West Australia is the ultimate road trip state in Australia. One of the best road trips in Western Australia is the drive along the gorgeous coral-rich Indian Ocean coast. From the majestic Pinnacles to the glistening turquoise waters of the Ningaloo Reef, the road trip from Perth to Exmouth packs countless highlights and is ideal for travellers who prefer their adventures from the comfort of their caravan. Below we explore the highlights of this trip step by step.
Tips Before You Go
The Perth to Exmouth drive is 1270 km. For a trip that includes stops at the major attractions, you should expect to spend a minimum of 6 days for the journey, but you can make this trip last as long as you want. Driving distances are long and spending the majority of your time driving isn’t the best way to enjoy it.
The preferred time for many people to do this trip is usually between April to June. This is when the strong southerly winds ease up and the sweltering heat turns to temperate sunny days. If you prefer windier days, October to January is ideal. This period is also likely to be less busy with other road trippers and holidaymakers.
Most of the trip can be completed in a regular caravan, but you’ll need an off-road caravan to access some national parks and off-road attractions. The region is home to long stretches of road, so make sure you take regular breaks. Be cautious when overtaking road trains and watch out for wildlife at dawn and dusk.
Perth to Geraldton
The strip from Perth to Geraldton along the Indian Ocean Drive offers lots of sightseeing opportunities. The highlights include Yanchep National Park where you can see Koalas, the Pinnacles, the sand dunes around Lancelin, countless stunning beaches along the turquoise coast and Lake Thetis. If you just stop off at just one place along the way, make sure it’s the Pinnacles. Rising out of the yellow sand, these limestone formations make for a truly spectacular and unique landscape.
Geraldton to Kalbarri
This leg of the trip features some great places to stop in to enjoy both history and beautiful sights, including Geraldton, Oakabella homestead, Northampton, Horrocks Beach and Hutt River. The Pink Lake on the Hutt Lagoon near Port Gregory is one unmissable sight. The scenery changes drastically as you get closer to Kalbarri, and the red plunging coastal cliffs are truly breath-taking to behold.
Kalbarri to Monkey Mia to Carnarvorn
Monkey Mia is a bit of a detour from the journey to Exmouth but one that’s well worth it if you’ve got plenty of time and want to enjoy the paradise that is the Shark Bay Heritage area. Here, there’s plenty of gorgeous landscapes and opportunities for up-close experiences with wildlife including dolphins. From Shark Bay to Carnarvon, there are great overnight spots to stop including the Wooramel River Retreat, which features amazing camping sites along the riverbanks.
Carnarvon to Exmouth
Once past Carnarvon, you can opt to take a trip to the Blowholes and the strip of coastline from Quobba Station to the Red Bluff and Gnaraloo Station. The Carnarvon Blowholes are a natural phenomenon and shoot water through cracks in the granite rocks making a massive roar in the process. Other highlights on this leg of the journey include Coral Bay along the Ningaloo Reef, where snorkelling and diving experiences are amazing. Once you arrive in the final destination of Exmouth, you are at the gateway to Cape Range National Park and much of the sensational Ningaloo Reef. One key popular highlight of Exmouth is swimming with whale sharks. In general, Exmouth is a great base to explore the surrounding area and offers plenty of conveniences.