Visitors flock to Australia’s Coral Coast each year to enjoy the year-round sunshine, get closer to nature and escape crowds. The region begins just two hour’s drive north of Perth at the coastal town of Cervantes and stretches more than 1,000 kilometres north along pristine coastline to Exmouth.

 

Boasting a warm climate all year round, Australia’s Coral Coast offers perfect conditions to enjoy a range of water sports, including swimming, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and boating, while nature lovers also visit to watch humpback whales on their annual migration along the coast between July and October each year.



Coral Coast Itineraries


1-Day Cervantes

Cervantes to Perth return (Approx 400km)

 

Take the Indian Ocean Drive north of Perth and head towards the beachside town of Cervantes. Take a detour to the Pinnacles Desert. The road into the Pinnacles is sealed, and there is a car park within walking distance of the intriguing limestone spires. Head to the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre to learn more about these unique formations. Drive into Cervantes and spend some time relaxing at a beachside cafe. Between November and August, head to the Lobster Shack to join a tour of the factory and buy some fresh seafood. The Lobster Shack also offers boat tours to collect the lobster pots and see the Pinnacles from the ocean. Wildflowers are prolific in this region, so be sure to look out for them, particularly between July and October.

 

Option 2: Why not extend your stay and head further north along the Indian Ocean Drive? See below for additional touring options.

 

 

4-Day Indian Ocean Drive

 

Day 1 - Perth to Cervantes (See above itinerary for day one options)

 

Day 2 - Cervantes to Dongara (Approx 149km)

 

Continue north along the Indian Ocean Drive, stopping at Molah Hill and Grigson Lookouts. At Jurien Bay, jump aboard a sea lion charter or skydive and land on the beach! Water lovers can explore the underwater wonderland of the Jurien Bay Marine Park, home to tropical fish and coral. On land, explore the caves of the Stockyard Gully National Park (accessible only by four wheel drive). Continue north to Dongara. Overnight: Dongara

 

Day 3 - Dongara to Geraldton (Approx 66 kilometres)

 

Take a stroll along Dongara’s 1.6-kilometre walk trail of historic buildings or head north to the Central Greenough Historic Settlement and stroll through the 11 restored pioneer buildings on site. As you continue your drive towards Geraldton, keep an eye out for unusual leaning trees on the Greenough Flats. Overnight: Greenough or Geraldton

 

Day 4 - Geraldton to Perth (Approx 420km)

 

Start your day with a stroll along the Geraldton foreshore, which features a picnic area, playground and water park. Head up to the HMAS Sydney II Memorial, which commemorates the lives of 645 sailors who died in World War II. Free walking tours are offered at 10.30am daily.

 

Optional: Consider taking a scenic flight from Geraldton to the Abrolhos Islands where you can enjoy snorkelling and guided walks.

 

 

4-Day Coastal Discovery

Day 1 - Perth - Geraldton (Approx 420km)

Take the inland route north along the Great Northern Highway. Meander through the quaint historic, agricultural towns of Carnamah, Three Springs, Mingenew and Mullewa. Take a look at the lovely murals and heritage buildings including the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mullewa. If you’re travelling between July and October you’ll enjoy views of carpets of everlastings covering the fields. Then head to Geraldton where you’ll sample some of the freshest seafood in Western Australia. The recently completed HMAS Sydney II Memorial is a must-see landmark that commemorates the lives of 645 Australian sailors who died during an infamous World War II battle. Overnight: Geraldton

 

Day 2 - Geraldton - Shark Bay (Approx 430km)

On your way out of Geraldton, stop in at the historic town of Northampton, where you can experience a bygone era. The daring can visit Oakabella Homestead, considered Western Australia’s most haunted house. Travel north to Shark Bay, taking in the interpretive signage of the Shark Bay World Heritage Drive. Visit the stromatolites of Hamelin Pool and Shell Beach, which is made entirely of millions of tiny shells. Visit the cliff top lookout at Eagle Bluff where you may see some of the marine life the region is renowned for. Relax and unwind on the foreshore at Denham or Monkey Mia, or aboard a sunset catamaran cruise. Overnight: Denham / Monkey Mia

 

Day 3 - Shark Bay - Kalbarri (Approx 380km)

