How To Travel From Perth To Broome
Perth to Broome is a long way to travel.
A long way.
From the Western Australian capital of Perth to Broome way up in the north of the state is a distance of well over 2000 kilometres. A rough estimation on Google Maps will give you a journey time of 24 hours by car from Perth to Broome, and that’s only if you can stay awake and drive for 24 hours straight without killing yourself and everyone else on the road, and not including stopping time for all the wonderful detours that the vast state of Western Australia offers for intrepid road trippers.
Make it to Broome though and you’ll be rewarded with a laid back coastal town that’s home to some of the most magnificent beaches in Australia, and has yet to be really discovered by mass tourism. And if you decide to road trip from Perth to Broome, then there’s a lot to see on the way too!
How To Travel From Perth To Broome
The ultimate way to travel from Perth to Broome and to really enjoy all the sights and epic spots on the journey is to road trip the whole way.
That’s how I travelled from Perth to Broome, and it was an incredible if very long experience.
Not everyone will have the opportunity or the time though to road trip from Perth to Broome, so before I get into real detail below on the best itineraries and routes when driving from Perth to Broome, I’ll give you a run down of the other travel options first.
If you’re just interested in driving, then skip on down like a jolly Kangaroo.
The Best Time Of Year To Travel From Perth To Broome
Broome is way north, and that means it is subject to a wet and dry season, and during the wet season the region can be ravaged by extreme rains and dangerous cyclones which can make travel all but impossible. The best time of year to travel from Perth to Broome therefore is in the dry season, which generally speaking runs from March through to the end of October.
Flying From Perth To Broome
Being a long way- I mean, a really long way- The easiest option to travel between Perth and Broome is of course to fly.
I flew the return leg in fact, from Broome to Perth and was surprised at how long the flight was- and I hadn’t even left the state of Western Australia.
There are several flights a day with Qantas and Virgin Australia but because of the lack of competition, and the fairly lengthy flight time of 2 hour and 30 minutes each way, expect to pay at least 400 AUD for a return, if you book well in advance. (Yes it’s usually cheaper to fly to Bali from Perth than anywhere actually in the same state…).
Broome Airport To Broome Town Or Cable Beach
Broome Airport is a small affair, but there are still a few amenities including a bar and cafe in the departure terminal. The airport is right next to Broome Town, and if you have no luggage, you could easily stroll into the centre and catch a bus from here to anywhere else in Broome, or to Cable Beach. Public transport is fairly regular, but there is no bus service as yet to the airport itself. The nearest stop would be a 1 kilometre walk. You can find a Broome Bus Timetable and Route Map HERE.
Many accommodation providers, especially over at Cable Beach also offer free transfers, so it’s worth asking for this ervice if you are staying at a hotel or resort.
Taxis are available, but in my personal experience were expensive- there’s no competition from Uber or Grab yet- and lacking in customer service on the phone when booking. The drivers are great though, once they pick you up, but if you can find an alternative I’d recommend it.
Taking The Bus From Perth To Broome
Western Australia isn’t renowned for its inter-city transport, and there is only one bus company that now offers transport from Perth to Broome.
Unfortunately, the country’s most famous bus provider Greyhound, do not run their Perth to Broome route anymore, taking away what was a valuable and flexible service from travellers lacking their own transport.
Integrity Coach Lines are now the only option, offering a service departing Perth on Tuesdays and Thursdays and returning Broome to Perth on Thursdays and Saturdays. There are multiple pick up points in Perth and in Broome the bus arrives and departs from the Broome Visitor’s Centre where it’s then possible to get around on the public transport.
This is an absolute monster of a bus ride though, and departing from Perth to Broome on a Tuesday evening for instance will see you arrive on a Thursday morning. It is a long way.
