We’ve put together the ultimate WA road trip taking you through all the stops from the smash-hit musical Bran Nue Dae, including places we recommend you stop as you mimic the journey of young Willie as he returns to his home in the Kimberley.
What to bring:
- 1 all-terrain vehicle
- A good group of mates/family to have along for the ride
- Sleeping bag/camping equipment/ swag
- A love for long drives
- The Bran Nue Dae soundtrack
Best time of year to go: March-October (way too hot and rainy in the other seasons!)
Day 1 - Perth to Fremantle (and back)
In homage to the Bran Nue Dae film, we suggest you spend a day in the portside town of Fremantle as an appetizer before you commence your main, road trip meal.
Take in the markets and the heritage buildings, keep an eye out for buskers performing and be sure to grab a coffee from one of the plentiful cafes off the Cappuccino Strip.
Day 2 – Perth to Kalbarri
Let the real journey begin. Prepare to join teen runaway Willie Johnson and his companions and leave the West Australian capital city behind as you head for Broome. But first, head north for Kalbarri, a resort town at the mouth of the Murchison River.
On your way, stop off at the well-loved Nambung National Park to take in the Pinnacles, a unique geological creation that could only have occurred on the west coast, a two hour drive out of Perth. After this pit-stop, head towards Jurien Bay and take part in some sandboarding. A further two hours out from Jurien Bay, you’ll pass through the town of Geraldton before you continue on to your final spot for the night, Kalbarri.
Total driving time: Roughly 7 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Kalbarri, click here.
Day 3 - Kalbarri National Park to Shark Bay
Start the day with a detour to Kalbarri National Park and explore everything the natural landscape has to offer – Meanarra Hill Lookout, Z-Bend Gorge, Nature’s Window and The Loop are a few of our fave scenic spots.
Once you’ve had your fill of stunning views, get back on the road and head for Shell Beach, a three-hour drive from Kalbarri. You guessed it – the beautiful snow-white beach is made up of millions of tiny shells up to 10 metres deep and stretching for over 70 kilometres. Not too far away is Shark Bay where you can take in the colourful and diverse landscapes which contribute to why the area is World Heritage listed.
Total driving time: Roughly 4.5 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Shark Bay, click here.
Day 4 - Shark Bay to Coral Bay
It’s time to leave scenic Shark Bay to dabble in the waters of Monkey Mia, a 30 minute drive from Denham on the other side of Shark Bay. Visit in the morning where you can witness dolphins be fed up close by park rangers and have a swim in the waters nearby.
Once you’ve finished frolicking in the waves, hop back in the car and head Carnarvon way, keeping an eye out for Hamelin Pool for a cheeky stop. Continue on your way to Coral Bay which has been aptly dubbed the “Jewel of the Northwest”.
Total driving time: Roughly 6.5 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Coral Bay, click here.
Day 5 - Coral Bay to Exmouth
The time has come to explore the Ningaloo Reef! From Coral Bay, Exmouth is a 2.5 hour drive away where a snorkel session awaits. Discover the stunning Turquoise Bay and spend the day finding manta rays, sea turtles and tropical fish, all within meters of the beach.
Total driving time: 2.5 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Exmouth, click here.
Day 6 - Exmouth and Cape Range National Park
So stunning, you’ll need to stay an extra day in Exmouth to take in the Cape Range National Park. Yardie Creek Gorge, Shothole Canyon and Charles Knife Canyon are just a few to name of the must-see sights for your day exploring the rocky gorges.
Total driving time: 1.5 hours
For information on other activities and sights to enjoy around Cape Range National Park, click here.
Day 7 - Exmouth to Karijini National Park
Time to head inland through the Pilbara region in search of Karijini National Park. You’ll pass through cattle stations on your way as well as the small town of Tom Price, known for its iron ore mining.
Once you’ve reached Karijini, settle yourself in to your campsite/accommodation and familiarise yourself with what you desperately want to see before you leave. In the park’s north, Oxer Lookout has views of the Weano, Red, Hancock and Joffre gorges. At the edge of Weano Gorge, a trail leads to Handrail Pool. To the east are the red rocks of Dales Gorge and the cascades of Fortescue Falls.
