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Western Australia Road Trips from Perth

Last Updated on 21 February 2024 by Ariana Svenson

Huge in size, road trips in Western Australia are always going to be epic!!!  Western Australia is such a massive state – 2.6 million square kilometers (10,021,748 square miles – the combined size of Alaska and Texas)!  People are sometimes overwhelmed with the vast number of choices and travel distances.  For that reason, we have divided our recommendations – and started all road trips from Perth.  We have separated it into “drivable from Perth’ and “more far-flung places” which need a flight unless you are on a long camping or caravan trip.

Interested in exploring Western Australia further?

These are the best places to visit in Western Australia

Here are the best family destinations in Western Australia

As its well known,  we are a Western Australian Travel Family and so most of our travel experience are with kids.  In addition to talking about the overall best road trips in WA,  we have put together some tips and ideas for the best family road trip in Western Australia.  Being locals, we are a tad biased about what this wild – and wonderful – part of Australia and what it has to offer – but  Despite having lots of wide-open spaces, there are a lot of Western Australia road trips for kids. 

By the way, if you’re seeking more ideas for exciting Perth weekend getaways, you can find further inspiration in our blog post.

This post may contain affiliate links, from which we would earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. More info in my disclaimer.

Best Western Australian Road Trips

Ideas for Road trips in Western Australia with kids
Walpole Nornalup National Park

What is the Best Time of the Year to Road trip Western Australia?

 In summer WA’s average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).  It is hot and dry and all travelers, especially kids, will find it difficult.  The winter in Australia is mild and can be rainy- but not too cold. 

Speaking of weather, we think that Western Australia in winter is nearly perfect!  That’s right; Western Australia could well be one of the world’s best winter travel destinations.  Yes, there is some rain, and temperatures are cooler with an average of 18-19 degrees Celsius (64-66 Fahrenheit).  However, there are loads of days with sunshine, blue skies, and with the temperature not too hot you can really enjoy the magnificent outdoors!  Some WA folk even swim in the ocean year-round!

Overall the best seasons – with not too extreme temperatures are Autumn (from March through early June) and then from late September through November.  Of course, if you are roadtripping in the Northern Part of the state, the winter months are best, eg April to November are wonderful in Broome and the Kimberley.

western australia road trips
Road tripping near Jurien Bay

 

Looking for a Perth Self Drive Travel Blog?

If you are interested in a Perth Self Drive Travel blog then you have come to the right place!  With years of driving around Perth, testing out the best routes, and doing the hard yards to find the best attractions in Perth, we have got some great ideas on how to design the best Perth Self Drive itinerary.  They will be up on our site very soon! In the meantime, if you are looking for ideas on Perth Self Drive, please drop us a message below in the contents.

DiscoverCars.com

Western Australian Road Trips from Perth

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, consistently makes it into the top 10 World’s Most Livable Cities.  There are lots of reasons why you could spend more than a few days here and that makes it a good base to get your bearings before heading off on your Western Ausralia road trip. 

However, if you are short of time we recommend hitting a few key spots in the city (either on arrival or departure)  which give you a synopisis of what the state is like;  for example, a visit to Kings Park will enable to you experience Western Australian flora, while a trip to the beaches gives you a taste of the incredible coastline!

 

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Walkway Kings Park

Kings Park

Kings Park is famous for its great views across Perth city, the Swan River, and also a wealth of botanical specimens.  Our full Guide to Kings Park is very useful for planning your visit.  Our kids love the walk area that leads up to the 620-meter long Lotterywest Federation Walkway which gives a unique view of the forest and gives great views across the city!  We also enjoy the DNA tower that offers a fantastic view and a good run for the kids.  For the kids, there is a range of different playgrounds.  Here is our summary of all the Kings Park Playgrounds. 

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Scarborough Beach


Perth Beaches

Perth has some stunning beaches; two of our favorites are Cottesloe and Scarborough.  If you are traveling your Western Australia itinerary you might get a chance to experience more than one of Western Australia’s amazing beaches.  However,  if you aren’t,  definitely organize to visit one in Perth.  Even better, plan to stay in one of Perth’s coastal suburbs to maximize your time!

If you are looking for some of the best beaches in and near Perth Western Australia, check out Best Beaches In Western Australia.

