Last Updated on 17 January 2023 by Ariana Svenson
If you search Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary on the web you will come up with a range of options. Our itinerary is designed by Western Australians and takes you on the Perth to Esperance route via Wave Rock / Hyden, and once you are on the southern coast explains on how to get the best out of your Esperance beaches experience!
Our Perth to Esperance via Wave Rock itinerary focuses on reasonable length driving days and also set up in one spot for a couple of days so that you can get to know a place. This is because, as family travelers, we like to set down roots and experience a place. Alternatively, if you are a slow traveler or looking for a pet-friendly itinerary then this Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary will work for you.
This is a stunningly beautiful route! We also love that you can do the Esperance-Perth itinerary as a loop continuing onto Bremer Bay, then Albany which we describe at The Spectacular Albany to Esperance Road Trip Guide (2022) That means that if you are hiring a car you don’t have to backtrack.
The minimum you need for the Perth Esperance road trip is 5 days. However, we would recommend more like 10 to 12 days if you like to explore the places you stop at, as well as relax along the way. If you are interested in combining an Esperance trip with a South Coast itinerary please check out our Best Of South Coast Of Western Australia – A Margaret River To Albany Road Trip post.
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Some Tips to Have the Best Perth to Esperance Drive
Everyone is Individual
It takes all types to make the world so rich and wonderful. So please have a read of our Perth Esperance loop and then adapt it to your needs and interests. If you have loads of time – or are traveling without kids – then you will be able to do some of the longer hikes. In short, use our Esperance road trip guide as a foundation for your own adventure!
Get a Western Australia National Parks Pass
You will probably visit a lot of National Parks during this trip! So, it makes sense to buy a National Parks Pass.
Each National Park costs $13 for a car, but we can strongly recommend looking at the Holiday passes. You can check the current pricing here.
- 5 Day – Unlimited entry to any WA park for up to 5 (five) days.
- 14 Day – Unlimited entry to any WA park for up to 2 (two) weeks.
- 1 Month – Unlimited entry to any WA park for up to 4 (four) weeks.
Go Slow if You Can
When I think of a road trip, I think of traveling from A to B. Of course, you can use our guide here like that. However, if you can, get off the beaten track and explore. Use our experiences as a guide, but definitely not as the ‘definitive guide.’
The Stops – Perth to Esperance Road Trip Itinerary
While there are so many different things to see in do along the Perth to Esperance road trip via Wave Rock, this is the best of the best. As with most itineraries, there are several different options you can take. However, we have tried to lay it out so it makes sense as a return trip from Perth to Esperance and back that includes all the highlights and not-to-miss places.
Day 1 – Perth to Wave Rock / Hyden
Total driving time 4 hours / 332 KM
Today you head into Western Australia’s Wheatbelt. It is known for growing vast crops of wheat – but also canola and lupins. Your first stop should be York, the oldest inland town in Western Australia and 97 kilometers east of Perth. There is a nice historical feel and it makes a good stop for a coffee.
Continue on through the Wheatbelt, the most fun open-air art installation in all of Western Australia! The Tin Horse Highway near Kulin features over 70 tin horses of all sizes, shapes, and poses along the edge of the highway. Choose your favorites and stop for a selfie, or two. But, on the other hand, don’t spend all day taking selfies on the Tin Horse Highway. You want to make sure you have enough time to explore Wave Rock!
Today’s drive is a 4-hour drive. We’d go down the Tin Horse Highway at Kulin before settling into your accommodation at Wave Rock. This is so that there is time to do a walk to Wave Rock and the Hippos Yawn. Make sure you don’t miss seeing Wave Rock at sunset. Also, consider soaking in the salty springs at Lake Magic. Here is our full run down on Best Things to do in Wave Rock WA & Hyden Accommodation
Interested in learning more about Wave Rock, check out our Wave Rocks for Kids Facts.
Day 2 – Hyden / Wave Rock to Esperance
Total driving time 4 hours / 382 KM
Today you will embark on the second leg of the Perth to Esperance via Wave rock road trip. From Hyden to Lake King is about 1 hour 20 minutes of driving time. The main thing to do when you arrive is the fascinating Lake King Causeway. This drive is 10km long and takes you through an incredible landscape of salt lakes, interspersed with scrub.
