When it comes to great Australian road trips, you are spoilt for choice in Perth. The sun-soaked capital of Western Australia is a gateway to several extraordinary driving adventures – each one comprising an endless tapestry of natural wonders, cultural marvels and unforgettable experiences.
From the ethereal Pinnacles Desert to the pristine beaches of the Coral Coast, there is plenty to discover as you navigate the highways and byways on Perth road trips.
So, if you have an adventurous spirit and yearn for the open road, please keep reading as we reveal the mysteries and highlights of what to expect from a selection of unforgettable road trips from Perth.
- Hiring a Car in Perth
- Day Trips & Longer Road Trips From Perth
- Further Tips For Road Tripping in Western Australia
Hiring a Car in Perth
If you did not bring your car to Perth or do not think it would be up to completing a road trip, then hiring a vehicle is an excellent option. Perth boasts a range of reputable car rental agencies that offer a wide selection of vehicles to suit various preferences and budgets.
Do I need an off-road vehicle in WA?
When selecting the ideal car for your weekend trips from Perth, consider the diverse terrains you may encounter. For those planning to explore the rugged outback or venture into remote regions, a robust 4WD or SUV is a wise choice, providing both comfort and reliability on unpaved roads.
However, if you stick mainly to the well-maintained highways and coastal routes, a compact or midsize car may suffice, offering better fuel efficiency for longer journeys.
Whatever your choice, ensure your rental car has GPS navigation and ample storage space to accommodate your luggage and road trip essentials.
Overall, having the right vehicle at your disposal will make road trips in Western Australia much more enjoyable.
Day Trips & Longer Road Trips From Perth
Once you’ve secured your hire car, or if you are taking your own, you’ll be set to hit the open road and go one day trips from Perth. But where can you go?
Whether you are looking for places to visit north of Perth or fancy a road trip down south, there are plenty of destinations you can head to.
If you have an adventurous spirit, here’s a list of places to consider adding to your road-tripping from Perth itinerary.
Perth to New Norcia (National Highway 95)
- Distance: 126 km
- Driving Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
If you are looking for short road trips from Perth that combine history, culture and natural beauty, look no further than the picturesque drive to New Norcia in Western Australia.
The journey to New Norcia is a serene experience, with wide, well-maintained highways that make for comfortable and enjoyable travel. Along the way, you’ll encounter the Avon Valley, a region renowned for its wildflowers during spring. Be sure to plan your trip during this season to witness a vibrant carpet of colours.
Upon reaching New Norcia, you’ll find a place that feels more European than Australian. Established in 1846 by Spanish Benedictine monks, New Norcia is Australia’s only monastic town. It boasts beautifully preserved architecture, including a grand abbey, a historic hotel and a museum that tells the story of the town’s religious heritage. Don’t miss the chance to savour the town’s famous bread and other artisanal products made by the monks.
In addition to its rich history, New Norcia is surrounded by natural beauty. Explore the nearby Moore River, where you can take leisurely walks or swim in the clear waters. For those interested in Aboriginal culture, the region also offers opportunities to learn about the local Indigenous history and art.
Perth to Wave Rock (State Route 40)
- Distance: 331 km
- Driving Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Visiting Wave Rock is right up there as one of the best Perth day trips you can do.
An incredible geological formation, Wave Rock resembles a gigantic breaking wave frozen in time. As a result of millions of years of weathering and erosion, the rock’s unique shape stands an impressive 15 metres in height and stretches over 100 metres. Whilst there, you can explore the base of Wave Rock and discover the ancient Aboriginal rock art, revealing the deep cultural significance of this place.
Those seeking more adventurous pursuits can explore the surrounding Hyden Wildlife Park, home to a diverse range of native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos and emus. Additionally, check out the nearby Mulka’s Cave, known for its Aboriginal legends and fascinating rock formations.
Getting to Wave Rock involves traversing the expansive Western Australian Outback. The drive is a real adventure involving wide-open roads that lead you into the heart of the Wheatbelt region, full of quaint country towns, offering a glimpse into rural life.
Perth to Geraldton (State Route 60)
- Distance: 415 km
- Driving Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
If you are in the mood for coastal day trips from Perth by car, consider heading up to Geraldton – the gateway to Western Australia’s Coral Coast. The drive takes you along the Indian Ocean, where you’ll witness superb, scenic coastal vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Along the way, stop by the fascinating Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park, where thousands of limestone pillars create a surreal lunar-like landscape.
Once in Geraldton, explore the city’s maritime heritage at the Western Australian Museum, where the HMAS Sydney II Memorial is a poignant reminder of the region’s wartime history. Stroll along the picturesque foreshore or take a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the town’s pristine beaches.
While it’s possible to complete this journey in a day, this route is perfect for those wanting to enjoy weekend trips from Perth.
Perth to Albany (State Route 30)
- Distance: 418 km
- Driving Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Heading to Albany is an excellent option for those wanting a road trip down south.
From a departure point that involves driving in Perth, you’ll first encounter the evergreen expanses of the South West region. As you meander along the Albany Highway, the rolling hills and lush farmlands create a picturesque backdrop for your adventure. Make a stop at the historic town of York, known for its charming streets lined with well-preserved 19th-century architecture.
