Nestled along the rugged coastline of Western Australia, the idyllic town of Esperance remains under the radar of many travellers, shrouded in an air of mystique and waiting to be discovered by only the most adventurous of souls.
For those seeking to unravel the untamed allure of the Australian wilderness, we invite you to embark on an unforgettable Perth to Esperance road trip. It is a journey that promises an extraordinary adventure, taking you from the vibrant state capital to a stunning coastal wonderland all the way through a mesmerising landscape that is as diverse as it is awe-inspiring.
This article will provide you with a guide on how to complete a road trip to Esperance from Perth. In it, we’ll proffer plenty of tips and advice on everything from the best route to take to what to see and do along the way.
So, log in to your travel app planner and prepare to make some notes, as we are about to take you on one of the most extraordinary drives you could ever wish to go on in the Great Southern Land.
- What is the Distance Between Perth and Esperance?
- How Long do I Need Driving from Perth to Esperance?
- Best Time of Year to Drive from Perth to Esperance
- Best Stops on a Perth to Esperance Trip
- Perth to Esperance via Wave Rock Detour
- Essential Tips for a Perth to Esperance Drive
What is the Distance Between Perth and Esperance?
Typically, the Perth to Esperance drive along the most direct route covers a distance of around 705 km. It would take about 7.5 hours to complete if you drove it without stopping. Therefore, you could leave Western Australia’s state capital after breakfast and reach your coastal destination well before dinner.
While that is the route we will focus on in this article, you can complete a road trip from Perth to Esperance in several other ways. One involves incorporating a bigger loop that will take you via Kalgoorlie and the Goldfields region, enabling you to visit historic gold mining towns like Southern Cross and Norseman along the way.
Another will hug the coastline along National Highway 1 and allow you to visit places like Albany, Margaret River, and Rockingham. These routes add a good few hours and a few hundred km to the journey.
Route 1 Perth to Esperance – Most Direct Route
|Drive||Distance||Estimated Drive Time||Where to Stay|
|Perth to Jarrahdale State Forest||64 kms (40 miles)||1 hour 12 minutes||Jarrahdale State Forest|
|Jarrahdale State Forest to Wickepin||162 kms (101 miles)||1 hour 59 minutes||Wickepin|
|Wickepin to Lake Grace||113 kms (70 miles)||1 hour 8 minutes||Lake Grace|
|Lake Grace to Lake King||115 kms (71 miles)||1 hour 9 minutes||Lake King|
|Lake King to Ravensthorpe||70 kms (43 miles)||44 minutes||Ravensthorpe|
|Ravensthorpe to Esperance||187 kms (116 miles)||2 hours 1 minute||Esperance|
If you take the direct route, you can also detour from Perth to Esperance via Wave Rock without incurring too much extra drive time.
How Long do I Need Driving from Perth to Esperance?
For most visitors to Western Australia, the road trip to Esperance from Perth is something you are only likely to do once in your lifetime. Subsequently, while you can cover the route in a day, it is worth setting aside a few days to complete it.
Ideally, if you had a week at your disposal, you could spend plenty of quality time at several sights and attractions to fully immerse yourself in them. However, at minimum, you should pencil in three days to complete this journey. Doing so will enable you to comfortably incorporate rest breaks, meal stops, and potential sightseeing opportunities along the journey.
Ultimately, we recommend encompassing the journey as part of the destination. So, plan for a more leisurely drive during your Perth to Esperance road trip and spread the journey over a few days to truly enjoy the diverse landscapes and attractions en route.
However long it takes you, always check weather conditions and road advisories before setting out on your trip and ensure your vehicle is in good condition for a safe and enjoyable journey.
Best Time of Year to Drive from Perth to Esperance
The best time of year to do a Perth to Esperance drive will depend on factors like your budget, weather conditions, school holidays, and what you want to see.
If you need help deciding the best time for you to go, here is a breakdown of what to expect during each season.
Spring (September to November): Spring is an excellent time to embark on the Perth to Esperance road trip as the weather starts to warm up and nature comes alive with vibrant colours. Wildflowers bloom across the landscapes, turning the region into a picturesque wonderland. The temperatures are generally mild, ranging from 15°C to 25°C, making it comfortable for outdoor activities and exploring the various national parks and attractions along the way.
