Roadtrips through Western Australia and into the Northern Territory with Off The Path
Off The Path is a solo traveller by the name of Sebastian Canaves, a man who creates memories around the world by "walking the extra mile". Hitting the road in one of our Aventus 2-seater campervans, Sebastian set off on the trip of a lifetime. For 6 weeks, Sebastian travelled across Western Australia and further north into the NT.
Cruising through incredible landscapes, trekking across vast distances and experiencing the tropical weather of the west - this is roadtrippin' at its best baby. Racking up over 5000kms, Sebastian covered both WA's southern and mid-western areas before entering the NT. Considering doing the same? Here's what you need to check out.
Road trippin' from Exmouth to Darwin
Spend a few days in Exmouth - discover the Cape Range National Park, snorkel and sun bath at the Turquoise Bay, swim with sharks and live it up baby. Exmouth is a notably small town, known for its beautiful landscapes and awesome weather. There may not be much around in the way of shops and restaurants, but the surroundings are truly incredible. As Sebastian discovered on a previous roadtrip with us, a highlight being the famous Ningaloo Reef.
The Ningaloo Reef is a great spot close to the coastline, where you can enjoy surfing and snorkelling. Check out the variety of marine life including the vibrant tropical fish, manta rays, sea turtles and more just a few meters from the beach. The crystal clear waters are extremely inviting and are perfect for catching all the marine life up close and personal.
Exmouth also has a superb visitor centre, offering some great places to explore during your Wicked roadtrip. Discover secluded beaches, look out for whales and whale sharks, kangaroos in the Cape Range National Park - it doesn't get much better! Spend a couple of days here, unwind and soak it all up.
Cape Range National Park
A park relatively easy to access and making up almost half of the Exmouth peninsula. Consisting of rocky gorges carved by ancient rivers, this a truly magical spot. Sebastian recommends taking a scenic flight to really take in all the formations on offer. A quick google search and you'll find heaps of tours at reasonable prices.
Guided tours through the Yardie Creek Gorge, the Shothole Canyon, the Charles Knife Canyon and more are also recommended. The Cape Range National Park also has a variety of beaches, the most popular being the infamous Turquoise Bay.
Exmouth to Port Headland
Distances in this part of the world are really, really far man. Prepare ahead for some long hours on the road. Travelling in our Premium 2-seater camper from Exmouth to Port Headland, Sebastian recommends two routes to choose from:
- Cruise inland via the Karijini National Park (roughly 980 kilometres)
- Cruise via the coast and Karratha (roughly 780 kilometres)
Driving through the Karijini National Park, you'll pass Tom Price, a small mining town with a large supermarket (necessary for a good restock of supplies). A route of roughly 200 kilometres, this is the ideal route for those who want to give the coast a break and head into Australia's outback. Believe me it is well worth it! The national park is incredible and consists of stunning gorges, waterfalls and pools to go swimming.
If you're already pencilled this route in, you would have considered one of our 4WD campers. Most of the streets are unsealed and so it'll be forbidden for you to take our Aventus 2-seater or any other 2WD on these tracks - you've been warned! Trust me, if it rains it'll be almost impossible to head down this way.
As Sebastian suggests, enter the park from the west and drive north towards the Oxers Lookout. Continue towards Joffre Falls and Knox Lookout, make it through the park and visit the Dales Gorge, including the Fern Pool and the Fortescue Falls, before leaving the park through its eastern entrance.
Image source Off The Path
Driving through Karratha
Leaving Exmouth, it'll take about 7 hours to reach Karratha and can either be done in one go, or broken up over a night. There's plenty of 24 hour parking spots, so if you decide to break the journey up than it won't be a problem. The town of Karratha doesn't have heaps to offer (being an old mining town), but if you head 2 hours south, you'll discover the Millstream Chichester National Park.
The park is worth visiting during June and August, with tourists attracted to the popular Python and Deep Reach pools. Many of the campgrounds here can also be reached with a 2WD vehicle - just make sure you inform our roadtrip planners of your intended route and we'll confirm it for you.
Port Hedland to Broome
Discover Port Hedland and you'll find a small town with a few supermarkets, bars and restaurants. A nice town to relax for a night before heading off to Broome. Leaving Port Hedland, Sebastian recommends to get up early and make the 610 kilometre treck in one go, arriving in Broome for the early afternoon. There isn't heaps to see along the journey other than beaches and vast, dry land. You'll also cruise past two roadhouses which are apparently overpriced, so make sure you have plenty of gas and enough food and water to get you there.
Famous for its Cable Beach, camels, beautiful sunsets and surfing, Broome is a true paradise and popular destination amongst visitors to the West coast. Boasting a multicultural population with Indonesian, Malay, Chinese, Japanese, European and Aboriginal cultures, each captivating the heart and soul of this beautiful city. I wouldn't spend any more than a couple of nights here though, as it's quite expensive to go out. Sebastian has recommended it's also a good place to stock up before hitting the next leg of your Wicked roadtrip.
