Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

The Perth to Exmouth road trip would have to be one of the most scenic in Australia. Beginning in Perth, a city with a rich vibrant lifestyle we take you to a place where vast rugged vistas meet the endless turquoise waters of the West Australian coastline.

Exmouth is famous for the Cape Range National Park and the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef which is famous for whale watching and whale sharks.

So come along with us as we show you why West Australia should be on the top of everyone’s list of Australian destinations to visit.

Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

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Perth to Exmouth Distance

When planning a Perth to Exmouth road trip one of the most frequently asked questions is How far is Exmouth from Perth? The drive from Perth to Exmouth is 1,248 km on North West Coastal Highway (National route 1) and the Minilya-Exmouth Road.

The Perth to Exmouth drive takes around 13 hours to complete and should be split into segments for the best and safest trip. When taking a Perth to Exmouth road trip you will discover a land of wide open spaces which are complimented by outstanding beauty.

Perth to Exmouth Map

Best time to do a Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

Although you can take the Perth Exmouth road trip year round it is important to note that many of the attractions are seasonal.

Whale sharks visit the region between March and August, wildflower season is between June and October, whales migrate to the area from June to November and turtle nesting season is between November and March.

Weather should also be taken into consideration as summer months (December to February) have an average temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher. This makes a trip to the region less comfortable than during the cooler months.

Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

Perth to Exmouth Itinerary

Our Perth to Exmouth road trip takes us to several destinations including Geraldton, Port Gregory, the seaside resort town of Kalbarri, Denham & Monkey Mia, Carnarvon, Coral Bay and Exmouth.

Depending on your length of stay you can either add or subtract destinations, but we highly recommend keeping Kalbarri, Denham & Monkey Mia and Exmouth on your list if time permits.

Before you leave Perth

Perth would have to be one of the most picturesque capital cities in Australia. Nestled along the banks of the Swan River this elegant city is a mix of sophistication and laid back beach vibe. If this is your first visit to Perth, make sure to set aside time to visit the following attractions before you drive Perth to Exmouth. Here are a few of our favourites.

Perth City Skyline
Perth skyline

Kings Park

For the finest views of Perth and the Swan River make sure to visit Kings Park. The park is massive and a beautiful place to enjoy a picnic or watch the sunset over Perth. For the best vantage point head on over to the State War Memorial.

Perth Beaches

Perth is a city of beaches and one of the most famous is Cottesloe Beach. Instantly recognised by the nearby Indiana Tearooms these sheltered waters are a popular destination for families.

Scarborough Beach is another popular beach which is home to glistening white sand and stunning turquoise water. Nearby you will find a range of restaurants, coffee shops and bars that are a popular meeting place for locals.

Cottesloe Beach
Family fun at Cottesloe Beach

Visit Fremantle

Fremantle or Freo as it is fondly known is the historic heart of West Australia. The city is well known for its charming Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes and colonial buildings which include the Round House, the oldest public building in West Australia.

Today Fremantle has a bohemian vibe and is home to a thriving arts and culinary scene. The area is full of restaurants some of which overlook Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and Bathers Beach. Fremantle is 22 km from Perth and easily accessible by train from Perth Station.

Bon Scott statue Fremantle
Bon Scott statue Fremantle

Perth Tours

Perth has a great selection of tours including the Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Tour and the Rottnest Island Tour to name a few.

We had the pleasure of taking the Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Tour and had a fun day cruising the Swan River with lunch and wine tastings at Sandalford Wines and you can read about it here.

Where to stay in Perth

Perth has a wide range of accommodation including hotels and apartments. Click here to see more Perth accommodation.

Top tips for a safe Perth to Exmouth road trip

It is important to note that during a Perth to Exmouth road trip you will be driving along lonely stretches of road. For safety’s sake make sure your car is in good working order and carry plenty of water, food, carry your own fuel or top up at every fuel stop along the way. If you break down always stay with your car.

Geraldton

The distance from Perth to Geraldton is 419 km with a drive time of around 4 hours and 20 minutes. When travelling to Geraldton you have a choice of two routes with both taking approximately the same time to travel.

The coastal route on State Route 60 follows the coastline and travels through destinations such as Jurien Bay. We chose to take the inland route on National Route 1 which passes farmland and the small town of Gingin.

Geraldton is the last city you will pass through on your journey to Exmouth, so it is wise to pick up any last minute needs before hitting the road.

Things to see in Geraldton

There is a lot to enjoy in Geraldton, you can visit the beaches, stroll along the Esplanade or visit Point Moore Lighthouse. Below are two attractions that shouldn’t be missed.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial

On the 19th of November 1941, the HMAS Sydney was sunk off the coast of West Australia during a battle with the German cruiser the Kormoran. The conflict resulted in the loss of life of all aboard the HMAS Sydney.