Spend some time at the water’s edge in Monkey Mia where you’ll meet the famous dolphins of Monkey Mia. Be sure to get there early as the first feed is usually at 7.30am. Continue your journey south to the popular coastal holiday town of Kalbarri, located at the mouth of the Murchison River and adjacent to the Kalbarri National Park. Kalbarri is an adventure lover’s playground, so why not join one of the many tours on offer, including horse riding, fishing, sand boarding, abseiling, quad biking and canoeing. At sunset, take a stroll along the coastal cliff walk trails, where the stunning rock face illuminates in the sinking sun. Overnight: Kalbarri

 

Day 4 - Kalbarri - Perth (Approx 577km)

Spend the morning exploring the spectacular Kalbarri National Park and enjoy the spectacular views from key lookout points. Depart Kalbarri early afternoon and head south via Geraldton to Cervantes. Visit the Pinnacles, located in the Nambung National Park or stop for a swim at nearby Hangover Bay, before continuing south along the scenic Indian Ocean Drive to Perth.

 

 

5-Day Ningaloo Reef Adventure

Day 1 - Perth to Coral Bay (Approx 1100km)

Take an early morning flight to Exmouth (Learmonth Airport). Transfer or drive to Coral Bay, a snorkeller’s paradise with calm, protected waters and hundreds of fish and coral species just metres from the shore. To explore further out, take a glass bottom boat trip or join a snorkelling tour. Overnight: Coral Bay

 

Day 2 - Coral Bay

Stay another day in Coral Bay for more swimming and snorkelling or throw in a line for some beach fishing. Fishing safaris head out to sea regularly and adventurous types can join a scuba diving trip, a manta ray tour (year round) or swim with the whale sharks from mid March to June annually. When it’s time to dry off, go four wheel driving along the coast or hire a quad bike for some rugged adventure. Overnight: Coral Bay

 

Day 3 - Coral Bay to Exmouth (Approx 150km)

Time to head north. The sealed road takes you up the east side to Exmouth, where there’s a range of accommodation and tours on offer. Join a dive boat, head out to Lighthouse Bay or take a sea kayaking adventure. Between mid March and late July, go for a swim with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. Surfers have a few breaks to choose from at either Dunes Beach, the ‘The Bombie’ or further out at one of the reef breaks. There are also safe beaches for those wanting to learn to surf. Sunsets over the ocean from the Vlaming Head Lighthouse are not to be missed. Keen divers can join a night dive trip before turning in. Overnight: Exmouth

 

Day 4 - Exmouth

Spend another day fishing, swimming or diving. Here’s your opportunity to try one of the best diving spots in the world, the Navy Pier. The nearby Muiron Islands also offer great diving. If you don’t want to get your feet wet, take a glass bottom boat tour to see Ningaloo’s marine life. Alternatively spend the day exploring the rugged gorges and canyons of the Cape Range National Park either on an adventure tour or a self-drive. Turquoise Bay is a must, offering excellent drift snorkelling. Stop at Milyering Visitor Centre for information about the marine and coastal range environments. In the afternoon, follow the marked walk trail up into the gorges of the Cape Range National Park and visit Yardie Creek, a highlight for walkers and nature-lovers. Overnight: Exmouth

 

Day 5 - Exmouth - Perth

Enjoy one last swim in Exmouth before transferring to the airport for your flight back to Perth.

 

 

6-Day Kalbarri and Shark Bay Escape

 

Day 1 - Perth to Kalbarri (Approx 590 kilometres)

Make an early start for your journey to Kalbarri. Stop in at Geraldton for a refreshment break and then continue your journey north. Be sure to stop at the Pink Lake and at lookouts along Kalbarri’s coastal cliffs for some great photo opportunities. Overnight: Kalbarri

 

Day 2 - Kalbarri to Denham (Approx 390 kilometres)

Start early and enjoy spectacular views from lookouts in the Kalbarri National Park including Nature’s Window, the Loop and Z-Bend Gorge. Continue north to Denham. Follow the interpretive signage along the Shark Bay World Heritage Drive and stop at the many interesting and scenic points along the way. Overnight: Denham

 

Day 3 - Shark Bay and surrounds

Join a day tour to Francois Peron National Park or snare your very own catch of the day aboard a fishing charter. Unwind aboard a relaxing sunset cruise. Overnight: Monkey Mia

 

Day 4 - Monkey Mia

Spend the morning at Monkey Mia where friendly bottlenose dolphins visit the shores regularly. The first feeding is at around 7.30am. Join a wildlife cruise to see dolphins, dugongs and turtles in Shark Bay’s pristine waters. In the evening join an astronomy or Indigenous cultural tour before turning in. Overnight: Monkey Mia

 

Day 5 - Monkey Mia to Geraldton (Approx 380 kilometres)

See the dolphins one last time or hire a kayak to explore the area. Head south and stop in at Northampton for a refreshment break and explore the town’s rich colonial heritage. Or visit Western Australia’s most haunted house, Oakabella Homestead. Continue on to Geraldton for dinner at one of the city’s restaurants.

