After three months in the extreme heat of the Northern Territories, it was finally time for me to head back to civilization. I flew south to Perth and immediately regretted my decision when I realised it was actually cold in winter. Time to explore the rest of the west in search of sunshine and whale sharks!
Myles and I rented a car this time and found a great price through VroomVroomVroom, a comparison site for car and campervan rentals. We ended up with a Nissan Micra, totally inappropriate for a long-term road trip but cheap to run and it only cost us $189 for 10 days.
Guys, say hello to Nigel. He enjoys long drives in the outback and the occasional bit of off-roading.
After a dismal start (we drove for two hours and had to turn back when we realised we forgot to pack the sleeping bags) we finally hit the road for the Western Australia Road Trip, part two.
I did not realise how much driving this one would involve.
Two and a half hours north of Perth we stopped for lunch at the little seaside town of Jurien Bay, complete with a tiny jetty and beautiful beach. It’s a ghost town in the winter but in the summer you can enjoy the snorkelling and diving around the Jurien Bay Marine Park.
After almost four more hours of driving, we decided to set up camp for the night. No more overpriced campsites for us, we finally downloaded the WikiCamps app and found a quiet spot in the bush. A big group of people showed up and we spent the night drinking goon around the campfire under the stars.
Kalbarri National Park
The Murchison River winds through scenic gorges of red sandstone and makes its way to the ocean through dramatic coastal cliffs. Give yourself as much time as possible to explore here, there’s an $11 entrance fee per car if you want to visit the gorges.
As you drive towards to town of Kalbarri you’ll pass through the western tip of the Kalbarri National Park with plenty of cliffs and rocks to admire. That’s right Australia, I said rocks. Get excited.
Natural Bridge, Island Rock, Shellhouse and Grandstand are four different viewpoints perched on the cliffs high above their respective features, all connected by a coastal walk that will only take you around an hour, or you can drive to each location.
Further north is Eagle Gorge, stop here for the chance to spot dolphins and whales. Pot Alley takes you right down to the base of the cliffs so you can see first hand the powerful waves eroding the soft sandstone. You also have the option to visit Rainbow Valley, Mushroom Rock, and Red Bluff but these all require a bit of walking.
The town of Kalbarri is small and quaint, with a calm inlet protected by a large sandbar which keeps the cliff pounding waves at bay. It’s also very quiet during the winter but in summer you can come here to enjoy fishing, kayaking, sailing, and diving.
As you enter the main section of Kalbarri National Park you’ll suddenly find yourself in the Australian outback with endlessly straight roads and nothing but bush as far as the eye can see.
Eventually, you’ll reach the turnoff for The Loop and Z Bend, then further on for Hawks Head and Ross Graham. This is where the $11 entrance fee applies but it’s worth it for the dramatic terrain that you’ll find hidden in this flat landscape The deep gorges can be explored on foot or by canoe.
After a full day of adventuring, we hit the road again and drove north, stopping at a 24-hour rest stop equipped with toilets but no running water so make sure you have plenty. There’s always loads of room for campervans and tents at these places. Another free night under the stars!
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