The HMAS Sydney II Memorial is a moving tribute to these brave young men and the families they left behind.

HMAS Sydney II Memorial
HMAS Sydney II Memorial

Museum of Geraldton

The Museum of Geraldton has a fascinating range of exhibits that showcase native animal and sea life, historic shipwrecks and the rich culture of the local Yamaji people.

Geraldton Tours

Geraldton is all about taking to the sea and one of the best ways to do it is to take a tour. Popular Geraldton tours include the Geraldton Fishing Charter and Lobster Fishing Tour at Geraldton.

Where to stay in Geraldton

Geraldton has a range of accommodation including hotels, apartments and caravan parks. Click here to see more Geraldton accommodation.

Kalbarri & Port Gregory

The distance from Geraldton to Kalbarri is 155 km and takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive. Drive along National Route 1 until you reach the town of Northampton and turn onto State Route 139 to Kalbarri.

The Pink Lake Port Gregory

Enroute to Kalbarri make sure to stop off at Hutt Lagoon near Port Gregory. Hutt lagoon is better known as the Pink Lake due to the algae which gives the lagoon it’s pretty pink hue. The Pink Lake is a popular place for a holiday snap or Instagram shot.

Pink Lake at Hutt Lagoon
Hutt Lagoon or Pink Lake as it is better known.

Things to do in Kalbarri

Kalbarri is a much loved resort town that sits at the mouth of the Murchison River. This fishing and boating haven is surrounded by the Kalbarri National Park which blooms with colour during wildflower season from July to October. The region is host to a rugged natural beauty which is breathtaking in its wilderness and grandeur.

Kalbarri foreshore
Kalbarri fishing and boating paradise.

Kalbarri National Park

The Kalbarri National Park is 186,000 hectares in size and runs inland and along the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs. The park has several walks including The Loop, Natures Window and the Z bend.

It is advisable to start the walks early in the morning as the park gets hot during the day. Always take water, a hat, good walking shoes and stick to the tracks. Entry fees apply when visiting the park with a selection of visitor options.

Kalbarri Skywalk

Located within Kalbarri National Park the twin viewing platforms of Kalbarri Skywalk take in views of the impressive Murchison River Gorge.

Paths crisscross the Skywalk telling the story of the local animals, geological history and the heritage of the Nanda people, the traditional owners of the land.

Kalbarri-Skywalk
Kalbarri-Skywalk

Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs

These windswept cliffs have an untamed splendour which is both magnificent and foreboding. Stretching along the coast they have names such as Grandstand, Natural Bridge and Mushroom Rock. These tall, jagged cliffs plunge deeply into the churning ocean below and remind us of the shipwrecks that litter the West Australian coast.

Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs
Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs in Kalbarri National Park.

As you drive between Kalbarri and Port Gregory you will find turnoffs to the cliffs. At Grandstand you can join the Bigurda Trail, a pathway which runs along the coast.

Where to stay in Kalbarri

Kalbarri has a range of accommodation including hotels, apartments and caravan parks. Click here to see more Kalbarri accommodation.

Denham & Monkey Mia

The Kalbarri to Denham & Monkey Mia drive is 374 km and takes around 4 hours to drive. Leaving Kalbarri take the Adjana – Kalbarri Road to National Route 1. Follow National Route 1 until you get to the Shark Bay Road turnoff which is just past the Overlander Roadhouse. While there make sure to fill up with fuel at the roadhouse.

Denham and Monkey Mia are 26 km apart and it takes about 18 minutes to drive between the two. The region’s most famous attraction are the wild bottlenose dolphins of Monkey Mia. Here you can see the dolphins of Shark Bay as they visit the shore each day.

The town of Denham has a bigger choice of accommodation than Monkey Mia and there are a collection of shops, restaurants and pubs. Monkey Mia is home to the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort which is in a pretty location and allows a better chance of seeing the dolphins.

Denham

Denham sits on the shores of UNESCO World Heritage listed Shark Bay. The bay is famous for the vast seagrass meadows that support a range of marine life including turtles, dolphins, dugongs and sharks.

The area has an interesting history, the traditional owners of the land are the Malgana, Nhanda and Inggarda peoples. In 1616 the Dutch sea Captain Dirk Hartog was the first European to lead an expedition to the land. The discovery of pearls in 1854 led to the founding of Denham and the town is now the hub of the Shark Bay region.

Denham Esplanade
Views overlooking Denham Recreation Jetty.

Things to do in Denham

Although the main tourist attraction is the dolphins of Monkey Mia, Denham has a relaxed vibe and is a steppingstone to many nearby natural attractions. Shell Beach and the Stromatolites (one of the oldest forms of life on earth) at Hamelin Pool are just two of these attractions with many more on the doorstep.

Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery and Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre is in the heart of town and the place to learn about the history, animals and marine life of Shark Bay.

