Australia's Coral Coast Self-Drive
This itinerary takes in the best of Western Australia’s epic natural attractions. As you make your way from Perth, you’ll look down over rugged gorges and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, meet wild dolphins, chill out on the softest sand and – if you come at the right time – maybe even swim next to a whale shark.
About this independent tour
SUGGESTED SELF-DRIVE ROUTE
11-night Perth to Cervantes
- Perth 2 nights
- Geraldton 1 night
- Carnarvon 1 night
- Exmouth 2 nights
- Monkey Mia 2 nights
- Kalbarri 2 nights
- Cervantes 1 night
NINGALOO REEF Ningaloo Reef is like an episode of Blue Planet. Its rugged coast makes you feel like an intrepid marine explorer. The fringing reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest in the world at over 150 miles long – makes a splendid home for turtles, manta rays, dugong and countless tropical fish. It’s also a favourite annual retreat for friendly humpback whales and whale sharks who, thankfully, prefer plankton. Swimming alongside either of these gentle giants is an otherworldly experience; plan a trip from Exmouth or Coral Bay between April and July to get close to whale sharks, or head out between July and October to see humpback whales. It’s worth nothing that there are measures in place to ensure the safety of wildlife, such as a 30-metre limit when swimming close to humpbacks, so it’s an amazing experience that’s wildlife-friendly, too. There are gorgeous beaches to stop by, like Turquoise Beach and its translucent waters, and lodgings that makes the most of the Ningaloo Reef like luxe beach camp, Sal Salis. Best of all, Ningaloo Reef is one of just a handful of places where you can reach the reef straight from the beach.
MONKEY MIA & SHARK BAY To the backdrop of burnt red sand on a Coral Coast peninsula, people wait by the water every morning to greet the daily visitors Monkey Mia is famous for – wild bottlenose dolphins. Watch as they slip through the water to the shore, or head out on a cruise to see more wild dolphins as well as manta rays, sharks and sea turtles. Just south of the dolphin hangout, this itinerary's second UNESCO World Heritage Site is Shark Bay. These peninsulas and its surrounding islands and waters are a sanctuary for vulnerable and endangered wildlife including dugong, green and loggerhead turtles and over 28 shark species. At Hamelin Pool, there's a boardwalk for a close-up look at one of the oldest records of living organisms on earth – stromatolites.
KALBARRI NATIONAL PARK Discover a different side to nature at Kalbarri National Park, where scorched red rock formations tower over green-tinged streams. Getting back to nature has never been so easy and you can tackle the terrain however you like, whether you prefer river cruising, horse riding, kayaking or hiking. Pack a picnic for the epic viewpoints like The Loop, Z Bend and Nature’s Window – hikes around Kalbarri’s inland gorges generally require a good level of fitness and can be challenging with some scrambling or ladder climbs involved, but the views are worth the effort. Coastal walks show off the jawdropping sea views against the craggy cliffs, and are great for whale watching between June and November.
Tailor your tour
This itinerary is completely flexible, so you can choose your own number of nights and accommodation, add excursions and extend your holiday. Just ask one of our Personal Travel Experts to help.