Integrity Coach Lines do also offer a hop on hop off service too. Being the only bus that makes this journey, they stop in most of the major tourist destinations en route from Perth to Broome – most of the spots I’ll be explaining in detail further below! – so if you don’t have your own transport and still want to see all the spots in between, this can be a good value way of exploring Western Australia. Miss the bus though, and you have to wait a long time for the next one…
Tour Companies Travelling From Perth To Broome
Another option for those lacking transport is to take one of the many private tour trips from Perth to Broome. Many companies run these, and they can be a great value way to see the area if you are on a tight schedule or need a group of people to go with.
These tours generally take in all the must see sights and can range from basic, cheap backpacker tours to high end luxury tours. Most last from 9 days to 14 days, many carrying on past Broome and all the way to Darwin.
The following companies run frequent tours in the dry season from Perth to Broome:
Ride Shares From Perth To Broome
If you enjoy travelling with strangers then there are plenty of ride shares available on the road from Perth to Broome. These are generally advertised privately in Facebook Groups or occasionally on Gumtree and if you are flexible and willing to share costs they can be a great way of getting from Perth to Broome.
There’s usually someone driving all the way north, although you could make it an adventure and ride share from town to town. It’s very common for travellers and backpackers to advertise a spare seat in their car for longer journeys of two weeks or more in order to split costs. These can be found on the Backpacker Facebook Groups.
My friend even managed to hitchhike all the way back to Perth from the outback after their working holiday in the remote town of Newman!
Renting A Car To Drive From Perth To Broome
Although not the most cost effective option, it’s also possible to rent a car or hire a nice RV to drive from Perth to Broome. Many companies will allow you to rent the vehicle in Perth and drop it off in Broome, or further north in Darwin- or many other places in Australia too! – to save you from having to drive over 2000 kilometres back along the same road again.
It’s best to do a lot of research before choosing your rental company, as each has different rules, types of vehicle and packages available.
It’s also possible, if you are flexible on dates, to relocate a campervan or car for a fraction of the rental cost. This however does not give you a huge amount of time to stop off, as generally you are only allowed to drive a certain limited number of kilometres in an allotted space of time.
The following companies offer one way vehicle rentals from Perth to Broome:
Driving From Perth To Broome: The Definitive Road Trip Itinerary!
Now the real fun begins. It’s a long way from Perth to Broome, but if you are driving, ride sharing, renting a car or even going on a tour, then there are plenty of opportunities to stop off and and break up the journey.
In fact, there are so many beautifully scenic places to visit that it can take weeks to see everything on the way north from Perth. I would recommend a minimum of two weeks travel time if you want to really enjoy yourself and take everything in. The coastal route is best for first timers, however there is also the option to travel straight up the Great Northern Highway- it’s the same distance- although this route goes right through Outback country and there’s not as much diversity as along the coast.
Either journey can be done easily in a two wheel drive vehicle, as the main highways are all sealed.
The Perth To Broome Road Trip
Taking the coastal route from Perth to Broome takes you past stunning beaches, through incredible National Parks and past remote road houses. It’s a minimum distance of 2346 kilometres. That’s without any stops, but I guarantee – you will be making a lot of stops.
Here are the best places to see on the way north from Perth to Broome, with a few detours thrown in for good measure too.
It all starts in Perth, Western Australia’s state capital and one of the most isolated cities in the world. Head north though from Perth and things will begin to become even more isolated and remote than they already are. Make sure you stock up on supplies, fuel and any gear you need before leaving, as everything becomes a bit more difficult to find once you are on the road to Broome.
Distance From Perth to Broome: 2346 Kilometres
Just up the road from Perth is the small, coastal town of Lancelin, a place famous for its beautiful white sand dunes. It’s fast becoming a top destination for adventure seekers, as while the huge sand dunes look spectacular, they are also perfect for off roading in four wheel drives and sand boarding down.
Distance From Perth to Lancelin: 126 Kilometres
Distance From Lancelin to Broome: 2220 Kilometres
The Pinnacles are a bizarre collection of pointy rocks in the middle of a desert which form part of Nambung National Park. No one seems to quite know how they formed or how they got there, they are that bizarre, but don’t be fooled by tourist brochures which show the rocks as towering, monstrous structures. They are impressive because they are so oddly out of place and numerous, but they are not as large as the Australian tourism industry would have you believe.
