Have you ever been to the west coast of Australia? Is it somewhere you’d like to do travel Solo, or go with someone? Looking at pictures, it looks like one of the most beautiful places in the world, and you know something? It is!
My boyfriend and I have just been on an incredible road trip in Australia, something that I had to share with you as it was just too good to keep all to myself!
Imagine, cruising down Pacific coast highway watching all the cute kangaroos hopping across the huge desert landscape, friendly koala bears getting high in eucalyptus trees, people eating way too much Vegemite while simultaneously drinking cans of Bundaberg? Okay, that’s my version of what a road trip is in Oz. What is yours?
Now if you have studied a world map, you will know that Australia is a beyond huge country! I am from England, you know, the place where everyone lives in houses that look like the ones you see on the front of chocolate boxes, where driving to the other end of the county is only a mere 10 hour drive and did you know we all go to Windsor Castle? Invited by Queenie herself to sit and enjoy the finest English Breakfast tea served in a delicate bone china teacup with scones on the side! How quintessentially English you say? What I have just described is exactly how England is! Okay, maybe not exactly.
Back to the road trip, one of our main concerns was how can we possibly see all that Australia has to offer within a time frame? Simple, we decided that the side of country we most wanted to visit was the west (mainly because neither of us have visited that side, Sean has an auntie out there who he wanted to see and it is apparently the best place for unspoilt scenery and beaches (East coast has a denser population and way more sky liners) Where to stay? Hotels (way too expensive for the amount of time spent there) Hostels? (Sadly there are not enough on west coast) The answer we came up with was: Roadtrip in a camper!
After extensively researching everything to do with the west coast of Australia, we had an idea of what it offered (of course you can only research so much, sometimes it is word of mouth from the locals that takes you to places you never knew existed) ideas of places we absolutely had to visit and roughly how long we would need to have our camper for in order to visit each must see place!
Currency: Australian Dollar
Road trip: Roundtrip from Perth – Exmouth (we did a total of 3600km)
Total Expense: $$$$$ – extremely expensive
Petrol: $$$$$- the further out of civilisation you go, the more expensive it gets. Fill up Every time you see a petrol station! I know it sounds a bit much, but the petrol stations are very far apart from one another. If you run out of fuel, don’t expect help to be arriving anytime soon. Oh and phone signal is very poor.
Food: $$$$$ – We brought enough food in bulk to last us the whole two weeks of our roadtrip (apart from milk which we bought fresh when needed) The best supermarket for groceries is Aldi, well worth your time to travel a bit out of the way to find one. As you head north IGA becomes the only stop to shop with increasing prices of groceries.
Milk: $$ – for some reason this was very cheap, load up on that protein and buy milk for breakfast and a quick top up!
Kangaroos: Driving around dawn and dusk is reported to be the most dangerous times to travel due to the ‘Roos coming out to party! We didn’t drive throughout the night as most of the roads are not lit, however, if you like driving around in a blindfold with only a tiny peephole (because That is how dark it is!) then you’ll be fine, personally I don’t. Sadly, while we saw many dead kangaroos by the roadside still yet to see a live one in the wild.
Moral: Respect the animals when you are driving, this is their home too. Australia is an inordinately expensive country. In fact, it makes England look cheap! Ensure you spend wisely and have a little back up money just incase.
Camper van rental: 14 days
How long we should have rented the camper for: 12 days
First and Most crucial point – go to Aldi. Stock up on canned food, noodles, biscuits, snacks and water (lots and lots of water) You can buy fresh veggies etc from the local shops if you like, but it’s cheaper here for lasting produce! I don’t know about you, but my boyfriend eats like he will never have another meal again – we got a Lot of food before our trip and it saved us a Lot of money!
Perth- Ledge Point: Distance: 120km approx 1hr 25
We could have kept driving as it was not too far from Perth, but it was getting late plus we didn’t want to run into any Roos and we were hungry so decided to settle down for the night at holiday park the Big 4.