Lake King to Ravensthorpe is the next leg of the Wave Rock to Esperance road trip. It’s not even another hour’s drive (it takes about 45 minutes). You have a great incentive drooling about the Yummylicious Candy Shack that is located in Ravensthorpe. It has chocolate, milkshakes, American Style hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, 12 flavors of Norgen Vaaz ice cream, Italian coffee, and herbal teas. Oh, and not to mention – another selfie opportunity with the giant lollypop!
Ravensthorpe is right on the doorstep of the Fitzgerald River National Park. However, on this particular road trip, we are heading to Esperance and will double back to “the Fitz” (as locals call it) on our way towards Albany.
Don’t forget to keep your eye out for the Malleefowl as you head on through Munglinup (pronounced Mun-gli-nup!) before; finally, you reach the objective of your road trip: Esperance, Western Australia.
We will base ourselves in Esperance for the next 2 nights to give you plenty of time to explore. On your first night, you might like to explore one of Esperance’s ‘closer to town’ attractions. Twilight Bay is just 10 minutes out of Esperance and a beautiful beach to get started. All around Western Australia we highly recommend dropping into the local visitor center (also known as the tourist bureau) to get up-to-date advice.
Esperance Visitor Centre
Things always change and the best source of information in any small town is the visitor centre. We highly recommend dropping into the Esperance Visitor Centre when you arrive to get a local’s tips on what to see and do
What Makes the Pink Lake Esperance … Pink?
Or hot pink, blush, coral, fuchsia, rose … however you see it. Pink Lake is also 10 minutes out of Esperance though you might want to read the reviews before you go!
As I mentioned above, if you read the reviews the Pink Lake just outside of Esperance is in fact, not pink. It is apparently a pretty enough lake, but an official sign that has been put up at the lake edge explains that due to a reduction in salt levels, the Esperance Pink Lake is not expected to turn pink anytime in the near future. The Pink Lake was caused by tiny algae-producing bacteria that in turn caused the color.
But… I am sure I have seen photos of a bubble-gum Pink Lake around Esperance?
Yes, you have. Lake Hillier is located on Middle Island, about 130 kilometers (70miles) from Esperance. You can visit this lake by boat, but the best way to get a great view is through a scenic flight. As you can see from the photos, the way that the bright pink stands out next to the dark blue of the ocean is fabulous.
An exciting idea is to take a helicopter to the island and explore the camp ruins left by Australia’s only known pirate, Black Jack Anderson! Then you can go and get a closer look at this lake, but not too close as they are trying to minimize human impact.
Day 3 – Explore the Esperance Beaches & Cape Le Grande National Park
You don’t get a more iconic Australian Instagram photo than a pic of a kangaroo on a white beach at Lucky Bay Esperance. However, there is a lot more to the Esperance Beaches than simply Lucky Bay. We can sum it up with the name, “Cape Le Grande National Park.” The beaches mentioned in this article – Lucky Bay, Rossiter’s Bay, Hellfire Bay, and– are all part of Cape Le Grand National Park. While the Duke of Orleans Bay is in the next national park which is Cape Arid National Park. There are parks and wildlife campgrounds at Le Grand Beach and Lucky Bay that have gas barbecues, picnic tables, toilets, and water. Don’t forget- take your rubbish with you when you leave the park.
Also, if you are exploring the Esperance Beaches, make sure to read our The Best Esperance Beaches, Plus Lucky Bay!Here you will find detailed information on all the Esperance Beaches.
Cape Arid National Park is located on the shore – offshore is the fabulously named Recherche Archipelago. Western Australians will be familiar with the name Israelite Bay, which is always mentioned on the local weather reports! The western end of Cape Arid National is the Duke of Orleans Bay which we have listed as one of the Best Beaches In Western Australia.
So the Esperance beaches are probably a large part of why you took this trip. Perhaps you didn’t know that the best beaches in Esperance, especially the “famous” one with the kangaroos on white-sand, photographed alongside turquoise waters, are actually one hour’s drive from Esperance town.
Yes, it is true that some of Western Australia’s best strips of white sand are found in Esperance.
What is the Great Ocean Drive Esperance?
If you are visiting Australia chances are you have heard of the Great Ocean Drive. Well, the most famous one is the Great Ocean Road that spans 400 kilometers (249 miles) from Torquay in Victoria to the South Australian border.
In Western Australia, we have the Great Ocean Drive which is a stunning 40-kilometer drive along the coast. It has been selling itself as ‘Australia’s most beautiful stretch of road’! I guess you will have to go and see for yourself!