Depending on your travel time, take a drive north from Broome and explore the Dampier Peninsular. With amazing landscapes, white, sandy beaches and impressive red cliffs - it's well worth the trip if you can stretch your itinerary a little bit. Drive all the way north to Cape Leveque at the western side of the peninsular and then back to the Great Northern Hwy on its eastern side. Just beautiful! From Broome to Cape Leveque, it takes about three hours and from Cape Leveque back to the Great Northern Hwy, it'll take about 6 hours. At least two days will be needed to explore the Dampier Peninsular.
Broome to Kununurra
Broome is the starting point to the great Kimberly region and one of the longest distances you can travel in WA.
From Broome to Kununurra, you have two options:
- Take the famous Gibb River Road through the Kimberly outback (4WD is essential). This is a shorter route, taking about 12 hours to travel (roughly 920kms).
- The second option takes you via the Great Northern Hwy, a bit over 1.000 km long and takes about 11 hours to drive on sealed roads.
The Kimberly is Western Australia's most northern part and has some magnificent nature and landscapes. As previously mentioned, it's only accessible with a 4WD, with most parts reached by plane or boat. If you decide to head down this route, Sebastian has recommended to stock up on food, water and fuel - enough to survive a whole week if poss! Plan a few days and discover all the rugged gorges, stunning rivers and waterfall, the empty beaches and the Buccaneer Archipelago - offering great diving and snorkelling opportunities. Most of these activities require booking through a tour operator, so make sure you do some research beforehand.
The Gibb River Road, once a cattle route and roughly 660 kilometres in length. The road conditions have improved over the years, however a 4WD is still required for this route. Check weather conditions beforehand -if you're travelling from November to March through the wet season, the road will be closed due to flooding and poor conditions.
Purnululu National Park. As Sebastian had rented one of our Premium 2-seater campers, he had no choice but to take this route. Taking the Great Northern Highway, this roadtrip will be a little less spectacular than the first option. You'll pass the great Purnululu National Park with its fantastic looking Bungle Bungle Range, experience the fantastic walking tours and camp up for the night. With all this being said, a 4WD is recommended to fully enjoy the north of Western Australia. The Gibb River Road into Kimberly's outback is the real Aussie adventure!
Kununurra to Katherine
Arrive in the small town of Kununurra. With a relaxed and laid back vibe, the town has all the basics such as a large supermarket and a few nice cafés including the hip Wild Mango Cafe "with a great breakfast menu and lovely coffee" - as quoted by Sebastian. Kununurra is your last stop in the state of Western Australia before entering the Northern Territories. About 45 minutes south of town, you'll find Australia's second largest artificial lake - the Lake Argyle. The drive from Kununurra to Katherine takes about 6.5 hours and is often driven in one go (leave early in the morning).
As Sebastian states, Katherine isn't really a nice city to stay in and once you're there, you're really not too far away from the great Nitmiluk National Park. Within an hour and a half, you'll reach the park's visitor centre and discover several tours which begin at the start of the national park. Nitmiluk Tours offer several cruise tours where you'll find the stunning Katherine Gorge, encounter wild crocodiles - you literally can't put your camera down. Make sure you visit the Edith Falls in the western part of the falls, go for a swim and enjoy yourself!
Katherine to Darwin
Right, time to finish up the road trip and head north to your final destination, Darwin. Sebastian has recommended two travel routes from Katherine to Darwin, both offering great scenery and landscapes to discover.
- The famous Kakadu National Park (about 550km)
- The Litchfield National Park (about 320kms)
Kakadu National Park is the most popular route through the Northern Territory. Some highlights include the Jim Jim Falls (which are truly stunning), the Kakadu Escarpment and the Arnhem Land plateau - best enjoyed from a scenic flight. Explore the floodplains and wetlands of Kakadu National Park, dodge the crocs and cover yourself in mozzie spray!
The Litchfield National Park is not a bad alternative, easier to access and less than two hours from Darwin. Offering plenty of great waterfalls which cascade from a sandstone plateau. Walk through monsoon rainforests and snap up some pics of the impressive magnetic termite mounds scattered throughout the park. Like Kakadu National park, there are some great pools to swim and cool off with many awesome look out spots. Most popular being the Wangi Falls, just be aware of the crocs and dingos!
Say goodbye to your Wicked Camper in Darwin
Arrive in Darwin, the Northern Territories capital with a large, vibrant city centre. Here you'll find heaps of shopping, restaurants, bars, cafes and backpackers. Heaps and heaps of backpackers.
Sebastians roadtrip has seen over 7000kms on the clock of our Aventus 2-seater! Wow! This could be you next.
Book in a Wicked Camper today and live it up baby. Big thanks to Sebastian and check out the full article over at Off The Path.