This Western Australia Guide and the Aussie Overlanders Guides aim to put on one page a summary of our experience driving through Australia. We hope they help you plan your travels and get the most out of your trip. It might be useful to keep in mind our style of travel – a self sufficient 4WD. And, our mindset – we love staying in the middle of nowhere, where the stars, sun and local wildlife sing the loudest.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA GUIDE
The first thing to understand about Western Australia is this: It. Is. Gigantic.
We entered Western Australia via Kununurra and hit the Gibb River Road. The far reaches of Western Australia proved to hold the roughest roads and the most absolutely spectacular landscapes of Australia.
Kununurra – Gibb River Road – Mitchell Plateau – Broome – Cape Leveque – Karijini NP – Coral Bay (Ningaloo Reef) – Exmouth (Ningaloo Reef) – Red Bluff – Dampier Peninsula – Carnarvon – Kalbarri – Cervantes – Perth – Margaret River – Esperance – Cape Le Grand NP – into the Nullabor in South Australia
QUICK STATISTICS: DRIVING WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Days: 62 DAYS. Approx. 2 months!
Highest Diesel Price: $2.35 at Drysdale River Station on the way to Mitchell Falls
Number of times filled up: 18. Note: We had a mechanic mess up our fuel change over switch in southern WA, so this increased the amount we had to fill up as we had to operate off one tank.
Litres Of Diesel: 1492L
Total Spend On Diesel: $2513
Arguments that resulted in discussion of the nearest airport: 0 (Because the airports were always too far away. If you drive WA jump in a car with someone you love through thick and thin!)
? Engagements ? : 1!
Average Price Of Diesel: $1.748 (Ouch!)
Average Diesel Consumption: 16.44 L/100KM
Average Cost Per 100Kms: $28.73
Mitchell Falls is a mission and a half to get to. It took us approximately 12-hours to drive 700-kilometres on a road lined with the type of corrugations that slam your vehicle in the most bone rattling kind of way. The road is a morgue of underprepared and unfortunate vehicles. But it’s also one of our favourite roads of our entire trip around Aus.
Rise early and walk to the falls before everyone else gets there. National Parks advise it can take 3-hours from the campsite to hike to the falls. We took 40-minutes. Factor in extra time to take in the Aboriginal paintings.
The Gorges Of Gibb River Road
The Gibb River Road is a broad dirt track that varies in bumpiness – dependent on whether you are fresh on the tail of a grading machine. It may occasionally feel like a highway, but it’s not. You are entering into a very remote part of Australia so ensure you are prepared. Getting towed out will cost you dearly. Beware vehicles flying along at 100-kms and the rocks they fling at your windscreen.
Our favourite part of the track was the incredible fresh water gorges. Get there early in the day to have them to yourself. Our favourite was El Questro gorge because it seems 90% of people aren’t game enough to scramble over the rocks so you really get the most spectacular part of it to yourself.
Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park
We were lucky enough to have incredible friends in Exmouth who took us out on their boat. We snorkelled off and found ourselves swimming side by side with a giant Loggerhead turtle. The underwater life is abundant. Get ready for your own *pinch yourself* moment.
Swimming With Whale Sharks
We swam with Whale Sharks on a Coral Bay Eco Tours day trip. This costs approx. $370-400 each and is worth every penny. One of the most incredible experiences of our lives! DO IT.
Horizontal Falls In The Kimberley
Western Australia is packed with ONCE IN A LIFETIME experiences and this is another. Join a chartered flight, zoom over the aqua waters (where you can spot turtles and sharks from above) and land on the ocean in amongst some of the most remote islands in Australia. Then, after you cage swim with sharks jump on a speed boat that zooms through the Horizontal Falls.
The ‘Horries’ as we call them are a gap between two strips of land where, because of the 10-metre tides water gushes through like a waterfall. In a high powered speed boat you can zoom through the small gap at full throttle. SO.MUCH.FUN.
