppose you like the idea of a 4WD adventure. In that case, you can access remote regions with the distinctive rocky formation of Cape Leveque or even take a road trip into the vast Kimberley region.

Riddell Beach Broome Australia
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Cape Leveque Day-Tour

Go on a 4WD trip from Broome to the Dampier Peninsula‘s tip to experience the remote coastal wilderness area of Cape Leveque; you can travel both ways by 4WD or by return flight to Broome.

Exmouth Day-Tour

Enjoy a guided cruise tour on Ningaloo Reef, where you will observe magnificent Humpback whales. You will also be able to listen to the sounds of the whales with a hydrophone.

West Coast Road Trip Itinerary Ideas

If you are up for an authentic experience and want to set off on your own, here are some ideas for a road trip along the West Coast. With an area covering over one-third of the continent, Western Australia is the largest Australia State with only 2,5 million. And 95% of the population lives in South Western Australia.

You soon get the picture.  Looking at this West Coast Map below, you soon realise how vast Western Australia is to travel from Perth to Broome. A trip along the western Australian coast can be a trip in itself.

WesternAustraliaMap
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West Coast Itinerary 1-2 Weeks

Week 1

Three days exploring Perth and staying in its hostels or paid campsites. See the skyline from Kings Park, soak up the sun on Cottesloe Beach, and take a Perth walking tour. 200km away along the coastline is Cervantes, making it the right place for an overnight stay before heading north. Your next stop is the massive limestone structures rising out of the desert in the Nambung National Park. These are the Pinnacles, where you’ll find splendid walking tracks.

week 2

Geraldton is where you can spend two days visiting its cafes, bars, and Geraldton Beach. Less than 160km away is the Kalbarri National Park. It is the best place to take a scenic flight and visit the nearby Red Bluff coastal cliffs. 5-hours from it is Shark Bay, where you must visit Hamelin Pool. You will find many places to camp at Shark Bay once you buy a Denham Visitor Centre permit.

You are travelling by 4WD. You can also visit the Francois Peron National Park, which has lovely beaches, red coastlines, and camping spots. 4hours away is Carnavaron, where you should get some snorkelling in. Lastly, go to Coral Bay, a beautiful village with the famous Ningaloo Reef.

West Coast Australia Itinerary 2-3 weeks

On your way to Geraldton, the first day will begin from Perth with a stop at the Pinnacles. This is a 4-hour ride, and you will find some resorts and hostels near Cervantes. Day 2 will take you from Geraldton to Kalbarri, where you’ll need time to recharge. Spend a day at the wondrous Kalbarri National Park with its stunning landscapes.

After a 4-hour drive, make your way to Shark Bay with multiple rest stops. Coral Coast and Monkey Mia are also attractions. On the 6th day, you’ll find yourself at Carnavaron, a humble shire and an ideal spot for an overnight stay.

It will lead you to Exmouth and Coral Bay. You should spend at least three days at Exmouth to go on the whale shark tour, explore the cape, and snorkel at Turquoise Bay. The next journey stop is 8 hours away at Karijini National Park, where you can camp overnight.

Two days can be spent enjoying its amazing hikes and exploring it to the fullest. From Karijini National Park, Broome is a 12-straight-hour drive away. So make the most of your last few days at the gateway to the Kimberly region.

Australia South West Coast

If you want to start small and still see some of the most pristine environments in Western Australia, then the South West Coast is for you.

There are many places to visit from Perth along the south coast that you can do as a day trip to  Busselton, the Margaret River region or as part of a one or two-week itinerary further south to Albany, Wa.

It’s a more relaxed coastal drive, with lots of things to do and see along your way. From beach swimming and surfing to coastal walking and biking trails, premium wine and food tastings to more explorations of the natural wonders, with the Karri Forest, natural underground caves, lakes and rivers, whale watching and more.

You can check out this South Western Australia Travel Guide to help you plan your road trip from Perth.

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A Guide to Travelling the West Coast Australia
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First published in Nov 2019, last updated in April 2023

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