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.
Best time: June to September (to coincide with the wildflowers)
Pinnacles Desert at sunset
Morning: Perth to Nambung National Park
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 Pinnacles Discovery Centre to learn more about this lunar-like landscape.
Afternoon: Nambung National Park to Cervantes
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.
Caves at Stockyard Gully National Park
Morning: Cervantes to Jurien Bay
For panoramic views of native bushland set against Indian Ocean backdrops, make Molah Hill and Grigson’s Lookouts your first stops on the road north.
The panoramas are especially striking in spring, when the blooms of more than 900 wildflower species colour the landscape of Lesueur National Park.
On reaching Jurien Bay (just 25 minustes north of Cervantes), you can choose to spend the rest of your morning snorkelling the biodiverse Jurien Bay Marine Park.
Or, you can get a completely different perspective of the coral coast by skydiving out of a plane and onto the beach.
At Jurien Bay, jump aboard a sea lion charter to meet some of Australia’s rarest and most playful marine life.
Afternoon: Jurien Bay to Dongara
Head north towards Dongara-Denison, a 4WD detour leads you to Stockyard Gully National Park, where caving enthusiasts and curious beginners will find wonder, challenge and wildlife encounters.
If you're travelling by 2WD, enjoy an afternoon exploring Dongara. Grab a coffee under the fig trees of Moreton Terrace, discover the town’s charming heritage-listed buildings along the 1.6 kilometre walk trail and enjoy another fresh seafood feast for dinner.
Stay overnight in Dongara in your choice of hostel, motel, hotel or camping and caravan parks.
HMAS Sydney II Memorial, Geraldton
Morning: Dongara to Geraldton
On your way to the colonial port city of Geraldton, more of the region's past is revealed with a visit to the beautifully preserved Greenough Central Historic Settlement.
You can continue immersing yourself in the history and culture of the Batavia Shipwreck coast at the Geraldton Museum and its Aboriginal art gallery, before lunch on Geraldton's buzzing foreshore.
Afternoon: Abrolhos Islands
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.
Extend your stay by an extra day to join a fishing, diving or snorkelling charter, or book a short scenic flight to take in the islands and Batavia Coast.
Choose from Geraldton’s hotels, motels, self-contained houses and apartments, caravan parks and bed and breakfast accommodation for your overnight stay.
Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park
Morning: Geraldton to Kalbarri
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 dramatic coastal rock formations, 400-million-year-old river gorges and dazzling spring wildflower displays (July to October) in Kalbarri National Park.
If you’re visiting between June and November, watch for migrating humpback whales and their young calves making the journey to their feeding grounds in the Southern and Antarctic oceans.
From Kalbarri town, you can go river cruising, beach fishing, deep sea fishing, bushwalking, kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing, horse riding, or just take in the view from the park’s lookouts, including the iconic Nature’s Window.
Take your pick from a good selection of local tours, dining options and accommodation styles.
Wildflowers near Mullewa
Morning: Kalbarri to Perth
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 making a detour inland from Geraldton through the wildflower hotspots of Mullewa, Three Springs and Carnamah.
Important Travel Information
This itinerary is great all year round; however, wildflowers are in season from September to December.
Be Sun Smart. Always apply sunscreen (at least +15 SPF), wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and carry plenty of drinking water.
Surf and marine conditions can vary significantly, so always read safety signs and swim between the red and yellow lifesaving flags. Get more tips from the Beachsafe website.
All tours must be pre-booked via the tour operator or local visitor centre. Tours by boat are subject to weather conditions.
| Perth|| 5 days|| Perth & surrounds|
The Coral Coast
Perth to Nambung National Park
Nambung National Park to Cervantes
Cervantes to Jurien Bay
Jurien Bay to Dongara
Dongara to Geraldton
Geraldton to Kalbarri
Kalbarri to Perth
Find out more about
THE CORAL COAST
Visit the Coral Coast website for more itineraries and further information on things to see and do. Find Out More
Make the local Visitor Centre your first port of call as you travel around Western Australia.