Pricey at $795 each. We went with Horizontal Falls Adventure and they were a class act.
CAUTION: This experience clearly messes with your mind. Gareth proposed a few hours after zooming through the falls, and just like that, we were ? engaged ?.
Karijini National Park
Absolutely spectacular red iron ore rock formation filled country with gorges to match the awe.
Go there for wine, cheese and to indulge! There is a caravan park in town with tiny spots, but it’s within a 15-minute walk of town. Our favourite winery was Vasse Felix – the oldest in the region. And see below for our mechanic recommendation in town.
Esperance and Cape Le Grand
This is god’s country. Here the most spectacular white sand beaches smash it up with a dramatic coastline. We are actually considering moving here once we are ready to buy some land.
More than any other State Western Australia seemed to have a lack of free or fairly priced camps. There are however many road side stops that allow 24 hour stays. The free camps vary from being right on the roads (accompanied with road trains roaring past all night) or being a bit further back. The photo above shows a wild camp we found in the Pilbarra. One of the rare spots we found… when we were really hunting.
If you wild camp like we try to, PLEASE take your rubbish and shit paper with you puhhhhh-leasee
Make sure you book ahead in Broome or at least be prepared to be flexible. In Cape Leveque you should definitely book ahead. We were there in peak season and it was booked out a month in advance. There are aboriginal run camps relatively close, but the facilities are of no comparison, and as the Broome tourist official told us “Do not stay there if no-one welcomes you. They are likely sleeping or drinking. But they won’t like it if you pitch up”. Despite this we LOVED the beach at aboriginal run Chilli Creek Camp.
The busy season extends to Cape Range National Park where the ocean front camp spots that are booked out by Grey Nomads for weeks on end. You can book these online.
Amongst our favourite camps of the entire Australian journey is Red Bluff. Arriving here is like stepping back in time. The vibe here is young, chilled, the main activity is surfing and there is no room for pretension.
Far more suited to ground tents and 4X4 camping set-ups. Leave your caravan at home for this one. You will get there in it but it just doesn’t fit the vibe. Wherever you camp will be ocean front and you will undoubtedly see whales, sharks and dream about becoming an epic surfer dude.
Ningaloo Station and Quobba Station have incredible camp spots.
We stayed just a few nights but could have easily set up shop for a few weeks. Bring everything. There is nothing here except nature.
WORTH A MENTION
We had an awful terrible experience with Bunbury Toyota. A few days later we were very happy to find Caves Mechanical in Margaret River.
We wish all workshops were like this! We were so relieved to meet Alistair the owner. He cares and he knows his sh!t. Backed by a 70-year old guy, Derek, who is a walking encyclopaedia of all things mechanical.
We absolutely recommend you go there if you ever find yourself in Margaret River. They also have a mid-sized ARB attached.
As a guide Western Australia is a fairly expensive state. This is due to the mining industry and its vast size/remoteness.
Our advice? Forget about the $, sit back and enjoy the ride.
SEE WESTERN AUSTRALIA FOR YOURSELF:
^ Mitchell Falls from helicopter
^ The Kimberley’s buffallo roam freely. And, look like ghosts.
^ One of the most incredible roads of the entire trip in Western Australia was driving through the Kimberley’s to Mitchell Plateau. Palm trees, buffalo, red dirt, slow roads and one of the most remote places you can visit in Australia.
^ Gibb River Road river crossings
^ Cape Leveque area. We had this entire beach to ourselves in Western Australia.
^ The morning after Gareth proposed marriage in Broome!
^ The scenery and colours of WA’s bush are like nowhere else in Aus #true
^ Inflating and deflating to maximise the life of our BFGs
^ Coral Bay sunsets. We saw quite a few.
HINT: If you go here, go to the bakery, it’s impossible to miss.
^ Charter fishing in Exmouth
^ Deep sea fishing
^ As we were fishing huge Whales breached just metres away
Want more guides? Head to our RESOURCES page