Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary

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Undoubtably my favourite state in Australia to travel, a west coast Australia road trip is really one you shouldn’t miss. Imagine fantastic surfing locations, a stunning variety of national parks, 1,150km of beautiful coastline and rugged mountain ranges and you’re already halfway there.

Having a self-driving itinerary, will allow yourself to get more immersed in what the West Coast offers whilst taking in the hidden gems where tourist buses do not venture.

So after travelling around Australia on my 6 month road trip, here is my full rundown of the very best Western Australia has to offer. This guide starts in Perth, takes you on a ‘small’ loop round the south west of the state, back via Perth and up to Kununurra on the boarder of the Northern Territory.

Note:

  1. This road trip is completely customisable to your own plans or the timeframe and time of year you’re planning on doing it. It can be done in reverse, or in separate chunks it’s ultimately up to you on how you plan it!
  2. There are numerous national parks along your road trip, thus I’d highly recommend buying an ‘All Parks Pass’ which provides unlimited entry to any WA park for 12 months or the ‘Holiday Pass’ provides unlimited entry to all WA parks for up to four weeks. This will save you a lot of money instead of paying for each one separately.

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Esperance

Quick Tips Before Heading Off On Your East Coast Australia Road Trip

Best Time of Year?

When I travelled the West Coast, I was there from March to April (autumn), which turned out perfect for me. The weather was still warm around the south coast of Western Australia and by April up round the Kimberley it was starting to cool off. If I had the chance to do it again I’d start in April on the south coast and finish around the start of June near Kununurra, with the hope of the Gibb River Road being open.

It could be advisable to avoid the summer months up round Monkey Mia and north of there, due the summers getting very wet and tropical…aka cyclone season! Huge widespread flooding between these areas occurs regularly, meaning you’d have to skip a lot of incredible sights.

Note: Whale shark season runs roughly from mid March to mid September, so if this is a must do on your trip, plan your road trip between these months. 

How Long Does It Take To Drive The West Coast?

This is ultimately up to you. There’s no golden answer, however many people do not realise how big Australia is, especially Western Australia. Driving from Perth to Kununurra (not taking into consideration the area south of Perth) via the coast is over 3,500km and over 37 hours of driving (without detours to sites along the way). You could drive it in less than a week, but you’d miss out on everything. If you include the southern loop south of Perth it’s over 5,100km of driving!

I would allow a minimum of 4 weeks to drive the whole West Coast. On my west coast Australia road trip, I took around 5/6 weeks from Esperance to Kununurra. For me, this was the perfect amount of time to see all beautiful lesser known sites as well as the main tourist attractions like The Margaret River, Karijini National Park and Monkey Mia etc.

To Hire Or To Buy?

This really depends on your time frame and if you’re planning on travelling more of Australia.

If you’re travelling for up to a month, it’ll be easier and less stress to hire a camper-van/4×4. The following are companies that I recommend.

Note: Most hire companies only operate in the major cities and do not allow you to take campers off road, unless they specify it is a 4×4. Thus, in Western Australia you may have to pick up and return your hire vehicle in Perth. If they do allow drop-off in other cities it will be Broome. Kununurra is very unlikely, which limits your road trip and one way fees are usually very expensive. Due to this, I’d highly recommend buying a car/camper-van. 

Budget

Comfort

Luxury

  • Britz (Perth to Broome)
  • Maui (Perth to Broome)

For my 6 month road trip across Australia I bought my own 4×4 Mitsubishi Pajero with an in-built bed in the back. If you’re wanting to travel off-road, on the beaches and want a bit more comfort a 4×4 is a great option. Otherwise if you’re sticking to paved roads a camper-van is probably your best option (although you’ll miss out on some amazing sights!).

In addition, at the end of the trip you’ll be able to sell your car/camper for a similar price you paid for it! I paid AUD$5500 for my 2001 Mitsubishi Pajero, and sold it 6 months later for AUD$5000.

Here is my beginners guide on how to buy a car in Australia.

Free Camping, Paid Campsites or Hostels?

The west coast is very sparse compared to the east coast, so finding hostels is only an option in the city of Perth and town of Broome. Free camping is impossible here and paid campsites can be AUD$40 upwards per night. Making it just as cheap to stay in a hostel in these two places.

