Western Australia is hands down the best state in Australia. The wide open spaces, wildlife, friendly people, and variety of regions to explore make it one of the greatest undiscovered regions on earth. Every time you drive north or south of Perth, Western Australia’s main capital, you can’t help but feel as though you’re on a true adventure.
In this guide, I’ll cover the top activities and destinations to stop at from Perth to Broome.
Western Australia Itinerary: Perth to Broome
Western Australia road trip overview: Perth – Lancelin – Jurien Bay – Geraldton – Kalbarri – Shark Bay/Denham – Carnarvon – Gnaraloo/Red Bluff (optional) – Coral Bay – Ningaloo – Exmouth – Karijini National Park – Broome – Kimberley National Parks
Duration: 2 weeks minimum
Perth to Lancelin: 125 kms
Lancelin is a small town with an turquoise bay and white-sand beaches. You can surf, kitesurf, standup paddleboard, and enjoy the gargantuan Lancelin Sand Dunes just outside of town. If you have a 4X4 vehicle, you can brave the off-road trails and drive through the dunes.
Camp at: Lancelin North End Caravan Park
Hotel: Lancelin Lodge ($)
Lancelin to Geraldton: 300 kms
After Lancelin, stop at the surreal Pinnacles. This detour takes less than two hours, and is well-worth the visit. The Pinnacles were formed over 25,000 years ago as the coastal winds eroded blocks of limestone. Visit the Pinnacles Desert Discover Centre to learn more about the native wildlife.
Geraldton is one of the only other major cities in the state of Western Australia. Along Route 60, stop at Cervantes for kitesurfing and a bit of beach time. You can get petrol and other supplies at Jurien Bay.
Camp at: Belair Gardens Holiday Park, Flat Rocks (free!)
Hotel: Rhodeside Lodge ($), Geraldton Backpackers ($), Zebras Guest House ($$)
Geraldton to Kalbarri: 160 kms
Surely you’ve heard about the bubblegum pink lakes in Western Australia? Well, now you can see it for yourself by stopping at Port Gregory. Visit in the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead for the brightest hue of the Pink Lake.
Kalbarri is one of my favorite places in all of Australia because of its beautiful beaches and hiking trail. It’s worth heading to see Nature’s Window and hike The Loop. There is also Rainbow River and the Z Bend Trail to explore. Some top viewpoints to check out are Red Bluff, Island Rock, Eagle Gorge, and Natural Bridge. Visit during whale season, and all these spots make for prime whale watching locations.
Surfers will love Jake’s Point and Blue Holes.
Read: The Ultimate Adventure Guide to Kalbarri, Western Australia
Camp at: Kalbarri Anchorage Campsite, Murchison Caravan Park
Hotel: Lola Rose B&B ($$), Pelican’s Nest ($$),
Kalbarri to Shark Bay/Denham: 390 kms
The stretch of road from Kalbarri to Shark Bay is long and straight. You’ll crave seeing something — anything — and will be rewarded with interesting weird and wonderful roadside attractions — like the Billabong Roadhouse that serves freshly made curry and kangaroo burgers.
You might not want to leave Kalbarri, but you will need to at some point. On your way to Shark Bay, you can stop and see dolphins, go kayaking, and enjoy lounging under the sun at Monkey Mia. It’s also worth stopping at Hamelin Pool to see a fascinating colony of stromatolites.
Shark Bay is a kitesurfer’s paradise. Kite the 20 kilometers in waist-deep water all along the parched coastline. Since the region is a shark nursery, you’ll kite over small sharks, rays, turtles, and dolphins. You can also hike and go whale watching from Eagle Bluff.
Read: Kitesurfing in Shark Bay
Camp at: Shark Bay Caravan Park, Blue Dolphin Caravan Park (sheltered from the wind)
Hotel: Shark Bay B&B ($$)
Shark Bay to Carnarvon: 330 kms
While I’m not personally a major fan of Carnarvon, it’s one of the only places to stock up on food and other supplies before continuing onward. You have to sample their mango ice cream and tour a banana plantation. You can also walk along the One Mile Jetty and swim in the Gascoyne River.
Camp at: Coral Coast Tourist Park
Hotel: Carnarvon Motel WA ($$),
Side trip: Carnarvon to Red Bluff/Gnaraloo: 115 kms (dirt road)
Gnaraloo is hands down my favorite part of Western Australia — and worth the trek if you want to surf at some of the world’s premier waves. However, you will need enough fuel, food, and water to last the entire duration of your stay. While there are a few small shops at the campgrounds and homesteads, the items there are very expensive and there are limited supplies. If you do venture out to this region, grab a snorkel set and swim around Gnaraloo Bay.
Read more: Gnaraloo from the Water
Stay at Red Bluff : Red Bluff Homestead — glamping, humpies, and uncovered campsites available
Stay at Gnaraloo: Gnaraloo Station Homestead ($$$), campsites also available
Carnarvon to Exmouth: 360 kms
After stocking up on supplies, drive along Route 1 and turn off on Minilya-Exmouth Road. If you want a quick beach break, stop in Coral Bay for prime snorkeling and swimming.
You’ll want to allocate at least a few days in Exmouth, one of Western Australia’s best cities for adventure-lovers. Exmouth is the main access point to the Ningaloo Reef, one of the largest fringe coral reefs in the world. You can swim with whale sharks and volunteer with a sea turtle conservation program at the Jurabi Turtle Centre.
Above water, you can hike at Charles Knife Canyon or stroll through the Mandu Mandu Gorge.
At Cape Range National Park, you’ll see tens of wallabies, kangaroos, emus, and other wildlife seeking shade under the midday sun. Swim in Turquoise Bay, hike along Yardie Creek Gorge, and snorkel at Oyster Stacks.
Read more: Turtle Time for Travelers in Exmouth
Camp at: RAC Exmouth Cape Holiday Park
Hotel: Ningaloo Lodge Exmouth ($$), Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort ($$$)
Exmouth to Karijini National Park: 640+ kilometers (remote – self-sustaining vehicles only, multiple routes)
This stretch of road is very remote and will require extra petrol, food, and water to complete. Karijini National Park is a stunning reserve with waterfalls, gorges, an incredible amount of wildlife, Aboriginal cultural areas, and hiking trails. Few venture off the coast path to see Karijini — but it’s well worth it if you do.
Camp at: Dales Gorge Campground
Hotel: Karijini Eco Retreat ($$$)
Exmouth to Broome: 1,300 kms
Should you drive all the way to Broome? Broome is an incredible destination that has access to the stunning Kimberley Region. However, it is over 1,300 kilometers away from Exmouth, and will take one to two full days of driving to reach. If you do drive to Broome, you can stop in Karratha and Port Headland to sleep and re-stock on supplies.
If the distance puts you off of driving, I recommend parking your vehicle in Exmouth and flying to Broome. You can rent a car in Broome to explore the entire region. From Broome, you can explore the Kimberley Region, see horizontal waterfalls, watch camels walk along Cable Beach at sunset, and witness the natural phenomena of an illusion that looks like a staircase to the moon. Admire dinosaur footprints on the Dampier Peninsula and go bushwalking.
Broome is another destination that you’ll want to spend at least a few days exploring.
Read more: Staircase to the Moon in Broome
Camp at: Discovery Parks, Broome’s Gateway
Hotel: Kimberley Travellers Lodge ($), Beaches of Broome ($$), Cable Beach Club ($$$$)
Ready for your adventure? What else would you like to know about driving from Perth to Broome?
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