The Great Ocean Drive Esperance only takes an hour or two to complete, if you didn’t spend too much time soaking on the sand. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the local tourist brochures that give you all the info that you will need.
Coast Risk Warning!
Remember the entire South Coast is powerful and wild. This is a rugged wilderness area and you should always exercise caution when exploring or swimming. The perfect selfie is just not worth it! There are deaths along the entire South Coast each year due to people being swept off rocks, swimming accidents, and shark attacks. Be careful and sensible.
Getting around the Esperance Beaches – Cape Le Grande National Park
Esperance to Lucky Bay is about 1 hours’ drive. Rossiter’s Bay, considered by many to be just as beautiful as Lucky Bay, is just a short distance from Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grande National Park. Don’t feed the kangaroos at Lucky Bay! They are native animals and whatever you have in your car is not going to be good for them. Full stop.
If you are an Instagrammer you will want to head to Hellfire Bay, one of those truly stunning places that always pops up on the ‘gram.
For those that are into a good hike, near Lucky Bay and Rossiter’s Bay is Frenchman Peak. While the hike is only 2.5 km it is pretty steep and takes 1-2 hours, depending on fitness. At the top of Frenchman Peak, you get are uninterrupted 360-degree views of the surrounding beaches! This is a hike well worth doing if you feel like a good workout.
From Lucky Bay to Duke of Orleans Bay is another 1 hours’ drive. But then it’s a 1-hour drive directly back to Esperance, or you could stop for dinner at the Condignup Pub! Known as locals and those who spend some time around Esperance as THE Condy! So all up there is about 3-4 hours driving to explore several beaches during one day’s trip.
Getting around the Esperance Beaches – Cape Arid National Park
Many people say that the Duke of Orleans Bay is the best of the Esperance Beaches. It certainly gives Lucky Bay a run for its money (no kangaroos though). Others think that Wharton Beach tops them all. I guess you will just have to go and decide for yourself!
If you would like to camp out at this end of the Esperance beaches, then you can stay at the Duke of Orleans Bay Caravan Park which has camping spots and cabins. There is no Wi-Fi signal and it feels like a real escape!
Alternatively, you could spend one day around Lucky Bay and Hellfire Bay, and then another day out at Duke of Orleans Bay. It all depends on how long you have in your Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary.
If you have time, we would add 1-2 days into the Esperance itinerary here, especially as there are a number of family-friendly things to do around Esperance town itself.
Don’t forget to stop into the Lucky Bay Brewing Company, housed in a large shed on the way to Wylie Bay.
Day 4 – Esperance to Bremer Bay or Hopetoun
Today you have two options on your Perth to Esperance road trip. Where you decide to stay will depend on the amount of time you have to explore and your accommodation options.
Have a look at our information about visiting the Fitzgerald National Park – or look at a map. You will see that Hopetoun and Bremer Bay towns are located on either side of the massive National Park that runs along the coast. Talk about a wild and rugged National Park!
Ravensthorpe Western Australia
En Route between Esperance and Hopetoun is Ravensthorpe.
Yummylicious Candy Shack – Ravensthorpe
We’ve mentioned the Yummylicious Candy Shack in Ravensthorpe before. When you were on the Perth Esperance leg of your journey – now you are on the return journey (Esperance to Perth) and we will mention it again for good measure!
Stop in and experience an old-fashioned lolly shop – or indulge in their chocolate, milkshakes, American Style hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, 12 flavors of Norgen Vaaz ice cream, Italian coffee, and herbal teas!
The Ravensthorpe Farm Gate Art Trail
Showing the best of rural ingenuity, there are a total of 36 art installations between Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun, and they range from tiny to absolutely massive! Look out for a bull named El Pa Bull Caso. A field bin has been converted to The Watering Can and some other old tires, bits and pieces are titled “Hooty Owl.” A daddy longlegs spider dubbed “Inksy” made from scrap metal stands guard in front of his Hills Hoist Web!
These wild imaginings made from discarded machinery and scrap metal were a project to have locals tap into their creative side – especially men, who can be isolated in these vast farming areas. The result is a great tourist attraction that should soon have an interactive Google map. In the meantime head to the Ravensthorpe Farm Gate Art Trail Facebook Page for more information!
Option One – Stay in Hopetoun
Esperance to Hopetoun is 2.5 hours.
