Perth to Exmouth Itinerary
Taking you and your 4WD campervan on an unforgettable journey through wild expanses of the spectacular Australian outback, the Wool Wagon Pathway traverses Western Australia’s legendary sheep and wool country, allowing you to journey an alternative route from Kalbarri to the Ningaloo Coast.
Travelling many of the same routes as those early wool carts, the best way to tackle this is with a 4WD. En route you can expect to see wide open skies, mesmerising sunsets and an outback so sprawling - the stresses of city living will seem a whole world away.
Perth/Gerladton - Exmouth
Best Time of the Year
- Mount Augustus
- Wooramel Gorges
- Ningaloo Reef
- Cape Range NP
Geraldton to Pindar
Distance 130km - Driving Time 2 hours
The Wool Wagon Pathway officially starts in the tiny outback town of Pindar. However, you may choose to start your journey at Geraldton, or Kalbarri if you have taken our Perth to Kalbarri Itinerary. For a trip such as this, it’s a good idea to stock up on supplies when you can, either at Kalbarri or Geraldton, as there’s no guarantee what will be available on the road.
If you’re travelling straight from your 4WD campervan hire pickup in Perth, you can go straight up the coast to arrive at Geraldton in 4.5 hours, or Kalbarri in 6.5 hours.
Travelling from Geraldton to Pindar is a two-hour journey, landing you in one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it towns. But, while it may be small, Pindar does represent the start of the Wool Wagon Pathway, where you will find the first of 23 interpretive sites and stories set along this tourist route.
Woolleen Station - Credit Tourism Western Australia
Pindar to Gascoyne Junction
Distance 330km - Driving Time 5 hours
Not far from Pindar is Mullewa, which is a must-see during the region’s wildflower season (July to October). If you’re starting your journey in Perth or Kalbarri, you may choose to stay overnight in Mullewa to break up the trip. From Kalbarri, you can drive straight to Mullewa in about 2.5 hours to avoid driving back through Geraldton.
Otherwise, drive on to Murchison Settlement, located 200km north of Mullewa. The Murchison district and its surrounds were well known for being one of the finest wool producing regions in Australia back in the day. And while times may have moved on since those early days of settlement, Murchison still manages to offer a glimpse of what life may have been like for settlers who had to battle harsh conditions to survive and prosper.
If you want to explore this glorious outback further, stop in for a visit at Wooleen Station. As a working cattle station, it allows visitors to join in with station activities, take an eco tour of the rangelands, and learn more about the region’s extensive flora and fauna on a bush walk around the property. Camping is available on Wooleen (contact the hosts to check for availability), or head to Murchison for an overnight stay at the caravan park in town.
Mount Augustus - Credit Tourism Australia
Murchison to Gascoyne Junction
Distance 282km - Driving Time 3.5 hours
Today, you have the option of driving straight to Gascoyne Junction, or taking a detour via Mount Augustus. Taking the more direct route, you will travel north on the Wool Wagon Pathway towards Gascoyne, to discover two more of the route’s interpretive sites at Errabiddy Outcamp and Errabiddy Bluff. Abundant in wildlife, Errabiddy Bluff is a great spot to pull up for a picnic and can present a nice challenge for those eager climbers to scale the bluff to take advantage of its incredible views.
Travelling 150km north, you will arrive at Bilung Pool. At this tranquil natural spring, you will find water year-round, and picnic facilities onsite if you’re in need of some refreshment. Nearby are the Wooramel River Gorges, offering excellent views over an expansive inland river system.
From here, you can choose to continue on towards Gascoyne Junction, or turn off towards Mount Augustus. While this is some detour – taking you 200km east over a period of 8.5 hours – you may find it’s worth the extra time on the road. As the world’s largest monocline, Mount Augustus is about 8km long, and twice the size of Uluru. Sitting on granite rock that is 1,650 million years old, it’s also considerably older than Uluru, while also being much quieter in terms of visitors.
