West Coast, Best Coast: A Traveller's Guide to the Coral Coast

Perth is the most popular holiday hotspot in Western Australia, and the fifth most popular destination in Australia, but travellers who stay within the city limits are missing out on so much of what WA has to offer. Rather than staying in the city, why not take your rental to discover why many say the Coral Coast is Australia's best coast.

See the Natural Wonder of The Pinnacles


Image credit: Michael Spencer via Flickr

You needn't travel all the way to the Red Centre to see some amazing rock formations. The limestone pillars known as The Pinnacles are around 2.5 hours north from Perth, but these eerie figures standing proud in the middle of the sandy Nambung National Park feel like they come from another world. The natural limestone structures date back some 25,000 to 30,000 years, when the sea receded and left sea shell deposits behind.

Eat Lobster in Geraldton

If you'd rather keep travelling up the coast in your rental car, head another 2.5 hours up the Brand Highway to Geraldton, the lobster capital of Australia. While there's more to this city than the prized crustacean, your stay wouldn't be complete without a feed of this local delicacy. Seaside restaurants serve the catch of the day, but if you want to learn more about this multi-million dollar industry then take a tour of the Geraldton Fisherman's Co-Operative Lobster Facility. Guided tours of the Brolos Brand processing plant leave at 10 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during rock lobster fishing season (Nov. 15 to June 30).

Meet the Dolphins at Monkey Mia

Have a close encounter of the animal kind at Monkey Mia, around 5.5 hours north of Geraldton. Almost every day for more than 40 decades, friendly wild bottlenose dolphins have come ashore to meet the crowds that gather at Shark Bay. Rangers supervise onlookers as they feed them a small amount of fish to ensure the safety of these beautiful marine mammals. The best time to see the dolphins is in the early morning between 8 a.m. and midday.

Learn about Indigenous Heritage in Carnarvon

Around 4.75 hours north of Monkey Mia, you'll reach Carnarvon. Today it's a modern centre with thriving tropical fruit and seafood industries, but it also has a proud Indigenous heritage. You can learn more about this side of the city at Gwoonwardu Mia-Gascoyne Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The centre's exhibits pay tribute to the art, history, and culture of the five Indigenous tribes that called this land home. Make sure you don't miss the Bulganyja Wanggaya (Old People Talking) exhibition. This award-winning display tells the stories of the area's original inhabitants in their own words.

Swim with Marine Animals at Coral Bay

You can get up close and personal with more animals at Coral Bay, around 3.25 hours north of Carnarvon. Its waters are teeming with marine life, including humpback whales, dugongs, sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks, and hundreds of colourful fish species. The bay's safe for swimming and snorkelling, but if you'd prefer to stay dry you can admire the ocean creatures from the comfort of a glass bottom boat tour. 

All these delights and more are waiting for you to explore on the Coral Coast.