Perth road trips

26 Jan 2020 5 min read

Perth road trips

Known as one of the most isolated cities on earth, Perth is a thriving metropolis of over 2 million people in Western Australia on Australia’s West Coast. As Perth accounts for over 90% of Western Australia’s population, it’s no surprise that you don’t have to travel more than a few hours out of the CBD to find yourself alone in some of the most spectacular open spaces on the planet. Perfect for a road trip, here’s some of the finest short trips by road you can do from Perth.


One of Australia’s foremost tourist destinations, Western Australia’s South West region is known all over the world for its exceptional wine and monster surf. You don’t have to be a surfer or wine enthusiast, however, to spend days enjoying this spectacular area.

Although it is possible to do in a day trip from Perth, it is highly recommended that visitors spend at least one or more nights in the region given the distances. Driving in Western Australia can be tiring, so be sure to take your time to fully enjoy the experience of this magical state.

On the coast approximately 3 hours or 250km south of Perth and sitting just 13 kilometres from Cape Naturaliste at the southernmost tip of Geographe Bay, Dunsborough has been a favourite for divers, whale watchers and surfers for generations.

A vibrant town with a bustling foodie scene, art galleries, wineries, surf shops and a relaxed vibe, Dunsborough is situated between the quiet waters of the bay and Yallingup, one of Australia’s most celebrated surf beaches. Feeling thirsty? Grab a drink at Blind Corner Wines or Eagle Bay Brewery, take a walk in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, or continue on to Margaret River just 25 km, and half an hour further south.

With over 5,000 hectares of vines planted on 215 vineyards, the Margaret River region (including Dunsborough and Busselton - home to the world’s second longest wooden jetty) produces 20% of Australia’s premium wine market with an emphasis on Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon and Chardonnay.

Attracting some of the world’s top chefs who revel in the fresh and abundant local produce, Margaret River has excellent restaurants - many attached to wineries. Vasse Felix and Leeuwin Estate are good places to start with the latter hosting outdoor concerts under the stars in summer, though you could spend years tasting all this exceptional region has to offer. Not a wine aficionado? Before you travel, head to Qantas Wine and sample their exceptional collection from the region so that you can hit the ground running with your favourite wines already selected.

Also home to the Margaret River Pro, one of the main stops on the World Surf League’s World Championship Tour, Margaret River is known internationally for its massive waves. If you’re in town at the end of May, be sure to stop to watch the Pro as some of the world’s best surfers battle the winter might of the Indian Ocean.


An easy two hour, 198 km drive north of Perth will find you in the small fishing town of Cervantes, the rock lobster capital of WA. Named after a local shipwreck, which in turn was a ship named after the author of Don Quixote, Cervantes is perhaps best known for being the closest town to Nambung National Park, home of the incredible Pinnacles Desert

Thousands of ancient limestone monuments stand sentinel in this stark landscape, with some reaching an impressive 3.5 metres in height. An ideal family outing at any time of day, dawn or sunset (combined with stargazing) will capture the area at its best.

Wildflower enthusiasts travelling in late winter/early spring should schedule a stop at Lesueur National Park, just 25 km north of stunning Jurien Bay (and 50 km north of Cervantes). One of the most impressive flora conservation areas in the state covering an impressive 26,987 hectares, the park is home to over 900 plant species.

There’s no accommodation in the park, so it’s best to stay in either Jurien Bay or Cervantes, before heading slowly back to Perth with a camera full of photos and a greater appreciation of the West Australian coast.


Gracing the cover of countless postcards and school textbooks for decades, you’d have to have been living under a rock not to have seen a photo of Wave Rock, one of Australia’s most impressive rock formations. A 4 hour, 336 km drive eastwards from Perth, Wave Rock is well worth a trip, especially if considered as a halfway point on a longer trip to Esperance (a further 382 km/ 4 hours).

A granite cliff 15 metres high and 110 metres long, this multi-coloured formation looks, as the name suggests, like a solid wave frozen in time. And with nearby crystals dated at 2.7 billion years old, that’s a lot of time indeed.

There’s more to do in the area, however, than take selfies pretending to surf, although that is a given. Visit adjacent Lake Magic at sunrise or sunset, and watch the colours change across the water, then be sure to admire the Aboriginal rock art at nearby Mulka Cave - a site of outstanding significance protected under the Aboriginal Heritage Act.

A range of accommodation, from motels to Airbnb, can be found just 4km from Wave Rock in the town of Hyden.

Road trip tips

Depending on where you go, driving in Western Australia can mean covering large distances between towns, with little water, no houses and no phone coverage. Although the road trips covered in this article are well travelled with relatively short distances between towns, it is important not to take anything for granted. 

Be sure to take an ample supply of water with you wherever you go, as well as some snacks, even if it is for a day trip. Temperatures in summer can well exceed 40c in the shade, with winter temperatures in sub-tropical regions known to drop to below 0c on rare occasions.

Ensure that your car has been recently serviced and has a functioning  spare tyre, as well as enough fuel - it can be literally hundreds of kilometres between petrol stations in Western Australia, with many of them only open during business hours. Unless in an urban area, driving between sunset and sunrise is not recommended due to the threat of hitting native fauna.

Also it is essential to make sure that your roadside assistance and car insurance is up to date and covers you for the driving conditions you have in mind. For example, a number of hire car companies in Darwin exclude off road excursions within Kakadu National Park, so be sure to read the fine print carefully.

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