Exploring Western Australia: Perth to Exmouth

Western Australia: Monkey Mia
Western Australia: Monkey Mia

Western Australia is a natural wonderland. Australia’s largest state is teeming with incredible national parks, gorgeous beaches, marvelous rock formations and so much more. It really is a diverse natural paradise.

The best way to explore Western Australia is with a vehicle. If you have the time, stamina and money, consider driving the area yourself. But don’t be opposed to joining a tour group. I went with a couple of tour companies on my journey and had an amazing experience.

Perth to Exmouth

Over the course of a month I traveled from Perth to Darwin with two tour agencies. But that would be a gigantic post to cover everything in one. So I’ll just focus on my trip from Perth to Exmouth with Red Earth Safaris for this one.

I had a wonderful time on the trip. The tour guide was very knowledgable about the places we visited, and she clearly loved sharing about her home. It was a well run tour. I felt like we got a good amount of time at each location. And we had plenty of food, which is always crucial.

Here’s an overview of the places we visited on our journey.

Perth

Perth Western AustraliaPerth is the capital of Western Australia. It is a charming city with a lot to offer. Kings Park and Botanic Gardens is a lovely park that offers a nice respite from the urban jungle. Elizabeth Quay is a trendy spot for shopping and dining. And a number of beautiful beaches are only a short drive or bus ride away.

The city is also a good starting point for many trips around Western Australia. You can venture to the national parks and wine region down south, over to Rottnest Island, or to the quaint port city Fremantle.

But in this post, I’ll be focusing on traveling north along the coast. Specifically, traveling from Perth to Exmouth.

Yanchep National Park and Lancelin

Yanchep National Park was our first stop on our way north. The park is one of a few places you can see koalas in Western Australia. Koalas are not native to WA, but a colony was introduced into Yanchep in 1938.

The park is also home to western grey kangaroos. They are easiest to spot during dusk or dawn. But you might find them during the day resting in the shade of the trees near Loch McNess.

After a quick stroll through the park, we went to Lancelin. There we jumped on some boards and slid down the sand dunes. Some of the girls from the group were really zooming down the dunes. Then there was me, who had to shuffle my butt along the whole way. I did manage to get one good ride in, but sand surfing just isn’t my forte.

Nambung National Park

Nambung National ParkOur last stop for the first day was Nambung National Park. The park is best known for the Pinnacles. They are a relatively new attraction, as they were covered by sand until the 1950s. The limestone formations themselves, though, are millions of years old.

Scientists are still trying to determine just how they are made. Aboriginals, however, believe the Pinnacles have bad vibes. They say the formations are the fingers of lost children, who died in the harsh climate, sticking up out of the ground.

We arrived in the park just in time to catch the sunset at the Pinnacles. It was a really interesting stop. The mysterious spires scattered across the desert paired with the Aboriginals’ tale made it an eerie experience. It was other-worldly.

We finished the day with a night at Cervantes.

Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park

Greenough Wildlife and Bird ParkOn day two, we went to Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park. We were able to cuddle with a sweet Joey named Betty. She was so docile and snuggly. It was totally worth the A$5 donation!

The wildlife park has been rescuing animals for more than 30 years. It is a privately run operation and the team is passionate about helping animals get back to nature.

They have a few animals that are longterm residents, but the goal is to rehabilitate the animals and release them back into the wild. The park houses kanagroos, emus, dingos, crocodiles, a camel and many more creatures.

After hanging with the animals, we had lunch at St. Georges Beach. It was a very windy day, but eating lunch right next to the ocean was pleasant.

Hutt River Province

Hutt River ProvinceWe next headed to Hutt River Province. This place cracks me up! Basically, (Prince) Leonard Casley decided to start his own country in the 1970s in order to avoid wheat production quotas. Since then, he’s become really committed to the idea of having a sovereign state.

Hutt River has its own flag, seal, currency, stamps and passports. It’s definitely a fun spot to check out, and you can get a stamp in your passport for visiting.

While there, we were joined by a Japanese film crew. They were from the program Future Century Zipangu, which is a documentary news show on TV Tokyo. They were doing a segment on what attracts visitors to Hutt River.

I was interviewed and shared that I loved the idea of a guy just up and deciding to start his own country and following through with it so intensely. Unfortunately, I was never informed if our segment was actually aired. But I may very well have been on Japanese television!

