Perth to Broome is 24 hours by car. 34 hours by bus. 2.5 hours by plane and 13 days on an adventure bus tour. There are two roads from Perth to Broome, the inland highway and the coastal route. The coastal route has many amazing activities and sites, each deserving an overnight stay. I always say, the West Coast has to be the only place where you can see a; Kangaroo, Emu, Eagle, Whale Shark, Reef Shark, Humpback Whale, Turtle and Manta Ray on the same day. The activities and attractions from Perth to Broome are still somewhat undiscovered. Outside of school holidays the West Coast can be an awesome escape from the overcrowded East Coast of Australia. Some of the sites found on the road from Perth to Broome include:
- The Pinnacles
- Kalbarri National Park
- Shark Bay World Heritage area
- Monkey Mia dolphins
- Ningaloo world heritage Coast
- Coral Bay
- Karijini National Park
Including necessary detours, the coastal road from Perth to Broome is roughly 4000 km long. A road trip from Perth to Broome should not be undertaken in less than 13 days. Attempting the trip in any less time would require 5am wake-ups and 6 to 7 hours driving most days. To experience the best of the West Coast you need to take your time. Plan your activities (they can book out in advance).
- If you want to drive from Perth to Broome the quickest way possible, take the inland road. This is around 2 1/2 days driving including stops for fuel and sleep.
- Flights from Perth to Broome depart daily and cost $200-400 AUD. Don’t forget to book in advance for the best deals. Check Qantas and Virgin Australia Airlines for tickets.
When is the best time to travel from Perth to Broome?
The weather in Perth and Broome can be vastly different. Perth enjoys a strict summer and winter, whereas Broome has a more tropical climate with warmer weather. The tourist season in Broome is less hot and runs from April until October. The best time to enjoy a Perth to Broome road trip is between April and November.
The north west of WA can be affected by tropical cyclones between December and March. Flooding often blocks roads and affects hiking trails/ guided tours. If you enjoy hot weather then the trip is best in March, April, October and November. Days in Perth are warm and sunny over this period and the weather heats up as you drive north. Expect 30 to 40 degrees in the latter part of the trip. Nights are warm and good for camping. May to October are wetter months in Perth. In the North West fine warm weather is common with cooler nights. The days are shorter in the middle of the year. (sun 7.30am-5.30pm) but the cooler weather is often more comfortable for travelers coming from Europe. Daytime temperatures in Exmouth range from 22 to 30 degrees.
Whale Shark Swim Tours at Ningaloo
In Exmouth you can swim with the Whale Sharks from March to September. From September to December you can now swim with Humpback Whales. These experiences bring tourists from across Australia and the world. Mantaray and diving tours run year-round on the Ningaloo Reef from Exmouth and Coral Bay. I would recommend the Manta Ray tour in Coral Bay. This tour is more reasonably priced than a Whale Shark or Humpback swim. Yet just as fun. However Whale Shark Swim Tours can be a once in a lifetime experience. Manta ray tours range from $180 – $200. Whale Shark tours start at $400 for the day (including lunch and transfers).
Perth to Broome by Coach Bus
The Integrity Coach Lines bus service is the only greyhound style coach that travels from Perth to Broome. The coastal service leaves Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm. A more direct service on the inland road departs Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. The Integrity Coach Lines offers a hop-on hop-off option. This requires the booking of multiple shuttle transfers from the main road to the attractions. This is required in Kalbarri, Monkey Mia and Karijini National Park.
With this option you will also need to book separate day tours. These day tours take you from the town to the attractions in the National Parks. Towns on the West Coast are often very small with limited car rental options.
If you would like to take the cheapest way from Perth to Broome. The direct Integrity Coach Lines bus can get you there in 34 hours. The price of this ticket is approximately $260. This can be cheaper than a flight if booking at the last minute. The coach has toilets and upright seats so sleeping would be more comfortable if you bring your own pillow.
Perth to Broome in 13 days by Adventure Bus Tour
There is no doubt the best way to enjoy the West Coast is by taking the time to road trip. There are various options available. Such as driving your own car, campervan rental or joining an adventure bus tour like Why Not Bus. If traveling alone or in a small group it can be a great experience to join a tour.
Why Not Bus tours are designed for travellers to experience the West Coast in an exciting group setting. Trips have up to 24 people. They can be a great option if you are traveling alone or looking for an amazing yet social experience. Beer Pong or truth or dare Anyone?
Accomodation on Tour
On the tour you will stay In hostels with the sites at your doorstep. You will also camp from time to time. Here you can experience fun around the campfire with the night sky above in all its glory. There is Tour guide to be your newest friend and show you all the best spots. The guide can help you book your additional tours with a discount. They are also by your side to point out the trails and wildlife along the way. All of the camping gear is provided. There is no need for preparation and planning. Just bring yourself and a small pack, prices start from $2100 AUD for a 9 day tour.
