Western Australia’s vast coast offers travelers one of the best road trips in the country. While many visitors stick to the classic tourist spots in Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef, Western Australia deserves consideration when planning a trip to the land down under.Follow this 10-day road trip up the west coast of Australia to hit the highlights of WA in a short period. Between wildlife experiences, unique rock formations, and incredible national parks, there’s something for everyone.
Start the journey along Australia's wild west coast by flying into WA’s capital, Perth. This vibrant coastal city has plenty of white sand beaches and turquoise waters but it also offers fantastic shopping and an exciting craft beer scene.
While visiting Perth, check out some of the local coffee shops to get a taste of Australia’s infamous coffee culture.
9 Perth to Geraldton
After picking up their rental car, travelers can hit the road and head towards Geraldton. While the driving distance is 415 km, taking approximately 4.5 hours, there are lots of stops along the way to break up the trip.
Make a stop at the Pinnacles Desert, which is a natural grouping of limestone formations in Namburg National Park. Another worthwhile stop along the way is Jurien Bay, a peaceful coastal town in WA’s Wheatbelt.
8 Geraldton to Kalbarri
The next day, drive 129 km from Geraldton to Kalbarri National Park. This is a short 1.5-hour journey to a spectacular park with red rock formations and vast gorges. Along the way, stop at the Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon). This unique natural feature of the region has become popular on Instagram in recent years. The lake appears pink because it contains a high amount of carotenoid-producing algae.
7 Kalbarri National Park
Take a day off from driving and soak in the beauty of Kalbarri National Park with some epic hiking and exploring. Get up early and beat the heat with a hike on the 9 km Loop Trail that leads to the iconic rock formation known as Nature’s Window.
In the afternoon, take it easy on the 700-meter Rose Graham River Walk that leads to the edge of the Murchison River. This is a great place to swim or kayak to cool off after a busy day in the sun.
6 Kalbarri to Coral Bay
Pack up and continue the drive north traveling 268 km to Shark Bay. Make a pit stop here to see Monkey Mia. This beach spot is well known for its wild dolphins that approach the shore up to three times each day for feeding. While seeing a dolphin here isn’t guaranteed, chances are high with a 99% dolphin attendance rate. Feedings end at 12 pm so be sure to get here in the morning for a chance to see the dolphins.
There are also opportunities to see other ocean wildlife here like turtles, stingrays, and more. The drive from Shark Bay to Coral Bay is nearly five hours, covering 486 km.
5 Coral Bay to Exmouth
Drive a short distance from Coral Bay to Exmouth for a few of the highlights of this Western Australia itinerary. After just 152 km, visitors arrive in one of the best spots to see ocean wildlife on the west coast.
Start at Coral Bay by taking a tour in a glass-bottom boat, taking in the colorful reef below. Then, head to Ningaloo Reef to swim with whale sharks. This experience is seasonal, only available from mid-March to mid-July.
Those visiting later in the year may have a chance to enjoy a different excursion that is sure to top anyone’s Australian bucket list: swimming with humpback whales. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is possible in Exmouth between August and November each year.
4 Exmouth to Karijini
On the next leg of the trip, head to Karijini National Park. The drive from Exmouth takes around 8 hours, making it one of the longest stretches of this Australian adventure. There are not many places to stop along the way so be sure to have a fun playlist of favorite songs or podcasts ready for entertainment throughout the drive.
To refuel or pick up food, stop off in Tom Price before arriving at Karijini National Park, one of Australia’s most spectacular destinations.
3 Karijini National Park
Spend at least one full day in Karijini to appreciate all the natural beauty of northwestern Oz. For travelers who have the flexibility to add a day or two to their trip, this is an excellent spot to stay for one or two additional nights to be fully immersed in the history of this region.
Dramatic red rock cliffs make an impressive backdrop for hiking and the blue waters at Hamsley Gorge are perfect for cooling down after a busy day.
2 Karijini to Broome
The drive from Karijini to Broome is long, covering 938 km and taking almost 10 hours. Break up the day by starting early and making stops along the way. Have brunch in Port Headland, one of the largest towns in WA’s Pilbara region.
In the afternoon, stop at Eighty-Mile Beach to relax in the sun on the clean white sand or cool off in the turquoise water. By nightfall, arrive at the final destination of the trip, Broome.
Broome is in Australia’s Kimberly region and is a resort town. There’s so much to do here that travelers could easily extend their trip to spend an additional three or four days exploring. Visit the red cliffs at Gantheaume Point or see 120-million-year-old fossilized dinosaur footprints at Roebuck Bay.
Broome is also home to Australia’s most remote brewery, called Matso’s Brewery, so it’s worth taking a tour and doing a tasting. End this epic coastal roast trip by watching the sunset on the famous Cable Beach before catching a flight home the following morning.