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.



Things to do in Indian Ocean Drive Region


Things to do in Indian Ocean RegionSpanning from the northern suburbs of Perth to just south of Dongara, the Indian Ocean Drive offers a scenic journey to the coastal towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Green Head, Leeman and Dongara-Port Denison. These seaside towns are great short break destinations offering plenty of things to see and do on the coast and inland. Marvel at the Pinnacles Desert in Cervantes, observe sea lions in the Jurien Bay Marine Park, explore the Lesueur National Park and enjoy a range of water sports in Green Head, Leeman, Port Denison and Dongara.

 

Things to do:

  • Enjoy views of the coast and bush along the Indian Ocean Drive
  • Wander among thousands of unique golden limestone spires in the Pinnacles Desert
  • See the stromatolites of Lake Thetis
  • Discover wildflowers and wildlife of the Nambung and Lesueur National Parks
  • Take a tour of a working rock lobster factory and taste fresh seafood
  • Water sports include: fishing, boating, swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing
  • Get up close to sea lions, whales and other marine life on a boat tour
  • Go skydiving
  • Explore caves of the Stockyard Gully National Park
  • Step back in time by exploring historic buildings and museums


Cervantes

Distance from Perth: 200km

Boasting beautiful beaches and the Nambung National Park, Cervantes is the ideal base to enjoy a range of activities such as fishing, swimming, tasting fresh seafood, exploring the Pinnacles Desert and discovering the stromatolites at Lake Thetis.

 

Pinnacles Desert

Located in the heart of the Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles Desert is considered one of Australia’s most unique landscapes, featuring thousands of limestone spires up to five metres tall. Explore the desert on the designated four-kilometre driving trail or stroll through them at your leisure on the 1.2-kilometre walking trail. Learn more about the Nambung National Park’s fascinating geology, flora and fauna at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.

 

Wildflowers and Wildlife

Made up of 17,000 hectares of coastal heathland, the Nambung National Park is home to a variety of native plants and animals. Wildflowers commonly found in the Nambung National Park during late winter and spring include wattles, quandong, yellow tail flower, thick-leaved fan flower, white clematis, cockies tongues, parrotbush and banksia species. Visitors will also delight in viewing wildlife such as western grey kangaroos, cockatoos, emus, bobtail skinks and the occasional bird of prey.

 

Lake Thetis & Stromatolites

Located two kilometres south east of Cervantes, Lake Thetis is one of only five sites in Western Australia that features stromatolites. A 1.5-kilometre walking trail around the lake showcases some of the best examples of stromatolites and interpretive signage provides information about the stromatolites, geology, flora, fauna and Indigenous culture.

 

Emu Downs Wind Farm

This wind farm offers a fantastic spectacle with 48 massive turbines extending almost 120 metres into the air. An informative display provides interesting facts on wind and renewable energy sources. View the turbines and displays from the car park on Bibby Road, 30 kilometres east of Cervantes.

 

Western Rock Lobster

A stroll past the jetties in Cervantes will take you to the Indian Ocean Rock Lobster Factory, where you can take a Lobster Shack tour and learn how the prized Western Rock Lobster is processed and exported around the world. Be sure to pick up some delicious seafood to take away or enjoy in the picnic area outside. The Lobster Shack is also now offering visitors a half-day boat tour, departing at 8.30am from the Lobster Shack jetty (seasonal). Passengers will experience the real life adventures of a lobster fisherman and can opt to select a lobster from the day’s catch, which can be taken back to the Lobster Shack and cooked for lunch. The 68-foot vessel, Shack Attack, also operates fishing charters and seasonal whale watching expeditions.

 

Hangover Bay and Kangaroo Point

Hangover Bay is located approximately 12 kilometres from Nambung National Park’s northern entrance and is a great spot for snorkelling, swimming, windsurfing, fishing, surfing and boating. Cook your catch of the day and enjoy the picnic facilities at Hangover Bay, which features gas barbecues, gazebos and toilet facilities. Dolphins and sea lions are occasionally sighted here. Kangaroo Point is located approximately eight kilometres into the National Park and offers a picnic shelter, gas barbecue and toilet facilities near the beach.

 

Lookouts & Walking Trails

Stunning views of ocean and bushland are offered at many lookouts in and around Cervantes. The Hansen Bay Lookout offers a picturesque view of the bay, Lake Thetis and the Cervantes town site. For different, but equally scenic perspectives of the bay and islands, check out the Thirsty Point and Molah Hill Lookouts. Located half way between Cervantes and Jurien Bay, the Molah Hill Lookout offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, Mount Lesueur and the Emu Downs Wind Farm.

