Travelling to Western Australia (WA) is a MUST if you get the chance. In WA, the distances between places are long, but if you like to drive, explore, surf and adventure, this is the trip for you. Read below for a detailed guide on how to put together your Perth to Exmouth road trip in just 15 days!
What is the best season to travel?
You should know that May to September is the best time to travel due to the dry climate and good surfing. Also, these are the months when you can see whales and the famous whale shark in Exmouth. July is possibly the month with the most tourists, so we recommend you book accommodation and tours in advance!
Travel by Van, Car, 4×4 or Plane!
Before continuing to read this guide, you should bear in mind that there are several ways to take this trip. If you are not in WA, you can take a flight to Perth and start from there. This guide, in particular, is designed to travel by car, 4×4 or Campervan. To do this, surely you should rent the vehicle you prefer.
From my own experience, I would recommend that you hire a Van and live the famous #vanlife! It is common for people to have and live in vans in Australia, and the country is quite prepared to travel it in one.
If you want to hire a vehicle, you can look at several websites such as Camplify, Car Next Door, Hippie Camper or even Maui, just to mention a few options. If you are going to hire insurance, be sure to include tire and windscreen insurance. The route is well-travelled, and there are certain dirt roads where you may have to replace a tire or fix a window due to the jump of a stone. But don’t worry; if you have insurance, you will have assistance along the way.
Another thing to consider is that you can make the journey by driving back and forth from Perth to Exmouth and back. Or else, if you prefer not to go so many kilometres, drive to Exmouth and then take a flight back to Perth. To review low-cost flights, we recommend pages such as Cheap Flights or Jetstar, for example.
• The Pinnacles Desert – Nambung National Park
• Hutt Lagoon – The Pink Lake
• Kalbarri – 2 nights
• Carnarvon Cactus Garden
• Red Bluff – 4 nights
• Coral Bay – 2 nights
• Exmouth – 4 nights
• Perth – 2 nights
Roadtrip Perth to Exmouth
Leave Perth early in the morning to look for the vehicle you have rented and start the adventure! Drive 190km to the Pinnacles Desert. Continue 338km more and stop to see the Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake. End the day in Kalbarri, just 30 minutes from Pink Lake.
When you go out on the road from Perth, you start to see how the landscape begins to change. The route starts entirely forested, but then it transforms into dunes. The colours also change; they become very orange and brown. Get used to it until you get to Exmouth!
After the first section of 2:30 hours, you arrive at the Pinnacles Desert. It is a very particular place, which you can visit on foot or from your vehicle. You must pay an entrance fee (AUD 15) to enter since it is located in the Nambung National Park. We recommend you to consult for the complete pass that includes all the national parks until you arrive in Exmouth (approximately $40) to save a few dollars.
Once inside the park, we recommend that you first enter the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Center to understand a little about how this strange place was created.
Keep going to Hutt Lagoon Pink Lake, which will take about 4 hours of driving. When you arrive, you will find an incredible lake of pink water. You can swim in it, and you will notice how salty it feels on your skin! The bottom also has a particular consistency, like clay, and at the edges, there are entirely salty blocks. This is the ideal place to take a good photo, so have your camera ready!
Once you finish enjoying this place, continue to Kalbarri, which is only 30 minutes away by driving, and spend the night there.
Day number 2 and 3
Kalbarri is a small town surrounded by incredible cliffs, beaches, surf and canyon-shaped mountain formations! Enjoy these two days of discovering your surroundings.
On your first day, we recommend that you visit Chinaman, Pot Alley and Blue Holes beaches. In the latter, you can swim in some pools formed when the tide is low. If you like to surf, you can go to beaches like Jake’s Point, where you can find one of the best waves in WA. Otherwise, the beaches are also incredible so you can take advantage of them to relax and enjoy a day at the beach. There are not only beaches but look on the map for viewpoints from cliffs near the town. They are all a few minutes drive away, and you can even walk from one to the other if you like to do a bit of trekking.
On your second day, you cannot forget to visit the Kalbarri National Park, with many activities and places to see. Get in your vehicle and drive to the park; remember to bring plenty of water, a hat, and closed shoes. These are some of the indications that you will find at the entrance to the park. Among the best-known points are Nature’s Window, Z Bend, Skywalk, among others. If you have enough time, bring a bathing suit and walk to the river through Z Bend.
Days number 4,5,6 and 7
Drive in the direction of Red Bluff but just before arriving, make a stop in Carnarvon to visit the Cactus Garden and stock up on food, water and gasoline. Enjoy Red Bluff and Ningaloo Reef; both are located in an area where you can disconnect from everything!
Carnarvon is the ideal stop to stock up on everything you need before continuing to Red Bluff, where you will not be able to access water, oil, or shops. Carnarvon is also a city with a beautiful bay, a good fishing area, so if you have time, you can even take a walk before leaving.
On the way out of Carnarvon, you can make a short stop at the Cactus Garden. No one knows very well why this place is there, but it is worth visiting and seeing impressive varieties of cacti, in all their shapes, colours and sizes.
Finally, keep going to Red Bluff Camping, approximately 136 km north. You must bear in mind that the last 60 km of the road the route is dirt, not very well maintained, so you should surely slow down drastically. Arm yourself with patience because the last 60 km is very long (especially if you did not rent a 4×4), but they are worth it!
Settle in at Red Bluff Camping for a few days. Enjoy the disconnection and nature. Take the opportunity to surf at Red Bluff Point and snorkel everywhere! In this area, the Ningaloo Reef begins, so you will see how much life and reefs there are! Walk along the beach and take your camera to photograph the impressive cave formed by marine fossils. If you want to drive a little, from the campsite, you can go to see Turtles Beach where you will also find surfing and excellent spots for snorkelling.
As an alternative, you can also drive another 30 km on the road that continues to Gnaraloo and stay at 3 Mile Camp, where you will find excellent surfing and good spots for snorkelling and fishing as well.
Day number 8 and 9
Start your way to Coral Bay very early, where you will enjoy a tiny town with incredible excursions to do.
In Coral Bay, we recommend that you enjoy its main beach and visit the Shark Sanctuary, where reef sharks come to have their young from September to March. Also, you will see that many tourism companies take you on excursions such as going to see the famous whale shark, swimming with Manta rays, turtles and the Ningaloo reef, and even interactive whale tours! It all depends on the time of year and the weather conditions, but you can’t miss it!
If there’s one place to book a snorkelling or diving tour, this is it!
Day 10, 11, 12 and 13
Travel to Exmouth, about 152km north, and enjoy the latter destination, its beaches, excursions, and Cape Range National Park.
The campsites within the national park are highly recommended, especially be prepared for long walks.
Be sure to visit Turquoise Bay and its fascinating turquoise waters. Take your snorkelling equipment and explore the coral reef, where thanks to the ocean current, you will not need any effort to swim. The current will take you from one side to the other, looking at incredible marine life.
Enjoy a sunset from the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse or any beach within the national park. The magic of the West; the sunsets are over the sea!
If you like to hike, don’t miss the walk to Charles Knife Canyon to see spectacular views of the national park.
At night, enjoy the town and the great offer of restaurants, local breweries and live music.
If you are travelling in a vehicle and want to return to Perth in it, we recommend that you do it in at least two days to return calmly and even stop at the places you liked the most.
If you return to Perth by plane, take advantage of these last two days to visit the city! Check this website with everything you can see in Perth 🙂