Fourteen Day Roadtrip Itinerary: Perth to Exmouth return
When we decided to take a road trip in Australia, we knew we wanted to drive the road less travelled.
Matt had previously completed the standard East Coast route (Cairns - Sydney) and given our love for the great outdoors, we decided to visit Western Australia. We fell in love with the state after completing our first road trip north (so much so that we hired another campervan to explore the south!).
Take a look at our itinerary below and if you're wondering how much it cost, we've got you covered.
PERTH – GERALDTON, 450km (DAY 1)
From Perth, we took the Indian Ocean Drive to Lancelin to see the rolling sand dunes. Only 1.5 hours from Perth, it’s a great spot for sandboarding. Next, we stopped at the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. This yellow plain of ancient limestone pillars is a hide-and-seek paradise, with a loop road as well as walking trails. The columns originate from shell deposits that later solidified, and water erosion has left the most resilient rock formations you can see today.
We dipped into the towns of Jurien Bay, Greenhead and Dongara for walks along their solitary beaches and once back on the road, spotted the unusual leaning trees, misshapen by the strong southerly Indian Ocean winds. We reached our campsite just outside of Geraldton late afternoon.
WHERE WE STAYED: Ellendale Pool $5
GERALDTON – KALBARRI, 160km (DAY 2 - 4)
After a short stop in ‘Gero’ for petrol, we drove to the mouth of the Hutt River to marvel at the pink salt lake. Its hue is due to the presence of a carotenoid producing algae in the water that is also used as a food-colouring agent. Following a late lunch, we arrived in the picturesque town of Kalbarri and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over Murchison River. Our next two days were spent walking in the river gorges of the National Park, completing the 8km Loop Hike and the Z-Bend River Trail, and traversing the coastal cliffs. We also stopped in on the famous morning pelican feeding.
WHERE WE STAYED: Anchorage Caravan Park $30
KALBARRI – DENHAM, 380km (DAY 5)
Back on the road, we drove our campervan (which by this point we had nonsensically named ‘Bullet’) to Hamelin Pool, a cluster of stromatolites, which are thought to be the oldest living things in the world. After a quick walk along the boardwalk, we continued on to Denham and took our chairs (and wine) onto the beach for another glorious sunset.
WHERE WE STAYED: Denham Tourist Village $36.50
DENHAM – CORAL BAY, 600km (DAY 6)
We reached the resort of Monkey Mia around 7.30am after a short drive from Denham, to see the bottlenose dolphins. These wild creatures visit the shore for very small amounts of food each day, however we were able to watch them fish independently before the staff arrived to begin the ‘experience’. We stuck around after to witness another feed, which was worth it as we got to see a mother and adorable baby approach the shoreline and Matt was chosen to feed one of the dolphins. We then drove to Carnarvon for some first-class fish and chips before reaching our beachside camp area not far from Coral Bay.
WHERE WE STAYED: Warroora Station $30
CORAL BAY – EXMOUTH, 170km (DAY 7 - 9)
A whole day of snorkelling in the sun nearly made us forget that it was winter in Australia. Hanging out at Bill’s Bay gave us some much-needed downtime before the leisurely drive up to Exmouth. The next day we were excited to finally go on our whale shark snorkel tour – it was the main reason we wanted to visit Exmouth at all! We saw three large whale sharks before spotting humpback whales from our boat, just off the Ningaloo Reef. More wildlife encounters followed in the Cape Range National Park; we met black-tailed rock wallabies, large bats hanging from trees over Yardie Creek, and spent time snorkelling Turquoise Bay.
WHERE WE STAYED: Lighthouse Caravan Park $35
EXMOUTH – KARIJINI, 670km (DAY 10 - 12)
The long drive to Karijini National Park took us the entire day, and we settled in for an early night on the east side of the park to conserve energy for the days ahead! In 1.5 days we visited every gorge apart from Knox, Kalamina and Hamersley (as we did not have a 4WD), and conquered Mount Bruce.
WHERE WE STAYED: Dales $10, Eco Retreat $40
KARIJINI – PERTH, 1400km (DAY 13 – 14)
After two long days of driving we finally made it back to WA’s capital for a welcome sleep in a large, comfortable bed!