Perth Road Trip Ideas For the Summertime
From North to South - The Best Road Trip Destinations in Western Australia
Summer vibes are in, and the holidays are coming in hot! This means two things: sleeping in because we can, and ROAD TRIPS!
As the biggest state in Australia in terms of land mass, Western Australia offers plenty of unique destinations such as tranquil coastlines and rugged outbacks for an epic road trip, be it a quick day trip or a long journey. This Summer, gather your best mates and plan an adventure on the open road. Whether you’re going down South or up North, here’s our pick of the best road trips to take from Perth.
For a day trip or overnight stay: Bunbury & Busselton
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Drive for 2 hours from Perth to reach Bunbury, also known as ‘The City of Three Waters’. This seaside city is the perfect spot to unwind and relax, with protected beach bays, local bars, trendy restaurants, boutique shops, and quaint cafés in hidden alleyways. If you’re lucky, you can even spot wildlife such as kangaroos and bottlenose dolphins.
Drive for another 30 minutes, and you’ll find yourselves at Busselton, a picturesque coastal town, where it’s known for a 1.8km wooden-piled jetty that’s amazingly survived a cyclone, storm, and fire. Stroll along the long stretch of white, sandy beach towards Cape Naturaliste, explore the Vasse - Wonnerup Wetlands and the Tuart Forest National Park, or dive into your favourite watersports in Busselton’s calm, protected waters. Behind the beach also sits numerous caravan parks, where you can stop and pitch up a tent to watch nightfall come alive.
For a 3D2N trip: Albany & Denmark
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If you enjoy long car rides, make your way down to the quaint town of Albany for 5 hours and take in its breath-taking rugged coastline and architectural marvels in the form of European colonial buildings. As the site of the first European settlement in Australia, it’s full of landmarks for history buffs to check out - such as the Albany Heritage Park, the remnants of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, the Museum Of The Great Southern, and the National ANZAC Centre.
For nature lovers, Albany is also home to various walking trails, such as Bluff Knoll on Stirling Range and Porongongorup Range. Embark on a scenic ocean walk and feast your eyes on some of the most incredible rock formations in the coastal park, such as the Natural Bridge, The Gap, and The Blowholes.
Extend your trip and spend another 40 minutes travelling to Denmark, which boasts some of the best beaches in Western Australia. Head west for 15 minutes and reach Greens Pool, a sheltered haven with powder white sand and vivid blue waters. It’s also a walk away from Elephant Cove, another sheltered beach where you can take a dip in the Cove (and the rock formation resembles a herd of elephants!). Whichever suits your fancy, you know each moment is going to be a picture-perfect one.
For a 4D3N trip: Esperance
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Those looking for a longer stay can check out Esperance, a 7-hour drive from Campus. Definitely take the Hyden route though, as 4 hours in you’ll come across the Wave Rock - one of the most breath-taking and magnificent sights in Perth. This 15-metre high Wave Rock got its unique shape from millions of years’ worth of erosion by wind and rain, and now stands as one of the biggest attractions along the way to Esperance.
Once in Esperance, you’ll find some of the most stunning beaches you’ve ever laid your eyes upon such as Blue Haven Beach and Hellfire Bay. But one that stands out above the rest is Lucky Bay, known as ‘Australia’s whitest beach’, stretching across 5km where folks can swim, fish, and even camp. Lucky Bay is also known for being a sunbathing spot for visiting flocks of western grey kangaroos, often spotted lying on grassy areas or on the powder white sand.
For the hikers: Kalbarri
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When in Kalbarri, it almost feels like you’re in another world, one with majestic red ochre cliffs and crystalline turquoise waters. You’ll want to schedule a few stops along the way, as it features plenty of scenic spots for relaxing and picture-taking. On the way from Northampton, you’ll find the iconic Pink Lake at Hutt Lagoon in Port Gregory, a dramatic and vivid sight where its bubblegum-hued waters are attributed to the algae within.
Kalbarri is a great spot for hikers, with plenty of walking trails to explore, such as the 9 km Loop Walk in Kalbarri National Park. If walking isn’t on the itinerary, you can even ride quad bikes or beach buggies. Take a look at the incredible views of the Murchison River gorge and its spectacular surrounding landscape from the Kalbarri Skywalk, where two viewing platforms hang in mid-air 100m above the gorge. For an encounter with some of Mother Nature’s creatures, get up early for a special Pelican feeding session on the Kalbarri foreshore, opposite Murchison Caravan Park.
For a longer trip: Exmouth
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You’ll want to make sure one of your mates is also a driver - or get plenty of rest before the trip, as it’s going to be a 13-hour drive to Exmouth. A place that’s just made for summer, with hotspots for water activities and swimming, such as Coral Bay, Shark Bay, and Monkey Mia – which is known for its dolphin swims at the nearby resorts. There’s also Shell Beach, a beach that is filled with pretty shells instead of the usual white sand. It’s one of the most unique attractions up North, and certainly not one to be missed.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can even discover the rich variety of marine life at Exmouth. Take a dive into the waters or snorkel around, and if you’re feeling bold - take a glass bottom cruise or a swim with Whale Sharks.
For a quick day trip: Lancelin
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Road trips don’t necessarily have to be long, and this spot will certainly prove that. Spending the day at Lancelin is easy as it’s just 1 ½ hours away from Perth. Sink your feet into its white sandy beaches, and marvel at its cool sand dunes - and yes, you can surf on them too! Get your adrenaline pumping and take on these mysterious dunes with a four-wheel drive or a quad bike ride.
Make sure to plan a visit to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. It’s one of the major natural attractions in the region and it covers an area of 17,487 hectares providing a natural habitat for an array of native animals and bird life. The Pinnacles are amazing natural limestone structures, formed approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago after the sea receded and left deposits of seashells. This is definitely a sight to behold so pin this on your maps.
On the water, you’ll also find no shortage of excitement - as Lancelin is a global destination for water sports such as kitesurfing, surfing, snorkelling, and stand-up paddleboarding. Fishing enthusiasts can also head out to the jetty and try their luck catching herring, whiting, or even squid!