Overnight: Geraldton

 

Day 6 - Geraldton to Perth (Approx 420 kilometres)

Visit the impressive HMAS Sydney II Memorial, commemorating the lives of 645 sailors who died in World War II. Located on a hill overlooking the city, the memorial provides sweeping views across Geraldton and the Indian Ocean. Continue your journey south along the Indian Ocean Drive to Cervantes to explore the iconic Pinnacles Desert. Continue your journey to Perth.

 

 

9-Day Ningaloo & Shark Bay World Heritage Explorer

 

Day 1 - Perth to Exmouth (Learmonth Airport)

Take a morning flight from Perth to Exmouth (Learmonth Airport). In the afternoon take a glass bottom boat cruise in Exmouth to view the reef’s diverse marine life, or spend your day snorkelling the vibrant coral gardens of the Ningaloo Marine Park. Overnight: Exmouth

 

Day 2 - Exmouth

Spend the day fishing, swimming, snorkelling or diving. Swim with whale sharks (the largest fish in the sea) between mid March and late July or explore the Cape Range National Park. Overnight: Exmouth

 

Day 3

Exmouth to Carnarvon (Approx 367 kilometres) Take an early morning dip before heading south to Carnarvon, a subtropical oasis where fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood are plentiful. Check out the Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre, Gwoonwardu Mia and visit the Carnarvon Heritage Precinct to learn about the area’s rich history. Take a stroll along the One Mile Jetty while you’re there. Enjoy a seafood meal at one of the town’s restaurants. Overnight: Carnarvon

 

Day 4 - Carnarvon to Shark Bay (Approx 300 kilometres)

In the morning head south to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Stop at each of the landmarks along the World Heritage drive including the Hamelin Pool stromatolites (the oldest living fossils in the world) and the calm, crystal waters of Shell Beach (a 110-kilometre stretch of beach made entirely of billions of tiny shells). Stop at Eagle Bluff for spectacular ocean views and spot marine life in the water below. If you’ve made good time on this leg of the trip, head to the Peron Homestead for a glimpse of Shark Bay’s heritage. Enjoy a drink on the foreshore at Denham or Monkey Mia and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. Overnight: Denham or Monkey Mia

 

Day 5 - Shark Bay

Spend the morning at Monkey Mia where Australia’s famous bottlenose dolphins visit the shores regularly. The first feeding is usually at around 7.30am. Afterwards, get up close to more of Shark Bay’s marine life on a wildlife cruise or Indigenous kayaking tour. Join a day tour to Francois Peron National Park for some rugged adventure. Nearby, Little Lagoon is an ideal spot for an afternoon picnic and a refreshing swim. Overnight: Denham or Monkey Mia

 

Day 6 - Monkey Mia to Coral Bay (Approx 564 kilometres)

Leave Monkey Mia in the morning and head north. Stop for lunch in Carnarvon and take a stroll along the Fascine, Carnarvon’s historic central waterway. Visit some of the farms and plantations along the Gascoyne Food Trail to sample and stock up on fresh produce and preserves. Continue your journey to Coral Bay. Overnight: Coral Bay

 

OR

 

Visit the Blowholes (70 kilometres north of Carnarvon) and watch in awe as water is forced through sea caves at speed causing a sea spray up to 20 metres high. Continue north of the Blowholes and explore Red Bluff and Gnaraloo Bay (access by four wheel drive) at the southern gateway to the Ningaloo Reef (140 kilometres north of Carnarvon). Here, you’ll discover towering cliffs, beautiful beaches and plenty of wildlife. The area also offers excellent fishing, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing and swimming. Spend at least a few nights here to get closer to nature and enjoy this remote coastal wilderness area.

 

Day 7 - Coral Bay

Discover hundreds of fish and coral species in Coral Bay’s calm, protected waters with a mask and snorkel. To explore further out, take a glass bottom boat tour or join a snorkelling tour. You can even swim with manta rays in Coral Bay year round. Overnight: Coral Bay

 

Day 8 - Coral Bay

Spend another day in Coral Bay for more swimming and snorkelling or throw in a line and try your luck at beach fishing (avoiding Sanctuary Zones). Fishing charters, diving, four wheel driving and quad bike tours are also available. Overnight: Coral Bay

 

Day 9 - Coral Bay to Learmonth Airport (Approx 116 kilometres)

Take one last morning dip in the crystal waters of Coral Bay before departing for Learmonth Airport for your afternoon flight back to Perth.