 

Cervantes Visitor Information

Pinnacles Visitor Centre

Cadiz Street, Cervantes WA 6511

Tel: 1800 610 660

Email: enquiries@visitpinnaclescountry.com.au

Website: visitpinnaclescountry.com.au

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Jurien Bay

Distance from Perth: 220km

Located just 20 minutes drive north of Cervantes along the Indian Ocean Drive, Jurien Bay is fast emerging as popular short break destination. Whether you’re a wildflower enthusiast visiting to view the many unique species in the area, a scuba diver discovering the underwater wonderland of the Jurien Bay Marine Park or a sky diver landing on a pristine white beach, nature lovers and thrill seekers alike are sure to enjoy a stay in Jurien Bay.

 

things to do in the indian ocean driveJurien Bay Marine Park

The Jurien Bay Marine Park is sheltered by a string of islands and reefs that make the surrounding ocean perfect for water activities. As well as the area’s famous colony of sea lions, the Jurien Bay Marine Park is also a significant sea bird breeding area and you’ll often see humpback whales migrating each year along the coast. Join a fishing charter or a tour to see sea lions, dolphins and whales (in season). Look for interpretive signs on display at the main beach to learn more about the marine species in the area.

 

Sea Lions

Approximately 20 per cent of the Western Australian population of sea lions live and breed in the Jurien Bay Marine Park. See them basking on sandy beaches or ducking and diving through the water. The best way to interact with these captivating creatures is on a charter boat tour from Jurien Bay.

 


Jurien Bay Marina

Take a stroll past the Jurien Bay Marina to see rock lobster fishermen as they return with their daily catch. The recently upgraded marina has four boat launching and retrieval ramps with a floating pontoon located adjacent to the ramps to allow easy access to the boats. The marina features a new centrally located fish cleaning facility, a protected beach, toilets and a shower. Walking trails extend north and south of the bay.

 

A thrill seeker’s view of Jurien Bay

Sky divers can enjoy spectacular views of the Jurien Bay Marine Park while free falling before landing on Jurien Bay’s pristine white beach.

 

Sandy Cape

Located 13 kilometres north of Jurien Bay, Sandy Cape is a white beach situated in a small, sheltered bay offering great swimming, snorkelling and fishing. Licenced road vehicles are permitted in the park and are allowed to use the beach between the high and low water line. Walking trails are provided in the beachside vegetation for bush walkers. Stroll along the shoreline or the 200-metre boardwalk and take in the beautiful coastal scenery.

 

Indian Ocean Festival

The Indian Ocean Festival is an annual event in Jurien Bay which includes blessing of the lobster fishing fleet. Over the weekend (9 & 10 Nov) there is a range of entertainment, fashion parades and activities for all ages.

 

Jurien Bay Visitor Information

Shire of Dandaragan

Bashford Street, Jurien Bay WA 6516

Tel: +618 9652 0800

Website: dandaragan.wa.gov.au

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Green Head

Distance from Perth: 250km

Situated on a headland, Green Head’s white sandy beaches are great for swimming and snorkelling. Offshore islands and reefs are perfect for fishing and scuba diving and inland areas are awash with wildflowers during spring.

 

Lesueur National Park

Situated north of Jurien Bay and east of Green Head, the Lesueur National Park features approximately ten per cent of the State’s known flora and is home to almost 900 species of wildflowers, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. More than 100 species of birds are found in the in park and they rely on the flora for survival. The best time to visit is in spring, when wildflowers are in full bloom. Explore the wildflowers and the dramatic landscapes created by the Lesueur Fault and Cockleshell Gully formation on the 18-kilometre bitumen loop road. Drive to the top of Mount Lesueur for a magnificent panoramic view of the park and coastline.

 

things to do in indian ocean drive regionWater Sports and Marine Encounters

Green Head is a water lover’s paradise with protected bays for families and ideal weather conditions for a range of water sports. Surfers can enjoy a good reef break at Point Louise and excellent wind surfing conditions when the breeze comes in. There’s also a good chance you’ll be able to catch your lunch fishing off the jetty. A protected concrete boat ramp is available at the main jetty and there’s another located at South Bay. Divers will enjoy getting up close to the area’s diverse array of tropical and temperate marine species. Sea lion tours are also available between September and May.

 

Dynamite Bay & South Bay

These secluded bays are peaceful locations for people wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Dynamite Bay offers a protected swimming beach and South Bay is ideal for those who enjoy the solitude of a deserted beach.

 

Blue Ocean Art Gallery

Blue Ocean Gallery showcases a selection of high end, ocean inspired pieces of artwork. Works range from pastel and water colour paintings to metal sculptures of marine creatures. Open Friday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

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Leeman

Distance from Perth: 260km

Leeman boasts turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and offshore islands harbouring a great diversity of marine life. The picturesque coastline offers great conditions for an array of water activities, while inland the Stockyard Gully National Park features caves and fantastic four wheel driving opportunities.