Originally we planned to have one night in a holiday park then one night in a free site. As you will find out we only ended up using one free site during our travels, mostly because they were a car park with a public toilet. Showers are a Must when the weather exceeds 30′. Although there is not much to do around Ledge Point, it’s a good stopping point. Big 4 has nice facilities, good clean kitchen (although when busy you may as well cook in your camper)
I would recommend you stop and stay the night, driving can become monotonous after a while especially when you pass nothing but frazzled plant after frazzled plant. Stop over, freshen up, perhaps even cook a spaghetti bolognese (our absolute favourite quick easy camper food)
Ledge point- Lancelin- Cervantes/Pinnacles – Jurien Bay. Distance: 90km approx 1 hour (driving at 100km p/hour)
After stopping off for lunch in Lancelin ( extremely windy, which is why it is known for wind-surfing) the main stop was Namburg National Park in which lay the mysterious Pinnacles Desert. Do you carry sunglasses everywhere you go? You will need them here!
Without the risk of sounding morbid, these huge limestone pinnacles look like gigantic tombstones ranging from smaller than one meter to over 5 meters tall! There are many myths to why and how these came to be, some say aliens!
Wildflowers are everywhere from August to October which is pretty to see. After walking around for a bit we realised that although very nice to look at, it wasn’t the kind of place you spend all day at.
Stopped off at Lake Thetis to see the stromolites and strombolites, the earths oldest living life forms. It was nice to see these historic rocks covered in what looked like orange moss.
Not long after we decided to head 20km north towards Jurien Bay. It really does feel like the wind has been following us as still so windy here! The beach really is beautiful with sparking clear water and soft white sand. Although safe for swimming, I decided against it as the water was a bit too chilly for me!
Also if you want to go skydiving, this your place! I didn’t as way too chicken, but you may not be.
Our plan was to see a highlight every day then find a holiday park to have dinner and relax for the evening. It gets dark about 7 so always make sure you have a place to stay before then. Using travellers autobarn entitled us to a discount within all Top Tourist Parks. This is where we stayed mostly, with prices ranging from $25 -$45 per vehicle
Jurien Bay – Principality of Hutt River – Port Douglas – Geraldton – Kalbarri. Distance: 350.4km approx 3hrs 50m
Principality of Hutt River is an independent country within Australia. If you can get over the very long dirt road (havoc in a camper van) then this is definitely worth a visit! In truth it really is a family who live and own a very large patch of land, roughly 18,500 acres in Western Australia.
Can you believe the size of this place! ( Upon arriving a very nice man dressed in jeans and baggy top came out, introducing himself as ‘Prince Leonard’ to which Sean burst out laughing) He was serious.
After having a tour of the chapel which was lovely, the wall where people from all over the world have visited and given money to show where they are from, if you do go there look out for the new English £5 note, we donated it!
We met the king who told us all about getting independence from Australia. They even have their own currency (unfortunately all you can buy is a can of Coke from the shelf in their office) All in all, it was an experience like no other!
After making numerous stops for lunch, sight-seeing and fuel, we arrived at Port Douglas. This was recommended to us from a man in the petrol station ( no one can beat the advice of a local) who had such a sweet three-legged dog! Apparently this place has a pink lake? Now if someone says there is a pink lake, who would turn down the opportunity to see it? Even though it was a bit out the way of our route, this was something we could not miss out on.
One word for this – Incredible! I have never ever seen anything like it, probably because I don’t think there is anywhere like this! The water is actually pink! The most gorgeous shade of pink, not quite neon but not baby pink either. Apparently this is caused due to a bacteria which is trapped within the salt granules. As the sun goes down the lakes colour changes from pink to purple.
You will want to stop while driving to it as the road makes it seem as if you are going straight past it, don’t worry there is a viewing stop which you can gaze at it until your heart’s content (See below)
Driving to kalbarri the temperature soars by at least 10′. Water should be your number one priority, a close second will be fly nets. Seriously the black flies are a huge pest in WA, getting worse the further north you get, Australia introduced the beetle which helps keep them at bay but they have not come out yet! Planning to visit Kalbarri? They will be waiting for you in swarms, a fly net is much-needed! You can pick these up in a petrol station along the way.
It’s so hot! Sunscreen has to be reapplied, almost a bottle of water downed and that’s before we are even out of the van! If there are two things I am most thankful for in our camper it has to be the air con and fridge! Getting out of the van, I feel that if someone were to be standing in front of me blasting a huge hairdryer on its highest setting directly at me, it would feel cooler than this intense heat we are subjecting ourselves to!
Having written a lot more than originally intended, if you are still with me this is enough of my bombardment with our adventurous travels for now. If you’d like to come with me on the second part of our adventure exploring Coral Bay and Exmouth come This way.
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Is this is something you would like to do but feel Something is holding you back?