Surfer riding a wave - Great Ocean Rod Recommended Stops

The Best Stops from Perth to Darwin

Here are the best stops from Perth to Darwin to experience the best of what Western Australia has to offer.  Visit incredible beaches, easily accessible red rock gorges and some fun little towns and camp stays along the way! Western Australia is the more remote side of Australia, which has a population of just 2.5 million stretching across land, equivalent to the size of Western Europe! It has an amazing array of natural wonders to enjoy and the landscape changes dramatically throughout the drive. Enjoy!

Perth

Perth is the world's most remote city, which obviously makes it a unique stop whilst visiting Australia. It also has a huge amount of great eateries too!

Aside from the great food options, Perth has a fair few things to check out too. We’ll be sharing a blog especially for Perth soon but until then...

Top Perth Attractions

Fremantle - A town just south of Perth, it has a very hippy and laidback vibe with lots of vintage books, record and clothes shops and a little bit of a historic feel too. We also loved the great eateries around here, and the Fremantle markets!

Rottnest Island -
A short 30-minute ferry from Fremantle, is the home of the infamous Quokka (of whom, you must get a selfie with!). Once on the island, the best way to get around is either hiring a bike or taking the hop-on-hop-off bus service. We opted for the bus and took a few strolls through the island wilderness between stops.

Image of a Quokka on Rottnest Island

Elizabeth Quay and the Bell Tower - A unique suspension bridge open to pedestrians and cyclists. Also, a modern bell tower, which is made of glass and copper.

London Court - A small lane of shops enclosed in a 1937 four-storey Elizabethan building. Offering guests a cute little old town vibe in the middle of the city.

Nostalgia Box - A museum full of throwback video games, which are set in a timeline dating back to the 1970's all the way through to the early 2000s. It's a great insight into how the gaming industry evolved. You also get to play on loads of retro consoles at the end, which kept us entertained for hours!

Kings Park provides visitors with amazing views of the city, particularly at sunset.

The Perth Mint - An actual coin mint manufacturer, which also houses a museum and the worlds largest gold coin, which literally weighs a tonne! Whilst visiting the mint, there is an option to see the making of a gold bar demonstration and to find out your body value in gold.

iFLY - This is especially for the daredevils that fancy trying indoor skydiving!

Top Perth Food Places

We've realised that most of our food choices in Perth were desserts, but when they're this good who can blame us!

Nobibi Café - A cafe for Instagram lovers, we loved the 'Fluffy Cloud', which was an ice cream dessert with a cloud of candy floss surrounding the cup!

The Leaf Indian - This restaurant offers a unique range of 100% veggie Indian dishes.

Get Chunky - Get your cookie fix here and add an injection of sauce if you can handle the sugar shakes!

Baguettes on William Street - Try some delicious mock meat banh mi on the go.

Sinamon - Your one-stop shop for all the Cinnamon Rolls your heart could desire, all cooked fresh and served warm. Delish! They also have free wifi and the Mount Lawley store has a couple of outdoor tables for two if you fancy sticking around a while. 

Koala Boardwalk

This is one of the more unique stops from Perth to Darwin.  This is due to it being the only place in the whole of Western Australia that you can see koalas! There has been a small colony of koalas here since the 1930s.  The rangers at Yanchep National Park have helped to preserve their land and provide tourists with a great way of playing spot the koala!

Koala sitting in a tree

New Norcia

New Norcia is essentially the closest thing you’ll see to a post-apocalyptic town. It was originally created as a mission camp to convert local aboriginals to monastic living. Today, it is home to around 10 monks and a team who service the grounds and assist with agriculture work in the area.

This was definitely a more peculiar one in our best stops from Perth to Darwin.  Nevertheless, the main attraction at New Norcia is the bakery and it is fab! The bread and cakes are made in the original 150-year-old fire oven! Even the Queen knows about it, as she loves the nut cake made here. We chose to get the Boston Bun and was not disappointed. Join the many chefs that have visited and get yourself some New Norcia baked goods!

Display of baked good in the New Norcia Bakery. A famous stop between Perth and Darwin

Sand Dunes!