When you’re out of the main cities, I’d recommend trying out free camping. I stayed 80% in free camps when I travelled Australia, and had no issues at all. Doing this I saved several hundred dollars which I spent on activities. However, free camps aren’t everywhere and some may look sketchy, thus paid campsites are advisable.

These two resources were my wholly grail to free camping and finding camping spots along my journey, I cannot recommend them enough:

Map Overview: Perth to Kununurra (via Esperance & Margaret River)

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary

So starting from Perth, here are some essential stops and things to see on the my ultimate west coast Australia road trip up to Kununurra. You can also skip parts, do sections of the road trip or do it in reverse, it’s completely up to you.

This itinerary lists the minimum amount of days I suggest you spend in each place, what to do, where to stay in major towns and approximate driving times between the major stops.

Perth: 3 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Perth

The starting place for many travellers driving up the west coast, it’s the perfect place to get your bearings and fully immerse yourself into the Aussie lifestyle. Perth is actually my favourite city in Australia if I were to live Down Under! It’s got many wonderful parks, it’s the cleanest city I’ve ever visited, has amazing beaches at your door step and it’s much more affordable than many east coast cities.

Perth has an attractive setting on the Swan River and nearby to several stunning beaches that are a lot less crowded than its east coast counterparts, which also adds tremendous appeal.

Don’t forget to visit the famous Rottnest Island home to the adorable Quokka. It’s a short ferry ride to the island and make sure to stay for the full day. I recommend hiring bikes when you’re on the island to get around, if you walk you will not see all the fantastic beaches.

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Rottnest Island

I suggest you spend some time in Perth before beginning your west coast Australia road trip. Here, you can stock up with your Target and K Mart essentials, get your vehicle serviced (if you have your own car) and soak in the city life before you leave.

Things To See & Do:

  • See the skyline from Kings Park both during the day and at sunset.
  • Soak up the sun on Perth’s most famous city beach: Cotteslowe Beach. Bonus: during sunset.
  • Take a walking tour of Perth.
  • Take a Swan River dinner cruise.
  • Explore historic Freemantle.
  • Take a stroll along the pathways of the Swan River.
  • Take the ferry over to Rottnest Island for the day and hire bikes to get round the island.
  • Visit the art galleries and museums of Perth in the Perth Cultural Centre.

Where To Stay:

  • Ocean Beach Backpackers: Located on stunning Cottesloe Beach and overlooking the glorious Indian Ocean, this is the perfect hostel if you’re wanting to be close to the beach, but within public transport distance to the city centre. Included in your stay you will also get access to free Parking, bike hire, free surfboards and body boards plus lots more. Click here for the best rate!
  • Wickham Retreat Backpackers: Is the best place to stay in town offering a constant friendly atmosphere and walking distance to the city centre. They offer a range of accommodation to suit your needs, a four bed standard mixed dorm, 6 bed standard female only dorm and a six bed standard mixed dorm. Click here for the best rate!
  • The Old Swan Barracks Hostel: Previous winner of the Best Hostel in WA, a stay at the Barracks provides the budget backpacker with the best that Perth has to offer. Situated in the heart of Perth in the Northbridge entertainment area and only several minutes away from the rail and bus terminals. Click here for the best rate!

From Perth head 3 1/2 hours east to the tiny town of Hyden which it home to the impressive ‘Wave Rock’. Once visited, head another 2 hours south east to Ravensthorpe for your night stopover.

Ravensthorpe via Wave Rock: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Wave Rock

To cut up your 5 1/2 hour drive to Ravensthorpe, stop by the magnificent ‘Wave Rock’. It is one of Australia’s biggest waves and is also the furthest from any ocean. Wave Rock rises 15 metres above the outback plain and has a history of over 2,700 million years in the making.

Pose on the rock face and surf the giant wave or see it from a different perspective by following the walk trails around the base and over the top.

From Ravensthorpe head 2 hours east to Esperance, home to the famous Cape Le Grand National Park.

Esperance & Cape Le Grand National Park: 2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Esperance

Esperance is the gateway to the stunning Cape Le Grand National Park. It is home to white sandy beaches, friendly kangaroos, rugged coastal peaks and sweeping heathlands. The natural beauty is so breathtaking that it’s definitely in my top 3 favourite places in all of Australia. The best part is that you will basically get to experience it alone, apart from the add tour bus from Perth. The park is so remote and only has two small campsites, so there won’t be large numbers of tourists around. However due to this, make sure to get there early to snag a camping spot, trust me it’s worth it!

