Perth to Kalbarri: 10 Day Family Self Drive Itinerary

This is the Western Australia family travel guide, a 10 day Itinerary from Perth to Kalbarri.

The distances and remoteness of the roads in Australia shouldn’t be underestimated. Marco and I haven’t travelled extensively by road in Australia and we wanted to ease ourselves gently into the challenge of Australian road tripping. Of course we have two little ones to think about, and our priority is always to ensure that they are safe and happy. 

This 10 day itinerary is perfect for families who are short on time, but would like to get a taster of the outback as well as the spectacular coastline of Western Australia. There is not too much driving and best of all there are many family friendly places to stop on route.

If you have more time and  would like to do and see more between Perth and Jurien Bay, make sure you check out our 6 Day Itinerary which takes in all the sights from Perth to Jurien Bay, this would then create a perfect 16 day return trip.

Day 1 Perth to Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay is only 2.5 hr drive from Perth, is brimming with things to do, and the perfect place to stop for visiting the Pinnacles limestone formations within Nambung National Park, near the town of Cervantes, Western Australia.

Also you have the option of staying at the Sandy Cape campsite a stunningly beautiful bay with huge sand dunes which are great fun for the kids to play in and even have a go at sand-boarding, check out details on our my 6 day itinerary

Jurien Bay western australia

Day 2 – 4  Dongara / Port Denison 

Jurien Bay to Dongara / Port Denison is just a 1.5 hr drive. Isn’t it everyones dream to experience that laid back surf town vibe, that we perceive many Australians to live? Well it is, if like me, you were born in the 80’s and grew up watching Neighbours and Home and Away!

Port Denison is such a relaxed beach town. With some pretty spectacular spots for swimming and surfing. We absolutely loved this place, no one was ever in a hurry and everybody was so damn friendly. Best of all we couldn’t get enough of driving down the beach! 

There are also some brilliant campsites with all the facilities and amenities you could wish for.

Port Denison is famous for cray fishing, in fact, any sort of fishing this is the place to do it, trips can be organised from the harbour.

Grannies Beach

The two beaches to visit are Grannies Beach which is a small secluded the water is shallow and safe for swimming, just be careful of a few rocks as you make your way into the water. There is kids playground just before the beach and grassed area with some large fixed umbrellas for shade and coffee van.

Grannies Beach - dongara - Western Australia Family

Long Beach

The other beach and Marco’s favourite, is Long beach, yes the beach you could drive onto! This beach is best to visit early morning between 8- 11am, from noon onwards the wind picks up. We had so much fun swimming and playing in the waves here. It is relatively safe to swim, just don’t go out to deep as there could  be rip currents.

Of course Marco’s favourite thing to do on this particular beach was to drive down it, so exhilarating and incredibly fun for the girls. You don’t need to let your tyres down on this beach but we would recommend a 4×4 vehicle.

Western Australia Family trip

Day 4 Drive to Kalbarri stopping at Northampton and the Pink Lake

It’s a 2.5 hr drive form Dongara to Kalbarri an easy drive, but worth stopping at Northampton, as historical town and Port Gregory for the pink lake.

Northampton

Northampton is one of the oldest settlements in Western Australia: it’s classified as a historical town a great stopping off point for groceries and see the wonderful painted sheep, our girls loved wandering around town and finding these beautiful statues. 

Northampton western australia
Northampton western australia

Port Gregory

Port Gregory made famous because of the unusual pink lake also called the Hutt Lagoon; it attracts thousands of tourists every year. The pink hue is due to the presence of carotenoid producing algae a source of beta carotene, that is actually a food colouring agent. Depending on the time of day, the lake can change from bubble gum pink to lilac purple. 

Although the lake is great to see up close and how the salt lake is formed and the pink hue up close up.  The best way to view the lake is from above: by taking a scenic flight we had the opportunity to do this later on in the trip, read on to find out about our incredible experience. 

Port Gregory and the pink lake - Western Australia Family

Day 4 – 8 Kalbarri

Kalbarri has a great mix of spectacularly wild coastline plus, inland an arid and remote national park. There is so much to see an do in Kalbarri you are almost spoilt for choice, and often feel like you need an extra week to fit everything in. I’ve listed below our favourites spots and places to visit with kids. 

Pelican Feeding time on the Foreshore and Kids Playground

Every morning at 8.45am on the the foreshore volunteers come down to feed the the local pelicans for the tourists. 

This is a must do especially if you have kids, the pelicans don’t always corporate and start flying away, leaving all the fish. Normally there are about 7-8 pelicans that show up most days. Our girls loved this experience, as with all close encounters with wildlife it goes along way in sowing the seeds of appreciation for our natural world and being able to teach them how to protect and sustain our natural environments.

After the feeding pelicans, make sure you check out the fantastic wooden play ground, the girls had hours of fun here sound overlooking the river, a great spot  to chill out just before a trip into the national park on one of the many beaches.

Pelican Feeding at Kalbarri

The Kalbarri National Park

The Blue Holes

Kalbarri’s coastline is surrounded by a huge reef, which means it has many protected beaches: one of the most unusual is the Blue Holes, which at low tide create lots of natural shallowing swimming pools.

The girls loved swimming in these, they got to see crabs and other many other sea creatures in this natural aquarium. At this beach we even spotted a sea snake, yes Australia’s dangerous wildlife is present, but use care and caution, and no one gets hurt.

The Blue Holes kalbarri in Western Australia Family

Natures Window inside the Kalbarri National Park

The spectacular rock formations of Kalbarri National park have to be seen and can be easily explored with just a short drive into the National park there are many marked trails to follow. 

The window, that over looks the winding Murchison river is a must see. We walked  down easily with the girls, and luckily the day wasn’t too hot, but be aware in the summer months and temperatures can sore and get up to 50 degrees.

Ensure you take a hat, sunscreen and water. If your feeling a little more energetic and don’t have young kids, I’d recommend doing the longer loop which takes you into the gorge, its 40minute round trip.

Natures Window  Kalbarri National park
Kalbarri National park in Western Australia

Island Rock 

We also enjoyed the spectacular and windy view from Island rock, which was once part the shoreline

Scenic Flight to Albrohos Islands and the Pink Lake

During our stay in Kalbarri, we were kindly invited by Kalbarri Scenic flights to fly in eight seater light aircraft to visit the Albrohos islands for a day. Marco and I was incredibly excited having already visited the islands once already on our own, we couldn’t believe we would have the chance to take Bella and Maya as well. 

Kalbarri Scenic flights

The Abrolhos Islands are made up of 122 islands clustered into three main groups we would be visiting one of the islands in the Walibi group.I was so excited that Bella and Maya would be experiencing a small light aircraft, it is such an exhilarating and unique experience, the girls were excited too, and even happy when they realised that got to wear the flight headphones.

On a side note Bella was surprised our pilot was female. I was ecstatic, all I could think of was what a fantastic inspiration she would be for Bella and Maya, if they have every imagined becoming a pilot when they grow up.

I watched Bella the whole flight she looked down intensely at the ocean below mesmerised by the waves.

The flight was very smooth and we another Australian family travelling with us. Once we were landed it was short walk to the beach and our picnic spot.

The other family on the flight had organised a treasure hunt for their kids which our girls joined in with, it was brilliant activity to do on a real desert island. Our pilot took us on short trek to find wallabies and explain the full story of the Batavia Ship wreck.

Ariel view of the Pink Lake

Everybody said you, must try and see the lakes from above, an aerial view like we did, on our way home we got to fly over the pink lakes which were stunning, they were like a painting, nature has a truly spectacular way of creating art.

If you fancy treating yourself during your stay in Kalbarri this is the way to do it, the Albrohos islands are such a unique place that are protected.

Day 8 – 10 Horrocks and Lucky Bay

Depending on your time schedule and which scenic road you would prefer to take, Horrocks and Lucky bay are definitely worth taking a detour for either on your drive north to Kalbarri or on your drive south back to Perth.

Horrocks is a small coastal town, imagine one of those towns with one general store that does everything, groceries, petrol and a bar come cafe, everybody seemed to know each other. 

We stayed in the main campsite just one road back from the beach. The beach is spectacular unfortunately due to the time of year there was a lot of seaweed the sea was very rough.

Little Bay

However a little research uncovered a fantastic beach nearby called Little bay.

little Bay western australia

We detached the small caravan we were towing and headed to Little Bay we read the track was pretty rough, but missed the sign that said you need to let you tyres down to 25 bar and we stupidly headed straight on to the sandy track getting stuck almost immediately. Luckily another car was returning from the beach, we waved it down and the kind man gave us helping hand to let down our tyres with a gauge and then we drove easily out of the sand and onwards to the spectacular beach.

There is even a small nature based campsite that is just a few steps back from the beach, so if you have 4×4 car you can get some excellent camping spots here right on the beach.

The facilities are very simple, but the view and location are spectacular and well worth it. We loved this spot so much. Not only the adventure of getting there through the sand dunes and driving on the beach.

The beach and the way the hills dramatically drop into the sea, it has a look of the end of the world, it creates an illusion of being remote but in fact its only 2km drive from Horrocks.  Such a great little find and one our favourite spots of our whole trip.

little Bay western australia

Depending on how much time you have you could either drive the 5.5hrs and 487km straight back to Perth. Or if you would like a more leisurely drive and are able to spare a couple more nights, check out this guide which has some great sport to stop near Perth.

Our video

Thinking Nomads Verdict 

This road trip was one of the highlights of our time spent in Western Australia. We loved the unique and diverse landscapes we got to see, from arid bushland and red rocks to the spectacular and unusual coastline and lakes. This trip has just wet our appetite and we are already planning our next trip to explore further north and the coral coast.

Thinking Nomads Tips 

DO

Head town to the tourist information centre where they have some really informative guides on all the places to visit including maps and leaflets.

SEE

Natures Window and The Blue holes are two favourites spots in Kalbarri; if you fancy splashing out and enjoy unique experiences ensure you do the light aircraft trip to Albrohos islands.

EAT

Open air BBQ  do it how the Aussies do, anything and everything can cooked on the BBQ!

STAY

There are a huge selection of wonderful campsites in Western Australia, we used the following two websites and to find the best spots.

Firstly Wikicamp is an app and has many free and budget friendly camp sites, many located within national parks, if you’re after stunning out of the way locations with simple facilities check this out.

If you prefer campsites with more facilities and family friendly check out Discovery Parks.

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