header image

Self-drive itineraries from Perth

Perth's national parks
PERTH’S NATIONAL PARKS
Total distance 194km, driving time 3 hours

Kings Park, 400 hectares of botanic gardens and natural bush, is just a few minutes from the city centre and offers panoramic views of the Swan River and city skyline. 45 minutes north of the city is Yanchep National Park which offers visitors an insight into the native Western Australian bush. Waterfowl freely roam around the park’s lake, there are beautiful caves set in limestone hills and there is a resident colony of koalas. North east of Perth, Walyunga National Park comprises 1,800 hectares of natural bushland around the upper reaches of the Swan River. John Forrest National Park has typical Darling Range forest bushland with bushwalking trails and spectacular views of Perth. Return to the city via Whiteman Park, 2,600 hectares of natural bushland with a wide range of recreation activities.
Avon Valley
AVON VALLEY
Total distance 257km, driving time 3 hours

Travel east from the Perth through the Darling Ranges to the historical town of Toodyay. Set on the banks of the Avon River, the town retains the charm of an early colonial settlement. The Avon River flows through the centre of Northam where it is crossed by the longest suspension bridge in WA. Here you’ll find a colony of white swans originally imported from England. Follow the river south to the picturesque town of York, WA’s oldest inland town. Throughout the Avon Valley you’ll find many buildings which have been restored to their former glory, now housing museums, hotels and cafes. As well as its historical highlights, the area has an abundance of heritage trails and museums, plus many activities for the adventurous, including skydiving, hot-air ballooning and white-water rafting.
Perth to Bunbury
PERTH-MANDURAH-BUNBURY
Total distance 529km, driving time 6 hours

Travel south from Perth on the Kwinana Freeway and take the Mandjoogoordap Drive exit to the popular holiday city of Mandurah, set on the banks of the Peel Inlet. This area is one of Perth’s favourite aquatic playgrounds. Take the Old Coast Road south to Yalgorup National Park and the RAMSAR wetlands site and visit the rare, rock-like microorganisms called thrombolites at Lake Clifton. Continue south to Bunbury, WA’s second-largest city. Visit the dolphins in Koombana Bay and stop for refreshments at the cappuccino strip in town. Follow the Darling Scarp for the return drive to Perth along the scenic South West Highway, passing through the historic, picturesque towns of Harvey, Waroona, Pinjarra and Armadale.

Self-drive itineraries in Australia's South West

Margaret River
MARGARET RIVER
Total distance 646km, 1 to 2 days

Travel south from Perth past the estuaries surrounding the picturesque town of Mandurah then take the Forrest Highway to the port city of Bunbury. Following the calm shores of Geographe Bay head to the holiday towns of Busselton, Dunsborough and Yallingup which form the gateway to the Margaret River Wine Region. The coastline between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin is home to unrivalled surfing breaks, limestone caves, spectacular coastal scenery and magnificent karri trees. Further south you can sample the gourmet delights of the Margaret River area; fine restaurants, boutique breweries and, of course, numerous wineries. Stay overnight before heading to Augusta in the most south-westerly corner of the state. Return to Perth on an alternate route.
Blackwood River Valley
BLACKWOOD RIVER VALLEY
Total distance 595km, 1 to 2 days

From the port city of Bunbury south of Perth, follow the scenic shores of Geographe Bay to the holiday town of Busselton, then south east to the Blackwood River Valley towns of Nannup, Bridgetown, Balingup and Boyup Brook. The area has many scenic drives through rolling hills, winding rivers, lush countryside and fruit orchards with delightful places to stop along the way. Wildflowers bloom in the surrounding jarrah forest each spring. This is an ideal area for an overnight stop at a friendly B&B, a cosy cottage or one of the many farmstays that welcome visitors. Throughout the Valley you’ll find fine restaurants, antique shops and wineries as well as a treasure trove of local artists’ galleries. Return to Perth via the orchard town of Donnybrook, then Bunbury.
Great Southern
THE GREAT SOUTHERN
Total distance 948km, 3 to 5 days