Things To See & Do:

  • Drive your 4WD onto Lucky Beach, also known as the beach the Kangaroos call home. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful in the world and is quickly becoming an iconic Australian beach.
  • Walk along Hellfire Bay, with its pristine waters and white sand. Maybe even spot a dolphin or two!
  • Thistle Cove Beach, from here you can adventure up to Whistling Rock.
  • Drive your 4WD along the long stretch at Cape Le Grand Beach.
  • Hike up Frenchmans Peak. This grade 5 walk becomes a scramble over loose rocks and dodgy ledges to reach the summit and at times it feels like it’s more of a climb than a hike.
  • Walk along the Esperance Esplanade.
  • Head 1 hour further east to Wharton Bay, here there are a few hidden coves and untouched beaches that only locals know about. Hidden gem for sure!

Don’t want to hire a car for your south coast road trip? This 6 day ultimate tour covers all the best south coast spots.

From Esperance head back west past Ravensthorpe until you reach Albany. Roughly a 5 hour drive.

Albany via Stirling Range National Park: 1-2 days

ltimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Albany

On your way to Albany, make sure to take the route which goes via the Stirling Range National Park. This national parks is hikers galore with many challenging longer hikes within the park, so if you’re into that then this is a must. Once you read the coastal town of Albany, you’ll soon come to realise that the beautiful coastline doesn’t stop, with endless white lined beaches for miles to be seen.

Things To See & Do:

  • Hike the 3rd highest peak in Western Australia, Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range NP. It’s a 6km walk however very steep in places so allow half a day.
  • Just south of the Stirling Range NP is Porongurup NP. Hike to the granite skywalk, not for those who are afraid of heights!
  • Visit Torndirrup National Park, home to impressive beaches, The Gap and the Natural Bridge.
  • Visit National Anzac Centre.
  • Visit Albany Farmers Market on a Saturday.

From Albany drive 45 minutes west to Denmark, a beautiful coast town, where you can spend the day. Continue onwards to Pemberton. Total drive time of 3 hours. 

Pemberton via Denmark: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary:

The last bit of picturesque coastline now until you head inland towards The Margaret River vicinity. Denmark is a quaint little town, home to the famous William Bay National Park. Make sure to spend the morning down by the beautiful beaches here and pack a picnic. Continue on towards Pemberton home to the famous Gloucester tree.

What To See & Do:

  • Explore William Bay National Park: Elephants Rock, Green Pools, Waterfall Beach and Madfish Bay.
  • Explore the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk.
  • If you’re brave enough and not scared of heights climb the Gloucester Tree which stands at 53m high. Warning: no safety harness or nets so climb at your own risk. Probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done!

From Pemberton head 1 1/2 hours north west to reach The Margaret River. 

Margaret River: 2-3 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Margaret River

The next stop is Margaret River and the Margaret River region.The town has its very own charm with various shops, a book store, several cafés and restaurants and a well-stocked supermarket. It’s beaches and oceanfront are also popular among surfers who flock into the city nearly all year round as the region offers great surfing conditions throughout the year.

But there’s much more to Margaret River: the town and it’s surroundings are known for it’s famous wineries, some of them among the most well-known of Australia. Make sure to visit a few wine estates, and take part in some cheese tastings. You can also buy your favourite bottle of wine for one of the many nights to follow on your trip!

Things To See & Do:

  • Visit Beedelup Falls.
  • Visit Hamelin Bay where giant rays can be seen right from the shoreline!
  •  Venture inside many of the caves in the region – like Jewel Cave, Mammoth Cave or Lake Cave.
  • Head to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The 39m-high lighthouse is continental Australia’s most south westerly point.
  • Visit Surfers Point, go surfing or watch the sunset and surfers at their best.
  • Go on a wine, coffee, cheese, and chocolate tour of the Margaret River.

From The Margaret River head 1 hour north via Dunsborough and the coast to Busselton. You’re nearly at the end of your south coast trip, so get ready for the real outback soon!

Busselton: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Busselton

The town of Busselton is known for its sheltered beaches and seasonal humpback whale populations. The beachfront features the 19th-century Busselton Jetty. This wood pier stretches nearly 2km to the Underwater Observatory, where life in a coral reef is on view. On the way make sure to pass Injidup Natural Spa, and Dunsborough.