This area of Western Australia has heaps of sand dunes and you can hire a sandboard to race down them for just $10 each! We've mentioned the most popular spot as well as a lesser-known spot that we wish we'd discovered before we started our journey from Perth to Darwin.

Lady standing at the top of a sand dune with a board in hand

Lancelin

We did our sandboarding in Lancelin as it's the most popular spot to sandboard in the area. It was quite late when we arrived, so if you do the same, we’d recommend hiring your boards from the 'Have a Chat' general store. They close at 5 but they’re happy to hire the boards out for 2 hours and you simply leave them in a little cove to the left of the shop when you’re done.

Sandy Cape

We actually came to Sandy Cape to do some snorkelling and enjoy the beach but we found they also did sandboarding with a little store to hire boards too. Had we known, we would have saved our boarding fun for Sandy Cape, as it definitely looked a lot less trodden than Lancelin and the dunes looked bigger too! The beach and snorkelling opportunities also make it a great day trip!

Where To Stay

Sandy Cape Recreational Camp is situated in between the Sandy Cape beach and the sand dunes.  This makes it the perfect place to base yourself for a night of fun on the dunes and snorkelling!

Hangover Bay

A sight so beautiful, it could cure a hangover! This is a stunning white sand beach with perfectly turquoise waters.  Worth the stop, even just for a picture with the sign!

Two girls leaning over a sign which says Hangover Bay, holding a bottle of tequila. Famous stops from Perth to Darwin

The Pinnacles

The pinnacles are a set of thousands of limestone towers sticking out of the desert.  There are many theories for how they formed in this way but no definitive answer.  A driving path has been made so you are able to wind around the Pinnacles in your car.  There are little bays along the way to park up, hop out, get closer and make up your own theories for how they ended up like this! This was a fun stop on our best stops from Perth to Darwin.  It was slightly off-road on dirt tracks, so we still felt immersed in the 4WD life, even in our 2WD campervan!

Thetis Lake

Thetis Lake is a pretty lake, which takes around 30 mins to walk around fully.  The main attraction here though, are the Stromatolites.  These are fossils that show the earliest life on Earth! So this makes for a pretty cool pit stop on your route from Perth to Darwin.

Jurien Bay

This area of Western Australia is full of beautiful beaches, towering sand dunes and unforgettable experiences.

Sandy Cape is the best spot in the area for snorkelling with lots of fish and colourful coral.  Try to get here early for the best viewings.  It is also possible to hire sand boards from the Sandy Cape Recreational Camp, right by the beach.

One of the main attractions in Jurien Bay is swimming with sea lions! We had an absolutely unforgettable time sharing moments with these playful creatures.  Jurien Bay Oceanic took us to the protected sea lions island and waited in the waters for them to interact with us.

They soon came out to play and lived up to their nickname of 'sea puppies'! Sarah shared a beautiful moment, imitating the movements of one of the pups, who rolled around with her for a few minutes! We were also treated to dolphins riding the wave of our boat on the way back.

Definitely one the highlights of this journey, which we would highly recommend. We went with the lovely family-run 'Jurien Bay Oceanic', who were really informative and accommodating.

Jurien Bay, Western Australia - Two dolphins swimming through bright blue waters.

The Leaning Trees

Make sure you are travelling to Geraldton in the day time, as just 20 minutes outside this town you'll find the leaning trees of Greenough. Amusingly, these windswept trees grow perpendicular to the soil! As you drive towards Geraldton, the trees seem to get lower and lower to the ground until you see this tree, which is the most famous leaning tree. We caught it at sunset with birds flying overhead. It was stunning!

A tree growing perpendicular to the ground. The leaning trees of Greenough, Western Australia

Geraldton

One of the larger towns along the route, it makes for a good place to top up on anything you’re running low on.  Geraldton itself is quite funky too, with lots of cool street art and trendy cafes.

You'll find plenty of street art around the CBD or around the yellow sections on Google Maps.

Geraldton Street art stating "Anti-bad vibes shield"

Kalbarri National Park

The first thing to know about Kalbarri National Park... it is huge! There are two parts to the park, the coastal and the inland.  The coast is beautiful but it is the inland area that will really blow you away with its drastic contrast to previous landscapes along this route.

