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Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

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Old Mar 4th 2018, 1:06 am
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Default Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

Our magical mystery tour of Australia continues and after two years doing a circuit of eastern Australia, we've now crossed the Nullarbor to WA in our caravan and had a couple of weeks in the Goldfields. Our last time in WA was in 1989!

We moved south to Esperance a couple of days ago and have until late May to get to Geraldton.

We're set up for free camping but happy to use caravan parks too - and we've got a 4WD. If we go too far into 4WD territory we can leave the caravan behind and take a tent instead. "We" are a couple in our mid 50s and are fortunate to have a reasonable budget to do tours etc.

I'd love to hear your thoughts as to where we should go/what route we should take/how much time we should spend where/what we should not miss. Thanks!
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Old Mar 4th 2018, 1:42 am
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Default Re: Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

Regional West Australian here!

I've been to almost every shire in the state over the past three years.

You may not feel like double-tracking now, but from Norseman, there is a 300 km unsealed road (fantastic condition, 2WD suitable) that crosses the Great Western Woodlands and puts you out at Wave Rock/Hyden. The road is called the Great Western Woodlands Drive or something similar and the Shire of Dundas has marked out about 20 or so points of interest along the way. There is camping at a spot called the Breakaways about halfway through. Absolutely no facilities along the way but any normal car can make it through without needing a petrol stop.

From Esperance, be sure to not just stop at Cape Le Grand, go east to Cape Arid, and if your vehicle permits, Israelite Bay.

West from Esperance, halfway to Hopetoun is Munglingup Beach which is a fantastic isolated and secluded reef-protected beach with terrific swimming and snorkeling.

Fitzgerald River NP is worth a few days around Hopetoun, but from there, I would head north to Lake King (take your 4WD into the mountains behind Ravensthorpe first) and take a week or two to do the Wheatbelt and visit all the big granite outcrops. Wave Rock is the most famous, but at Mukinbudin there are two, arguably better (Elachbutting Rock and Beringbooding Rock), and at Bruce Rock there is Kokerbin Rock, the third-biggest monolith in Australia after Uluru and Mt Augustus. The "Wheatbelt Way" is a comprehensive site with sample itineraries:

https://www.wheatbeltway.com.au/

Then once you get to Merredin, pass down through Bruce Rock/Kokerbin Rock and a few of the other rocks around Corrigin (Gorge Rock etc) and head back down towards Albany. That area, plus the Stirlings/Porongurups, are worth some time. Along all that, Dryandra in Narrogin and Kodja Place in Kojonup are worth a look, as well as the salt lakes around Lake Grace/Pingrup etc though the latter except for perhaps Dryandra can all easily be done in a day.

From there, do a semi-loop around the South Coast and South West Capes - if slow and ambling is the goal, the Blackwood River Valley (Bridgetown/Nannup/Balingup), Busselton, Margaret River areas are worth a couple weeks perhaps (collectively not individually).

If you can go a little bit further north than Geraldton - go up to Cervantes/the Pinnacles, but then cut across to the inland road and take that up through to Cue (old historic town - good stopping point for the night) and then cut across from Meekatharra to Mt Augustus, the Kennedy Ranges (there is a facilities stop/fuel at Gascoyne Junction), and Carnarvon, and then back down to Kalbarri before ending at Geraldton. Along that Meekatharra-Carnarvon run you can follow the old Kingsford Smith mail run track, there is literature and a map published about it. Carnarvon (famous for tropical fruit and a good space exhibit) is only about 4 hours drive from Geraldton so it's not that much of a detour. About an hour north of Carnarvon is the southern end of Ningaloo Reef (go past the blowholes on that bit of peninsula) and you can squeeze that in too.

Hope that helps, good luck!

