Being the largest state in the country, Western Australia has immense shores that offer a wide range of road trip opportunities for everyone. If you are looking for a way to kill time while enjoying the sights, food, and drink, driving around some WA areas is a great idea. The sheer scale alone makes the state a world-class destination. The incomparable natural beauty of sandstone domes, clear ocean waters, and sweeping green vineyards – you name it, Western Australia has it.
Are you ready to plan your next road trip? Whether you desire to drive up the coast or want a quiet getaway out of your city life, we’ve got the seven most spectacular places worth a leisurely afternoon (or night-time) drive. So, pack your favourite snacks, update your navigation apps, and prepare your music playlists because it’s time to hit the road.
1. The Coral Coast Highway
Most people dream about experiencing wildlife encounters that they can talk about with their friends or families over dinner for years. If you’re among them, this one’s for you. The Coral Coast Highway offers remarkable animal sightings. This route is 1,200 kilometres long, stretching from Perth to Exmouth, clinging to the coast while leading north.
You will see sea lions as you pass by Jurien Bay. When you are around Kalbarri, you can go birdwatching for a while before heading to other sites. While here, do not miss the chance to visit UNESCO World Heritage areas. There are two nearby, namely Shark Bay and Ningaloo Reef. Shark Bay is famous for sea cows or dugongs and dolphins.
Meanwhile, Ningaloo Reef is where you just might be lucky to spot two different gigantic sea creatures: whale sharks and humpback whales. It is also known for its abundance in manta rays.
But wildlife encounters are not the only thing to look forward to as you drive through the Coral Coast Highway. At night, you can stop along the way to enjoy lobster and taste rum. Daytime is best spent going sightseeing over the Hutt Lagoon with its globally recognised pink waters.
2. The Golden Triangle
You’re probably thinking of something else, but The Golden Triangle actually refers to the trio of roads joining Balingup, Bridgetown, and Nannup. While you can quickly complete the path between Nannup and Balingup in under an hour, we highly recommend that you drive as slowly as you possibly can. The 45-kilometre leg offers plenty of local shops along the winding road.
You’re in for a treat as you drive by, especially if you long to see natural pools. The Golden Triangle has Barrabup Pool and Greenbushes. And if you want to sip some wine while taking in the scenery, head to Tathra Hilltop Retreat Winery.
The Old Cheese Factory is a stop you should not miss. Ironically, it is a feta-free zone. Instead, you will find an art and craft gallery, which is now what the factory has been converted into. Perhaps that may disappoint the cheese lover in you, but we assure you that it is still worth your time. You should also check out the Balingup Lavender Farm. Don’t worry; you will see dreamy lavender fields this time.
3. Warlu Way
The Warlu Way is as interesting as its name. It silently shows you the mysteries of the sea serpent known as Warlu, along with several other indigenous legends. If your idea of a road trip involves hours and hours of driving on seemingly endless roads, this may just be for you. Covering 2,500 kilometres, you can go on a self-drive journey as you make your way through the path of Dreamtime sea serpent’s path.
The Warlu Way traverses Kimberley of Western Australia, Pilbara, and North-West Australia. The vast area gives you sights of sacred landscapes with enchanting Aboriginal myths. The trail begins on the shores of Ningaloo, the world’s biggest fringing reef, and leads you to Broome. You will then move from the sapphire seas until you reach lush oasis and rugged ranges. As you drive, you’ll surely get a glimpse of the secrets of the country through interpretative signages.
Among the highlights of your road trip include stopovers to Karijini National Park, Dampier Archipelago, and Burrup Peninsula. You may want to allocate about 10 days of end-to-end travel. Don’t forget to stop by Millstream Chichester National Park, which is known as the home of the Warlu.
4. Perth Hills
Sometimes, taking a road trip does not have to be far away from home. About 35 kilometres from Perth, you can drive along Perth Hills between Mundaring Weir and Kalamunda. You can begin your journey however you want, but we suggest you start through the bushland right along the Mundaring Dam. Walk through the area before getting into your car and driving via Bickley-Carmel Valley.
If you have someone with you or you’re not designated driver, head to one of the local wineries along Bickley Valley. There are quite a few choices here, including Plume, which is particularly famous in social media sites, especially Instagram. If you would like to have some lunch, Core Cider House has excellent cheese boards that will give you the energy you need.
You can continue the adventure but make sure to stop by some of the orchards along Kalamunda. They are among the best areas to spend your afternoon in. There are a few organic produce to consume, including kale and some free-range eggs. Finally, you can conclude the road trip by taking the Zigzag Road to return to Perth.
5. South West Edge
You may have heard about this route before. It is hailed as the home of the largest trees in the world. Western Australians take pride in the area because it is also recognised for the biggest wild orca gathering in the southern hemisphere. And if these traits are not enough, you have plenty of places to see here, including Elephant Rocks, Twilight Beach, and the Valley of the Giants. These sights sure sound like you’re reading them off of a J.R.R. Tolkien novel.
Lucky Bay, which is near Esperance, is yet another proof that the South West Edge is a route of superlatives. It is where you can find the country’s whitest sands. You certainly do not want to miss such a beautiful view. The pathway runs from Perth to Esperance, and you can take your time as you drive by various locations.
For about seven days or more, you can explore the area and visit natural spas. Do not miss the tasty wines in the Margaret River and other attractions along the way, such as Lake Hillier and Wave Rock.
Take this epic road trip that gives you 1,200 kilometres of road to discover. You can even go on a ferry ride starting from Fremantle until you reach Rottnest Island. There is always something for you, from wine tastings to bike trails to whale watching.
6. Sunset Coast
What about when you do not have seven or 10 days to spare? You can still go on a road trip even with a limited time. The West Coast Highway gives you sightings of at least 15 beaches. It’s undoubtedly the road trip to choose for those looking forward to seeing the beautiful coast of Western Australia.
The Sunset Coast drive is relatively straightforward. Although it runs for what seems to be endless, the 11-kilometre route is direct and simple. You only need to decide where you would like to enjoy breakfast lunch, some pre-dinner drinking, or dinner. There are so many oceanfront cafés to choose from, including Bib & Tucker, which is in North Freo.
You can then head to Cottesloe Beach, which is north of North Fremantle if you’re looking for a fun swim. Continue the ride until you reach City Beach or you can go to Reabold Hill instead. It’s where you can see the beauty of the city from the highest point on the coast. You can go camping (or glamping if you prefer) or simply continue the trip by driving some more to witness more of the splendid coastline.
7. The Gibb River Road
There are only a few places that match the appeal of outback travel of Western Australia. And that’s where Gibb River Road comes in. It is just over 650km, but this road trip will definitely be memorable for you. Initially, this route was for moving cattle from Wyndham to Derby. But now, you can add it to your list of trips to take, especially if your goal is to explore the magnificence of Kimberley’s gorges, cattle stations, and tropical wilds.
The Gibb River Road is also a fantastic way to explore the ancient Aboriginal culture. Take in more history as you go from one attraction to another, including Windjana Gorge National Park, Drysdale River Station, and Questro Wilderness Park.
To fully relish the drive, we suggest that you take the road trip between April to October. It’s the dry season, so you have a good chance of witnessing Aboriginal rock art. You can even stay on cattle stations for an authentic experience. An SUV or a seven-seater car to accommodate the whole gang will help ensure the entire adventure is comfortable.
Road trips are best enjoyed when you rent a suitable car with Aries Car Rental. If you need guidance on how to plan your road trip, you can read our post about creating your itinerary. Pack for a few days and head to your choice of route for an unforgettable journey around Western Australia.