By: Tatum Stafford
The quiet town of Gracetown is renowned for its world-class waves, quaint beach shacks and epic fishing and swimming spots.
The drive from Perth to Gracetown is a tranquil way to take in the beautiful South West region – and if you’re unfamiliar with the area, we’ve put together your ultimate itinerary, including a few must-visit spots along the way.
At a glance
|Distance and days||Approx 290 kilometres. We’ve split it over three days, but you could finish it in a weekend.|
|Why do it?||Lake Clifton Thrombolites – Dolphin Discovery Centre – Busselton Jetty – Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park – Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse – Ngilgi Cave – Canal Rocks|
|When to go||
Summer: Perfect weather for swimming, snorkelling and other water activities.
|Need to know||Most towns you’ll pass through have a visitor centre, a general store, and a petrol station. If you need more amenities, the bigger towns of Bunbury, Busselton and Dunsborough are good places to stop.
Phone reception and WiFi access are strong in most of these towns, but if you’re heading into national parks or remote areas of forest, you may lose phone signal.
|Vehicle access and safety||This road trip can be easily completed in a two-wheel drive, as all roads are sealed – just be careful if driving on loose gravel or rocky sections when visiting attractions. Before setting off, read our long distance driving safety tips.|
|Member benefits along the way|
Day one: Perth to Bunbury (173 kilometres)
Travelling on the Kwinana Freeway, your first stop is the coastal town of Mandurah for a walk along the boardwalk, a fresh seafood lunch and the chance to spot dolphins in the town’s pretty waterways. From there, head south to Lake Clifton within the Yalgorup National Park for a chance to view the largest thrombolite reef in the Southern Hemisphere.
For your first overnight stop, head further south to reach Bunbury. While here, don’t miss the chance to interact with wild dolphins at the Dolphin Discovery Centre, complete the 5.3-kilometre Mangrove Walk, shop for quirky goods along Victoria Street, and spot street art in and around the CBD.
Day two: Bunbury to Dunsborough (79 kilometres)
From Bunbury, travel to Busselton along Bussell Highway to spend a relaxing morning strolling along the iconic Busselton Jetty, walking through the heritage-listed ArtGeo Cultural Complex, and visiting cuddly animals at the quaint Wonky Windmill Farm and Eco Park.
From Busselton, it’s a short drive to Dunsborough. This beautiful town is on the doorstep of award-winning wineries, the spectacular Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, treats from Simmo’s, one of WA’s most beloved ice-creameries, and plenty of walking and mountain bike trails if you’re eager to get active before hitting the hay.
Day three: Dunsborough to Gracetown (39 kilometres)
Leaving Dunsborough, head up to the hamlet of Eagle Bay to visit the towering Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the region, and offers incredible views at the top of its 59-stair climb. If you're travelling with kids, the nautical-themed playground is sure to keep them busy while you bask in the views.
Next, travel along Caves Road to visit the fascinating Ngilgi Cave. After a semi-guided tour of the cave, make your way to the coastal town of Yallingup. Canal Rocks, Smith’s Beach, Point Piquet and the beautiful Quinninup Falls are worth a visit while you’re here. Or if you’d prefer to hit a hiking trail, join a section of the world-famous Cape to Cape Track that travels through Yallingup - there are a short, day hike trail options that depart from Yallingup Beach and take you further inland.
For the last leg of your trip, continue on Caves Road to arrive in Gracetown. This scenic, small surfing town is set on a hill overlooking Cowaramup Bay, and offers world-class surf breaks, popular boutique wineries, and beautiful swimming spots.
Need a place to stay along the way?
RAC members save up to 20%* on accommodation at RAC Busselton Holiday Park.
*Terms and conditions apply. Member rate varies according to season. See full website for details.
Last updated: December 2020