There is so much to see and do in Australia’s Coral Coast, you could spend weeks exploring everything the region has to offer!
The good news is the region has a number of holiday options if you are looking for a shorter holiday, even a day trip. Here’s a taste of great day trips from Perth to whet your appetite.
Cervantes is a short 2 hours' drive north of Perth on the Indian Ocean Drive. Heading north from Perth on Wanneroo Road, the Indian Ocean Drive begins near Lancelin and takes you along the coast to Cervantes, and beyond to Jurien Bay, Green Head, Leeman and Dongara-Port Denison. It also leads you directly to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park.
Find the Bettyvan
On your way into Cervantes, look out for the Bettyvan, a Pop Up Coffee Shop operating in Cervantes, Jurien Bay and nearby towns. Serving great coffee, and depending on the day, The Bettyvan can be found on Cervantes Rd from 7.30am. Look out for the brightly covered van.
Take a Seal Tour and taste Western Rock Lobster at Lobster Shack
Continue onto the Lobster Shack for your epic Seal Tour to witness Sea Lions frolicking in the crystal blue waters of the Indian Ocean on board their latest member of the family fishing fleet, the “Shack Attack.” Book ahead to avoid disappointment. After the tour, feed the hungry crew at the cafe where you can indulge in a fresh lobster meal and plenty of other seafood on offer. We promise…. You won’t be disappointed! Lobster Shack is open from 11am to 3pm daily.
Explore the Cervantes Art Trail
After lunch, check out the Cervantes Art Trail which features 23 pieces of art throughout the town and references a range of topics particular to Cervantes, from its Spanish history to its relationship with the ocean. Collect an art trail map from the visitor centre on Cadiz Street.
Visit the remarkable Thrombolites at Lake Thetis
Before heading back to Perth, explore the remarkable Lake Thetis, one of only five sites in Western Australia that features thrombolites (which are closely related to stromatolites - the oldest 'living' fossil in the world at 3.5 billion years old). The Lake Thetis Thrombolites are believed to be over 3,000 years old. Interpretive signage provides information about the fossils, geology, flora, fauna and Indigenous culture. It is an easy 1.5 kilometre walking loop around the lake and a dedicated boardwalk. You will find the best examples of Thrombolites at the southwestern edge of the lake, where the first 300m of boardwalk are also universally accessible.The first 300m of boardwalk, which passes the best examples of thrombolites in the lake, is universally accessible. You will find the best examples of thrombolites at the southwestern edge of the lake.
Lake Theis is a short drive from Cervantes, and is also a dedicated Astrotourism Observing Site.
2. The Pinnacles of Nambung National Park
Explore or cycle The Pinnacles with the family
From Perth, head straight to The Pinnacles Desert via the Indian Ocean Drive, and find this extraordinary rock formation comprising thousands of rocks rising up from the ground. They were formed approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells. Over time, coastal winds removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars exposed to the elements. The park covers an area of 17,487 hectares, providing natural habitat for an extensive array of native animals and bird life.
Pack your bikes as the Desert View Trail is relatively easy with a 1.5 kilometre return loop winding through the sandstone structures. Departing from the Discovery Centre car park, the cycle trail is reasonably hard and compact and suitable for all cycling levels. If cycling is not for you, the walk is enjoyable and you can also drive through along designated trails. For more information, pop into the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.
Lunch at RAC Cervantes Holiday Park
Head into Cervantes, and before lunch, take a stroll along the beach to find your way to the tranquility of the RAC Cervantes Holiday Park and the Seashells Cafe, with a view of the coast while you enjoy lunch or coffee and cake.
Take in the view at Thirsty Point
Only a stone's throw from the town of Cervantes, Thirsty Point Lookout is the ideal point from which to take in the stunning oceans surrounding the town. A wooden boardwalk allows you to weave through the sand dunes to the top of the lookout, where you can spectacle at the daring windsurfers and kite surfers who regularly populate the bay. This lookout is also the ideal place to witness a magnificent Indian Ocean sunset before heading back to Perth.
Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay
Before heading back to Perth, dip your toes or more in the Indian Ocean at Kangaroo Point and Hangover Bay, which lends itself to snorkelling, surfing and windsurfing. Note: the area immediately north of Kangaroo Point is a marine park sanctuary zone. The Hansen Bay Lookout offers a picturesque view of the ocean, Lake Thetis and the Cervantes town site.
If you have more time for an overnighter along the Indian Ocean Drive, check out these great multi-day itineraries and more from the Coral Coast southern region video below.