Ultimate 14 Day Western Australia Road Trip
Western Australia is synonymous with road trips and it’s not hard to see why. It’s difficult to think of anything more liberating than hitting the sun-drenched tarmac and discovering the national parks, beaches, cities and vineyards of this vast yet sparsely populated region. From Perth to Broome, a self drive trip in the West opens up visitors to all kinds of experiences and adventures, and having the freedom to explore it all at your leisure is a truly exhilarating feeling. Discover how to spend 14 thrilling days on a Western Australia self drive itinerary.
Planning is crucial for making the most out of your experience on Australia’s west coast. There is a plethora of things to do in WA and the sheer size of the state means that driving times need to be taken into account. So if you’re keen to plan an unforgettable road trip Down Under, our two week itinerary below takes in all the best bits, with distances and approximate travel times factored in to help make things as smooth as possible for you. Arrange a rental car, grab a map, and get excited about exploring Western Australia by road.
Day 1: Margaret River
If you can, begin your self drive journey south of Perth, in Margaret River, in the extreme southwestern portion of the continent. This is a stunning location offering the chance to taste and sample local wines if you’re able to spend a night here before setting off on your travels north along the coast. Wine lovers are spoilt for choice with over 150 wineries in the area and following a wine trail is a fantastic way to explore the area as well as its produce. This region is most famous for its cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, so whether you love red or prefer white, there’s something for you.
Once you get behind the wheel, there are a host of attractions on offer just a few hours’ drive heading north towards Perth. The town of Busselton, with its famous jetty and underwater observatory, Ngilgi Cave and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, which dates back to 1904 are all within an hour or so. Busselton Jetty is the world’s second longest wooden jetty in the world, spanning over 1,840 metres, offering tourists a great chance to get nearly two kilometres out onto the stunning waters to experience the beauty of Geographe Bay.
If you are unable to start your road trip from Margaret River, why not add on a day tour from Perth, before starting your journey north up the west coast.
Day 2: Margaret River to Perth
Driving Distance: 287km
Driving Time: 3 hours
After taking in the area around Margaret River, it’s time to hit the open road and make for the city of Perth. En route, stop off at Koombana Bay in the northern suburbs of the town of Bunbury and keep an eye out for wild dolphins in the water here. Wildlife lovers may want to plan for a little more time in this area to explore the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Koombana, but either way this represents a great place to grab a bite to eat and stretch the legs. A little further along Yalgorup National Park is another ideal place for a walk: a scenic spot characterised by a series of ten adjoining lakes and a great place for a stroll after a few hours spent behind the wheel.
From here, the road heads north along the shimmering coastline towards the city of Perth, passing through the waterfront town of Mandurah. This is a great whale watching spot and an area known for its Blue Manna Crabs. There is even a festival named after them in March every year – imaginatively named Crabfest!
Days 3 & 4: Perth & Rottnest Island
A city that basks in sunshine all year-round, Perth is the perfect blend of cosmopolitan and cool. This is an urban gem that offers the chance to shop, sight see and sunbathe all on the same day. It is also ideally located to take advantage of a host of local sights and attractions on a day or two’s rest from the road. In the centre of Perth, enjoy a wide range of restaurants, bars and shops, as well as attractions including Fremantle Prison, the Bell Tower and the verdant urban oasis that is Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Choose from our top Perth hotels for your city stay.
One of the most popular day trips from the city is Rottnest Island. Known locally as ‘Rottie’, this is a protected natural haven and at just 25 minutes from the city by boat it’s easily accessible and a great draw even if you can only stay for a few hours. Rottnest Island is known for its beaches and its lighthouses; Bathurst and Wadjemup Lighthouses are also well worth a visit. This tiny island is an idyllic spot for catching rays but there’s also a range of more active pursuits on offer, including hiking, fishing and water sports.
Animal lovers in particular should also take full advantage of the opportunity to meet the native quokka, a photogenic mammal related to the kangaroo and affectionately referred to as the happiest animal in the world. Aside from a small colony on the mainland, quokkas are found only on Rottnest Island and recently, their friendliness and curiosity has made them an internet sensation as social media networking sites – particularly Instagram – have become awash with tourists taking selfies with these delightful creatures.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see quokkas by pre-booking your Rottnest Island Day Tour.
Day 5: Perth to Cervantes
Driving Distance: 260km
Driving Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Today is the day you witness one of the true wonders of Australia’s diverse and scintillating geography, the famous Pinnacles in Nambung National Park. Located approximately 29 km south of Cervantes, the park is home to the unmissable Pinnacles, which are a collection of limestone pillars that pierce the sandy, scorched ground to form a mesmeric natural pattern seemingly sculpted from the stone. Some of the stacks are up to four metres high and every one is unique in shape. There are thousands in total and not even the most high-powered camera can do the panoramic landscapes justice, so you really have to see it to believe it.
After exploring the Pinnacles and the wider area of Nambung National Park, head to Cervantes to relax on the beach, sample the catch of the day or try a range of water sports.
Days 6 & 7: Cervantes to Kalbarri
Driving Distance: 412km
Driving Time 4 hours
The drive from Cervantes to Kalbarri is one of the longest on this itinerary, so it’s a good idea to plan a stop off or two en route.
