Our trip took us as far North as Coral Bay (23.1447° S, 113.7764° E) and as far south as Bremer Bay (34.3940° S, 119.3760° E). We spent 8 nights staying with relatives in Perth and Albany, and a total of 15 nights camping in a troopy campervan with its stylish rooftop tent (see below). Instead of going in chronological order, I’ll go in order from North to South, because that might be a bit easier to follow on that hand-drawn map I have.
23.1447° S – CORAL BAY & NINGALOO REEF
We got to experience the incredible diversity of the Ningaloo Reef (the largest fringing reef in the world) through our adventures with Ningaloo Reef Dive. We freedove with stingrays, manta rays, whale sharks, and reef sharks. We scuba dove with sharks and saw large cleaning stations and swim-throughs made of coral. Here are some photos of our underwater adventures in Coral Bay:
25.8665° S – SHARK BAY & FRANCOIS PERON NATIONAL PARK
We tested our troopy through miles of soft sand and red dirt to get to the remote campsites in the Peron Peninsula. We enjoyed the exotic rainbow of red dirt and white sand dotted followed by the turquoise and indigo hues of the Indian Ocean.
27.7204° S – KALBARRI, PORT GREGORY, BEACHES, & THE PINNACLES
On our way back down the coast, we climbed on the soft sandstone that makes up the harrowing cliff edges of Kalbarri’s Coastal Cliffs, gawked at the impossible hues of Pink Lake in Port Gregory, found another small 4WD-only beach campsite in the middle of the sand dunes of Lucky Bay, and saw the pointy Pinnacles in Nambung National Park.
32.3057° S – ROCKINGHAM
After visiting our relatives in Perth, we headed to Rockingham to meet the dolphins, pelicans, sea lions, penguins, and underwater limestone caves of Penguin Island.
33.9550° S – MARGARET RIVER
While visiting the picturesque coastline of Margaret River, we stayed in Canto’s Campground and Hamelin Bay. Hamelin Bay is home to hundreds of extremely large smooth stingrays (which can grow more than 2 meters in diameter!), which ominously glided towards us from all directions.
34.3667° S, 115.1333° E – SOUTHWEST COAST
Our trip down from Margaret River took us to the Southwestern-most point of Australia, Cape Leeuwin in Augusta. We summitted the Bicentennial tree, a 250-ft giant, which is the tallest climb-able tree of its kind in the world. You climb up 165 metal spikes which have been hammered into the body of the tree, with nothing but a loose net over your head and to your side (not below you, which struck us as odd..). Next, we did a more tame tree expedition in Walpole, where we took the Tree Top Walk (suspended only 150-feet above the ground) through the Valley of the Giants. We stayed in Windy Harbour, where there are lovely hiking trails through the bush to the spectacular ocean views and limestone cliffs of Pt d’Entrecasteaux.
the final stretch: ALBANY (35.0275° S, 117.8840° E) to BREMER BAY (34.3940° S, 119.3760° E)
We met up with family in Albany to visit the Gap and the Natural Bridge, where spectacular cliff formations and lookouts tower hundreds of feet above a restless Southern Ocean. We saw boat-building and heard sea shanties at the Festival of the Sea by the harbour, had a lovely Easter meal, and met tons of Aussie rellies. We took some of them with us to go camping for the next few days in Norman’s Inlet and Bremer Bay.
We got to dive in Bremer Bay, where the sea dragons roam (but we did not spot any, unfortunately) and the cool water of the Southern Ocean creates a temperate coastal reef similar to ours in California. I was astounded at the number of fish, nudibranchs, and cephalopods! I even saw a basket star (a highly ornate type of brittle star) for the first time. Here are some photos:
Our only stop that was nOt along the coast was in Hyden (32.4500° S, 118.8600° E) home of Wave Rock, an incredible rock formation. See for yourselves:
That concludes our journey through the bush and the coast of Australia; up and down and back again. A big thank you to all of our lovely hosts along the way! Thank you very much Christina, Malcolm, Rewi, Tibby, Tony, Amanda, Jade, Josh, David, and Fran!