The Coral Coast is rich in natural resources and fresh produce. One of the top spots to sample local produce is Carnarvon, which is home to banana and mango plantations. You can take a detour here to follow the Gascoyne Food Trail, which features producers of freshly caught seafood and uniquely blended condiments. Carnarvon itself is a welcoming port town, with world-class cafes and bistros making use of this local abundance and ocean views.
Often overshadowed by the more famous Great Barrier Reef, the Ningaloo Reef is no less spectacular and is indeed Australia's largest. Stretching for over 300 kilometres, Ningaloo Marine Park is the gateway to the reef, which can be reached simply by walking out into the clear waters of the park. Over 500 species of fish make their home in the reef, along with a rainbow of living corals and visitors such as humpback whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and whale sharks. It's a top spot for snorkelling, or you could venture out in a glass-bottomed boat to enjoy nature's variety.
The Shark Bay World Heritage Area is located just off the Northwest Coastal Highway and is another must-visit destination along the coral coast. You'll find an array of hidden gems within this conservation area. Stop to view the Hamelin Pool stromatolites, which are the world's oldest living fossils, or visit Monkey Mia to see the bottlenose dolphins.
Located about three hours to the north of Perth, you'll find the alien forms of the Pinnacles. This desert region features oddly shaped limestone pillars jutting out of the arid red flatlands. There's a Desert Discovery Centre where you can learn more about desert life and these unique formations. Although the road into the Pinnacles is sealed, if you want to explore the desert you'll need a car that can handle rugged terrain. It's helpful to compare different cars at Motoring or other local resources to find an economical option if you choose to take this route.
A quaint coastal holiday town, Kalbarri is set amidst picturesque ocean scenery and is a top spot for surfing. Surfers from all over the world travel here to experience the waves at Jacques Point, but you can also enjoy a paddle down the gorges of the Murchison River or try your hand at abseiling in Kalbarri National Park.
Whether you're into adventure sports, wildlife, or simply sunning yourself on white sandy beaches, there are numerous reasons to venture along the diverse Coral Coast. With excellent local seafood and world-class attractions like Ningaloo Reef, it's worth hopping in the car and exploring.
(Photo by klendatul via WikiMedia, edited)