Sea lions, sunsets and sandy beaches: 5 must-visit stops along the Indian Ocean Drive

Indian Ocean Drive Sandy Cape
Home >Explore >Sea lions, sunsets and sandy beaches: 5 must-visit stops along the Indian Ocean Drive

If you’re looking for somewhere new to explore during the upcoming school holidays, you’ll find a wealth of awesome spots to keep the whole family entertained only a few hours’ north of Perth…

Starting your journey on Wanneroo Road, at the end of the new Mitchell Freeway extension, the Indian Ocean Drive offers spectacular views as it winds through the towns of Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Green Head, Leeman, and Dongara-Port Denison.

Indian Ocean Drive sea lion tours

Whether it’s a day trip you’re after or something more substantial, here’s a quick-and-easy guide to visiting them all:


Distance from Perth: 195k (approx. 2 hours’ drive)

Cervantes is a small crayfishing town two hours’ north of Perth known for its white sandy beaches that are overflowing with marine life and stunning natural beauty. Home to the 30,000-year-old Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park, these imposing natural wonders can reach up to 3.5m – an enormously incredible site to behold.

Indian Ocean Drive The Pinnacles

Local highlights include the Lobster Shack, a beachfront restaurant serving fresh Western Rock Lobster – make sure to take a “behind the scenes” tour of The Lobster Shack’s famous production facility. Elsewhere you can stop by the Thirsty Point Lookout for fantastic views, or enjoy the waters by renting a stand up paddle board.

Lobster Shack on the Indian Ocean Drive

Jurien Bay

Distance from Perth: 218km (approx. 2.5 hours’ drive)

If you follow the coast north another 25 minutes you’ll find yourself at the popular family spot of Jurien Bay. Offering a wealth of activities for the whole family and a rather delicious bakery, this is the perfect haven if you’re looking to relax and enjoy a few peaceful days in the sun.

Indian Ocean Drive skydiving

To enjoy panoramic views of this stunning town, take it in from above and jump from the sky on an adrenaline pumping tandem skydive. Explore the tranquil sea with an interactive sea lion tour that allows you to get up close and personal with Australia’s wonderful sea puppies. Explore the land by hiring a bike and following the 12.5km Turquoise Way Trail, which stretches along the coast from Jurien Bay Marina to the Hill River Mouth, or visiting the biodiverse Lesueur National Park.

Indian Ocean Drive Lesueur National Park

Relax and enjoy SUPing, swimming, snorkeling and sandboarding at this awesome destination. If you’re keen to stay the night, Sandy Cape Recreation area (camping only) is the place to do it, with barbecue facilities, picnic areas, walkways and beautiful beaches to explore. Not a camper? There’s also a few different accommodation options to choose from in town including Jurien Bay Tourist Park and Jurien Bay Motel Apartments.

Green Head

Distance from Perth: 218km (approx. 2.75 hours’ drive)

A further 20 minutes north of Jurien Bay is the laid-back coastal town of Green Head, which offers a range of secluded bays delivering the perfect conditions. Popular for its pristine beaches, this spot is home to the tourist hotspot Dynamite Bay, a nearly circular low wave bay which consistently rates as one of the best Australian beaches.

Green Head on the Indian Ocean Drive

The Three Bays Walkway is a 2.8km walk along the stunning coast from Anchorage Bay through to South Bay that will leave you breathless with awe. Connected by a series of paths and coastal tracks, you’ll fall in love with the area’s natural beauty as you stop along the numerous lookouts to truly soak up the views.

Located between Green Head and Leeman is Milligan Island, a ‘nature-based’ eco camping site that is the perfect spot to settle for those traveling with an RV or a self-contained camping setup.

Indian Ocean Drive Milligan Island


Distance from Perth: 262km (approx. 3 hours’ drive)

Just 10 minutes up from Green Head you’ll find lovely Leeman, a picturesque fishing village extending along tranquil turquoise waters. What was once a secluded town is now a tourist hotspot, having gathered popularity due to its quiet, peaceful atmosphere (so make sure to slide into the laid back coastal lifestyle upon arrival!).

The Stockyard Gully National Park (4WD accessible only) is located 20kms inland and offers the chance to explore the ancient below-ground river system of the Stockyard Gully caves – an experience you won’t forget (just don’t forget your torch). Enjoy white sandy beaches and offshore islands as the whole family basks in the serenity while enjoying the unbeatable snorkeling, fishing, windsurfing and boating spots.

Jurien Bay Snorkelling Indian Ocean Drive

Dongara-Port Denison

Distance from Perth: 355km (approx. 3.5 hours’ drive)

Subscribe to our free newsletter!

A 3.5 hour drive from Perth are the charming twin towns of Dongara-Port Denison which are divided by the Irwin River, a spectacular landmark of the area. Characterised by some impressive historic buildings and local flora, there’s something for everyone at this great spot.

Home to beautiful beaches and a whole lot of history, there’s endless things to see and do, including following the Dongara Heritage Trail which covers 4.6km of trail through the town. You can also visit one of WA’s oldest drive-in cinemas, taste world class rum and gin or jump on a New Leaf Connect tour, offering off the beaten path experiences for visitors seeking meaningful connections with the people, places and produce of the magnificent Midwest region of WA.

Dongara-Port Dension Indian Ocean Drive

Head to the Australia’s Coral Coast website for more Indian Ocean Drive road trip inspiration.

This article is sponsored by Australa’s Coral Coast and endorsed by us. Please see our Editorial Policy for more info.