You may have noticed, road trips in Australia are taken seriously. Whether that’s packing all the right equipment and snacks, picking the right vehicle or planning all your stops, swimming holes and scenic spots. But there is no road trip that rivals the Perth to Broome drive. This mammoth of an adventure will take you most of the way up the west coast of Australia, driving through out-of-this-world landscapes where you can truly grasp the scale of this amazing place.
This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime road trip, so here at SIXT, we have prepared the ultimate itinerary to help you make the most of your experience! You can skip right ahead to setting off, or check out SIXT’s top tips and information for embarking on your Perth to Broome road trip!
Distance from Perth to Broome
If you’re driving from A to B directly, you will probably shoot right up National Highway 95, which cuts Western Australia in half. This route would take approximately 22 hours and cover 2046 kilometres.
Our Perth to Broome road trip itinerary takes the more scenic route, hugging the coastline up to Geraldton and then North to Exmouth, before curving back around towards Broome. This route covers a distance of 2620 kilometres, total drive time is around 27 hours and it is definitely worth it.
Time it takes to drive from Perth to Broome and top tips!
The Perth to Broome road trip is mighty and must not be underestimated! You’ll be covering thousands of kilometres and you will not want to be racing past all the incredible things there are to see and experience. We would recommend doing this trip in no less than 10 days, but there are travellers who choose to spend 1 – 3 months on this epic journey.
SIXT’s itinerary will cover the route from Perth to Broome as it is slightly more popular. This is simply because it is easier to get to Perth for travellers – whether you’re Australian or an international traveller, you’ll find cheaper and more regular flights into Perth airport. There also tends to be more options for car hire in Perth compared to Broome.
Another thing to bear in mind is whether you want to make this a one-way road trip or a round trip. It is possible to book one way car hire and drop the car off elsewhere, but this can depend on the time of year, availability and can also increase the fee. If you prefer to make it a round trip, you can do the scenic route one way and then the direct route on the return!
When to travel
When you think about the distance from Perth to Broome, you realise that there are going to be some temperature changes on your journey, so this is a reminder to pack for some colder weather too.
The best time to do this journey is between July and September; even though it might be a little chillier in Perth (around 15 degrees, depending on specific time), the temperature will certainly pick up as you get closer to Broome.
This really is the optimum time to travel as you will avoid the jellyfish that appear during the wet season as well as the infamous humidity and unpredictable weather conditions in northern WA. The best part about scheduling your Perth to Broome road trip between July and September is that it is also Western Australia’s wildflower season!
LEG 1: Perth to Geraldton
Highlights: The Pinnacles Desert, The Lobster Shack in Cervantes, North Head & Leaning Tree.
Distance: 415 kilometres
Drive time: 5 hours
Recommended time: 2 days, 1 nights
After exploring Perth, it’s time to kick off the journey and get on the road! Pickup route 60 heading north and settle in for a fairly quick drive up to Nambung National Park, the home of the otherworldly Pinnacles Desert.
This is an incredible phenomenon of planes of limestone nodules and towers, sticking right up out of the ground. Head directly for the infamous view point and you’ll immediately feel like you’ve been transported to Mars or a science fiction movie. Drive the short loop to take all these unbelievable natural structures in and stop to learn about how they came to be at the Discovery Centre.
You should be in time for lunch in Cervantes, just 20 kilometres up the road. You cannot miss the world famous Lobster Shack that looks over the Outer Rocks nature reserve. Fuel up on the freshest lobster rolls and seafood and get back on the road.
If you are in absolutely no rush, you could stop over in Cervantes for the night and spend the afternoon paddleboarding or beach fishing. Whereas if you would prefer to get back on the road to start chipping away at that long Perth to Broome drive, you’ll spend the afternoon cruising up to Geraldton.
It’s highly recommended that you take this journey at a relaxed pace, stopping in along the coastal lookouts. Some of the best are North Head and Point Louise Lookout. If you’re lucky enough to be on the road whilst the wildflowers are blooming, you also shouldn’t miss Grigson’s Lookout!
On the road into Geraldton, pull over to stretch your legs around the Leaning Tree! There are plenty of accommodation options in town, but if you are travelling at the most popular times of year, you might want to avoid a panic and book in advance.
Spend the morning in Geraldton, enjoying breakfast and a stoll. You will have had a taste for colour and nature on day 1, but the expanse and greatness of this trip is still to come.
LEG 2: Kalbarri National Park
Highlights: Pink Lake, Kalbarri Skywalk & Natures Window Loop Walk
Distance: 300 kilometres (including the loop back to Kalbarri)
Drive time: 2.5 – 3 hours
Recommended time: 1 day, 1 nights
Today you’ll be getting outside in the Kalbarri National Park. Again, if you are not pressed for time, you could easily spend 3 or more days here, using the town of Kalbarri as your base, but if you’re keen to press on the drive to Broome, head the 40 or so minutes along the North West Coastal Highway. At Northampton, take the left, heading towards Hutt Lagoon.
This is a place you’re likely to have heard of or certainly seen around Instagram or Pinterest, as Hutt Lagoon is perhaps better known as Pink Lake. Nestled on the southern edge of Kalbarri national park, Pink Lake is an unmissable spot.
This is one of the stops on your Perth to Broome road trip where you might want to splurge, as the very best way to experience this distinctive wonder is on a scenic flight leaving from Geraldton or Kalbarri. If you prefer to keep things on budget, or save yourself for items later on in the itinerary, you’ll still get a good shot of the milkshake-pink colour when you park up in Gregory.
Continue back on the road north into the heart of the national park and to the Z Bend Lookout. You’ll need to leave the car behind to complete the 1.2 kilometre return walk. It’s quite a short and a very easy walk (not even a hike) to warm yourself up. After the lookout, head for the Kalbarri skywalk. Grab a coffee and soak up the views from the purpose-built structure. Here you’ll get the full picture view over the breathtaking Murchison River Gorge. This is a rugged, rich landscape, full of history that offers something slightly different at every time of year.
Once you’re fueled up on coffee and warmed up, embark on the walk up to Nature’s Window loop walk, an incredible rock formation that frames the river below This is around 8 kilometres and can take several hours. As Nature’s Window faces west, it’s highly recommended that you time your return with sunset, so you can glimpse the sun sinking into the landscape through Nature’s Window itself. An unforgettable place to take a photo or two.
Spend the night in Kalbarri where there are plenty of options for eating and sleeping!
LEG 3: Kalbarri to Coral Bay
Highlights: Monkey Mia dolphins, Ningaloo reef dives & scuba diving
Distance: 800 kilometres
Drive time: Approximately 8 hours
Recommended time: 3 days and 2 nights
This section of the drive from Perth to Broome is known as Australia’s coral coast. It’s a colourful and vibrant stretch, infamous for the wildlife that calls this area home! This leg of the trip is going to be memorable and magical. Settle in for one of the longer drives north, making stops whenever you see fit to stretch your legs.
As you cruise along, you’ll start to get glimpses of the turquoise waters. Stop off at Eagle Bluff to wander along the walkway. Keep your eyes sharp as reef sharks and rays live in the area. Moving on, take the time to jump out at the 26th Parallel on your way up to Denham, even if it’s just for a quick snap. Continue into Denham where you should be stopping for the night.
Here, you can take a deserved rest for a night or so, as there’s plenty to do in the area. You could spend the afternoon relaxing, and definitely don’t miss the sun going down over that sparkling water. The Old Pearler is a characterful little restaurant that must not be missed if you love oysters. The seafood platter is also highly recommended!
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not try a kitesurfing lesson or a hike up to Little Lagoon Creek Lookout. Get back into your faithful hire car and venture into the Francois Peron National Park for days of fun. This is a stunning, rugged peninsula, you’ll find bright red rocks that drop right into the shining water at Bottle Bay.
When you are ready, plan your visit to Monkey Mia! You’ll have to plan this for the morning to meet Park Rangers at the Monkey Mia boardwalk at 7:45am. Here, you can then follow their lead to the beach and into the water, where the native bottlenose dolphins swim right into the shallows. Turtles and Dugongs are frequently seen, too.
Back in the car, stop in Carnarvon for snacks or a stop over if you need to break up the trip on the way to Coral Bay. The next stretch is on to the Tropic of Capricorn landmark, which you’ll find as you veer west off the North West Coastal Highway towards Coral Bay.
