Australia’s Coral Coast begins just two hour’s drive north of Perth at the coastal town of Cervantes, and stretches more than 1000km north along pristine coastline, all the way up to Exmouth.
While for many it is a place that stirs memories of childhood holidays in the sun or a regular fixture on the family getaway calendar, the region is undergoing a period of growing recognition.
“In recent times, the allure of holidaying overseas has been helped along by low-cost airfares coupled with a strong Australian dollar,” says LandCorp general manager Stuart Nahajski. “But there are signs that the pendulum is swinging, especially amongst Generation X and some Gen Ys who now have families of their own, and who are looking to rekindle the family beach-house tradition.”
With the property and rental values in our southwest pricing many out of the market, things are looking up on the north coast, as Perth locals snap up property and slip into holiday mode on the Coral Coast.
David O’Malley, Australia’s Coral Coast CEO, says for anyone looking for a break from the city and the more developed and crowded areas down south, then the very accessible southern section of Australia’s Coral Coast is the perfect getaway.
“No crowds, no traffic jams, just a relaxing laid-back escape – and all within reach of the city,” he says. “It is simply this: the towns of the Indian Ocean Drive offer the truly relaxing holiday of a bygone era.
“You can indulge in a variety of marine-based activities such as fishing, swimming, snorkelling, diving, windsurfing and water-skiing in a pristine, child-friendly and carefree environment,” says David. “These uncrowded and unspoilt towns are well known to people from the inland Wheatbelt areas, many of whom for years have owned holiday houses in these towns, and are regular visitors.”
“My clients say it’s unlike the large, built-out areas down south where it has become an extension of suburbia,” says Ian Kelly, principal/director at Professionals Jurien Bayview Realty. Ian has been managing holiday homes in Jurien Bay, Green Head and Leeman for 17 years, and has noted a rise in interest.
Most buyers are from Perth and range from young couples, to families and retirees. Couples are often employed in the mining or gas industries, or work overseas and use the properties as holiday homes.
The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park.
Ian says that most visitors immediately pick up on the region’s clean, secure and
family-friendly vibe. “People say that it feels like a small country town, with open spaces and few people.”
The Coral Coast is, simply put, the road less travelled. The region’s calling cards
are its beautiful, unspoilt and uncrowded marine parks and national parks. With a warm climate all year round, it lends itself to a range of water sports, and while the Coral Coast sings a siren song for boating and fishing enthusiasts, who come for the catch and the crayfish, a broader market will find the region’s qualities equally endearing. Nature-lovers, retirees and camper-vanners fall hard for the vibrant wildflowers and the chance to witness the humpback whales on their annual migration between July and October.
The region also boasts some of the state’s most spectacular natural attractions, from the Ningaloo Marine Park to the unique limestone spires of the Pinnacles Desert, the majestic gorges of the Kalbarri National Park to the Shark Bay World Heritage Area (home to the famous Monkey Mia dolphins). The Hamelin Pool stromatolites are the oldest living organisms on the planet and, at Shell Beach, cockle shells crowd 120km of coast, reaching up to 10m deep.
Whether you drive or fly (regular flights depart Perth for Geraldton, Kalbarri, Monkey Mia, Carnarvon and Exmouth), the Coral Coast is proving destinations within our own state lines are hot property. The face of the region is now blossoming in the wake of this interest, with property developments and upgrades planned and underway along the entire coast. Marina developments are in the works for Jurien Bay, Geraldton and Exmouth.
The Turquoise Coast, which forms part of the Coral Coast, includes the towns from Lancelin/Ledge Point to Port Denison/Dongara. LandCorp has approximately 100 single residential lots available along this stretch through to Kalbarri and, thanks to low interest rates, the north coast’s prime seaside land can be found at attractive prices.
Dynamite Bay, Green Head (photography Tourism WA).
“We have great-value lots in regional seaside towns, making the beach house an affordable long-term proposition for those keen to take advantage of WA’s beautiful coastline and create great family memories,” Stuart says.
“We have been working with regional builders to provide home designs well suited to our regional and seaside estates, as well as the holiday lifestyle.”
Perth builders are clued in to this migration and have models specifically pitched at the developments in Cervantes, Green Head, Leeman and Kalbarri. The coastally minded designs utilise contemporary materials for a quick construction period and can be tailored to suit individual requirements – from pre-designed lock-and-leave models to transportable homes sent up from Perth.
Dale Putland, the general manager of TR Homes, has worked in the transportable/ modular home-building industry in WA for more than 20 years. He says TR Homes
has seen a growing number of requests from a broad cross-section of the market, from first home-buyers and families, to investors looking for dual-key design options (homes designed with separate entrances, creating two homes in one). Given this, he says the scope is broad for the style and composition of homes in the region.
Kalbarri National Park.
“We’re seeing anything from three- to five- bedroom holiday homes, one- to two-bedroom granny flats, and dual-key, investment-style homes,” Dale says. “People are most interested in homes with large open-plan living areas and outdoor entertaining areas, too.”
Dual-key designs, such as TR Homes’ ‘3G’ model, mean both units can be leased to maximise rental returns, or only one half, so that the other can be kept for personal use.
Perhaps the days of mammoth holiday mansions are behind us, and a return to more traditional values has arrived, bringing with it a reinterpretation of the beach shack for a contemporary audience. At the very least, the Coral Coast offers up the opportunity for a little nostalgia for years gone by – and it’s right on our door step – so pack the car and take the high road north. Back to the beach.
Kite-surfing in Cervantes.