 

Wave Rocks, Goldfields

Perth to Wave Rock Road Trip

If you are short of time in Western Australia and want to fit in a short 1-2 day road trip to an incredibly iconic site then the Perth to Wave Rock Road trip might be perfect for you.   Just 4 hours drive from Perth you wind your way through the Perth Hills up into the countryside of the wheat belt – this is not a landscape you will encounter in any other place in the word!  And, at the end of the day’s driving you can see Wave Rock at Sunset.   For more info Best Things to do in Wave Rock WA & Hyden Accommodation

Perth to Esperance Road trip 

The Perth to Esperance Road trip might not be the most exciting one for kids; there is a lot of driving to get under your belt, some incredible wide spaces – and not a lot of kid friendly stops along the way.  But – when you get to Esperance – WOW it might all be worth it when you see those perfect white sands and turquoise waters.  Of course everyone wants to get a selfie with the super cute kangaroos at Lucky Bay.   Make sure you don’t miss anything on the An Awesome Perth to Esperance Road Trip and Esperance Beaches itinerary (and just so you know our Perth to Esperance Road trip goes via Wave Rock.) 

From Esperance you can return the same way, but we highly recommend continuing along the coast to Albany with the The Spectacular Albany to Esperance Road Trip Guide (2022)

Perth to Albany Road Trip 

While the Perth to Albany Road trip follows the fairly utilitarian Albany Highway through wheat fields and country towns, there is still quite a lot to see.  We find this Western Australia road trip  quite rewarding as we often holiday down in Albany (or nearby Denmark!)  For top hints take a look at An Insider’s Guide – A Perth to Albany Road Trip (2022)  
We also have the best info on the web about Albany (well, in my opinion)
 
For families:  Don’t miss out on Best Playgrounds in Albany Western Australia
 
 

Perth to Bluff Knoll and the Stirling Ranges 

Lots of folk like making a short road trip to Perth to the Stirling Ranges – or more specifically to hike Western Australia’s highest peak, Bluff Knoll.  While the most hardy of adventurers often leave before dawn in order to see snow falling in winter, we recommend more temperate weather.  You’ll find more info here Bluff Knoll Accommodation & The Stirling Ranges
 
Also near Albany is the incredible Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock,  which we cover in Hike To Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Western Australia.
 

 

Perth to Denmark Road Trip

There are two ways to travel from Perth to Denmark, which lies in the middle of the South Coast.  The most practical way to get from Perth to Denmark is via the Albany Highway, turning off in Mt Barker to follow the Muir Highway for about 11kms before turning south on the forested Denmark-Barker road.   This will take you around 5 hours of driving.   A more picturesque but slower route is taking the South West Hwy via Bunbury and Manjimup, before travelling through the forest towards Walpole. From Walpole to Denmark is about 55 minutes driving, meaning this route takes 6 hours.  However there are more kids playgrounds and things to see on this Perth to Denmark Road trip route.   Once in Denmark, check out the The BEST Things to do in Denmark WA (2022)
 
 

Perth to Kalgoorlie Road trip

We love the road trip from Perth, heading East.  The Great Eastern Hwy leads eventually across the Nullabor and across to Sydney.  There is a real sense of excitement as you head east, following CY O’Connors silver snake, water pipeline.  We recommend stopping at some of the historical pumping stations along the way -as not only do they make great leg stretch stops but give you a sense of how important this water life-line is to the Goldfields. Fascinating Things to do in Kalgoorlie and Goldfields WA
 
Not strictly part of a Perth to Kalgoorlie road trip, we would also highly recommend a trip to Great Tips for a Visit to Lake Ballard Statues
 
Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families

 

Western Australian Road Trips South of Perth

in this section we cover the best Western Australian Road trips south of Perth – and if you are looking for all the information in one spot,  start at A Guide to South West WA – South West Australia Road Trip Ideas

For those aiming to just hit the highlights of the South Coast of Western Australia, we’ve selected them for you here, Best of South Coast of Western Australia – A Margaret River to Albany Road Trip.

 

Perth to Margaret River Road Trip 

Without doubt the Perth to Margaret River Road Trip is one of the best short road trips from Perth that you can make.  While the driving time is just over 3 hours you can “make a day of it” and stop at some of the fun places along the way – we love Busselton.   It’s all documented in detail at How to Ace the Perth to Margaret River Road Trip

Perth to Pemberton Road Trip

If you are driving, it takes about 4 hours from Perth to Pemberton WA – which means there are still plenty of opportunities for stops along the way.   You might like to make a detour to Ferguson Valley  and Gnomesville WA

We love the port city of Bunbury which has redefined itself in recent years and had a real makeover – and at 2 hours from Perth its the ideal time to stretch your legs.   If you have kids there is an amazing playground on the Koombana Bay Foreshore, or alternatively you could make a fun stop at the Apple Fun Park in Donnybrook, which doesn’t require detouring off the main South West Highway.

Perth to Walpole Road Trip 

 

western Australia road trips from Perth
The Pinnacles

Short Trips from Perth

Heading north of Perth you can make a great day trip that takes in three great sites, plus lunch at the super yummy lobster shack in Cervantes.  Yes, it would be a pretty long day but also packed with lots to see and do! The full summary is found here The Best Perth Day Trips

Yanchep National Park

Less than an hour from Perth city, plan to stop at Yanchep National Park to see the koalas and the grey kangaroos.  With a range of walk trails, native bush and caves there is a lot more to see than just these fluffy animals, and you could pack a picnic lunch and spend the whole day here.

 

Lobster Shack in Cervantes 

I think every local agrees – the Lobster Shack in Cervantes makes the perfect place to refuel for more road trips.  With views to die for,  and delicious lobster and seafood on the menu, there is something for everyone here.  Families will love the playground at the back and the chilled atmosphere that makes it easy to relax.  One of our favourites.   You can stop in at Lake Thetis in Cervantes after visiting the Lobster Shack – as its always nice to get out and stretch the legs after you have eaten so much food!

The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park 

The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park are out of this world, and an easy 2 hour drive further north from Yanchep National Park.  The shapes are quite intriguing and our kids loved imagining what might have lived there.  Photographers might prefer to plan a sunset visit when the colors on the sand are spectacular.

If you feel like treating yourself to some fresh Western Australian seafood, then the Lobster Shack in Cervantes gets rave reviews and is a short 15-minute drive from the Pinnacles.  You might like to fill up at the Lobster Shack and then head back to the Pinnacles to walk off your lunch!

Lancelin

On your way home – about an hour back south from the Pinnacles, swing by Lancelin which has now become one of Australia’s favorite sandboarding destinations.  With white sand dunes 3 stories high, you can access the dunes with your 2 wd car as long as you don’t get off the road!  For those that want to give sandboarding a go, boards can be hired for $12 and picked up nearby.  For more information check out the Lancelin website, or read or guide on things to do in Lancelin.

Perth to Kalbarri Road trip 

One of the easiest – and best road trips in Western Australia is the trip from Perth to Kalbarri!  Only 6 hours drive one way, there are lots of great things to do and see along the way – including the aforementioned Pinnacles and Lancelin.   If you are not in a rush we recommend stopping overnight at Geraldton and then spending more time travelling through the countryside before you get to Kalbarri.   Are you are interested in doing a Perth to Kalbarri roadtrip but don’t know where to start?  Don’t worry, we have you covered.  Read our guide The Ultimate Perth to Kalbarri Road Trip Itinerary.

Don’t forget to check out Things to do in Kalbarri and  A Guide to the Spectacular Natures Window & Kalbarri Skywalk.

 

More Road Trips in Western Australia

These destinations could be visited on epic Western Australian road trips – or you could fly!  We recently flew to Exmouth with kids and hada wonderful time, without the driving.

Perth to Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia is 9 hours’ drive to the north of Perth.  With a pod of dolphins visiting frequently, Monkey Mia dolphins visit daily year-round and people are able to get up close to them.  This makes it a popular spot to visit for families.

We have heard mixed reports, so haven’t visited yet ourselves.  Check out once such review here on the Ytravel Blog.

The kids swimming at Turquoise Bay, Ningaloo

Perth to Ningaloo Reef, and Cape Range National park

We recently ticked the Ningaloo Reef off our bucket list  based out of Exmouth.  We were super keen to go swimming with the Whale Sharks and Reef Sharks!

It is a total of 13 hours’ drive from Perth or a further 4 hours from Monkey Mia.  If you are a family with several kids the flights are going to add up.  You might consider driving in order to save.  However, if a budget is not a consideration or you were very short of time, then we would most definitely fly.

Next time fly to Exmouth (Learmonth Airport) and base ourselves at Coral Bay to explore the reef.  If time permits, and you have a car, then you can spend a couple of days at Cape Range National Park out of Exmouth.

 

Perth to Broome 

The pearl of Northern Western Australia.  I really want to visit Broome but at the same time find it hard to justify the expense.  Traveling slowly as we do, a week in Broome is going to cost us more than a week in Bali.  It goes without saying that we haven’t done it yet.  I hope that we will one day reach Broome.