There are enough attractions in the park to spend a week visiting them all. If you’re short on time, the top attractions split between inland and the coast are as follows...

The Kalbarri NP Coastal Hotspots

Eagle Creek

This is a beautiful beach with a boardwalk stretching along the cliff's edge.  It's a great spot for whale watching and as the water is so clear, it is easy to spot manta ray and turtle shadows in the water below. If you have time, meander down to the beautiful secluded beach.

Mushroom Rock

If you’ve read our blog on South West Australia, it is clear that WA has a lot of rock formations that look like things. Mushroom Rock is no exception.  In the distance from the walkway is a bed of mushroom stools resembling flat portobello mushrooms. Will you agree?

Chinaman's Bay

Chinaman's Bay is the perfect sunset spot to finish off your coastal tour of the park. The waves on this rocky bay can be huge and the sunset, like all WA sunsets, is epic. Take some time to enjoy this bay with a few snacks or a glass of wine while the sun goes down.

Natures window - Kalbarri National Park. A stone formed with a large hole, representing a window overlooking a gorge below.

The Kalbarri NP Inland Hotspots

Z Bend

Sadly, the Z bend was closed during our visit. Here is a description from the official WA parks website.

"Lookout from an overhanging rock formation that provides spectacular views of the Murchison River Gorge.

The Z Bend lookout overhangs a sharp bend in the Murchison River and can be reached via a 600-metre walk trail from the car park.  Enjoy scenic views of the river gorge from this lookout.  Visitors with a good level of fitness can also hike down into the gorge and access the river’s edge."

Natures Window

Natures Window is nature’s way of enhancing its already priceless views! A short walk over marbled red rock leads you to this beautiful natural rock window, looking out over a stunning gorge with a river below. It is truly stunning and also a great spot to watch the sunrise or set too.

The Loop

The Loop is for the hiker lovers reading this blog. It is recommended only for experienced hikers, as it leads down into the bottom of the gorge and up again. The views are stunning and definitely worth doing if you’re skilled enough!

Top Tip!

One thing we would definitely recommend for a visit to Kalbarri National Park is a fly net.  The park is beautiful but it is full of flies! Trust us, you won’t regret this purchase and will be the envy of anyone who doesn’t have one.  They are available in the IGA in town for just $10.

Shark Bay

Shark Bay World Heritage area encompasses 2.2 million hectares of Western Australia coastline! It is home to one of the largest populations of Dugong, migrating humpback whales and the Green Turtle. It is also the "last stronghold for five critically endangered mammals, four of which occur naturally in the wild nowhere else on Earth." This beautiful coastline is brimming with gorgeous wildlife and natural beauty. Here are the top places we visited during our time at Shark Bay.

Shell Beach

As the name suggests, Shell Beach is not made up of sand or even pebbles but rather, entirely out of little white shells!  As a result of this, Shell Beach makes for a very unique beach experience, with the sounds of the shells crunching underfoot.  To add to the serenity, the waters here have also formed into a lake, which adds a calm stillness to the water too.

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Shell Beach, Western Australia - Two girls throwing small shells up in front of them

Hamelin Pool

Remember the Stromatolites from Lake Thetis? Well, if you missed out or they weren’t enough for you, here you can find a boardwalk that takes you along to see more!

Monkey Mia - Buy a Pass in the Afternoon

Monkey Mia is a beach area that has dolphins, which visit every morning. The pod of dolphins appear by the beach ready to be fed by the rangers and you’re able to stand by to watch and sometimes feed them too.

Monkey Mia isn’t included in the WA Park Pass so a $15pp entry fee is paid upon entry.

Personally, we found that the dolphin experience was very commercial, as sometimes there are over 100 people in attendance!  We would recommend a more natural experience like the one we had in Jurien Bay or the less crowded experience in Bunbury at the Dolphin Discovery Centre. If you have time to discover South West Australia too, we have a guide to peak your interest!

If you don’t mind the crowds, then we would recommend spending the afternoon at Monkey Mia. Then, as the pass is valid for 24 hours, head back in the morning for the dolphins.  

