Where yellow moonscapes, ancient red gorges and wildflower blooms meet Indian Ocean blues.
Take a colour-filled road trip along Indian Ocean Drive, from one of Australia’s most unique landscapes, the Pinnacles Desert, to the ultimate outback coast adventure playground in the ancient gorges of Kalbarri National Park.
Duration: 5 to 7 days
Distance: 1,168 kilometres
- Pinnacles Desert
- Leseuer National Park
- Jurien Bay Marine Park
- Abrolhos Islands
- Kalbarri National Park
Best time: All year round
Perth to Cervantes
Total distance: 200 kilometres
Heading north from Perth on Wanneroo Road, the Indian Ocean Drive begins in the all-action windsurfing and sandboarding town of Lancelin and leads you direct to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park.
The road into the Pinnacles Desert is sealed.
Follow the drive trail or walking track, weaving through thousands of golden limestone spires formed over millions of years, then head to the Discovery Centre to learn more about these lunar-like formations.
For more other-worldly experiences, continue to Lake Thetis (located off Hansen Bay Road) to marvel at the stromatolites and strombalites – some of the oldest living fossils on Earth.
On reaching the crayfishing town of Cervantes, take a relaxing dip at Hangover Bay or Thirsty Point, and an informative tour of the town’s rock lobster factory.
Feast on the catch of the day at local restaurants and cafes, and select your accommodation, from hostels and motels to holiday cottages, camping and caravan parks.
Cervantes to Jurien Bay and Dongara
Total distance: 158 kilometres
Make Molah Hill and Grigson’s Lookouts your first stop on the road north to take in panoramic views of native bushlands set against Indian Ocean backdrops.
It’s especially dazzling in spring, when Lesueur National Park is filled with the blooms of more than 900 wildflower species.
At Jurien Bay, jump aboard a sea lion charter to meet some of Australia’s rarest and most playful marine life.
Skydive out of a plane and onto the beach. Or dive and snorkel the biodiverse Jurien Bay Marine Park.
Caving enthusiasts and curious beginners will find wonder, challenge and wildlife exploring the caves of Stockyard Gully National Park, accessible only by 4WD.
Enjoy another fresh seafood feast and stay overnight in Jurien Bay or the historic twin-town of Dongara-Denison.
Search for local tours.
Grab a morning coffee under the fig trees of Dongara’s Moreton Terrace and discover the town’s charming heritage-listed buildings along the 1.6 kilometre walk trail.
Dongara to Geraldton
Total distance: 66 kilometres
More of the region’s history is revealed at the beautifully preserved Greenough Central Historic Settlement, as well as in the grand colonial architecture of Geraldton and on the Batavia Shipwreck coast.
Perfect wind and swell conditions make Geraldton Australia’s windsurfing capital, and the 122 coral-fringed Abrolhos Islands offer the ideal playground for indulging in water sports on a fishing, diving or snorkelling charter.
Scenic flights over the islands and Batavia Coast are also available.
Visit the Geraldton Museum and its Aboriginal art gallery, enjoy a picnic or dine-in dinner on Geraldton’s buzzing foreshore, or take in panoramic Indian Ocean sunset views from the HMAS Sydney II Memorial.
Search for Geraldton tours and select from overnight options including hotels, motels and self-contained houses and apartments, through to caravan parks and bed and breakfast accommodation.
Geraldton to Kalbarri
Total distance: 155 kilometres
The Indian Ocean Drive ends in Geraldton, but your coastal adventure continues.
Head north on the North West Coastal Highway, turning onto Port Gregory Road/George Grey Drive to explore 400-million-year-old river gorges, dramatic coastal rock formations and dazzling spring wildflower displays (July to October) in Kalbarri National Park.
From the town, go river cruising, beach fishing, deep sea fishing, bushwalking, kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing, horse riding, or just take in the view from the park lookouts, including the iconic Nature’s Window.
Take your pick from a good selection of local tours, dining options and accommodation styles.
Kalbarri to Perth
Total distance: 589 kilometres
The Brand Highway (Route 1) will get you back to Perth in six and a half hours.
But if you’re visiting between the months of July and October, consider heading inland to the wildflower hotspots of Mullewa, Three Springs and Carnamah.
If you’re keen to extend your coastal road trip, continue north to the World Heritage listed wonders of Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef.