Do you want to go gorge hiking, drift snorkelling, off-roading and turtle-watching all in the same day? There’s not many places where you can, but you can definitely do it in an Exmouth Loop via Kalbarri.
Look forward to fresh, positive vibes alongside nature because as you drive along the coast, you hear the sound of thundering waves crashing against the rocks, the smell of seawater lingering in the air, seagulls squawking when food is spotted and loud, freeing music blaring on the speakers.
Where are you going?
To see the real world! As you go on a road trip, you feel the wonderful experience of going off the beaten path and actually see communities and natural wonders, far from being on a train track or looking at views from 35,000 feet up in the air. Breathing in nature is a great way to relax and find yourself, with peace and serenity dwelling inside you.
The farmers’ markets, local events, and national parks are yours to explore!
Off you go!
Before you start your road trip, make sure you have your snacks ready, a couple of bathers with you, some waterproof sunscreen, and awesome tunes because this road trip is packed with a lot of seawater, a good dose of Vitamin Sea and plenty of opportunities to practice that high note!
Leg 1: Perth to Geraldton (~415 km)
Arrive at Crikey Camper Hire and get a thorough run-through of your luxury caravans or camper trailers you book with us. Make sure you speak your mind and don’t be afraid to ask the team if you have any questions!
Start your drive towards Geraldton and head over to Big 4 Sunset Beach Holiday Park, just right on the waterfront! If time permits, explore the town and check out their various museums, lighthouses and the town beach. As the sun lowers into the horizon, bask in the sunset as it is a pretty magical place to watch the sun go down. The place isn’t called ‘Big 4 Sunset’ for no reason! After your first magical sunset, out of many on this exciting trip, get tucked in pretty early because if the sunset is good, then you wouldn’t want to miss the sunrise.
Leg 2: Geraldton to Shark Bay (~337 km)
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for, the drive towards the ocean! Head west towards Shark Bay, one of the world’s most significant and secure stronghold, famous for the protection of around 11,000 Dugongs and the increasing numbers of Humpback Whales and Southern Right Whales using Shark Bay as a migratory staging port. You must’ve heard of its famous population of Bottlenose Dolphins living in the bay as well!
Take your bathers and waterproof sunscreen because your first stop is Shell Beach, a beautiful, breathtaking snow-white beach made up of billions and billions of tiny little shells, up to 10 metres deep and stretching as far as the eye can see for over 70 kilometres. No sand, just shells! Floating has never been easier because the water is hypersaline which translates to being extremely salty. Swim to your heart’s content because your next adventure is checking out the town.
Head over to Denham Seaside Caravan Park and enjoy its absolute water frontage and panoramic ocean views that boasts one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Enjoy a cold beer or take a nice, calm stroll along the beach as you watch the sun go down. That’s the second sunset done!
Leg 3: Shark Bay
Bring plenty of water because you are going, EVERYWHERE! First up is once again, Shell Beach. If you haven’t had your fill of tiny, baby shells, visit Shell Beach once again, don’t worry we won’t judge! We love playing with billions of shells and take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Make sure to leave enough time to explore the rest because your next stop is Monkey Mia, famous for a wild dolphin experience, surrounded by rusty red sand suns, pristine white sandy beaches, and water wildlife! Take a little break from all the water because exploring the area’s natural and cultural history along the Wulyibidi Yaninyina trail is just as good. Go inwards and walk over dunes and along the beach on a 1.5 kilometres loop walk and spot the amazing varieties of birds that are most active just after sunrise, or just before sunset.
To confuse you even more with, ‘Where should I watch the sunset?’, head over to Eagle Bluff just south of Denham, featuring spectacular high cliffs that overlook the Denham Sound. This is a 400 metre boardwalk, high above shallow coastal waters where you can enjoy amazing views and spot wildlife such as ospreys, dugongs, dolphins, sharks and rays.
Get excited about some lovely, calm water because Little Lagoon is the next on your list! The magnificent stretch of calm water is perfect for swimming, fishing, and frolicking in these clear shallow waters. If you want to see more of this clear, natural pool, this time head over to Big Lagoon, with its breathtaking turquoise lagoon, it is an excellent spot to explore by canoe or sea kayak.
After a calming, peaceful day, your adrenaline will spin through you as you check out Steep Point, the most westerly point of the Australian mainland! Just as the feeling of the beaches are a stark contrast to the adrenaline at Steep Point, so is the red dunes and white beaches to the dominating limestone and the impressive 200 metre Zuytdorp Cliffs that stretch from Kalbarri in an unbroken wall of over 180 kilometres until the secluded False Entrance beach.
