14- day Itinerary including Karijini National Park
Day 1: Perth to Cervantes – 200 kms (2.5 hours)
On the way to Cervantes, stop at Yanchep National Park. This is a great place for the kids, offering a koala viewing area, caves and an aborigingal experience.
Cervantes is well-known for its Pinnacles Desert. You can learn all about those strange structures at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre. Just a kilometre from the town centre lies Lake Thetis, where you can observe stromatolites, most commonly known as “living fossils”. Those have been dated to about 3370 years old! Further North of Cervantes, you will find Sandy Cape, a nice little spot where you swim and watch the sunset. If you have a 4WD and Camper trailer package, you can choose to stay at Sandy Cape, otherwise stay at the RAC Cervantes caravan park if you have a 4WD and caravan package.
Day 2: Cervantes to Kalbarri
Kalbarri is a popular stop over for people on their way to Shark Bay or Monkey Mia. There are many natural attractions to visit such as Natures Window and the Z-Bend Lookout located in Kalbarri National Park. You can also go whale watching as the humpback whale migration happens between May and August. Stay at the Kalbarri caravan park.
Day 3: Non-travel day
Day 4: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia – 397 kms (5 hours)
If you want to break up the drive, Hamelin Pool has a museum and boardwalk over the stromatolites. Interesting history and the tea rooms do meals and a fantastic Devonshire Tea. Camping could be in either Denham Township or Monkey Mia.
Day 5: Non-travel day
Monkey Mia is world-famous for its dolphins. A group of wild bottlenose dolphins come to the shore nearly everyday to be fed by humans. South of Monkey Mia, you will find Denham and Francois Peron National Park. This National Park offers diverse experiences, including four-wheel-driving. 50 minutes away from Monkey Mia, you will arrive at Shell Beach, where shells replace the beach sand and stretches over 100 kilometres!
Day 6: Monkey Mia to Coral Bay – 580 kms(7 hours)
In contrast to other locations, the coral reef starts right at the water’s edge. Coral Bay is a very popular holiday destination for Western Australians. It is recommended to book well in advance when travelling during school holidays. This place is a marine paradise where visitors have plenty of activities to choose from: snorkeling, fishing, swimming with whale sharks…You can even visit the reef shark nursery between October and March, which is only a 20 minutes walk from Main Beach. Stay at the Coral Bay caravan park.
Day 7: Non-travel day
Enjoy the day swimming and exploring.
Day 8: Coral Bay to Exmouth/ Cape Range National Park
The Ningaloo reef is a long coral reef swarms with turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, humpback whales and even whale sharks. No wonder that Ningaloo Reef is listed as a World Heritage Place! Whether you like snorkeling, diving or swimming, you will not be disappointed! Cape Range National Park supports a range of unique wildlife habitats from existing ocean reef to ancient reef, rugged limestone, gorges and cave systems. Throughout the park, there are ample opportunities to view wildlife. You can camp within Cape Range National Park, or in one of the caravan parks in the area. Yardie Homestead Caravan Park also seems to offer good facilities.
Day 9: Non-travel day
Day 10: Exmouth/ Cape Range National Park to Karijini – 674 kms (8.5 hours)
One of the big attraction of Karijini National Park is its accessibility. Simply walk 50 metres and peer straight into a deep gorge to see waterfalls and rock pools below. There are many walk trails available to further explore the gorges. Karijini’s main highlights are Fortescue Falls, Circular Pool and Fern Pool. Stay at the Karijini Eco Retreat if you have a 4WD and Safari Camper package or stay at Dales Campsite if you have a 4WD and caravan package.
Day 11: Non-travel day
Day 12: Non-travel day
Day 13: Karijini to Mount Magnet or Paynes Find – 376 kms (4.5 hours)
A long drive. Get an early start and see how far you get. At the very least you should get to Mount Magnet, but if you can get to Paynes Find or further it will make the last day a lot easier.
Day 14: Drive back to Perth (5-6 hours)
Travel times are estimated based on an average speed of 80km p/h. While the maximum legal speed while towing is 100km p/h, the travel times indicated should allow for delays due to road works, traffic and fuel/ food / bathroom stops.
Travel times and distances are approximate and we recommend using as a guide only along with a published map book or GPS navigational system.
The trip can be done in the reverse direction, however we find that doing the coast first is beneficial in case it becomes too windy. If it’s too windy, you can head inland to Karijini earlier than expected where it is more protected. If you do Karijini first you don’t have anywhere new to go to get away from the wind.
Images: Courtesy of Tourism Western Australia