Itinerary - 4 Weeks in Western Australia
The road less travelled
Our four week road trip began in Perth and took us South through the Margaret River region and then back up the coast to the North as far as the Ningaloo Reef before heading back home – a whopping 5,300 kilometres in total.
Best time to visit WA
We visited in October – Springtime – in the hope of seeing the best of the wildflowers in this region and avoiding the heat of the Summer.
If wildflowers are your main interest, you need to come between mid August and the end of September to see the best show, but it may well be busier then and not as warm. See below for links to photos of the many beautiful flowers I saw during my stay here. If you think of Australia as hot, dry, red and sandy – be prepared for a a very pleasant surprise!
Top Ten “Must-Dos” for a road trip to WA
- Go snorkelling at Sal Salis
- Go sand boarding at Lancelin Sand Dunes
- Explore the Pinnacles desert
- Gaze at a a Pink Lake at Hutt Lagoon
- Watch kangaroos play on the beach at Lucky Bay
- Take a 4 wheel drive in Francois Peron National Park
- See the dolphins at Monkey Mia
- Enjoy a tasting menu at a vineyard in Margaret River
- See a quokka on Rottnest Island
- See Koala Bears at Yanchep National Park
Best Hotel Award
Sal Salis was easily the winner of the best hotel award for the trip. It is an expensive option, but how often do you get the chance to swim across a coral reef right outside your bedroom (well – make that a very luxurious tent) door? Lovely food, great hospitality and a to die for location. It take some effort to get there, but is definitely a “must do” in my view.
What I’m Packing
Don’t travel without:
Read my tips for the best buys and other packing tips:
Flora and Fauna
This is just a checklist of what I actually saw – to inspire you to go – but there is potentially so much more to see here! Search for “Flora and Fauna” to find the relevant posts – or click on the links below:
- New Zealand Fur Seals
- Grey Merino Sheep
- Green Parrot
- Bluebotttle Jellyfish
- Karri Moth
- Koala Bears
- Pink Galahs
- Tiger Sharks
- Nervous Sharka
- Thorny Devil
- Black-Flanked Rock Wallabies
- Blue spotted ray
- Carpet Python
Where to see them:
If you are coming to WA to see wildflowers – and it is a really great place to do that – this website has lots of useful information about the best times to go and what there is to see.
Western Australia really is an absolute mecca for wildflowers.
Visit in Springtime (between mid August and the end of September) to get the best chance of seeing the best display.
There are more than 60 photos of flowers in this trip! Follow the links to discover where to find them all …
I have named as many as I could, but I couldn’t identify all of them. If you can help me fill the gaps, please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!
We managed to visit a staggering 17 national parks in our 4 week trip:
- Dryandara Woodland – Perth to Mandurah
- Leeuwin-Naturaliste – Mandurah to Margaret River
- Gloucester – Margaret River to Pemberton
- d’Entrecasteaux – Salmon Bay
- Torndirrup – Albany
- Stirling Range– Albany to Bremer Bay
- Fitzgerald River – Albany to Bremer Bay
- Cape le Grand – Esperance
- Yanchep National Park – Perth to Geraldton
- Hamelin Pool – Geraldton to Monkey Mia
- Shell Beach – Geraldton to Monkey Mia
- Francois National Park – Monkey Mia
- Monkey Mia Conservation Park – Monkey Mia
- Cape Range – Carnarvon to Exmouth
- Kalbarri National Park – Carnarvon to Kalbarri
- Nambung National Park – The Pinnacles
- Mount Lesueur National Park – Mount Lesueur NP
Learning the Lingo
Rule 1 – When in doubt, add an “O”:
- Arvo (afternoon)
- Avos (avocados)
- Bottle-O (Liquor shop/Off Licence);
- Fisho (fish shop);
- Servo (Petrol Station)
- Vego (vegetarian)
or an “IE”
- Brekkie (Breakfast)
Thongs – flip flops
Stubbies – bottles of beer.
Poachies –poached eggs
Nude nut – a balding head
Flaming and bloody – seem to be used very liberally to amplify almost any noun?
POHM – Prisoners of his Majesty. Early settlers were transported to Australia as a punishment and became known as POMs for short – i.e. – Englishmen.
Chew & Spew – Roadhouse
Wanju Kepa Kurl Boodja – Esperance -Where the Water Lies Like a Boomerang
Boy Dijnoong Quabba – “Look way out from this high place and feel good about where you have been”
Tips for Future Travellers
- For tips on driving in WA, read my post 10 Tips for Driving Safely in Australia
- Hindsight is always a wonderful thing and if you are reading this in advance of your trip to WA, then let me give you the benefit. We spent 32 days in WA. There was so much to see and do that I would have allowed an extra five days, if possible, with an extra night in each of Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Albany, Coral Bay and Monkey Mia and would have given Mandurah a miss. To save time, you could fly back from Exmouth to Perth and visit everywhere on the trip North, but this would incur additional charges with a one way drop off and may limit your luggage allowance too and the road trips did definitely add something to the overall experience I felt – it is part of what this huge country is all about.
- Sundays are quiet days in WA – like the UK 50 years ago. It can be hard to find many places open for dinner and shops/tours often close up too – particularly later in the season towards the Summer.
- It is definitely an early to bed, early to rise culture . Most restaurants close at 8 – 8.30 and breakfast starts as early as 6 in many places.
- You may want to consider having a GPS navigation device and satellite phone as reception is poor in many places and you can’t rely on a mobile ‘hone for either navigation or an emergency contact device.
For more tips – browse using “Tips for Future Travellers” in the tag cloud on the sidebar.
We visited a grand total of 17 National Parks on this tour and covered 7340 kilometres. The fuel cost for the trip came in at $822 AUD – about £450.
There is just so much to love about Western Australia:
- It has a great climate – although best to avoid it in Summer (Nov/Dec/Jan/Feb/Mar).
- It is clean, tidy and well ordered.
- English Breakfast Tea is available everywhere (take note USA!)
- Parking is free everywhere (outside of Perth).
- They drive on the” right” side of the road (i.e. the left).
- The roads are really quiet – even in Perth.
- The serve great coffee – everywhere
- The public toilets are universally spotlessly clean and well maintained
- The water is safe to drink straight from the tap (except in the National Parks, of course).
- The wine is good – and getting better every day.
- You don’t need any horrid jabs to come here.
- The great Aussie sense of humour helps to ensure that no-one ever makes a drama out of a crisis.
- Best of all – everyone I have met here has been friendly and eager to help you. There is a great community spirit. Help? It’s what Australians do.
Also – you really can’t help but love a country where everyone’s favourite TV programme seems to be Escape to the Country.
Flight Centre/Round the World Experts
Our trip was booked through Round the World Experts who co-ordinated the itinerary I had constructed myself very well – all the ground arrangements and transfers worked seamlessly. The arrangements all went to plan and cost no more than they would if we had booked directly, so it made great sense for us to use them. I did have to do my own research to find out which excursions to do though and to construct the itinerary – but that’s all part of the fun for me.