See WA the right way by exploring the magical Coral Coast on your next adventure through the heartland of Western Australia’s Northwest. Spanning over 1,100 kilometres from Cervantes to Exmouth, this spectacular natural wonderland guarantees stunning panoramic ocean views, breathtaking gorges, incredible natural phenomena, and a rare insight into an array of native wildlife. Take your time to soak up Mother Nature as we run you through some of our favourite stops along the way on Western Australia’s iconic Coral Coast.
Start your journey up the coast by dropping by one of Australia’s most unique and otherworldly natural landscapes at the Pinnacles. Just outside the coastal town of Cervantes, entrenched deep in the Nambung National Park, this fascinating natural phenomenon was formed over 30,000 years ago after the sea receded, leaving behind remnants of deserted seashells. Over time, coastal ocean winds blew small sand particles over seashells slowly moulding together to form tall limestone spires. A 2-hour drive north of Perth, this magical place can be easily accessed via Indian Ocean Drive before turning right at the sign for the Pinnacles. Park up at the Pinnacles Discovery Centre car park and venture by foot through the scenic 1.5-kilometre Desert View Trail to uncover the secrets of this eerie anomaly.
The windsurfing capital of Australia and the only city to be found along the Coral Coast, this vibrant coastal playground plays host to some of WA’s most pristine sandy beaches, a sunburnt culture, and rich colourful history. With its laid-back coastal vibes, stylish cafes, an array of local bars, and vivacious local street art, Geraldton provides the perfect blend of mother nature and architectural expression. Immerse yourself in the tranquil waters at the Geraldton Foreshore or transcend into a tropical utopia at the picturesque Chapman Valley. Explore Australia’s equivalent of the Galapagos Islands at the awe-inspiring Abrolhos Islands or venture along the Yamaji Drive Trail to experience the art, history, and natural beauty of the local indigenous culture. A 4-and-a-half-hour drive north of Perth, Geraldton is the second stop on our Coral Coast adventure and one that’s sure not to disappoint.
On your travels from Geraldton to Kalbarri take a left at Northampton and travel up Port Gregory Road to Hutt Lagoon. This bizarre yet surreal radiant Pink Lake is one of the most extraordinary sights you will see on your journey along the Coral Coast. Hutt Lagoon’s striking pink hue is formed by the presence of algae residing in the lake. When exposed to sunlight, the algae excrete beta-carotene which blends with the extremely high levels of salinity to emit a vibrant pink colouration. Hutt Lagoon is best viewed with clear skies when the sun is shining from early morning through to the early afternoon. During the harsh West Australian summer this beautiful Pink Lake is susceptible to drought and may appear grey or silver when overcast. There are multiple lookout sites to snap the perfect panorama, or you can venture down the sandbanks and experience it firsthand.
Beat the heat by starting early with a visit to the illustrious Kalbarri National Park, one of the highlights of any Coral Coast adventure. Discover the rich history of the Murchison River and the formation of the park’s magnificent red and white banded ancient rock gorges, which stretch 80 kilometres out towards the Indian Ocean. Wander down the Loop Walk Trail to the iconic Nature’s Window and experience the dramatic views of the Murchison River and surrounding rock formations through the eyes of this natural wind-eroded paragon. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the notoriously shy, black-flanked rock wallaby, echidnas, kangaroos, and osprey on your journey through the towering gorges. Once you have the perfect panorama, head on back to the main car park and over to the brand-spanking new Kalbarri Skywalk. Suspended 100 metres above the gorge, this incredible mid-air viewing platform offers breathtaking views of the heart of the Murchison River Gorge. For those of us with an adventurous streak, the park is also great for abseiling, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. Take your time, you will need at least a day to experience it all.
Pop on over to the world heritage-listed Shark Bay to encounter natural phenomena in the form of Shell Beach; a beach made up entirely of shells, the world-famous wild dolphins cruising the turquoise shorelines of Money Mia, the radiant red cliffs of Francois Peron National Park or the prehistoric Stromatolites that line the shallow waters of Hamelin Pool. Explore local beaches and inlets with plenty of spots to fish, swim, or snorkel throughout the bay. Fire up the BBQ at the Denham Foreshore or magical Little Lagoon while soaking up the sun-filled rays and fresh ocean breeze. Dugongs, loggerhead turtles and migrating humpback whales are just some of many rare creatures you can encounter throughout this fascinating region.
After spending a few days sightseeing in Shark Bay and Money Mia, it’s time to head back up the coast and transcend into a world like no other. Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef stretching an astonishing 300 kilometres along the Coral Coast. This prominent reef system is home to over 500 species of fish and 250 species of coral. Considered one of the most diverse natural marine playgrounds in the world, Ningaloo Reef stands as one of the last great ocean paradises. During your time here, be sure to tick off the bucket list by swimming with some of the friendly local whale sharks, manta rays and migrating humpback whales. Swim, kayak, or snorkel through the incredible coral gardens in Coral Bay. Hike through the rugged canyons and towering gorges that occupy the Cape Range National Park and wander down to TripAdvisor’s number #1 rated beach in the South Pacific at the immaculate Turquoise Bay.