Before this visit, I didn’t really know much about Western Australia, but when I did my research, I discovered there is so much to see in the state! Based on my trip, I’ll summarise how you can have the most amazing two weeks on a road trip in Western Australia.
I visited in November, which is a great time to go as it is springtime in Australia, meaning it’s less crowded and temperatures are more bearable. I decided to visit Perth with Singapore Airlines, making a 2-day stopover in Singapore on the way back. Qantas offers direct flights, so if you're in a rush, you can fly straight through.
Perth has lots to offer, so we decided to spend a few days here at Adina Apartments by the Convention Centre. We started with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to get our bearings of the city. The route takes you to Kings Park with its fabulous botanical garden, then on to Queens Gardens to see the black swans. I also visited Cottesloe Beach, with pure white sand that stretches for more than a kilometre.
Another way to explore is to book a scenic day cruise up the Swan River to Fremantle, or perhaps visit the Swan Valley for some wine tasting.
On the outskirts of Perth, Caversham Wildlife Park offers the chance to get up close to cute native wildlife. Kids, in particular, will love this place – they can feed kangaroos and penguins, meet wombats and koalas, visit the farm, and find out more about Aussie wildlife.
If you’re interested in adding a touch of luxury to your trip, why not book a sunset and stargazing tour to the Pinnacles, complete with a candle-lit dinner and wine tasting? The other-worldly landscape of the Pinnacles desert is home to some intriguing rock formations which makes for an interesting day. If you visit between July and October, the whole area will be blanketed in a spectacular carpet of wildflowers too!
For the best chance of spotting whales, visit Perth between August and December, and see whales as they migrate to warmer seas. You can join a morning whale-watching cruise to get a glimpse of the biggest mammal in the world, the Blue whale, but also the Humpback and Southern Right whale.
At the end of our time in Perth, we picked up our car and set off for a road trip. Driving in Western Australia is pretty easy as the roads are not as congested as the UK and are very long and straight. Just make sure you share the driving as the distances are deceptively long and those long roads can get a bit hypnotising. Enjoy kangaroo spotting on the way!
From Perth, I’d recommend heading to Albany via Hyden. It’s a detour, but in Hyden, you’ll get to visit Wave Rock, a spectacular natural rock formation shaped like a wave.
Albany is an interesting town to spend a couple of days, with its fascinating history of convicts, sailors and whalers. You can visit the Anzac Centre to learn all about the soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who set off here to serve in World War I.
If you visit Albany before the end of April 2019, you’ll be able to see the amazing ‘Field of Lights’, a temporary art installation made by the same artist who also created the light field at Uluru.
Albany is also home to beautiful beaches and scenic hikes. Don’t miss exploring the gorgeous Torndirrup National Park, where you can see more spectacular rock formations such as the Gap and the Natural Bridge. Further east (about 40 minutes’ drive), head to Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve, where Little Beach has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia.
If you’re visiting between June and October, you’ll be able to see more whales. You can spot them from one of the many lookouts on Albany’s coastline, or join a whale-watching cruise to get closer. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a few dolphins and seals!
After a lovely couple of days in Albany, we set off for Denmark which is only an hour’s drive away. You’ll notice the scenery change as you drive; the Denmark area is a lot greener with vast forests of tall, green and silver Karri trees surrounding the town.
Denmark has a lot of things to see so I’d recommend spending at least two days here. We visited the secluded, gently sloping Greens Pool beach (ideal if you’re hitting the beach with young kids) and Elephant Cove. The cove is a ten-minute walk from Greens Pool and is named for the rock formations which look like a herd of elephants bathing.
Whilst here, we also drove the Scotsdale Scenic Drive where you can stop off to visit some of the many wineries in this region and enjoy some delicious, locally-made produce.
Our next stop was Margaret River, also well-known for its wineries. The drive from Denmark to Margaret River takes about 5 hours, so I recommend a stop at the Valley of the Giants in Walpole on the way. You can see the towering Tingle Trees (some of Australia’s tallest trees) and brave the tree top walk, which hangs 40 metres above the ground.
Just before Margaret River, we stopped in Hamelin Bay to see the stingrays that frequent its shores. We were lucky enough to see about three or four, and it was amazing to simply watch these beautiful animals in their natural environment, coming so close.
The whole Margaret River region is the perfect place to enjoy amazing wine, delicious food and just relax. It’s teeming with world-class restaurants and award-winning wineries, as well as more casual breweries, coffee shops and pubs, so there’s something for every palate.
You’ll also get to enjoy stunning beaches, beautiful hikes through parks and forest, and the opportunity to surf some of the biggest waves in Australia. There’s so much to do in Margaret River you should definitely stay in the area for a few days.
From here, we started making our way back to Perth. Our next stop was the lovely city of Busselton (40 minutes’ drive from Margaret River), which boasts the second longest wooden jetty in the world at about 1.15 miles. From the jetty, you can access an underwater observatory, which is an experience not to be missed. When you’re ready for a drink, I recommend popping into The Goose, a lovely pub overlooking the seafront.
Rockingham doesn’t come up often in road trip itineraries, but it’s a good stop on the way back to Perth. By staying overnight, you can enjoy the town as well as its local attractions. We visited Penguin Island, where you can experience penguin feeding, spot lots of birds and see the friendliest sea lions.
If you’re looking for a closer wildlife experience, head to Rockingham Dolphin Swim on the seafront, as I did. Swimming with dolphins was one of the highlights of my trip – it was so amazing to see them free in their natural environment.
At the end of our road trip, we spent a few days in Fremantle near Perth. We stayed at the gorgeous Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges, which has kept a lot of its external historical charm.
Fremantle has lots of fabulous eateries, breweries and coffee shops, or you could simply walk around the streets to soak up the relaxed and eccentric vibe of this lovely place. I also recommend you visit the World Heritage Fremantle Prison to find out more about the fascinating history of the town and its days serving as a British penal colony.
Whilst you’re in Perth, you cannot miss a visit to Rottnest Island, the famous home of the tiny Quokkas! You can catch a ferry from Perth (45 minutes) or sail over from Freemantle (25 minutes).
I had read mixed reviews about Rottnest island, but it was definitely another highlight of my trip. We bought tickets that included bike hire and spent the day cycling around the island. We spotted plenty of cute Quokkas and visited some of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. Rottnest is also great for snorkelling, with an amazing diversity of fish, corals and even shipwrecks all around the island.
If you would like to organise a similar road trip around Western Australia, we can advise you and help you organise your adventure. We can arrange your flights, either using the 17-hour direct flight from London to Perth on Qantas, or as a multi-stop ticket with a stopover along the way. We can also arrange car or campervan hire and accommodation to suit your style and budget. Just give us a call on 01273 005179 or send us an email with your request.