The route from Perth to Exmouth is nearly 3800km roundtrip, passing by stunning national parks, pristine beaches, fantastic wildlife, beautiful sunsets and the chance to snorkel one of the best coral reefs in the world.
Western Australia is the largest state in Australia but comprises just 10% of the population. Just 2.5 million people live in WA of which 2 million are in Perth alone. That makes the massive outback here empty, vast and magnificent.
Guide to Roadtripping Perth to Exmouth
Unless you have your own wheels, getting around and roadtripping Western Australia is pretty much impossible. I highly recommend researching a tour that hits all the highlights you are keen on seeing.
I spent 8 days on the road with Red Earth Safaris, a locally-owned company that only does this tour - so they know what they're talking about! The days are well spaced and you see everything there is to see of importance and beauty along the way.
NOTE: my entire trip saw temperatures of at least 36 degrees, with days reaching 42. Bring plenty of water as there will be spots along the way where the water isn't safe to consume and wear lots of sunscreen of at least 50 SPF. It has been the hottest January on record (2019).
Yanchep National Park
Here you can spot herds of wild kangaroos plus the eight koalas that call this sanctuary home, most often found snoozing up in the eucalyptus trees.
Perhaps most famous for the massive hills of pure white sand left behind from when oceans used to rule this land, sand boarding is a popular sport to try out in Lancelin.
We stayed the night in the quaint little town of Cervantes, home to a few convenience stores and a restaurant. The biggest industry here is crayfish (Australian lobster) but the biggest draw for us was Thirsty Point beach.
Pinnacles at Nambung National Park
The best stop of the day was at the breathtaking Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. As far as the eye could see, incredible pinnacles burst out of the sand. According to scientists, they are the solidified casting of lime and sand that wrapped around the forest that used to stand here. Absolutely incredible, especially at sunset.
Greenough Wildlife Park
The following morning, our first stop was to visit all the rescued animals at the sweet Greenough Wildlife Park, a completely non-profit rescue centre run by two ladies who don't receive government funding but care for all these beautiful creatures. We got to feed all the animals (except the crocodile!) and honestly, feeding the kangaroos was an Australia highlight.
Just outside the tiny town of Gregory is a stunning pink lake made of natural keratin and salt. The water crystals sparkle and its warm to crunch on!
Kalbarri National Park Cliffs
500,000 acres of stunning natural terrain make up Kalbarri National Park. We spent the afternoon walking the trails along the vast cliff tops that reminded me a lot of the Great Ocean Road. Wind and water has exposed the sandstone cliffs forming natural bridges and apostle-like structures.
Kalbarri National Park Z Bend
We started the following morning at 6:30am hiking through the gorges of Kalbarri. You have to start early to beat the heat - it can get up to fifty degrees in the park! We hiked to see Nature's Window where we spotted wild goats before trekking the 3km loop down through the canyon to the trickling stream running in the base of the gorge.
Further up, one of the most incredible beaches I have ever been to is nestled in the fingers of Shark Bay. 1.2 km of pure white shells make up this stunning place which is so salty you can just float along buoyantly in the clearest and warmest water around!
Monkey Mia Dolphins
Our final stop on the third day was at Monkey Mia, famous for its resident wild dolphins that will come all the way up to the beach to swim and dance in the waves! The following morning, we joined in to watch the feedings at the beach starting at 7:45am where four of the dolphins will receive less than 10% of their daily feed. It's a surreal experience. The dolphins here can live to their mid-forties!
One of the main reasons why Shark Bay is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site is because it protects the incredible stromatolite population here, one of the two largest left in the world (the other being in the Bahamas). Stromatolites are the oldest living creatures in the world - up to 3.5 billion years old. If they had never begun producing oxygen, no other life would have formed. It's a humbling experience to visit them.
We ended our fourth day on a remote farm stretching 260,000 acres. Warroora Farm is a family-owned business with a couple thousand cattle, some chickens and stunning, untouched coastline with strong waves, wild kangaroos and yellow crabs. The best part? The fact that the extreme lack of humans and light population produced a fantastic star-filled night sky.
Coral Bay on Ningaloo Reef
The group got up early the next day to head to the little town of Coral Bay to explore the incredible Ningaloo Reef. Rivaling the Great Barrier Reef in natural beauty, the Ningaloo Reef is alive and thriving with up to 200 species of fish along its nearly 260km of coral. Snorkeling or touring the reef is a breathtaking way to experience this special place.
Set up just fifty years ago as a US Navy Base in the Cold War, Exmouth is a small town which is perfect for exploring the Ningaloo Reef from. The nearby discovery centre is well worth a visit. From Exmouth, Turquoise Bay, recently voted the #1 beach in Australia (2018) thanks to its pristine coral and hundreds of fish, turtle and reef sharks to see, is just under an hour's drive away and is one of the best snorkel spots on the entire coast.
Cape Range National Park
Home to a famous lighthouse used in World War 2, you can still see remnants of the Japanese sandbags that have solidified around the base! From the lighthouse in Cape Range, you can also have a panoramic view of the most westerly point in Australia!
DAY 7 & 8
On our last two days, we hit the road back towards Perth and, with stops only for food and the toilet, covered almost 1300km back home. Red Earth Safaris is a fantastic company to travel with thanks to small group sizes allowing you to bond with the other incredible travelers on the road and have a really unique experience. The company only runs this tour so they seriously know what they're talking about and are keen to give you the best possible experience of WA.