A Road Trip Through the Beautiful South West of Australia
Many international visitors choose to explore Australia's famous East Coast, or the unique Red Centre. However, there is a corner of this country with beautiful beaches, wine regions and unique towns to rival the rest of Australia. Start your road trip in Perth and explore sights such as Margaret River, Esperance, Wave Rock and more.
Day One - Start your journey in Perth
Pick up your rental car in Perth, and spend some time getting to know Western Australia's capital city. It may be Australia's most remote capital, but the city is full of life. You'll find some great views from King's Park and Elizabeth Quay. You'll also come across some of the unique sculptures and architecture along Perth's waterfront.
If you've got the time, head down to Fremantle and spend the afternoon at one of the most popular seaside areas in the region. With colourful streets and beautiful beaches for watching the sunset over the ocean, there is plenty to like about Fremantle. Before settling down for a meal alongside the water, take some time to explore the Fremantle Prison heritage site.
Fremantle Prison has made the World Heritage list as one of Australia's Convict sites. Take a night-time Torchlight Tour to learn about the darker side of the prison's history. If you prefer to do your exploring by day, you can venture 20 metres below the prison to explore the winding collection of tunnels by boat. You'll hear stories about prison life and the colourful characters who were incarcerated here.
Day Two - Take the ferry to Rottnest Island
It's the home of the adorable quokkas, and the setting of some of Australia's most stunning marine scenery. All this is just a short ferry ride from Perth! There are no vehicles on Rottnest Island, so you will need to leave the car behind for the day.
With shipwrecks and an array of marine wildlife, the area is a popular snorkelling destination. The Aqua Park in Thomson Bay is a great spot to take the kids. If you are looking to spend some time soaking up the sun, there are more than 60 beaches to choose from.
Day Three - Walk 2km out to sea on the Busselton Jetty
Leaving Perth, it is time to start exploring the South West. Your first stop is the coastal city of Busselton. With turquoise waters, sunny skies, and one of the longest jetty's in the world, it will undoubtedly be a highlight of the trip.
You can choose to walk or take the train out to the end of the 1.8-kilometre long jetty. Visit the Underwater Observatory while you are on the pier, or take a diving tour to discover the many species of fish.
Day Four - Visit one of Margaret River's top wineries
You can't take a tour of Western Australia without exploring the country's famed wine region. You can choose to visit some of the renowned local wineries and upscale restaurants. The region also plays host to a number of food and wine festivals.
To go behind the scenes, visit the popular Leeuwin Estate. With a world-famous restaurant boasting delicious local produce, you can enjoy a meal overlooking the scenic winery. There is even an art gallery on site, showcasing work from local Australian artists.
Want to experience the best of the Margaret River wine region with local experts? Bushtucker River & Winery Tours offer visitors a chance to learn more about the heritage of the region while experiencing some of the top sights. A wine and brewery tour of the area will encompass some of the popular vineyards of the area, where you can sample some delicious food. You can also enjoy a canoe trip on the beautiful Margaret River.
Day Five - Visit the impressive caves of the region
There is more to the Margaret River region than its renowned wineries. There are over 100 beautiful caves in the area, with impressive limestone crystals. One of the most popular is the Lake Cave, which makes for an impressive view with the reflections in the underground lake.
You can learn more about the local Aboriginal Culture at the Ngilgi Cave, and hear the stories surrounding its formation. For those just wanting to take a relaxed, self-guided tour, consider the picturesque Mammoth Cave.
Day Six - Walk among giants near Denmark
The drive from Margaret River to Denmark will take you through impressive forests full of giant red tingle trees. The best place to get a sense of the height of these trees is from the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. After you've finished exploring the forest canopy, you can also follow the Ancient Empires boardwalk along the forest floor.
There is plenty to see and do in Denmark. Just because you are leaving Margaret River does not mean that you have seen the end of the great restaurants and wineries. En route to Denmark, make sure you stop at Greens Pool to see some of the clearest waters surrounded by granite rocks.
Day Seven - Enjoy hiking in Stirling Range National Park
Stretch your legs and explore some of the scenic hiking trails in Stirling Range National Park. If you are in the park between September and November, you will be lucky enough to see the colourful wildflowers across the park. Keep your eyes peeled for the local wildlife, which includes kangaroos, emus and wallabies.
One of the popular hikes in the area is the climb to Bluff Knoll, the tallest peak in the region. Although a lot of the hiking trails involve a steep climb, visitors will be rewarded with fantastic views of the rocky mountain ranges.
Day Eight - Make the long drive to Esperance
Settle in for a long drive across to Esperance. The hours spent in the car will be well worth it when you get to this coastal gem. Esperance is home to some of the country's most incredible beaches and even a bright pink lake!
Spend your free time in the afternoon exploring the town. From the local beaches, you'll have a great view of the surrounding islands, and you may even be able to spot dolphins.
Day Nine - Meet kangaroos on the beach at Lucky Bay
Want to meet one of Australia's most famous locals sunbathing on the beach? The kangaroos in Cape Range National Park are often found relaxing on the sands of Lucky Bay, making for some iconic photographs.
You'll find some amazing scenery throughout the national park. With unbelievable white-sand beaches, coastal hiking trails and island views, you'll return with a lot of photos!
Day Ten - Visit Wave Rock
It will be another long drive as you start to make your way back toward Perth. As you drive through the Central Wheat Belt region, you will find one particular attraction that will stand out.
Near the town of Hyden, many visitors make the journey to see the unique Wave Rock, a granite cliff with an unusual shape. At more than 100 metres long and 15 metres tall, the rock is a worthwhile stop.
Day Eleven - Return to Perth
The journey from Hyden to Perth should take almost four hours. If you're still feeling energetic and looking to explore more of Western Australia, the South West corner is just the beginning.