Perth to Exmouth: 3 week Itinerary

There are plenty of things to see along West Australia’s coral coast from Perth to Exmouth, and this itinerary can easily be stretched out to a month or two. This itinerary stops at places that I think are worthy of a visit, and some that most people drive straight past! This itinerary gives you a different range of scenery from ranges to coral reef, white sand beaches to the largest rock in the world. Like all my itineraries, this is relatively quick pace.

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DAY 1&2: Perth to Jurien Bay

To begin with, a short drive to star this itinerary. 219 km or a 2-3hr drive from Perth you will find the small town of Jurien Bay. This small town offers white sand beaches, great fishing, skydiving and swimming with sea lions. If you ever wanted to go swimming with sea lions, this is the place to do it. Approximately 21% of WA’s sea lions live and breed in Jurien bay. Jurien Bay is a great place to spend a day or two.

Places to stop along the way:

  • Lancelin sand dunes: 128 km or roughly 1.5hrs from Perth. This is a great place to stop and do some exploring. These white sand dunes provide plenty of fun for everyone. Activities include, off-roading, sandboarding and quad biking.
  • Pinnacles Desert: 1hr from Lancelin or roughly 2hrs from Perth. The Pinnacles are natural limestone structures, which formed roughly 25,000 to 30,000 years ago and range in height and dimension. This National Park costs $15 from entry, you can either explore the park by foot or car.

Things to do:

  • Turquoise safaris: These guys offer Sea lion tours ranging from $85-$105 for adults and fishing charters which will cost you $300pp for the day.
  • Skydiving: SkyDive Jurien Bay offers a range of different tandem jumps, ranging from $299 to $449.

Day 3,4 & 5: Kalbarri

Today you have a moderate drive to Kalbarri, 352 km or roughly 4hrs from Jurien Bay. Kalbarri has so much to see and do which is why I recommend spending 2-3 days here.

Places to visit on the way:

There is only one place I recommend stopping at on the way and that is Hutt Lagoon. I highly recommend stopping at this pink lake in Port Gregory. This lake is best to visit during midday as the colours are brightest, keep in mind the colours can change from bubble gum pink to red.

TIP: The best places to get photos are at the pink lake view point, from here, if you drive a little further north, venture onto one of the 4WD tracks, these will get your car nice and close to the lake. There are also a few 4WD tracks along George Grey Drive which will take you to the cross sections of the lake (where you see the two different colours). These are difficult to find so keep your eye out or use google maps satellite view.

Things to do:

  • Kalbarri National Park: Where to begin….Plenty of hikes, gorges, lookouts, cliffs and beaches to explore. This National Park is split into two parts, one is more inland where the other is by the sea a little south of Kalbarri town. Must see attractions; Natures window, Z-Bend river trail, Kalbarri skywalk (great for sunrise), island rock, natural bridge and red bluff (great for sunset).
  • Whale watching, fishing, beaches, snorkelling (highly recommend blue holes).

Day 6: Monkey Mia

Another 4 hr drive today (400km). Monkey Mia is a great destination for nature lovers and families. This is a reserve so you will need to purchase a reserve pass which is different to a National Park pass. I only recommend 1 night here as I believe it is enough time to see and do everything. To be honest I got quite bored on my 1 day trip, so I wouldn’t recommend any longer unless you plan on using this a base to explore Francois Peron and Denham.

Places to see on the way:

  • Hamelin Pool Stromatolites: I’ll be honest, they look better from above. It’s on the way though so worth it to pop in and have a look. EDIT: the viewing platform has been damaged due to Cyclone Seroja and is currently inaccessible.
  • Shell beach: This beach is located on the way to Monkey Mia, where the sand is made completely up of tiny white shells! It’s worth having a stop to learn about the history behind this beach and go for a bit of a wander.

Things to do:

  • Dolphin experience: Wild dolphins visit the shoreline of Monkey Mia everyday at 7.45am and 12pm for feeding.
  • Sunset Cruise: This will set you back $50-$100, it is a great way to experience the Monkey Mia sunsets.
  • There are plenty of other things to do around Monkey Mia, if you are choosing to base yourself here. To do’s include; Blue lagoon pearl farm, diving and 4WD tours.

Day 7: Francois Peron National Park

Only a short drive from Monkey Mia you will find Francois Peron National Park. For this part of the itinerary you will need a high clearance 4WD to get in and around the park. This national park is known for its red contrasting cliffs and white beaches. You are able to camp in this park and I highly recommend it. I’ve only stayed at Big Lagoon campsite and there are plenty of sites sheltered by the wind. This is only one of the many campsites in this national park. I recommend spending at least 1 day exploring this park.

TIP: If you visit this park during any of the months ending in ”ember”, expect to experience wind.

Things to do:

Big Lagoon: This is a great place to canoe or kayak. Fishing is also allowed at the southern part of the lagoon. Do not fish in the northern lagoon as this is a protected sanctuary zone.
Cape Peron: This is where you will see the red cliffs. From the carpark, walk to your left and you will find a sheltered beach. Be careful when swimming at this Cape as currents can be strong. If you walk to your right above the beach you can venture on a small hike to Skipjack point.
Skipjack point: This is a lookout perched on the cliffs edge, a great place to fly the drone and look for wildlife. The beach to the left is where most of the photos of this park are taken. I didn’t venture down to this beach as I couldn’t find a path that didn’t rely on semi climbing the cliffs, however I did see people down there so venture at your own risk.
Beaches: South gregories, Bottle Bay, Gregories and Herald Bright.

Day 8,9: Quobba Station/Gnaraloo Station

Quobba Station is 4.5hrs (411 km) or Gnaraloo Station is 5.5hrs (478 km) drive from Francois Peron National Park. Keep in mind you will be driving along 4WD tracks out of the National Park so it will take a little longer. I’ve listed both of these stations as I believe they have both equal amounts to offer. Whichever one you visit will depend what attractions you wish to be closest too, and how long you want to drive on very bad corrugated roads.

Places to see on the way:

  • Carnarvon: You honestly could spend a day or two in Carnarvon if you have the time. Carnarvon has some beautiful beaches, walks and food to offer. Visit the visitor centre for more.
  • Carnarvon cactus garden: This is a cute little stop on the side of the road where a local has grown a pretty impressive cactus garden. It’s a good side stop to capture some cute pictures.

Things to do:

  • Quobba Blowholes: This is closest to Quobba station.
  • Quobba Beach: Great for snorkelling, drone photography and relaxing on the beach. This beach is found to the left of Quobba Blowholes.
  • Red Bluff/Red Bluff Beach: Nice beaches, surfing and coastline.
  • Big waves kill sign: A great photo opportunity.
  • Fishing is available on multiple beaches along this coastline

Day 10: Kennedy Ranges

Today is the shortest drive time on this itinerary, roughly 2.5hr (176 km) to the Kennedy Ranges. The Kennedy Ranges are a elevated plateau, roughly 12-25 km wide and 75 km long. Here you will be treated with scenic landscapes, wildflowers, walking trails and an amazing night sky. I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting here yet but have heard good review. You can camp here, booking a dpaw campsite here.

NOTE: The 62 km from Gascoyne Junction are unsealed roads.

Things to do:

  • Escarpment trail: A 3.4km return walk. Start at Temple Gorge campsite or Drapers gorge carpark, this trail ascends on top of the gorge for great views of the park. I’d recommend doing this trail for sunset.
  • Escarpment base trail: A 5.8km return walk.
  • Sunrise view trail
  • Honeycomb Gorge

Day 11&12: Mt Augustus

I’ve given Mt Augustus 2 days as it will take you about 6.5-7 hrs (416 km) to get there from the Kennedy Ranges. Mt Augustus is the largest monocline in the world and estimated to be 1700 million years old, and yes you can climb to its peak. A lot of people miss this attraction in WA because it is very isolated, however is a very interesting landmark and it definitely deserves a spot on this list.

Things to do:

  • Emu hill lookout for sunset. There are other look outs in the park however this is best rated for sunset.
  • Summit Mt Augustus: A 12km return hike to the summit. This is best completed early in the morning to avoid extreme heat.
  • Flintstone rock trail: A short walk that takes you to aboriginal rock paintings.
  • Cattles pool: A fresh water swimming hole.
  • There are alot of other walks in this park, to find out more visit here.

Day 13, 14&15: Coral Bay

Buckle in for a long drive today as you have roughly a 9 hr (700 km) drive ahead of you. It will be worth it once you arrive in the small beach town that is Coral Bay. There are a range of activities to do in Coral Bay from; snorkeling, diving, fishing, 4WD’ing, sailing and kayaking. All the beaches in and around Coral Bay are beautiful white sand beaches with amazing clear waters.

I’ve only given 2 full days to explore here, however, you could easily spend a week or more here. What I love about this place, is you can walk to majority of the beaches and great snorkelling is so close to the shore. This is also a great place to base yourself for day trips to Exmouth.

Things to do:

  • Snorkelling and visit the white sand beaches.
  • Go on a fishing Charter.
  • Go on a cruise/tour.
  • Swim with whale sharks, turtles, manta rays or dolphins (depends on the season).
  • 4WD’ing Tracks.
  • Go to the Dunes near the Boat ramp for sunset.

Day 16, 17&18: Exmouth/Cape Range National Park

Cape Range National Park is one of my favourite National Parks in West Australia. This park is full of amazing snorkelling and beaches, Charles Knife Canyon also offers impressive views of the sunrise. Roughly a short 2-2.5hr drive today (203 km), you can either base yourself in Exmouth or at one of the DPAW campsites in the National Park. My favourite campsite in the National Pak is Osprey Bay campgrounds, some of the campsite spots are super close to the beach (See below), and you are very likely to see turtles 20m offshore.

Things to do:

  • Turquoise bay and Oyster shacks: Good snorkelling beaches in the National Park
  • Charles Knife Canyon: I think this place is best visited for sunrise, there are a few spots where you can park on the cliffs. You will have to get there early to secure yourself a spot. There is also a ridge walk somewhere in this park which looks really impressive. I tried to find it my last visit but had no luck.
  • Yardie Creek: You can go hiking or on a boat tour to check out this gorge.
  • Mildura Wreck: A shipwreck not far from shore.
  • To conclude, there are heaps of beaches to explore around here. I have only mentioned the ones I recommend you definitely visit.

Day 20&21: Perth

I’ve put this as a 2 day drive as some people aren’t comfortable driving for 14rs straight. The best places to stop, other than designated stopping areas, are Overlander roadhouse or Geraldton.

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