Driving around Mount Augustus National Park’s 49km circuit (suitable for 2WD campervans), you will take in the ever-changing face of the rock, where you can enjoy access to key sites including Aboriginal rock art, picnic sites, caves and walking trails. Take a few nights here to see the rock as it changes colours at sunrise and sunset, with caravan sites available at the tourist resort 5km from the base of the rock.
With the 4WD campervan packed up and back on the Wool Wagon Pathway, you will continue on towards Gascoyne Junction. Here you can rest up for the night, while learning more about the region’s pioneering history, and perhaps listening to a story or two from a local at the town pub.
Kennedy Range - Credit Tourism Western Australia
Gascoyne Junction to Exmouth
Distance 610km - Driving Time 7 hours
Before leaving Gascoyne Junction, if you chose to hire a 4WD option, consider taking a detour into the Kennedy Range National Park. Accessible by 4WD only, the park is an expanse of rugged outback, best visited after good rains during winter when the ancient valleys burst to life with vibrant greenery. Providing a true wilderness experience, the park offers hiking and wildlife spotting, with plenty of photography opportunities.
Heading back onto the open road, you can continue on the final sealed and unsealed stretch of the Wool Wagon Pathway, taking in the last of the interpretative sites at Mount Sandiman, Booroothunty Creek, Tropic of Capricorn, Nyang Wool Shed, Giralia Bay and Termite Nests. Alternatively, you can drive west towards Carnarvon to complete the journey north to Exmouth along the easier, larger campervan and motorhome-friendly coastal route.
Exmouth itself is well worth the wait, providing a base from which to explore the outstanding landscape of Cape Range National Park, and the underwater wonderland of the Ningaloo Marine Park. As the largest fringing reef in Australia, Ningaloo Reef offers one of the world’s top shore dives, where divers can simply step off the beach to see more species of fish than perhaps anywhere else. The most Instagram-worthy spots are all around an hour away, so be sure to set off with enough time to take in the incredible sights.
Fancy diving with stunning spotted whale sharks? At Ningaloo Reef you can! Between March and July, the reef allows visitors to swim with those gentle giants, the whale sharks, known to be the biggest fish in the world. Depending on when you visit, you may also spot giant manta rays, rare turtles, pods of dolphins and migrating humpback whales. As for fish, there are more than 500 species of tropical fish that inhabit the 300km reef, living off more than 200 species of coral.
If you have the time to spend two days in Exmouth, take a day trip to Pilbara to join a Ngurrangga Tour. Led my tourism award-winning Clitnon Walker, a descendent of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people. This tour will surround you in Aboriginal culture, vast landscapes, Dreaming stories and bushtucker.
Cape Range - Credit Australia's Coral Coast
Cape Range National Park
If you’re looking for adventure on dry land, the breathtakingly rugged Cape Range National Park is well worth a visit. Spanning more than 50,000 hectares, the park is filled with limestone ranges, imposing canyons, and 50km of unspoiled coastline. Tell the kids to keep an eye out for wildlife while you’re there, as you may spot emus and dingoes, wallaroos, red kangaroos and even echidnas. Camping sites are available within the national park, or alternatively, spend a few nights in Exmouth to ensure you have time to see the best of the area.
After your stay in Exmouth, you can travel south back to Perth on our Ningaloo Itinerary (starting from day 4), taking the coastal route to enjoy sites such as Monkey Mia. One of the great things about this itinerary is that it offers plenty of flexibility, allowing you to take time out to explore as you go.
Britz Scout camp set up
Tips For Travel
Before you head off, it’s recommended that you research your route and consider your driving abilities. Find out more about the roads you will travel, and whether you will need a 4WD to get where you want to go. Hiring a 4WD campervan may be your best bet on trips such as these. Use local visitor centres along the way to seek advice about the conditions, and stock up on water, food and fuel before you head off. Remember, driving times should be used as an estimate only.