Francois Peron National Park

Francois Peron National Park is a beautiful National Park, which is full of orange rock hues clashing against the brilliant blue sea.  The vast majority of the park can only be accessed with a 4WD.  If you don’t have one, there are tours available or you could hire a 4WD from Denham.

There are, however, two attractions close to the National Park, which are accessible by 2WD:

Artisanal Hot Tub

The initial road into the park is suitable for 2WD, avoiding times with heavy rainfall as it is quite sandy.  Head to the car park where you will find a small centre, which explains the history of the park.  It also showcases some of the animals that can be found here.

We managed to spot a Bobtail Skink!

You will also find the artisanal hot tub, surrounded by a huge grass area, picnic tables and a little walking trail past the shearing shed.

The hot tub stays at a constant temperature of 40 degrees, which would be lovely during the cooler evening periods. We were only able to visit during the day so we couldn't stay in for too long at a time. Although, we still felt rejuvenated after!

The Little Lagoon

Just outside of Francois Peron National Park is a beautiful little retreat with white sands and very blue waters. We enjoyed swimming here and breakfast in the BBQ and picnic area. To get here, either drive or take the 45-minute Lagoon Point walk trail from Denham.

Denham

In Denham, there are two buildings which are made entirely out of shell bricks! This is something you have to see to believe.  Head to 'The Old Pearler' restaurant and the Shark Bay Anglican Church to check them out.

The discovery centre is also worth a visit to see a short 3D movie.  The movie explains the story of the clash between Sydney II and HSK Kormoran, which resulted in 645 Australian’s sadly losing their lives.

Eagles Bluff

Eagles Bluff is a quick stop but a beautiful one.  Here you can look out over the clear waters below and if you’re lucky, you might see a whale strutting its stuff!

Whale Breaching

Camping Suggestion

If you’re not able to make it all the way to Carnarvon, there is a camp called 'Wooramel Riverside Retreat'.  We have heard this is an excellent stop off.  If you missed the artisanal hot tub above, you'll find a few of them at this campsite as well. 

Carnarvon

We ended up spending a lot more time in Carnarvon than we had originally anticipated!  Firstly, it’s a great place to stock up.  However, aside from that, it has a few hotspots too!

The Space Centre

Turns out that Carnarvon actually played quite a role in the Apollo 11 mission, which sent Neil Armstrong to the moon! If you’re a space buff, you can pay a small fee to check out the museum but it’s worth a visit to see the giant space satellite for free.  This satellite is responsible for the first-ever live TV broadcasting in Western Australia, which showed Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

The Fruit Loop

A ridiculous amount of fruit and veg is grown in Carnarvon and a trip here isn’t complete without trying a chocolate-covered frozen banana!

There is a famous drive around Carnarvon, aptly named the ‘fruit loop’.  This route takes you past various different farms and market stalls selling their produce.  This is the freshest veg you’re gonna get along Western Australia, so it’s worth buying in bulk!

Our favourites along the way were The Cactus Garden, Morel's Orchard, Bumbak's, Gasgoyne Organic Farm and the Gasgoyne Biodynamic Plantation.

The 1-Mile Jetty

This is a quick stop, as sadly the Jetty is no longer functioning. However, it is fun to see as it is a seriously long jetty! Check it out whilst you're passing and see the old train lines too.

The Quobba Blowholes

Just slightly outside of Carnarvon is the Quobba blowholes.  Head here to see an amazing display of King Waves crashing against the cliffside, drawing your eyes upwards to the sky-high blasts of water! There is also a cool, yet necessary, sign warning visitors that 'King Waves Kill!'.

Tropic of Capricorn

The Tropic of Capricorn runs through this part of Australia and to mark the occasion, a little sign can be found, saying just that.  Great for a quick snap to show you’ve been to this part of the Earth.

The Quobba Blow holes - Image of sea water shooting up like a blow hole

Coral Bay

Welcome to paradise and the start of your Ningaloo reef journey! Coral Bay is a beautiful little town with white sand beaches and fab snorkelling.

We particularly loved Bill’s Bay for its picturesque views and the search for the underwater Ayer’s Rock.

Skeleton Beach is a hotspot for baby shark spotting and Paradise Beach is beautiful too.

