Australia's Coral Coast is filled with fresh local and seasonal produce, waiting to get your taste buds bursting with excitement. Couple that with microbreweries and an award-winning distillery and you've got yourself a packed foodie and drink-lovers adventure!
Use the following inspiration to eat and drink your way throughout the Coral Coast.
Perth to Dongara (approximately 354 kilometres)
Travel north from Perth along the Indian Ocean Drive (the northern continuation of Wanneroo Road), which runs past the coastal towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Green Head, Leeman, Dongara and Port Denison. There's plenty to see and do along this scenic route, from visiting the Pinnacles of Nambung National Park, swimming with sea lions and skydiving in Jurien Bay, snorkelling, fishing, sand boarding, walking, cycling, admiring seasonal wildflowers, 4WDing and even caving!
Visit the following places to kick-start your foodie adventure:
Morning tea/coffee: Head to the beachfront and the RAC Cervantes Holiday Park's Seashells Café open daily for breakfast and lunch for a cuppa and sweet treat.
Lunch: enjoy a fresh lobster meal at The Lobster Shack in Cervantes. Here, you can also join a Factory Tour to discover more about the lobster fishing industry, or experience the real-life adventures of lobster fisher aboard their Lobster Catching Tour.
Afternoon: visit Illegal Tender Rum Co in Dongara for a Distillery Tour and Tastings of their award-winning rum. You can also sample their newest distilling venture, StableViews gin.
Dinner: enjoy Modern Australian cuisine at Southerlys Harbour View Bar and Restaurant in Dongara
Dongara to Geraldton (approximately 65 kilometres)
Wake up early and walk the trail around the head of the Irwin River before enjoying breakfast at SeaSpray Cafe in Dongara. It's a local hangout, and also offers a Friday night seafood dinner.
Saunter up the road towards Geraldton, driving through the historic settlement of Greenough en route. If you're travelling on a Monday or Tuesday, have lunch at the Central Greenough Cafe and Visitor Centre, located right on Greenough's Heritage Trail and Yamaji Drive Trail and nearby to Ellendale Pool, which is a great spot for a picnic.
If you're travelling Wednesday through to Sunday, visit the Hampton Arms Inn for a rustic home-style lunch and a browse of their bookshop. The Inn was the first hotel built in the area, built in 1863, and was restored 17 years ago.
If you're a seafood lover, hit the road and head straight to Geraldton to experience a western rock lobster factory tour at Geraldton Fishermen's Co-operative, follow up with seafood lunch at Barnacles on the Wharf.
If you're looking for a fresh juice or coffee and a cake, try:
- Jaffle Shack
- Fleur Tearoom
- The Beached Barrel Coffee & Donut Shop (open Wednesdays - Sundays)
- The Old Man & The Sea rooftop bar at The Gerald Apartment Hotel
- The wonderful Skeetas Restaurant
- The Sunset Deck at the Broadwater Mariner Resort
- Salt Dish (open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays)
Geraldton to Carnarvon (approximately 480 kilometres)
Wake up early and enjoy breakfast at one of our favourites:
- Salt Dish (for a full breakfast)
- The Quiet Life (for coffee, bagels and muesli)
- Piper Lane Cafe (for a full breakfast)
Continue north to your next foodie destination, Carnarvon, the southern gateway to Ningaloo and a popular holiday spot for sun seekers and food lovers. Carnarvon's fruit and vegetable is a $104 million industry annually, in addition to the fresh, local seafood caught in the waterways.
Take an evening stroll along The Fascine (Carnarvon's central waterway), showcasing magnificent sunset views, before heading out for a seafood meal at Sails Restaurant at the Hospitality Carnarvon SureStay Collection by Best Western.
Carnarvon has a range of tours and attractions worth discovering. To continue your foodie itinerary, here's a few ideas:
- Explore and sample the abundant fresh produce along the Gascoyne Food Trail (fondly named the Fruit Loop Drive Trail). Snack on a chocolate-coated froze banana or mango smoothie from Bumbak's, and pick up fresh, local produce from the roadside plantations. Don't forget to visit the #Instaworthy Cactus Garden to get your happy snap.
- From May to October on every Saturday morning, the Gascoyne Grower's Markets are run by the growers themselves in front of the Carnarvon Visitor Centre
- Pick up a selection of seafood from Pickles Point Seafood and Boatyard or Norwest Seafood, coupled with fresh veggies from the plantations, and cook up your own feast! A trip on the Coral Coast isn’t complete without a Chocolate Coated Banana. Don’t forget to get your photo with the 'Big Banana’ at Bumbak's.
For a real foodie adventure, plan your visit around the Gascoyne Food Festival which runs across August and September each year. Multiple ticketed events take place around Carnarvon, and the Festival should be on every foodies must-do list.
For a real outback dinner, stay at Wooramel River Retreat, located between Carnarvon and Shark Bay. On Wednesday nights, the team offer an Australian camp over dinner or you can enjoy a Homestead Hamper, perfect for a picnic dinner.
Overnight: Carnarvon and surrounds
Carnarvon to Ningaloo (approximately 445 kilometres)
Enjoy a great coffee and breakfast at the Port Hotel in Carnarvon before setting off to Exmouth, the northern gateway to Ningaloo.
Stop into Bullara Station en route to enjoy lunch or their famous scones and coffee.
Exmouth is home to two (!) microbreweries and serves up some great fresh seafood options, and you'll have no problem working up an appetite exploring Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park during your days. Discover everything that Exmouth and surrounds has to offer here, from swimming with the whale sharks or humpback whales, to discovering rugged, ancient canyons and gorges.
No visit to Exmouth would be complete without lunch or dinner at the following locations:
- Froth Craft Brewery
- Whalebone Brewery
- Whaler's Restaurant at Exmouth Escape Resort
- Mantarays Restaurant at Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort
Exmouth to Coral Bay (approximately 153 kilometres)
Enjoy breakfast at Cafe Muiron or grab a bite to go from The Short Order Local food van, which sets up at Exmouth's Town Beach, before setting off down the road towards Coral Bay.
The laidback coastal town gets its name from the coral gardens of Ningaloo Reef which lie just metres from shore. Here, you can swim with manta rays year round in the pristine waters, or enjoy seasonal swims with whale sharks or humpback whales, in addition to a range of other water and land-based activities. Discover more about Coral Bay here.
Enjoy a relaxing meal at Fins Cafe, located in front of Peoples Park, or at Bill's Bar.
Overnight: Coral Bay
Coral Bay to Shark Bay (approximately 590 kilometres)
Grab breakfast from Coral Bay Bakery or Mervs Food Van before setting off to the UNESCO Shark Bay World Heritage Area. Highlights here include Shell Beach and the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites, Francois Peron National Park and of course the friendly Monkey Mia dolphins, and there is no shortage of things to see and do to fill your days. Learn more about what Shark Bay has to offer here.
- The Boughshed, onsite at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
- Oceans Restaurant, located at Ocean Park Aquarium
- Bush tucker or seafood cooked over an open campfire, on tour with Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures
For an off-the-beaten track experience to a pristine Island paradise, visit Dirk Hartog Island. Foodies will love the Island Life Festival which takes place each year, as part of the Gascoyne Food Festival.
Shark Bay to Kalbarri (approximtely 390 kilometres)
Continue on your way south towards the family favourite holiday destination of Kalbarri, renowned for its National Park with the iconic Nature's Window, Skywalk and striking inland gorges, as well as the rugged and plunging Coastal Cliffs. Learn more about Kalbarri here.
You can't visit Kalbarri and not go to Finlay's Microbrewery and Restaurant.
Other places to check out include:
- Kalbarri Edge Restaurant
- The Jetty Seafood Shack (BYO)
- Upstairs Restaurant
Kalbarri to Perth (approximately 570 kilometres)
Wake up for a full breakfast at the Gorges Cafe, one of our favourites for breakfast and lunch! Or, if you're just looking for coffee or something to grab on the go, check out Bean Drifting, a pop-up coffee van near the surfing beach, Jacques Point, or grab a fresh juice from The Lokal Juice Co van at Rainbow Jungle.
As you continue on your way to Perth, there is still so much to see and do along the way like visiting the iconic Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon) at Port Gregory. If you're travelling Monday to Thursday, stop into the National Trust Oakabella Homestead to discover heritage tourism at its finest. Stay for lunch or some light refreshments, including their famous scones and Devonshire tea (don't forget to check out the mini-museum).
If you're travelling Friday to Sunday, as you travel through Northampton turn off to Nanson and Chapman Valley, where the Burnt Barrel Outback BrewBQ specialises in low and slow smoked BBQ, coupled with beer which is brewed onsite.
If you're travelling during Wildflower season (late-July to mid-September), head inland from Geraldton and drive home via Wildflower Country. You'll discover authentic country charm, local cafes and outback pubs as you travel through the Wildflower towns. If you're in Mingenew on a Thursday, head straight to the bakery because Thursday is 'donut day'!