Wildflowers, outback and coast: 5 day itinerary

Take a colour-filled road trip along Indian Ocean Drive, the Pinnacles Desert, to the ultimate outback coast adventure playground in the ancient gorges of Kalbarri National Park. Wildflowers, outback and coast: 5 day itinerary
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Wildflowers, outback and coast: 5 day itinerary

Where yellow moonscapes, ancient red gorges and wildflower blooms meet Indian Ocean blues. 

Take a colour-filled road trip along Indian Ocean Drive, from one of Australia’s most unique landscapes, the Pinnacles Desert, to the ultimate outback coast adventure playground in the ancient gorges of Kalbarri National Park.

Best time: June to September to coincide with the wildflowers (wildflowers appear in the South West – around the Margaret River region – in September and October).


Pinnacles Desert
• Leseuer National Park
• Jurien Bay Marine Park
• Geraldton
• Abrolhos Islands
• Kalbarri National Park

                                                                    Words by Tourism Western Australia

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park, Western Australia (c) Australia's Coral Coast


Morning: Perth to Nambung National Park

Heading north from Perth on Wanneroo Road, the Indian Ocean Drive begins in the all-action windsurfing and sandboarding town of Lancelin and leads you direct to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park.

The road into the Pinnacles Desert is sealed.

Follow the drive trail or walking track, weaving through thousands of golden limestone spires formed over millions of years, then head to the Pinnacles Discovery Centre to learn more about this lunar-like landscape.

Afternoon: Nambung National Park to Cervantes

For more other-worldly experiences, continue to Lake Thetis (located off Hansen Bay Road) to marvel at the stromatolites and strombalites – some of the oldest living fossils on Earth.

On reaching the crayfishing town of Cervantes, take a relaxing dip at Hangover Bay or Thirsty Point, and an informative tour of the town’s rock lobster factory, the Lobster Shack.

Feast on the catch of the day at local restaurants and cafes, and select your accommodation, from hostels and motels to holiday cottages, camping and caravan parks.

Jurien Bay Marine Park, Western Australia (c) Australia's Coral Coast


Morning: Cervantes to Jurien Bay

For panoramic views of native bushland set against Indian Ocean backdrops, make Molah Hill and Grigson’s Lookouts your first stops on the road north.

The panoramas are especially striking in spring, when the blooms of more than 900 wildflower species colour the landscape of Lesueur National Park.

On reaching Jurien Bay (just 25 minustes north of Cervantes), you can choose to spend the rest of your morning snorkelling the biodiverse Jurien Bay Marine Park.

Or, you can get a completely different perspective of the coral coast by skydiving out of a plane and onto the beach.

At Jurien Bay, jump aboard a sea lion charter to meet some of Australia’s rarest and most playful marine life.

Afternoon: Jurien Bay to Dongara

Head north towards Dongara-Denison, a 4WD detour leads you to Stockyard Gully National Park, where caving enthusiasts and curious beginners will find wonder, challenge and wildlife encounters.

If you're travelling by 2WD, enjoy an afternoon exploring Dongara. Grab a coffee under the fig trees of Moreton Terrace, discover the town’s charming heritage-listed buildings along the 1.6 kilometre walk trail and enjoy another fresh seafood feast for dinner.

Stay overnight in Dongara in your choice of hostel, motel, hotel or camping and caravan parks, like Dongara Tourist Park. 


Morning: Dongara to Geraldton

On your way to the colonial port city of Geraldton, more of the region's past is revealed with a visit to the beautifully preserved Greenough Central Historic Settlement.

You can continue immersing yourself in the history and culture of the Batavia Shipwreck coast at the Geraldton Museum and its Aboriginal art gallery, before lunch on Geraldton's buzzing foreshore. 

Afternoon: Abrolhos Islands

Perfect wind and swell conditions make Geraldton Australia’s windsurfing capital, and the 122 coral-fringed Abrolhos Islands offer the ideal playground for indulging in water sports.

Extend your stay by an extra day to join a fishing, diving or snorkelling charter, or book a short scenic flight to take in the islands and Batavia Coast.

Choose from Geraldton’s hotels, motels, self-contained houses and apartments, caravan parks and bed and breakfast accommodation for your overnight stay.

Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs, Western Australia (c) Australia's Coral Coast


Morning: Geraldton to Kalbarri

The Indian Ocean Drive ends in Geraldton, but your coastal adventure continues.

Head north on the North West Coastal Highway, turning onto Port Gregory Road/George Grey Drive to explore dramatic coastal rock formations, 400-million-year-old river gorges and dazzling spring wildflower displays (July to October) in Kalbarri National Park.

If you’re visiting between June and November, watch for migrating humpback whales and their young calves making the journey to their feeding grounds in the Southern and Antarctic oceans.

Afternoon: Kalbarri

From Kalbarri town, you can go river cruising, beach fishing, deep sea fishing, bushwalking, kayaking, abseiling, rock climbing, horse riding, or just take in the view from the park’s lookouts, including the iconic Nature’s Window.

Take your pick from a good selection of local tours, dining options and accommodation styles.



Morning: Kalbarri to Perth

The Brand Highway (Route 1) will get you back to Perth in six and a half hours. But if you’re visiting between the months of July and October, consider making a detour inland from Geraldton through the wildflower hotspots of Mullewa, Three Springs and Carnamah.


This article originally appeared on Tourism Western Australia

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