Leg 4: Shark Bay to Coral Bay (~486 km)
Get up early and watch the sunrise at Shark Bay, as the orange and pink clouds hover above your head as the sun starts to rise. Head over to Coral Bay for an unforgettable experience with the water wildlife.
Your first stop is Bill’s Bay, a wonderful relaxing seaside holiday ambience with its pristine white beaches and protected waters, just located in the tiny town of Coral Bay, providing easy access to the world-famous Ningaloo Reef. Snorkel and revel in the rich marine life just off the shore. You can either dive or snorkel off the beach or visit the deeper parts of the water to watch the dugongs, manta rays, and the captivating whale sharks. You can also take a boat tour if you visit between June and October to personally witness the amazing sight of migrating humpback whales.
When you’re done for the day, head over to Ningaloo Coral Bay – Bayview with the Australian outback and the World Heritage Ningaloo Reef on their doorstep. There you will find snorkelling gears available to buy or hire and you can take a boat tour booking in their Boat office.
Leg 5: Coral Bay to Exmouth (~152 km)
Before leaving Coral Bay, head over to Bill’s Bay once again and go for a sweet sunrise walk. If you fancy, spend all morning snorkelling from the start of Bill’s Bay and let the current surprise you and take you to unexpected parts of the bay. Who knows, you might find something cool!
Once you’ve snorkelled, make the small trek to Exmouth and arrive at Ningaloo Caravan and Holiday Resort, which is not just your typical resort. Located in Exmouth town, its simple sophistication and laid-back holiday vibes allow you to relax around the pool, enjoy some onsite dining experience, or stroll around the town and grab some pizza and beer. Rest early because the next day you will be exploring Exmouth throughout the day and you’re going to need as much energy as you can!
Leg 6: Exmouth
Start your day with a morning snorkel around the reef at Oyster Stacks, which has five isolated islets that protrude from the reef and are literally covered with oysters! Snorkel from shore and explore the shallow, colourful coral gardens, and bask in the abundance of fish and diverse invertebrates. Keep an eye out because you might spot some turtles and sharks cruising by!
If you want to see more of that, head over to Turquoise Bay for some rich diversity of coral, fish, and other marines, a perfect spot to spend the morning relaxing, swimming, and snorkelling. The white sandy shores give way to clear waters, which harbours an abundance of beautiful marine life.
This is where you get to swim with the whale sharks! Head over to Whale Shark Boat charter and go on a tour for one of the very best and unforgettable experiences in a lifetime. This breathtaking experience comes with finding you a whale shark to swim with and not only that, but you also get to experience what makes Ningaloo so special, including manta rays, dolphins, dugongs, turtles, a spectacular display of colourful corals and all shapes and sizes of amazing fish life!
Check out Mildura Wreck and have an interesting read of what happened. Without this wreck, your next destination, Vlamingh Head Lighthouse would not exist! The wreck is very close to shore, ranging around 80 m to the sea, this is a short and interesting visit to one of the rare historical events in the development of the remote region. The wreck is best seen on air in one of the scenic flights offered in town.
Head over to Vlamingh Head Lighthouse and bask in the breathtaking views of the Northwest Cape as you drive up to the lighthouse. Watch the sun go down on the top of the hill and look towards the horizon for spectacular panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Ningaloo Reef.
At the end of the day, have a relaxing night and treat yourself around town to celebrate the unforgettable, exciting experience you just had!
Leg 7: Exmouth
Start the day early and go for a hike in Cape Range National Park through the rocky gorges, with the rugged limestone range and arid coastal plain of Cape Range adjoining the pristine waters of Ningaloo Marine Park. The place boasts spectacular contrasting scenery, so don’t forget to bring your bathers and snorkelling gears! Cape Range is rich and diverse in an array of Australian wildlife, and that include kangaroos, emus, echidnas, birds, and black-flanked rock wallabies.
After hiking, there are activities for all abilities from universal access walk trails to wildlife viewing, beachcombing, swimming, snorkelling, beach fishing and more!
Now, head over to Charles Knife Canyon and go up the winding road to the top of the range, offering spectacular views of the rugged terrain overlooking Cape Range and the water of Exmouth Gulf. You can go on the walking trail, Badjirrajirra Walk, from the Thomas Carter Lookout which will is a 6 km return walk and will take approximately 3 hours. It is a moderately difficult loop, traversing to the top of Cape Range and along the way, the trail winds its way through rocky gullies, some small gorges, and open spinifex bushland.
