Delight in hundreds of kilometres of captivating coastline with a journey along the Treasure Chest touring route. This path takes in a huge chunk of Western Australia’s South West region, which serves up jaw-dropping coastline, irresistible beaches, and prized national parks. Throw in the famous premium wines of the Margaret River, and the Perth-Albany Experience is a journey of pure indulgence.
- Enjoy the maritime vibe of Fremantle
- Head below with ease at Busselton’s Underwater Observatory
- Treat the palate within the Margaret River region
- Climb massive karri trees at Pemberton
- Be dazzled by natural beauty within Torndirrup National Park
Taking advantage of a wonderful location on the banks of the Swan River, Perth provides immense appeal. The Western Australian capital is blessed with ample sunshine to enjoy its enviable assortment of attractions.
Be rewarded with glorious views from Kings Park and Botanic Garden or from atop the Bell Tower, choose from myriad first-rate beaches such as Cottesloe, and embrace Northbridge’s humming nightlife. Venture further afield by hopping on a ferry to alluring Rottnest Island or please the palate with a journey around the Swan Valley food and wine region.
Perth to Fremantle
20km (0hr 25min)
Just 25 minutes’ drive south of Perth’s CBD, at the mouth of the Indian Ocean, is Fremantle. Although technically a suburb of Perth, Fremantle carries its own personality. Feel the maritime vibe of this port location with a stroll around its streets and marvel at Victorian-era architecture.
One of the most striking structures is the convict-built Fremantle Prison, part of the World Heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites. Delve into its absorbing past on a guided tour. The Western Australian Maritime Museum explores Fremantle’s strong link with the sea and has a whopping collection of objects on display.
Fremantle to Bunbury
170km (1hr 55min)
On the next leg of this touring route, coastal hotspots are within easy reach if you’re prepared to take small diversions from the main path.
Rockingham provides unforgettable encounters with marine life. Join a glass-bottom boat cruise through Shoalwater Islands Marine Park and spot an array of sea life. Or be thrilled by the opportunity to swim with dolphins.
Mandurah has transformed from a small fishing village to a bustling city and has a prime position at Mandjar Bay. The Mandurah Ocean Marina is the place to soak up the sun: it has waterfront cafés, restaurants, markets, and shops.
In nearby Pinjarra, Peel Zoo prides itself on up-close encounters with its wide variety of wildlife.
Further south, Yalgorup National Park will grab photographers’ attention owing to its collection of thrombolites, which are funky and rare, rock-like creations.
Bunbury is a superb spot to break up the touring route and its peninsula setting lends itself to a wide range of water activity.
Bunbury’s A-list celebrities are the resident dolphins. The Dolphin Discovery Centre has the lowdown on these inquisitive creatures – and other marine life – and provides various intimate encounters. Wade with dolphins in shallow waters, swim with them, or stay dry by joining a cruise.
Alternatively, snorkel or dive at the Lena dive wreck site or enjoy waterfront dining along Bunbury’s ‘cappuccino strip’.
Admire a comprehensive collection of works at the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries or indulge in more eye-catching creations by viewing a cluster of impressive historical structures. Don’t miss the striking, chequered flag design of the Bunbury lighthouse, either.
Bunbury to Busselton
55km (0hr 55min)
Continue to nudge the coast along this pleasant and short stretch of the Treasure Chest touring route.
Tuart Forest National Park is an enticing picnic spot that has myriad bird life and wildlife.
Perched on the pristine shores of Geographe Bay, the lively city of Busselton is magnetising. Glittering beaches extend for kilometres, ensuring water recreation is plentiful. Swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, water-skiing, and whale-watching are popular pursuits.
The waters around Busselton Jetty form one of Australia’s premier diving spots – but you can enjoy the captivating kaleidoscope of colours down below without even getting wet. Head along the 1.8km-long Busselton Jetty and reach the Underwater Observatory. Descend 8m and be transfixed by a mind-blowing 300-plus marine species. The Busselton Jetty Interpretive Centre is just 50m offshore and includes the Cultural Heritage Museum.
For more culture, visit the Busselton Museum or the ArtGeo Gallery and Courthouse Arts Complex.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Busselton
Street : 10 Earnshaw Road, City : Busselton, PostCode : 6280
Street : 97 Caves Road, City : Busselton, PostCode : 6280
Busselton to Margaret River
50km (0hr 45min)
Another short stint of this touring route awaits, but a detour that hugs more of the sparkling coast incorporates alluring destinations.
