Road Trip From Broome To The Ningaloo Reef by Bus and Coach
Tour the North West of Western Australia now that the COVID 19 restrictions have been relaxed
From Broome to Ningaloo and everything in between, here we uncover the wonders of Western Australia, all ready and waiting for you to explore…
Explore Horizontal falls and amazing underwater world
Heading out of the Kimberley region into Pilbara and reaching the Coral Coast. You are welcome to experience the extraordinary Horizontal Falls, the serene Dales Gorge, and the underwater world of the Ningaloo reef.
Offering indigenous culture and history, all these natural attractions are dotted around the various national parks, including Karlamilyi, Millstream-Chichester and Karijini, and surrounding the old mining towns of Newman and Marble Bar. Thought the eastern coast had the crème de la crème of activities, locations, and tourist attractions? Think again.
Broome is a great platform to launch your trip
Broome is a great platform to head off to the surrounding attractions. So if you want to start off your journey with a bang, take a trip to the astonishing Horizontal Falls. If you thought all waterfalls fell from a steep cliff to a pool below. Think twice! Intense tides that flow through two parallel cliff gorges in Talbot Bay result in horizontal tides – hence the name. There are a number of tours that will take you here, all varying in price, so make sure you do your research before setting off!
Visit Karlamilyi National Park
Karlamilyi is the largest national park, and probably the most remote, within Pilbara. There is a range of lakes within Karlamilyi National Park – including Dora, Blanche, and Auld. But there’s only a substantial amount of water after a very wet season.
Desert Queen Baths
If you want to make sure you get your feet (and everything else) wet, pay a visit to the Desert Queen Baths within the Throssell Ranges. Entering the park from the north, via the small mining town of Marble Bar, a rough, narrow 18km track will lead you to the campsite of the baths, for which a 4WD is the only option.
While there’s potential for eight pools, only four are permanent due to the seasons and are accessible by swimming from one to the other or clambering around the edges.
Unique Aboriginal Rock Art
It’s well worth the effort; ‘Kangaroo Pool’ contains unique rock art, or petroglyphs, that are only visible by walking around the gorge, and ‘3 Goanna’s Pool’ has three goanna petroglyphs – hence the name – but these can only be seen during sunset. This pool provides a good source of water and perfect for a refreshing dip on a blisteringly hot day. Stretching 1.2 million hectares.
Karlamilyi is one of the lesser-visited areas of Australia, so these idyllic pools remain untouched and undisturbed.
Enter Karamiliyi from Marble Bar or Newman
The north entrance to Karlamilyi is from Marble Bar, and westerly is Newman. Ideal places to fill up your water supply, or even have a cheeky beer at one of the pubs or hotels. Makes knowing the locations of these vital to travelers. Both are mining towns; learn of their history at the Comet Gold Mine and Tourist Centre or the Outdoor Mining Museum, or visit one of their surprising natural attractions.
Marble Bar and Surrounds
Marble Bar is surrounded by creeks including Brockman, Eight Mile, and Yandicoogina, as well as rivers Shaw, Coogan, and Talga. It is the Jasper Bar that runs along the Coongan River that gave the town its name, as inhabitants originally believed it was marble.
The A-Class reserve, just a few minutes from the town center, is a highly valued spot. Including the beautiful Chinamen’s Pool and Picnic Area, the reserve spans the Coongan River and is perfect for picnicking and taking a refreshing dip. This waterhole is poignant to the town which holds the record for the longest heatwave in the world. For a consecutive 160 days between 1923 and 1924, temperatures breached 100?F, earning itself the title as ‘hottest town in the world’.
Cool Oasis Opthalmia Dam
Marble Bar, Newman is adorned with a cool oasis in the form of the Opthalmia Dam, perfect for a cool-down and recreational afternoon before the sunsets. Newman also has the addition of the mountain of the same name, which offers views of the Opthalmia Ranges and the lush colours of wildflower between July and September. These examples of water and vegetation are few and far between in the Pilbara outback, so make use of them when you can.
Port Headland Eighty mile Beach
Port Hedland – a three-hour drive through the wilderness north of Marble Bar, presents the renowned Eighty Mile Beach, which is exactly as it sounds. Eighty Miles of pristine white sand and blue waters, catch your dinner fresh from the Indian Ocean and camp under the stars. The huge tides of the northwest are a sight to see, as are the resulting tidal flights etched into the sand. For respite from the challenges of the dry inland, spend a few days in Port Hedland. You either relax on the beach or learning the history and culture of the area from the Heritage Trail or at the Dalgety House Museum.
