Last Updated on 9 February 2023 by Ariana Svenson Planning to do an Albany to Esperance road trip? Here is our definitive guide to this gorgeous area, including ideas for the main attraction, the Fitzgerald River National Park.
First up, can I congratulate you?! Albany and Esperance are two of our favourite places in the world – spectacular, diamonds in the rough. A quick look at the map (or google maps) and you will see that the driving distance from Albany to Esperance is just 492km, via Ravensthorpe. That’s nothing in Aussie terms! Good news is that will take you just over 5 hours as these are on the whole, good roads. The bad news is that if you take that route, and don’t make any detours, you will miss the awesome beauty of the spectacular Fitzgerald River National Park – and that would be a huge shame.
In fact, we are going to put it out there, the best way to experience the Albany to Esperance road trip would be to do it over two days. This includes staying overnight in either Hopetoun or Bremer Bay. If you are particularly interested in doing a whale watching tour in Bremer Bay to see the Orcas then you would have to plan to do it in 3 days. You will need to allow a day in Bremer Bay for the whale watching trip which takes approximately 8 hours.
Using this guide we have created an open ended Albany to Esperance Road trip. Ideally you would join this road trip with some of our other epic road trip options including
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Albany to Esperance in Two Days
Ok, we reckon that a road trip from Albany to Esperance in two days makes a lot of sense. So we are putting this one up first. The one day version is further down in the text.
Albany- Kinjarling is a lovely coastal port city with a rich history, stunning coastline and some excellent museums and restaurants. So, before you depart Albany make sure that you have seen the many Albany attractions!
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Overall, we think the best route would be: Albany to stay overnight in Bremer Bay/ onwards to Esperance. We have covered this route below, with the optional detour to go via the Porongorups and the Granite Skywalk.
The ‘beaches’ option is below.
Albany to Two People’s Bay
Less than an hour’s drive from Albany, Two People’s Bay is truly a spectacular beach – and one that you will gorgeous Little Beach popping up on the ‘gram all the time. While it’s never ‘crowded’ getting up early for the soft dawn light and the beach to yourself is very worthwhile.
The Visitor Centre at Two People’s Bay, featuring information on the noisy scrub bird, opens in summer from 10 to 4pm. It has information on local endangered species the Noisy Scrub Bird, and Gilbert’s Potoroo.
Otherwise, why not get rid of the cobwebs and do hike out to the beach and back? The Heritage Trail is the perfect hike to enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty of Two Peoples Bay. The trail starts at the visitor centre, through the peppermint woodland, and then back to the start along the beach. There are many places along the trail to look out over the sheltered bay. The trail is a total of 4.6km, is moderately difficult, and takes about 2 hours total.
You need a National Parks pass to visit Two Peoples Bay! The combined parks passes make much better value for money, considering that you are going to visit more than a couple parks on your way. If you are a local like we are, an annual National Parks Pass is a truly brilliant investment. I find it encourages us to go places. If you are a visitor to Western Australia (lucky you) then I would highly recommend buying a Holiday Park Pass. You can read more information about the Holiday Park Pass here.
WA Holiday Park Pass
Unlimited entry to all parks for up to 4 (four) weeks.
5 Day Holiday Park Pass
Unlimited entry to all parks for up to 5 (five) days.
2 Week Holiday Park pass
Unlimited entry to all parks for up to 2 (two) weeks.
Two People’s Bay to Cheynes Beach/or Waychinicup National Park
It’s about an hour into either of these beautiful spots and lovers of solitude might want to visit either. If not, from Two People’s Bay to Bremer Bay is 157km/ under 2 hours of driving.
You could arrive in time for a late lunch at the Wellstead Museum and Café, which serves up some great lunches – and then explore some local history.
If the weather is good you’ll want to spend some time on Bremer Bay’s spectacular beaches – there are plenty to pick from. Don’t miss sunset from one of the Point Henry Peninsula beaches – we loved the views from Little Boat Harbour. Alternatively, if you are back in town, you might like to climb up to the Wind Turbines Lookout and get spectacular views across the entire area. You’ll want to settle down at the gorgeous Bremer Bay Brewing Co to reminisce on a great day.
Options for Accommodation at Bremer Bay
Bremer Bay Resort – This 3-star motel accommodation is located in Bremer Bay. You can book a traditional room or an apartment style room with a full kitchen area. Either way each room offers free wifi and air conditioning. There is a a pizza restaurant on-site offering spectacular views out over they bay. Check here for the current rates.
