Local Escapes

12 Breathtaking Coral Coast Retreats That Are Worth The Road Trip

By Sophie Hart
9th Jul 2020

A bell tent sits on a sandy beach horizon at sunset.

Stretching 1,200 kilometres from Perth to Exmouth, the Coral Coast Highway is one of the most scenic road trips in Australia. Brimming with exhilarating adventures, wildlife, and otherworldly natural beauty, this coastal slice of paradise is truly bucket list-worthy. 

From station stays and luxury eco retreats to yacht charters and some of the most beautiful camping grounds in the world, with the help of Tourism Western Australia we’ve rounded up 12 unique stays that will elevate your Coral Coast experience to the next level. 

Station Stays

Bullara Station

Exmouth Gulf

Nestled deep in the heart of Ningaloo between Coral Bay and Exmouth, Bullara Station offers up an authentic station getaway. Here, owners Edwina and Tim invite guests to experience the wonders of the raw Australian outback on their working cattle station. Spend your days soaking up the scenery and getting to know the locals (we’re talking emus, camels, and kangaroos), sipping on coffee and enjoying homemade scones, and your night’s fireside with a whisky in hand. Choose between two self-contained cottages, the traditional Shearers Lodge, The Outcamp, or pitch a tent in the bush—Bullara Station has it all. 

Wooramel River Retreat

Carnarvon

Imagine waking to the sound of gum trees rustling in the wind, the trickling of the Wooramel River and Kookaburras chirping. Well, imagine no more. Found 120 kilometres south of Carnarvon and two kilometres off the North West Coastal Highway, Wooramel River Retreat is a unique farmstay and the perfect location for your Coral Coast adventure. This is camping at it’s best, peppered with little luxuries like naturally-heated artisans bore baths, hot showers and toilets. 

Quobba Station

Carnarvon 

Grab your akubras, we’re headed north to Quobba Station. Stretching 80 kilometres along WA’s spectacular rugged coastline, this working station found on the shore of the Indian Ocean is steeped in history and has been running sheep since 1898. The homestead offers seven types of accommodation including the original Black Smith’s workshop, the shearers quarters, the stables, cottages and the outcamp. One of the biggest drawcards of Quobba Station are the friendly faces you’ll come across include kangaroos and rock wallabies, thorny devils, echidnas, humpback whales (May to July), leatherback turtles (October to December), and manta rays. Trust us when we say you’ve never experienced anything like this before. 

Warroora Station

Carnarvon

This cattle station nestled in the outback boasts beauty at every turn. With the UNESCO Ningaloo Reef as its western boundary and red desert sands to the east, there’s no shortage of adventure and pristine beaches here. Unpack your swag or check into Warrora Station’s collection of cottages or ocean view villas and trust us, you’ll never want to leave. 

Yacht Living

Sail Ningaloo

Ningaloo Reef

Hop aboard a catamaran for an award-winning liveaboard and ecotourism adventure across the UNESCO Ningaloo Reef. Whether you’re game enough to dive with whale sharks or you want to witness the magic of a humpback whale breaching, there’s a package to suit every type of traveller. Each sailing tour includes snorkelling and diving with plenty of time to unwind and relax too, of course. All in all, Sail Ningaloo is a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.

Eco Wilderness Retreats

Sal Salis

Ningaloo Reef

For a truly boujee bucket list adventure, Sal Salis delivers in troves. Found in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park on the shores of Ningaloo Reef, this remote beachside safari camp features 15 wilderness tents that are fitted with a jarrah bed, cotton sheets and an en suite bathroom (winning). You literally don’t need to pack a thing since the camp offers communal long table dining with meals prepared by their expert chefs, snorkelling equipment, kayaks and a library full of books. Here, disconnecting with technology and reconnecting with nature comes with the territory. 

Red Bluff

Carnarvon 

Welcome to Red Bluff where turquoise ocean waters intersect with red rocky dunes that rise up to meet cotton candy skies. Whether you’re game for a true fireside camping experience, sleeping in a shack made from palm fronds, waking up to views of the Indian Ocean in an eco bungalow, or luxe out in a glamping retreat, there’s an accommodation option here to suit every vibe and budget. Our favourite? The safari-style glamping eco retreats that are powered by solar panels and contain all of the little luxuries you could need, including a full-sized fridge and freezer, microwave, gas stove, ensuite bathroom with rainwater and BBQ. Sleep well beneath a canopy stars knowing you’re doing your bit for the planet. 

A couple sit on a glamping eco tent at sunset.

Camping 

RAC Monkey Mia Resort

Shark Bay 

Chase the sun north to Shark Bay, a marine paradise found just 900 kilometres from Perth. This tiny slice of paradise boasts a laid-back vibe that’s packed with adventures like snorkelling, quad biking, and feeding the friendly dolphins that visit its shores daily. As for the resort, it comes with everything you could want or need including two swimming pools, kayak and canoe hire, a tennis court and two restaurants on-site. Whether you’re after a hotel or powered campsite, RAC Monkey Mia Resort has it all. 

Cape Range National Park

Various Locations

There are eleven campgrounds and coastal sites across the national park like Osprey Bay, Kurrajong, Ned’s Camp, and Mesa, but Yardie Creek has got to be our favourite. Here you’ll meet friendly locals like wallabies, emus, and if you’re really lucky you might spy the threatened black-footed rock-wallaby on the cliffs at Yardie Creek Gorge. Bookings are required here for most of these campsites so be sure to plan ahead. 

Coral Bay

Various Locations

Coral Bay is dotted with camping sites and caravan sites and if you still want to live that outdoorsy lifestyle but you don’t want to rough it, Soul Camping has you covered. They’ll set up beautiful boho-style bell tents complete with a bed, fresh linen, pillows, side tables, lamps, rugs and an outdoor table and chairs. Forget the struggle that comes with camping— lugging heavy tents, spending hours trying to set them up, and tripping over pegs and poles in the process—thanks to Soul Camping, you literally just need to rock up and they’ll make sure your glamping dreams come true. 

Kalbarri National Park

Various Locations

Where the Murchison River intersects with the Indian Ocean, camping in Kalbarri National Park is a quintessential Western Australian experience. So, if you’re yet to pitch a tent and explore this glorious national park now is absolutely the time. Most caravan parks and campsites are found in town on the banks of the Murchison River including Kalbarri Anchorage Caravan Park, Murchison River Caravan Park, and Kalbarri Tudor Holiday Park so you’re close to the beach, cafes and restaurants, and can spend your days hiking and exploring the national park. Not to mention, the new Kalbarri Skywalk just opened so if ever there were an excuse to head north, this is it. 

Port Gregory 

Hutt Lagoon

Boasting five kilometres of exposed reef forming a natural harbour, Port Gregory is a sheltered aquatic playground that’s calling your name. Most notably though, Port Gregory is home to the famous pink lake, Hutt Lagoon and if ever there was a ‘Gram-worthy moment in WA, it’s right here. If you’re yet to witness its magic for real, we recommend booking into Port Gregory Caravan Park and finally ticking it off your bucket list. 

Whether you’re glamping, opting for a farmstay or going all out with a boujee wilderness retreat, there’s no better time to set off and explore WA. It’s time to dig deep and support this beautiful place we call home. Join our 20 For 20 Challenge and make 20 pledges to live your best life in WA again. 

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Tourism Western Australia and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image Credit: Sal Salis Instagram, Tourism Western Australia

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