Crossing the country with a campervan is the classic type of travel for young backpackers in Australia. But a road trip is not only fun, it’s exhausting. You wake up every morning with the sun and go to bed early like a grandma because you see so much in one day. Then you have to fight with mosquitoes, the heat and loneliness on the endless roads. After my big trip through Australia while my “work and travel” (blog in German here), I did another road trip through Western Australia four years later on my nine-months-worldtrip. Drive through this beautiful, untouched and non-touristic part of Down Under with me and get tips from an expert!
My friend Eva and me flew from Bali to Perth which is one of the cheapest ways to get to Australia ($60 for a 4-hour-flight). In Perth we stayed three nights at a Couchsurfers place and picked up the campervan from my friend – we were lucky because we didn’t have to rent and pay one which saved us a lot (thanks Jeremy!!), if you want to know where and how to rent a van, scroll down to my checklist.
The third day in Perth we went to Rottnest Island by ferry. It’s a pricy trip ($90/day) but absolutely worth it! A tip is to book a package with a daily tour which includes a bike. You have one of the most beautiful beaches and coast lines with torquoise water and snorkeling spots. The highlight is to see the cutest animal of the world in the wild: the quokka. As soon as you get of the ferry and take your bike to cross the island, you can find them in the bush and on the beach. Rottnest Island is 11 km long and 4,5 km wide, so possible to surround in a day by bicycle and catch the last ferry in the evening (by Rottnest Express from Fremantle in 25 minutes).
From Perth we started our road trip to the north – Exmouth – Karijini National Park and back to Perth to catch our next flight. We made all these 4100km in two weeks (schedule read below). The first day we visited the white sand dunes in Lancelin and the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. For all these National Parks the Holiday Pass for 1 month (AUS $44) is recommendable because each day you have to pay $12 p.P. and with the pass you are independent in how long to stay in each park. For the first night we found a nice camp site next to the beach.
The next day we visited the Kalbarri National Park with the “Island Rock” on the beautiful coast line and gorges in the park. The “Natural Window” was closed for tourists, only groups with tpur bookings were allowed (May 2017). Outside of the park we found a nice free campsite near a river and not far from the highway. On the third day our goal was Monkey Mia – one of the highlights of the road trip. Immediately we decided to stay longer to enjoy one whole day on the beach, kajaking with eagle rays, dolphins and water turtles.
The fifth day we went up to Carnarvon to another friendly couchsurfer. Bob is a farmer and hosted us for one night is his comfy home, we drank wine and ate cheese together, played some music – what a memorable night! The next day we had big plans: because we got a good offer for the whale shark tour in Exmouth ($100 discount) we had to make it the 450 km up there. First we stopped at the Blow holes, then in Coral Bay to snokel. The next day, an amazing adventure was waiting for us: swimming with whale sharks in the open water! Unforgettable experience!
For the end of the trip we drove through the red outback to the Karijini National Park with its beautiful gorges and hikes. After three days free camping without shower, toilet or kitchen we were looking forward to a proper camp site. We drove 600 km straight south – the only thing which kept me awake was to wave to the people in the cars passing by…which maybe happened every hour – ONCE! By sunset we finally came to an old mining town in the outback, Cue, with a nice camp site! Yaaay! Full of seniors haha but whatever. The next day we made all the 600 km straight to Perth to visit the wildlife park the following day.
Where to stop?
Day 1: Perth – Lancelin Sand Dunes (130km/ 1,5h) – The Pinnacles Desert (77km/ 1h) – Cliff Head North Rest Area (178km/ 2h)
Day 2: Rest Area near Dongara – Kalbarri National Park (250km/ 3,5h) – Galena Bridge Camp Area (100km/ 1,5h)
Day 3: Camp Area – Denham (300km/ 3,5h) – Monkey Mia (25km/ 0,5h)
Day 4: Monkey Mia
Day 5: Monkey Mia – Carnarvon (350km/ 4h)
Day 6: Carnarvon – Blow Holes (50km/ 0,5h) – Coral Bay (240km/ 3h) – Exmouth (150km/ 2h)
Day 7: Exmouth & Whale Sharks
Day 8: Exmouth & Cape Range National Park (70km/ 1h)
Day 9: Cape Range National Park – Camp Area before Tom Price (520km/ 6h)
Day 10: Tom Price – Karijini National Park (200km/ 3h), Dales Gorge
Day 11: Karijini National Park, Weano + Hancock Gorge – Free camping (120km/ 2,5h)
Day 12: Karijini National Park – Cue (700km/ 8h)
Day 13: Cue – Camp Area north of Perth (600km/ 6,5h)
Day 14: Perth (110km/ 1h)
IN TOTAL: 4100 km/ 50h
Checklist for your next road trip:
- Good company – very important to share all travel memories and never get bored by driving the endless roads of Aussie
- Campervan/ car which you could rent with Jucy, Hippie Campers, Travellersbarn, Mighty, Maui or Apollo. Mind that drivers under 25 years pay more! Compare prices here
- Camping equipement: camping cooker, pot, pan, cutlery, lights for the night, sleeping bags, petrol can (20l), two water containers (10-20l) for dinking and dish washing etc., soap, oil, towels, music!!
- Outback preps: sunscreen, mosquito net (they fly in your eyes!), mosquito repellent, strech cloths
- Get a Pass for the National Parks like the Holiday Pass in WA for one month for AUS $44
You should know how much fuel the car needs for 100km to calculate your budget. Old vans sometimes take up to 16 liters per 100km but if you drive more slowly like 80km/h it takes much less.
If you wanna travel moooooore of Australia and get all insider tips for the Great Ocean Road, the hidden places on the east coast and the best activities in the Northern Territory, check out my AUSTRALIA PAGE: