As a small town on the coast of Western Australia, Coral Bay is home to some of the most stunning white sand beaches and the clearest turquoise blue water. It is one of the few stops along Australia’s Coral Coast, and a family favourite of ours!
This popular coastal town is the perfect location for a family holiday, where you can enjoy the sunshine and sea life in a relaxing environment. We holiday here in October every second year, it truely is one of Western Australia’s must see destinations!
How to Get to Coral Bay, Western Australia
There are two options to get from Perth to Coral Bay: Drive or Fly. While flying is a much faster option, driving is more practical. It is extremely useful to have your own car here since everything up north is far apart and there is no public transport available.
Planning a road trip to Coral Bay? Then read my Western Australia’s Coral Coast Road Trip Guide
Coral Bay is situated 1200km north of Perth, Western Australia. The most popular way for tourists to get here is to drive! It is a long drive, taking anywhere from 11-13 hours (depending if your towing and how many stops you need to make along the way).
If that many hours of driving sounds too long, I suggest making an overnight stop in Geraldton. However we prefer to leave early and drive the whole way in a day, making as few stops as possible! We especially find that this is the best way to go with kids in the car. Just make sure you are prepared to settle in for the long haul!
How long will it take to drive from Perth to Coral Bay, Western Australia?
It will take 11-13 hours to drive from Perth to Coral Bay. This will vary depending on if you are towing and how many stops you make along the way.
You can also opt to fly to Coral Bay, taking a flight from Perth to Learmonth Airport. From there you will either need to hire a car, or arrange transport in advance from the airport to Coral Bay. The drive will take about one and a half hours.
Although this may be a quicker option, driving to Coral Bay gives you a great opportunity to enjoy the vast and empty landscape, as well as providing you a car for when you arrive!
When to Visit Coral Bay, Western Australia
Coral Bay is a great place to visit, staying relatively warm and dry throughout the year. However, it is much windier over the summer months, from December to February. Autumn and Spring are both great seasons to visit Coral Bay.
Peak season for Coral Bay generally runs from March until November, with the September/October School Holidays bringing in lots of local tourists. If you are visiting Western Australia and planning a trip to Coral Bay, be sure to check when the School Holidays are as accommodation can book out up to 2 YEARS in advance! Our family has a running booking with Peoples Caravan Park for the October School Holidays every second year.
Book your accommodation well ahead of time so that you won’t be disappointed.
Most of the roads along the Ningaloo Coast are unsealed, and you need a 4WD to access them. These tracks give you access to other beaches where you can go fishing, snorkelling or just spend the day relaxing.
I would recommend having a 4WD so you’ll have more control over your itinerary!
If you cannot take or hire a 4WD, you can always join a tour that takes you down the tracks. The downside is that you won’t get as much time to spend on the beach and experiencing the other activities it offers.
Things to Do in Coral Bay
Coral Bay is filled with amazing things to do. There are plenty of free activities for the budget traveller as well as amazing paid experiences, unique to Australia’s Coral Coast. However, the Coral Bay beaches are definitely the most popular reason for families to come here. With fishing, snorkelling, four-wheel driving and relaxing to fill your days at the beaches in Coral Bay.
Free Activities in Coral Bay, Western Australia
Snorkelling: Coral Bay is most famous for being the doorstep to Western Australia’s stunning Ningaloo Reef. You can snorkel right from the beach at Coral Bay or take the 4WD tracks to other popular places such as Five Fingers Reef and Oyster Bridge.
The Turquoise Bay Drift Snorkel is another great place to enjoy the stunning coral. It is accessible from the Drift Snorkel car park, meaning you won’t need for a 4WD to get there. However, it is located just over 2 hours out of Coral Bay.
Fishing: The Ningaloo Reef is one of the best places to go fishing in Western Australia. You can fish straight off of the beach or out by the reef by boat. If you are looking to score a big catch (like Jason’s prized Spanish Mackrel) you will need to head to deeper water!
Just be aware of the water sanctuary zones, where fishing is not allowed.
Relax on the Beach: With stunning scenery, the warm sun and the cool water, why not just spend the day relaxing on the beach? The beach in Coral Bay is large, has beautiful white sand and crystal clear water. Perfect for working on your tan!
Four Wheel Driving: Four wheel driving is one of my top things to do in Coral Bay. It is the best way to see the coastline and get to the prettiest beaches. We even took little 2 month old Koby with us on our adventures! Just be mindful to stay on the approved tracks.
Paid Experiences in Coral Bay, Western Australia
Snorkeling: You can book a Snorkel Tour from Coral Bay. Tour companies will provide you with snorkel gear and bring you out to the reef by boat.
Fishing: You can take a charter trip, where they will take you outside of the reef. The water here is deep and so the fish are big!
Four Wheel Driving: If you don’t have a 4WD with you, you can book a quad tour that will take you along the tracks and the beach. It is something that everyone in the family will enjoy!
Scubadiving: If you are looking for a bit more of an under-the-water adventure, you can take a scubadiving tour. It is open to everyone, even if you have never been before, and is a great way to get up close and personal with the sea life. You even get the opportunity to swim with mantarays!
Swim with Whale Sharks: If you are looking for something a little more adventurous, Coral Bay is one of the best places to experience whale sharks in Western Australia.
Whale sharks make their annual appearance between March and June.
If this is something you are interested in doing, be sure to book your trip for that time of year.
Where to Stay in
Coral Bay is a small town with limited options for accommodation. The most common way to stay in Coral Bay is to go camping.
Camping: The most popular way to stay in Coral Bay is to camp at one of the two campgrounds: Bayview Coral Bay and Peoples Caravan Park.
Camping can be a great way to really experience what Coral Bay has to offer. Without the usual comforts of a house, camping will encourage your family to really enjoy nature and embrace outdoor living.
Read More: Tips for Camping with a Baby
Coral Bay Backpackers: Coral Bay Backpackers offers affordable accommodation, catering for budget travellers. There is an outdoor swimming pool, as well as barbecue and kitchen facilities.
Ningaloo Reef Resort: Located at the end of the peninsula, Ningaloo Reef Resort offers stunning beachfront accommodation. Suitable for all travellers, your accommodation will be air-conditioned. There is also a swimming pool, barbecue facilities and manicured lawns and gardens.
Where to Eat
Coral Bay Supermarket: Being a small town, Coral Bay has one small supermarket where you will find mostly everything you need. However, you should expect to pay a higher price so try taking pre-planned meals!
Read More: Easy & Healthy Meal Ideas for Camping
Coral Resort Bakery: This is our favorite place to eat in all of Coral Bay. With delicious cakes, and classic Aussie meat pies it is great at any time of the day. We would often pop in to get some breakfast… or morning coffee or lunch or an afternoon snack. Basically, we just love the bakery in Coral Bay!
Bill’s Bar: If you are looking for a pub feed or a place to watch some sport, Bill’s Bar is a great place for food and beer. It is best enjoyed from lunchtime until after dinner.
Fin’s: Fin’s is located in People’s Caravan Park, and has delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is great place to grab a morning coffee before taking a walk along the beach!
Overall, Coral Bay is a great place to enjoy the natural Australia landscape. It is perfect for kids of all ages. Even with two month old Koby with us, our trip to Coral Bay was so relaxing yet still filled with the adventure we love! There are plenty of activities to keep your family busy while you can relax on the beach.