Luckily, there’s a lot on offer on this stretch of road. Take a break overlooking the ocean at Jurien Bay and enjoy some local hospitality and a walk around the charming fishing village of Port Gregory before arriving at Kalbarri. At the end of the day’s travel, your destination town for the evening is famed for its pristine beaches and rolling waves, as well as its national park, which boast every feature going from rock arches, coves and gorges to spectacular cliffs that overlook the water.
Outdoor pursuits are available in abundance here, so you can hike, cycle, ride, surf, climb, swim, fish and snorkel until your heart’s content. Plan to spend a day off the road taking in this wonderful town and all its possibilities.
Include Cervantes, Kalbarri and more on our pre-planned 10 day Self Drive Itinerary.
Days 8 & 9: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia
Driving Distance: 395km
Driving Time: 4 hours
Leaving Kalbarri, travellers will pass through the national park again before heading north to Monkey Mia, a stretch of golden sand that has become an incredibly popular haunt due to its thriving dolphin population.
Located on the World Heritage protected Shark Bay, Monkey Mia has been attracting dolphins since the 1960s and there’s nothing quite like watching these inquisitive, friendly animals darting in and out of the water with the breeze blowing and the sun setting. The area is also known for its population of endangered dugong, another marine mammal similar to the manatee which thrives in the area.
This is a great chance to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most amazing sights. On offer here are opportunities to feed bottlenose dolphins, swim in crystal clear waters, lay eyes on some of the world’s oldest fossils and experience the wonders of the region from an indigenous point of view – including the chance to catch and cook your own meal, meditate to the sound of the didgeridoo and learn about the culture of the ancient tribes who call this land home.
Aside from the marine life who are the veritable stars of the show here, there are also plenty of other attractions on offer, including the Shark Bay World Heritage Discovery Centre, Little Lagoon and Ocean Park. Some stunning viewpoints can also be found, including Eagle Bluff and Steep Point. Accessible by 4WD, this is officially the most westerly point in Australia.
Day 10: Monkey Mia to Carnarvon
Driving Distance: 349km
Driving Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
This leg of the journey takes in a beautiful stretch of the western coastline. There is an option to stop off and discover the impossibly turquoise waters of Dirk Hartog Island National Park and this is a great spot for sea kayaking and snorkelling if you have a few more hours to spend.
Moving north, the day’s journey ends in Carnarvon, a town that sits at the mouth of the Gascoyne River and overlooks Babbage and Whitlock Islands. Marvel at the clarity of the water and enjoy the views from One-Mile Jetty, which stretches 1.6 kilometres out into the ocean. Just like at Busselton, a ride on the Coffee Pot Train is a great way to see the views and get to the end of the pier.
Day 11: Carnarvon to Coral Bay
Driving Distance: 238km
Driving Time: 2 hours 26 minutes
Coral Bay, as the name suggests, is an underwater treasure trove best explored by boat or seen up close with a mask and flippers. The area boasts a diverse range of marine life, including whale sharks, turtles and humpback whales, so this is another chance to get your wildlife fix along the WA coastline.
Day 12: Coral Bay to Karratha Bay
Driving Distance: 526km
Driving Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
The reward at the end of the longest drive on your itinerary is the chance to discover the rugged wonderland of Karratha. Scattered with gorges, coves carved out by the ocean waves and shell-covered beaches, this is a beautiful location that has great symbolic importance to Aboriginal communities, some of whom are said to have lived in the town of Karratha for 50,000 years.
Take in the wonder of the area’s incredible history with a trip to see the rock art drawn by indigenous people thousands of years ago. Not only is it a breathtaking feeling to lay eyes on something so old but this is also one of the earliest expressions of human culture.
Day 13: Karratha to Eighty Mile Beach
Driving Distance: 476km
Driving Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Stop off at Port Hedland for a bite to eat en route, then make for Eighty Mile Beach, a seemingly never-ending stretch of sand that actually spans around 140 miles! This expansive area is home to a fascinating array of migratory birds and is certainly geared towards those hoping to step out of the car and get involved in a myriad of outdoor activities ranging from bird watching to fishing. Sprawl on the beach to catch some rays, spend an hour playing cricket or volleyball or take some time out to build sandcastles on the beach.
Day 14: Eighty Mile Beach to Broome
Driving Distance: 376km
Driving Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
The final stop on this epic Western Australia self-drive itinerary, Broome, is a friendly seaside resort town which is enviably located to enjoy fun-filled days at Cable Beach. There’s a lively atmosphere here and plenty to do, including a host of safari trips, such as camel rides at Cable Beach, farm boat tours and the chance to see crocodiles at Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park and Animal Refuge. Those who are keen to learn about the history of the town are strongly encouraged to pay Broome Museum a visit, too.
Travelling from Perth to Broome, let alone Margaret River to Broome, is no mean feat, but this thrilling road trip treats visitors to a snapshot of a spectacular part of Australia as well as offering an opportunity to enjoy an incredible array of activities, excursions, adventures and experiences. If you haven’t got 14 days to spare but would love to experience a self drive on the West Coast of Australia, consider our shorter 6 day options, with Monkey Mia and The Pinnacles or Western Wanderer.
From city slicking in sun drenched Perth and posing with quokkas on Rottnest Island, to tasting wines in Margaret River and gazing upon the otherworldly landscapes of Nambung National Park, Western Australia makes for an unforgettable holiday and one that gives you total freedom to take the open road at your own pace. Start planning your Western Australia holiday today.
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