Head back to town and savour your last few moments in Exmouth this vacation because tomorrow you will be heading to Carnarvon!
Leg 8: Exmouth to Carnarvon (~365 km)
Head over to Gascoyne Growers’ Markets or known as the “salad bowl of WA”, as the town centre of Carnarvon comes alive with a diverse range of fruit and vegetables, lush tropical fruits, eggs and seafood! This only occurs every Saturday morning from May to October so when you have the opportunity to come to this exhilarating experience, take advantage of it as it’s sure to be one of the luckiest coincidences!
Head over to Carnarvon’s newest and highly-rated tourist attraction, the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum which celebrates the little-known history of Carnarvon’s role in the manned space program and the Australian communications industry. The museum is great fun for the whole family, showcasing interactive displays to educate and entertain all ages.
At the end of the day head over to Coral Coast Tourist Park, the most convenient location for holiday accommodation when visiting Carnarvon, conveniently located within easy reach of the Townsville city centre. Tuck in snuggly because the next day towards Kalbarri is going to be a fun, adventurous day!
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Leg 9: Carnarvon to Kalbarri (~442 km)
Head over to Red Bluff, with the dramatic coastal cliffs offering amazing, spectacular views over the Indian Ocean. This spot is most ideal to see humpback whales on their annual migration along the Kalbarri coastline. Not only that but you’ll be also amazed by the landscape this place offers, with delicate threads of red rock that looks like tears frozen in time, it is believed to be 400 million years old!
Now head over to Jacques/Jakes Point, a popular surfing beach in Kalbarri, giving you a perfect left-hand surf break along with the point. With easy access to the water from the coastal cliff rock platforms, the spectators are given a great vantage point from the water’s edge and white sandy beach. Explore the beach coastline and keep an eye out for the bottlenose dolphins that are frequently seen playing in the water off the shore.
Head over to Kalbarri Anchorage Caravan Park, nestled on the banks of the Murchison River at the centre of town, and watch the sunset over the river. Take an early night in because the next day, you are heading out to explore what Kalbarri has to offer!
Leg 10: Kalbarri
Wake up before sunrise and head over to Natures Window to watch the sunrise, an unmissable sunrise beamed through the canyon and the red dirt surroundings lit up in an array of beautiful reds, and oranges and browns! This iconic attraction of wind-eroded opening, layered in sandstone that frames a view of the river. This is a moderate, 1 km return walk that begins with a flight of stairs from the lookout carpark.
More lookouts ahead as you head over to Kalbarri Skywalk! Perched right on the cliff-top, there are two 100-m-high lookouts projecting 25 and 17 metres beyond the rim of the Murchison Gorge. Visitors can venture out on to the skywalks and bask in the incredible views of a spectacular gorge and surrounding environment.
Head over to the Z Bend Lookout and admire the spectacular display of the tight bends on Murchison River which is carved into the Tumblagooda Sandstone gorge. For a more adventurous hike, you can do the Z Bend River Trail, and take an hour-long hike to embark on the trek down into the gorge, winding through the boulders and the river red gums to reach the Murchison River. This first-hand experience allows you to climb over boulders, through passages, and down ladders, and make sure to keep an eye out for the various species of wildflowers of orchids and flowering natives. If the season is perfect, allow yourself to have a swim and cool off in the waters of the Murchison River, or walk along the rock edge and enjoy the calm, peaceful surroundings.
For a more relaxing rest after your hike, head over to Blue Holes, renowned for their exceptional snorkelling with its protected waters and rock pools make the place a natural aquarium for marine life and a safe environment to splash around! The beach is fairly isolated with a nice sandy area, and there is a huge number of fish species in a concentrated area.
As dusk comes near, bask in the sun, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of hearing the small splash of the ocean waves. Reflect on your trip and think of all the great memories you just had because before you know it, you are once again planning for your next memorable adventure!
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Leg 11: Kalbarri to Perth (~570 km)
Pack your bags because now it’s time to go back. But before you do that, as a one last hurray, head over to Hutt Lagoon, and bask in all the bright pinks and browns. Such a dreamlike lake draws visitors, near and far, and astounds onlookers with their vivid pink waters.
Hit the highway towards the south and feel the buzzing excitement and inspiration from this trip! We hope you keep these adventures close to your hearts and look forward to more adventures to come. Cheers!