Perth to Mount Barker
Follow the Albany Highway south from Perth and stretch your legs at The Rose Maze at The Kodja Place in Kojonup before continuing through Cranbrook, the gateway to the Stirling Range National Park. Make your first cellar door stop at Mount Barker – the hub of the Great Southern Wine Region. Enjoy a lazy lunch overlooking the vineyards and stunning country panoramas in the Porongurups, then get moving with a trail walk. Our suggestion: the breathtaking Granite Skywalk in the Porongurup National Park. Overnight in Mount Barker or Porongurup.
Mount Barker to Albany
Make your way to the historic city of Albany, filled with charming heritage buildings, restaurants, bars and taverns. Visit the National Anzac Centre at Mount Clarence, where the first and second convoys of Australian and New Zealand troops departed for the First World War. Head to The Gap and Natural Bridge to see the power of nature in action and learn about whaling history at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station. Overnight in Albany. Our tip: spend an extra day here from January to April and join an orca tour out to the Bremer Canyon.
Albany to Denmark
Drive to Denmark, known for its undulating landscape, forests and beautiful beaches. Head to Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool for protected bays of peppermint-tinged waters, perfect for swimming, snorkelling and brightening up your Instagram feed, or walk part of the Bibbulmun Track. Travel along the scenic Scotsdale Tourist Drive, stopping to feast on delicious produce, taste some award-winning cool climate wines. Explore Denmark’s unique art scene and boutique retail, picking up locally produced art and trinkets on your way. Overnight in Denmark.
Denmark to Pemberton
Head west of Denmark towards Walpole, where you can experience the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. On the way to Pemberton, take in impressive views from the Mount Frankland Wilderness Lookout or stretch your legs at Northcliffe’s Understory Art Trail. If you’re looking for a thrill, tackle one of the two climbing trees – the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree and the Gloucester Tree. Once in Pemberton, visit the area’s many cellar doors – the wines here are the perfect accompaniment to a feast featuring fresh local flavours, including Pemberton’s finest delicacy, marron. Overnight in Pemberton.
Pemberton to Nannup
On the hunt for black gold, aka the Manjimup black truffle? Go on a truffle dog hunt in season or taste this highly prized fungi at restaurants throughout town, then make your way to Bridgetown, stopping by farm gates to buy fresh produce along the way. Once in Bridgetown, meander down the Blackwood River, either by foot, bike or kayak. Continue to Nannup via Balingup and visit the Golden Valley Tree Park, WA’s largest arboretum. Roll into Nannup and discover why this town is called the ‘garden village’. Overnight in Nannup.
Nannup to Margaret River
Take in the misty morning views of Nannup’s rolling hills, then drive to the Margaret River Region – named the number one destination on Lonely Planet’s Best in Asia Pacific list for 2019. This region is home to world-class food and wine, pristine beaches, surfing, tall tree forests, caves, whales and wildflowers. Picnic under the towering Boranup Forest, or head underground to discover a labyrinth of limestone caves. Alternatively, head to Augusta and climb the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia – Cape Leeuwin – then meet the local stingrays and eagle rays at the peaceful Hamelin Bay. Spend the night wining and dining in the town of Margaret River.
Margaret River to Busselton
Go for an early morning surf or join a whale watching tour for a chance to see humpback and blue whales, before visiting your choice of wineries, restaurants, boutique breweries, art galleries and fresh produce stores. Explore a section of the coastal Cape to Cape Track and check out Canal Rocks and Sugarloaf Rock, two natural attractions shaped by the ocean over many millennia. Get some R&R at one of the many white sandy beaches in the region, then put your head to rest in Busselton.
Busselton to Bunbury
Did you know the Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden-piled jetty in the world? Walk or catch a train to the end of this 1.841km-long pier, then marvel at wild sea creatures as you walk through its Underwater Observatory. Walk along the Busselton Foreshore where you can grab a local brew from the new Shelter Brewing Co. and a bite to eat while watching the kids play on a huge nature playground. Make your way to Bunbury via the Tuart Drive Scenic Route, which will wind you through magnificent tall tuart forest. Spend the night exploring Bunbury’s fun dining options and boutique bars.
Bunbury to the Ferguson Valley
Here’s a fun one for big and little kids alike – head to the newly refurbished Dolphin Discovery Centre and go on an eco-cruise or swim, where you’ll get to encounter wild bottlenose dolphins in Koombana Bay. Not your thing? Grab a street art map from the Bunbury Visitor Centre and discover the vivid wall murals that are scattered throughout the city, or join an Aboriginal tour for a special insight into this diverse region. From Bunbury, head to the Ferguson Valley. Visit the quirky little village of Gnomesville and stock up on some prime Geographe Wine. Overnight in Ferguson Valley.
Ferguson Valley to Perth
Grab your mountain bike and hit the trails in the Wellington National Park, stopping for a picnic at Honeymoon Pool. Then head to Black Diamond Lake near Collie for views of aquamarine waters. Spend the afternoon exploring Collie’s new art mural trail, including the world’s largest regional outdoor art mural on the Wellington Dam. Head into the town for a quaint cafe and wine scene. Make your way back up to Perth, detouring through Harvey to pick up some delicious locally produced cheeses and fresh produce. Once in Perth, feast on the spoils of your successful South West road trip.