About North from Perth
This section covers the first leg of the 4,500-km-long haul around the coast of Western Australia from Perth to Darwin.
Between Perth and Carnarvon is the Brand Highway, and after Geraldton the North West Coastal Highway. These are both sealed all the way.
Although you pass through mile after mile of monotonous outback, there are also a number of spectacular sights en route, and off the highway. Experiencing the weird wonder of the Pinnacles Desert, walking through the gorges of the Kalbarri National Park and mingling with the dolphins at Shark Bay are undoubtedly the main attractions of this region. But there are many more – including a 150-year-old Benedictine monastery, some of the most forbidding and remote islands in the world, and a museum filled with fascinating relics from centuries-old wrecks. The scant history of this notorious coast is filled with romance and skulduggery, and some of the wrecks have extraordinary tales to tell.
The stretch between Perth and Carnarvon is around 900 km long, and you should allow a week to cover it if you want to cover some of the best places to visit.
Warning: before setting out to drive this section, especially if you plan leaving the highway, be sure to read the information in our Getting around Australia section about car hire and driving on remote and rough outback tracks.
There are three buses a week between Perth and Carnarvon run by Integrity Coaches (www.integritycoachlines.com.au). The journey takes 11 hours. You can also fly from Perth to Carnarvon with Virgin, though this sort of defeats the point. Those who do not wish to be deposited at their destination in a travel-zonked heap should go by car – 4WD if you want to do some real exploring.