Driving up the WA coast – part 1

Traveling up the west coast of Australia has been an unforgettable and amazing experience.

We have had the chance to see how the territory changes and how the ocean, green valleys, deserted areas coexist beautifully. Making the drive although very long, truly fascinating.

view of the ocean

Unfortunately as we left Perth we brought the bad weather with us for a while. Where we went, the rain followed. However there have been times when those cloudy skies looked really good in my shots!

Since it is winter here in Australia for the first part of the drive it was rather chilly. Except when the sun came out, of course! So no jumping in the Indian Ocean for us but rather enjoy it from a distance. We did dip our feet in a couple of times though. However as we got further up north it was a whole different story! These are the stops we made on the first part of our drive.

The Pinnacles Desert

I had read a lot about these amazing natural limestone structures in The Pinnacles Desert. I could not imagine what was so special about them, until we drove through the Nambung National Park. Then I was speechless! The sunset with the clouds rolling in and the 2 double rainbows made it even more magical!

Pinnacle desert

Let me tell you a bit more about these natural limestone structures. They formed 25.000 years ago after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells. Coastal winds, over time removed the sand surrounding them, leaving this pinnacles exposed. The Pinnacles are all different shapes and sizes. Some reach up to 3.5 meters (11.48 feet) tall. They may be jagged, rounded, sharp-edged, or any combination depending on how the wind has eroded them away.

Pinnacles desert
You can get access to this area by hiking it or with your vehicle, by driving through the designated route that goes around the Pinnacles. This place is breathtaking, a real miracle of nature. Defiantly a must see on your way!

pinnacles desert

Jurien Bay

This town is the largest along this stretch of coast. It is very popular as holiday, tourist and fishing resort. It has beautiful, long, wide beaches protected by offshore islands and reef.

Jurien Bay beach

 

Unfortunately we arrived here on a stormy night, it was raining so bad that we didn’t even know how to get our kids out of the car! Luckily the next day though, we had a chance to sit on the beach before heading to our next stop. 

Check out were we stayed: Jurien Beachfront Holiday Units

Jurien bay beach
Geraldton

Geraldton is 428 km’s North of Perth. It is one of the most important ports of the region. Geraldton is well-known for its long white beaches and the unpolluted white waters of the Indian Ocean.

Point Moore Lighthouse - Geraldton
Point Moore Lighthouse – Geraldton

We arrived here on another rainy afternoon, so we didn’t have a chance to really explore. We did go to Point Moore Lighthouse. This is one of the oldest steel lighthouses in Australia. It is still in operation today and its beam can be seen 26 kilometres out to sea. With its red and white candy strips, the lighthouse has become an icon of the port town of Geraldton.

Check out were we stayed: Belair Gardens Caravan Park

Geraldton beach

Pink lake or Hutt Lagoon

The Pink Lake was another of nature’s miracles that we could not miss!

This lake is pink but for natural causes. The color is due to the presence of carotenoid-producing algae Dunaliella salina, a source of ß-carotene, a food-colouring agent and source of vitamin A. Depending on the time of day, the season and the amount of cloud cover, the lake changes through the spectrum of red to bubble-gum pink to a lilac purple. It is about 70 square kilometers with most of it lying a few meters below sea level. It is separated from the Indian Ocean by a beach barrier ridge and barrier dune system. Hutt Lagoon is fed by marine waters through springs.

We stopped for a few shots at the official tourist spot. Shortly after we ventured a little further down in a very sandy road. Luckily we didn’t get stuck, but it was actually the best spot and worth the risk!!!

pink lagoon

 Kalbarri 

Kalbarri is 586 km north of Perth. It is a picturesque sea town off the coral coast. Kalbarri sits at the mouth of the Murchinson river, which is an amazing sight! On one side the roughness of the waves and on the other the calm waters of the river.

Murchinson river

Kalbarri is also surrounded by the National Park with inland gorges and many possible hikes.

kalbarri coast

As we drove through the National park we arrived to the most amazing coastal cliff with walking trails. If you look carefully you will probably spot humpback whales as well as dolphins! I like to call that area their private playground. All they do is dive in and out of the water. We also saw a large pod of dolphins very close to the shore that were jumping in and out of the waves. It looked like they were having the time of their life!

humpback whale

As we drove down to the downtown area of Kalbarri we saw many possible places to stop to explore more of these amazing cliffs. We walked to the tip of Red Bluff where my kids were being a little too wild too close to the cliff!

kalbarri coast

The waves are pretty impressive in this area and surfers love it! We walked down to one of the beaches and were amazed by how strong these waves were. A couple of times we had to run back pretty quick to not get swept away.

waves on the coast

Kalbarri also has a beautiful National Park. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to take some of the hikes there. We only had a glimpse of it as we were driving in and out-of-town, since you have to drive through it.

Off the Murchinson river you will often find Pelicans. Although every morning there is a feeding is organized for tourists to see. We had our own personal moment with the pelicans and got to experience their very fascinating bill movement.

pelicans

One of our favorite spots was the kids playground of course! It was a lifesaver to get all their energy out, so they would not end up climbing off a cliff instead! We noticed that every town we stopped along the way had at least one playground, always in a great place and a fun structure! This one was right in town on the water. It was a beautiful spot for the kids as well as the parents!

Check out were we stayed: Portree On Sea – Kalbarri

kalbarri playground

This ends the  first part of our drive. Stay tuned for the next post, it is going to be much “warmer”!


Make sure to check out our next posts about driving up Western Australia: Tips on driving up the WA coast and Driving up the WA coast – part 2

Click here to see more of our posts from our travels in Australia!!!

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