Guest Blog by @outoftheblue.au for Australia's Coral Coast
Hey we’re Emma and Cadwgan - we are from Perth but we recently quit our jobs, bought a camper trailer and 4WD and decided to take a gap year to explore Australia.
We first fell in love with Australia’s Coral Coast when we embarked on our very first road trip 7 years ago, hitting all the towns between Perth and Exmouth. Since then, we have done a similar trip almost every year, visiting new spots and trying new tours to get a taste of everything the Coral Coast has to offer.
Our first stop is always Kalbarri, of course Nature's Window is what Kalbarri is most known for, and is a must see. We recommend hitting it at sunset to get the perfect picture with the light shining through the window. The rest of the Kalbarri National Park is also beautiful with several different lookouts and hikes including The Loop Walk, Z Bend Lookout and River Trail, Hawks Head, Ross Graham Lookout, and the newest addition being the Skywalk which offers amazing views over the gorges.
We have seen a lot of pink salt lakes along our travels but none will ever come close to Hutt Lagoon just outside of Kalbarri. Unlike many other salt lakes, the water is actually that vibrant and pink in person, no filters required!
We always make sure we have enough time for a visit to the Coastal Cliffs before leaving Kalbarri- if you're there at the right time you can spot whales and dolphins from the various lookouts at several points along the trail.
Next up on our trip is always Shark Bay (Denham) and Monkey Mia. On the drive into Shark Bay, we always stop at Shell Beach (make sure you take your shoes down with you to save your feet from the sharp shells - we learnt this the hard way). Continuing the drive into town there are several lookouts and stops along the way. One of the lookouts we love most is Eagle Bluff where you can often see sharks and stingrays circling in the crystal clear waters below.
From Denham, we often do a day trip to Monkey Mia. We always try to get a super early start to the day so we arrive for the first session of the dolphin experience to beat the crowds. We also really enjoyed the Wildsights Shotover Cruises, so much so we have done it twice! During the day we saw so much marine life including a tiger shark, turtles, dugongs and of course plenty of dolphins. Included in the tour was also a sunset cruise which we chose to do the next night. It was the perfect way to relax and enjoy a few drinks while watching the sun go down.
We don't often stay in Carnarvon, mostly using it as a stop between drives to get out and stretch our legs. Our go to spots are Morels to get a bit of a sugar kick from their chocolate dipped bananas and of course the famous cactus garden.
Next up is Coral Bay - Coral Bay will always be our favorite spot along the Coral Coast we visit it every year without fail. In our opinion, it has the best beaches in Australia. We love the main bay and Five Fingers Reef but if you're willing to go off road and into the dunes you will find so many small, secluded beaches that you often have all to yourself.
Over the years we have done nearly every tour, cruise or experience they have to offer. One of our favourites is the Glass Bottom Boat where they take you to some of the best spots in the bay before you jump in for a snorkel to view the coral and marine life. We also did the Quad bike tour at sunset which took us off road into the dunes for a leisurely drive along the coastline before stopping at Five Fingers Beach to watch the sunset.
Finally our last stop is always Exmouth with many different beautiful locations to visit and experiences to enjoy. The Cape Range National Park has one of the most famous beaches in Australia - Turquoise Bay. The snorkeling experience here is amazing even for beginners with a gentle current to take you along the shoreline.
If there is one tour or experience you do along the coast let it be the swim with Whale Sharks. This will always be our all time favourite experience. There are a few companies to choose from in Exmouth, we went with Ningaloo Discovery and had the most incredible day swimming with these gentle and majestic creatures.
Charles Knife Canyon is also a must do, especially at sunset - we usually pack a rug and a few drinks and get comfy watching the sunset over the hills. It's always the perfect way to end our trip along the coast.
We are currently traveling through Central Australia in our trusty trailer but can't wait to return to WA to finish our big trip via the Coral Coast Highway that inspired us to quit our jobs and travel full time.