While Esperance has a port and a thriving agricultural industry, Hopetoun really is a beach resort town that has been blessed with the same pristine white sand beaches you see over at Esperance. Hopetoun is therefore known for its surfing, swimming, and fishing, and long lazy days in the sun!
One of the best things about Hopetoun is that it is a ten-minute drive from the entrance to Fitzgerald River National Park. From here you can easily access the western side of the Park. One of the main attractions here is a climb of East Mt Barren. Keep in mind this hike is for the fit that are looking to be rewarded with amazing views. For those less active you can easily visit Barren’s Beach, or drive to the beach (at least to where the bitumen ends).
Where To Stay In Hopetoun
Hopetoun Caravan Park
Like many of the other caravan parks in the Esperance region, Hopetoun Caravan Park is old-fashioned and pretty rustic, with campsites underneath the beach paperbarks. Check here for more information and rates to stay at Hopetoun Caravan Park.
Hopetoun Motel & Chalet Village
If self-catering chalets are more your speed, then perhaps the Hopetoun Motel & Chalet Village is what you are looking for. Located in the heart of Hopetoun they offer everything from standard hotel accommodations to private chalets. Have a look here for the latest prices for Hopetoun Motel & Chalet.
En Route Between Hopetoun and Bremer Bay
Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre
If you love birds, at Jerramungup you could make a detour out to Ongerup and the Yongergnow Australian Malleefowl Centre. This little-known center focuses on the endangered malleefowl of the region and you can see this amazing bird in a 1,200m2 natural habitat aviary. You can eat at the Fowl Play Café or explore the center’s world-class Fowl Play Mallee exhibition or explore the beautiful bush and wildflowers on the center’s walk trails. Yongergnow has a gallery that displays regular art exhibitions, and local products and souvenirs are available.
Option Two – Stay in Bremer Bay
Esperance to Bremer Bay is 4 hours.
What To Do In Bremer Bay
Bremer Bay Orca (Killer Whale) Tour
One of the most popular things to do is a Bremer Bay Orca (killer whale) tour, which departs from January through to April. This is a 7-8 hour tour out to a deep-sea place known as the ‘Patch’ which is a reliable food source of squid and Beaked Whale for the Killers Whales during the summer months.
When doing this Whale watching tour, be prepared for seasickness. The trip out to the Patch takes one hour, and you are in the deep sea. Good operators plan to spend quality time with the Orca and our priority during the tours is to observe the behavior and not influence behavior. The intention is to spend about 4-5 hours around the Orca feeding, or with different family pods. It is important that your whale watch operator makes sure they do not have a negative impact by spending too long with the Killer Whales as they hunt, socialize, and rest in their home waters.
Where To Stay In Bremer Bay WA
We love Bremer Bay for a short getaway, though there is not a wide variety of accommodation. In Bremer Bay, there are two Caravan Parks.
Bremer Bay Beaches Resort & Tourist Park Just out of town , the Bremer Bay Beaches Resort is located just out of town on the Point Henry Road, which makes it easy to get to the beaches on Point Henry. It has a lovely location in a peppermint grove with plenty of kid friendly facilities. If you are not camping then the Bremer Bay Beaches Resort also have self contained cottages. More information and rates for Bremer Bay Resort here.
Bremer Bay Caravan & Camping Park is Located right in town, near the popular John Cove, the Bremer Bay Caravan Park is very large and has plenty of facilities. You can walk from here or into town, and it makes a great base for your Bremer Bay exploration. A. Check here for more information for Bremer Bay Caravan & Camping Park.
Fitzgerald River National Park
People who love national parks all agree the Fitzgerald River is definitely one of the best parks in Western Australia. With over 20% of Western Australia’s flora species, this biodiversity hotspot also has some truly amazing beaches, rocky jagged peaks, and a truly windswept, isolated coastline.
During your Perth to Esperance road trip, you simply must not miss visiting the Fitzgerald River National Park! A road trip to Fitzgerald River will always wow you as the scenery is out of this world. With the out of the way location, expect to have the place almost entirely to yourself (apart from peak periods) so pack a towel, some sunscreen, your hiking boots, and some camping gear and enjoy this slice of paradise.
Even if you don’t want to take a whale-watching tour from Bremer Bay, you can still see whales from the coast. One popular park and wildlife camp is at Point Ann, which happens to be a spectacular place for whale watching.
If you are looking for a unique, off-the-beaten-track place to stay then you should consider Quaalup Homestead.