Median House Price: $370,000
Cervantes is a laid-back fishing village bordered by white sandy beaches and turquoise waters teeming with marine life, making it a popular choice for fishing holidays and relaxed family getaways.
The gateway to the captivating natural wonder of the Pinnacles, it can be found 203km or two hours’ drive north of Perth up the new Indian Ocean Drive.
Cervantes itself is a thriving town, and has plenty on offer for coastal holidaymakers, permanent residents, and new businesses alike.
Often the first stop for holidaymakers on their way to Australia’s Coral Coast
from Perth, Cervantes offers a wide range of accommodation, including caravan
parks, motels, backpackers, holiday cottages and chalets.
Being so close to Perth there is a diverse range of housing being established – from traditional brick-and-tile homes through to modern, modular, fast-construction homes.
“There has also been an increase in the number of kit homes being built along the Turquoise and Coral Coasts,” says Stuart Nahajski from LandCorp.
“You would be amazed at how good they can look.”
There’s also a good choice of dining experiences – from a la carte to takeaway and fast food – and one of the perks is that everywhere in town is within
Cervantes suits those who have a penchant for wildflowers, four-wheel driving, fishing, jetty strolls in rock lobster season (November-June) and exploring off-shore reefs and islands to meet the friendly sea lions.
Leeman Jetty (photographyTourism WA).
Median House Price: $310,000
Leeman is a charming fishing village situated about 260km north of Perth. “Being just 35 minutes from Jurien Bay – a WA SuperTown – and about an hour-and-a-half from Geraldton, Leeman is a great choice for both family holidays as well as anyone looking to put down roots to become a permanent part of this friendly community,” says Stuart Nahajski.
It boasts turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and offshore islands harbouring a great diversity of marine life. This small, friendly town has excellent attractions, including sea lions and whales (in season), dive charters, and an array of water activities including fishing, swimming, surfing and windsurfing. Many amateur fishermen head there to seek out the prize dhufish and bald chin groper.
“With a new boat-launching facility recently constructed, this township is a haven for boating and fishing enthusiasts,” he says. “Our residential lots here are exceptionally located, virtually a stone’s throw to the beach, so for anyone looking for the ideal beach-house location, Leeman could be it.”
Four-wheel driving to the Stockyard Gully Reserve will take you to a fascinating, ancient below-ground river system of the Stockyard Gully Caves. As one of the most wildflower-rich areas in Western Australia, the roads between the Brand Highway and Indian Ocean Drive provide excellent spots for viewing.
Sandy Point (photography Toursim WA).
Median House Price: $360,000
Green Head is a small, friendly coastal town 258km north of Perth along the new Indian Ocean Drive. Its pristine beaches and chilled-out lifestyle provide a holiday atmosphere and it’s also the home of a thriving WA rock lobster industry. Most captivatingly, it’s a place where you can pop down to the jetty to fish for your lunch.
“The townspeople take great pride in the laid-back and relaxed atmosphere of this small town,” says Stuart. “Green Head is becoming very popular amongst retirees, and you can often see grandparents building sandcastles on the beach with their grandchildren or exploring the landscaped surrounds of the local art gallery.”
For those who love water sports, it is situated on a headland with bays that offer up white sandy beaches for a swim and snorkel, and islands and reefs that are perfect for fishing and scuba diving. The warm Leeuwin current sweeps in from the north, bringing with it an abundance of tropical sea life, with temperate species and hard and soft corals, sponges, seagrass meadows and marine life.
Surfers can enjoy a good reef break at Point Louise and, when the breeze comes in, excellent windsurfing conditions at Point Louise and Little Anchorage Bay. Picnics among stunning flora and fauna in the Alexander Morrison National Park are a wonderful way to catch some rays. During the cooler months, bushwalking is a popular pastime.
The Kalbarri estuary.
Median House Price: $348,500
Kalbarri’s population of 1500 swells to about 8000 at Christmas and through the Easter holidays. Even Perthites who have never visited the town 590km from the city are aware of its reputation as a hugely popular and beautiful destination for holidaymakers of all ages.
But the town is also home to a family-friendly community for fly-in fly-out workers and those who drive in/drive out to mining operations in the Midwest. With a range of services and facilities close to hand, excellent amenity, and proximity to Geraldton (a major port and transport centre servicing industry in the Midwest, including mining), it’s an astute choice for those seeking a sea-change.
“These people are living the dream of a coastal lifestyle, away from the pressures of the city, but still able to work from their home office while their children attend the local primary or high school,” says LandCorp’s Stuart Nahajski.
Seven hours to drive from Perth, or a one-and-a-half-hour flight from Skippers Terminal near the domestic airport, the favourite holiday playground is perched where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean. This sees it blessed with a stunning coastline, soaring river gorges, and protected swimming bays with year-round warm weather.
For those who love being active in the outdoors, there is river cruising, hiking, abseiling, horseriding, sandboarding, skydiving, quad biking and canoeing.
Walks in the Kalbarri National Park, wildflower spotting, pelican feeding at 8.45am daily, sunset cruises, private charters and charters for dolphin- and whale-spotting, not to mention some of the best fishing in Australia, will have nature-lovers smitten.
For the kids, there’s mini-golf, trampolines and The Spider – an 11m-high tower – Kalbarri Skate Park and a world-renowned parrot habitat, all of which are guaranteed to keep engagement high.
PLANNING A TRIP?
If a visit to the spectacular Coral Coast is on your agenda, check out scoop.com.au/Coralcoast