Things To See & Do:

  • Bath in the Injidup Natural Spa. Make sure to arrive early before all the crowds as it does get very busy with locals.
  • Visit Sugar Loaf Rock.
  • Climb up Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for sweeping views along the coastline.
  • Visit the beaches: Shelley Beach, Bunker Bay Beach, and Eagle Bay Beach.
  • Walk along Busselton Jetty and go inside the underwater observatory.

From Busselton pass through Perth as we already visited this beautiful city on our first few days and head to Yanchep a 3 hour drive north. Stock up on any necessary items as the next fairly large town is South Hedland, over 1,700km away! 

Yanchep: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Perth

You’re on your way north past Perth, let the real adventure and outback begin! Yanchep National Park is just an hour north from Perth. There’s a few short walks in the area, but the best attraction is the range of wildlife. It’s one of the only places in Western Australia where you can see koalas, and there’s also great birdwatching opportunities and plenty of kangaroos. The National Park is small and in a rural countryside setting, the perfect place for a picnic!

What To See & Do:

  • In Bunbury visit Marlston Hill Lookout.
  • Walk along the observation boardwalk at Lake Clifton overlooking living rocklike organisms, called thrombolites, on the shore.
  • Visit Yanchep National Park to spot some of Australia’s most famous wildlife like the koala and kangaroo.

From Yanchep head 1 1/2 hours north to Jurien Bay passing little coastal towns like Lancelin and Cervantes. Make sure not to miss The Pinnacles.

Jurien Bay: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: The Pinnacles

It’ll soon come apparent how rural it gets so quickly when you leave the outskirts of Perth. As you head up the coast, you’ll pass tiny communities before arriving in Namburg National Park home to The Pinnacles. This unearthly desert landscape will fascinate you, especially considering it’s perched almost directly next to the ocean. Spend some time driving or walking through the park and marvel at the huge pinnacles.

Things To See & Do:

  • Sand-board on dazzling white sand in Lancelin.
  • Get an iconic photo in front of the sign at Hangover Bay. You can also drive your 4WD along the sand, just make sure to let your tyre pressure down and keep an eye on the tide.
  • Drive through the shanty town at Wedge Island. It’s very impressive!
  • Drive/walk around The Pinnacles in Namburg National Park.
  • Walk around Lake Thetis. Oldest of the 4 places in the world where Stramatolites are found, dating back 3.7 billion years.

From Jurien Bay head 2 hours north to Geraldton.

Geraldton: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Geraldton

Geraldton is the largest town between Perth and Darwin. Remember that as you drive into this very averagely sized town! Geraldton is a great place to get some supplies for the next leg of your road trip and enjoy some civilisation before the likes of Shark Bay and the Pilbara region.

What To See & Do:

  • Visit the Museum of GeraldtonGeraldton Regional Art Gallery and the Old Gaol.
  • Walk along Geraldton Esplanade.
  • There is a great free camp right in the centre of Geraldton right next to a fish n chip shop and a park. One of our favourites!
  • Visit the 19th Century Point Moore Lighthouse.

From Geraldton head north 2 hours and reach your first real taste of the outback in Kalbarri National Park.

Kalbarri National Park: 2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Kalbarri National Park

Kalbarri National Park is another definite highlight on your West Coast Australia Road Trip. With many impressive lookouts and hikes, I suggest you spend a few days here to experience it in all it’s glory. From Geraldton there are a few great spots on the way including Pink Lake and numerous coastal viewpoints. Kalbarri itself is a modest coastal town, but Kalbarri National Park is located slightly inland… and it’s absolutely epic.

Things To See & Do:

  • Visit Pink Lake and it’s lookout. If you do venture onto the lake be careful as I fell through it and saw my life flash before me!
  • Visit the quirky Hutt River Principality. It is an independent sovereign state within Australia (so get your passport stamped), having seceded from Australia in 1970.
  • Take in the coastline at Natural Bridge, Castle Cove and Island Rock near Kalbarri town.
  • Take the short hike down to Natures Window, an impressive natural formation overlooking the winding river below.
  • If you have time, take the 9km Loop Trail, it’s impressive but make sure to pack lots of water.
  • Z-Bend Lookout, Hawks Head Lookout, and Ross Graham Lookout.

