Road Trips: The Best Way To See Australia.
The great Aussie road trip is a rite of passage for locals and tourists alike. With the sixth greatest landmass on earth, Australia entices the adventurous with its thousands of kilometres of roads leading to beautiful, and often untouched, locations.
With Covid-19 travel restrictions in place and tourism boards pushing staycations all over the country, Australia’s great love of road trips and camping has intensified tenfold. Research by the Caravan Industry Association says that 80% of Aussies are planning a camping trip in 2020, marked to increase sharply from the 59 million nights of domestic camping recorded last year.
In this series, we will be exploring each state’s road trip highlights with tips along the way and must see destinations.
Western Australia Road Trips: Planning & Ideas
Western Australians will tell you their state is king of the road. This huge area makes up a third of Australia’s total landmass. WA is twelve times the size of the UK and larger than Western Europe. With so much of the world being overpopulated nowadays, WA retains the ability to feel truly remote. This quality makes it great road tripping terrain.
WA is home to beautiful beaches, incredible wildlife, dusty outback plains, stunning gorges and much more. Tourism in Western Australia is a big industry and road tripping is well catered for. On the road you will find loads of amenities, such as camp sites, service stations, public toilets, fishing prep stations and public BBQs. However, it’s a big place so it’s still suggested you take plenty of water and plan your stops in advance.
So where should you head to on your WA road trip?
Broome is one of WA’s most remote towns. It is home to the famous Matso’s Brewery and a historic pearling industry. The best breakfast in town is served at Dragonfly, and the best coffee is at Good Cartel. If you’re feeling posh, head for a cocktail overlooking the water at The Mangrove Hotel.
Other popular Broome activities include taking a sunset camel ride at Cable Beach or renting a boat to weave through the mangroves. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, the Cable Beach Caravan Park is a cheap and easy accommodation option for campers.
Broome also acts as a gateway to the Kimberley region. The Kimberley is an area north of Broome with remote aboriginal communities and some incredible tropical landscapes. Unless you have a 4WD capable of tackling the Gibb River Road, it’s suggested you book a tour. If you’re pushed for time, you can also book a scenic flight to see some of the rugged ranges and dramatic coastlines.
On your way, you can stop at Eighty Mile Beach for a very long beach stroll. You can also refuel with a homemade pie at one of the famous remote roadside stations, such as the Sandfire Roadhouse or the Nanutarra Roadhouse.
Situated at the remote tip of the west coast, Exmouth is worth the 166km detour from the main highway. The peninsular is home to beautiful sandy beaches, which are home to nesting turtles during the spring. It’s also a great spot for whale watching, with 30,000 humpback whales migrating past between June and November. If you’re into hiking, the Mandu Mandu gorge and Charles Knife canyon are breathtaking, but be careful of the dingoes and remember to take lots of water.
Exmouth has a number of small campsites in the national park; they can all be found and booked through the government’s Parks and Wildlife website. If you’re on the west side, be sure to stop off for a snorkel at Turquoise bay!
The town itself is small, but caters well for tourists. If you have time, pop into Froth Brewery for a pint and a burger on your way through.
Coral bay is the jewel of the coral coast. Famous in scuba communities around the world, this tiny town is the launch point for thousands of divers hoping to see the resident whale sharks and manta rays. If you’re interested, the best tours are with Coral Bay Divers. Ningaloo Reef has been coined as the best in Australia, particularly after the sad decline of the Great Barrier Reef’s biodiversity. For that reason, it is suggested you book before you go.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, People’s Park offers powered and unpowered sites right on the beach. The local bakery is a must for their sweet treats, doughnuts and pies.
Shark Bay & Monkey Mia
Another amazing area with miles of sandy coastline. The seagrass and rock formations here make the area unique to other parts of WA. Swimmers and walkers can spot turtles, rays, dugongs and sharks from cliff top viewpoints, such as Eagle Bluff.
Many choose to stay in Denham and head to see wild dolphins being fed each day at Monkey Mia, a tradition started over fifty years ago by local fishermen.
Kalbarri National Park
On your way south from Monkey Mia, head into Kalbarri National Park. This park is home to natural phenomena such as ‘Nature’s Window’, as well as incredible sunken river gorges and rich aboriginal tradition. On your way, you can also stop at the pink lake at Hutt Lagoon. The best time to see this weird and wonderful body of water is on a clear day at noon.
One third of Australia’s wine comes from the lush green region three hours south of Perth known as Margaret River. If you want a pampered finale to your road trip, this is the place. Some of the best food and drink in Australia can be found here. Do a wine tour or create your own self-directed tasting. We’d recommend Voyager, Stella Bella, Stormflower, Robert Oatley, Swings & Roundabouts, Leeuwin Estate, Evans & Tate, Willespie and Amelia Park. Or pop in for a pint at Beer Farm, Colonial Brewery, Eagle Bay, Blacks Brewery or Wild Hop.
This whole area is packed with some incredible attractions such as the Busselton Jetty, Boranup Forest, Indijup Natural Spa, Eagle Bay, Dunsborough, the Cape To Cape Trail and Caves Road. Above all else, make sure you stop off at Margaret River Bakery in town!
Other key destinations for extended Western Australia Road Trips
There are so many places worth visiting, but depending on time we’d also recommend researching Mandurah, Jurien Bay, Albany, Wave Rock and Esperance.
One last thing…
A top tip for Aussie driving novices: don’t drive at night as you’re likely to hit a kangaroo or an emu!
Want to learn more about visiting WA?
Check out our other articles on the state’s capital: