The seaside town Cervantes is the first stop on the Coral Coast. It’s an hour and a half’s drive from Perth and has near-empty white sand beaches, fresh lobster and the brilliant Pinnacles half an hour away, a geological site of quirky rocks in the sand.
Stop between Cervantes and Kalbarri at Geraldton for hip cafés, one of Western Australia’s best museums on local history and islands surrounded by dolphins and sea lions to explore. Nearby Coalseam Conservation Park is one of the best places to see some of the brilliant natural displays that pop up during the wildflower season, which runs from June and July and lasts around six months around the state.
Kalbarri, Shark Bay & Monkey Mia
Kalbarri and Shark Bay are two of the most popular stops in the Coral Coast. In the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, head to the clifftop lookout at Eagle Bluff and view the Hamelin Pool stromatolites. Go hiking or canoeing in Kalbarri National Park and walk to vantage points like Natural Bridge where you could be lucky enough to spot humpback whales between June and November, or drive south to see the sherbet pink Hutt Lagoon. At Monkey Mia, friendly bottlenose dolphins visit the shoreline almost daily.
Coral Bay & Ningaloo Reef
The small town of Coral Bay is the gateway to the beautiful protected marine site of Ningaloo Reef. This one of the few places on earth where you can walk straight from the shoreline to the reef. The fringing reef is a 160 mile barrier protecting a shallow lagoon of clear tropical waters, home to more than 200 species of coral and over 500 types of fish, as well as whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. Snorkel in the clear waters, or swim with majestic whale sharks. On land, visit Cape Range National Park and relax on the white sands at Turquoise Bay.