The state of Western Australia (WA) covers an enormous area, roughly 10 times the size of New Zealand. To truly experience all that WA has to offer would take months or even years, so covering small sections at a time is the most practical way to experience the state.
Heading down the Western Coast from Perth to Albany, then along the Southern Coast to Esperance, back inland to Kalgoorlie and then back to Perth is a picturesque route covering everything from coastal towns and tall tree forests to gold mines and dolphin encounters.
Day 1 & 2 – Perth
Allow at least a couple of days to explore the beautiful city of Perth. Take a day trip to Rottnest Island, relax on one of Perth’s beautiful beaches, or cruise the Swan River. The city of Perth has an exciting array of trendy restaurants, chic boutiques and entertainment options. Did we mention the sunsets?
The famous Swan Valley is only a 20 minute drive away and boasts superb wineries, cheese shops, micro-breweries, art galleries and more. Choice have an excellent range of five Perth hotels to choose from.
Day 3 – Perth to Mandurah – 70km
Less than an hour from Perth’s CBD is the coastal town of Mandurah, an increasingly popular tourist destination. With its warm climate and abundant aquatic activities, Mandurah is an ideal holiday location. Nearby national parks and heritage centres provide an insight into the natural beauty of Western Australia while the many restaurants and cafes, water sports and tourist attractions such as the Kings Carnival offer entertainment for all ages. Hire a canoe or paddle boat at Ravenswood or explore the Serpentine Falls on Kitty’s Gorge walk.
Day 4 – Mandurah to Bunbury – 110km
There’s no way you can refuse to stop in this aquatic playground! Bunbury is a major port and thriving regional centre. Its coastal location, idyllic climate and slow pace make it a popular holiday destination. The Dolphin Discovery Centre is a Bunbury highlight offering close encounters with dolphins in their natural environment.
You can choose from boat or shore based interactions and although dolphin sightings cannot be guaranteed, it is a rare day they don’t make an appearance. Book your stay at the beautiful Quality Hotel Lighthouse while you are here. For those that are thinking of a solo road trip, check out this guide to the benefits of travelling alone.
Day 5 – Bunbury to Margaret River – 100km
Another short hop and you are in the Margaret River region, famous for its world-class wine making. The region is a gourmet’s delight with a chocolate factory, cheese farms, olive plantations and numerous vineyards. Located along a stunning stretch of coastline and with a relaxed pace, the Margaret River lifestyle is a pleasure to immerse yourself in. Visit the many galleries, sip wine overlooking a vineyard or gorge yourself on gourmet delights.
Day 6 – Margaret River to Albany – 380km
The scenic drive from the Margaret River to Albany takes you through the majestic Karri Forests between Manjimup and Denmark. Karri trees can grow up to 90m in height, making them one of the world’s tallest hardwood trees, and the Karri Forests an amazing sight. During spring the undergrowth bursts into a spectacular display of colour as the wildflowers bloom.
Albany is a historic maritime town with fascinating museums and an old whaling station. The rugged granite coastline is the ideal whale watching location, or take one of the whale watching cruises to see the magnificent Humpback and Southern Right whales migrating. Need some things to do in Albany? Read up here.
Day 7 – Albany to Esperance – 480km
The Esperance region is famous for its pristine beaches and extensive national parks, and is a haven for water lovers, fishermen and beach lovers alike. The ideal way to explore Esperance is by 4WD with many of the beaches open to vehicles and beautiful 4WD tracks meandering through the National Parks. The Comfort Inn Bay of Isles, located close to the town centre is the perfect base to explore town.
Day 8 – Esperance to Kalgoorlie – 400km
Kalgoorlie is a historic mining town, founded in 1983 during the Yilgarn-Goldfields gold rush and is located near to the ‘Golden Mile’. It is home to the ‘Super Pit’, Australia’s largest open cut mine, which is approximately 3.6km long by 1.6km wide and over 500m deep. The mine is expected to stay in operation until 2017 and daily tours allow tourists to view it in operation.
There are several historic museums in the town worthy of a visit, and the local architecture is brimming with history and old world charm. Stay at Quality Inn Railway, close to the town centre and Kalgoorlie attractions.
Day 9 – Kalgoorlie to Perth – 600km
The drive back to Perth will take around 6 hours. There are several towns and picnic spots along the way to stop at for a break.