7 Great West Australian Road Trips from Perth


West Australian dusty red dirt track

There’s no shortage of amazing road trips from Perth. WA has some of the best driving roads in the country, but also the longest. You can spend a couple of hours (or a couple of days) in the car in any direction to see some incredible landscapes. 

It was hard, but we’ve narrowed down the field to just seven WA road trips. Tick the following locations off your list and you will have experienced a little of what WA has to offer.   

#1 Esperance – Turquoise Blue Water

Distance from Perth to Esperance:

720 km east-south-east

Driving Time:

7 hours

Best Time of Year to Visit:

Summer to enjoy a swim at the beach, Spring to see the wildflowers

Things to Do:

Beach fishing or boat charters, hiking, 4WDing, surfing, eco tours, diving, and a scenic flight. 

Things to See:

Wildflowers, unique flora and fauna, Helms Arboretum, local growers market, arts studios and galleries, Mount Ridley granite outcrop. 

On a sunny day, the sparkling white sand and turquoise blue of the ocean is spectacular. Named some of the best beaches in Australia, the Esperance beaches need to be seen to be believed. 

Turquoise blue water located in Esperance

You need not venture far from the town’s centre to experience beach beauty but if you want a day trip, you can’t miss the Cape Le Grand National Park, a 20 minute drive away. Some of the most iconic Esperance photos are taken at Lucky Bay with the famous kangaroos sprawled out on the beach. There’s plenty of room for vehicles and sunbathing kangaroos so you can spend the day under the car shade without the need to lug all the gear back. Esperance is surrounded by national parks including Cape arid, Stokes, Fitzgerald River and Peak Charles.   

If you get tired of blue water and pristine beaches, take a look at the spectacular Pink Lake. It gets its beautiful blush colour from red algae in the water. The best time to visit is on a sunny day when the sun is overhead for the most vivid pink colour. 

If you want to venture offshore, the Southern Ocean offers plenty of fishing opportunities, and a seal and sea lion colony off the Recherche Archipelago islands.  

Be sure to check out the museum to see a few pieces of the NASA space station, Skylab, that rained down on Esperance and put it on the world map in 1979. 

For more information, see the Esperance Visitor Centre

#2 Kalbarri – Majestic Gorges & Stunning Coastline

Distance from Perth to Kalbarri: 

590 kilometres north

Driving Time: 

6 hours

Attractions Along the Way: 

Fishing, enjoy a meal of fresh seafood at Lancelin or Cervantes, visit the spectacular Pink Lake near Port Gregory.

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

July to October for wildflowers, winter months for hiking, avoid hot summers and wet autumn. 

Things to Do: 

Canoeing, walks, hiking, visit the Abrolhos Islands, whale watching (seasonal), a sand buggy tour, surfing, fishing, boating.   

Things to See: 

Pelican feeding, incredible landscapes in the national parks, beautiful blue ocean.

Natures window located in Kalbarri Western Australia

Head straight to Kalbarri National Park for your photo opportunity in front of the nature’s window. Climb the majestic Murchison River gorges. The Loop and Z Bend in the Murchison River is best seen from lookouts at the top of the gorge. If you visit in Spring, you will be treated to a spectacular array of wildflowers including kangaroo paws, banksias and grevilleas.   

If you are enjoying a lazy morning, head into town to see the daily pelican feeding.

If you are exploring WA’s coral coast and heading to Shark Bay or Exmouth, Kalbarri is a favourite location for WA residents and visitors to stop for a night or two to break up the road trip.

Close to Kalbarri is the historic town of Northampton with its character-rich buildings. The Hampton Road Heritage Walk is a good way to discover 37 of the historic buildings.

For more information, see the Kalbarri Visitor Centre.

#3 Pinnacles – the Lunar Landscape

Distance from Perth to The Pinnacles: 

190 kilometres north

Driving Time: 

2 hours 15 minutes

Attractions Along the Way: 

Yanchep National Park has nine walking trails - you can see kangaroos and a koala colony. Take the clubs and enjoy a spot of golf.

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

July to October to see the wildflowers, avoid hot summer months.

Things to Do:

After seeing The Pinnacles you can fish, snorkel, swim, windsurf, kitesurf and scuba dive in nearby Cervantes.

Things to See: 

Pinnacles Visitors Centre for the photography display

The Pinnacles road trip from Perth is a weekend favourite. The surreal moonscape is a unique phenomenon and a photographer’s paradise. In Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles is made up of thousands of limestone spires jutting out of the sand. Walk or drive through a landscape that dates back many thousands of years. Hangover Bay or Thirsty Point are ideal spots for a photo of the ocean.     