Distance From Lancelin to The Pinnacles: 80 Kilometres
Distance From The Pinnacles to Broome: 2155 Kilometres
Not far from The Pinnacles and a good place to spend the night is Jurien Bay. During the Summer Season the water here is perfect for snorkelling, with great visibility and excellent marine life to be found just off the shore. There’s beautiful beach camping all along the stunning coastline, and if I hadn’t had so far left to drive from Perth to Broome then I would have spent much more than one night in Jurien Bay.
Distance From The Pinnacles to Jurien Bay: 45 Kilometres
Distance From Jurien Bay to Broome: 2127 Kilometres
Although you are only 415 Kilometres along the road from Perth to Broome, stop in Geraldton to stock up on supplies, as this really is the last large city you will encounter along the coast heading north for a long time. From Geraldton, things become much more remote, and places will become much further apart. The city itself is a pleasant place to spend a day exploring, with a lovely beach and harbour side walk, excellent fish and chips and a moving memorial to HMAS Sydney, an Australian battleship that was lost off the coast during World War II with all hands on board.
Distance From Jurien Bay to Geraldton: 196 Kilometres
Distance From Geraldton to Broome: 1931 Kilometres
Hutt Lagoon and The Principality Of The Hutt River
The Hutt Lagoon is a strange salt lake known for its pink hues. Lesser known than this usual stopping off point and worth the short detour down dirt roads into the heart of farming country is The Principality of the Hutt River.
This is about as surreal as it gets in Western Australia. The Principality declared independence from Australia after a few tax disputes back in 1970, with Prince Leonard reigning over his tiny Kingdom until recently handing over the reigns to his son, all the time while fighting Australian sovereignty over his land. It’s possible to visit, to even get a visa, and to learn more about this micro nation from the Princes’ themselves.
Distance From Geraldton to Hutt Lagoon: 100 Kilometres
Distance From Hutt Lagoon to Broome: 1912 Kilometres
Kalbarri is known for its dramatic cliffs. Miles of rugged, weathered cliffs tops drop sharply down to the crashing waves far below. The town is a little touristy, but just outside you will find the Kalbarri National Park where away from the cliffs long, deep gorges wind their way through epic scenery.
Distance From Hutt Lagoon to Kalbarri: 54 Kilometres
Distance From Kalbarri to Broome: 1899 Kilometres
Shark Bay – 300 Kilometre Detour From Coastal Highway
The next stop on the itinerary from Perth to Broome is just a casual 300 kilometre detour from the main highway. That’s right, a 300 Kilometre round trip. It’s well worth the added mileage though, as the Shark Bay Peninsular is spectacular. Head to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins, and if you have a four by four you can get really remote at the Francois Peron National Park.
Distance From Kalbarri to Shark Bay: 385 Kilometres
Distance From Shark Bay to Broome: 1789 Kilometres
The city of Carnarvon is the next big place to stock up on supplies. It’s not exactly big as such, but just the biggest place for a few hundred kilometres- population approx 5000 people! Carnarvon is known for its fruit and veg farms, and there’s plenty of opportunity to explore these and to buy fresh produce. Driving north towards Broome you will also find the coast is smashed daily by the enormous King Waves which you can see along the shore front for miles, a really impressive and at times unpredictable force of nature.
Distance From Shark Bay to Carnarvon: 334 Kilometres
Distance From Carnarvon to Broome: 1463 Kilometres
Kennedy Range – 170 Kilometres Detour from Coastal Highway
Kennedy Range National Park is a spectacular short detour off the highway. It’s inland from Carnarvon, and comprises a collection of ridges and mountains that rise from the otherwise unfaltering flat red earth around them. There’s a short stretch of unsealed road leading to a camp site at the base of the range, which most of the year is fine to drive a two wheel drive vehicle down. It’s a beautiful place, but the real beauty lies in the fact that you might just be the only people there, as almost no one takes the time to detour off the highway to visit.
Distance From Carnarvon to Kennedy Range: 144 Kilometres
Distance From Kennedy Range to Broome: 1488 Kilometres (Along sealed roads via Carnarvon)
Mount Augustus – 900 kilometres detour from coastal highway
Mount Augustus National Park is a huge 900 kilometre detour off the highway from Carnarvon. It’s possible if you have a four by four to carry on along dirt tracks north, and save yourself the pain of going back, back in a two wheel drive the only option is to return the way you came. Don’t venture here unless you are prepared, this is real Outback country, and there is no fuel or supplies except at the Mount Augustus Tourist Park. It’s worth the journey though to climb Mount Augustus itself, a huge rock- the largest rock in the world, bigger even than Uluru!- that can be hiked in around 6 hours return, depending on your fitness.
Distance From Kennedy Range to Mount Augustus: 424 Kilometres
Distance From Mount Augustus to Broome: 1900 Kilometres
Coral Bay is essentially just a resort town. There’s not much apart from Caravan Parks and Hotels. But the reason everyone visits is because the beach and the coral are absolutely pristine and absolutely stunning. This is where the Ningaloo Reef, the world’s largest fringing reef, really begins. It’s laid back, with a few taverns, a bakery that manages to cook up amazing pies in the middle of nowhere and snorkelling right off the beach.
Distance From Carnarvon to Coral Bay: 238 Kilometres
Distance From Coral Bay to Broome: 1348 Kilometres (If driving via Karratha, not Karijini)
Exmouth is the best base to really explore both the Ningaloo Reef and the beautiful Cape Range National Park. The National Park backs onto the reef itself, allowing you start snorkelling right off the coastline, and if you are there in the right season, whale sharks migrate through the waters and sightings are pretty much guaranteed daily between March and June. If water isn’t your thing though, the National Park boasts huge canyons, gorges and an array of rare wildlife.
Distance From Coral Bay to Exmouth: 150 Kilometres
Distance From Exmouth to Broome: 1371 Kilometres (If driving via Karratha, not Karijini)
Karijini National Park is for many the highlight of the journey from Perth to Broome. Away from the coastline of Western Australia and a few hundred kilometres inland, this is the best detour you will make on the road trip north. It’s the second largest National Park in the state and it will leave you simply astounded by its intricate network of gorges, natural swimming pools and high mountains. I loved it so much I got myself a job there, and turned my two week road trip from Perth to Broome into a four month long adventure.
Distance From Exmouth to Karijini: 649 Kilometres
Distance From Karijini to Broome: 962 Kilometres
Port Hedland is a big industrial port area built to serve the Pilbarra mines. It doesn’t sound like a charmer, but after a few hundred kilometres of not seeing shopping centres or fast food outlets you might enjoy the trappings of the modern world when you arrive in Port Hedland up on the coast. If you have time it’s worth calling into the port to see the enormous scale of the container ships that call in here, and to also see the strange sight of a turtle conservation area, right next to the industrial area. During turtle nesting season this is an important place for the local turtles that come to shore to lay their eggs in a protected environment.
Distance From Karijini to Port Hedland: 370 Kilometres
Distance From Port Hedland to Broome: 612 Kilometres
Marble Bar – 300 Kilometre detour from Coastal Highway
Marble Bar has the accolade of being Australia’s hottest town, having recorded the most consistently high temperatures during one year. It gets really hot here, but more than being famous for its heat, it should be known for its quirky Outback nature. There’s quaint caravan parks, an old fashioned tavern called The Ironclad Hotel and interesting rock formations of Jasper, that the first pioneers thought to be Marble…
Distance From Port Hedland to Marble Bar: 202 Kilometres
Distance From Marble Bar to Broome: 715 Kilometres
80 Mile Beach
80 Mile Beach is more or less the half way point on the last 600 kilometre stretch of road from Perth to Broome. As the name would suggest, it’s a really long stretch of beach, just uninterrupted white sands for miles, spectacular sunsets and beautiful scenes. The 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park is a good spot to spend the night before heading off for the last leg along the coast.