Further north again,  here is a lot of inspiration for a visit to Kununurra with Kids.

Take a Northern Western Australia Road Trip

It is our dream to do a Northern Western Australia road trip.  If you have the time and dream take a look at these two blogs.  We hope you will come away feeling absolutely inspired as we do.

YTravel Blog – Things To Do in Western Australia

Blonde Nomads – Western Australia Travel Inspiration

We always travel with insurance, it has saved us numerous times.  World Nomads have specially designed travel insurance for families!  Take a look at their Family Travel Insurance here.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Boranup Forest, Margaret River

Family Road trip Western Australia Itinerary

We get asked alot: so what is the best family road trip itinerary in Western Australia?  Or; what would you do if it were your first trip to Western Australia with kids.  Most people have 10 – 14 days to spend on their first trip and wonder what will be the best option for their family.  As with all answers we provide; it depends on your family and especially the ages of your kids.  If you have young children then we would definitely say that you should go much slower and look for the most fun hotels! 

 

What is the Best Way to Travel with Kids?

When you first have children, and they are babies, you need to stop frequently to feed and settle them.  As they get older you find they get restless and more stops are necessary.   In short, we find the ONLY way to travel with kids is slowly, allowing them time for breaks and play.  On our sister site,  we cover the best Road trip tips and hacks.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Gnomesville, Ferguson Valley

Days 1 – 3  Visiting Perth 

Take a look at An Awesome Perth Family Holiday Itinerary in 6 Days  and  make sure you check out  101 Awesome Things to do in Perth with Kids

Where to Stay in Perth for Families

Our post The Best Family Accommodation Perth – Family Resorts & Kid Friendly Hotels details our very favorite places to stay for people with kids in Perth.

For a brief summary, we like Mounts Bay Apartments for extremely central accommodation, well connected by public transport.  Mantra On Hay is another good central option near the city.   If you have your own wheels then you could consider one of the stunning beachside hotels like the Rendezvous Observation City in Scarborough.

If you are looking for an area with great food and atmosphere then Fremantle is fabulous.  We particularly like the Rydges Esplanade Fremantle which is housed in a gorgeous old building and conveniently located directly across from a park with a playground.  Public transport is nearby; it takes around 40 minutes one way if you take the train straight into the city.

Day 4 Travel from Perth to Margaret River / or Busselton 

 Check out our blog post How to Ace the Perth to Margaret River Road Trip for more in-depth information.

For kids, there are two places we would definitely plan to stop here 

  •  the Ferguson Valley to see Gnomesville, a curious collection of garden gnomes congregated in the middle of the countryside!  
  • The Apple Fun Park in Donnybrook is amazing and our kids love it.

Things To Do In Margaret River For Kids
Beach near Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Days 5 – 8 Margaret River  & Busselton 

To start with, we highly recommend using our guide to The Best Family Accommodation in South West WA  in order to work out where you would like to stay. There are all types of accommodation in this area, from the luxury Pullman Resort Bunker Bay: Margaret River Luxury Accommodation  through to the very practical  Broadwater Resort Busselton Review – Awesome Pools .  Alternatively the  Guide to the Busselton Caravan Parks and the best family accommodation in Margaret River provide affordable options for families.

Margaret River is world-famous as a wine region, a home of fine food and globally famous gnarly surf breaks; what is less well known is that there is plenty to do for families with kids, and children will have a ball in the Margaret River area.  Our Top Things To Do In Margaret River For Kids are found here.

For Busselton The Best things to do in Busselton for Families  – or we really enjoy neighbouring Dunsborough Best Things to do in Dunsborough WA

 

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Tree Top Walk, Western Australia

Day 9 – Travel through the Southern Forests to the  South Coast

Heading further south, we highly recommend a stop at Pemberton to soak in the forests.   There is loads to do for a couple of hours  or even a day should you stop and stay.  Best Things to do in Pemberton WA

  From here – it’s pure forest and we love the untamed wilderness and remote feeling of the Walpole Wilderness area.   You could base yourself in Walpole for a day or two, but a drive from Margaret River to Denmark takes about 4 hours so it makes sense to keep driving and make a stop at the  the world-renowned Tree Top Walk at the Valley of the Giants.  Our top tips for a visit are found here in our post A Complete Guide to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk Walpole Denmark.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Greens Pool, William Bay National Park

Days 10- 13  Denmark or Albany

Either Denmark or Albany make a great base for the next couple of day’s adventures. You can see our recommendations here:

If you decide that you will push on through to Albany,  we would probably make a day trip back to Denmark as there is so much to do and see. .  We have covered the best in this in-depth post called 11 Great Things to do in Denmark.  while  we wouldn’t miss Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool in the William Bay National Park and combining it with a visit to the Denmark Alpaca Farm.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
The Gap in Torndirrup National Park

In Albany, the Gap and Natural Bridge in Tondirrup national Park are mind-blowing (although also scary) and worth a visit.   The National Anzac Museum comes highly recommended.  However, we haven’t personally visited with our kids who are still a bit young. Read Amazing Things to do in Albany WA.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Granite Skywalk, Porongorup National Park

Day 14 – Albany to Perth

If you want to head straight up Albany Highway (which is the quickest way to get from Albany to Perth) then our suggestions are found An Insider’s Guide – A Perth to Albany Road Trip (2022) 

The first stop on the route from Albany would be taking a hike in the Porongurup National Park, to Castle Rock or the Granite Skywalk.   If you feel energetic it is an exciting hike to the top, read our full post about The Spectacular Hike to Granite Skywalk Castle Rock WA.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
The Lily Dutch Windmill

From here, check out The Lily Dutch Windmill.  An interesting visit for kids (though it was closed on the day we visited).  You can also stay in some really quirky lodgings including a remodeled 1944 DC3!  If you had older kids (eg those that liked hiking) you might like to change the itinerary up a bit and hike Bluff Knoll – see our Bluff Knoll Accommodation & The Stirling Ranges

From the Lilly Dutch Windmilll  it is about 3 hours’ drive to Wave Rock where you can stay either in the town of Hyden or at Wave Rock itself.  We do recommend that if you are doing a Wave Rock Road trip you plan to stay a night out there with our Hyden Accommodation and Things to do at Wave Rock WA.

Best Of Western Australia Itinerary For Families
Surfing at Wave Rock

This whole itinerary is a whopping 1328 kilometers (825 miles) so is going to involve a lot of driving.  We wouldn’t attempt the whole itinerary described in less than 10 days. It would more ideally be done in 14 days or more.  The intention of the post is not to have you cram in all these sights but to give you a sense of what you would like to see and do when visiting planning your Western Australia itinerary.

Other Considerations for Planning the Best Family Road Trip in Western Australia!

If you are coming from interstate, or overseas you will have to make some important planning decisions about how to prepare your family road trip of Western Australia.

Car rentals are available in all major cities in Western Australia, but in reality most people want to pick up and drop off at the Perth airport.  We recommend Discover Cars for your car hire needs.

Another option, if you are doing a super long road trip – say from Perth to Broome (or vice versa) would be to do your pricing for pickup in Perth/ Drop off in Broome. When doing your investigations make sure you try both scenarios as sometimes it’s much cheaper to drop off in one location vs another.

DiscoverCars.com

Which Rental Car is Best for Me?

While small cars are both cheaper to hire, and more economic to run, they are often not very suited for long road trips.   For a family of 4 to 5 people we would look at a large Sedan style car (look at how much luggage you can fit in the boot/trunk) or even a midsize SUV.  Let’s be honest – road trips can be long and tiring and being crammed into a car makes them miserable.  We recommend looking for something that is quite spacious and therefore less stressful.

What about hiring a 4WD car?  The question is –can you drive on off-road conditions?  If the answer is no, you have never driven on dirt roads then you should not start while driving a hire car in Western Australia!  Yes 4WD are large and comfortable – and they give you confidence while driving in unfamiliar conditions.  However, on the flip side of the coin, they are heavy and cost a LOT to fuel up each time!

Whatever type of car you decide to hire for your trip, make sure to check out Discover Cars for the best pries. 

Doing a Road Trip with Kids

Don’t forget to talk to the car hire company about child seats.

In Western Australia Babies up to six months are also required to be in a rearward-facing child seat. 

Children up to7 years should be in an Australian approved child seat.

 

At the Harold Holt Communications Station, Exmouth

The Verdict – Awesome Road Trips in Western Australia with Kids

Western Australia family holidays have a lot going for them – lots of wide-open spaces, great beaches, and tall trees.   We believe Western Australia is certainly an awesome up and coming family adventure destination! We hope you have enjoyed our Western Australia road trip itinerary.  Hopefully, you are inspired to explore more of this gorgeous state!

 

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Awesome Road Trips in Western Australia with Kids

 

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