From Kalbarri head 4 1/2 hour north to Monkey Mia. 

Monkey Mia/Shark Bay: 2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Monkey Mia

A UNESCO world heritage area, Shark Bay sits at the westernmost point of Australia. It’s the marine life that makes Shark Bay so interesting; it’s sea-grass beds are the world’s largest and richest. As a result, you can spot dugongs, dolphins, turtles, tiger sharks and much more.

For those in a 4WD Francois Perron National Park is a great place to drive along sandy tracks and explore secluded beaches. If you want a real adventure and have all the required equipment for a proper of road experience head to the most westerly point on the Australian continent – Steep Point. This is an overnight trip.

Things To See & Do:

  • Visit the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites.
  • Walk onto Shell Beach, a beach full of millions of tiny shells. It’s a little bit prickly to sit on, but really beautiful.
  • Spot sharks, dugongs, dolphins and turtles at Eagle Bluff Lookout.
  • Visit the town of Denham and Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre.
  • If you have a good 4WD drive up to Cape Perron in Francois Perron National Park. We had to rescue someone in this national park which took over 4 hours so sadly we didn’t make it. Don’t venture in unless you’re a good off road driver.
  • Head to Monkey Mia, famous for feeding the dolphins every morning. Make sure to turn up as soon as it opens (usually 9am) to get the chance to feed them. Usually 3 feeds per day.
  • Rent a kayak or go on a cruise from Monkey Mia and spot Dugong and Tiger Sharks.

Next head to Carnarvon a 3 1/2 hour drive from Monkey Mia.

Canarvon: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Canarvon

You have to backtrack a bit on day 6, driving back down the road leading to Shark Bay to get back on the route northward. Next on your West Coast Australia road trip, it’s time to head onto the country town of Carnarvon – the fresh produce capital of Western Australia.

Things To See & Do:

  • Visit the Heritage Precinct Museum.
  • Walk along the one mile jetty.
  • Drive Carnarvon’s fruit loop, stopping at farm shops to buy some delicious local produce.
  • Head outside the town to see the amazing Blowholes at Quobba Point.

From the sleepy town of Carnarvon head to the beautiful Coral Bay, a 2 1/2 hour drive north.

Coral Bay: 1-2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Coral Bay

And up to the tropics! It’s now up to you whether you decide to swim with whale sharks in Coral Bay or Exmouth. I personally recommend swimming with them in Coral Bay as it’s not as busy/many tours going out so you’re likely to have the whale sharks all to yourself!

Coral Bay is just over the Tropic of Capricorn. It’s a tiny tourist town that’s focused on the beautiful Ningaloo Reef; there’s whale shark excursions, snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours, a couple of great campsites, a lovely beach, and a tiny shopping precinct.

Things To See & Do:

  • Swim with whale sharks off Coral Bay (March to September).
  • Go snorkelling right off Coral Bay beach.
  • Swim with manta rays (all year round).

From Coral Bay head 1 1/2 hours north to Exmouth. If you haven’t swam with whale sharks yet here is your last opportunity.

Exmouth: 1-2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Exmouth

If you haven’t swam with whale sharks yet, Exmouth is the last place on your road trip where you’re able to do so. Make sure to book the trip well in advance as space get’s filled quickly and only 20 people per boat are allowed. The town itself is fairly small, and is purely built on tourism, so I suggest heading straight to Cape Range National Park and camping at one of their many beautiful campsites right on the beach.

Things To See & Do:

  • Before arriving in Exmouth drive up to Charles Knife Canyon, and admire the views.
  • Full day tour to swim with whale sharks.
  • Vlamignh Head Lighthouse near Exmouth for stunning views over the reef, especially at sunset.
  • Watch baby turtles hatching and learn a bit of information about them at Jarabi Turtle Centre.
  • Visit and spend the day snorkelling at one of the many beautiful beaches in Cape Range National Park.

Get ready for the long 8 hour drive to Karijini National Park, you’ll be heading inland to the Pilbara region.

Karijini National Park: 2-4 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Karijini National Park

Karijini you are simply stunning. It’s also one of my top three favourite places in all of Australia along with Esperance and The Whitsundays. First up, what more can I say about the landscape and the sheer expanse of the park?! It’s the second largest park in Western Australia covering a huge geographical region. Second the vast array of colours. Whether it’s the red rock contrasting with the blue sky or the ancient green trees. It really does feel like you’ve set foot in Jurassic Park.

