Murchison Gorge, Kalbarri National Park
Day 2: Drive north from Geraldton, passing through Northampton on the way to Kalbarri. Off the highway, Kalbarri is coastal town located on the mouth of the Murchison River. Kalbarri is on a stark but beautiful stretch of coastline with red coastal cliffs and gorges. Inland is Kalbarri National Park where the Murchison River winds its way through colourful gorges, which can be viewed from above or from within the gorges themselves. Bushwalking, canoeing the river and fishing are popular activities here.
From July until November the park is transformed into a mosaic of colour with over 800 species of West Australian native wildflowers. Whales are often seen from the cliffs during those months. You have the rest of the day to spend exploring in and around Kalbarri. It was near the mouth of the Murchison River at Kalbarri that two mutineers, who survived the wreck of the Dutch trading ship Batavia on the Abrolhos Islands, were marooned in 1629, being the first known people of European origin to have attempted settlement on Australia's shore. What happened to them is not known.
To the north of Kalbarri are the Zuytdorp Cliffs, a 150 km long rugged, spectacular and little visited stretch of coastline where the Dutch trading ship Zuytdorp came to grief in 1712. Artefacts from the wreck have been found on the cliff tops, indicating there were survivors, but how many and what happened to them is not known. The wrecksite can be flown over on an aerial tour of the Kalbarri/Shark Bay coastline from Kalbarri. Stay the night at Kalbarri. 200 km
Day 3: Take the coastal road south back to Geraldton, departing Kalbarri via Grey Road. On the way you will past the turnoff to Port Gregory, a tiny fishing village on the coast. Also along the road are the ruins of Lynton Hiring Station.
Established in 1853 this convict hiring station employed convicts of the time to work at the local Geraldine Mine. Horrocks Beach, another coastal fishing village, is a 22km drive from Northampton. Drive south to Geraldton, taking the Geraldton Mount Magnet Road to Mullewa.
The Mid West is noted for its wildflowers, wildflowers which are at their best during the months of July to September around Mullewa. Short walking trails covering railway heritage, wildflowers, bushland and heritage buildings commence in the town centre. Tallering Peak (453 m) and Gorge are 56 km north of Mullewa. At the gorge there is an old iron ore mine tunnel through the mountain.
Coalseam is the site of State's first coal deposit discovery (1846). Mining was unprofitable, but the old open mine shafts are still there, covered for safety. Many unusual rocks can be found in the river bed and the area is also renowned for fossils. The old goldmining mining town of Yalgoo is 119 km east of Mullewa. Jokers Tunnel, 12 km south-east of Yalgoo, was carved through the rock in late 19th century by early gold prospectors.
Travel south from Mullewa to Mingenew on the Mingenew-Mullewa Road. Follow the Moora-Dongara Road south to Three Springs, a typical wheatbelt town with a population of about 500. Three Springs is the home of Western Australia's first Talc Mine (10 km east). Mica Mine Thicket in Dookanooka National Park, near Three Springs, is a large stand of natural bushland including native flora and fauna of the area. Located 18km south west of Three Springs.
Yarra Yarra Lakes and Pink Lakes are part of an intermittent salt lake system which provides unique scenery. Between August and November, the Three Springs area is ablaze with wildflowers. 324 km
Day 4: South of Three Springs is the town of Carnamah. Local attractions in the town include the Painted Roads Murals, a regional initiative, using local volunteer support. Yarra Yarra Lakes and Macpherson Homestead are a stone's throw from the townsite. Continue south on the Midlands Road to Coorow and Watheroo, a typical wheatbelt town. Watheroo National Park is a good place to view wildflowers in season. Its major attraction is Jingemia Cave.
Moora is a substantial wheatbelt service town. Berkshire Valley Folk Museum, located 19 km to the east of the town, is well worth a visit. Continue south, joining the Great Northern Highway at Walebing, on your way to New Norcia. Australia's only Monastic Town, New Norcia is an extraordinary and unusual Spanish-influenced religious settlement in the middle of the dry, vast wheatbelt. The community was established by Benedictine monks in 1847.
They named it New Norcia after Norcia in Italy, the birthplace of the founder of the Order - Saint Benedict. Continue south through Bindoon in the Chittering Valley. The Catholic Agricultural Collage at Bindoon was established in the 1930s by the Christian Brothers as a farm school for boys. After the War, Bindoon became home for many migrant boys from the United Kingdom and Malta. Migration from the UK ceased in 1957 and in 1965 from Malta.
The College in Bindoon was previously called Keaney College, however the name was changed after accusations of institutionalized cruelty to migrant and native children. Lake Chittering is a popular boating, fishing and swimming spot.
The last country town passed through before reaching the outskirts of Perth is Muchea. It had its 5 minutes of fame in the early 1960s when the Muchea Tracking Station was established about 4 m outside of town as part of NASA's Mercury project. In 1962, the first Australian to speak with a space traveller did so from the Muchea facility. The station was closed in 1964. Continue to Perth on the Great Northern Highway. 341 km