Perth to Broome: The Ultimate Western Australian Road Trip
Travelling from Perth to Broome is the ultimate Western Australian road trip. It’s a long, long way to drive - over 1,400 miles in fact - but there are incredible places along the way to stop off at to not only break up the journey, but to make the journey itself the best part of this road trip. Broome in the far north of Western Australia is remote and isolated but surrounded by wild scenery and home to some of the most intriguing local cultures in the state. Along the road to Broome there are spectacular national parks, rugged coastline, pristine beaches and quirky outback towns to explore. It might be a long way to drive, but it’s a real Western Australian adventure.
Lancelin and the Pinnacles
Perth might be one of the most remote cities in the world, but heading north away from Western Australia’s state capital, things will start to become even more remote as distances between destinations quickly become further and further apart.
This is the real Western Australia, and the first stop on the road trip to Broome should be the sand dunes of Lancelin. Although this area of pure white sands and shifting dunes are only 100 kilometres from Perth, it’s a great first stop to prepare for the many thousands of kilometres that remain. Get the sand board out or hit the dunes in an off-road buggy to really experience Lancelin.
Once you are sanded out, carry on to the Pinnacles, a strange landscape of thousands of bizarre, pointed rocks that cover a vast area of otherwise flat, featureless and arid desert.
Kalbarri National Park
Drive further north from Perth and the roads begin to become longer and straighter and the distances start to add up. A few hundred kilometres up the road from Lancelin and the Pinnacles is Kalbarri National Park.
Kalbarri is a small, seaside town with colourful sunsets that’s surrounded by high, dramatic cliffs that drop almost vertically into the crashing ocean below. The cliffs of Kalbarri and the nearby gorges and rivers form the National Park, offering hiking, camping and diverse scenery to road trippers. One of the most photographed spots in Western Australia is found at Kalbarri too, take a hike to Nature’s Window, for one of the best views in the state.
The Shark Bay Peninsular is a long round trip detour from the highway, but it’s worth every extra kilometre needed to get there. This rugged peninsular is only accessible by a solitary road which cuts through the wilderness, but here there are untouched white sand beaches, there are beaches made entirely of shells, and at a small resort named Monkey Mia, a pod of dolphins swim into the bay each and every morning to be studied and lightly fed by research staff while they show off to the visitors.
Almost halfway along the long Western Australia coastline towards Broome is Coral Bay. There’s not a lot to see in this small, unassuming town, just a few pubs, hotels and lots of caravan parks, but Coral Bay is in exceptionally stunning surroundings. This is where the Ningaloo Reef, the largest fringing reef in the world - yes, bigger than the Great Barrier Reef! - begins, before stretching for hundreds of kilometres along the coast. Coral Bay is the perfect stop off point to enjoy the beach, to go snorkelling or scuba diving and to just relax in the peaceful, small town setting. And as a bonus, Coral Bay’s bakery is one of the best in the whole of Western Australia.
The Ningaloo Reef carries on along the coast from Coral Bay, up to the small town of Exmouth where travellers can visit not only the marine sanctuaries and coral reef, but get out and hiking in the Cape Range National Park, a wilderness of gorges, rivers and mountains. Exmouth is where the range meets the reef, and it’s a paradise for outdoor lovers. There are places to camp along the coast, snorkelling spots just off the beaches and best of all, between March and August thousands of whale sharks pass along the coast here, and sightings are guaranteed almost every day during the migration season.
Karijini National Park
Away from the coastline of Western Australia in the huge, semi-arid desert of the Pilbarra Region is the state’s second largest and arguably best National Park. Karijini National Park is an adventure playground for adults: there are gorges, mountains, natural swimming pools and waterfalls to experience. The landscape is unreal, with colourful rocks and endless red dust stretching for miles in the outback landscape. Karijini is a remote destination, but there are campsites and even a glamping retreat way out in the middle of this desert which are all hiking distance to the gorges and swimming pools.
From Karijini National Park it’s still a long drive to Broome, and the roads are long, straight and empty. The landscapes stretch flat into the distance and the sense of insignificance in this huge land is bewildering. There are few stops left on the way, but call in at Port Hedland for supplies on the coast before travelling the last few hundred kilometres past pristine beaches and deserted, rugged coastline to finally arrive in Broome.
Once in Broome, the road trip might be over but there is a lot to see and a lot to do in this isolated northern city. Broome is still off the radar in terms of tourism, but that is fast changing as word spreads of the city’s beautiful beaches and laid back culture. There are pearl farms to explore, there’s wilderness to see and there’s even the odd crazy crab race to experience at the local pub.
Aussie Road Trip Tips
Western Australia is a huge state and the distance between Perth and Broome shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s best to take at least ten days to two weeks of road tripping to travel this route and to allow you to stop off and enjoy the destinations along the way. Make sure to keep your vehicle topped up with fuel and take plenty of water too, as supplies can be hard to come by in the more remote areas, and it’s best to be prepared in this part of Australia.