Cervantes is the perfect choice for a long weekend away from Perth. It is close enough to home so you don’t waste all of that relaxation time in your car. And, there are heaps of things to see and do. Below is a suggested three day itinerary around Cervantes, so that you can make the most out of your long weekend away.
Day 1: Travel to Cervantes
Leaving on Friday will mean you have 3 full days to kick back and relax. Try to get away after the kids finish school at 3pm. That will have you arriving in Cervantes before the sun sets. If you have your own setup, pre-book the Caravan Park. If you plan on booking accommodation Cervantes Holiday Homes are a great option with a great location for a reasonable price.
It is too late to cook dinner so I would suggest heading to the local fish and chip shop for a feed.
(If you don’t manage to get away on the Friday night, just skip the morning activity of Saturday as this will be your travel time instead).
Day 2 – Jurien Bay
Jurien Bay is only a short 30 minute drive away from Cervantes and most of day 2 will be spent exploring around Jurien.
Dobbyn Park Foreshore
The first stop is Dobbyn Park Foreshore. It is the perfect location for a breakfast barbeque before heading to the beach for a snorkel.
I suggest bringing some bacon and eggs, tomato sauce, spinach and crispy rolls and make some breakfast rolls that are easy, cheap and sure to satisfy the whole family.
After eating, head over to the playground where the kids can have a bit of a play while they wait for their food to digest before having a swim.
Interpretative Underwater and Dive Trail
Spend the next couple of hours sitting on the beach making sand castles and having a snorkel. From the beach you can access Jurien Bay Interpretive Underwater and Dive Trail. For a $5 donation you can use the waterproof Interpretive swim cards to help you identify some of the fish that you are likely to see while you snorkel. The Swim cards are available from local shops (Jurien CRC, Tiges Surf, Seasport and Tackle and a few others). Snorkels are also available to hire from Jurien Bay Adventure Tours for $15 for half a day.
Once you have had enough of the beach and snorkelling, use the facilities at Dobbyn park to wash the salt and sand away and get changed.
Lesueur National Park
Depending on how hungry you are you can choose to have your lunch now or to have a snack and eat your lunch after a bushwalk through Lesueur National Park.
Entry fees apply for the park – $13 per vehicle / $7 concession. If you pre-purchase a pass through the RAC members site (if you are an RAC member) you are eligible for a discount on some national park passes. I would suggest hopping on the RAC website and purchasing the 4 week holiday pass. With the discount, it is only $23 which will also cover you for Nambung National Park tomorrow. You have already made your money back and it will cover you for any park entry for the next 4 weeks.
Lesueur National Park is a wildflower hotspot so this is a definite must see in wildflower season. Even out of season it is still a good spot with nice scenery.
Start with the 18.5km scenic drive through the park which you access via Cockleshell Gully Rd. Drive along the scenic trail until you reach the Drummond Car Park.
Here you can choose one of the bushwalks to do through the park. You can access the 400 m return Botanical Path (return), 2.5km Gairdner trail or the 4km (return) Mt Lesueur trail from the Drummond car park. The first of these is wheelchair and pram accessible.
After your walk, continue on the scenic drive until you reach the Cockleshell Gully picnic area. This is the perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch with views over Mount Lesueur.
Stockyard Gully Caves
Back in the car to complete the scenic drive. If you have a 4wd you can also stop at Stockyard Gully Caves for a bit of an explore. (You will need to let the air out in your tyres as it gets boggy pretty quickly so make sure you are prepared with an air compressor. Don’t forget to take a torch and be careful. The caves are ‘enter at your own risk’ affairs.)
Back to Cervantes
Head back to Cervantes to relax for the evening. If you are staying at the Caravan Park, let the kids loose on the jumping pillow and play equipment while you have a drink and prepare dinner.
Day 3 – Around Cervantes
Get up early and have an easy breakfast at your accommodation. Prepare for the day to explore around Cervantes.
Nambung National Park
Hop straight in the car and head to Nambung National Park to check out the mysterious Pinnacles.
You can easily spend a couple of hours completing the 1.2km walk, the drive around the Pinnacles and having a look at the information centre.
If you are super keen on photography you can get there early to take some pictures and enjoy the serenity as the sun rises. If you do want to do this, I suggest taking your breakfast as a picnic to eat amongst the Pinnacles. The information centre does not open until 9.30am so you may have a few hours to kill if you want some more information on the Pinnacles.
The Lobster Shack
After you have finished at the Pinnacles you can head to the Lobster Shack. There are a few options here. You could have lunch here (be aware that for 4 people it will probably be in excess of $100) or you could do the tour. The tour is $15 per person and I would really only recommend this if you are super interested in the cray fishing industry, otherwise you could give it a miss.
My best suggestion would be to grab some fresh seafood to take home with you. Throw it in the esky or fridge (if you have one in the car) otherwise detour back past the Caravan Park to store it until dinner tonight.
(If you like you can skip this step altogether and head to the Cervantes Country Club for dinner as detailed below).
Lake Thetis Stromatolites
The next stop is a visit to the oldest lifeforms on earth! Today is the day for super interesting sights and learning, enjoying 2 activities that are (almost) impossible to find anywhere else on earth! (It is possible to view thrombolites ay Yalunga National Park which are very similar to the Stromatolites).
There is a boardwalk and walk trail around Lake Thetis so that you can view the Stromatolites. There are also some information boards providing you with some information on how they are formed and the impact that they have had on life on earth. They were very important in the formation of life as we know it on earth so take a moment while you are there to appreciate the enormity of what you are seeing!
(Disclaimer: they do look like just a bunch of rocks in shallow water and you may get a “this is boring” from the kids. Try and use your imaginations to picture what the world used to be like when they were the only life form on earth and then imagine a journey through time and the variety of lifeforms that have existed on earth, until we reach the current time.)
Head down to the beach for a bit of fun and relaxation. If it is a hot day you can have a swim. If you like to fish, you can head to the jetty and cast a line. Or have a nice walk along the beach and do a bit of beach combing. Depending on the time of day and time of year, you may choose to stay at the beach to watch the sunset.
Prepare your seafood dinner (if you purchased some from the Lobster Shack) and relax for the rest of the evening. Or, if you decided to skip the Lobster Shack you can head to the Cervantes country club for dinner. They do an amazing seafood platter and happy hour is between 5 and 6pm. You can check out their website for more details.
Day 4 – Travel Home via Guilderton
Today it is time to pack up and get ready to go home. There is still plenty more to see however, so your Indian Ocean Road adventure is not over yet. Start your day by having breakfast at your camp and prepare a picnic lunch that you can easily pull out and eat when you are hungry later in the day.
You are heading to Guilderton which is only one hour and twenty minutes away. (There are also bbqs available there so it can be a bbq lunch if you prefer).
Make sure you have packed your bathers and towels so you can settle in for a few hours to relax.
There is so much to do in Guilderton. You can chose how to spend your time from the following possibilities. You can relax by the river, hire a canoe or kayak and explore the island on the other side of the river. Have a fish off the jetty; go for a walk to the lookout or check out the beach.
Once you have eaten your picnic lunch and are ready to head home, hop back in the car for the easy drive home. Guilderton is only one hour away from Perth.
As you can see there is heaps to do in and around Cervantes. If you have more time you could explore the whole of the Indian Ocean Road or if you prefer to visit a single destination, check out my post on Where to Stay on the Indian Ocean Drive to help you decide which town is best for you. I have also created individual posts for Yanchep National Park, Sandy cape recreation Area and Cliff Head free camp which are all located along Indian Ocean drive.
Let me know in the comments if you believe there is a must see that has been missed in this suggested itinerary.