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The Best Perth to Monkey Mia Road Trip Itinerary for 2024

Hi! I’m Wendy, and since making Perth my home in 2001, I’ve been captivated by Western Australia. One of my adventures was to Monkey Mia – a haven for dolphin lovers and nature enthusiasts. Having made this trip with my family, I’ve created a tried and tested itinerary I want to share with you.

Where is Monkey Mia?

Shark Bay is 756 km north of Perth, approximately an 8-hour drive, but it will take about 9 hours to Denham.

Approximately 55 km south of the Shark Bay turn-off is the Billabong Roadhouse, known for its cheap fuel, although the petrol station in Denham wasn’t that much more.

Shark Bay Road, also known as the World Heritage Drive, provides access to sites along the peninsula. However, please do not drive onto the beaches, as vehicles disturb nesting seabirds and crush their nests.

limestone pillars in red sand in desert
The Pinnacles

Day 1: Perth to Cervantes

We set off early from Perth, driving two hours to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. Walking among these ancient limestone pillars is like stepping onto another planet.

After this, we continued our journey to Jurien Bay, where we had lunch. We stayed at Jurien Bay Tourist Park – see the price of cabins if you’re not camping.

In the afternoon, we unwind on the beach and walk along the foreshore. Dinner was pizza at Sandpiper Tavern.

a metal dome with seagulls carved out
HMAS Sydney II Memorial

Day 2: Jurien Bay to Geraldton

After an early breakfast, we joined the Jurien Bay Oceanic Sealion Cruise. It was an incredible experience to swim with playful Australian Sea Lions in their natural habitat.

Just after 10 am, we were on the road to Geraldton. Here, we paid our respects at the poignant HMAS Sydney II Memorial. We then walked around the town to learn about local history.

The Geraldton Foreshore is a bustling hub, perfect for our afternoon stroll. As night fell, we had dinner at Skeetas restaurant before settling down for the night.

two girls sitting in natures window kalbarri national park
Natures Window Kalbarri

Day 3: Geraldton to Kalbarri

Leaving Geraldton, we explored Northampton and the Pink Lake before arriving in Kalbarri. The town is close to natural wonders such as Nature’s Window and the dramatic cliffs of the Z-Bend lookout. As we’ve already hiked most of the Kalbarri National Park trails, we walked along the foreshore.

Evenings in Kalbarri are laid-back. We grabbed dinner from one of our favourite eateries, Wild Ocean Indonesian Cuisine. This food van only operates Friday, Saturday, & Sunday from 4 pm to 7 pm. Outside of that time, try Finlay’s.

close up of a wild dolphin
Dolphin at Monkey Mia

Day 4: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia

On our way to Monkey Mia, we stopped at Shell Beach, one of only two beaches in the world made entirely of shells. The stromatolites at Hamelin Pool showcase what life was like billions of years ago.

Arriving in Denham, we set up camp at Denham Seaside Caravan Park, which have some amazing cabins, too. We decided to base ourselves in Denham rather than the more expensive RAC Monkey Mia Resort.

We visited the Shark Bay Discovery Centre before seeking out the perfect spot for sunset. The night was spent in Denham, where the starry sky is as impressive as the day’s adventures.

red cliffs backing a narrow white sand beach with crystal clear ocean
Francois Peron National Park – Skipjack Point

Day 5: Monkey Mia and Surrounds

Today was an early start to Monkey Mia Reserve for an encounter with wild dolphins. You can read more about it and my tips on seeing them in this post about things to do in Monkey Mia.

Afterwards, it was breakfast at the Boughshed in the RAC Monkey Mia Resort.

For the adventurous, we loved the rest of the day exploring Francois Peron National Park in our 4WD.

fishing boats moored in a harbour
Port Denison

Day 6 & 7: Denham to Perth via Port Denison

This is where you can choose to stay longer, continue north to Coral Bay or Exmouth, or return to Perth.

Monkey Mia to Perth is about a nine-hour drive. So, break it up with an overnight stop in Port Denison/Dongara.

Perth to Monkey Mia Map

perth to monkey mia google map

Need to Hire a Car or Campervan?

Perth to Monkey Mia Road Trip Packing List

Travelling to Shark Bay with dogs

Shark Bay is dog friendly; many beaches allow dogs on them, and they are allowed into Monkey Mia, provided they are kept on a lead. However, pets are not permitted in the National Park. Pick up a Pet Owners Beware leaflet from the Visitor Centre for information on the 1080 poison currently used to control feral animals.

Other Ways to Monkey Mia

Regional Express (Rex) operates flights from Perth to Monkey Mia, taking 2 hours.

Integrity Coach Lines have services that run from Perth to Broome. The bus stops at the Overlander Roadhouse, opposite the Shark Bay turn-off. However, you must pre-book a shuttle bus to Denham or Monkey Mia as there’s no other transport.

a long straight road inbetween bushland with no one around
Shark Bay Road

Is Monkey Mia Worth Visiting: My Thoughts

Would I make this journey if I was short on time? Probably not. It’s a 9-hour drive from Perth to Monkey Mia. As part of a road trip to Ningaloo Reef? We did, but it’s a 90-minute (one way) detour from the main road.

If you don’t have a 4WD, try a Mandurah dolphin cruise instead or swim with the dolphins in Bunbury. I preferred exploring Francois National Park and our wildlife cruise over the Monkey Mia dolphin experience.

Have you been to Monkey Mia? Was it worth it? Drop me a comment – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Safe travels,

Helpful Resources