If you’re anything like us, you’ve been along for the ride with @jade_elise_collins and @jake.applebee as they travelled around Aus in their troopy over the past year. They’re staying put in their home town of Adelaide for a bit at the moment and they took some time out to share their top three destinations with us (Exmouth, Esperence and Uluru) along with some very useful tips for first timers to these destinations. Definitely a #cocobellamoment or two was had by these guys!!
Before starting our trip, Exmouth was on the top of our list of places to go. From what we had heard, it was like visiting the Great Barrier Reef but having it only a few metres off the beach, making it very easily accessible. Jake and I love marine life and being out on the water, so we were very excited to see what Exmouth had to offer.
We didn’t realise how small Exmouth actually was! Which was a very nice surprise because we love being away from large populations. Exmouth Actually exceeded our expectations! We were there at the very end of peak season, so we missed out on the whale sharks, but instead experienced low crowds and turtle laying season. We actually ended up staying for 8 weeks! After being there for a month we accidentally bought ourselves a tinny, and spent the next few weeks spearfishing, surfing, and diving with turtles, dolphins, sharks, and thousands of colourful fish.
Tips for first timers
- You may find that it’s an expensive little town because food, fuel, and activities are pricier due to the town being in the middle of nowhere.
- The National Park is also 45 minutes out of town, so plan on camping there for a week or so to avoid driving back and forth.
- Ningaloo Reef is located in the National Park, so that’s where most of the amazing snorkelling and beaches are.
- Also, book your camp sites 3-6 weeks in advance because they book out fast (seriously we never actually pre-book, but we did for Cape Range)!!
- Whaleshark/ Humpback whale season is during the winter months, turtle laying is from November- February, and Turtle Laying from January- March approximately.
- Another important note is that there is no free camping in Exmouth. This is a big downside for us because we wanted to stay there for a couple of months and had to pay for caravan parks for a few
- It’s a great spot to make some new friends: We met some amazing people in Exmouth, a lot we still keep in touch with today. On our first day in Exmouth we met Jordy, who we ended catching up again with months later on Rottnest Island. Along with Nato, Brodie, and Emma who we did plenty of adventures and boat trips with. We also met a group of fellow South Australians who we ended up living with for a couple of weeks!
The most amazing photos you see of Western Australian beaches are taken in Esperance! Along with the bucket list experience of getting a photo with the kangaroos on the beach. We were so excited to spend our days exploring all the 10/10 white sand beaches and camping next to crystal clear water.
Esperance was another place that didn’t disappoint. The beaches were better than we imagined and its definitely somewhere every Australian needs to visit one day. Also, we didn’t realise that Esperance is actually 40 minutes away from Cape Le Grande, so when you see photos of ‘Esperance’ most of the time it’s actually in Cape Le Grande. The beaches close/ in Esperance are also 10/10 though.
Tips for first timers
- Cape Le Grande National Park is another place that you MUST book in advance. Book your camp site at least 2 weeks beforehand otherwise you will have nowhere to stay and will need to drive back and forth from Esperance each day.
- There is no free camping allowed in Esperance or Cape Le Grande.
- We made this mistake but ended up staying at Duke of Orleans Caravan Park, right near Wharton Beach which is a MUST VISIT. In my opinion I would base myself at Lucky Bay campground (beach with the kangaroos) for 7 or so days while exploring Cape Le Grande. Then another 5 in Esperance to explore the towns beaches.
We were so excited to visit Uluru, as I feel like photos wouldn’t be able to do the place justice. Uluru definitely blew us away. The rock was definitely bigger than we imagined, and it’s hard to describe the way we felt driving up to the base as it towered over us. The most magical morning was watching the sunrise reflect fluro red off of the walls of Uluru.
Tips for first timers
- Expect to spend a little more money here compared to other places in Australia. Fuel is expensive and you can’t really avoid paying $2 a litre for a full tank at least once while you’re here.
- Also, the National Park entrance fee is a lot more expensive than other national parks.
- You can’t actually camp near Uluru, only in Yulara located 25 minutes away.
- Yulara is where all the caravan parks, accommodation, food shops, tourism and gift stores are located. Uluru is VERY busy, full of thousands of tourists each day.
- Make sure you get to the sunset viewing carpark an hour or two before sunset, as it will fill up very fast (but worth watching the sunset there). Expect a couple hundred people at the sunrise viewing area also.
- To walk around the base of Uluru is around 10km, so start your walk very early in the morning. We hired bikes instead but they are $50 each. It’s also important to know that the best time to visit is in the dry season, between May and September.
Watching our first sunset there was absolutely breathtaking. As the sun lowers, the rock turns bright red and it’s probably the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. We also watched the sunrise on the side of the road with no one around, and that was very special. We had so much fun riding around Uluru on our bikes, and I think the $100 was definitely worth it.