Spend 11 days on a one-of-a-kind road trip along the edge of the South West, passing through wineries, towering karri trees, and along the coast rich in marine life before returning to Perth across the desert. Observe breathtaking whales and interact with lively dolphins. Premium wines and the freshest food are available for tasting. Discover ancient caves, breathtaking mountain ranges, and clean beaches. Immerse yourself in the South West's unique landscapes and pioneering gold rush history.
Day 1: Perth to Bunbury
The sooner you get to Bunbury, the more chance you have of meeting the friendly wild dolphins at the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre, so hit the road early. It's only a two-hour drive south on the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway from Perth, and there are a variety of dolphin activities to select from once you arrive. Take a dolphin-swimming excursion. Embark on a dolphin-watching eco-cruise. Alternatively, wait for the dolphins to approach you at the beach's interaction zone; if they're not there when you arrive, visit the centre to learn more about the dolphins and the local marine life. Alternatively, you can take a pleasant rural route from Perth through the picturesque rolling grasslands and orchards of Harvey and Dardanup, stopping along the way to pick up some fresh local fruit. Lunch at a cafe, restaurant, or brewery in Bunbury. Alternatively, dine in Bunbury's own Garden of Eden, the Ferguson Valley, with views of the vineyards. An afternoon exploring the forested valleys of Collie and Wellington National Park will provide plenty of great challenges and thrills for adventure lovers.
Bunbury WA, Australia
Day 2:Bunbury to Margaret River
Take the 50-minute drive to Busselton for breakfast with views of Geographe Bay and the world's longest timber jetty, the Busselton Jetty. Take a tour of Australia's largest artificial reef by walking or riding the 1.8-kilometer jetty. The Underwater Observatory is your window to the colorful sponges, corals, and marine life below, but for a closer experience, snorkel or dive the jetty.
It'll take another 25 minutes to go to Dunsborough and Yallingup for lunch. Join an Aboriginal culture tour of Ngilgi Cave to learn about the cave's natural beauty, history, and stories, as well as one of the world's oldest surviving societies.
Ngilgi Cave, Yallingup Caves Road, Yallingup ...
Take a drive out to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse to see the sunset over the Indian Ocean, stopping along the route to promenade along the pristine beaches of Bunker Bay and Meelup Beach.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, Leeuwin-Naturali...
Migrating humpback and southern right whales can be seen from this vantage point between June and December. Busselton and Dunsborough provide whale-watching tours as well.
Busselton WA, Australia
Dunsborough WA, Australia
Continue south on scenic Caves Road and take your pick from Margaret River’s many accommodation options, from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxury lodges and spa retreats.
Day 3: Margaret River
Take a morning stroll along the Cape to Cape Track, one of the world's most diversified coastal paths. Alternatively, have a cup of coffee and observe the local surfers in action. Around Margaret River, there are 40 top surfing sites, but Surfers Point near Prevelly, which hosts the internationally known annual Margaret River Pro competition, is undoubtedly the most famous.
Cape to Cape Walk Track
Cape to Cape Walk Track, Burnside WA, Austral...
An day of discovery and enjoyment is in store. Stop by local gourmet produce stores to sample exquisite artisanal foods and pick fresh ingredients for dinner, then hop from cellar door to cellar door to sample the region's best wines. If you don't feel like cooking, choose from Margaret River's many restaurants and award-winning chefs. While you're on the road, take Caves Road south for a magnificent drive through Boranup Karri Forest's tall karri trees and a picnic beneath the canopy of these 60-metre timber giants.
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, Cape Natur...
Stay and take a guided tour of Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave, or Jewel Cave to see the world's longest publicly accessible straw stalactite.
Lake Cave, Conto Road, Forest Grove WA, Austr...
Or head 15 minutes south to Australia’s most south westerly point, where you can take a guided tour of Cape LeeuwinLighthouse (the largest lighthouse of its kind on the mainland).