Last edited by carcajou; Mar 4th 2018 at 1:51 am.
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Old Mar 4th 2018, 4:33 am
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Default Re: Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

Great advise to follow from above post. I've been a long time in this state and about fifteen per cent of places recommended I've never heard off.
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Old Mar 5th 2018, 10:54 am
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Default Re: Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

Carcajou. thank you so much for this. I watched your debate with the Troubadour about Albany and Bunbury a while ago and hoped you would be able to help and you sure have. We're busy researching the places you mention, though we're off to Lucky Bay tomorrow so doubt we'll have internet there! Looks a perfect route though.

We did think about the Norseman/Hyden road but at the time we were researching it, it was closed due the rains that headed this way after flooding Broome. The same rains closed the road to Lake Ballard but fortunately we were able to change our plans a little to wait until it reopened. We were rewarded with fabulous views of the lake with water in it and the figures on the lake paddling as only half a dozen were not in the water - and we had the place to ourselves. Magical.

We'll be heading north of Geraldton in mid-July. I just mentioned that we needed to be there by the end of May to give an idea of our speed of travel. After that up to Darwin then east and to Cloncurry then south via Winton, Longreach and Bourke to Canberra by mid December. After that - who knows!

Any more tips - from you or anyone else - would be welcome but thanks again for your post.
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Old Mar 5th 2018, 10:26 pm
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Default Re: Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

The time will pass rapidly. Personally never seen the attraction particularly with Wave Rock, seemingly a long drive with minimal reward, but all to their own. The Esperance coast is certainly very nice.


I think it would be of use to others if you wrote of your personal experiences on your journey, as covering so much ground. A lot of useful information could be gained by others considering road trips.
Camping grounds and of the beat places, both positive and negative. I covered much what you appear to be doing in the North of the country, late last century.


In WA The Kimberley would be my favourite as somewhere rather different. Anyhow safe travels. You'll soon be crossing paths with the Grey Nomads whom flock North at the first signs of winter.
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Old Mar 6th 2018, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Holiday planning advice needed from the south-Western Australians please

Originally Posted by the troubadour View Post
The time will pass rapidly. Personally never seen the attraction particularly with Wave Rock, seemingly a long drive with minimal reward, but all to their own. The Esperance coast is certainly very nice.


I think it would be of use to others if you wrote of your personal experiences on your journey, as covering so much ground. A lot of useful information could be gained by others considering road trips.
Camping grounds and of the beat places, both positive and negative. I covered much what you appear to be doing in the North of the country, late last century.


In WA The Kimberley would be my favourite as somewhere rather different. Anyhow safe travels. You'll soon be crossing paths with the Grey Nomads whom flock North at the first signs of winter.
Troubadour, this is an excellent idea if Louie is up for it, highly practical to the mission of this site as not only can those considering road trips use it, but the Pilbara/Kimberley has a lot of seasonal backpacker work and lots of people on WHVs surf this forum looking for information on those towns and communities.

I also agree with your sentiments regarding the Kimberley and Wave Rock. Wave Rock can be disappointing, not least of which because the Shire of Kondinin charges $10 per car and none of the park passes cover it! I don't think Wave Rock by itself justifies a trip out from Perth, but would be worth it when combined over a multi-day trip with some of the other rocks mentioned and maybe also Sandalford Rocks in Westonia.

Not to clog the thread with my own recommendations, but two more:

1. The guidebooks "Beautiful South" and "Amazing North" are free and available at most information centres, and cover a lot of the really small towns in Western Australia often overlooked. They can be downloaded for free at this link:

Books - Cooks Tours

2. Additionally, when in the Pilbara, be sure to stop at Burrup Peninsula (now called Murujuga National Park, near Karratha) - the rock art takes your breath away, and it's quite powerful to contemplate that you could be looking at extinct animals, etc depicted 30,000 years ago. It's my favourite part of the Northwest.

Louie it sounds like the WA part of your trip is off to a great start so far, and you are right, very unique and special to see Lake Ballard in that condition! All the best to you and your partner, and do keep us updated as you travel around our great state.

Last edited by old.sparkles; Jun 2nd 2018 at 2:10 am. Reason: ...
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