Autumn (March to May): Autumn is another favourable time for the road trip from Perth to Esperance, as the summer heat wanes and the weather becomes more temperate. The days are still warm, ranging from 18°C to 28°C, while the evenings might be cooler, adding a pleasant touch to your journey. This season offers a quieter atmosphere with fewer tourists, allowing you to enjoy the region’s scenic beauty in a more tranquil setting.
Both spring and autumn provide ideal conditions for sightseeing, hiking, and beach activities in Esperance and the surrounding areas. However, it’s worth noting that Western Australia’s weather can be unpredictable, and it’s always advisable to check the weather forecast before starting your journey.
Summer (December to February): While summer might seem attractive for a Perth to Esperance road trip, especially for beach lovers, it’s the hottest time of the year in Western Australia. Temperatures can soar above 30°C and even reach into the 40s °C in some regions like Cape Le Grand. The intense heat might make outdoor activities uncomfortable, and popular tourist spots can get crowded during the peak season.
Winter (June to August): Winter is the coldest and wettest time of the year in Western Australia. The temperatures can drop, and some areas may experience rainfall. While the landscapes might still be beautiful, the chilly weather and potential rain might limit outdoor activities and make driving conditions more challenging.
Overall, we recommend planning your road trip from Perth to Esperance during the spring or autumn months to enjoy milder temperatures, stunning landscapes, and a more pleasant overall experience. Both seasons offer unique charms and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of this coastal paradise.
Best Stops on a Perth to Esperance Trip
During your road trip from Perth to Esperance, the most direct route will take you along state routes 30, 120 and 107 before ending on National Highway 1.
Along the way, you can see and do plenty of things. Here are some of the sites and activities we most recommend.
Jarrahdale State Forest
Visiting Jarrahdale State Forest is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Western Australia’s natural landscapes. Located just a short drive from Perth, this forest offers a peaceful retreat and a chance to explore the unique Jarrah trees native to the region.
The park offers several family-friendly and well-maintained trails to hike along. On them, watch for native wildlife and birds that inhabit the area. If you’re visiting during spring, be sure to check for wildflowers blooming throughout the forest, creating a colourful and enchanting display that kids will find captivating.
For many people, a highlight is the historic Jarrahdale Ghost Town. Whilst there, you can take a step back in time and learn about the region’s fascinating past. Kids should enjoy exploring the old buildings and remnants of the timber milling industry, gaining insights into Western Australia’s heritage.
Older kids can also try mountain biking on designated trails for adventure, while younger ones might enjoy a treasure or nature scavenger hunt. For a unique experience, consider a family picnic amidst the forest’s tranquil setting. There are designated picnic areas with facilities, making it easy to relax and savour the natural surroundings while enjoying a meal together.
Wickepin is a charming town located in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region. It boasts a range of attractions that draw visitors seeking a taste of rural charm and historical significance.
One of the town’s main attractions is the Wickepin Heritage Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the area’s pioneering past and agricultural heritage. The museum showcases an impressive collection of artefacts, vintage machinery and historical exhibits, providing a glimpse into the early days of settlement and rural life.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the scenic beauty of Wickepin Lake, a serene spot for picnics, photography, birdwatching and leisurely walks. During the wildflower season, the area comes alive with a vibrant display of native blooms, creating a breathtaking spectacle to behold.
For those interested in rural activities, visiting a local farm can be a delightful experience. Kids and adults alike can get up close to farm animals and better understand agricultural practices through guided tours and interactive experiences.
If the weather is too hot for sightseeing, Wickepin has a lovely swimming pool, which kids will no doubt enjoy spending a lot of time at. The town is also a renowned spot for stargazing, with the local community centre offering telescopes to see the cosmos in the beautiful night sky.
In the heart of the Wheatbelt region, Lake Grace offers a fabulous range of family-friendly activities.
One of the main drawcards of the town is its lake, a beautiful natural attraction surrounded by picturesque landscapes. The lake provides a serene setting for picnics, birdwatching, and gentle strolls, allowing you to appreciate and enjoy the wonders of nature.
