Western Australia: Gascoyne and Coral Coast
"Rock Statues, Horizontal Trees and White, White Sand"
The Indian Ocean Beaches of the West Coast are Magic for Anything you Want to Do
There is one sure thing about driving in the north-west of Australia - there will not be too much traffic around, but it is getting busier. Opened in 1976, the Brand Highway, heading directly north from the state capital Perth, was an major upgrade of the old road and was a significant advancement in opening up the Pilbara and Kimberley Regions to tourism. The mining boom has helped as many roads in this area have been upgraded to service the mines. However Broome, Port Hedland and Geraldton have long had thriving townships and industries in their own right and the history of the area is long and colourful.
The drive is a mixture of spectacular scenery, isolated roads, history and colourful people who have arrived from many parts of the globe.
Another upgrade has been made also on the Lancelin Road venturing north of Perth along the coastal edge where the spectacular drive along the new Indian Ocean Drive north of Lancelin arrives at the unique Cervantes National Park and the Pinnacles, a series of rock pillars rising out of the sand like statues. Lancelin and Cervantes both have good amenities and unbelievable beaches which are great for the family.
What was once a small fishing and farming community surrounding Geraldton has grown to be home for over thirty-seven thousand people. The natural port shipped out lead and is still involved in mining, fishing, farming and now tourism. A number of natural attractions and the scope for plenty of leisure activities make it a popular destination. Do not miss the unique wind-swept Red River Gum trees on Greenough Flats just south of the town, they can be seen right from the highway and are a great photo opportunity.
At Geraldton the highway changes its name to the North West Coastal Highway and follows the coast through Carnarvon and Karratha, almost to Port Hedland where it meets the Great Northern Highway as it meets the ocean. Along the way there are a couple of side roads worth taking, in to the Kalbarri National Park and to Denham and the famous dolphins of Monkey Mia.