By: Tatum Stafford
You could take the direct route to Wubin, but then you'd be missing out on what the Coral Coast has to offer further up the road. Take your time and get the best of the Mid West coastline and inland with this road trip.
|Distance and days||2368km. Allow eight days or longer to thoroughly explore towns and nearby national parks.|
|Best time to go||July to October to enjoy the Mid West’s impressive wildflower season.|
|Highlights||Hutt Lagoon, Kalbarri National Park, Hamelin Pool stromatolites, Monkey Mia, Mullewa wildflowers, Walga Rock, Cue’s heritage buildings, Wubin Rocks.|
Day one: Geraldton to Kalbarri (154km)
From Geraldton, head north on North West Coastal Highway to reach Northampton, one of the oldest towns in WA . Take a stroll along the Hampton Road Heritage Walk route to view historic character buildings, or head for the Northampton Botanic Line, a walk trail which follows the old railway tracks to reveal grevilleas, verticordias and everlastings in springtime.
Make a worthy detour via Port Gregory to see the pink lake of Hutt Lagoon, then continue on to Kalbarri.
Day two: Kalbarri
Spend the day exploring the spectacular Kalbarri National Park, a 12min drive from the town centre. Head there early to avoid crowds. The Kalbarri Skywalk, which opened in June 2020, is a good starting point for the day. After soaking up the views you can grab a coffee at the onsite café and read the detailed information boards that explain how the Murchison Gorge was formed.
Other park highlights include the Insta-worthy Nature’s Window rock formation, the 9km Loop walk trail (closed from November to March due to hot summer conditions), the Z Bend lookout, Red Bluff Beach and Meanarra Hill.
Day three: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia (401km)
It’s a fair drive to Monkey Mia, so plan a few stop-offs along the way. Visit Hamelin Pool to see the stromatolites, take a walk along Shell Beach, stop at the Eagle Bluff lookout to try and spot dugongs and dolphins from above, and see sharks, eels and other marine life up close at Ocean Park Aquarium.
If time permits, head into Francois Peron National Park to soak up some spectacular coastal scenery. The park was once a pastoral station, and today, the Peron Heritage Precinct and old homestead offer the chance to see what life would have been like on a remote sheep station. Popular attractions within the park include Big Lagoon, which is great for canoeing or waterfront camping, the Skipjack Point Lookout, and excellent beach fishing at Bottle Bay.
From the park, it’s only a 20min drive to Monkey Mia. Don’t forget, RAC members save up to 20%* on bookings at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.
Day four: Monkey Mia to Carnarvon (349km)
Monkey Mia’s daily dolphin feeding sessions take place at 7:30am each morning, so make sure you’re up early so you don’t miss out.
After feeding the dolphins, continue north to Carnarvon. When you arrive, pay a visit to the Carnarvon Space and Technology Centre to learn about its role in Australia’s space history – did you know it relayed the first steps of the moon landing to television stations across the country?
Another notable local attraction is the self-drive Fruit Loop Trail which takes you past local plantations, shopfronts and stalls that sell locally grown fruit and veg.
Day five: Carnarvon to Mullewa (532km)
Heading inland, enter the region known as WA’s ‘Wildflower Country’ as you arrive in Mullewa. This is a long leg of driving, so plan plenty of rest stops to stretch your legs and avoid fatigue. The roadhouse in Binnu is a good halfway point between Carnarvon and Mullewa.
Mullewa’s peak wildflower season is from July to October, when everlastings, sunrays, and rare Leschenaultia wreath flowers bloom all across the township. Other attractions in Mullewa include the historic Church & Priest House Museum, and the scenic lookout at the end of the 2.4km looped Bushland Trail.
Day six: Mullewa to Mount Magnet (242km)
As you head further inland from Mullewa, plan a stop-off at Yalgoo. There are plenty of intriguing attractions to explore here, including the Dalgaranga crater, Australia’s smallest impact crater which was discovered in 1920, Paynes Find Gold Battery, the only working gold battery in WA, and the various old mine site entry points you’ll find scattered across the township.
When you reach Mount Magnet, pay the Mining and Pastoral Museum a visit. Here you’ll get a glimpse of the Murchison region’s rich goldmining history, and can also view the original Boogardie State Battery which was rebuilt on the museum site. In summer, the Mount Magnet Open Air Cinema is an atmospheric spot to catch a movie.
Day seven: Mount Magnet to Meekatharra (195km)
Before leaving town, take a drive along Mount Magnet’s 37km tourist drive trail to take in spectacular rock formations and seasonal wildflowers.
On your way to Meekatharra, take a detour to see the largest gallery of Aboriginal rock paintings in WA, at Walga Rock. Head into the rock’s large cave to view the paintings, and then follow the walk trail to the top of the rock for impressive views out over the horizon.
Once in Meekatharra, stop in at the Meekatharra Museum or complete the 900m Meeka Rangelands Discovery Trail. The trail leads through the township up to the Meeka Lookout, which offers impressive views of the town and surrounding region.
Day eight: Meekatharra to Wubin (495km)
On the last day of your trip, back-track through Mount Magnet and pass through Cue, a quiet heritage town in the heart of goldrush country. Though many refer to it as a ‘ghost town’, Cue has more than 10,000 residents and there are plenty of iconic heritage buildings to explore if you’re eager for a rest stop.
Next, get back on Great Northern Highway and head south to Wubin, a sheep and wheat farming town in the middle of wildflower country that blooms with everlastings during August and September. Keep an eye out for the rare Leschenaultia wreath flower, which typically pops up on roadsides.
Explore Wubin’s agricultural history at the Heritage Wheatbin Museum, then take a picnic basket to Wubin Rocks to unwind amongst nature and enjoy the last sunset of your road trip.
Ready to hit the road?
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Last updated: November 2021