WEST IS BEST: THE ULTIMATE WESTERN AUSTRALIA ITINERARY

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I was left speechless by the ever changing landscapes and abundance of wildlife during our 4 week and 8,000km camper van road trip around Western Australia. From the pristine white sandy beaches with the most turquoise of oceans to the contrasting rugged orange desert tracks, WA’s landscape will blow your mind. And if that is not enough, the wildlife will leave you in awe too. Visualise 3m wide female manta rays gliding majestically through the ocean, green and hawksbill turtles nesting under the light of the full moon as well as the native Aussie kangaroo hoping over to you whilst sat on the beach.

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Cape Peron, Francois Peron National Park
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Karijini National Park
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Hutt Lagoon
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Little Lagoon, Denham

Our route

Perth – Hyden – Esperance – Porongurup – Stirling Range NP – Denmark – Hamelin Bay – Margaret River – Yallingup –  Mandurah – Jurien Bay (via Pinnacles Rock) – Kalbarri NP (via Hutt Lagoon) – Monkey Mia – Francois Peron NP – Quobba (via Carnarvon) – Coral Bay – Cape Range NP – Karijini NP (via Tom Price) – Perth

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8 absolute must do’s in WA

  • Swim with manta rays, sharks, turtles and dolphins on the Manta Ray Tour with Ningaloo Marine Interactions ($170/£90pp for 6 hours).
  • Osprey Bay in Cape Range National Park was our favourite beach in the whole of WA where we swam in the Indian Ocean and saw turtles nest near by at night.
  • Take 2 days to explore all that Karijini has to offer. From hiking Mount Bruce, WA’s 2nd tallest peak at 1,235m, delving deep into the incredible gorges and swimming in the cool natural green pools, the perfect refreshment on a swelteringly hot day.
  • Hang out with Kangaroos on one of our favourite beaches in Lucky Bay, Esperance.
  • Going off road and testing out our driving skills along 45km of orange sandy tracks in Francois Peron National Park.
  • There are an abundance of moderate/challenging 1-6 hour return hikes within the national parks to enjoy, such as Natures Loop (Kalbarri), Mount Bruce (Karijini), Bluff Knoll (Stirling Range National Park) Castle Rock (Porongurup), Lucky Bay to Hellfire Beach (Esperance), Frenchman’s Peak (Esperance) and Yardie Creek Trail (Cape Range National Park).
  • Hutt Lagoon – Where else have you seen a psychedelic bubblegum-pink lagoon which changes colour according to the salinity of the water?
  • Escape to Rottnest Island, a stunning natural A-class reserve just 30 minutes by ferry from Perth where you can bicycle, swim and snorkel your way around the island. Don’t forget your Quokka selfie!
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Coral Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park
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Coral Bay, Ningaloo Marine Park

 

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Karijini National Park
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Lucky Bay, Esperance
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Francois Peron National Park
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Hutt Lagoon
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Pinnacles, Nambung National Park

Camper Van Hire

We hired an adventure 4WD camper van from Apollo, in Perth, booked through Motorhome Republic. The hire cost was £1,650 for 28 days hire. Some hire companies allow you, for an additional fee, to drop the camper van off at a different location than where you picked it up. Ours didn’t.

To get the best out of your time exploring WA, we really do suggest having a 4WD as the roads can get pretty rough in places and of course, you definitely want to drive on the beach.

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Lucky Bay, Esparence

Top tip: Download the following free apps to save time and money

  • Navmii – GPS which does not require internet connection.
  • FuelMapAustralia – calculates distance to the next fuel station and fuel cost per litre.
  • Aircamp – locating camp sites, free and paid for.
  • WikiCamps – locating campsites, free and paid for.

Park Pass

Park passes cover park entry fees for private vehicles with up to 12 legally seated occupants, including the driver, and allow unlimited entry to all parks in Western Australia for the duration of the pass. By buying a pass you will also be making a valuable contribution to the management of these special areas. Choose the pass that is right for you and purchase online at Explore Parks WA.

  • Holiday Passes are available for 4 weeks ($60) 14 days ($40) or 5 days ($25) and are designed for holidays and short breaks.
  • The Annual All Parks Pass is extremely good value for money on extended tours or if you visit parks throughout the year ($120).
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Hyden

Camp grounds

A mixture of tourist parks and camp grounds were used, some powered or unpowered sites. Check their website for updated fees as prices can fluctuate depending on season. We didn’t use any free camps. Park Stays require you to have a Park Pass and only accept online bookings.

  • Wave Rock Campsite, Hyden
  • Lucky Bay Park Stay* Esperance
  • Cape Le Grand Park Stay* Esperance
  • Porongurup Tourist Park, Porongurup
  • Denmark Rivermouth Caravan Park, Denmark
  • Hamelin Bay Tourist Park, Hamelin Bay
  • Caves Holiday Park, Yallingup
  • Dunnsborough Holiday Park, Dunnsborough
  • Busselton holiday park, Busselton
  • Sandy Cape Recreational Park, Jurien Bay
  • Murchison River Caravan Park, Kalbarri
  • RAC Monkey Mia, Monkey Mia (Additional park entry fee required per person)
  • Quobba Station Stay, Quobba
  • Coral Bay Bayview, Coral Bay
  • Osprey Bay Park Stay*, Cape Range National Park
  • Tom Price Tourist Park, Tom Price
  • Dales Campground Park Stay*
  • Bellair Holiday Park, Geraldton

Total cost: £3,450 based on 2 adults

  • Fuel for 8,000km £700
  • Camper van hire £1,650
  • Park Pass (4 weeks) £35
  • Camping fees £450
  • Activities £180 (Manta Ray Tour)
  • Food & drink (supermarket bought) £435

I hope you find this useful in planning your trip, please reach out if you have any questions or thoughts.

It is true what the locals say, West is best.