A few places, such as Oyster Bay aren’t accessible by car, so there are a few ATV tours in town that are worth doing if you have the time.

Top Tip!

If you’re missing any gear, such as a snorkel or fins or even a floatie for your GoPro, there are plenty of places to buy/hire them here.  We would recommend  Ningaloo Kayak Adventures who had fins for hire for just $5/day! (August 2019).

Bullara Station

This idyllic overnight stay is a camp between Coral Bay and Exmouth and easily our favourite stay on our trip from Perth to Darwin.

Bullara Station is the perfect quirky outback experience.  Everywhere you turn, there is something unique to discover.  From the outdoor bathrooms with signposts to the 'lava trees' to a tree decorated in hundreds of wine and beer bottles.

We enjoyed an evening by the fire pit for stories and poems by the lovely Bullara staff, with complimentary damper (Australian soda bread) too. We also treated ourselves to delicious homemade Devonshire scones and coffee in the morning.  These are available from the rustic cafe, which has outdoor seating in a beautifully manicured garden.

The highlight for us though was the iron bucket showers! You haven't truly been to outback Australia until you've stood in a roofless bathroom, under a fire-heated shower, looking up at the vibrant milky way as you wash.

Bullara Station, Western Australia - Image of Damper Bread, Australian soda bread

Exmouth

Firstly, if you want to stay in Cape Range National Park, make sure that you book well in advance (at least 2 weeks)!  There are plenty of $10 per night camps but they all get fully booked fast.  If you miss out of the National Park, Yardie Homestead is your next best option. Highly recommended, as we also stayed there.

Take a drive along the coast and you will find Mildura Wreck.  This is a shipwreck that is very visible right from the shore.  Further along is the lighthouse for amazing views over Exmouth and another great place for whale spotting.  The North West Cape is also a great beach spot.  We loved the great cafe there, aptly named 'The Beach Shack'. It has a tropical Caribbean vibe, plenty of comfortable outdoor seating, live music events and a mouthwatering menu of hot and cold foods to enjoy.

Yardie Creek

Cape Range has a few hotspots and one that we definitely suggest visiting is the beautiful Yardie Creek. There is the option of taking a boat tour along the creek with Yardie Creek Boat Tours, which is a great way to learn more about the area.  Our guide was a great laugh and helped us spot over 50 rock wallabies!

If you'd rather not do the boat trip, you can walk along the cliff edge and try to spot the rock wallabies from above. It is possible but you must remember to keep your distance as this is a conservation area for the wild animals.

Snorkelling Spots

For snorkelling, we would suggest visiting Oyster Stacks and Turquoise Bay.  Here you can see a wide variety of colourful fish, starfish and blue spotted rays! Make sure you look around the crevices of the rocks at Oyster Stacks to see the big fish hiding in the shadows!

One of the highlights of the Ningaloo Reef is the opportunity to swim with Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales.  The seasons are March to August for Whale Sharks and August to November for Humpback Whales. Head here around the end of August to try and catch both!

Whale Sharks are the biggest fish in the sea and we loved our tour with Ningaloo Discovery where we snorkelled with these beautiful sea giants! We can’t recommend them enough.  The crew are lovely, they provide you with all the equipment you need, you’re made to feel comfortable and no question goes unanswered. There’s even lunch and a glass of bubbly included!  This is honestly an unforgettable experience and definitely a highlight of our entire Western Australia trip so don’t miss out!

Ningaloo Reef - Person swimming next to a whale shark

Karijni National Park vía Tom Price

Karijini is BEAUTIFUL and an absolute must-do on your WA trip! It is our ultimate favourite excursion from Perth to Darwin and arguably through the Red Centre too!

This National Park is full of incredible gorges to visit, each stop being very different from the last. There are many stunning lookout points to admire the gorges from above.  However, with just a short 30-minute hike, you could be venturing through the bottom of an enormous red rock gorge.  There are natural amphitheatres and beautiful blue pools to discover, some requiring you to wade through fresh spring waters!

