Whether you're into good food and wine, chilling out along the coast, or visiting lush national parks, South West WA has it all in spades.
|When to visit||All year round but July - October (whale watching) and August - November (wildflowers)|
|Itinerary||Perth - Kojonup - Mount Barker - Albany - Denmark - Walpole - Pemberton - Bridgetown - Nannup - Margaret River - Augusta - Busselton - Donnybrook - Perth
|Tips for travel
||Avoid driving for longer than 10 hours a day and make sure you take plenty of breaks on each leg of the trip. Stay safe on your road trip.|
|Highlights||Stirling Ranges - Porongurups - National Anzac Centre - the Gap and Natural Bridge - Greens Pool - Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk - Beedelup Falls - Margaret River wineries - Lake Cave - Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse - Busselton Jetty - Apple Fun Park - Gnomesville|
Perth to Kojonup (259km)
Take the scenic route on Albany Highway through the Jarrahdale State Forest and pass through Williams and Arthur River before you get to Kojonup, about three hours’ drive. When you get there, check out the indigenous cultural centre of Kodja Place and the Rose Maze, which follows the story of three women with Noongar, English and Italian experiences.
Kojonup to Mount Barker (104km)
You can either spend the night in Kojonup or keep going on Albany Highway to Mount Barker, the gateway to the Great Southern. Spend a day sampling wine and food from one of many wineries in the region, check out the Stirling Range, or see the Porongurups. This scenic mountain range is just a half-hour drive.
Take the Granite Skywalk, a suspended walkway that spirals Castle Rock, for a bird’s eye view of the landscape.
Mount Barker to Albany (52km)
This short drive via Albany Highway will take you to the regional centre of Albany, set on the scenic WA coast. The National Anzac Centre should be your first stop when you arrive. The museum takes you on a virtual journey to follow in the footsteps of the Anzacs who fought in World War I.
Take a relaxing walk along Middleton Beach before following the Frenchman Road around to the Gap and Natural Bridge, where you can see the thrashing water below through the skywalk platform. You might even see some whales – they migrate from June to October.
Spend a couple of days in Albany to see all there is to offer in the region.
Albany to Denmark (56km)
It’s now time to head further into wine country. Denmark in the Great Southern is well known for its beautiful coastlines, lush forests, and award-winning wineries and restaurants. When you get to Denmark along South Coast Highway, take Scotsdale Road to visit family-owned wineries like Singlefile and Rickety Gate – maybe even stop in for lunch.
Denmark to Pemberton via Walpole (200km)
Take South Coast Highway and stop at Walpole, where you’ll complete the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. The walk will take you 40 metres into the air where you can see the 400-year-old red tingle trees up close.
If you’re feeling courageous, head to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree lookout near Pemberton. At 75m high, it’s the tallest lookout with a 360-degree view of the karri forest. Take a picnic to Big Brook Dam and enjoy the scenery to relax after a heart-pounding afternoon.
Pemberton to Bridgetown (68km)
Get up early and make the 30 minute drive on Vasse Highway to Beedelup National Park to see the beautiful Beedelup Falls, which are fully flowing in winter and early spring. Head back through Pemberton to continue your journey via the South Western Highway to Bridgetown, a quaint town that sits alongside the Blackwood River.
It's only the eighth place in WA to be listed by the National Trust as a Heritage Town, so stroll along the historic main street for boutique shops, dining, and the famous Bridgetown Bakery. Enjoy the walking trails in the area, try your hand at kayaking along the river, or visit the quirky Brierley Jigsaw Gallery – the only collection of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Bridgetown to Nannup (47km)
Take the windy and scenic route to Nannup along the Brockman Highway, with rolling green hills as your driving backdrop. Relax on the riverbank with a picnic or kayak down the river.
Wander down the main street for a coffee, follow the Heritage Trail through town, see wildflowers (from October), and visit the peaceful Barrabup Pool.
Nannup to Margaret River (71km)
Head west through the Blackwood State Forest via Mowen Road to Margaret River, WA’s home of wine and big surf. Foodies unite in this region, with award-winning restaurants, wine, and produce almost everywhere you look. Start your stay with a wander down the main street to choose where to eat for dinner – there are lots of options.
Spend the day exploring caves like Lake Cave and Mammoth Cave before heading to the coast for a swim. Indulge in the local wineries, breweries, restaurants, chocolatiers, and providores in the area – just remember, don’t drink and drive.
Margaret River to Augusta (40km)
Take Caves Road to stop in at Hamelin Bay, a scenic place to catch some fresh air and a glimpse at the wild sting rays that come in close to shore. Stop at the Jewel Cave further down the road to explore the underground world before continuing your drive to Augusta.
Watch for whales at Flinders Bay from June to August, as it’s the first stopping point for many whales on their long journeys. The Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse stands tall for passing ships and marks Australia’s most south-westerly point.
Augusta to Busselton (92km)
On the way back up to Busselton, take Caves Road and stop at Cowaramup to see how many cows you can count – not real cows, but life-sized fibreglass cow and calf statues that have taken over the town. Once you get to Busselton, head to the waterfront precinct and then take the long 1.8km walk along Busselton's famous jetty - the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere.
You can also take the train to the end and visit the underwater observatory for a glimpse at Geographe Bay's underwater world, where the jetty's piles have created Australia's largest artificial reef. Check out the ArtGeo Cultural Complex for some art and heritage. The busy town centre is brimming with places to eat and shop.
Busselton to Donnybrook (61km)
Start heading back to Perth on Bussell Highway then turn right to follow Goodwood Road to Donnybrook, the apple capital of WA. Here you can go fruit picking at Spring Valley Orchard, swim in Glen Mervyn Dam, check out the vintage and second-hand book shops, or take the kids to the Apple Fun Park which is Australia’s largest free-entry playground.
For something a little quirky, take a 20-minute drive to Gnomesville in the Ferguson Valley – a collection of 7000 gnomes with a mysterious beginning.
Donnybrook to Perth (200km)
Your South West adventure is nearly at an end. The approximately two-hour drive back to Perth via Forrest Highway will take you past hubs like Bunbury, Mandurah and Rockingham so there are plenty of places to stop, grab something to eat, and stretch your legs.
Share your favourite road trip photos with us on Instagram using @racwa. And if you need music for your travels, download our For the Drive playlist from Spotify so you can just hit play and focus on the drive.
Last updated September 2018
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