Booked your family getaway to the Coral Coast these school holidays? Wander out yonder and experience the region in a new light this year, on tour with the locals. Here's some inspiration to get you started.
Indian Ocean Drive
The southern gateway to the Coral Coast region, the Indian Ocean Drive winds its way past the family-friendly coastal towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Green Head, Leeman and Dongara-Port Denison with plenty of activities on offer to fill your time along this coastal stretch:
- Families love exploring the otherworldly Pinnacles Desert, but while you're here don't forget to visit The Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre. Displays, soundscapes and videos explain the geology and history of the Pinnacles as well as cultural and natural heritage values of the area.
- Head to Lobster Shack in Cervantes for a behind-the-scenes-tour of a working rock lobster factory before enjoying a delicious fresh seafood lunch.
- Jurien Bay is home to one of the main breeding grounds for the rare Australian Sea Lion, with hundreds of sea lions calling the Jurien Bay Marine Park home. Join a tour to get up close to these inquisitive and playful creatures.
- Jurien Bay Adventure Tours offer a range of tours that will keep children entertained. Tours include a sandboarding adventure that'll also highlight some of the area's lesser known history, a guided snorkelling tour, and a tour into Stockyard Gully Caves.
- Catch a movie at the Dongara Denison Drive-In, one of two drive-in cinemas still operating in WA. Check their Facebook page to find out what's playing and screening dates.
To find out more about things to see and do along the Indian Ocean Drive, click here.
Geraldton is a family-friendly city with a fantastic Foreshore and water-playground that kids love, and there are plenty of tours and activities to keep the whole family busy during school holidays.
- Spend time exploring the fantastic Museum of Geraldton, which celebrates the rich history of the land, sea and people of the Mid West region. The Museum's long-term exhibits (Mid West Gallery, Shipwrecks Gallery and From Great Depths) delve into the culture and history of the local Yamaji people, the region's unique landscapes and marine environment, and shares the tragic tales of four Dutch shipwrecks - the Batavia, Gilt Dragon, Zuytdorp and Zeewijk. From Great Depths is a 3D film showing the wrecks of the HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran, and those who are interested in naval history will also love a visit to the HMAS Sydney II Memorial.
- Located 60km offshore, the Houtman Abrolhos Islands have often been referred to as the 'Galapagos of the Indian Ocean' and offer an incredible experience for all ages. Experience the islands on a day tour via fast ferry with Abrolhos Adventures or scenic flight with Geraldton Air Charter or Shine Aviation.
- Don't forget to take a stroll along Marine Terrace for some window shopping and to pick up some mementos from your holiday. Latitude Gallery sells beautiful pieces of Abrolhos pearl jewellery, while Yamaji Art Gallery promotes local artists and sells incredible pieces of indigenous artwork.
- Explore Geraldton and surrounds on a guided tour with Midwest Adventure Tours and learn about the wonders of the Midwest region.
To find out more about things to see and do in Geraldton, click here.
Kalbarri is Western Australia's family favourite holiday playground, so it's no surprise that there's no shortage of family friendly tours and activities to do in the area!
- Set off on a guided quad bike tour along Wagoe Beach, soaking up views along the coastline and exploring sand dunes with Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours
- Meet the parrots at Rainbow Jungle, The Maze & Cinema Parrotiso. Rainbow Jungle is Australia's largest free-flight aviary, where you can get up close to these incredible birds before getting lost in The Maze and enjoying an evening film under the stars at the outdoor cinema.
- Visit the foreshore at 08:45am each morning to watch the Pelican Feeding
- Go horse riding at Big River Ranch. The Ranch also offers camping and some cabin accommodation for a unique experience.
- Explore Pink Lake (Hutt Lagoon) and the coastline around Port Gregory in a different way, on tour with Pink Lake Buggy Tours
- Discover the Murchison River on a fun and entertaining experience with Kalbarri Wilderness Cruises
- Canoe through Kalbarri National Park's gorges with Kalbarri Adventure Tours, or tour the National Park by road with D'Guy Charters
- Cruise below the coastal cliffs on tour with Kalbarri Rock Lobster Tours and Charters or Reefwalker Tours & Charters
- See the ancient landscape from above on a scenic flight with Kalbarri Scenic Flights
To find out more about things to see and do in Kalbarri, click here.