For an educational experience, visit the Lake Grace Museum and Historical Society. Here, you can learn about the area’s rich heritage, pioneering history, and the significance of agriculture in the region.
Another must-visit spot is the Lake Grace Wildflower Heritage Trail. During wildflower season (usually from August to November), the trail becomes a vibrant display of colourful blooms, providing an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about the diverse flora of Western Australia.
Make sure you attend the annual Lake Grace Agricultural Show if your visit coincides. This local event features exciting activities, entertainment, and exhibits that will keep the kids entertained for hours.
Those driving electric cars will find an EV station at the Railway Building in the town centre. Likewise, the Liberty Roadhouse and motel have one, providing convenient accommodation and charging options.
Not far from Lake Grace, the charming town of Newdegate has some fabulous Silo Art to observe.
As Lake King lies at a crossroads, it’s worth stopping here for a while before venturing toward Esperance.
In addition to being a convenient stop, it offers a remarkable opportunity to encounter the diverse beauty of the outback landscape. Here, you can fully embrace the rugged beauty of Frank Hann National Park, a vast expanse of 61,420 hectares. Whilst there you can explore native heath flora. You can also engage in the walk trails to uncover the area’s rich history, observe its diverse birdlife, and witness the southern Wheatbelt’s stunning spring wildflowers on display from June to November.
To get to Lake King, you will drive along the extraordinary Lake King Causeway, stretching over 10 kilometres of salt lakes adorned with natural scrub and wildflowers. Talking of driving, be sure to take the Magdhaba Track, which leads through a conservation reserve teeming with native flora and fauna, culminating at Roe Hill Lookout.
If you seek a more adventurous experience, head to the majestic Peak Charles, rising 480 metres above its surroundings. This popular rock climbing destination boasts a variety of smaller faces and gullies, accommodating climbers of all styles and abilities.
Ravensthorpe is a charming and tranquil town that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. Surrounded by picturesque landscapes of stunning wildflowers, it is a paradise for nature lovers.
The nearby Fitzgerald River National Park boasts a rich biodiversity, home to an astonishing variety of plant and animal species, making it a haven for hikers, birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. The park’s rugged cliffs, pristine beaches and wildflower-strewn plains offer a captivating escape into the wilderness.
Beyond its natural allure, Ravensthorpe provides a glimpse into the region’s past through its historical sites and attractions. The Ravensthorpe Historical Museum delves into the town’s heritage, while the Rabbit Proof Fence Interpretive Center sheds light on Australia’s pioneering history.
The town is also renowned for its stunning grain silos. Forming part of the Public Silo art trail, they feature massive honey possums and banksias in their colourful design.
Once you arrive in Esperance, tourists will be spoiled for a choice of things to see and do, especially if travelling with kids.
Esperance’s crystal-clear waters and powder-soft beaches are a playground for kids and adults alike. Little ones will delight in building sandcastles, splashing in the gentle waves, and exploring the tidal pools teeming with fascinating marine life. Popular family beaches such as Twilight Beach and Lucky Bay – where kangaroos often frolic on the sand – are must-visit spots for endless seaside enjoyment.
For nature-loving families, Cape Le Grand National Park is a treasure trove of wilderness wonders. Children will be amazed by the towering granite peaks, while hiking trails like the Le Grand Coastal Walk offer a chance to spot native wildlife and breathtaking vistas. The park’s campgrounds provide a unique opportunity for kids to experience the great outdoors and stargaze under the clear night skies.
Esperance’s family-friendly attractions also extend to educational experiences, such as the Esperance Bird and Animal Park, where kids can interact with cuddly farm animals and native wildlife. The Esperance Museum offers insights into the region’s history, while the Rotary Lookout provides a panoramic view of the town and its surroundings, perfect for a family photo opportunity.
Perth to Esperance via Wave Rock Detour
If you plan to detour from Perth to Esperance via Wave Rock, it will involve driving on State Route 40.
|Drive||Distance||Estimated Drive Time||Where to Stay|
|Perth to York||98 kms (61 miles)||1 hour 20 minutes||York|
|York to Corrigin||1335 kms (84 miles)||1 hour 26 minutes||Corrigin|
|Corrigin to Wave Rock||112 kms (70 miles)||1 hour 12 minutes||Wave Rock|
|Wave Rock to Esperance||382 kms (363 miles)||4 hours||Esperance|
On this side trip, we recommend you visit the following places:
As one of Western Australia’s oldest inland towns, York exudes a captivating old-world ambience you should not miss.
