The road from Geraldton to Monkey Mia (pronounced Mya) is a long 443 kms - 4 hours 40 minutes if driven straight. We took a brief 44kms (return) detour at Northampton to visit Horrocks Beach because it was billed as a world class beach and won the best mainland beach in Australia award in 2018. The route from Geraldton to Monkey Mia also allows you to visit two more National Parks: The Stromalites at Hamelin Pool and Shell Beach.
Where to see koala bears in WA. The road from Perth to Geraldton is 414 kms - 4 and a half hours. En route though, there is an opportunity to see koala bears, which is a "Must Do". We took all day over the journey, allowing for two stops on the way.
The Ocean Centre Hotel Geraldton wins the award for the most welcoming reception. Apart from giving you a quick friendly round up of all you need to know to make your stay great, you also get a couple of complimentary drink vouchers so you can enjoy a beer/wine in the bar with views out to the ocean.
Polished Perth - capital of a state ten time the size of Great Britain - is as close to the nearest big city (Adelaide) as London is to Leningrad. Perth is a large, clean, modern city much like many others, but its balmy climate, position by the wide, blue Swan River and radiant sunlight bouncing off the skyscrapers gives it a unique charm all of its own. It is, in every sense, very polished with a smart, high-sheen finish.
The Hyatt Regency is a well located, luxurious hotel with everything you need for a comfortable stay in Perth. The free bus to King's Park and the Elizabeth Quay area stops right outside the hotel. The atrium is delightful - complete with a live pianist in the early evenings - but the downside of that is that it is a long way to walk around to your room.
TheQuest Yelverton Kalgoorlie conveniently located apartment style hotel - a short walk from the Main Street in Kalgoorlie and the Tourist Information Office and Museum.. Wi fi is a reasonable speed. There is a nice spa style bath in the room. There is no restaurant here though and no laundry facilities. Our room was up a long flight of steps , which could be awkward if you have luggage to haul up.
It is a long way from Esperance to Kalgoorlie - and an even longer road from Kalgoorlie to Perth (7 hours with one brief stop). This Place is Rough and Tough. With hindsight, we should have spent 2 days in Kalgoorlie which would have given us a chance to visit the Super Pit and also the Flying Doctor Service which is based here, which would have been really fascinating.
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We spent the whole of today driving the 40kms scenic loop that is the Great Ocean Drive, stopping all the way along the route for long walks and lookouts. We have driven along beautiful stretches of coast before in South Africa (The Garden Route) and California (Big Sur Drive), but this was way better than either of those. Maybe because of the intensity of the light here - the sun made the deep blue water sparkle all the way along and the wind gave us really BIG waves - awesome.
The road from Bremer Bay to Esperance (home of Australia's best beaches) was long - very long - and straight. There were hardly any vehicles on it except the odd road train (shortish) which gave you a start as it rushed past. The road took us through interesting sounding places like Jerramingup, Munillinup and Nindilibillup. Up means "place of" around here - I wonder what these places we were passing through were places of ...? They didn't have enough interest to make us stop long enough to find out. We were keen to press on to Esperance and explore all those beautiful beaches. It took us around 4 hours in total to get here.
Qualuup Homestead Wilderness Retreat is the only accommodation in the Fitzgerald River National Park. situated on 40 acres of privately owned bushland in the western side of the National Park, near the town of Bremer Bay. It is 189km from Albany via Devils Creek Rd. and a further
We woke early on the morning of our drive from Albany to Bremer Bay and enjoyed a hearty breaky (pronounced brekkie) at the Three Anchors in Alby. (Hey - this learning the lingo is a real breeze!). A group of other early risers were lifting weights with big grins on their faces outside the cafe. Middleton Beach has a net line set up for swimmers (large marine animals can’t pass through it, but small fish can) and there were half a dozen of them braving the cool morning to have a dip in the ocean.
Dolphin Lodge Albany provides spacious self catering accommodation with a fully equipped kitchen and a washing machine. Our unit (No 10) had three bedrooms - more than we needed, but great if you are travelling with a family. A sea suite for two is $143 pppn (£85) - we were upgraded foc. . The property is located a stone's throw from the Fish & Chip Restaurant that has been voted the best in Australia (for very good reason!).
Breakfast at the Three Anchors Middleton Beach was generous and set us up well for a day's hiking, although the day started cool and damp, which took a while to clear. A short distance out of Albany brought us to the Gap and the Natural Bridge in Torndirru
It takes about 3 hours to drive straight from Pemberton to Albany, but we chose to break the journey at Walpole and visit the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. Walpole Visitor Centre gave us a very helpful map which helped us navigate our way there via the scenic route which gave good views of Walpole and the coast.
A short(ish) drive to the coast brought us to Salmon Bay in the d’Enrecasteaux National Park. The view from the lookout is truly stunning. From the headland, crystal clear deep blue water, rolling surf and miles of deserted, golden sand stretches out before your eyes, beckoning you to discover it at close hand.
The Karri Valley Resort is good place to stopover for a couple of nights in Pemberton. There are self catering chalets and lakeside rooms. The lakeside rooms are not overlooked - well - unless you count a duck and four parrots perched on the roof and the odd canoe paddling gently past. You can see your neighbours a bit, but the angles are good.
Time for another great day in WA! Today, we travelled from Margaret River to Pemberton taking a short detour to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse en route. This is where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet (although they didn’t make much of a splash in the process today). It is the most southerly point in Australia - it is 5435 kms to the South Pole from here.
Exploring the Margaret River Region. Kaya Wadandi Noongar Boodja - Aborigini for “Hallo and Welcome to Wadandi Noongar country. This morning, we took the short drive to Ambergate Reserve and Walk Trail and walked through the bush in search of wildflowers.
Cape Lodge, Margaret River is a very well appointed hotel with lovely gardens big enough to take a nice stroll around. Spacious, light and airy rooms have lake or garden views and spa baths big enough for two.
Today, we had pre-booked a tour of the Voyager Estate . The tour included the Voyager Estate Tasting Menu - a 7 course degustation gourmet lunch.
Seashells Mandurah is a comfortable apartment style hotel with a spa bath and kitchen facilities. There is a small infinity style swimming pool and easy access to coastal walks and the waterfront.
The road from Mandurah to Margaret River has one of the best places to see kangaroos in Western Australia - G'Day Skippy! Our journey south continued today via Dunsborough to the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. The road from the lighthouse to Ngilgi Cave passes close to the Petra Olive Oil Estate where a quick detour to Sheoak Drive rewards you with easy sightings of kangaroos.
We picked up the hire car this morning to drive from Perth to Mandurah and were a bit disappointed to find it had no sat nav as we had requested. Fortunately, our 'phone plans cover Australia, so we could plug them into Apple Play and get by on Google maps. Perth is not a busy city by any means and was easy to navigate our way out of. We were quickly out into the country and driving on deserted roads. There is so much SPACE here! It is also much greener than we expected, although the earth is deep red underneath.
We pick up our hire care today. From my pre-trip research, these are my top 10 tips for driving safely in Australia that I thought it was worth sharing with you to make sure we all have a hassle free trip:
We pre-booked a day trip to "Rotto" (Rottnest Island) - the family holiday playground of choice for Perth locals - with Rottnest Fast Ferries. This car free island is an off-the-grid slice of paradise about 30kms into the sea off the coast of Perth. The trip includes a shuttle bus collection from your hotel, which makes things really easy.
The Pan Pacific comfortable hotel well located in the centre of downtown Perth a short walking distance from the lively Elizabeth Quay area, the (free) bus to King's Park and the Swan River.
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