There are two sides to the National Park and the roads within the park are rough dirt tracks which, in a 2WD take some time driving along. To save time and make your life easier, we would suggest staying in Tom Price or at the Eco Camp, or arriving early and visiting the following attractions first;

Weano Gorge
Handrail Pool
Hancock
Mount Bruce
Joffre Falls
Hamersley Gorge
Karijini National Park - Birdseye image of Weano Gorge

If you're short on time...

At least two days will be needed for all of the above but our absolute highlights that can be done in one day are Handrail Pool, Hancock and the Oxer Lookout, overlooking Weano Gorge. All of which are accessible from the same car park, which you'll be very grateful for!

For the other side of the park, we would suggest staying at Dales Campground.  Booking online is essential.  Ignore any old information that says otherwise.  Dales Campground is walking distance to all of the following, which can also be done in one day:

Dales Gorge
Circular Pool
Fortescue Falls
Fern Pool

Fortescue Falls is a 15-minute walk from the campground, with Fern Pool only 5 minutes further.  We absolutely loved it here and chose to spend an extra day just sunbathing and swimming in the gorge with a picnic.

You can either walk inside Dales Gorge to Circular Pool on a 3-hour return hike or take a short drive to the Circular Pool lookout and decide if you want to head down from there.

Top Tip:

Head to Karijini National Park with a stop in Tom Price for any shopping needs and cheaper fuel.  There is no signal in the National Park so we suggest telling friends and family you'll be offline and doing any Netflix/Spotify/Maps downloading in Tom Price first.

There is a dirt road shortcut to Tom Price from Exmouth but unless you have a 4WD, we would highly suggest that you don’t take this route. As tempting as it may be, it will probably take you twice as long.  Also, you don't want to end up with a shredded tyre like us!

Port Headland

There isn’t much in Port Headland so we wouldn’t recommend staying here for long.  However, it does have a Coles and a K-Mart for any supply needs.

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If you do find yourself here with more time, Cemetery Beach is a nice beach with lots of BBQ’s to use and the salt mine is quite a sight to see!  

To make some ground closer to the next destination, there is a free camp with toilets an hour outside of Port Headland, called De Grey River.

Eighty Mile Beach

Eighty Mile Beach is the most stunning coastline we've ever seen! The waters are the brightest blue and if you have a 4WD, you’re able to drive straight onto the beach! If not, you can still park right by it and sink your toes into the white sands.

This is also a great place to rejuvenate before the drive to Broome.  In the car park, there is a free shower, drinking water and a hose to clear some that red dust that’ll be taking over your vehicle by now!

Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia - Birdseye view of bright blue coast line and white sand

The Kimberleys

You are now entering a famous area of North-West Australia, which is known as one of the 'world's last wilderness frontiers'. Spread over the entire North-West corner of Australia, The Kimberleys are home to an abundance of Aboriginal heritage.  This includes native bush tucker, rock art, stunning coastline cruises and unique natural wonders. The Kimberleys also has Australia's best 4WD road trip, named 'The Gibb River Road'. As we were in our 2WD campervan, we'll share the 2WD option, which also has some great unique spots to visit too.

Broome

The entry town into the Kimberleys is Broome, which started as a large pearl diving town.  The streets are filled with boutique shops selling artisanal souvenirs and plenty of pearls to admire.

Broome is also home to one of the best sunsets in the world at Cable beach. The tide in Broome is particularly unique as low tide takes the water out by 10 metres, leaving large mudflats and even dinosaur footprints to check out.

Aside from the epic sunsets and pearls, Broome has the oldest outdoor cinema in the world.  The cinema regularly plays up to date and some old favourite movies. There is also a special event each month, where the full moon creates a natural illusion that looks like a staircase to the moon.

Check out our full guide on Broome here.

Broome - Birdseye image of an empty beach during sunset

The Non-Gibb River Rd Option
(The 2WD Route)

Derby - The Boab Prison Tree

Before Derby was established in 1883, Aboriginal people were kidnapped from the West Kimberley to become divers and workers on the pearling boats.  They were chained up and made to walk for miles each day.  Some of these aboriginals were chained and held prisoner inside this Boab Tree.

You can come here to read more about the history and take a look at the tree, paying respects to the mistreated aboriginals of the past.

