A mixed bag of eye-bulging sights are a constant along a route that embraces glittering coastline, myriad national parks, and time-honoured holiday destinations.
What: Perth to Albany via Margaret River and Walpole
Distance (approx.): 640km
Driving time (approx.): 7hr 30min
Suggested time: 4-6 days
Summary: The route heads south along the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest and Bussell highways to Margaret River before veering east to mostly follow the Brockman, Vasse, and South Western highways to Walpole and then the South Coast Highway to Albany.
For easy navigation, we’ve divided this route into two sections:
This drive dissects Perth’s southern suburbs before edging the coastal centres of Rockingham and Mandurah. It’s only a slight diversion from the main path to explore the many waterways of Mandurah, the state’s biggest regional city.
From here, the route clings to the coast before reaching Busselton, an appealing city overlooking Geographe Bay. While there’s plenty to entertain, Busselton’s most notable attraction is a 1.84km-long jetty that has an underwater observatory at its far end.
From this point, the route cuts inland to Margaret River, quickly introducing visitors to vineyards that make up one of Australia’s premier wine districts.
Both a township and a region, Margaret River has rich appeal. The wider area showcases all manner of landscapes, attractions, and experiences.
Nearby Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park demonstrates this all on its own. Quirky caves, towering trees, funky formations, and breathtaking beaches lead a litany of treasure to uncover in this massive space.
Yallingup Maze is another excellent Margaret River attraction, the bovine-themed town of Cowaramup is worth a wander, and Aboriginal cultural tours are highly rewarding.
Elsewhere, Aravina Estate in Yallingup includes both a surf and sportscar museum alongside a cellar door and taphouse.
BIG4 accommodation along this leg
The first section of this leg is dominated by greenery as it cuts through national parks and state forests.
A stop at Greater Beedelup National Park is recommended. Its key feature is Beedelup Falls, easily accessed from a nearby car park.
Continue to Pemberton, which is surrounded by massive karri trees, most notably those in nearby Gloucester National Park. The most famous of these is the Gloucester Tree, which was once used as a fire lookout and can be climbed – if acrophobia isn’t an issue!
From here, the zig-zag nature of the route eventually steers towards the coast. John Rate Lookout warrants a stop just before reaching Walpole where – you guessed it – another nearby national park grabs attention.
Just east of town is Walpole-Nornalup National Park. It features the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, a suspended path that delivers astounding perspectives of towering tingle trees.
Soon enough, another national park demands serious attention: William Bay. Quirky Elephant Rocks and sparkling beaches led by picture-perfect Green Pools are among its best finds.
The park is just west of Denmark, a small and relaxed town overlooking Wilson Inlet. Beautiful beaches grab attention, as do cellar doors that form part of the wider Great Southern wine region.
From here, Albany awaits. The thriving port city is planted between Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound and abounds with picturesque beaches.
And dare we spruik yet another national park, but nearby Torndirrup is a star-studded area replete with eye-catching formations. These include The Gap and Natural Bridge, both of which are remarkable creations courtesy of Mother Nature.
BIG4 accommodation along this leg
Cape Naturaliste: At the tip of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, this headland serves up amazing vistas. It’s 35km west of Busselton.
Two Peoples Bays Nature Reserve: Admire stunning coastal scenery, 35km east of Albany.
West Cape Howe National Park: Teems with dramatic landscapes south of the main highway between Denmark and Albany.
Porongurup National Park: Gigantic granite domes protrude from this park, 40km north of Albany. A skywalk atop Castle Rock delivers more jaw-dropping views.
Stirling Range National Park: Rugged peaks and a feast of flora are key features, beginning 100km northeast of Albany.
Time for a wondrous WA road trip? Start by booking a stay at a featured BIG4 park below.