Experts in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific

Western Australia road trips - The drive of your life

Posted 31 May 2019
Discover the epic beauty, amazing animal encounters and laidback lifestyle of Western Australia.

Bring your sense adventure and discover why Western Australia’s picturesque scenery was made to be explored by car. From vast salt lakes, to lush waterfalls tumbling down steep-sided canyons, to outback towns brimming with history, discover at your own pace and see why Western Australia is deemed the Road Trip State.

On route, combine stunning beaches and twisty coastal drives, with giant boab trees and karri forests, mind-boggling rock formations decorated with indigenous rock art dating back to antiquity. So, check your playlist. Bluetooth it to your car. Start your engine and begin the drive of your life, discovering the nature, culture and epic scenery of Western Australia. Here are five top drives for you to enjoy.

1. The Avon Valley 500 Loop
Drive time: 2 days
Hire car: SUV
Best for: The natural beauty and heritage of some of Western Australia’s original settlements

At a glance:
• Trek to waterfalls at John Forrest National Park
• Witness the beauty of Avon Valley
• Visit the monastic town of New Norcia

Begin in Australia’s sunniest city, Perth and discover its golden beaches, hip culture and colonial architecture. The drive will sweep you towards York, taking in John Forrest National Park to trek among the boulders and waterfalls. Arriving in York, explore the town, especially the galleries, museums and antique stores, plus the recently renovated Victorian architecture. The next leg of your journey takes you to Northam, a region renowned for its wines and artistic community. New Norcia is an unexpected pleasure: a monastic town whose inhabitants welcome visitors to tour the Spanish architecture of the monastery, and buy a freshly baked loaf or two from the bakery. Looping back towards Perth take in the beautiful landscapes and rich farming country of Chittering Valley for wine tasting experiences.

2. The Great Kimberley Wilderness Loop
Drive time: 16 days
Hire car: 4x4 vehicle
Best for: Extraordinary rock formations, spectacular gorges, and the rugged Gibb River Road

At a glance:
• Boat trips along the Geikie Gorge
• Swim in Zebedee Springs
• Visit the Bungle Bungles

Begin in the pearling town of Broome, sampling the bohemian lifestyle that has captivated artists, writers and musicians. Explore the rugged and wild scenery of the Kimberley region. Immerse yourself in the rich culture of indigenous communities including the Bunuba, Nyikina and Wangkatjunka. Cruise through the Geikie Gorge to spot freshwater crocodiles, and discover the 350 million year old Devonian reef system. Further along, you’ll encounter the Wolfe Creek Meteorite Park, the second largest crater in the world. At your next stop, Purnululu National Park, witness the otherworldly Bungle Bungle beehive rock formations. After experiencing the panoramic vistas of Lake Argyle, the largest man-made lake in the Southern Hemisphere, take the Gibb River Road through the rugged landscape and native flora and fauna of El Questro Wilderness Park to paddle in Zebedee Springs. Take in the scenic Bell Gorge and the two mile-long Windjana Gorge before your route takes you back to Broome.

3. The World Heritage Coastal Drive
Drive time: 11 days
Hire car: Convertible
Best for: UNESCO World Heritage Listed natural wonders

At a glance:
• Discover ancient fossils
• Meet Monkey Mia’s dolphins
• Snorkel on the world’s longest fringing reef, Ningaloo Reef

From Perth, head to Kalbarri to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park to wander among its spectacular limestone structures. Study the wildflowers and rock formations of Kalbarri’s ancient gorge including the stunning rock arch, Nature’s Window. Visit the oldest and largest living fossils on Earth, Hamelin Pool Stromatolites. Your drive takes you onto Monkey Mia, to see bottlenose dolphins right off the beach on this beautiful stretch of the Coral Coast. Head to Carnarvon along the North West Coastal Highway to visit Ningaloo Reef at Red Bluff for a spot of rugged camping. From there, continue to Coral Bay, the perfect spot for snorkelling among its 500 fish species or to observe its 300 species of coral. Exmouth is home to whale sharks (March – July) and humpback whales (July – October) so embark on a boat tour for the experience of a lifetime. Having explored the rocky gorges of Cape Range National Park, and especially the red canyon of Yardie Creek for its steep cliffs teeming with birdlife, return to Perth.

4. The Great South West Edge
Drive time: 11 days
Hire car: Convertible
Best for: Stunning wine regions karri forests and the breath-taking Wave Rock

At a glance:
• Discover the incredible Wave Rock
• Journey through Margaret River Wine region
• Discover National Parks 

Explore the wine regions and karri forests of the southwest of Western Australia. From Perth, cruise over to the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre to meet these friendly creatures by boat tour. Your next leg will wind you through the Margaret River region, to visit vineyards, unwind on pristine beaches, and explore the ancient wonders of Jewel Cave and the Ngilgi Cave systems. Study the massive grey granite domes of Porongurup National Park, and be sure to climb the Granite Sky Walk for spectacular views. Your drive will take you by Bluff Knoll, the highest peak in the state, before joining the Great Ocean Drive in Esperance. Grab your binoculars to view fur seals and sea eagles amid the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. The final leg of your journey brings you to Hyden, renowned for its 3 billion year old Wave Rock and 3,000 year old Aboriginal art in Mulka’s Cave.

5. The Golden Quest Discovery Trail
Drive time: 6 days
Hire car: SUV
Best for: Unearthing goldmining heritage, breath-taking art and outback ghost towns

At a glance:
• Visit the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie
• Antony Gormley statues at Lake Bullard
• Discover gold rush ghost towns

Take a trip through time into Australia’s gold mining heritage when you explore the gold rush history and ghost towns of Western Australia. From Perth you’ll follow the original pipeline that brought water to the gold fields: The Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. In Coolgardie, the place where quartz gold was originally discovered, you can uncover the history of the 1892 Gold Rush. Compare and contrast with the Super Pit near Kalgoorlie, one of the largest open cut mines in the world. Australia’s largest outback town, Kalgoorlie, is filled with colourful bars and restaurants and is definitely worth a visit. On route to the Menzies, pass through the ghost towns of Banda and Siberia. Further along you’ll discover Lake Ballard (an ephemeral salt lake) where the 51 sculptures of Antony Gormley stand sentinel. Further goldmining heritage awaits at Gwalia, including Hoover House, home to the former American president Herbert Hoover. Follow the golden pipeline back to the Perth Hills.

If these road trips sound like your next adventure, and you’d like to know more, get in touch with our Travel Designers and they’ll help you create a Western Australia road trip that you will never forget.