Whilst there, stroll through its well-preserved streets adorned with Victorian-style architecture and quaint shops. Big and little kids alike will love to check out the treats at Pennyfarthing Sweets – an old-school lolly shop in the Settlers Village.
The town’s heritage can be explored at the York Motor Museum and the York Residency Museum, offering glimpses into the region’s past and automotive history. Alternatively, for nature lovers, Mount Brown Lookout provides panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Adventure seekers can take on the challenging York Heritage Trail, a 55 km-long walking track that winds through the undulating landscape, passing historic sites and scenic vistas.
If that sounds too energetic, the laconic Avon River, which meanders through the town, is a perfect backdrop for picnics and leisurely walks along the riverbanks.
Corrigin is another town in Western Australia that provides an authentic rural experience in the heart of the Wheatbelt region.
This welcoming town offers a warm and friendly atmosphere and is renowned for its unique attraction – the Corrigin Dog Cemetery. This cemetery pays tribute to the beloved working dogs that have been loyal companions to the local farming community. Visitors can explore this touching memorial and learn about the deep bond between humans and their canine friends.
Nature lovers will appreciate the vast and picturesque landscapes surrounding Corrigin. The town is an excellent base for exploring nearby natural wonders, including picturesque lakes and wildflower displays during the blooming season.
Another exciting thing to do is traverse the Corrigin Windmill Walk, where you can see a collection of beautifully painted windmills that reflect the town’s agricultural heritage.
En route to nearby Kulin, why not check out the Tin Horse Highway? It stretches for 15km and comprises more than 70 creatures made from tin. Inquisitive minds will have fun trying to work out what each animal is!
Once in Kulin, your kids will love the massive 182-metre-long, 18-metre-high water slide at the local aquatic centre. It is the biggest in the region.
Wave Rock is a spectacular natural wonder near Hyden in Western Australia. It is a unique rock formation that stands approximately 15 meters high and stretches nearly 110 meters long, resembling a giant wave frozen in time.
Visiting Wave Rock offers a surreal experience as you witness the striking colours and patterns carved into the rock by centuries of erosion. The unique wave-like shape results from the granite’s weathering, creating a mesmerising spectacle that changes appearance throughout the day as the sunlight dances upon its undulating surface.
Beyond its awe-inspiring appearance, the area around Wave Rock provides various opportunities for exploration. The nearby Hippo’s Yawn, a rock formation resembling a yawning hippopotamus, is also fascinating. Elsewhere, the Hyden Wildlife Park showcases the region’s native fauna, including kangaroos and emus.
Not too far from Wave Rock is The Miniature Soldier Museum, which features over 10,000 small war figures kids, in particular, will find interesting. Remarkably, the museum’s previous owner painstakingly crafted each figure individually, creating war scenes that range from WWI and WWII to the American Civil and Napoleonic Wars to the Great World Wars. The collection also features big ships made from bottle tops, sardine tins, and spam cans.
Adjacent to that, you’ll find the quaint Lace Place, an extensive collection of lace creations, some of which are as fine as a spider’s web.
Essential Tips for a Perth to Esperance Drive
- Petrol stations can be few and far between in this part of Western Australia, so be sure to fill up every chance you get. Consider downloading the Fuel Map Australia app to your phone, as that will provide you with real-time information on current petrol prices at stations nearest your present location.
- Be extra vigilant when driving in the dark, especially just before sunrise and after sunset. At this time, marsupials often crossroads without warning. If you collide with them, you can damage your vehicle significantly and, of course, kill the animal.
- During your Perth to Esperance road trip, a local mobile phone network SIM card is worth buying. They are relatively cheap to pick up – often less than AUS $20 – and provide you with connectivity in most places you go. With this connectivity, you can access online maps to direct you to where you want to go and also be able to phone emergency services if required.
- Looking for more road trip inspiration from Perth? We share all our favourite west coast driving itineraries from easy day trips to multi-week adventures!
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