Road trip in Western Australia: welcome to Francois Peron National Park

by Tanja

Francois Peron National Park, on the West Coast of Australia, is one of the detours that I will never forget. We came across that brown sign saying ‘Francois Peron N.P., 2 km’ many times. We headed north a few times to visit the more popular bay of Monkey Mia, well-known for the wild dolphins swimming every morning in its shallow water, and the stunning Shell Beach, covered by billions of tiny white shells stretching for over 60 km. It wasn’t until our last road trip in the West Coast that we decided to visit the remote Francois Peron N.P.

Francois Peron National Park: a desert on the edge of the sea

4x4 Francois Peron National Park, road trip Western Australia

We had plenty of time and a huge Land Rover Discovery named Dirty Diana as our travel companion. The big four-wheel drive was the first car we bought together (a big step huh!) and the best choice ever, as we were planning to drive all the way up to Darwin, Northern Territory. Along the 4.200 km coastal road, many of the natural wonders are only accessible with a 4×4. Above all, the Francois Peron Peninsula.

4×4 Adventure in the Francois Peron National Park:
Preparing for wilderness

4x4 Francois Peron National Park, road trip Western Australia
4x4 Francois Peron National Park, road trip Western Australia

After arriving at the start of the red sanded road we had to stop by the tyre pressure station to lower the pressure of Dirty Diana’s tyres. In front of us was a 40 km long sandy track, leading us into the untouched Peron Peninsula – in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

Following the main track, we arrived at Cape Peron, where sunburned red dunes meet contrasting white sand that dips into crystal blue waters famous for the abundance of wildlife, like sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales and manta rays. We never saw so many colours together. The feeling that this scenery gave us, it’s hard to describe.

Spotting dolphins at sunset in Bottle Bay

Francois Peron National Park, road trip Western Australia
Francois Peron National Park, road trip Western Australia

(dolphin in the top left picture)

We decided to set up camp by the beach in Bottle Bay. We soon realised we were the only ones there. An entire National Park all for us! While setting up the tent we were approached by a small group of dolphins trying to get our attention, it was magical. The sun was setting on the bay and the only noise we could hear was the breeze of the Indian Ocean. We realised we were guests in this wild arid land.

Discover Francois Peron’s Big Lagoon

Francois Peron National Park, road trip Western Australia

Sunset left the place to a sky amazingly full of stars. Too beautiful to go to sleep (and such a perfect occasion to practice night shots with my, at that time new, Nikon camera). The morning after we decided to visit the Big Lagoon – one of the main features of Francois Peron National Park together with Cape Peron, Gregories and Bottle Bay. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boards are the best way to visit this amazing fish nursery. Pity we didn’t have one!

How to visit Francois Peron National Park

Francois Peron National Park, road trip 4x4 Western Australia

Visiting Francois Peron National Park requires a four-wheel drive, but driving on soft sand requires experience, vehicles can get stuck. If you don’t have a 4×4 you can book day tours with guides as well as scenic flights. Campsites inside the park are very basic but they provide toilets and gas BBQs. The peninsula is a good spot for fishing, but not everywhere is allowed. Swimming at the Cape can be dangerous as there are strong currents, be careful.

Monkey Mia Rd | Shark Bay
6537, Australia

Park entry fee: $12.00 per car per day
Park camping fee: $7.50 per adult per night


Our 2 days itinerary in the heart of the Francois Peron National Park, Australia


4x4 Francois Peron National Park


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Dorina June 5, 2017 - 8:12 pm

Wow, wonderfull park! Unbelevable!!😊😊😊

Ultimate Detours December 12, 2017 - 1:22 pm

It was such an amazing experience 🤩 We highly recommend it!

Anna February 6, 2018 - 2:26 pm

Hi, i was in Monkey Mia last week, i live in Perth so, i always go there. I think it is one of the best spot in WA. Have you visited Esperance also?

Tanja February 6, 2018 - 2:54 pm

Hi Anna, no unfortunately I had no time to visit Esperance. Did you? It looks amazing!

Lara Chiari February 6, 2018 - 8:22 pm

Places like these are the reason why I love Australia so much!!
I hope that my next trip to Australia (in may if all goes to plan) will be long enough to explore a bit of the west coast..if not I’ll have to go back for more 😉

Tanja February 8, 2018 - 9:32 am

Hi Lara, I hope you will manage to visit the West Coast. If not, it’s a good excuse to go back! Australia has so much to offer 😄

Noemi Bengala March 6, 2018 - 12:39 pm

I was in Australia last September/October with my daughter. We loved this country. But we need more time to visit other place in this amazing country. I think we have to come back 😉

Tanja March 7, 2018 - 2:46 pm

Australia is huge and to visit one of its coasts properly we recommend at least a month! But is a good excuse to go back!


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