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8-day road trip from Perth to Esperance

Many international visitors choose to explore Australia’s famous east coast, or its unique Red Centre, however there is a corner of the country with beautiful beaches, wine regions and unique towns which rivals the best of the rest. Start your road trip in Perth and explore out to Margaret River, Denmark, Esperance and beyond.

Perth to Esperance itinerary:

  • Day 1: Perth
  • Day 2: Perth to Rottnest Island
  • Day 3: Rottnest Island to Busselton Jetty
  • Day 4: Busselton Jetty to Margaret River
  • Day 5: Margaret River to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
  • Day 6: Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk to Denmark
  • Day 7: Denmark to Stirling Range National Park
  • Day 8: Stirling Range National Park to Esperance

Day 1: Start your journey in Perth

The Perth skyline at dusk.
The Perth skyline at dusk.

Perth highlights

  • Pick up your rental car in Perth, and spend some time getting to know Western Australia’s capital city. It may be the country’s most remote capital, but the city is full of life. You’ll find some great views from King’s Park and Elizabeth Quay and you can enjoy 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 love about Fremantle. Before settling down for a meal by 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 2: Take the ferry to Rottnest Island

Meet the quokkas.
Meet the quokkas.

Rottnest Island highlights

  • Rottnest Island is 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 also 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, Rottnest Island has more than 60 beaches to choose from.

Day 3: Walk two kilometres out to sea on the Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty almost goes forever.
Busselton Jetty almost goes forever.

Busselton highlights

  • Leaving Perth, it is time to start exploring the south west, with your first stop being the coastal city of Busselton. With turquoise waters, sunny skies, and one of the longest jetties 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 Busselton Jetty.
  • Visit the Underwater Observatory while you are on the pier, or take a diving tour to discover the many species of fish that inhabit the waters.

Day 4: Visit one of Margaret River’s top wineries

Vineyards in a winery near Margaret River.
Vineyards in a winery near Margaret River.

Margaret River highlights

  • You can’t take a tour of Western Australia without exploring the country’s famed wine region. As you explore, be sure to visit some of the renowned local wineries and upscale restaurants and keep yours eyes open for the many food and wine festivals the region hosts.
  • To take a look 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 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 while experiencing some of the top sights of the region. 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 5: Visit the impressive caves of the region

Lake Cave is home to a spectacular crystal decoration weighing several tonnes that hangs from the ceiling, almost touching the waters of the lake.
Lake Cave is home to a spectacular crystal decoration weighing several tonnes that hangs from the ceiling, almost touching the waters of the lake.

Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk highlights

  • There is more to the Margaret River region than its renowned wineries. There are over 100 beautiful caves in the area, some 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 6: Walk among giants near Denmark

Elephant Rocks in William Bay National Park, near the town of Denmark.
Elephant Rocks in William Bay National Park, near the town of Denmark.

Denmark highlights

  • 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 — on the way there, make sure you stop at Greens Pool to see the particularly clear waters surrounded by granite rocks.
  • Just because you are leaving Margaret River does not mean that you have seen the end of the great restaurants and wineries — you’ll find plenty more of these around Denmark.

Day 7: Enjoy hiking in Stirling Range National Park

Always ask a kangaroo’s permission before taking their photo.
Always ask a kangaroo’s permission before taking their photo.

Stirling Range highlights

  • 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 8: Make the drive to Esperance

At Picnic Beach near Esperance you can have the beach all to yourself.
At Picnic Beach near Esperance you can have the beach all to yourself.

Esperance highlights

  • 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 can enjoy a great view of the surrounding islands, and you may even be able to spot dolphins.

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