Geikie Gorge

Just a short distance from Fitzroy Crossing, which is the next town after Derby, is Geikie Gorge.  There are a few walking trails available to see the gorge and the sandbank, where the Margaret River and Fitzroy River meet.  The walks range from just 30 minutes to 2 hours.  We would recommend The Reef Walk, which took us around half an hour during the dry season. There are maps with more info about each of the trails in the visitor centre to help you decide.

There’s also an option to cruise along the gorge in a boat.  This runs daily between May - October, and costs between $14-$50pp. Unfortunately, this tour is not operating due to the Corona Virus (Septemer, 2020). Check here for updates and more information.

Geikie Gorge - Unique red rock gorge with a landscape border of natural white limestone.

Mimbi Caves

These caves are part of the 350 million-year-old Devonian Reef System, which can only be visited with a local Gooniyandi guide. This unique experience offers guests the opportunity to learn about the traditional aboriginal people who inhabited these caves. Discover the incredible geological wonders of the reef system, and try some traditional damper bread and tea too! A campsite has recently opened nearby too, if you'd like to stay longer to discover more about these incredible caves.

China Wall

This is a quick stop to check out a white-tipped limestone wall, which resembles a mini Great Wall of China. We enjoyed a little breakfast here before heading towards the next stop.

Purnululu NP (The Bungle Bungles)

We didn’t get to see the Bungle Bungles, as it is also only accessible in a 4WD and the tours were too expensive for our budget.  For those who do visit, The Bungle Bungles can be experienced by walking around them or even better, take to the sky in a helicopter.

The Bungle Bungles are beehive-shaped rocks with a distinct tiger-striped print, which is derived from individual sedimentary layers of sand and gravel.  They are more than 360 million years old! Aside from these unique dome-shaped rocks, the park is full of gorges, creeks and chasms to explore. This includes Cathedral Gorge, which is known to have comparable acoustics to some fo the best opera houses in the world! If you'd like to plan your trip into the Bungle Bungles this website would be a great start.

Kununurra

Kununurra is a great hub for tours of Purnululu National Park and Lake Argyle but it has a few hotspots of its own.

The Hoochery Distillery is a local rum distillery.  You can enjoy a tour at 11 am or just pop in for some taster paddles or their yummy rum-infused cakes.

Zebra Rock is a unique rock formation only found in Kununurra within small reef outcrops. Geologists have identified the rock to be more than 600 million years old, and yet, still cannot figure out why the rock is striped! There is a Zebra Rock Mine and campground just passed Lake Argyle.   Additionally, we found stalls in Broome and Darwin markets also selling the famous rock, which would make a great souvenir.

On Saturdays, you can catch a local market at Whitegum Park, between April-September.

Celebrity Tree Park is a lovely spot for a picnic next to a Boab tree and the lake.  If you feel like you’ve been stuck to your car seat for too long, there’s a great free park gym here too. It is also the best place for a view of the Sleeping Buddha Rock, also known as 'Elephant Rock'.  This is a result of the rock looking like a Sleeping Buddha from the park, it looks like an Elephants Head from the view on Packsaddle Road.

Kangaroo Haven Wildlife Rescue.  For just $15 (September, 2020), the lovely Mandy will give you a tour and the opportunity to feed and cuddle a joey and get close to lots of friendly kangaroos! Book online before visiting to ensure visits are currently operating.

Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle is beautiful and definitely worth visiting.  We did all our Lake Argyle activities through Lake Argyle Cruises and had an amazing time!

For a small fee, it is possible to hire kayaks, canoes and BBQ pontoons to take around the lake on your own.  We took a canoe out and spotted crocs and rock wallabies just metres away from us!

The sunset cruise was really amazing, not just for the absolutely stunning sunset itself but we also spotted loads of crocs, rock wallabies and wallaroos. The tour continued to check out some fish that squirt water up at you and we went for a lovely swim in the lake as the sun was setting.  This was all with snacks/tea/coffee/water and a beer/bubbly/soft drinks included too.  

Two girls enjoying a tray of snacks whilst floating in a lake during sunset

Use CLOUD5 for a special discount code to give you 5% off your booking!