Depart Perth for the city of Albany, a delightful holiday destination rich with history. Enjoy rugged coastal scenery, ancient mountain ranges, wineries, art galleries, wildflowers and whale watching in season. The picturesque town of Denmark set on the Wilson Inlet makes a delightful stopover before heading to the Valley of the Giants and the Tree Top Walk — a 600m long elevated walkway through giant karri and tingle trees. Visit Walpole, surrounded by national park and scenic waterways. Travel to Northcliffe and view Understory, the stunning sculpture walk trail. Drive through towering forests to Pemberton where you can climb the Gloucester Tree then head north to the timber town of Manjimup. Further north you can wind through the Blackwood River Valley as you make your way back to Perth.

Self-drive itineraries in Australia's Golden Outback

Outback Pathway
THE OUTBACK PATHWAY
Total distance 1,807km, 5 to 6 days

The Outback Pathway has three individual self drives. You can combine all three by departing Geraldton and heading for Paynes Find on the Miner’s Pathway. See the gold battery and museum then drive through Station Stay country, perhaps overnighting with a station family. Head north to Mt Magnet and its 37 kilometre tourist trail. Stop off in Cue with its historic Masonic Lodge and Great Fingall Gold Mine building, visit Meekatharra and Peace Gorge and head further north on the Kingsford Smith Mail Run to Mt Augustus, Australia’s largest rock. From here head to Exmouth or travel back to Perth via Murchison Settlement on the Wool Wagon Pathway and get a feel for what life was like for drovers, living on stations and herding their flocks of sheep across barren land.
Goldfields and Esperance
GOLDFIELDS and ESPERANCE
Total distance 1,718km, 3 to 5 days

Travel from Perth to Merredin and Southern Cross in the heart of wheatbelt country. Visit Coolgardie, one of Australia’s best preserved goldrush towns and the city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Visit the Golden Mile, the massive mining Super Pit, the Gormley Sculptures of Lake Ballard, or journey back in time visiting historic buildings and museums before travelling through Norseman and south to the coast. Esperance has spectacular coastal scenery, extensive national parks and magnificent snow-white beaches that overlook the Recherche Archipelago. Return to Perth via Hyden where you can admire Wave Rock, permanently poised like a wave about to break, then the farming towns of Kondinin, Corrigin and Quairading and the historic town of York.
Wave Rock
WAVE ROCK WILDFLOWER TRAIL
Total distance 738km, 2 to 3 days

Travel from Perth through the historic town of York, Western Australia’s oldest inland town then on to the wheatbelt towns of Quairading, Bruce Rock and Narembeen. Head east then south to Hyden and, 4km from town, Wave Rock. This gravity-defying feature looks like a moment frozen in time — permanently poised like a wave about to break. The rock is over 100 metres long and rises 15 metres into the air. Tourists are well catered for as thousands of people visit the area each year. Return to Perth via Kondinin, Kulin, Corrigin and Brookton. At any of these country towns take the time to explore interesting museum displays and enjoy real country hospitality.

Self-drive itineraries in Australia's Coral Coast

Perth to Bunbury
INDIAN OCEAN DRIVE
Total distance 844km, 3 to 4 days

Depart Perth on the Indian Ocean Drive (north from Wanneroo Road), heading towards the small fishing town of Cervantes and one of Australia’s most interesting landscapes, thousands of limestone stalagmite-like formations of the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. The surrounding area has an abundance of wildflowers which reach their peak beauty between July and October. Continue north by Jurien Bay to enjoy skydiving, snorkelling at Jurien Bay Marine Park and the flowers of Leseuer National Park, before visiting Dongara and Geraldton. Visit the war memorial and restored pioneer buildings in Geraldton and Greenough, and enjoy ­the relaxed holiday vibe at these beautiful coastal towns. On your return consider visiting inland towns Moora, Muchea and New Norcia, Australia’s only monastic town.
Perth to Bunbury
GERALDTON–KALBARRI–MONKEY MIA
Total distance 1,873km, 3 to 5 days

