If you’re looking for the ultimate road trip, it’s hard to beat the Coral Coast in Western Australia (WA). This vast stretch of coastline runs for 1,100 kilometers and is punctuated with an array of beaches and interesting towns. It’s also home to marvelously scented flowers, gorgeous coral reefs, and abundant wildlife. You’ll find it benefits from a good network of roads, so getting around is easy.
The simplest way to get your holiday started is to book flights to Perth. The state capital of western Australia it is the perfect starting point for your adventure. From Perth you can hire a car, and let your scenic road trip commence.
The world’s most isolated capital
Rather than dashing off to start your exploration of the Coral Coast immediately, you should take the time to spend a few days in Perth itself. Sometimes described as the world’s most isolated capital, this metropolis is about as close to Bali as it is to some of the eastern state capitals of Australia.
While there, you can immerse yourself in the city’s laid back yet cosmopolitan atmosphere, sampling the plentiful bars and restaurants on offer and checking out the cultural attractions located within the city, including the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
After experiencing Perth, you’ll no doubt be eager to go exploring. The first destinations you’ll come to traveling north along the coast include the towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Dongara, Port Denison and Greenough.
Meanwhile, 420 kilometers out of the state capital you’ll arrive in Geraldton. Renowned for its seafood, including western rock lobsters, this town makes a great place to stop for the night. There are plenty of eateries to choose from and its HMAS Sydney II Memorial offers impressive views across the Indian Ocean.
Continuing north from Geraldton, you’ll come to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Vast in size, it is characterized by its shallow banks and numerous peninsulas and islands. While there, you can meet the inquisitive Bottlenose Dolphins of Monkey Mia Beach. This friendly pod regularly swims to the shore looking for an easy meal. Feedings take place between 7:30 am. and 12:00 pm. If you’re lucky you’ll be chosen by a ranger to feed the dolphins yourself.
Further up the coast, you’ll find the town of Carnarvon. Famed for its fresh produce, this is a food lover’s paradise. No trip here is complete without seeing the famous banana plantations, and don’t forget the Carnarvon Growers’ Market, where you’ll be able to find some of WA’s very best produce.
Excellent seafood is also available and if you’re in the area between May and October, you can buy freshly caught seafood directly from the seafood factories.
Continuing north, you’ll reach Coral Bay. Located just above the Tropic of Capricorn, this charming coastal village is the perfect point from which to access the Ningaloo Marine Park. Here, you can enjoy activities such as fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and whale watching. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even swim with whale sharks.
Meanwhile, just in case you’ve not yet had enough of driving, you can hire a quad bike or four-wheel drive and head out into the rugged terrain.
Images by William Hook, Phillip Capper, DavidFlint4, Harclade and lin padgham used under creative commons license.