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Leeuwin Road, August...
Day 4: Margaret River to Pemberton
Head north to Nannup, a historic timber town known for its colorful gardens, spring wildflowers, and country crafts, and then on to Pemberton, a premium cool-climate wine district where you can stop for lunch or dinner. The famousBibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail meander through nearby Beedelup and Warren national parks, allowing you to explore the region's lush forests and waterways on foot or by bike.
Bibbulmun Track, Paulls Valley WA, Australia
Alternatively, get a bird's eye view of the area by mounting one of Pemberton's climbing trees, which were once employed as fire lookouts in the 1940s. The tallest,the Gloucester Tree, stands at 61 meters. Extend your stay an extra day for a 4WD, bushwalking and fishing adventure among the tall-timber forests, sand dunes and pristine beaches of D’Entrecasteaux National Park (4WD access only). And stop to admire the intriguing sculptural wonders of Northcliffe’s 1.2 kilometre Understory: Art in Nature walking trail on your return to Pemberton.
Gloucester Tree, Burma Road, Pemberton WA, Au...
Day 5: Pemberton to Denmark
Continue on the Vasse and South Western Highway to Walpole, where you can walk through the Valley of the Giants Tree TopWalk, which is shaded by 400-year-old tingle trees. The first-of-its-kind 40-metre-high treetop walkway leads you on a leisurely climb to stunning views of the surrounding forest. In the afternoon, drive east from Walpole to Denmark for a 40-minute beautiful drive, stopping at William Bay National Park, where the towering forest meets the Southern Ocean.
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, Valley of...
Swim or snorkel in Greens Pool's sheltered bay, or take a picturesque trek along the national park's rough shoreline to observe the inquisitive bathing giants at Elephant Rocks. Stop off at cellar doors and gourmet produce stores on the 20-minute drive to Denmark, or take an extended tour of the rolling hills above the town on Mount Shadforth Scenic Drive to discover more artisanal treats, local arts and panoramic views. Work up an appetite before dining at one of Denmark’s restaurants by taking a mini walking adventure on a stretch of the Bibbulmum Track, or cycle part of the Munda Biddi Bike Trail.
Greens Pool, William Bay Road, Denmark WA, Au...
Elephant Rocks, William Bay Road, William Bay...
Day 6: Denmark to Albany
A 55-minute drive east through Albany will take you to Discovery Bay and the state-of-the-art National Anzac Centre, where you can put yourself in the shoes of one of the 40,000 Anzacs who fought in WWI. As soon as you enter the facility, you'll take on the role of an Anzac and follow their personal adventure from enlistment and training to war on the front lines in Gallipoli, the Middle East, or the Western Front. Visit the historic Whaling Station, a one-of-a-kind museum in a formerly active whaling station that showcases the region's natural variety and whaling history.
National Anzac Centre
National Anzac Centre, Forts Road, Mount Clar...
Torndirrup National Park, one of Western Australia's most stunning coasts, is only a 10-minute drive from Discovery Bay, on the other side of the peninsular. View The Gap, Natural Bridge, and The Blowholes in wonder, and if you visit between July and October, you might even see migrating whales. Return to Albany's historic buildings and choose from a variety of restaurants, bars, and lodging options.
The Gap, The Gap Road, Torndirrup Albany, WA,...
Day 7: Albany to Hopetoun
Breakfasting at the famed Farmers' Markets for a sample of the region's fresh local flavors is an option for a weekend vacation to Albany. However, if you want to make the most of the day's activities, you'll need to get up early. The spectacular granite range of Porongurup National Park, rising above the karri tree forest 40 minutes north, is made up of 12 peaks fashioned by Mother Nature over the previous 1,100 million years. Enjoy the diverse birds, spring blooms (August to December), and panoramic vistas on the two-hour return hike to Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk. Continue your journey to Stirling Range National Park via Chester Pass Road, where you can hike the Bluff Knoll Trail to the top of Western Australia's second highest mountain. More than 100 bird species and 1,500 plant varieties grow here, making it a terrific area to see birds and spring wildflowers. Flowers bloom from the base to the summit between August and December, including the Queen of Sheba orchid, mountain bells, Banksias, Dryandras, and many more unique wildflowers.