Note: Make sure to stop in Tom Price to fuel up, get any food at Coles and check your vehicle is good. I actually punctured a tyre when going off road and had to drive back to Tom Price to get it replaced, not ideal!

The park is split into two sections and is accessible for 2WD so don’t worry if you don’t have a 4WD. However, it does come in handy and you can drive the short cut between the section if you have one. Below is a map of the park, the grey roads are unsealed.

Things To See & Do:

  • Start the day by climbing the second highest mountain in Western Australia, Mount Bruce. It’s a fairly challenging 10km return hike so start early, but well worth it for the amazing views over the Karijini mountain range.
  • After spend the afternoon relaxing and hanging out at Hamersley Gorge. This gorge you can swim in and it’s simply stunning!
  • Explore the western section of Karijini: Weano Gorge, Hancock Gorge (most famous with the spider walk), Joffrey Falls and Knox Gorge.
  • Head to Oxer Lookout and Junction Pool Lookout.
  • Explore the eastern section of Karijini: Dales Gorge – including Circular Pool, Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool.

Read my full blog post on a 3 day ultimate guide to Karijini National Park.

After spending 2-3 epic days in Karijini National Park head north back to the coast where you’ll arrive in Port Hedland after 5 1/2 hours of driving.

Port Hedland: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Port Hedland

Not the most picturesque of places, it has to be said, the iron mining town of Port Hedland is, however, a great overnight stop if you want to grab a decent coffee and replenish supplies from Coles or K-Mart. It’s also a good place to spend the night before you head up to Broome.

There is also a status of a crocodile to now warn you you’re in croc territory. So no swimming in rivers, lakes or the ocean near an estuary unless it’s safe to do so.

Things To See & Do:

  • See the huge amount of salt known locally as Snow Mountain, I loved how this giant tower belittled the huge pieces of machinery being used to dig and shovel the salt.
  • Stock up on Coles and K-Mart goodies.

From Port Hedland get ready for another long 6 hour drive to Broome. Cut up the journey by stopping at the famous Eighty Mile Beach. 

Broome: 2-3 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Broome

Broome, famous for it’s incredible sunset and camel rides over Cable Beach. It’s hard not to fall in love with this somewhat small coastal town. It’s the start of the Kimberly region, which you’ll now be in all the way to the Northern Territory boarder, so be prepared for a changing landscape.

Broome is a very unique place, with an intriguing past that covers Aboriginal history and Japanese influences from the pearling boat workers. You can even visit a pearl farm on your trip to Broome. Plus, it’s set in the outback and has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Things To See & Do:

  • Watch the sunset at Cable Beach.
  • Coincide your arrival in Broome with the Staircase to the Moon phenomenon at Roebuck Bay – this happens once a month from the months of March to October. Click here to see the dates for 2019.
  • Take a day trip to Horizontal Falls – “David Attenborough once described the Horizontal Falls as one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.” If David gives it his seal of approval, you know it rocks.
  • Explore Chinatown by foot.
  • Drive out Gantheaume Point. This stunning spot at the end of the peninsula is famous for the 130 million year old dinosaur prints visible at low tide.
  • If you have a capable 4WD drive up the coast north towards the Cape Leveque. Here there are various pearl farms like Willie Creek Pearl Farm and Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm.
  • If you’d rather be on the safe side, take the full day Cape Leveque tour – 4WD Tour from Broome & Optional Return Flight.
  • Or, go on a Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour.

Where To Stay:

  • There are a few excellent free camps just north of Broome, however you will need a 4WD to get there.
  • Your other option is staying in a hostel or caravan park. However, both are roughly the same price so I recommend a hostel.
  • Beaches of Broome Hostel: Situated just a short stroll from the famous Cable Beach, Beaches of Broome is a contemporary, stylish resort offering great accommodation at an affordable price. With a variety of rooms from deluxe private to dorm rooms it caters for everyone. Click here for the best rate!
  • Kimberly Klub YHA: A great option for backpackers, it’s the cheapest option but still has an outdoor pool, air-con dorm rooms and a space to chill and relax from the heat. This is where I stayed and it was very good for the price. Click here for the best rate!