Lake Argyle Caravan Park

We would suggest spending at least one night at this campground to experience the lake in its full beauty, rather than travelling from Kununurra.  This is a lovely campsite but the main attraction is the infinity pool, overlooking Lake Argyle. Amazing!

Please note that the caravan park offers the same tours but Lake Argyle Cruises (just 200m further than the camp) are the original company, with more than 20 years experience and with whom, our discount code (CLOUD5) works with.

Northern Territory Sign

THAT’S A WRAP!

Officially leaving Western Oz behind and discovering new grounds in the Northern Territory.  Make sure you take a quick pic before you head over the border.

Note: NT is an hour and a half ahead of WA.  Also, if travelling from NT to WA, you will have to go through quarantine to ensure you’re not bringing in any fruits or honey.  This is not the case if travelling from WA to NT.

Western Australia border crossing - Two girls posing next to the Western Australia - Northern Territory border sign

Judbarra / Gregory National Park

The 5-6 hour drive towards Katherine takes you through Judbarra / Gregory National Park. Make sure you save this part of the route for the day time as whilst there aren't any particular stops, the views along this highway are absolutely stunning. It is easily one of the best roads we've travelled within Australia! Surrounded by stunning gorge-like red rock and deep cliff edges.  The Escarpment Lookout on the way is also a beautiful lookout over the second largest National Park in the Northern Territory. Enjoy!

Makes a change from the majority of WA's roads looking like this...

Image of dirt road under blue skies

Katherine

Katherine is a  built-up town for WA and by built-up, we mean it has a McDonald's and a Target; two brands rarely seen on this West Coast adventure. It’s a great stop if you need any supplies and is also located close to the entrance to Nitmiluk National Park.

Hot Springs

The Katherine ‘not-so-hot’ hot springs are a needed respite after the long drive from Lake Argyle. Thankfully, given the temperatures in the Northern Territory, these springs feel more like a heated swimming pool than a sweaty hot bath.  Unlike the hot springs that we experienced in Machu Picchu.

In addition to a great cool down, you can swim from the bottom of the pools to the top or vice versa. The larger top pool shows where the springs come from in the ground and the meander to the bottom is great fun! However, just a friendly warning to watch out for the spiders sitting in their webs, either side of the springs!

Nitmiluk National Park

Nitmiluk National Park is home to a huge 5-day hike, enabling anyone brave enough to scale it with some really insane waterfalls - apparently. Subsequently, we opted out of scaling such a big trek and chose to visit Edith Falls via the paved road instead. Additionally, if you have time, it is possible to kayak through the National Park.  You can even enjoy a scenic flight to cheat your way into seeing those awesome falls!

Edith Falls

Edith Falls is a huge lake with a beautiful cascading waterfall on the far side. Getting up close to the falls isn't for the faint-hearted (or those without a noodle), as this swim is relatively challenging. We enjoyed our swim over, although we didn’t see much due to the visibility in the water. Nevertheless, we were encouraged to take our snorkels out with us. There is known to be turtles and an abundance of fish in the lake to see!

Edith Falls, Katherine - Image of people swimming in large natural pool

Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park was undoubtedly a highlight of our Northern Territory adventure.  The park is full of various water holes and falls to enjoy.  Both from a viewing point or whilst jumping right in! This is another needed way to cool down in the intense NT heat! There are some areas only accessible by 4WD, including Australia's very own Lost City! Nevertheless, in our little Nelson Vandela campervan, we enjoyed the following stop-offs:

Wangi Falls
Buley Rockhole
Florence FallsTermite Mounds
Litchfield National Park - Birdseye view of a waterfall surrounded by a red rock gorge and trees

Darwin

This is the final stop on our best stops from Perth to Darwin adventure. We hope you've loved all of the best stops we found on the route towards Darwin. Nevertheless, it's not all bad that you've reached the end of this road trip.  We spent a month in Darwin and fell in love with this little Northern Territory city. There always seems to be something happening to suit everyone and their budget. There are copious markets to visit, sunset music sessions, free waterparks and so much more. You can find out more about Darwin in our dedicated blog coming soon!

East Point Reserve, Darwin. Sunset overlooking a small beach, framed with palm trees

3 thoughts on “The Best Stops from Perth to Darwin”

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