Australia's Coral Coast has a seemingly endless variety of family-centric activities on offer, many of which are not available anywhere else in the world. From visiting sites of the rarest natural beauty like the Pinnacles and the Pink Lake, to feeding wild dolphins, pelicans, and even swimming with enormous whale sharks, the experiences you have on the Coral Coast are bound to become cherished family memories.
Perth to Dongara (Approx 354km – 4hrs)
Travel north along the Indian Ocean Drive (continues north from Wanneroo Road), through the coastal towns of Cervantes, Dongara, Port Denison and Greenough.
First stop is Cervantes (200km – 2hrs). The Pinnacles of Nambung National Park and Lake Thetis (thrombolites, similar to Shark Bay’s stromatolites) are on the way to the Lobster Shack for a factory tour and lobster lunch.
Travel north to the twin towns of Dongara and Port Denison sample some sweet bakery treats for the kids, and "big kids" will love visiting Illegal Tender Rum Co for a tasting.
For dinner order, WA’s best country steak sandwich served with hand cut fries at Southerly Restaurant.
Overnight: Dongara or Port Denison
Dongara to Geraldton
Wake up and visit the Little Starfish Café located on the beach (White Tops Rd, Port Denison. Open 8am-2pm)
Make your way north to Greenough (41km – 30mins) to visit the Greenough Wildlife Park. Stop to take a photo of the unique leaning trees and the beautiful Greenough River. Perhaps enjoy an afternoon picnic on the banks of Ellendale Pool before continuing north to Geraldton.
Kids will love the Playground and Water Park located at the Geraldton Foreshore offers hours of free family fun. Featuring climbing equipment, swings and slides, the shaded playground caters for toddlers through to school-age kids. The water park’s fountains will keep the kids cool and happy during the warmer months.
On your way to your overnight accommodation in Geraldton.
Geraldton to Shark Bay (Approx 433km – 5 hours)
Continue north to Shark Bay, home of the Monkey Mia dolphins and one of two of the Coral Coast’s world heritage sites.
As you travel through Northhampton, consider stopping in to Oakabella Homestead for coffee, scones or a full meal. Travelling towards Nanson in the Chapman Valley, enjoy lunch at the Burnt Barrel Outback BrewBQ (open Wed-Sun) which specializes in low and slow smoked Kansas-style BBQ coupled with beer which is brewed onsite. There’s lots of space for the kids to run around, whilst parents enjoy the expansive view looking over the rolling hills.
Stop off at the Billabong Hotel Motel to fuel up and rest your legs as you continue north to Shark Bay.
Spend some time at the Monkey Mia foreshore early this morning where you’re likely to meet the famous Monkey Mia dolphins, with the first feeding from 7.45am until noon.
Visit the nearby Ocean Park Aquarium or join one of the many tours on offer such as a wildlife cruise looking for Dugongs. For the more adventurous, take the 4WD out to François Peron National Park and show the kids where the red dirt meets the ocean.
Learn about the indigenous culture of the Malgana people on an after dinner night tour.
Shark Bay to Kalbarri (Approx. 399km – 4hrs)
Head south to Kalbarri and stop off at Shell Beach (100km of white cockle shells and turquoise water) and the Stromatolites of Hamelin Pool (considered 'living fossils', part of the Earth's evolutionary history. If its wildflower season (July – September) on the Eastern approach to Kalbarri you will find flower displays at Galena Bridge rest area and Warribanno Chimney road.
Wake up early and join a cray pot-pulling tour (November to June) or whale watching charter (late June - November).
Kids love nothing more than to head down to the Kalbarri foreshore (near the Grey and Wood St intersection) for their chance to feed the cheeky local pelicans. Be there by 8.45am and watch the greedy pelicans compete for a fishy treat.
Explore the magnificent Murchison River gorges of Kalbarri National Park by walking trails, enjoy action-packed activities on offer such as abseiling, quad biking, canoeing, sandboarding or perhaps join the Kalbarri wilderness cruises on the Murchison.
Have your photo taken in the iconic natural red rock Nature’s Window frame in Kalbarri National Park.
Visit Rainbow Jungle - the Australian Parrot Breeding Centre is a beautiful parrot habitat, where you will find the largest parrot free-flight aviary in the country.
Kalbarri to Perth (Approx. 573 km – 6hrs)
Whilst heading south towards Perth on the scenic coastal drive, check out the stunning views from the coastal cliffs.
Be sure to stop in for a photo at Port Gregory’s stunning pink lake called Hutt Lagoon (just south of Kalbarri) before continuing your journey to Perth.
From Port Gregory make your way south on the North West Coastal Highway to the award-winning Oakabella Homestead which is Heritage Tourism at its finest. Stop in for lunch or some light refreshments including their famous Devonshire tea (the scones are amazing!). It’s also known as WA’s most ‘spooky’ haunted house!