From Broome you now have two options. Head up to Derby, the start of the famous Gibb River Road. This road is a 660km challenging unsealed road on available to those with their own high clearance 4WD. Sadly I couldn’t do it as it was closed due to flooding (usually open from May to October). This road should take roughly 3/4 days, so plan your fuel stops carefully. A few of the sights include: Windjana Gorge, Lennard Gorge, Bell Gorge, Galvans Gorge and Zebedee Springs. 

However, as I did not do this route I’ll be taking you along the sealed road and into Purnululu National Park, home to the famous Bungle Bungles. You can split up your journey from Broome to Ord River (entrance to the National Park), or drive the 8 hour drive straight. 

Ord River: 1 day

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Bungle Bungles

Between Broome and the Bungle Bungles there really isn’t much on your west coast Australia road trip, a few small aboriginal towns like Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek but they’re only places to fuel up. If you do want to break this drive up, I suggest you don’t stay in these towns as they are seen as fairly dangerous, as a result there are plenty of free camps roughly 30-40km outside them which are safe and you’ll find other travellers doing the same.

Things To See & Do:

  • Geikie Gorge National Park in Fitzroy Crossing.
  • Visit the Fitzroy Crossing or Halls Creek Visitor Centre for up to date information about the Bungle Bungles.
  • China Wall just outside Halls Creek.
  • Free camp opposite the turning to the Bungle Bungles.

The next part is for high clearance 4WD ONLY sorry! If you’re renting a camper, or don’t have a 4WD you cannot go into Purnululu National Park where the famous Bungle Bungles are. It is around 60km of rough dirt track road with a number of water crossing, so only attempt this if you’re a confident off road driver with a good 4WD. The drive will take about 2 hours into the National Park.

If you don’t plan on going into the Purnululu National Park skip this next part. However, you won’t fully miss out as you can take a scenic helicopter flight from Kununurra over the Bungle Bungles!

Purnululu National Park/The Bungle Bungles: 2-3 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Bungle Bungles

For those lucky enough to explore Purnululu National Park on your west coast Australia road trip for a few days you’re in for a real treat, as this National Park was only discovered in 1983! It is absolutely spellbinding, and you’ll come to really appreciate the magnificence of what nature can create of millions of years. There are plenty of sights and hikes to get busy with, so I suggest 2 nights as a minimum, especially as it took a lot of time to get here. This is camping in the National Park too so don’t worry about that.

Things To See & Do:

  • Take a scenic helicopter ride over The Bungle Bungles departing from Kununura. (a great option for those unable to drive in!)
  • Southern Walks: The Domes and Lookout Point, which the park is famous for.
  • Then Cathedral Gorge, an incredible natural amphitheatre of red rock.
  • After Cathedral Gorge, you can continue the trail to the Piccaninny Lookout and The Window.
  • After these, there is a further day walk into Whip Snake Gorge – which is a 10km hike along uneven surfaces, so go prepared and allow 4 hours return. There is a permanent pool at the end here.
  • Northern Walks: Take the short walk to Osmand Lookout.
  • Hike 2km into Echidna Chasm, it’s absolutely stunning.
  • Walk up to Bloodwoods Lookout.

Head back out of Punrnululu National Park the same way you came in, back onto The Great Northern Highway and make your way 5 hours north to El Questro. However, some of El Questro’s creeks, as well as the gravel driveway and trails within the property, are unsuitable for 2WDs or low-clearance 4WD.

El Questro: 1 – 2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: El Questro

El Questro is a magical and ancient landscape and also part of the Gibb River Road near Wyndham, so check before you go on road conditions. There are various swimming holes, gorges, waterfalls and treks all in this vicinity of the Kimberley. It is also home to 100 species of birds and many other unique wildlife and flora.

What To See & Do:

  • Take a refreshing dip in Emma Gorge.
  • Visit Zebedee Hot Springs. These thermal springs are the perfect place to relax and restore amongst the region’s local vegetation.
  • Walk the El Questro Gorge Trail.
  •  The viewing platform at Saddleback Ridge is one of the most spectacular lookout points in El Questro.
  • Amalia Gorge Trail. This is best seen just after the wet season when a mass of waterfalls flow from one pool to the next.

You’re on the final straight! From El Questro head east to Kununura and onto Lake Argyle total drive time of 3 hours. 