Dunsborough utilises more of astounding Geographe Bay, allowing further opportunity for water activities. Whale watching and diving around the HMAS Swan wreck are exciting. Or climb to the top of nearby Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for outrageously good views.
Further along, Yallingup provides a strong allure for surfers and the Sugarloaf Rock formation will have photographers snapping away.
If you’ve decided to head straight for the Margaret River township, you can hardly be blamed. The wider Margaret River region has a global reputation for its amazing premium wine and delectable produce.
Many grape varieties excel here and with more than 150 wineries, cellar-door hopping is achieved with ease. Various microbreweries offer a fine alternative to wine. Tasty cheese, chocolate, preserves, and other goodies are straight from the top shelf. A thriving and diverse arts scene extends Margaret River’s appeal.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Margaret River
Street : 8113 Bussell Highway, City : Cowaramup, PostCode : 6284
Margaret River to Denmark
315km (4hr 05min)
While this is the longest stretch of the Perth-Albany Experience, underground gems await just a short drive from Margaret River: the spectacular caves found across the Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge. More than 150 caves are scattered around here and several are accessible to visitors within the Margaret River region as well as further down near Augusta.
From here, the touring route heads inland where beautiful karri forest dominates the landscape. Stop by Beedelup National Park to view these towering trees as well as magnificent Beedelup Falls.
Continue to Pemberton – this town is within easy reach of various karris that double as fire lookouts. The good news for those who don’t suffer from acrophobia is that visitors can climb them, and the views from atop are remarkable. The Gloucester tree, within Gloucester National Park, will perch you 61m above ground. However, the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, within Warren National Park, is the king of the karris with its 75m-high vantage point. These national parks have a series of spectacular walking tracks for those who would prefer to stay grounded.
More incredible national parks are dotted along the way as the route steers towards the coast. Shannon National Park showcases more of this amazing forest, while D'entrecasteaux National Park is divine: witness dramatic coastline, white-sand beaches, ancient basalt columns, and more karri forest. Walpole-Nornalup National Park, accessed from Walpole, features the prized Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk that takes you 40m above ground.
Children will be absorbed by the captivating displays at Denmark Dinosaur World (note: despite its name, this attraction is located 45km from Denmark).
William Bay National Park, just 20 minutes from Denmark, is also teeming with treasure. Highlights are Greens Pool, a sheltered and popular beach that showcases the park’s signature rock boulders; and the well-named formation, Elephant Rocks.
Located where tall trees meet the ocean, Denmark is an inviting town with a rich timber-milling past. Situated on the idyllic Wilson Inlet, it boasts glorious swimming, surfing, and fishing beaches.
History can be gleaned at the Denmark Historical Museum or by viewing the heritage fire station and the old butter factory. Or be tempted by an assortment of delectable produce at various outlets.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Denmark
Street : Ocean Beach Rd, City : Denmark, PostCode : 6333
Denmark to Albany
55km (0hr 45min)
More natural wonders are revealed on the final stint of your journey.
West Cape Howe National Park is a crowd puller owing to its beautiful beaches. View the abundant treasure from Shelley Beach Lookout, which doubles as a hang gliding hotspot.
The end point of this touring route, Albany, was once the principle port of Western Australia and is perched on the Princess Royal Harbour.
Exploring Albany’s past is compelling and among its historical themes are whaling and convicts. Albany’s heritage is best appreciated by strolling along the Amity Trail where a collection of striking old buildings is revealed. Among them is a former convict gaol, which makes for a fascinating tour.
Another tour of great interest is of the Historic Whaling Station, which thoroughly details Albany’s whaling history. Hop on board a whaling ship while you’re here.
If you’d prefer to relax, Middleton Beach is ideal for a swim. It is backed by Norfolk pines, making it an inviting picnic spot.
A visit to nearby Torndirrup National Park is essential – and make sure the camera is packed. Torndirrup has an incredible collection of weather-beaten natural features as well as glittering beaches. A series of lookouts unearth gobsmacking views and whales can be seen from here, particularly during winter.
Albany comes to life in spring when wildflowers carpet the landscape and provide an incredibly colourful sight.
BIG4 Holiday Parks in Albany
Street : BIG4 Emu Beach Holiday Park, City : Albany, PostCode : 6330
Street : 28 Flinders Parade, City : Albany, PostCode : 6330