Bremer Bay B&B – A bed and breakfast accommodation in Bremer Bay that offers stylish, updated rooms all with a private bathroom. Some of the rooms even have breach views. Guests enjoy a free breakfast and coffee each morning. For more information look here.
Alternatively if you would like an incredible wilderness stay, in the Fitzgerald National Park Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat is a fantastic “off the grid” option. It is literally off grid, meaning there is no cell service available at the property and you must travel down gravel roads to reach the destination. Located on 40-acres at the edge of the national park, Quaalup offers an amazing chance to relax and enjoy the natural flora and animals of the region. Expect to see many different birds, kangaroos, and it said to be the place for the best land based whale watching in all of South West Western Australia. Not to mention a vast array of wildflowers year round.
Quaalup Homestead Wilderness Retreat offers several different accommodation options from camping spaces to 3-bedroom cabins. Learn more on their website.
Albany to Castle Rock, in the Porongorups
Note, if you are going to take the Castle Rock route to Esperance the fastest way is then head directly through Jerry (that’s Jerramungup for non-locals) and on. This means you’d miss out on Bremer Bay or the Western side of the Fitzgerald National Park. Some bloggers have listed this as the best way to get from Albany to Esperance, and so we realize some people might want to do it that way.
We love Mt. Barker, Castle Rock, and the lesser known Nancy Peak and would recommend it as a day trip from Albany rather than inserting it into the Albany to Esperance itinerary.
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The Porongorups to Yongergnow, and Ravensthorpe, Then Overnight in Hopetoun
On the other hand, this route will take you past Yongergnow, the Mallefowl Centre out of Ongerup. Yongergnow offers tours through the two aviaries that house the malleefowl. Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 4pm. Closed Monday. The name, “Yongergnow” comes from the Noongar language ‘Yonger’ represents the location of Ongerup (place of the male kangaroo), and ‘gnow’ –the aim of protecting the Malleefowl.
From Jerramungup you’d head onto Ravensthorpe, to look at the amazing silo art. While there are now a lot of silos painted with massive murals, you can’t go paste the ones in Ravensthorpe, which display the “six stages of the Banksia Baxteri”. The three silos are painted so that you see the different stages of development of the blooms, from the seed pods developing, to opening, from buds to bloom. The Banksia Baxteri is only found between Esperance and Albany making this stop particularly pertinent for your road trip! The Ravensthorpe Banksia Silos were painted in 2016 by Amok Island; and it took them 31 days to complete the massive project. For more information about the Silo Trail read the website here.
Finishing up Day 1 of your Albany to Esperance road trip you would drive the final 68 km from Ravensthorpe to Hopetoun. This is about 45 minutes or less than an hour.
Options for Accommodation at Hopetoun
Wavecrest Village & Tourist Park – Wavecrest Village and Tourist Park is a rental community 2.5 miles from Hoptoun. This well-appointed village offers several different rental accommodations as well as a community pool, playground, and bbq area. Inside the village is a restaurant and convenience store for easy access to food and snacks. Check here for availability.
Hopetoun Motel and Chalet – Another wonderful place to stay is the Hopetoun Motel and Chalet Village. It is centrally located and only a two minute walk to restaurants, cafes and the beach. This is particularly nice to be able to stretch your legs afters a long day in the car. The standard rooms have either a mountain or sea view while the townhouse chalets all have unrestricted ocean views. Look here for rates and availability.
Bremer Bay vs Hopetoun as a Base for Visiting the Fitzgerald National Park
As we’ve mentioned above, we think that if you missed Bremer Bay would be a great shame. Therefore the best itinerary for an Albany to Esperance road trip is via Bremer Bay and/or Hopetoun. But in case you are still trying to decide, both towns border the Fitzgerald Biosphere. The Fitzgerald National Park is huge, and the first time you look at the best ways of visiting it, you think, “Whaaaat?” I’m going to break it down to make it easy.
The Eastern Side (Accessed from Hopetoun)
The eastern side of the Fitzgerald is the easiest and quickest way into the park as the town of Hopetoun is a 15 minute drive away. The roads are sealed all the way to Hamersley Inlet Campsite. The eastern side is home what many consider the best trail in park (think a climb of East Mt. Barren) and a couple of fantastic campsites.
The Western Side (Accessed from Bremer Bay)
On the other hand, the western side of the park is home to some fantastic hikes including the Point Ann Heritage Trail, West Mount Barren and the really famous hike being the Mamang Trail.
It is an hour from Bremer Bay into the park (each way) so that means that it’s better to make a day trip into the Fitzgerald rather than travelling onwards. So, when you consider that from Hopetoun it’s just 15 minutes in, that means it’s much easier from the eastern side!
