You might feel that it’s time for that epic Western Australia road trip you’ve always wanted to do but have no idea where to start. What about something different?
Why not look north for an inspiring once in a lifetime road trip through Western Australia’s Coral Coast, all the way up to the Pilbara region. Go off the beaten track to an outback and island adventure in Western Australia’s Pilbara and Coral Coast regions and discover a side of WA you never knew about.
As you make your way north of Perth, you’ll move into what is known as the famous Coral Coast. An area stretching along 1,100km of breathtaking coastline and includes the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and Cervantes. Australia's Coral Coast is home to stunning bays, fascinating wildlife and rugged landscapes.
You'll find some of the best known and most loved attractions in Australia from the Pinnacles, Kalbarri National Park and the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, to Monkey Mia and the mesmerising Ningaloo Reef, tied together by one world-class road trip starting with the Coral Coast Highway.
Geraldton is one of the cities along the beautiful coastline and is without a doubt one of Western Australia’s best kept holiday secrets. It is a city rich in natural wonders, history and iconic landmarks. Due to its layout, the area has a unique holiday feel to it, the foreshore is situated in the middle of the CBD which makes everything conveniently close and easy to explore.
The foreshore forms a long pathway along the beach with cafés, shops and picnic areas providing the perfect location to enjoy a cuppa. It also boasts some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see and has an incredible vibe of activity as late afternoon strollers make their way along the stretch of beaches.
The foreshore also consists of several play areas for kids an even has a water playground for them to enjoy. Keep your eyes out for the natural wonders in the area with sealions and dolphins often spotted close to shore.
Along the same walkway you’ll find landmarks with information around the rich cultural heritage of the area, along with the Geraldton Museum and harbor. The area is also good for fishing, snorkeling and other more extreme water sports like Stand Up Paddleboarding and Jet skiing.
Accommodation is close and conveniently situated with the award winning The Gerald Apartment Hotel. This is a boutique style hotel with some of the best restaurants and bars in the city. It provides accommodation for various needs and can cater for short or long stays in either double rooms or apartments more suited for larger groups.
The hotel has partnered with multiple other Geraldton businesses to provide guests with the ultimate Geraldton experience - giving them a discounted rate when visiting certain tourist attractions.
Finally, the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, more commonly referred to as the Abrolhos Islands, and their surrounding coral reef communities form one of Western Australia's most unique marine areas. The Islands lie about 60 kilometres west of Geraldton and consist of 122 islands clustered into three main groups.
For more information about Geraldton please visit www.australiascoralcoast.com, www.visitgeraldton.com.au or book accommodation at www.thegerald.com.au
From Geraldton you can make your way to the next main stop on your itinerary, the Karijini National Park which is 1200km away when driving via the Coral Coast Highway. Make time for stop overs at Kalbarri National Park, Shark Bay, Monkey Mia and the Ningaloo Reef.
Take your time before reaching the spectacular Karijini Eco Retreat - the retreat features unique, quality eco tents and cabins, a campground and an outback style restaurant and bar. One of Australia’s leading eco-tourism attractions and proudly 100% Aboriginal owned, the Retreat is designed with the environment in mind and provides access to the park’s walks and guided adventure tours.
Explore a wonderland of ancient natural landscapes formed more than two billion years ago, with deep gorges, sheer cliffs, towering waterfalls, sparkling swimming holes and rocky, tree-lined watercourses, home to a variety of wildflowers and native wildlife. A short walk trail leads directly from the Karijini Eco Retreat into the breathtaking Joffre Gorge, known for its stunning curved waterfall inside a natural amphitheatre, flowing for part of the year after rainfalls.
Whether you are camping or glamping, Karijini Eco Retreat offers the perfect blend of creature comforts, genuine mateship and friendly hospitality.
From Karijini, drive west to the coast, passing red earth, bushland and mountain ranges, and discover the quaint coastal outback town of Onslow. Stay at the Onslow Beach Resort overlooking a unique red sand beach and the deep blue Indian Ocean. The resort offers relaxed sophistication and a refreshing welcome, with stylish, modern self-contained suites and a restaurant and bar right on the beachfront. Resort facilities include free Wi-Fi, an outdoor swimming pool, barbeques, gym, paddle board hire, tour desk and parking.
One of the only places in WA that you can see both a sunrise and sunset over the ocean, plus the Staircase to the Moon natural phenomenon, Onslow is dotted with giant termite mounds, white salt lakes and plenty of history. Explore the old town ruins, the Anzac Memorial, the Goods Shed Museum and Australia’s biggest shell collection at the Neil and Judy Baker Shell Museum.
Lying a short 45 minute hop by ferry off the coast of Onslow, the Mackerel Islands conjure up memories of simpler times, sandy feet and sunshine. The accommodation comprises of spacious beachfront cabins stretched along the main bay, each featuring a kitchen, lounge and dining area, plus an alfresco patio with a barbeque, table, chairs and a hammock, perfect for relaxing, reading a good book and watching the ocean.
A range of tours and activities is available, including fishing, snorkelling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, boat hire, 4WD bus trips and Dinner Under The Stars events.
The marine wildlife is nothing short of amazing, with sea turtles, dolphins, dugongs, stingrays, wobbegongs, crayfish, gropers, colourful tropical fish and beautiful coral formations. Whales visit the islands during their migration and calving season in July and August and are a magnificent sight. Bird watching is also a popular activity, and at night you’ll see the sky light up with millions of stars.
To find out more or book, visit www.karijiniecoretreat.com.au, www.onslowbeachresort.com.au and www.mackerelislands.com.au