Denham Recreation Jetty

Stroll along the foreshore to Denham Jetty. Here you will get a glimpse of the seagrass beds which have an area of 4,800 km2 making them the largest and richest in the world.

Monkey Mia

To get to Monkey Mia you will have to enter Monkey Mia Conservation Park. Fees apply when entering the park and they can be paid at the booth as you enter.

Monkey Mia Conservation Park Visitor Centre is located next to the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort and overlooks a picturesque bay and jetty.

Monkey Mia a must stop off point during a Perth to Exmouth Road Trip
The Dolphin’s at Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia Dolphin Feeding Times

The dolphins of Monkey Mia have been interacting with visitors for over 40 years. These days the visits are controlled by Park Rangers to ensure the dolphins retain their natural hunting instincts.

Shark Bay is home to over 2,000 dolphins and while some visit the shore at Monkey Mia, only five adult females are fed. Usually the dolphins come to shore three times a day with feeding times starting between 7.45am and 12 noon. Feeding times depend on when the dolphins visit and being wild animals there are some instances where they may not show.

Where to stay in Denham & Monkey Mia

Denham has a range of accommodation including resorts, hotels, apartments and caravan parks. Denham accommodation books out quickly so book early to avoid disappointment.

During our visit we stayed in Denham, we chose an apartment which was comfortable and walking distance to the beach and jetty, restaurants and pub.

Click here to see more Denham accommodation

We enjoyed our time in Denham but if we could do it again, we would stay at the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. The resort is pricy, but it is in a lovely location, and you have a better chance of seeing the dolphins.

Click here for RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort accommodation

RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
Looking back over the RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.

Carnarvon

The distance from Denham to Carnarvon is 325 km and takes approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes to drive. Head back along Shark Bay Road to National Highway 1 and head north to Carnarvon.

Carnarvon is located at the mouth of the Gascoyne River and was founded in 1883 as a port and supply centre for the region. Not only does Carnarvon have a rich pastoral heritage but it is also home to fertile plantations and a thriving fishing industry.

Things to do in Carnarvon

There are a few things to do in Carnarvon, watch the sun set as you stroll along the Fascine or discover the history of Carnarvon at the Heritage Precinct. Below is just one of my favourite Carnarvon attractions.

Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum

The Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum celebrates the part Carnarvon played during NASA’s manned space programs of the 1960’s & 1970’s.

Set up as a tracking station for the Gemini and Apollo space programs, Carnarvon played an important part in the Apollo 11 lunar landing. While there you can experience a take-off in the Apollo 11 simulator.

Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum
Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum

Where to stay in Carnarvon

Carnarvon has a range of accommodation including hotels, apartments and caravan parks. Make sure to book early to avoid disappointment. Click here to see more Carnarvon accommodation.

Coral Bay

The Carnarvon to Coral Bay distance is 238 km and takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive. Take National Route 1 north and turn off at Minilya-Exmouth Road. Drive along the Minilya-Exmouth Road until you come to the Coral Bay turn off.

Coral Bay is an aquatic paradise and one of West Australia’s best kept secrets. This tiny town has a laidback vibe with glistening white sands and beautiful coral gardens that are just metres from the shore. Coral Bay is perfect for a relaxing holiday of swimming, snorkelling and fishing.

Coral Bay
Scenic Coral Bay.

Where to stay in Coral Bay

Coral Bay has a limited range of accommodation including resorts, hotels and caravan parks. Note that accommodation books out quickly so book early to avoid disappointment.

Click here to see more Coral Bay accommodation.

Exmouth

The distance from Coral Bay to Exmouth is 152 km and takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive. Between Coral Bay and Exmouth, you will see hundreds of termite mounds scattered across the arid terrain, a landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. In the distance the flat scenery transforms into the rocky ranges of the Cape Range National Park.

Passing Termite mounds during our Perth to Exmouth drive
Termite mounds on the road to Exmouth.

As you enter town you will be greeted by the glistening waters of the Indian Ocean which are a stark contrast to the rugged vistas that meet the water’s edge.

Exmouth is located on the North West Cape of West Australia and is the gateway to the Ningaloo Coast which is home to a spectacular array of marine life. Here you can see the migratory whale sharks and whales that the region is famous for.

Best time to visit Exmouth

When visiting Exmouth, it is important to note that the summer months (December to February) are scorchers with average temperatures reaching 38 degrees Celsius or higher.

You will also find that many attractions are seasonal. For example, whale sharks visit the region between March and August, whales migrate to the area from June to November, wildflower season is between June and October and turtle nesting season is between November and March.

Things to do in Exmouth

Exmouth is the steppingstone to some of the most picturesque scenery on the planet. While there you can explore the creeks and gorges of the Cape Range National Park, discover Exmouth’s wartime and defence history, snorkel and dive on the Ningaloo Reef, or relax on some of the world’s most pristine beaches and marvel at the beauty of the region.