From there, the road takes you through the heart of Western Australia’s wine country. Be sure to explore the renowned wineries of the Great Southern region, where you can try award-winning varietals amidst the scenic vineyards.
On arrival in Albany, you’ll find a coastal paradise rich in history. The town played a significant role in Australia’s Anzac history, and you can pay your respects at the National Anzac Centre, perched atop Mount Clarence with panoramic views of King George Sound.
Albany’s rugged coastline boasts dramatic cliffs and pristine beaches, with must-visit spots like the Gap and Natural Bridge offering spectacular vistas of the Southern Ocean. Be sure to add the historic Whaling Station to your Perth itinerary to learn about the region’s whaling past.
Perth to Esperance (National Route 107)
- Distance: 697 km
- Driving Time: 7 hours 45 minutes
Perth Road Trips don’t get much better than the one that takes you to Esperance. This journey will leave you amazed by this vast and diverse region’s sheer beauty and natural wonders.
Leaving the urban comforts of driving in Perth behind, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by the unique landscapes of the Wheatbelt region. The drive takes you through open farmlands and charming rural towns and to the historic gold mining town of Kalgoorlie to explore its rich heritage.
From there, the landscape gradually transforms as you approach Esperance until the brilliant turquoise waters of the Southern Ocean come into view. Prepare to be captivated by the pristine white sands of Twilight Beach and Lucky Bay. These beaches often rank among the world’s most beautiful, with their fine sands and crystal-clear waters – inviting you for a refreshing swim or relaxing stroll.
Esperance is also a gateway to the stunning Cape Le Grand National Park, home to iconic landmarks like Frenchman Peak and the Cape Le Grand Beaches. For hikers, this park offers a variety of trails that lead to breathtaking panoramic views.
As you explore the region, you’ll also discover the rugged beauty of the Great Ocean Drive, where you can witness the remarkable rock formations of the coast, including the famous Pink Lake.
Perth to Exmouth (National Route 1)
- Distance: 1250 km
- Driving Time: 13 hours 10 minutes
For more adventurous road trippers looking for places to go north of Perth, visiting Exmouth is an epic journey to complete.
Spanning approximately 1,250 kilometres along the Coral Coast, this journey involves a thrilling exploration of Western Australia’s coastal beauty and marine treasures.
From Perth to Exmouth, you’ll journey through the picturesque countryside, passing rolling farmlands and charming towns like Geraldton. As you venture further northward, the scenery gradually transforms into a mesmerising tapestry of red dirt, turquoise waters, and dramatic cliffs.
Exmouth is a terrific base for exploring the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. You can snorkel or dive alongside majestic whale sharks, manta rays and vibrant coral formations here. Take the opportunity to explore the captivating underwater world of the reef’s numerous snorkelling sites, where you’ll encounter an array of marine life.
Beyond the oceanic wonders, Exmouth offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures. Hike in the Cape Range National Park, where rugged canyons, pristine beaches, and red rock formations provide endless opportunities for exploration. Take a scenic drive along Yardie Creek Road and be rewarded with breathtaking views of Yardie Creek Gorge.
The road trip also allows you to visit Turquoise Bay, known for its crystal-clear waters and iconic drift snorkel experience. You’ll love effortlessly floating along the shoreline, admiring colourful fish and vibrant corals as the gentle current guides you.
Perth to Broome (National Highway 95 and National Highway 1)
- Distance: 2045 km
- Driving Time: 22 hours 30 minutes
The mother of all road trips in Western Australia undoubtedly takes you from Perth to Broome.
This epic journey covers a distance of around 2,500 kilometres of breathtaking landscapes, promising an unforgettable adventure.
As you traverse the vast expanse of the National Highways, be prepared to be awestruck by the stark contrast between the vibrant red earth and the piercing blue skies. You’ll encounter charming outback towns with unique characteristics and characters along the way.
One of the highlights of this road trip is the opportunity to visit Karijini National Park. This pristine wilderness is a hiker’s paradise, with rugged gorges, refreshing rock pools, and ancient geological formations. Take the opportunity to explore Hancock Gorge and swim in Fern Pool – it’s an experience you’ll treasure forever.
As you continue north, the landscape transforms again, leading you to Broome’s sparkling turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. This coastal paradise is famous for its stunning sunsets over Cable Beach, where camel rides provide a unique perspective of the awe-inspiring scene.
Whilst in Broome, you can explore the town’s rich pearling history, visit the fascinating Horizontal Falls and enjoy delicious seafood while overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Allow between 10 – 14 days for this epic road trip.
Further Tips For Road Tripping in Western Australia
What many newcomers to Western Australia don’t realise is the vast size of the country.
- Calculate your daily driving distances carefully when considering a road trip from Perth as you can drive often hundreds of kilometres on fairly straight, boring stretches or road with few fuel stops.
- Plan regular stops to stretch out to avoid driver fatigue, and if possible, switch driver.
- Understand the rules and etiquette for overtaking road trains in WA; outside of Perth, these ultra-long trucks are a frequent occurrence motorists need to be familiar with .
- You can find more tips here for planning an Australian road trip and driving through the Aussie outback.
- If you want to extend these itineraries further around the country, check out our guide to planning The Big Lap of Australia
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