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All distances and times are approximate and will vary according to conditions.

Day 1: Perth - Dalwallinu   273km, 3 hours

Leave Perth and head north to New Norcia to explore Australia's very own monastic town. Travel on to Wongan Hills with its variety of nature reserves and interesting walk trails before heading to Dalwallinu. Be sure to drop into the Dalwallinu Discovery Centre for the latest tourist information and walk trail routes.

Accommodation options:  Dalwallinu Wheatland Motel  T (08) 9661 1600   Dalwallinu Hotel  T: (08) 9661 1102  B&Bs, caravan park, campsites.

Day 2: Dalwallinu - Paynes Find   174km,  2 hours

Head off on the Great Northern Highway, leave the Wheatbelt for the red earth country at Paynes Find, the centre of the region's pastoral and goldmining activity. About 20 people live in Paynes Find with a rejunvenated Gold Battery and display centre, now a popular tourist attraction.

Accommodation options: Paynes Find Tavern Roadhouse  T (08) 9963 6111  Nearby: Ningham Station T: (08) 9963 6517  Kirkalocka Station T: (08) 9963 5827

Day 3: Paynes Find - Meekatharra  338km,  4 hours

Set off from Paynes Find to Mt. Magnet, see the remnants of gold mining history evident in discarded mines, visit the museum and undertake heritage walks. Head north to Cue with its stunning colonial architecture, many buildings classified by the National Trust. At Meekatharra, be sure to take the Meeka Rangelands Discovery Walk Trail.

Accommodation options: Commercial Hotel  T (08) 9981 1020  Auski Inland Motel (08) 9981 1433   Caravan park, campsites.

Day 4: Meekatharra - Mt. Augustus  403km,  5 hours

Leave the bitumen and head north-west on the Kingsford Smith Mail Run, the Landor Meekatharra Road. Early mail drivers used primitive tracks delivering mail in the harsh remote outback. Call in and see the Mt. Gould Lockup, the region's first police station then continue to Landor, home of the famous bush horse race. Drive the Landor Mt. Augustus Road past the Burringurrah Aboriginal Community, to spectacular Mt. Augustus.

Accommodation options: Mt. Augustus Tourist Park (rooms, caravan park, camping)  T: (08) 9943 0527  Nearby: Cobra Station Bangemall Inn (Motel rooms, caravan park, camping)  T (08) 9943 0565

Day 5: Mt. Augustus - Karijini Eco Retreat    541km,  8 hours

Travel the 4WD Pingandy Road past Dooly Downs and Ashburton Downs, to the mining town of Tom Price. Sightsee this modern mining community and then refuel and head into the spectacular untouched gorge country around the Karijini Eco Retreat.

Accommodation:  Karijini Eco Retreat - at Joffre Gorge in Karijini National Park   (deluxe eco tents with private facilities, dorm tents and cabins with shared facilities, campground for tents, and caravans with solar powered showers/WC, bush kitchens and BBQs, outback al fresco restaurant and bar.  T (08) 9425 5591 

Day 6: Karijini National Park

Travel to the east of the national park to the visitor centre, then view the spectacular Dales Gorge, Circular Pool and Fortescue Falls. Enjoy dinner at the Karijini Eco Retreat

Day 7: Karijini National Park

Enjoy the stunning Joffre Gorge - just a short (100m) walk trail from Karijini Eco Retreat, then explore Joffre Falls, Weano Gorge and Knox Gorge.

Day 8: Karijini - Exmouth   700km,  8 hours

Travel to Tom Price and refuel. Continue via Doradeen Road and Milne Road before joining Nameless Valley Drive and onto Nanutarra Drive for your journey to Exmouth. Turn left at Nanutarra Roadhouse at Northwest Coastal Highway and then right at Burkett Road, travelling into Exmouth.

Accommodation options:  Bullara Station T (08) 9942 5938   Exmouth Cape Holiday Park T (08) 9949 1101  Ningaloo Lodge T (08) 9949 4949  Potshot Resort  T (08) 9949 1200   Sal Salis  T 1300 790 561   Novotel Ningaloo Resort  T (08) 9949 0000

Day 9-10: Exmouth

Exmouth is the ideal base to explore the world's largest fringing reef, Ningaloo. It is situated only metres from the shore in places and has over 500 species of tropical fish and 250 corals along with the world's largest fish - the giant whale shark (late Mar. - Jul.) and Humpback whales (Jun. - Nov.)

