We’ve just returned from our incredible family road trip Western Australia’s Coral Coast and all of us are still digesting the things we saw and did. We swam with whale sharks! We dived with manta rays! We sat out under the millions of brilliant stars and spotted planets and constellations! We befriended quokkas, rode bikes up to a lighthouse, ate well, drank well, played cards and explored part of the country we’ve never seen.
Our trip took us to Ningaloo Reef, Kalbarri National Park and the stunning coastline north of Perth. It took a bit of advance planning, but not an extraordinary amount. In the end it all happened fairly easily after a bit of panic – more on that below. You can follow something similar to our itinerary here for help with your own trip to see this extraordinary part of Australia.
Given the distance between Perth and Ningaloo Reef – the main town of Exmouth is 1,250km north – my first instinct was we should fly all the way and stay in a resort for that full bar and pool holiday experience. But … no. The regional flight is pricey, so perhaps a flight up, then drive back? Not if you don’t want to pay a one-way surcharge on your rental vehicle.
Not only that, the looming school holiday period meant we’d left it too late and could only get a night here and there at a few different places in either Coral Bay or Exmouth. Cripes. With a pretzel of panic forming in my stomach I tried other accommodation … any motels … any cabins in caravan parks? No? A long drive up and back? Perhaps … sleeping in our car?
Which brings me to what we eventually arrived at … taking our hotel room with us. Like a snail, but faster and much less slimy. Travelling in a Let’s Go Motorhome ended up delivering many wonderful surprises, a more relaxed route, serious family downtime and the ideal way to make the most of our trip. While it’s true the WA coast covers mammoth distances and the thought of doing that in a big vehicle gave me pause, it was the best solution.
caption: A very chipper lady at the Perth depot took this pic of us getting ready to cram the lad into a cupboard.
Here are a few of the reasons it worked so well for us:
- On arrival at any destination you’re already set up and settled in so just pop open a bottle and relax. You’re in WA so there are more than a few good bottles available.
- We unpacked once. Just once. No shoving everything into a bag each time we moved location and then hauling it out on arrival at a new hotel room. Just unplug, close the cupboards and windows and drive off.
- There were hidey-holes for everything. Because we were equipped for hot and cold weather including our snorkelling gear, we had a LOT of stuff and it all went somewhere and out of sight as though we weren’t creatures of mess and chaos.
- Our 12yo son loved his spacious nest above the driver’s cabin – it could have fitted two people, but he was able to sleep like a starfish. If you’re putting smaller children up there you can ensure they won’t roll out with the mesh guard provided. Also, by the way, our bed was really, really, really comfy.
caption: No. 1 son and no. 1 vehicle.
- This strip of Western Australia is well set up for RVs. There are spaces for long vehicles in most of the coastal carparks and we never had trouble parking it.
caption: OK, this parking job wasn’t our finest. Nobody needs those other three spaces, do they?
- We had a few pretty cold nights – but we also had heating & air conditioning. No problem.
- You can stop and kick a footy or go for a swim wherever looks nice and you don’t have to get changed under a towel.
Caption: We fancied a snorkel near this spot so just parked our change room right here!
- Travelling with our own shower and toilet was a relief. Though we didn’t end up using the toilet due to my horror of emptying it, being able to brush teeth or shower and get changed right where we were was super-handy. Some of those amenities blocks can be a bit of a walk away in your ugg boots and PJs with your towel and washbag held together by a safety pin, especially if it’s raining.
- Feel like a up of tea? Just pull over and make one!
Caption: The anywhere brew!
- The vehicle felt practically brand new, and I later found out there are no vehicles in the fleet older than three years. There were no worn-out bits and when we turned up it was spotless. Not so much after 12 days of us traipsing through it with sand and barbecue sauce, despite my valiant efforts to keep it vaguely swept, but there you go.
- It wasn’t at all intimidating to drive. You sit pretty high up and feel like a truckie, but it has good clear visuals and it was easy to operate and manoeuvre into van park sites without knocking over the power socket stand.
Caption: Easily backed in and instantly set up!
- Family reconnection. We spent a lot of time together, played cards and games, laughed a lot, took family swims and hikes and generally switched off. It was a combination of the long distances, lack of phone coverage and the fact that things couldn’t be recharged unless we were plugged into mains that made us a lot less electronic. A real side benefit that I wasn’t expecting but was very grateful for.
I can highly recommend this type of holiday for your family. Everything was easy, the holiday parks we booked into were terrific whether they were crowded or not, and the convenience and ease was worth the little bit of pre-planning. Most importantly I guess, the sense of family adventure and reconnection was something we might not have got otherwise.
Go ahead and plan – all you need is a driver’s licence, a diary, a map and a sense of adventure. Maybe some clothes. A hat and camera. Stuff like that. But go for it!
Ready to book your own adventure? Book your motorhome or campervan with Let’s Go Motorhomes today!