15 September 2023
Australia’s Coral Coast is the perfect family-friendly destination in Western Australia
When it comes to planning a holiday, you’re either the planner or the one that just gets told where to be and what to pack, add kids into the mix and you’re planning just got that little bit harder.
If you’re looking for the perfect family-friendly holiday destination that offers a range of activities for the kids to enjoy (disclaimer: building sandcastles on one of our pristine beaches is not included), then look no further than Australia’s Coral Coast.
From wildlife cruises to educational experiences and of course the best places to treat the kids to a donut or ice-cream, this guide highlights the top things to do with the kids in the Coral Coast for your next family holiday. Whether you have 2 days, a week or the entire 2-week school holidays, this guide will help you plan the perfect kid-friendly Coral Coast holiday for everyone to enjoy.
Cervantes is the first stop along the Coral Coast, just a short 2 hours’ drive north of Perth (ideal for those with younger kids who can’t sit still in the car). Stop for lunch at the Lobster Shack, their kid’s menu is sure to be a hit (think fish and chips, nuggets and squid) while you sit back and enjoy the surrounds. There is even a lobster inspired playground for the kids to enjoy, just be cautioned, the Lobster Shack have a great selection of Simmo’s ice-creams on display so we can guarantee the kids will have their eyes on this. Continuing north for a further 25 minutes’, you will reach the family-friendly destination of Jurien Bay. Depending on how old your kids are, we highly recommend jumping on a sea lion tour and watching these friendly, happy creatures enjoy their natural habitat. If you’re a beach loving family then Sandy Cape is the place for you, located just 10km north of Jurien Bay, Sandy Cape recreational beach camp has 88 sites available and is accessible via two-wheel drive. The calm waters of Sandy Cape are perfect for kids of all ages making it great for family recreational activities such as swimming, snorkelling and SUPing. Otherwise, head north a further 1.5 hours’ and re-live your childhood by treating the kids to a movie at Dongara Denison Drive-In cinema, built in 1966 and is one of only five operating drive-ins in Western Australia.
Wildflower Country starts 1 hour, 45 minutes' drive north of Perth and comprises of the inland farming towns of Dandaragan, Badgingarra, Eneabba, Carnamah, Coorow, Three Springs, Mingenew, Mullewa and their surrounding areas. The region bursts into colour with blooms of wildflowers between August – October each year however the towns also offer a range of nature trails and heritage-focused activities all year round. Check out our wildflower hot spots and take the kids on a wildflower adventure or simply drive through Three Springs and stop at the stunning colourful wildflower wall mural in Three Springs. The adventure loving families will love the kid-friendly Mullewa wildflower walk, an easy 2.7km route that takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
Known as the capital city of the Coral Coast, Geraldton has an abundance of kid-friendly activities. Located just 4.5 hours’ drive north of Perth, driving along Brand Highway you will be sure to spot the leaning trees of Greenough, stop along the roadside carpark (look for the camera icon) to view and take photographs, the kids will love the leaning trees. Do your kids love animals? We recommend visiting the Greenough wildlife park where the kids can see baby animals and have the chance to feed them. Continuing into the city centre of Geraldton, the Museum of Geraldton is a great kid-friendly experience to add to the list. Ideal for educating the kids on ancient landforms, Yamaji history and culture, and the region’s unique landscapes and marine environment. If the kids have been on their best behaviour, be sure to stop into Beached Barrell for their famous donuts!
Kalbarri is approximately 6 hours’ drive north of Perth and is a renowned family-favourite holiday destination, popular for its adventure experiences on the water and land-based attractions. One of the top things to do with the kids starts on your drive into Kalbarri, located just over 1 hours’ drive north of Geraldton or 40 minutes south of Kalbarri is the iconic Hutt Lagoon (Pink Lake). Stop for photos and let the kids be wowed by the bright pink bubble-gum colour of the lake. Just be sure to plan your timings right, the best time of day to see the pink lake at it’s finest is when the sun is at its highest point between 10am – 2pm. We recommend staying a minimum of 3 nights in Kalbarri as there is so much to do, especially for the kids. Start your morning with feeding the Pelicans on the Kalbarri foreshore, feeding occurs daily at 8:45am and we can guarantee the kids will love it. For those with older kids who can stay up past 7pm, we recommend heading out to the Kalbarri Skywalk and jump on a stargazing tour with D’Guy charters. With minimal light pollution and clear night skies, the kids will love seeing the Milky Way shining bright.
Shark Bay is the perfect family-friendly holiday destination for those kids who love wildlife. Located approximately 8-9 hours’ drive north of Perth, Shark Bay is the perfect place to base yourself for the school holidays. The first thing to add to your kid-friendly list of things to do in Shark Bay is meet the Monkey Mia dolphins. The Indo-pacific dolphins of Monkey Mia have been swimming close to shore each morning for over generations, in one of the best wild dolphin interactions in the world. Rangers feed the dolphins up to three times each morning, between 07:45 and 12pm however it’s recommended to arrive to the beach by 07:30 for the best experience. Continue the wildlife adventure by joining a wildlife cruise to see the incredible Dugongs, you might even spot a turtle or two! Resembling a walrus and related to the elephant, dugongs are also called 'sea-cows' and can grow up to three metres long and weighing up to 400 kilograms. Round out your Shark Bay trip by taking the kids to Ocean Park Aquarium, an award-winning, eco-friendly aquarium located on the pristine shores of the Shark Bay Marine Park, the kids will have fun exploring the wonders of the sea.
The Ningaloo region of Australia’s coral coast encompasses the towns of Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Exmouth. Starting in Carnarvon, be sure to visit the Carnarvon Space Museum for a day of education, with family pricing starting from just $45, it’s the perfect morning or afternoon of education and out of space experiences. Continue north to Exmouth where you will find a range of kid-friendly activities to enjoy as a family. Pack an umbrella and a beach bag and settle in for the day at Turquoise Bay. This picturesque location is perfect for families with kids of all ages, the crystal-clear waters make for ideal snorkelling conditions (drift snorkelling for the older kids) and the calm bay is great for the young ones to splash around. Explore and educate the kids with turtle watching at the Jurabi Turtle Centre or join a Yardie Creek Boat Tour and discover the beaty of Cape Range National Park on a boat tour. The kids will have fun spotting a wide array of wildlife living in the gorge, including the rare black-footed rock wallaby, egrets, ospreys, Western bowerbirds and a variety of marine life. Treat the kids to a delicious artisan Gelato by Sweet Ningaloo when visiting Coral Bay or Exmouth, we can guarantee it will be a highlight for all.