Rustic and basic, the Quaalup Homestead is located a long way from anywhere and is an off-grid solar experience. There are no generators, and certainly no phone signal or Wi-Fi. Drinking water is limited. Out here you can really connect with nature and you need to be largely self-sufficient. Unless you select the fully catered option, you should take all your own food to prepare and also fill up your car.
There are several short walks around Quaalup Homestead for you to experience the local area. Check here for more information and rates to stay at Quaalup Homestead.
Day 5 – Heading Towards Albany
If you stayed in Hopetoun the night before, you have more driving today, than if you stayed in Bremer Bay. This gives you an idea of driving times:
Hopetoun to the Granite Skywalk 3 hours’ drive (300km) / Bremer Bay to Granite Skywalk 1.5 hours (138 km)
Hopetoun to Two peoples bay 3 hours 15/308km / Bremer Bay to Two peoples Bay 1.5 hours (155 km)
From the Granite Skywalk into Albany/ or Two Peoples Bay into Albany are both about 30 minutes driving.
Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock, Porongurup National Park
We love climbing the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock. It is an extremely unique structure that is quite out of this world! If you don’t like heights it definitely is a challenge to get up the ladder to the top of this incredible lookout. Our full Guide to the Granite Skywalk is found here.
You could also make a detour to Mt Barker if tasting some wines takes your fancy. The Plantagenet wine region is well known amongst wine lovers. We’ve covered everything there is to do at Things to do in Mt. Barker WA.
Stop at world Famous Two People’s Bay for the night and enjoy some of the nightlife of Albany.
Day 6 – Esperance to Perth Road Trip
Visit Torndirrup National Park and the Gap before driving Albany to Perth.
Today’s drive from Albany to Perth is about 5 hours. This means you have a couple of hours in the morning to explore overlooked Albany. There is so much to do and see in Albany you could definitely allow a day – or much more. we cover it all in our post Things to do in Albany Western Australia.
To cap off a really powerful and rugged Perth to Esperance Road trip we would highly recommend a visit to the Torndirrup National Park which offers some different coastal experiences. The most popular of these is “The Gap” and the Natural Bridge. Spectacular structures are designed so you fully feel the power of the ocean and appreciate how the movement of the ocean has worn away the granite. You can really feel the age of the coast here. It was formed up to 1800 million years ago when the supercontinent Gondwana broke away.
After a visit to Torndirrup National Park, it’s time to wind up your epic Esperance loop by heading back to Perth. If you are looking for things to do during the drive from Albany to Perth, please refer to that section in Best Of South Coast Of Western Australia – A Margaret River To Albany Road Trip.
Other Ways to Travel from Perth to Esperance
As we mentioned at the beginning of our post, the Esperance to Perth road trip is perfect because it is a loop and you can hire your car in Perth and drop it off in the same place. However, there are other ways to do a Perth to Esperance drive.
Rex flies from Esperance to Perth 2 to 3 times a day, depending on the season. The flight takes just 1 hour and 35 minutes, which is a lot quicker than the 8 hours driving time! There is a Trans WA bus that travels through many Wheatbelt towns to Esperance 3 times a week. The route takes around 10 hours and is an affordable way to travel to Esperance.
You would have to do research into a backpackers ‘hop-on, hop-off style bus. The Busy Blue Bus based in Albany does provide transport options from Albany to Bremer Bay.
Looking for Some Great Esperance Accommodation Options?
If you are making your way to or from Esperance then inevitably you are wondering what the accommodation Esperance WA scene is like. If camping is not for you then check out our Esperance Travel Guide post called Esperance Accommodation And The BEST Things To Do In Esperance WA.
We include tons of information about the Esperance Caravan Park, pet-friendly accommodation Esperance, and many of the top things to do in Esperance WA.
The Verdict – An Awesome Perth to Wave Rock Road trip
If you are looking to get out and experience Western Australia at its finest, then a Perth to Esperance road trip via Wave Rock is a great way to do it. This is remote and rugged Australia, with plenty of wheat fields, white sand beaches, and turquoise water. And… don’t forget the ‘roos on the beaches!
We hope that our Perth Esperance itinerary (and the Wave Rock To Esperance information) has given you sufficient structure to work out where and how you want to spend your time! Our tip is to make sure you allow enough time for the Esperance Beaches! They are really a once-in-a-lifetime place to visit! Thanks for joining us on our journey to Esperance Western Australia. If you have any other tips or ideas please drop them in the comments below.
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