Independent hop on/hop off travels within Western Australia is made a whole lot easier with Integrity Coach Lines.
I had the urge to chase the sun. I mean, I was facing a Perth winter ahead of me, could you blame me for not wanting to wear a coat and walking around like some kind of human woolly mammoth?
Thankfully, WA is big enough to have a winter-summer, where we can get our Vitamin D fix in places like Exmouth or Broome, or pretty much anywhere near the Tropic of Capricorn and beyond.
But how to get up north was another thing. Driving solo up the coast would be astronomical in fuel costs. It also didn’t help that my tired 16-year-old black Volkswagen polo wouldn’t be suited to cover long distances with the absence of a staple item you just couldn’t live without in WA – a decent air conditioner. Phew, travelling those long distances would’ve been a swelter! I also considered flying then hiring a car to undergo my solo WA escapade, but my planned trip would be at least three weeks long travelling a combined whooping 4000km!
I decided to save the hassle, save emissions and opt to take a hop on/hop off with independent bus company, Integrity Coach Lines.
How to Hop On/Hop Off bus travel in WA
Integrity Coach Lines offers affordable hop on/hop off bus services from Perth to Broome and almost all in between along the Coral Coast and North West. It suits those independent travellers who don’t want to join a tour and want the freedom and flexibility to travel. It also gives a sense of ease knowing how you will get to point A to B rather than spend countless hours googling how you are going to get to your next destination and becoming exhausted by the unfun side of travel: banal research.
Using a hop on/hop off bus service felt very familiar to me. I travelled via bus for most of my extensive trips around in Europe, South East Asia and South America due to its affordability, accessibility and extra sense of adventure.
Integrity Coach Lines offers three passes to choose from, ranging from 1500km ($265), 3000km ($395) and 6000km ($750) with the latter two passes offering a 12-month validity for usage. The passes carry a one-year validity so the whole decision-making process can be simplified with cherry-picking your top destinations rather than stuffing your itinerary like you would with a Christmas turkey.
How I planned my trip
Integrity’s network spans across 21 destinations with Broome its northernmost point. With looking at the map of WA and where Integrity Coach Lines operated, it soon became dangerous: my travel ambitions went up, and notch and my itinerary just grew and grew. Could you blame me with all the travel temptation?
I had the “while I’m here” attitude: If I could survive getting to Exmouth, maybe I could make it all the way to Broome. Suddenly my goal post shifted from reaching Exmouth to go the distance to Broome. Now with my end goal being Broome, I was also tempted with other destinations Integrity visits – Karijini, Carnarvon, Cervantes, Kalbarri, Jurien Bay, Monkey Mia, and Coral Bay to name a few.
WA is big, and the decision to go where is even greater. I am not the one to cram in multiple destinations in such record time to barely enjoy the place, so I happily settled on venturing to Coral Bay, Exmouth and Broome with an overnight stop in Carnarvon to break up the journey back to the big smoke.
Luckily, if my travel ambitions shifted, and I did need to change the trip, I could have the flexibility to do so at no charge online or by calling reservations.
How to make the bus journey that extra luxe
I won’t lie, bus travel is not at all glamorous, but it’s not basic either. Each reclining seat has its own light and USB port so you can charge your phone while on the go. Concerned about needing to go to the toilet? Flush down your worries as the bus has one onboard.
The thought of bus travel in WA may deter some people off for being too long or potentially, too uncomfortable. Rest assured, as long as you bring along your best bus friends – a comfy travel pillow, lightweight blanket, eye mask and earplugs; you’ll be in a good position to relax.
Feeling peckish? Just make sure you bring food (cold) and enough water to forego the hunger pains en route. Simple.
It was 6:45pm Thursday when I made it to the tourist bus stop on Wellington Street, corner of the Horseshoe Bridge and just outside the Perth Train Station. Bus check-in was a breeze. Arrive half an hour before departure, have your name crossed off the list, your luggage tagged, and your seat allocated. How good it was to find out I would have an empty seat next to me for the 12-plus hour overnight journey ahead and for all the other bus rides that lay ahead. Life was going to be spacious.
Now the big thing – toilets. I must admit, going to the toilet while travelling en route is not my idea of a fun time. Thankfully, there are stops along the way – service stations and towns – to make a comfortable toilet visit and pitstop to purchase snacks if you didn’t pack them already!
Those stops could sometimes be up to an hour; a decent time to stretch your legs and see a snippet of town. Hello Carnarvon, hello Gascoyne Bakery and hello freshly cooked morning pie at 8am! I was stoked that I had basically slept almost all the way to my first holiday stop, Coral Bay, reaching the snorkeler’s paradise shortly after 10am.
The longest journey
The longest leg of my trip was from Broome to Carnarvon: a whopping 21.5 hours! Was I bored? Hell no! I survived it and loved my me time of just letting be.
I entertained myself with working on my laptop, listening to music or watching previously downloaded Netflix shows on my phone. I also made sure to be aware of where I was in the world, admiring the vastness of WA and its changing sceneries.
I caught sight of the sunset a few times while travelling, and it was simply magical to see the landscapes change colour with the sun. In those moments, I embraced the solitude of travelling.
Would I do it again?
I usually prefer to do my travels solo and travelling with a hop on/hop off bus service around WA allowed me to do just that without worry. It’s a convenient way to get around the state, permitting you have time for slow travel, and I wouldn’t hesitate to sleep overnight on a bus to wake up in Coral Bay again. Now that’s was a way to kick start a holiday!
Feature image: Integrity Coach Lines
See more: Western Australia travel
Julia was a guest of Integrity Coach Lines and all thoughts and opinions are that of her own.