LEG 4: Exmouth & Cape Range National Park
Highlights: Swimming with Whales, Sharks & Rays, Luxury Safari Glamping in Cape Range & Sunset Hikes
Distance: 200 kilometres
Drive time: 2 hours
Recommended time: 3 days, 3 nights
You’re now halfway through your Perth to Broome road trip! This leg of the trip is less about driving, and more about enjoying the nature and place you’re in.
Coral Bay is the southernmost entrance to Ningaloo reef and ideal for booking those unmissable excursions and dives into the reef. This is also the best place in the world to see Whale Sharks. You can book onto safari and eco tours. If you’re visiting between June and October, you can also see the transient Humpback Whales on their way south. For many people, these experiences are the reason for starting their drive from Perth to Broome – or at least their highest priority.
It is worth bearing in mind that weather conditions can impact your ability to interact with the whales or other sea life, so you may want to plan a couple of buffer days to ensure you do not miss out.
You can also move north and stopover in Exmouth. This is quite a short drive, around an hour and a half. On your journey, you’ll go through Cape Range National Park. This is one of the best areas to spot red kangaroos in Western Australia. At this point, your time on the road might be making you weary. Take a breather at the Sal Sails luxurious safari camping site. Here, you can rest up right on the beach and watch some of the most famous, blood red sunsets in the world. The night sky is also utterly spectacular, with no light pollution, everything absolutely sparkles. In Exmouth, you can book experiences deep into the Cape Range National Park if you do not want to organise this yourself. Visit Shothole Canyon and Charles Knife Canyon.
Don’t forget another sunset at Vlamingh Head Lighthouse – you could never possibly tire of these Western Australian skies.
LEG 5: Exmouth to Karijini
Highlights: Getting back on the road, Swimming in Fern Pool, Hiking Through The Gorges
Distance: 700 kilometres
Drive time: 8 hours
Recommended time: 2 days, 1 night
This leg of the journey is optional, but strongly recommended. You might choose to skip around this onto Port Hedland, because it is quite a lot of driving time, as you head west for around 640 kilometres into Karijini National Park. But then again, you’re not planning a road trip from Perth to Broome to be worried about a few extra kilometres!
Karijini National Park boasts some of the most iconic landscapes that you picture when you think of this adventure: Brilliant red cliffs that drop into refreshing swimming holes, unbelievably gorges that twist and turn through the landscape around you. There is just so much to explore here, but the most iconic to visit are Fern Pool, Circular Pool, Hamersley Gorge and Hancock Gorge.
The best tip is to head straight to the Karijini Visitor Centre to plan your must-hit spots. It might not be possible to do this place justice on a flying visit, but also important to remember to also plan where to stopover for the night.
LEG 6: Karijini to Broome
Distance: 1000 kilometres
Drive time: 10 hours
Recommended time: 2 days, 1 night
This is the last leg of your road trip and it is the biggest! There is very little between these two points,, which we think is another reason to make the stopover in Karijini. Soon, you’ll have completed your mammoth drive from Perth to Broome. But for now, pick up the road again, heading north on highway 95 towards Port Hedland. Travelling this way, you are skipping out a corner of the coast, but don’t worry, you’ll see the ocean again shortly.
You will need to stop over here for the night, as there will now be no hotels between Port Hedland and Broome. The remaining drive is 6 hours via Eighty Mile Beach. You’ll be hugging the coast all along Highway 1 that delivers you right into Broome! If you’re planning a one way road trip from Perth to Broome – you’ve just completed your trip!!
In Broome, there are plenty of things to do and experiences to be had! From Brewery tours, to more whale watching to once in a lifetime helicopter flights or sailing trips. You cannot turn around and begin the return journey back to Perth, without sighting some of the cutest animals – snubfin dolphins – or doing the iconic camel ride along the beach.
This will surely be an epic adventure of a lifetime. This itinerary can be adapted and evolved to suit your travel style but there is no denying there is going to be some hours spent behind the wheel. If you are looking for an iconic Australian road trip that’s just as beautiful, but less time on the road, here are a couple of suggestions: