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Geraldton is located approximately 450km north of Perth in the Coral Coast region of Western Australia. To drive to Geraldton from Perth, you can travel the inland route along the Brand Highway, or you can go the coastal route via Indian Ocean Drive. This post offers a detailed guide to driving from Perth to Geraldton.
As you drive along the Indian Ocean Drive, you will catch glimpses of sparkling blue water, patches of pure white rippled sand dunes, and countless grass trees stretching along the highway. The scenery is stunning and I always feel like a child when a patch of dunes comes into view.
Dotted along the highway are a number of beach side holiday towns. These towns are very popular with Perth locals for school holidays and long weekends away due to the fact that they are close by and easy to get to. It also attracts a lot of tourists to Perth who want to get out of the city (but not too far) and see something incredible.
With so much to see and do, you can use this guide to help you decide which town and what attractions you would like to see on your road trip from Perth to Geraldton.
Perth is the Capital City of Western Australia and offers plenty of things to see and do. I have written a comprehensive list of 95 Fun Things to do With Kids in Perth, which has plenty of suggestions to please the whole family. Or have a look at the 10 Best Breweries to explore in the Swan Valley. If you want to explore around the Perth Hills have a look at Lake Leschenaultia or Lesmurdie Falls.
Yanchep is the first town that you come to as you drive north from Perth to Geraldton along Indian Ocean Drive. Perth suburbs have been stretching north for quite some time and while Yanchep used to be a small beach side town, it is now considered a Northern suburb of Perth.
Yanchep National Park is excellent and has plenty to see and do. You can arrange a tour through Crystal Caves and visit the Koala boardwalk. Koalas are not native to Western Australia and this is one of the only places you will find them in WA, outside of a Zoo. Camping is available at the National Park and an entry fee applies. Check the DPAW website for more information.
For more detailed information on Yanchep National Park you can have a look at my post on the topic here.
Yanchep has many beautiful beaches. Even the dog beach is gorgeous!
My favourite beach for young children is The Lagoon which is protected by a section of reef just offshore. It also creates a series of rock pools for little fish to get caught in, so is a great spot for a bit of snorkelling as well. It is very popular with families and has a park with kids playground, bathrooms and change rooms across the road.
Two Rocks is almost like a sister city to Yanchep as it is very close by. Have a wander around the marina at Leeman’s Landing or check out the giant statue of Neptune, one of the last remining remnants of the old Atlantis theme park. Head down to Two Rocks Beach for a swim and to check out the two rocks off the coast that the town is named after.
Guilderton is a favourite with Perth locals. If you would like to stay at the local caravan park make sure you book well in advance (up to 12 months) because it books out fast. We have never actually stayed here but have stopped in many times when we have stayed at nearby towns.
The highlight is the Moore River which is perfect for families to enjoy. Hire a kayak or canoe to explore the river or BYO your own floatation device. It is also popular for fishing and there are plenty of walks in the area too.
The beach is a short walk away from the river, however I find the water to be quite rough. Lala got dunked by a wave for the first time here. We were washing sand out of her hair for days. She cried for at least an hour, but now has a bit more respect for the power of the ocean.
Seabird is one of the smallest towns along the Indian Ocean drive. It is most famous for the erosion that the coastal cliffs are experiencing. Some houses that are built on the cliffs with beautiful views of the Indian Ocean are teetering on the verge of destruction.
There is a caravan park in town a local shop, access to the beach and a playground. The best reason to stop in at Seabird is for a meal at the pub which has stunning ocean views.
Ledge Point is another tiny town with not too much to do besides fishing, swimming, four-wheel driving, walking and relaxing. It is a great spot to stay if you want to get back to basics on your holiday.
There is a local caravan park, a small shop and many holiday houses. It is a sleepy seaside town worth checking out if you are into fishing or boating.
Lancelin offers many of the same things as the other towns in the area. It is one of the bigger towns so it has a few more shops, a couple of bakeries and a bunch of different accommodation options.
As you approach Lancelin you are confronted by ultra white rippled sand dunes. They are surprisingly set back from the beach and are a major drawcard for the area.
The dunes in the area are popular for sand boarding, dune bugging and four wheel driving. The dunes are constantly shifting with the wind so even if you know the area well, be aware that things are changing all the time. You could choose to do a tour through the dunes and leave the safety aspect to the experts.
All the normal beach activities as found in other local towns are in Lancelin too. You will also find beaches dedicated to Wind sports like wind and kite surfing. It is apparently one of the best spots to learn how to kite-surf though if you are trailing some kids you might prefer to sit on the shore and watch the experts do the tricks.
Wedge Island is a bit of a legend in Western Australia. If you drive around in Perth for long enough you will see many ‘Save Wedge’ bumper stickers on the back of cars. These stickers are referring to the ‘semi-legal’ fishing shacks which are found here.
Some time ago there was a campaign by the local council to have them removed. Needless to say the council failed and Wedge Island is now a symbol of Power to the People! I love it.
The road into Wedge Island is sealed, but you can also drive there along the beach from other entry points. There is pretty much nothing in the town except for the shacks which are all ‘owned’ (technically leased from the shire, I believe) by locals.
Despite the fact that there are no facilities, it is extremely beautiful here. Many people drive right past without realising it is there. And that is just the way the locals like it.
One of the most popular stops on the Perth to Geraldton route, Cervantes is a well-known town that has lots of amazing and unique attractions. The Pinnacles and Stromatolites are two unique natural attractions that you will see (almost) nowhere else in the world.
The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park are one of the top attractions for interstate and overseas visitors to Perth. The mysterious, other-worldly, limestone pillars are well worth the drive out this way, and if you only stop once on your way from Perth to Geraldton, this would be my pick.
Another amazing natural sight located at Cervantes is an example of Stromatolites. They developed over 3 billion years ago and are the oldest lifeforms on earth. They are found almost nowhere in the world but there are 3 examples in Western Australia (the other two are at Shark Bay and Yalgorup National Park near Mandurah)
There is plenty more to see and do in Cervantes, you can check out my detailed post on the town here.
Jurien Bay is the largest of the towns along this stretch of road and is the halfway point between Perth and Geraldton.
Jurien is well known as a sky diving location. It has a beautiful main beach with a snorkel trail and there are local caves nearby to explore.
We personally can’t go past Sandy Cape Recreation area for a beautiful beach and low cost off grid camping. Located 10km north of Jurien, Sandy Cape is a great place to stop.
Lesueur National Park
During wildflower season (August and September) it is a hotspot for many of Western Australia’s 12 000 diverse and unique wildflowers.
There are a number of walking trails through the park varying in length and difficulty. There is also a drive that you can do which loops through the park. The loop track is on sealed road but most of the road to get to it is unsealed. There are plenty of places to pull over and have a closer look at the local flora and fauna.
Greenhead is a small fishing town that is well known for fishing, cray fishing and boating. There are a couple of local art galleries to explore and Dynamite Bay Picnic Area is a beautiful protected bay that is ideal for swimming and picnicking.
Fisherman’s island, off the coast of Greenhead is home to a colony of breeding Sea Lions. Tours are available except for during the mating season of August.
Leeman is the quintessential sleepy fishing village. The beaches are not the best on the Indian Ocean Road but the fishing and crayfishing is some of the best in WA. There are often stingrays to be seen near the local jetty which is a bit of a novelty.
We had a caravan at Leeman when I was growing up. My uncles all used to go fishing off the coast for Dhu fish, and our caravan annex had 3 freezers in it to store all the fish they caught. If you do stop into Leeman head to the local fish and chip shop and order a serve of the Dhu fish. It is a fish local to Western Australia and it is delicious.
The petrol station on the highway generally offers the cheapest fuel on Indian Ocean Drive so if you need to fill up between Perth and Geraldton, this is the spot to do it.
Cliff Head is a free camp right on the beach that is maintained by the Shire of Irwin.
It is a gorgeous camp and we love it here. I believe it offers all the best things about camping and it is completely free.
You can read in detail about our trip to Cliff Head here.
The Indian Ocean Drive meets the Brand Highway
From here on in, you will be travelling along the Brand Highway. There is still plenty more to see as you head further north including:
A quaint historical town where you can stop at the gallery/museum for a meal, toilet break or walk around.
Port Denison and Dongara
Are sister towns each located on opposite sides of the river. You could stop for a swim at one of the beautiful beaches, go for a walk along the heritage trail or visit the drive ins.
The largest town North of Perth, Geraldton has heaps to see and do including a museum and a great playground, and a free water park for kids on the foreshore. I will be updating this website soon with a detailed post on everything to see and do while you are in Geraldton.
As you can see there is heaps to see and do along the Indian Ocean road as you drive from Perth to Geraldton. If you are still having trouble deciding which of these beachside towns is best for you, check out my post on Where to Stay on Indian Ocean Rd for some suggestions based on activities you may like to do.