Perth to Exmouth: The West Coast is the Best Coast

For the traveler who would like to adventure up the West Coast there is an abundance to see and do! The locals have a saying, “the west coast is the best coast” and I found it worth the extra effort even though it was very remote.

I traveled the coast by myself so I initially was looking into a ride share to find people to travel with, but after researching the costs of hiring a vehicle, accommodation, petrol, etc. (and having a couple of plans fall through) I decided to take a tour. Depending on where you are going, taking a tour may be the most economical way to travel, even if you’re in a group (this assumes you will hire a vehicle/camper). Tours also provide reliable departures with all the details taken care of.

The highlights:

I was really interested in the Koala walk at Yanchep National Park. Koalas are not native to Western Australia, but the park hosts a haven for them. It’s challenging, but you can have a ton of fun spotting the koala’s in the trees.

The Pinnacles Desert is a sight to see. Surround yourself with hundreds of natural limestone formations jutting out of the yellow sand. The vastness of the area in which these formations appear allows you to fully immerse yourself in a unique natural wonder. The Pinnacles are particularly photogenic at sunset. Our experience was enhanced by kangaroos casually wondering about.

The Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Sunset at Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park, Western Australia

I had already been to a bunch of wildlife parks and rescue operations around Australia when we visited the Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park. I must admit that while I wouldn’t have picked it out were I not on a tour, but this park stood out to me as one of the best in Australia. Small and humble, the operators are running this park as a labor of love and it shows. The kangaroos you get to feed and socialize with are not able to be released to the wild for various reasons so they are permanent residents of the park. The owners explained that the ones able to be released were kept away from the park visitors so they don’t get too comfortable with humans. There’s a bit of everything here and it’s worth a stop.

Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Permanent residents at Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park, Western Australia

At the Hutt River Province I had my first experience eating cake with a Prince (we arrived on the 45 anniversary of their independence). Effectively, Hutt River Province is a farm with some charm. Prince Leonard himself told us the story of how the Hutt River Province came to be. You will leave with a strong opinion of the Prince (genius, madman, or perhaps both). An example of the character you’ll experience is the family made it clear that various departments of the Australian Government agree (or disagree) with the country status of the Province, but the taxation office agreed with them and that was (in their view) good enough. I found it fascinating the letters from the taxation office declaring their status as non-resident for tax purposes had been immortalized as plaques. Furthermore, Prince Leonard had a place mat he had gotten from a traveler that was a map of the world. Canberra the capitol of Australia wasn’t labeled on the mat but the Hutt River Province was. Prince Leonard was glowing with pride as he would show off the place mat anyone who would listen. If that sort of character is your cup of tea, be sure to stop. They don’t accept cards, so bring cash (AUD), so you can buy yourself an entry/exit passport stamp.

Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Nature’s Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

Abeseiling in Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Abseiling in Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia

Kalbarri is a small town surrounded by the much bigger Kalibarri National Park. The park is famous for a rock formation called Nature’s window, the Z bend, and the Natural Bridge. Natures Window and the Z bend are easy to view being less than a kilometer return each from their respective car parks. Find trail information for the park here. You can arrange to go abseiling (rappelling) in the park. The town itself is small and stunning and is a great base to explore Kalibarri National Park.

Shark Bay host an amazing array of one-of-a-kind experiences of a lifetime. This UNESCO world heritage site offers opportunities to visit the wild dolphins of Monkey Mia who swim right up to you as you wade in the water. If you’re lucky you may get selected by a volunteer to feed a dolphin. Take in the unique Shell Beach, a beach made from billions of shells of the cockle species. Explore the town of Denham. Visit the ancient living fossils known as the Hamelin Pool Stromatolites. It is absolutely legit to make Shark Bay your final destination from Perth if you don’t have an abundance of time to spend on your holiday and want to explore Shark Bay thoroughly. I daydream about the day when I can return to Shark Bay World Heritage Area with 4WD equipped vehicle as this region host to enjoy the off -roading, camping, and fishing.

Wild dolphins swim to shore at Monkey Mia, Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Wild dolphins swim to shore at Monkey Mia, Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia

Shell Beach is composed from cockle shells which cover 110 km of coast along L'Hardion Bight and ranging in depth from 7 -10 meters(1), Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Shell Beach is composed from cockle shells which cover 110 km of coast along L’Hardion Bight and ranging in depth from 7 -10 meters (1), Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia

Hamelin Pool Stromatolites, Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia - Take a Trip Amy

Hamelin Pool Stromatolites, Shark Bay World Heritage Area, Western Australia

I spent a week in Coral Bay snorkeling off the beach. My reward was fabulous fish life, turtles, stingrays, reef sharks and we even found some octopi. Coral Bay is great for a week or so of entertainment if you enjoy snorkeling because you don’t have to hire a boat to reach the reef. Just bring your own snorkel masks and fins (if you desire) and you’ll be set. If your appetite is bigger, than that you can hire a tour swimming with the manta rays or whale sharks. If you plan for an extended stay, purchase items from the supermarket before reaching the town. There is a small shop in town, but choices are limited and prices are high.

Exmouth is was my destination for a trip up the West Coast. Here, I got to swim with the whale sharks. I was disappointed by the town itself because all the accommodation is located far enough away you’d need a car to reach the beach or national parks. There isn’t public transport or multipurpose paths to reach these. Because of this, I chose to go back to Coral Bay so I could spend another week in this remote paradise. If you enjoy scuba diving, be sure to check out the scuba diving options from Exmouth. I didn’t look at them at all because I don’t have my scuba certification (yet). There is a bus as well as private firms that offer transfers for a fee. After coming up here. If I was doing it again, I would probably stop at Coral Bay and take a tour with Whale Sharks from there.

Sources:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Beach_(Western_Australia) accessed 6 May 2016.

 

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