Karanjiji and Millstream-Chichester
Karijini and Millstream-Chichester lie further west. Just under three hours from Newman – and just under four from Port Hedland – Karijini is an adventurer’s dream. There are things to see and do here that are not only unique to the state, but of the entire country.
Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool, and Circular Pool
If you only have time for one, it has to be Dales Gorge; you get three highlights in one, with the popular Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool, and Circular Pool. A refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters, surrounded by two billion-year-old rock formations, will make you forget all about the testing drive here. You should give yourself two hours to walk from the provided car park through the gorge, but the inviting waters will be so tempting, you’ll end up wanting to spend the whole day swimming and bathing. Trust us: you will be in no hurry to get back.
Mount Bruce second Highest Mountain in WA
From low to high ground, take the scenic walk up Mount Bruce to grab priceless views of Karijini and Pilbara. At 1,235m, it is Western Australia’s second-highest mountain, so you’d be lucky to get such an outlook anywhere else on your travels. Remember to take physical memories of your adventure with a camera – you’ll be kicking yourself if you neglect to bring one.
Millstream-Chichester National Park
Millstream-Chichester National Park is north of Karijini. It serves as a refreshing change from the rocky terrain that you’ve experienced so far. With its inviting pools lined with trees and regular, winged visitors. Python Pool is a popular location to relax; the jagged ochre cliffs that surround it are a perfect backdrop for a swim and afternoon picnic. Not one for sitting around?
The 8km camel trail begins at the pool and ends at Mount Herbert, with the Chichester Ranges, McKenzie Spring, and blooming flora in between. You can also drive to the base of the mountain on a separate track and climb the 367m to the summit. As with everywhere in Western Australia, you must be a determined and experienced traveler to survive Millstream-Chichester, but you will be rewarded with an adventure to remember. There are plenty of camping bases including Stargazers and Crossing Pool, permits for which can be purchased from the nearest towns’ – Karratha and Roebourne – visitor centers.
These two towns – as well as Dampier Port – are precious to the North West’s coastline, acting as a base for all travelers and gateways to the most idyllic parts of the world, including the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago.
Enter Roebourne and you’d be forgiven for thinking that time’s stood still. Many of its original buildings have been restored and protected, including the Old Gaol that offers a history lesson in 19th-century convict and colonial life, as a converted museum and art gallery.
Point Samson, one of the many parts of Australia that jut out to the sea, has drawn visitors due to its tranquil sandy beach Honeymoon Cove, great seafood restaurants, and inviting atmosphere. There are chalets and B&Bs ready to accommodate, or The Cove Caravan Park is in a great location for the fishing spots and grassed barbeque areas by the beach.
Karratha is growing rapidly as the heart of the West Pilbara Coast; it is well located. Whether you want to take a day trip to the Dampier, head into the wilderness of the Karijini or Millstream-Chichester, drive the North-West Coastal Highway to Port Hedland, or Broome, or board a flight to Perth.
Karratha has a population of 20000
Its 20,000 strong population, as well as the dining and shopping opportunities, are a warm welcome after the struggles of the outback. This growing mining town is abundant with accommodation, from budget to luxury. Comfort Inn and Suites Karratha provide a modern apartment with a kitchen/diner and internet access for $295 per night for the first seven days, $275 after the first week, and $250 after a month. Ibis Styles Karratha features 60 rooms with balconies, a bar, a swimming pool, and a barbeque area, just five kilometers from the airport. All rooms are standard with a queen-size bed, some with an extra single bed, from $206 per night.
However long you stay at Karratha, dedicate a day or two for a trip to the Burrup Peninsula and the Dampier Archipelago. Holiday like a movie star on the cleanest, whitest, most exotic and secluded beaches you can imagine, view Aboriginal rock art dating back tens of thousands of years and swim with a stunning variety of marine life. Due to the climate and habitat, plants have been able to flourish and animals have congregated here, so much so that 30% of all living creatures in the Pilbara region are found here. The list includes the northern quoll, Rothschild’s rock-wallaby, echidna and the Pilbara dive python.
The Dampier Port
The Dampier Port is the gateway to the 42 islands that make up the Archipelago. Never mind a sweeping one-day visit, you could spend a whole season island-hopping, snorkelling, swimming, sunbathing, catching dinner and camping on one of the hundreds of beaches. The whole of Angel Island, Gidley Island, and Collier Rocks have camping available, as well as all beaches on Dolphin Island except the south-east. To check all permitted camps, visit the Department of Environment and Conservation website.