Take the Great Northern and Brand Highways north to Geraldton, an ideal place to stop and explore before continuing to Northampton and the beautiful beaches and spectacular river gorges of Kalbarri. From here travel north to Denham, Australia’s westernmost town. Perfect to visit all year round, Denham has calm, protected waters that are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Visit Shell Beach, Francois Peron National Park and, of course, the world-famous dolphins of Monkey Mia who come in close to the shore daily to be fed. Return to Perth via Geraldton and the seaside town of Dongara taking an alternate route through the scenic farming towns of Mingenew and Moora and passing through the monastic town of New Norcia.
Perth to Bunbury
COASTAL DISCOVERY
Total distance 835km, 3 to 5 days

Start your coastal journey at the major hub of Geraldton, visit the maritime museum and get a feel for the relaxed coastal lifestyle. Head north to the protected Shark Bay World Heritage Area to see the Monkey Mia dolphins, ancient stromatolites at Hamelin Pool, the beautiful Shell Beach, and enjoy plenty of water activities. Fill up on tasty fruit at Carnarvon, famous for its banana plantations, at the mouth of the Gascoyne River. The journey continues on to Coral Bay, Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, Australia’s largest fringing reef. Divers and snorkellers will be spoilt and everyone else can enjoy the pristine beaches, and, in season, get up close to the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. Also it’s worth a detour from Exmouth to visit the Cape Range National Park.

Self-drive itineraries in Australia's North West

Perth to Bunbury
WARLU WAY
Total distance 2,408km, 10 days

This winding road links five of the biggest natural attractions in Western Australia. Starting at Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth, the trail of wonders leads inland past Tom Price to Karijini National Park in the Pilbara, with deep red gorges cut by crystal blue water. Stop to dip in the waterfalls or cruise down the waters. Then you’ll head north to visit Fortescue River, the waters sacred to the Aboriginal people in the Millstream-Chichester National Park. Continue up to view up to a million ancient rock engravings at the Burrup Peninsula, just past Karratha. The area is believed to have been inhabited for more than 30,000 years. Finally head past Port Hedland to the sparkling waters and miles and miles of beach at Broome. Grab a cocktail, a deckchair, and relax!
Perth to Bunbury
SAVANNAH WAY
Total distance 1,204km, 6 days

This road paves the way for travellers heading over the top end of the country, winding its way from Broome ultimately to Cairns in Queensland. Start on the beautiful beaches of Broome, the pearl of WA, and enjoy the busy town and a sunset on Cable Beach before you head to Derby and the Buccaneer Archipelago. Explore the dynamic Indigenous culture, take a boat out to the islands or get up close to the unusual boab trees that line the streets. The Drive takes you through Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek, passing some unmissable natural wonders — Tunnel Creek and Geikie Gorge National Parks, as well as the Purnululu National Park, home to the iconic Bungle Bungles. Visit Wyndham, WA’s most northerly town, and make your final stop the largest open-cut diamond mine on the planet at Kununurra.
Perth to Bunbury
GIBB RIVER ROAD
Total distance 667km, 3 to 5 days

The Gibb River Road in WA’s remote far north links Derby with Kununurra through some of the most spectacular countryside anywhere on earth, including Windjana Gorge, Tunnel Creek and Leopold Ranges. Further north is Kalumburu and Drysdale River National Park. Much of the road is unsealed so a 4WD vehicle is essential, and careful planning and pre-booking are usually required. The road is subject to flash-flooding during the wet season from November to March and has long sections between isolated settlements. There are a number of cattle station turnoffs along the way; some have no public access whilst others can supply meals, provisions, fuel and repairs as well as limited accommodation which should be pre-arranged. Camping and lighting of fires is permitted in designated areas only.

Times and distances given are approximate and do not take into account the many stops you can make along the way. Permission may be required before entering national parks and aboriginal lands. Precautions should be taken especially when driving in the outback as hazards such as dust clouds, road trains, kangaroos (particularly at dawn and dusk) and long, isolated stretches of highway can occur. Seek advice from local authorities and automobile clubs when planning your journey.
Updated October 2020 © COUNTRYWIDE PUBLICATIONS