Total driving time: About 8 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Karijini National Park, click here.
Day 8 - Karijini National Park
Explore the gorges! There are cascading waterfalls and fresh waterholes ideal for swimming in. Dales Gorge and Circular Pool, Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool and Weano Gorge are just some of the places you can visit to experience everything Karijini has on offer!
Total driving time: Roughly 2 hours (around the park)
Day 9 - Karijini National Park
Today’s the day to tour Hancock Gorge, often described as a “journey to the centre of the earth”. A tricky descent, book in to be accompanied by a local guide. After a day of hiking, settle in to your accommodation and keep an eye on the stars for your final night in the national park.
Day 10 - Karijini National Park to Port Hedland
The time has come to leave the idyllic Karijini and head back to the coast for Port Hedland. Check out nearby stations along the way (and consider staying the night) before the final leg where we re-enter iconic Bran Nue Dae terrain!
Total driving time: Roughly 5 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Port Hedland, click here.
Day 11 - Broome
It’s time to re-join the script of Bran Nue Dae and catch up with Willie and Rosie in Broome. The drive from Port Hedland takes about 6 hours, but what awaits is a sight to behold, with the town of Broome rich in both cultural and for this purpose, narrative history.
Take a break at 80 Mile Beach and go for a leisurely stroll on the way there before you head straight into town. Be sure to be near Cable Beach for an unbeatable sunset, or if you want to mimic the steps of Bran Nue Dae, take it in from Gantheaume Point (which features in a number of flashback sequences in the film adaptation), where dinosaur footprints preserved in the sandstone can also be witnessed.
Total driving time: Roughly 6 hours
For information on accommodation options and other activities to enjoy around Broome, click here.
Day 12 - Broome
If you’re up for some Bran Nue Dae location spotting today, as referenced in the film, detour east of Broome to the Roebuck Plains Station where the iconic ‘condom tree’ exists. "Every young bloke ends up at the Condom Tree," insisted Uncle Tadpole in the production.
Upon your return to town, grab a meal from Broome’s Chinatown, in particular, Tong’s Chinese located on Napier Terrace, where a number of scenes were filmed and referenced in the play.
Swing by Matso’s Brewery for their legendary ginger beer, but also to recognise the background, with the brewery dressed in the film to mimic the Roebuck Bay Hotel of the play, where the character Lester’s band plays.
Finish your day at Sun Pictures, Broome’s humble, double fronted tin structure outdoor cinema and Australia’s oldest picture garden which features in the play and the film, but was also where the film adaptation made its official theatrical premiere.
Day 13 - Broome
For your final day in Broome, book yourself into a tour so you don’t miss a thing. We recommend an indigenous tour group so you gain a real taste for the spirit of the land and the history behind it.
Don’t forget to catch your last sunset, and if it's the right time of year, you might be able to glimpse the Staircase to the Moon – a natural phenomenon which occurs when a full moon rises over the exposed tidal flats of Roebuck Bay.
Day 14 - Broome - Home
Say farewell to Willie and the gang and begin your bittersweet return to reality, home.
- Bring a water bottle and remember to top it up – the temperatures are higher and there is plenty to explore on foot, so stay hydrated!
- Research what car you will need – Avis and Hertz have car depots in both Perth and Broome, with both companies offering a one way car hire.
- Bring some friends – you will be able to stop and explore more in a car with others and sharing the expense makes it more economically viable. Plus, the more the merrier!
- Bring good walking shoes – you’ll need them.
- Slip, slop, slap – Sunscreen and a decent hat are vital
- Wear old clothes – the red dirt stains, so don’t wear anything you don’t want to be tinged with orange!
- Look into getting a WA Parks Pass – it will save you money the more you explore, and that way you are covered for 90% of what there is to see on your roadtrip.
- Book ahead – research campsites, hostels, hotels and motels ahead of time and book in. Some camping spots in prime locations are limited, so first in, best dressed!
- Find out where the supermarket/petrol stops are – some parts of the journey have extremely limited access to amenities, so top up your petrol, grab some snacks and check your tires wherever you can!
Enjoy your journey and embrace the taste of what WA (particularly under the influence of Bran Nue Dae) has to offer!