 

 

11-Day Ultimate Coral Coast Road Trip

 

Day 1 - Perth to Geraldton (Approx 415km)

Travel north along the Indian Ocean Drive (continues north from Wanneroo Road), through the coastal towns of Cervantes, Dongara, Port Denison and Greenough. First stop is Cervantes and the unique Pinnacles Desert. Continue along the Indian Ocean Drive to Geraldton, where you’ll be able sample some of the freshest seafood in WA. Overnight: Geraldton

 

Day 2- Geraldton to Carnarvon (Approx 480km)

This morning visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial providing sweeping views across Geraldton and the Indian Ocean. Continue north to Carnarvon, a popular holiday spot for those chasing the sun in winter. Explore and sample the abundant fresh produce along the Gascoyne Food Trail, particularly the delicious Carnarvon bananas. Take an evening stroll along The Fascine (Carnarvon’s central waterway), taking in the magnificent sunset views before heading out for a fresh seafood meal. Overnight: Carnarvon

 

Day 3- Carnarvon to Exmouth (Approx 370km)

As you head north out of Carnarvon, be sure to stop at the Blowholes, where the sea water sprays up to 20 metres into the air. Travel north to Exmouth where the nearby pristine Ningaloo Reef is located just metres from the shore in some places. Take a swim in the afternoon, or join a glass bottom boat tour to see the amazing coral gardens beneath the water. Marine enthusiasts may choose to join a night dive or explore the amazing underwater gardens of the Navy Pier. Overnight: Exmouth

 

Day 4- Exmouth

Take a boat cruise or spend the day snorkelling on the reef. From mid March to late July you can swim with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. Surfers can catch a wave at Dunes Beach and also at ‘The Bombie’. Nearby, the ruggedly beautiful Cape Range National Park features deep canyons, limestone ranges and spectacular gorges. Watch an unforgettable sunset from Vlaming Head Lighthouse on the west side of the cape. Overnight: Exmouth

 

Day 5 - Exmouth to Coral Bay (Approx 150km)

Depart Exmouth early for your drive to Coral Bay. Here, the main beach is a snorkeller’s paradise with calm, protected waters and hundreds of fish and coral species just metres from the shore. To explore further out, take a glass-bottom boat trip or join a snorkelling tour. Overnight: Coral Bay

 

Day 6- Coral Bay

Enjoy more swimming, snorkelling and beach fishing or join a fishing charter, scuba diving trip, manta ray swim or a whale shark tour (between March and June annually). Overnight: Coral Bay

 

Day 7 - Coral Bay to Shark Bay (Approx 590km)

Head south along the North West Coastal Highway to Shark Bay. Take in the interpretive signage of the Shark Bay World Heritage Drive, stopping at the stromatolites of Hamelin Pool and Shell Beach. Visit the cliff top lookout at Eagle Bluff for superb ocean views. Overnight: Denham

 

Day 8 - Shark Bay

Spend some time at the Monkey Mia Foreshore early this morning where you’ll meet the famous Monkey Mia dolphins. Enjoy the resort facilities at Monkey Mia, visit the aquarium or take one of the many tours on offer, such as a scenic flight, wildlife cruise or an Indigenous tour. Unwind on a sunset sailing cruise before ending your day dining on the shores of Monkey Mia. Overnight: Monkey Mia

 

Day 9- Shark Bay to Kalbarri (Approx 390km)

Head south to Kalbarri. Explore the magnificent Murchison River gorges of Kalbarri National Park, enjoy a fishing tour, river cruise, whale watching charter (late June - November) or spend your day relaxing and taking in the sights of this dramatic coastline. Overnight: Kalbarri

 

Day 10 - Kalbarri

Today join a tour and enjoy some of the action-packed activities on offer such as abseiling, canyoning, quad biking, skydiving, sandboarding and canoeing. Relax under the stars at the outdoor cinema. Overnight: Kalbarri

 

Day 11- Kalbarri to Perth (Approx 590km)

Check out the stunning views from the coastal cliffs before heading south towards Perth. Be sure to stop in for a photo at Port Gregory’s stunning pink lake (just south of Kalbarri) before continuing your journey to Perth.