Though I generally steer away from tours and prefer to roadtrip at my own pace, I decided to do Western Australia a bit differently last month. I’d spontaneously booked a one-week roundtrip ticket to Perth just one day before flying, and having no time to find others to roadtrip with, I figured a 4-day/3-night tour would help me make the most of time time. (It did).
Friday morning at 7am, I met the group and our awesome tour guide Rhett, alongside trainee tourguide Niall. The unusually small group of only six backpackers piled into the van enjoying the extra space to spread out, and we started off to Nambung National Park to see thousands of limestone pinnacles sticking out of the desert as if a scene from another planet.
We only had a short drive up to Jurien Bay, where we barbecued lunch in the park and explored it’s pristine beaches, awed by the aquamarine water and bright white sand. Though we weren’t there long, Jurien Bay quickly found it’s way to the top of my beautiful beaches list alongside Hyams and Whitehaven (both also in Australia).
Next up was a bit of sightseeing in Geraldton, where we viewed an incredible memorial featuring 645 seagulls symbolizing the 645 crewmen who lost their lives on the HMAS Sydney II during WWII. This memorial also happened to be on a hill, giving us a panoramic view of the charming little seaside town.
Finally we reached our accommodation for the night at Big River Ranch in Kalbarri, where we made a delicious stirfry for dinner and passed out early to prepare for our 6am departure. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sign on the bathroom door…
Sure enough we set off early the next morning to beat the heat at Kalbarri National Park, where we trekked down to the Z Bend Gorge to see the beautiful green Murchison River flowing among orange cliffs. Some decided to go abseiling here ($30 for two abseils – what a bargain!!) but I decided to send the drone up instead for some aerials.
Another short hike brought us to Nature’s Window, an awesome little hole in the rock, where everyone took turns doing crazy poses. We managed to get a pretty cool group pic.
Our last stop before Monkey Mia was at the stromatolites of Hamelin Pool Conservation Reserve. Stromatolites are the oldest and largest living fossils on earth, and indicate what the earth may have looked like about 3.5 billion years ago.
From Hamelin we continued straight up to Monkey Mia, but not without pausing for some emus to cross the road.
We reached Monkey Mia in time to play beach volleyball, go for a dip in the crystalline water, and enjoy a beautiful sunset, all before making a massive barbecue.
The following morning I headed out to the point early to catch the sunrise, meeting everyone at the beach afterwards for the Monkey Mia dolphin experience. Now this is truly something for the bucket list. Every morning around 7:45am, dolphins swim up to shore to be fed under strict supervision of the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Department volunteers will choose people from the crowd to feed the dolphins fish, but only small amounts so that the dolphins continue to hunt naturally and teach their young important survival skills. While it’s never guaranteed the dolphins will show up, they have a 99% attendance rate!
We had another few hours to relax on the beach and play with some emus before starting our drive back down south.
Along the way, we stopped at Eagle Bluff to see sharks and turtles swimming through the shallow bay below, and Shell Beach, to marvel at the billions of tiny shells that stretch for over 120km. And no, Shell Beach doesn’t just have a high concentration of shells… it literally has NO sand and is purely comprised of tiny white shells up to 10m deep.
We ended up in Kalbarri again for the night, playing around with long exposure trying to capture the beautiful night sky.
Our final day started off with a visit to Greenough Wildlife Park, a privately owned park that rescues and rehabilitates Australian wildlife. As usual, I tried to get a funny picture kissing a kangaroo… but this guy took the joke a little too far!! 😂
We swung by Geraldton for lunch by the marina and finally finished up our 4-day adventure sandboarding at the Lancelin sand dunes before heading back to Perth.
Just when I thought Australia was already the most amazing country, I visited Western Australia. I witnessed even more spectacular gorges, incredible wildlife, and stunning beaches, only furthering my obsession with this country I used to call home. While I’ve always wanted to spend 3-4 weeks roadtripping the coast from Perth to Darwin, with the one week I could spare, this 4-day tour with Aussie Wanderer was the perfect intro to WA… and only left me wanting more.
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌
*NOTE: Though I was a guest of Aussie Wanderer, all opinions are honest and my own.