Cape Range National Park
Cape Range National Park.

Best beaches Exmouth

There are numerous beaches in the area, the closest to town are Town Beach and Bundegi Beach. Town Beach has a well shaded picnic and barbeque area, and the coarse white sand is perfect for beachcombing with many small shells and coral being washed up on the beach.

Town Beach Exmouth
Town Beach

Bundegi Beach sits in the shadow of the Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt radio towers that stand up to 387 metres tall. The beach is popular for swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and fishing. The best time to snorkel is at high tide.

Further afield you will find turnoffs to many beaches including Lakeside where you can snorkel from the shore. All beaches are lovely, but my favourite would have to be Turquoise Bay.

Turquoise Bay

Turquoise Bay is located within the Cape Range National Park. Entry fees apply when entering the park and what you pay will depend on the length of stay and whether you are camping. You can pay at the kiosks that are at the side of the road.

There is only one word to describe Turquoise Bay and that is stunning! The bay lives up to its name with turquoise waters and bright white sand. Turquoise Bay is fabulous for snorkelling but if you don’t have a snorkel, it doesn’t matter because the fish swim around you. Turquoise Bay would have to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Turquoise Bay WA
Turquoise Bay living up to its name.

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse is the best place to get sweeping views of the Ningaloo Coast, the VLF Towers and the Cape Range National Park.

Between June and November, it’s the perfect place for whale spotting as humpback whales make their annual migration. While there learn about the part Exmouth played during the second world war.

Vlamingh Head Lighthouse
Vlamingh Head Lighthouse.

Exmouth Tours

Exmouth has a fabulous range of tours that are truly unforgettable experiences. From swimming with whale sharks, whale watching, diving and snorkelling we have all the tours that will help you get the most out of exploring this stunning region.

If you are looking for the best whale shark tour Exmouth delivers, check out our range below.

Exmouth Accommodation

Exmouth has a range of accommodation including resorts, apartments, holiday homes, holiday parks and exclusive safari camps. During whale shark season, whale watching season, school and Christmas holidays Exmouth accommodation sells out quickly so book early to avoid disappointment.

Click here for Exmouth accommodation options.

Quick facts on Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

How far is Exmouth from Perth?

Perth to Exmouth is 1,248 km and takes around 13 hours.

How far is Geraldton from Perth?

The distance from Perth to Geraldton is 419 km with a drive time of around 4 hours and 20 minutes.

What is the Perth to Denham distance?

Perth to Denham is 823 km and takes approximately 8 hours and 30 minutes to drive.

What is the Geraldton to Carnarvon distance?

The Geraldton to Carnarvon distance is 475 km, a 5 hour drive.

What is the Geraldton to Coral Bay distance?

Geraldton to Coral Bay is 706 km and takes approximately 7 hours and 15 minutes to complete.

What is the distance Geraldton to Exmouth?

The Geraldton to Exmouth distance is 883 km and takes around 8 hours and 30 minutes if you drive straight through.

What is the distance from Geraldton to Kalbarri?

The distance from Geraldton to Kalbarri is 155 km and takes around 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive.

How far is Kalbarri to Denham & Monkey Mia?

Kalbarri to Denham & Monkey Mia drive is 374 km and takes around 4 hours to drive.

How far is Monkey Mia from Denham?

Denham and Monkey Mia are 26 km apart and it takes about 18 minutes to drive between the two.

What is the distance from Denham to Exmouth?

Denham to Exmouth is 683 km and takes 7 hours to drive.

What is the distance from Denham to Carnarvon?

The distance from Denham to Carnarvon is 325 km and takes approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes to drive.

How far is Monkey Mia to Exmouth?

Monkey Mia to Exmouth is 708 km and takes 7 hours and 15 minutes.

How far is Carnarvon to Coral Bay?

Carnarvon to Coral Bay distance is 238 km and takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive.

What is the Carnarvon to Exmouth distance?

Carnarvon to Exmouth distance is 365 km and takes around 4 hours to drive.

What is the distance from Coral Bay to Exmouth?

The distance from Coral Bay to Exmouth is 152 km and takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive.

Ros and Alan during our road trip.
Enjoying a day at Scarborough Beach during our road trip.

Last Words on Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

Visiting from the east coast of Australia we couldn’t help but be surprised by the loneliness of the road and the vast distances between towns and settlements.

We fell in love with the harsh beauty of West Australia and found that the states remoteness only adds to its mystique. Travelling through the state we were impressed with each changing vista, something which makes you want to go back and experience more.

Have you done a Perth to Exmouth road trip? What did you love about West Australia, we would love to hear your story? Feel free to leave a comment.

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Perth to Exmouth Road Trip
Road trip from Perth to Exmouth

Perth to Exmouth Road Trip

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