Cervantes is the closest town to visit and stay while you are enjoying the Pinnacles. While you’re in Cervantes, be sure to check out the Lobster Shack for a tour of the export facility and lunch on a fresh seafood roll. Between the months of November and August, some lobster boats take visitors out to collect the pots.  

Bonus: Lancelin Sand Dunes Road Trip

One hour car trip south of the Pinnacles is Lancelin which boasts some of WA’s best rolling sand dunes. Hire a sand board and spend the day flying down the hills on your feet or seat.  

If traipsing up the dunes sounds too much like hard work, hop on a dune tour. The 4WD coach will take you to the top of the dunes to enjoy a ride down before you explore the dunes from the comfort of the coach.  

Lancelin is WA’s home of skydiving - if you need more of a thrill than sand boarding down the dunes you can try jumping out of a plane.  

For more information, see the Pinnacles and Cervantes Visitor Centre.

#4 A Longer Roadtrip From Perth to Ningaloo Reef – Whale Shark Country

How far is it from Perth to Ningaloo Reef?

The closest town near the Ningaloo reef is Coral Bay which is approximately 1200 km north of Perth.

Driving Time:

12 hours 

Attractions Along the Way: 

Stop in Geraldton to visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial and the shipwreck history of the area at the Museum of Geraldton. Spend a night in Monkey Mia and see the dolphins come in for their early morning feed.    

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

March to June for whale sharks, June to November for humpback whales.      

Things to Do: 

Swim with whale sharks (seasonal) or manta rays, snorkel, glass-bottom boat tour, eco tours, quad bike tour, beach and boat charter fishing (outside sanctuary zones), diving, sailing, 4WDing, kayaking.     

Things to See: 

The spectacular beaches of Coral Bay, nesting turtles at Jurabi Turtle Centre (seasonal), Cape Range National Park.

A whale shark swimming underwater in the Ningaloo Reef

A good way to escape the cold winter weather in Perth is to hit the road and travel north to Ningaloo Reef. This is the longest trip from Perth in this article but it is well worth the drive. It’s drivable in one long day but many people choose to break it up into an overnight drive.

The world famous spotted whale sharks have helped put the 260 km long Ningaloo Reef on the map as one of the best snorkelling and scuba diving destinations in the world.

Take a tour to swim with a humpback whale or whale shark. The reef is rich with marine life like manta rays, dolphins, dugongs, turtles, fish and more. There’s also an incredible 200 species of hard coral and 50 species of soft coral to explore close to the shore so it’s a perfect place to snorkel and spot some of the 500 species of fish.      

It’s all about nature up here. The towns at either end of the reef - Coral Bay and Exmouth - are small but they stock the necessary supplies for campers needing to refill and glampers looking for accommodation. It’s a popular spot, particularly during the school holidays, so you may need to book accommodation well ahead. 

For more information, see the Ningaloo Visitor Centre in Exmouth.

#5 Kalgoorlie – WA’s Glittering Goldfields

Distance from Perth to Kalgoorlie: 

590 km east 

Driving Time: 

6 hours 20 minutes

Attractions Along the Way: 

There are plenty of historic towns to check out on the road to Kal including Kellerberrin, Merredin, Southern Cross and Coolgardie. Visit the pump stations along the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail, make a stop in Cunderdin for a photo in front of the Ettamogah Pub or the mini wave rock near Kellerberrin.  

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

Any time of the year but winter can be cold and summer gets very hot. The wildflowers are spectacular in September and October. 

Things to Do & See: 

Walk the historic streets of Kalgoorlie and visit the history filled old pubs in the main street. Check out the massive Super Pit open cut mine, play a round of golf, visit the museums, take a short drive to Coolgardie.  

Head out of Perth on the Great Eastern Highway and follow the golden pipeline all the way to Kalgoorlie. 

Visit the Super Pit mine lookout or do a tour to appreciate the scale of the massive mine site on the outskirts of town. 

Buy a ticket to the Hannans North Tourist Mine for a look at the mining history of the region. Climb a giant truck and grab a pan to try your luck gold prospecting.

For a day trip from Kalgoorlie, you can’t go past Lake Ballard. Australia’s biggest art installation comprises 51 steel statues dotted around a salt lake. Camp for the night to experience the statues at sunset and sunrise. 

If you want to try your hand at the game of two up, visit Two Up School on Sunday afternoon. If golf is more your game, you’re in luck. The Nullarbor Links, the world’s longest golf course, has the 18th hole called CY O’Connor at the stunning Kalgoorlie Golf Course.  

For more information, see the Kalgoorlie Boulder Visitors Centre.