Kalbarri

Kalbarri Coastal CliffsOur next destination was Kalbarri National Park Coastal Cliffs to take in some gorgeous view of the coastline. We ventured to the lookout points at Castle Cove and Natural Bridge.

The views were gorgeous, and I was reminded of how mighty the ocean is. We also saw ten kangaroos hopping about on the drive in, and fourteen more on the way out!

Our final stop of the day was to spend the night in Kalbarri, where I saw one of the best sunsets on the whole of the journey. The town didn’t have much to it, but it was a comfortable stay.

Kalbarri National ParkThe next morning, we journeyed to Kalbarri National Park. We were meant to take an epic hike and then optional abseil at the Z-Bend gorge, but sadly the road was closed.

Thankfully, we were still able to access part of the national park (I think only because we were part of a tour group). We had a fun photo shoot and walk around part of the loop trail at Nature’s Window. We spotted some fossilized sand ripples and scorpion tracks along the path.

Even though we missed part of the adventure, it was great to visit Kalbarri National Park and enjoy another bit of the naturally stunning Western Australia.

Shark Bay

StromatolitesNext we went to Shark Bay. The World Heritage Site is home to stromatolites at Hamelin Pool. They are colonies of microorganisms that are some of the oldest life forms on earth.

Shark Bay is one of a handful of places where you can observe modern stromatolites. They were really interesting formations. And it was crazy to think about how much history they house!

We then had a short stop at Shell Beach. The beach is aptly named, as the shore is absolutely covered with shells. Ironically, you cannot remove any of the shells, but there is a shell harvesting factory just down the coast where shells are collected for chicken feed.

Our final stop of day three was in the westernmost city in Australia, Denham. Truthfully, there’s not much to it other than it’s notable location.

Monkey Mia

Monkey MiaIn the morning we made our way to Monkey Mia to watch the bottlenose dolphin feeding. It was great! The dolphins are wild, but they know where to get a meal. Timings for the feedings change each day, as the dolphins come in as they please.

A few lucky people in the crowd are chosen to give the dolphins the final fish on each of the (up to) three feeding sessions. I definitely recommend wearing a noticeable shirt that is easy to describe. The volunteers will choose someone from the audience based on what they’re wearing. Sadly, I was not selected. But it was still a fun experience.

After the second feeding time, we stopped in Carnarvon to refuel and restock supplies. Carnarvon is home of the Casshorn antenna, which relayed the first live telecast—of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon—into Western Australia. There is also the Space and Technology Museum, but we didn’t have enough time to stop in.

Warroora

Warroora StationThe final stop of the day was Warroora Station. The sheep and cattle station was a lovely place to enjoy a quiet night in nature.

We had a quick swim and watched the sunset at the beach on the edge of the station. Then we ate a tasty dinner and enjoyed toasted marshmallows around the campfire.

Finally, we had a relaxing soak in the hot spring tubs nearby.

Coral Bay

Coral Bay Western AustraliaWe set off early the next morning to Coral Bay. The day was a free one to do as we pleased.

Coral Bay has lots of aquatic adventure options, including diving, kayaking, swimming with manta rays and a glass bottom boat ride. There are also a few restaurants and souvenir shops.

I chose to spend the day lounging on the beach. It was glorious. I simply relaxed, sunbathed and took a few quick dips in the ocean. Plus I indulged in a brekkie wrap and latte at Fin’s Café. It was a day well spent.

Exmouth

Exmouth Navy Pier Western AustraliaFinally, we arrived in Exmouth during the evening and had dinner at Cadilac’s Honky Tonk Bar & Grill. The next day we had free time in Exmouth and then had a final celebratory taco dinner. Overall it was a great trip.

I booked a few days stay in Exmouth, because there is quite a bit to do around the town. It is a tourist hub for access to the incredible Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area. The town is close to stunning beaches, spectacular parks and sensational ocean adventures. You can join a whale shark swim tour or have a lazy day on one of the beaches. Venture underwater at Navy Pier or one of the many other incredible dive sites along the Ningaloo.

Animals Spotted Between Perth and Exmouth

Dingo Western AustraliaWhile driving in Western Australia, keep an eye out for wildlife. There are lots of creatures to see along the way. But also be sure to watch for animals crossing the road, especially at dusk and dawn.

On our drive from Perth to Exmouth, we saw kangaroos, emus, wedge tail eagles, goats, sheep, a dingo and lots of colorful budgies. Western Australia really is a nature lover’s paradise.

Which stop in the tour would you be most keen to visit?

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