- Join an entertaining and educational guided tour through Ocean Park Aquarium, a marine eco-rehabilitation aquarium just south of Denham
- Visit the Shark Bay Discovery Centre
- Learn about the region's indigenous culture and history on tour with Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Cultural Adventures
- Set off on a wildlife cruise with Monkey Mia Wildsights, Perfect Nature Cruises (both from Monkey Mia) or Shark Bay Marine Safaris (from Denham) in search of marine life like dolphins, dugongs, turtles and more
- Ride a quad bike along the coastline with Shark Bay Scenic Quad Bike Tours
- Take a tour to the Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm, keeping your eyes peeled for marine life en route, and learn about the pearling industry. On tour you'll have the chance to watch the seeding, cultivating and harvesting of pearls
- Discover the region's kaleidoscope of colours from above, on a scenic flight with Shark Bay Aviation
- Join a local operator on a full day adventure into Francois Peron National Park or to Dirk Hartog Island, and discover some of the incredible and unique attributes that contribute to Shark Bay's World Heritage status.
To find out more about things to see and do in Shark Bay, click here.
The subtropical oasis of Carnarvon is filled with fun, family friendly activities and natural wonders to awe your kids. Make sure to spend at least one evening watching the sunset with a picnic at the Fascine (the town's central waterway).
- Discover the town's little known role in NASA's Manned Space Program and Australia's telecommunications history at the Carnarvon Space & Technology Museum. Did you know that Carnarvon helped to put man on the moon?!
- Visit Gwoonwardu Mia, Gascoyne Aboriginal Cultural & Heritage Centre and learn about the 5 Aboriginal language groups of the Gascoyne region.
- Take a drive along The Fruit Loop Drive to check out working plantations and pick up tasty snacks from roadside stalls. No visit to Carnarvon would be complete without a choc-coated banana or mango, or an iconic family pic at the Cactus Garden!
- Explore the One Mile Jetty Heritage Precinct and learn about Carnarvon's varied history.
- Visit the Quobba Blowholes, approximately 50 minutes north of town, and swim or snorkel at sheltered Point Quobba.
- Stay at an Station Stay, like Quobba Station or Wooramel River Retreat, for a taste of Australian outback life.
- Soak up the coastline from the air or journey to incredible, secluded locations with Coral Coast Helicopter Services.
To find out more about things to see and do in Carnarvon, click here.
Coral Bay is a marine-lovers paradise, and a town firmly cemented in the hearts of Western Australian families. Whether it's your first time visiting the coastal town, or you're going on your annual trip, there's always something new to explore in this magic destination.
- Explore the coral gardens which give this coastal town its name! Local operators like Coral Bay Ecotours, Ningaloo Marine Interactions and Ningaloo Reef Dive & Snorkel offer guided snorkelling tours on the Ningaloo Reef, as well as swimming with whale sharks and manta rays.
- Join a tour with Ningaloo Coral Bay Tours, who offer marine interaction tours (like swimming with manta rays) and glass-bottom boat tours - a great option for those with younger children or who don't want to swim but still see the reef.
- Glide over spectacular coral formations on a guided sea scooter snorkelling tour with Ningaloo Kayak Adventures. Kayak and paddleboard hire also available.
- Explore the coastline on a 4x4 off-road buggy tour with Coral Coast Tours! Much of the coastline around Coral Bay is accessible by 4WD only, but there are some spectacular places to see. Coral Coast Tours also offer jet treks and snorkelling tours aboard a high-speed RIHB (suitable for ages 10+)
- Head inland to Bullara Station and spend a night or two at the outback Station Stay. Don't forget to try the delicious homemade scones while you're there!
To find out more about things to see and do in Coral Bay, click here.
- Join a glass bottom boat tour with Ningaloo Ecology Cruises and marvel at the beauty of the reef through the boat. They also offer tours which incorporate snorkelling, which are a great combined option if not everyone wants to swim but still want to experience Ningaloo Reef.
- Join Exmouth Adventure Co on a guided snorkelling or kayaking tour and discover incredible coral formations and marine life on the Ningaloo Reef.
- Explore Yardie Creek on an informative guided tour with Yardie Creek Boat Tours. A self-guided walk trail follows the ridge of the creek, so you can experience the creek from both above and within.
- Swim with whale sharks and spend a day discovering the beauty of the reef. Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo, Kings Ningaloo Reef Tours, Live Ningaloo, Ningaloo Blue Dive, Ningaloo Discovery, Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim, Ningaloo Whaleshark n Dive, Ocean Eco Adventures and Three Islands Whale Shark Dive all operate tours from Exmouth, with free coach pick up and drop off from Exmouth town.
- Visit the Ningaloo Discovery Centre & Aquarium to discover Exmouth's history and learn about the area's flora and fauna.
- Have a go at being a whale shark spotter and soak up incredible views of the Reef and the Range on a scenic flight with Ningaloo Aviation.
- Explore the mighty Cape Range National Park on tour with Ningaloo Reef to Range Tours, Ningaloo Safari Tours or Venture Ningaloo.
To find out more about things to see and do in Exmouth, click here.