Renting a Campervan
Renting a campervan From Perth to Broome can be a great experience. Especially for those who would like to travel in a small group with more privacy. Traveling in a campervan can give you flexibility. If you fall in love with a place you can easily stay an extra night. Camper van hire can accommodate up to 6 people. Prices range from $250 to $600 per day depending on how fancy you would like to go. This price includes extra kilometers and one-way fees. Don’t forget that fuel and accommodation is not included!
There are also many free campsites available in Western Australia. Often these are at least 1 hours drive from the sights. Ensure to stay some nights in Monkey Mia, Coral Bay and Exmouth. (Exmouth does not allow free camping anywhere within the Shire). There is nothing better than waking up with the beach 50 m from your door. A powered campsite at a holiday park ranges from $30 to $80 per night. My ultimate accommodation pick for WA includes Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, Coral Bay Backpackers and Karijini Eco Retreat Eco Tents)
Before booking your campervan ensure you carefully read the terms and policies. Many budget providers may not supply you with a replacement camper if you break down in a remote area. Windscreen and tyre damage is not always covered in a camper van insurance policy. Ensure that you are covered by your travel insurance also. Damage to vehicles is common due to bad gravel roads in Karijini National Park. Animal strikes are common so try to avoid driving at night.
Driving your own Vehicle
Buying a car or four-wheel drive to travel the West Coast can be a great option. This can give you flexibility to travel as slowly as you like without worrying about rental costs. If you would like to travel for a few months then buying a car may be the best option. Cars are readily available second hand in Perth. 4×4 vehicles will give you the option to access many incredible sites that you cannot visit in a 2WD car.
The drive from Perth to Broome or Perth to Darwin can be very taxing on vehicles. It is extremely important that you have a reliable vehicle. Good tires and safety equipment in case you break down in a remote area. Towing fees to recover broken down vehicles can often push into thousands of dollars depending on the location. I would not recommend buying an old vehicle with high kilometres. If you do then be willing to spend money on repairs or risk abandoning the vehicle in a remote location. Roadside assistance can be a good option and often includes up to 300 km of towing.
Traveling in a four-wheel drive
Traveling in a four-wheel drive vehicle will give you the option to visit 4×4 only areas. Some popular areas are Steep Point in Shark Bay, Francois Peron National Park and additional locations in Karijini National Park. The Gibb River Road North of Broome is also one of the main attractions for four-wheel drive and off-roading enthusiasts.
These areas can be incredibly rewarding with many amazing sites to visit. Reliable vehicles and strict planning are a must. You will often see only Toyota Land Cruisers in these areas. These Vehicles are known for being the most reliable vehicles in the Australian Outback. The cost of a reliable 4×4 in Perth would be $10000-$15000 minimum. Older Mitsubishis, Jeeps and Rangerovers should be avoided at all costs. Diesel 4x4s are around 30-40% more efficient than petrol powered counterparts. Expect to use 13-18L/100kms when fully loaded.
Buying and Selling a Vehicle
Another important aspect of buying a car in Western Australia is considering where you will decide to sell the vehicle. Cars that are registered in Western Australia can be transferred to other owners in different states and territories. This means it is possible to buy your car in Perth and sell it in Darwin. A local that lives in the Northern Territory will find a WA registered vehicle less desirable. Eventually it will need to be re-registered in the Northern Territory. This can be a costly process.
Vehicles registered in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland may require a mechanical inspection before the ownership can be transferred. These inspections often need to occur within the state that the vehicle is registered. Selling a vehicle that comes from the above States may be increasingly difficult and costly. These vehicle will most likely need to be inspected and re registered in the state that you sell it.
If you are a Couple
If you are a couple who would like to spend some time alone. You should buy or rent a camper van. The initial cost is high. But selling your vehicle at the end of the trip can recuperate some of the outlay. Older couples often opt to drive with a 4×4 and caravan. This gives you the comforts of your own home and options to take day trips off road. I hope this article has given you some direction. Go on, take your chance to travel now! you never know what will happen. Life is short.
No matter which option you take from Perth to Broome, it will be an amazing experience. The sites and landscapes are like nothing else found in the world. I can assure you that everyone who visits these incredible places remembers them fondly for the rest of their lives. In my opinion there is only one way to travel from Perth to Broome and that is the long way. Take some time on your road trip and make sure you visit the best sites along the way. Any less than 13 days on the Road from Perth to Broome will leave you wanting more. Save one day for Kalbarri National Park, one day for Monkey Mia and Shark Bay. Two days for Coral Bay and two days for Exmouth. Karijini National Park will require at least two days.
I think the best way to do this road trip depends on your personality, situation and travel companions. If you travel alone then you should consider joining a group adventure tour like Why Not Bus. These tours are designed for young travellers, between the ages of 18 and 39. By the end of the first day you will feel right at home with 15 new friends. Now you can share this incredible experience together. I see the connections people make on these trips and 6 years on many passengers are still staying in contact.