Four years ago I visited Western Australia for the first time, taking in Perth, Fremantle and the Margaret River. It seemed like the most perfect place. Beautiful beaches, loads of activities for kids plus delicious wineries. I wanted to revisit WA, having heard amazing things about Broome and the Kimberleys. So when my husband got some time off at short notice, I pounced on the Singapore Airlines website to find out where we could fly with our airmiles. Of course, being airmiles flights, there was little choice. Yet one location did have availability for our dates.. Perth! I quickly booked the flights and only then decided to look at a map of Australia. Blimey Broome was far north of Perth, a mere 2240km… Certainly not a drivable trip with only 5 days to play with…
Armed with the Lonely Planet Western Australia and helpful Tripadvisor forums, I then cobbled together a different WA roadtrip. I really had no idea of the vast distances to behold travellers north of Perth. Also, please excuse my Aussie ignorance, I genuinely had no idea of what there was to really in the gap between Perth and Broome.
Despite the initial lack of knowledge, it turned out to be a spectacular trip. Lots of driving but rewarded with beautiful scenery. One other caveat to this trip was that Jetlag & Mayhem weren’t invited. It was the first time my husband and I had road tripped without the kids in 10 years. For those traveling with kids, I’d recommend starting with Perth and driving South first as it’s such a fun filled region, plus travel distances aren’t as crazy.
My itinerary was as follows
Perth Airport Hotel (1 night) – Geraldton (1 night) – Shark Bay (2 nights) – Perth (1 night)
Here are some things you need to know about travel to Australia and this part of the world:
- Check to see if you need a visa (I needed an eVisitor subclass 651), which is easily processed online
- Don’t bring any food into Australia! (have you not seen that fab TV show Border Security?!)
- Check the opening/closing hours of restaurants and shops. Australian restaurants in particular can close early so you may want to bring your dinner forward (especially in those remote towns).
- Check the weather in advance. Our September trip brought in weather between 12 to 30 degrees. Summer can be excessively hot and certain areas are susceptible to flies.
- Take heed of the Australian campaign to ‘slip, slap slop’. You can really feel the sun burn your skin in this part of the southern hemisphere
- Australia is expensive! You might want to check out self catering accommodation to save money on dining.
- You can always find good coffee. No matter how small the town
- Watch out for extra charges at the car rental. Unlike hiring in other countries, Australia car rentals charge extra for lowering your insurance excess. Maybe you want to take a chance and hope you won’t incur a prang. However we’re far too sensible and got around the extra charge by actually buying a standalone car rental excess cover prior to our trip.
- Be careful driving after dusk. We saw plenty of roadkill and hitting something like a kangaroo can be both dangerous and deadly (for you and the kangaroo).
- Don’t wait till the last moment to fill up on gas. We almost ran out of petrol between Kalbarri and Geraldton, assuming there would be petrol stations a-plenty.
- Be mindful of the speed limit. We hadn’t realised how fast we were driving and got pulled over by police, which ended in a fine.
For more WA planning tips