Gascoyne Junction Astrotourism Epic Road Trip Perth to Coral Bay Exmouth Kennedy Range Mt Augustus

Astroutourism WA Logo Gascoyne Junction Upper Gascoyne Dark Sky Destination

Breathtaking outback and coastal adventures await in the amazing Gascoyne region. The stars sparkle overhead, and the spectacular landscape will take you to another world. There is lots on offer for visitors – from gourmet produce and fun in Carnarvon, to outback 4WD adventures around Gascoyne Junction and maritime history experiences like no other in Shark Bay’s World Heritage wonderland.

Total Solar Eclipse 2023

When you’re in Western Australia for the Total Solar Eclipse on 20 April, make sure to extend your visit and take in the coast and outback of the incredibly rich Gascoyne region. Adventure awaits in Gascoyne Junction and there’s plenty of fun by the ocean in Carnarvon, Denham and Coral Bay.

If you’re travelling after the eclipse from Exmouth, a great place to start is Carnarvon which 365kms south. Then travel through to Gascoyne Junction, Mount Augustus and the Kennedy Ranges before heading back to the Shark Bay coastline.

If you’re travelling up from Perth before the eclipse, begin your adventures in Shark Bay, a little more than 800kms from Perth and is a terrific two day road trip. Then head over to Gascoyne Junction, Mount Augustus and the Kennedy Ranges, before turning up to Carnarvon and Coral Bay on the way to witness the eclipse.

The itinerary below suggests a wonderful road trip adventure on the way to the eclipse, but it can easily be turned around and experienced while returning to Perth.

Days 1 – 5: Perth to Denham (830kms)

Fly into Shark Bay Airport to pick up a hire car or take a two-day drive from Perth along the coast of WA. Spend three nights in the Shark Bay area. Denham is relaxed and you’ll find a rich history of maritime navigation by the stars that goes back hundreds of years. The many nature experiences on offer are incredible, from a day trip to Dirk Hartog Island, the dolphins at Monkey Mia, and exploring the UNESCO Shark Bay World Heritage Area. The Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery & Visitor Centre Museum provides an insight into the history of the region and free 3D film HMAS Sydney II ‘Fire on the Water’.

Grab your camera for night-time photography at Eagle Bluff near Denham. If you’re staying at Hamelin Outback Station Stay, you’ll find some great landscape options for astrophotography. Have you packed a telescope? Drop in to the Little Lagoon for a sunset picnic before a night of stargazing.

Overnight: Denham, Monkey Mia, Dirk Hartog Island and/or Hamelin

Day 6: Gascoyne Junction (490 kilometres/5 hours)

Explore the outback night sky where the colours will dazzle you with their brilliance. Start with a refreshing stop overnight at Gascoyne Junction. This will get you into the feel good vibe of the red earth. A short stroll from your room, there’s a plane flying low and is a fun setting for some astrophotography. Or choose the short drive for an evening at The Waterhole where the stars are brilliant above.

Overnight: Gascoyne Junction Pub and Tourist Park

Two Rivers Memorial Park Gascoyne Junction Astrophotography Astrotourism Starry Coast to Outback Night Sky Dark Sky Destination

This historic Cessna aircraft in the heart of Gascoyne Junction really can look like it’s flying through the Milky Way!

Days 7 – 10: Burringurrah/Mount Augustus (300 kilometres/4.5 hours) or Mundatharrda/Kennedy Range National Park (60 kilometres/1 hour) from Gascoyne Junction

The choice is yours! If you’re not in camping mode, head to Burringurrah or Mount Augustus. There’s great accommodation and you can easily spend a few days exploring the area during the day and at night. Take a picnic to Yallowerie Lookout. If there’s a small Moon in the sky, you’ll have fun capturing the beauty of the world’s largest monocline under the Milky Way with a camera.

If you are set up for camping, Mundatharrda or the Kennedy Range National Park is a paradise for photography during the day or at night. You’ll be lost amongst so many stars at Temple Gorge.

Overnight: Mount Augustus Tourist Park or camping in Kennedy Ranges with a last night at Gascoyne Junction before travelling to Carnarvon.

Nicholas Cullen Photography Burringurrah Mt Augsutus Night Sky Astrotourism Astrophotography Gascoyne Junction Upper Gascoyne

Image: Nicholas Cullen Photography 

Days 11 – 14: Gascoyne Junction to Carnarvon (175 kilometres/2 hours)

You’ll need a few nights in Carnarvon to soak up the atmosphere. Discover space history at the Carnarvon Space and Technology Museum, the Aboriginal night sky at Gwoonwardu Mia Gascoyne Aboriginal Heritage and Cultural Centre and try your hand at some astrophotography at the stunning Quobba Lighthouse. Gourmet food, culture and heritage await you in this vibrant town.

Overnight: There’s a variety of places to stay. The Carnarvon Visitor Centre will help you out with accommodation in town.

Days 15 – 17: Carnarvon to Coral Bay (240 kilometres/2.5 hours)

Head north to the beauty of Coral Bay coastline. Spend a couple of nights so you can also experience Cardabaia Station and a tour with Baiyungu Dreaming. The stars are mesmerising and will capture your imagination for a lasting memory of your time in the Gascoyne region.

Overnight: Coral Bay

Driving from Perth? Explore some other wonderful dark sky destinations along the way. Another itinerary to travel on the way to the Gascoyne is Wildflower, Wild Stars. If you have time after exploring the Gascoyne, continue your road trip north on the Star Way.

Driving times and distances are intended as a guide only and may vary depending on exact route taken. Accommodation options are indicative as to what is available in the area.