Take supplies with you when visiting the Islands
Make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need to survive on the islands, including drinking water and sun protection. The surrounding sea is a hub of wildlife including manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, and the endangered dugong. In the winter, look out for humpback whales migrating to temperate subtropical waters for breeding, and spot the colorful birds that flock to the island for ideal protection all year round.
Not only are these islands easy on the eye, they are also drenched in history. West Lewis Island is believed to have ruins of one of the early pastoral settlements, Malus Island features old whaling and pearling stations from 1870-72, and Enderby Island boasts the resting place for many historical boats and planes. To see the islands, take a tour with Discovery Cruising on their 12-meter vessel, Blue Marlin. Setting off from Hampton Harbour, choose from a range of trips depending on your preference, such as Day, Sunset, Fishing, or Overnight. If you want to head off on your own, drive a trailer boat to swim and snorkel where you please. For this, a $200 security deposit is required.
The Montebello Island Western Australia’s North West
The Montebello Islands are just four hours from the Dampier range of islands and are made up of 100 limestone islands and islets that make up the Montebello Islands. Catch your dinner, snorkel the pristine waters and make your bed on the clean, white sand that is home to what is believed to be Western Australia’s first-ever shipwreck, the sunken Tyrall from 1622. Barrow, the second largest island in Western Australia, lies south of the Montebello Islands.
This unique island is severely protected due to the wildlife, as it contains 22 species of mammal, reptile, bird, and flora that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The highly-conserved fauna includes the black-flanked rock wallaby, boodie, spectacled hare-wallaby and golden bandicoot.
Head To Coral Bay Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales
Once you’ve had enough dipping and diving, embark on the seven-hour drive west from Karratha -stopping at Onslow if you need fresh water halfway – to the Coral Coast. Spanning 1,100km, it features world-class heritage sites, carefully preserved marine parks, a kaleidoscope of colour and the possibility of interacting with the best wildlife on the blue planet. Swim with bottlenose dolphins, find Nemo and discover why this partnership between land and sea is so precious to the survival of turtles, dugongs, whale sharks, and humpback whales.
Exmouth, home to Cape Range National Park and the Ningaloo Reef lies on the very northern tip of the Coral Coast. Whatever time of year you travel, you’ll be greeted by something spectacular; from whale sharks feasting on krill between March and July, humpback whales migrating from June to November. Turtles nesting along the beaches November to March.
With an abundance of vegetation and a much more comfortable climate than the Outback of Western Australia, wildlife has settled in Cape Range. From an osprey perched on a lagoon within Mangrove Bay, to a red kangaroo scouring the floor for food. You’re sure to witness the life within the park. Yardie Creek, a permanent, multi-colored gorge, is home to a colony of black-footed rock wallabies.
Yardie Creek Gorge tour
Yardie Creek Gorge tour is the most ideal way to spot such wildlife and get an idea of the geology and formation of the gorge. A one-hour boat ride costs around $35 per person. The park is rife with campsites, 112 in total, but facilities are few – no power, showers or cooking facilities. Being so close to Exmouth town, park your campervan and stay in the luxury of a clean, cozy, and bug-less room thanks to Novotel Ningaloo Resort, Exmouth Backpackers, or Ningaloo Lodge.
The Ningaloo Reef
The Ningaloo Reef should be on everyone’s bucket list! With a coastline stretching 260km and covering 5,000 square km of the Indian Ocean, it has been protected since 1987 and contains the last significant portion of dugong in the world, at just a mere 2,000.
The creation of the reef is so incredible that in some areas you can walk straight into the sea from the beach and within five to ten meters, be swimming over stunning corals and anemone.
Alternatively, head off on a snorkelling cruise with company Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim and take their Eco Wildlife Tour. Get picked up at 7.30am and briefed on what to expect, board the dive boat from Bundegi Coastal Marine Park, and be snorkelling in the Ningaloo by 10am. Manta-ray cruises between July and November are highly recommended by the tour operator, but whale watching from August to November is also a valuable experience.
If you’re a little wary of sea creatures or an unconfident swimmer, take it one step at a time, with friends or family to support you. Just don’t be a wuss! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat, so make the most of it before it’s too late.
Whether you’re an adventurous mountain-climber, wild explorer, deep-sea diver or coastline wanderer, on dry land, sandy beaches or within 50 shades of blue, “great” doesn’t quite do this Western Australian Outback adventure justice. Accept the challenge and find out for yourself!