Kununura/Lake Argyle: 2 days

Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary: Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle is Western Australia’s largest and Australia’s second largest freshwater man-made reservoir by volume and is also home to over 35,000 freshwater crocodiles! And yes you can swim in the lake, it’s the salties you’ve got to watch out for! Lake Argyle is brimming with an abundance of wildlife and with an outlook of rich colours, it truly is paradise in the outback!

Make sure to stay at the award-winning Lake Argyle caravan park with its famous infinity pool. Simply awesome!

Things To Do:

  • Watch the sunset from the Lake Argyle Caravan Park infinity pool.
  • If you haven’t done it yet, departing from Kununura take a scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles.
  • Go on a sunset cruise onto Lake Argyle. Learn about the history of the lake, spot freshies, and swim in the lake with a glass of champagne!

So there you have it, my ultimate west coast Australia road trip itinerary. From here carry on into the Northern Territory and up to Darwin or explore more of the area, it’s up to you!

Here are a few tips I recommend when driving in the Australian Outback:

  • Do not drive at night. There are so many animals on these routes from ferrel pigs to cows to kangaroos, trust me you do not want to hit one.
  • Make sure you always have 10+ litres of water per person in your camper/car at all times. In case of an emergency like a breakdown. It can get very rural.
  • Do use Wikicamps. It was our wholly grail when it came to finding free camps throughout the west coast.
  • Make sure to get your car fully serviced in Perth before setting off. You don’t want to get to Halls Creek and realise your oil needs changing!
  • If there are two or more of you in the camper/car, split the journey up. Distances are long here and you don’t want to get too tired from driving.
  • In the real outback, make sure to fuel up whenever you see a petrol station. You may even want to carry a jerry can with you.
  • Don’t forget to take lots of photos!

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The Ultimate West Coast Australia Road Trip Itinerary | Esperance to Lake Argyle | Complete Guide |

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About the Author:

Hey there I'm Emma! A luxury and adventure travel blogger. I've currently travelled to 53 countries with no plans to stop! I hope I can inspire you to travel the world with my travel guides, travel and blogging tips, as I believe travel is for everyone. So come and travel well for less with me!

6 Comments

  1. Les 01/14/2019 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Hi Emma, I’ve just read your Western Oz trip, amazing pics, this will be so useful, together with Lonely Planet, in planning before leaving on my trip.

    • Emma Lomas 01/14/2019 at 9:57 am - Reply

      Hi Les!

      So glad you found my Western Oz Guide helpful in your travel planning for the west coast! When are you leaving for it? And I hope everyone is well 🙂

      Happy Travels,
      Emma

  2. @bigbongstheory instagram 01/26/2019 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Hey Emma, this was so useful. I’m planning a short trip to Western Australia maybe for a week. How best and what all are a must visit places. Later in the year I’m planning another two week for other part of Australia, but as of now I wanna know the best what can be done in a week starting from Perth.
    Thanks
    Ra

    • Emma Lomas 01/29/2019 at 11:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Ra,

      If you only have a week for Western Australia, depending on the time of year I’d suggest doing Perth and south. So heading to Esperance, Denmark, Margaret River area. As heading north of Perth is a lot of driving and huge areas of nothing which definitely needd more than a week to do 🙂

      Hope this helps!
      Emma

  3. Kelly 10/04/2019 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Emma

    Great guide to help me plan my 3 weeks for Darwin-Perth in Apr next year. I would love to visit Mt Augustus. Any tips, on the how best to do this & how many days I will need? How is the road conditions, will I need 4×4?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Emma Lomas 10/12/2019 at 10:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Kelly,

      So glad my guide has helped you! If you’re wanting to visit Mt Augustus I do suggest you have a 4×4. I’m guessing you’d come from Karijini National Park area, therefore the road will be unsealed. Make sure to plan the trip well, bring lots of extra food and water and also necessary equipment for off-road rural driving. April should be okay, as it’s just the end of rainy season. Make sure to check weather forecasts and local road reports before setting off though. In terms of driving from Darwin to Perth it really depends what you want to see on the way, you could take a few days or a few months! I suggest at least a month so that you can see everything the Pilbara and Kimberley has to offer!
      The journey is over 4000km to plan ahead and use my west coast road trip as much as you can 🙂

      Have an amazing time!
      Emma

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