#6 Yallingup – Caves & Waves

Distance from Perth to Yallingup: 

250 km

Driving Time: 

3 hours

Attractions Along the Way: 

Call in to Busselton to stretch your legs with a walk along the 1,840 metre long Busselton jetty or have lunch on the foreshore.

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

Summer to enjoy the beaches, any other time to travel around the region. 

Things to Do: 

Discover a sheltered bay for snorkelling, swimming, stand up paddling, fishing, walk the Cape to Cape Track, whale watching (seasonal), sample the region’s award-winning wines, visit the Leeuwin-Naturaliste and Yelverton National Parks.  

Things to See: 

Canal Rocks, historic Caves House Hotel, Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse near Dunsborough and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse near Augusta.

The south west of Western Australia is a holiday paradise any time of the year. Yallingup and its surrounds is home to spectacular beaches and rugged coastline. During winter, you can see the migrating whales from the coast. For a closer look at the humpback, southern right, minke and blue whales, buy a ticket for a whale watching boat tour. The boats leave from nearby Augusta, Dunsborough and Busselton.  

Yallingup coastline located south of Western Australia

The region is home to stunning cave formations, thought to be 1 million years old. Yallingup has the Ngilgi Cave but there is the magnificent Jewel, Mammoth, and Lake Caves to discover a short drive away. 

Yallingup has been a surfing mecca since the 1950s and its waves are renowned, second only to Margaret River with the Pro event now in its 34th year. Even if you aren’t a surfer, spending some time watching from the beach is good entertainment. 

If you would like to learn more about Aboriginal culture and the traditional custodians, sign up for a cultural tour. Learn about their connection to the river, sea, fish, plants and animals.  

For those with a keen sense of adventure there are companies offering abseiling through forests and rock climbing down sea cliffs. If you prefer to stay grounded, you can walk the 140 km Cape to Cape Track or part from Cape Naturaliste Dunsborough to Cape Leeuwin Augusta. There is also the Busselton to Dunsborough Bike and Walk Path if you want to take a break from the car. 

For more information, see the Margaret River Region Visitor Centre

#7 Albany – An Amazing History Lesson Awaits 

Distance from Perth to Albany: 

415 kilometres

Driving Time: 

4 hours 40 minutes

Attractions Along the Way: 

Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk

Best Time of Year to Visit: 

Any time of the year

Things to Do: 

Sample the amazing wines and fresh produce of the region, visit the National ANZAC Centre, take a day trip to Walpole or Denmark.  

Things to See: 

Natural Bridge and The Gap, memorials commemorating Albany’s contribution to the involvement war effort, and migrating whales in winter.   

Albany combines the convenience of a city with the charm of a country town. 

The National ANZAC Centre draws many visitors every year to pay homage to the men and women who fought for Australia. The Princess Royal Fort built in 1893 on Mt Adelaide is also a worthwhile visit to learn about the history of the ships that left Albany bound for Egypt and Gallipoli. Enjoy the views over King George Sound. There’s also the Padre White Lookout, Desert Mounted Corps Memorial and the Ataturk Memorial to visit within the Albany Heritage Park. 

Birds eye view of the coastline in Albany, WA

Learn more about Albany’s rich history and importance to WA with a visit to the Museum of the Great Southern and the Brig Amity ship on the foreshore. Discover Albany’s whaling past with a visit to the former whaling station. Look out for whales from the Torndirrup National Park as they migrate past the coast in winter. Don’t forget to visit the Gap and Natural Bridge year round to experience the roar of the Southern Ocean from the walkway suspended over The Gap.   

Other Destinations Near Albany

Just a half hour car trip away, Denmark is another one of WA’s beautiful south coast towns. The tall tree town offers some of the state’s best beaches including Greens Pool, a natural rock swimming pool in William Bay National Park. While on your day trip, don’t miss the self-guided heritage and historic trails. 

Just over an hour out of Albany to the west is Walpole and the Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk. Enjoy the forest canopy of some of WA’s largest trees on the steel suspension bridge. Around half an hour north of Albany is the Porongurup National Park, perfect for a picnic or bush walk. Take the Granite Skywalk suspended over Castle Rock for the best views of the countryside. There are also scenic drives to enjoy impressive views.     

For more information, see the Albany Visitor Centre

So, When’s Your Next Road Trip From Perth?

Leaving Perth behind for a weekend trip or a month-long travel around the great state of WA allows you to unplug and get back to nature. With so many road trip destination to choose from and some of the best driving roads in Australia, there’s no excuse not to slow down and marvel at what Western Australia offers. Set a date, pick a destination and get out there!

Tammy George

Please note: Tammy's blog is general advice only. For further information on this topic please consult your healthcare professional.

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