Day 11:  Exmouth - Coral Bay   150km,  2 hours

Don't miss the spectacular scenery of Charlies Knife and Shothole Canyons in the Cape Range National Park en route to Coral Bay. Located right on the Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay is a snorkellers and divers paradise and offers safe swimming for the kids. Charter boats are available for diving and fishing.

Accommodation options: Ningaloo Reef Resort T 1800 795 522  Ningaloo Club T (08) 9385 6655  Bayview Coral Bay T (08) 9942 5932  Warroora Station  South of Coral Bay T (08) 9942 5920  Caravan parks, campsites.

Day 12:  Coral Bay - Carnarvon   240km,  3 hours

Depart for Carnarvon via the amazing blowholes, Quobba and Gnaraloo (a 4WD vehicle is required) situated on some of the state's most spectacular coastline. Drive back to the highway and continue to Carnarvon. Local seafood is on the menu tonight!

Day 13: Carnarvon - Shark Bay   324km,  4 hours

Don't miss the Carnarvon Heritage Precinct or the opportunity to sample Carnarvon's famous produce at a local plantation. Next stop is the Shark Bay World Heritage Area, famous for the ancient Stromatolites and teh 120km long Shell Beach, two of the unique natural attractions in the arena.

Accommodation options: Heritage Resort T (08) 9948 1133  Oceanside Village T (08) 9948 3003 Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort T 1800 653 611  Dirk Hartog Island  T (08) 9948 1211  Carbla Station T (08) 9361 9044  Hamelin Station Stay (08) 9948 5145

Day 14: Shark Bay - Kalbarri   370km,  4.5 hours

Get up early to meet the friendly dolphins of Monkey Mia followed by a boat cruise on the marinelife rich waters of the bay. A visit to the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre is a must to learn about hte bay's history, culture and why it is one of the few places on earth to meet all four criteria for a World Heritage listing. On the road out, look for Eagle Bluff, offering spectacular views over the bay with frequent sightings of sharks, dugongs and other marine life in the waters below. Be sure to visit the spectacular inland gorges of the national park (unsealed) on the way to Kalbarri.

Accommodation options: Kalbarri Palm Resort T (08) 9937 2333   Kalbarri Edge Resort  T (08) 9937 0000  

Day 15: Kalbarri - Geraldton   152km,  1.5 hours

Leaving Kalbarri for Geraldton, stop at the spectacular coastal cliff lookouts and the Pink Lake on the way to Northampton, one fo the oldest settlements in WA, including the old railway station where remnants of teh state's first public railway line and bridges can be seen.  Arriving in the coastal centre of crayfishing, Geraldton, be sure to visit the WA Museum and the HMAS Sydney Memorial, for stunning views over the ocean.

Accommodation options: Best Western Hospitality Inn  T (08) 9921 1422  Broadwater Mariner Resort  T (08) 9965 9100  

Day 16: Geraldton - Cervantes    215km,  2.5 hours

Continue south past the bizarre leaning trees to explore the historic twin towns of Dongara/Port Denison. Have lunch at a cafe on the Moreton Bay Fig lined main street in town or some local fish and chips at the beach in Denison. Turn off onto the Indian Ocean Drive to Leeman, Greenhead and Jurien Bay before stopping at Cervantes (Nambung National Park) to visit the bizarre Pinnacles Desert (great colours at sunset) - follow the desert drive loop through the park.

Accommodation options: Pinnacles Edge Resort  T (08) 9652 7788  Cervantes Pinnacles Motel T (08) 9652 1745  Pinnacles Caravan Park  T (08) 9652 7060

Day 17: Cervantes - Perth   200km,  2 hours

This morning, make time to visit the Lobster Shack for a tour and to buy fresh local seafood (in season). Leaving Cervantes, explore the Yanchep National Park and beaches and the Gravity Discovery Centre en route to Perth.

IMPORTANT CONDITIONS:

Some roads are unsealed - we strongly recommend travel in a four wheel drive vehicle (4WD). When travelling in remote areas, we recommend you carry extra water and a second spare wheel/tyre. Please check the local area, road conditions and fuel availability locations with relevant local authorities before setting off. This itinerary is a guide only. Detailed maps are available from RAC, Fuel stations and book stores.  Drive safely.

 

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