Granite Skywalk, Castle Rock
Granite Skywalk, Castle Rock, Castle Rock Rd,...
Day 8: Hopetoun to Esperance
Hopetoun is the gateway to Fitzgerald River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's most ecologically diversified environments. Explore the park's walking and driving paths to learn more about this unique wilderness, which is home to about 20% of Western Australia's plant species, many of which are unique to the world. Visit during the whale calving season, which runs from July to October, and you'll be able to observe enormous numbers of southern right whales and their calves in the waters off Point Ann, one of just three places in Australia where you can see this annual sight. Travel east to Esperance and join the Great Ocean Drive Tourist Loop for an afternoon of exploring a line of stunning white-sand beaches, from the snorkeling and swimming locations of Blue Haven Beach andTwilight Cove to the best surf at West Beach, Fourth Beach, or Observatory Beach.
Twilight Cove, Western Australia, Australia
West Beach, WA, USA
Day 9: Esperance
A half-day wildlife cruise will take you around the Recherche Archipelago's 100+ islands. See sea eagles and New Zealand fur seals, then hike through the Woody Island wilderness to see bandicoots, wallabies, and other wildlife. If you fly or cruise to the archipelago by private charter, you may see the amazing bubblegum-pink Lake Hillier. Cape Le Grand National Park and one of Australia's most recognized coastline treasures, the white sands of Lucky Bay, are 30 minutes east of Esperance. Bring your fishing gear and toss a line from the shore, or go for a walk with the kangaroos which live nearby.
Lucky Bay, Australia
If you want to go deeper into the area, go bushwalking for spectacular views of the Recherche Archipelago, or join an escorted 4WD excursion. When you get back to Esperance, pay a visit to Esperance Stonehenge, a full-scale reproduction of the UK's original, or the Esperance Museum, which has a unique Skylab exhibit. Consider adding a day to your trip and going on a 4WD excursion along the desert coast and intoCape Arid National Park, which offers bushwalking, camping, and fishing.
Cape Arid National Park
Cape Arid National Park, Merivale Road, Cape ...
Day 10: Esperance to Hyden
Drive 380 kilometers from the coast, past the Wheatbelt villages of Ravensthorpe, Lake King, and Hyden, to reach Wave Rock, a 15-metre-high cresting wave of solid granite sculpted by nature over two billion years. Visit Mulka's Cave, where a local Aboriginal legend is retold through more than 450 ancient rock paintings, while exploring Wave Rock's 160-hectare natural reserve. If you travel in the spring, you'll be greeted to a kaleidoscope of natural color, as the area is converted into a sea of wildflowers following heavy winter rains.
Wave Rock, Wave Rock Road, Hyden WA, Australi...
Day 11: Hyden to Perth
Take a detour on your route east to shoot the Tin Horse Highway of Kulin, one of the Wheatbelt's oddest sights, before continuing on to Corrigin's Dog Cemetery, a beautiful memorial to man's best friend. From Corrigin, travel north-west on the Corrigin-Quairading Road to York, a majestic heritage town founded in 1831. York is the ideal place to stop for lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner, with most of its Victorian and Federation architecture meticulously maintained — it's a treasure trove of cafes, restaurants, galleries, museums, and antique shops. If you’d like a shot of adrenaline with your heritage experience, stay overnight and take a tandem skydive from 14,000 feet over the picturesque Avon Valley. From York, it’s a one-hour-20-minute drive on the Great Eastern Highway to reach Perth.
Tin Horse Highway
Tin Horse Highway, Kulin-Lake Grace Road, Kul...
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