Distance From Port Hedland to 80 Mile Beach: 337 Kilometres
Distance From 80 Mile Beach to Broome: 289 Kilometres
You finally made it from Perth to Broome! After thousands of kilometres of driving and detours it’s time to kick back with a Matsos Ginger Beer – the local speciality brew – relax on the white sands of Cable Beach and get used to the slow pace of life way up in the north of Western Australia.
Distance From Broome back to Perth: 2346 Kilometres (That’s without any detours…)
There are enough things to do in Broome to keep you occupied for a lifetime, or at least until the rainy season hits, and you can find get really inspired by reading my in depth article on The Best Things To Do In Broome HERE!
Driving Advice On The Road From Perth To Broome
For those travellers not used to the vast nature of Western Australia, driving from Perth to Broome can be a challenge. Here are a few handy driving tips to help you along the way:
- Do not drive at night. As soon as the sun begins to set, if not earlier, then you should be off the road, because this is when the wildlife begins to emerge. Australian animals like the kangaroo will throw themselves across the highway mercilessly and their ability to cause carnage should not be underestimated. Hitting a kangaroo is potentially deadly, or at the very least will end your road trip from Perth to Broome.
- Stock up on supplies when you can. When you see a petrol station, fill up. When you see a supermarket, stock up on supplies. When you can fill your water container, fill it up. You never know when you will find somewhere else to stock up on supplies. Always carry extra if you have the space, just in case!
- Don’t underestimate distances. Western Australia is huge. Don’t underestimate how far somewhere is. Locals might say it is down the road, but it is still a long way. Make sure you have adequate fuel and water and a rough idea of where to spend the night.
- Check the weather and check the road conditions. Western Australian weather, especially in the north, can be extreme and unpredictable. Roads are subject to flash floods, bush fires, crashes… if a road is closed, there’s usually no alternative but to wait or go a very long way around. If it’s an unsealed road, always check conditions with locals before heading off into the unknown.
- Roadside Assistance. It can always be handy having roadside assistance, but check you are covered before you head off anywhere really remote. RAC tend to have the best deals and coverage.
- Get a Telstra SIM Card. Much of the area north of Geraldton has very limited phone reception. Telstra have the best coverage across the state, so it’s worth getting one of their SIM cards. Even then expect to be cut off a lot when on the road from Perth to Broome.
- Broome is Crocodile Country. When you get up to Broome and its surrounds, this is the start of Crocodile Country, so be wary when camping or swimming and look out for warning signs. If no one is swimming, there’s probably a reason.
How To Find Accommodation On The Road From Perth To Broome
- Camping – The first and best piece of advice when it comes to camping anywhere in Australia is download the Wikicamps App. This awesome mobile app will only cost a few Aussie Dollars but it gives you access to every single camping spot along the way, even a few sneaky bush camps. You get up to date reviews of sites and prices from users, and the number of hidden little gems I found through Wikicamps was incredible. There are plenty of free camping spots along the route, however the law varies from Shire to Shire, and in some places you can be fined by Rangers if you are not in a designated camping or overnight spot. The more popular the destination it seemed, the stricter the rules were on camping – yet another reason to keep up to date on Wikicamps.
- Hotels and Air BnB – In most towns you will find hotel rooms and Air BnBs available, although the quality and prices will vary. The more remote, the more expensive and the worse value it will be. Broome and Exmouth have plentiful hotels and resorts, but along the road options outside of here are limited.
- Road House Accommodation – If you aren’t set up or prepared to camp then in between the larger towns accommodation is even more limited. If you find yourself stuck out, with dusk closing in, then sometimes the only option is a Road House. I found most of the Road Houses along the way from Perth to Broome had accommodation, but it is not cheap and generally the quality is very much lacking. It is the middle of absolute nowhere, so don’t expect too much.
All Words and Photos by Richard Collett