Whale Watching in Bremer Bay
During the January to April season is some of the most unique whale watching in the world – in the Bremer Bay canyon. This area is home to the largest known congregation of Orca (Killer Whales) in the entire southern hemisphere and the only spot in Australia you can be guaranteed to meet these fantastic animals!
We have covered lots of ideas for which whale watching cruise to take in our comprehensive post, Things to do in Bremer Bay.
Day 2 of Albany to Esperance Trip
From Bremer Bay to Esperance
Today, we recommend getting a brisk start to the morning with an invigorating swim at John Cove and a highly recommended Orcas Coffee who have a van there most mornings. Alternatively, if a more leisurely breakfast is your thing, head to the Old Telegraph station to try their raved about breakfast menu.
From Bremer Bay to Point Ann is over an hour’s drive, through some spectacular landscapes. If you just do the drive and the Heritage Walk you would need two hours.
Taking the back roads out through the Fitzgerald National Park should take you about 2.5 hours if you drive to the conditions. These are isolated areas, better to go slowly and carefully then have an accident or hit a kangaroo. You’ll want to make a pit stop in Ravensthorpe to see the Silos, have lunch and some sweets at the Yummylicious Candy Shack.
Depending on how long you have spent during the morning, you will be perfectly timed for the final 2.5 hour drive into Esperance.
All the Things to do in Esperance are here in our BEST Things to do in Esperance and Accommodation Ideas post. And, as Esperance is known for its famous beaches, The Best Esperance Beaches, Plus Lucky Bay! is a must-read.
Albany to Esperance in One Day
It’s doable, but we would recommend getting up early and straight out on to the road. We are just covering the basic points of the itinerary, having gone into much greater depth above.
Albany to Two Peoples Bay is 50 Minutes’ Drive/ 52km
You might spend up to an hour here, especially if the Two People’s Bay discovery centre was open.
The Next Leg of your Drive is Two People’s Bay to Ravensthorpe – 3 hours.
By the time you’ve got to Ravensthorpe you might have really worked up your appetite for some sweets at the Yummylicious Candy Shackl
Artists and non-artists alike will want to pause for a moment and check out the banksia silos “Six Seasons’ stages of the Banksia Baxteri at Ravensthorpe. Inspired by one of the most spectacular and frequently seen wildflowers in the area, is the Banksia Baxteri.
But don’t dally long, because the amazing white sand beaches of Hopetoun are calling you. Just 45 minutes and you’ll find yourself in this sleepy little town. We’d recommend continuing on and straight into the insane beauty of the Fitzgerald National Park – Eastern Side.
Spend as long as you like – keeping in mind that you still have 192km/ 2 hours of driving until you reach Esperance. You don’t want to be driving these roads at dusk when there are lots of kangaroos about.
What is the Best Time of Year to Travel From Albany to Esperance?
Western Australia is generally a hot place. However, it also covers very large area of Australia. Because of this, in general the southern cost usually experiences has a more temperate climate than say Perth. It is typical for Albany and Esperance to experience hot summers and more mild (even cold or rainy) winters.
Taking that in to account, the best time for an Albany to Esperance excursion would be between November and February. This would be summer and the dry season. However, because this is also considered peak tourist season, expect for attractions to be quit busy. The shoulder seasons of September and March can also be quite nice.
What Other Ways can you Get From Albany to Esperance?
If an Albany to Esperance road trip just isn’t your thing, you might be asking yourself how else you can get from Albany to Esperance. While there are a few options below, an Albany to Esperance drive is really the best option.
Can you Fly?
Technically you can fly as Albany and Esperance both have domestic airports. However, both airports are rather small and you cannot book a flight between the two. Perth would have to be the connecting city if you are wanting to fly from Albany to Esperance or vice-versa. Because of the connecting flight in Perth, total flight time can be 5 hours or more. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no fast direct connection between the two cities.
Is There a Bus?
Similar with the flights, there are no direct buses that take you from Albany to Esperance or the other way around. As with the flights, your connection would have to be in Perth. This makes for an extremely long Albany to Esperance bus journey. If possible, you are better off with a car hire or some form of private transportation.
The Verdict – Why the Albany to Esperance Road Trip is Awesome
Whether you are travelling Esperance to Albany, or vice versa, this part of the world most definitely deserves a couple of days of your time. All we can say is – wow – wilderness, white sand beaches and so much water! Don’t worry that the Albany to Esperance driving distance is quite a long way, you will feel like it is worth it in the long run!
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