 

Windsurfing & Sailing

Leeman is a windsurfing and sailing mecca with consistent strong summer winds providing excellent conditions.

 

Stockyard Gully National Park

Located 20 kilometres inland of Leeman, the Stockyard Gully National Park is accessible by four wheel drive only. Be sure to take your torch to explore the fascinating, ancient belowground river system of the Stockyard Gully caves. The caves form part of the Old North Stock Route, once used by stockmen on their journey south. Caution is required when visiting the caves, particularly after rain as they are subject to flooding.

 

Green Head and Leeman

Visitor Information

Shire of Coorow

Leeman Administration Centre

20 Morcombe Road, Leeman WA 6514

Tel: +618 9953 1388

Website: coorow.wa.gov.au

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Dongara & Port Denison

Distance from Perth: 350km

The twin towns of Dongara and Port Denison boast true coastal village charm, with the Irwin River creating a scenic landmark as it meanders between the two. Beautiful beaches provide ideal conditions for sailing, surfing, fishing, windsurfing, kite surfing and swimming.

 

Port Denison Marina

The Port Denison Marina is home to a rock lobster fishing fleet. Enjoy the buzz of activity that characterises the marina by relaxing on the grassed foreshore which offers barbecues, shaded seating areas and a playground. Take a stroll along the Shipwreck Trail to learn about some of the shipwrecks and mishaps along the coast.

 

Fishing

The area is best known for its thriving lobster industry, however, its pristine waters are also home to a range of other marine species. Try your luck at catching favourites such as tailor, silver bream, whiting and mulloway. The marina’s three jetties offer great fishing locations.

 

South Beach

Take a stroll along the coast or cruise along South Beach in your vehicle. South Beach is ideal for surfing, body boarding, kite surfing and stand up paddle boarding.

 

Historic Buildings

The best way of viewing Dongara’s charming historic buildings is on the Heritage Walk. Purchase a booklet from the visitor centre and begin your journey back in time. The four-kilometre walk showcases 28 heritage buildings. Highlights of the walk include the Royal Steam Roller Flour Mill built in 1894, the Headmaster’s Residence built in 1888, the old Police Station built in 1870 and the charming Russ Cottage, built in the late 1860s.

 

Fishermen’s Lookout

The Fishermen’s Lookout at Port Denison features sweeping views of the ocean. Stand on the boardwalk and watch the waves rolling in over the reef and the activity at the fishing boat harbour during lobster fishing season. The reef also offers great snorkelling.

 

Irwin District Museum

Housed in the old Police Station, the Irwin District Museum provides an insight into the hardships and triumphs of the region’s pioneers. The building itself was constructed in 1870 and originally served as a Police Station, Courthouse and Jail. The museum is open most mornings from 10am to 12pm and entry is $2.50.

 

Walking Trails

Dongara-Port Denison offers many different walking trails, traversing the twin towns’ most scenic locations near the river and ocean. Stroll the banks of the Irwin River, enjoy scenic views of the ocean and spot native flora and fauna.

 

Dongara Drive-In

Dongara’s drive-in is one of two still operating in Western Australia and shows new release movies fortnightly on Saturday evenings during summer. The on-site kiosk offers dinner and snacks.

 

Markets

Stop in at the Dongara Markets to stock up on local produce, arts and craft. The markets are held on the first Saturday of every month from 9am to 1pm at the Dongara Town Park.

 

Sport

Visitors can enjoy a round of golf or a game of bowls while on holiday in Dongara and Port Denison. The Irwin Recreation Centre offers a state-of-the-art gymnasium and facilities for squash, badminton and tennis. Hire a bike, snorkelling gear, kayak, golf clubs or a surfboard during your stay.

 

Larry Lobster Festival

Held on the third weekend of November each year, the Larry Lobster Festival offers entertainment, activities and stalls. It also includes the blessing of the fleet, which marks the beginning of rock lobster season and is a celebration to wish the fleet a bountiful season. The festival culminates with a display of fireworks.

 

Kitestock

Every year kite surfing enthusiasts take to the waters of South Beach for the annual Kitestock festival (15 – 17 February 2013). Watch Australia’s best kite surfers compete, take lessons, try the latest gear and get expert kite surfing advice.

 

Dongara and Port Denison

Visitor Information

Dongara Visitor Centre

9 Waldeck Street, Dongara WA 6525

Tel: +618 9927 1404

Email: tourism@irwin.wa.gov.au

Website: irwin.wa.gov.au