Australia’s south west is incredibly diverse and abundant in natural beauty. There’s no better way to experience all it has to offer than hitting the road. We’ve created the perfect itinerary to ensure you don’t miss out on a single highlight!
This 11 day Perth to Esperance road trip will take you through the very best of the south west. See the lush Karri forests of Pemberton and the gorgeous wineries of Denmark. Explore the historic town of Albany then relax on the pristine beaches of Esperance. End on a high with a visit to the West Australian icon of Wave Rock.
This is definitely one of the best road trips in Australia and a personal favourite of ours. So, what are you waiting for? Read on to plan your own bucket-list worthy Perth to Esperance adventure!
Table of Contents
Perth to Esperance Road Trip Overview
- Pemberton – 2 nights
- Tree Top Walk
- Denmark – 2 nights
- Albany – 2 nights
- Two Peoples Bay and/or Granite Skywalk
- Esperance – 3 nights
- Hyden (Wave Rock) – 1 night
Perth to Esperance Road Trip Summary
Day 1 – Leave Perth early in the morning and drive 3.5 hrs to Pemberton.
Night 1 – Pemberton
Day 2 – Explore the highlights of Pemberton and the surrounding area.
Night 2 – Pemberton
Day 3 – Drive just over 2 hrs from Pemberton to Denmark, stopping at the many great sites along the route.
Night 3 – Denmark
Day 4 – Discover the beautiful beaches and taste the delicious wines at a few of the local vineyards around Denmark.
Night 4 – Denmark
Day 5 – Begin the day with a 40 min drive from Denmark to Albany, stopping at a few scenic spots along the way. Spend the rest of the day seeing some of Albany’s highlights.
Night 5 – Albany
Day 6 – Spend the full day seeing the incredible sites of Torndirrup National Park, finish it off by watching an epic sunset at the Albany Windfarm.
Night 6 – Albany
Day 7 – Drive 5 hrs from Albany to Esperance stopping at Two People’s Bay and/or the Granite Skywalk along along the way.
Night 7 –Esperance
Day 8 – Explore the amazing beaches of Cape Le Grande National Park, relax in the crystal clear ocean and kick-back in the white sand alongside a few kangaroos at Lucky Bay.
Night 8 – Esperance
Day 9 – Start the day with a hike up Frenchman Peak for an epic coastal view and spend the afternoon by taking a scenic flight over the famous pink lake or perhaps ticking off a few of the sites around the town of Esperance. Finish off this perfect day with a cold pint at Lucky Bay Brewing.
Night 9 – Esperance
Day 10 – Leave Esperance in the morning and drive 4 hrs to Hyden, spend the rest of the day seeing Wave Rock and some of the other attractions of Hyden.
Night 10 – Hyden
Total Driving Time
~ 20 hrs – The full driving route from Perth to Esperance and then back to Perth via Hyden, give or take depending on the stops you choose to make.
Longest Stretch of Driving
~ 5 hrs from Albany to Esperance
Total KM Covered
Perth to Esperance Highlights
- Drive through the beautiful forests of Pemberton
- Visit the picturesque wineries and turquoise bays of Denmark
- Discover the fascinating ANZAC history and many attractions of Albany
- Admire the stunning beaches of Esperance – think crisp white sand and vibrant turquoise water
- Witness the unique sight of kangaroos hanging out on the beach in Cape le Grande National Park
- Marvel at the mind blowing natural formation of Wave Rock in Hyden
How Long Will I Need?
We would recommend allowing a minimum of 11 days to complete this Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary.
Best Time to Road Trip the South West of Australia
You should plan your road trip from Perth to Esperance during summer (December – February). The southwest has a cooler climate to Perth, so planning your visit during the summer months will ensure pleasant temperatures of around 25 – 30°C.
During winter this region sees quite a few storms, a lot of rainfall and much cooler temperatures. If you’re seeking some winter sun, it’s a better idea to head north. Make sure to check out our 10 day Perth to Exmouth road trip itinerary!
The most popular way to road trip in Australia is by hiring a campervan or driving a 4WD and setting up a tent along the way.
If you’re not into camping, the good news is that it’s really easy to do this road trip without camping. All the stops listed in this itinerary cater to campers as well as those who prefer staying in hotels, apartments or resorts.
You’ll find our recommendations on where to stay in each section of this itinerary.
Perth to Esperance Road Trip Tips
- Save Money: Make use of free campsites using the WikiCamps app. The cheap government run campsites are great too and often have toilets, showers, BBQs etc.
- Get a WA Park Pass: If you’re planning to spend some time travelling around WA, this could end up saving you a ton of money as each national park costs $15 to enter. Click here to browse W.A Park Passes.
- Don’t drive at night: Always plan your drives during daylight hours. Driving at dusk, night or even early morning means you’ll have a much higher chance of hitting a kangaroo in rural areas.
- Share the Driving: The distances between towns in WA can be extremely large and it’s so easy to get tired behind the wheel, aim to switch drivers every 2-3 hours.
►Check out our full list of all of the best Australian road trip tips you must know before hitting the road!
Travel Insurance for Road Trips
If you’re from overseas, make sure you get travel insurance before setting off on this epic adventure, it’s something that you cannot road trip without! We usually go with World Nomads as it’s the perfect insurance for adventure travel such as hiking, scuba diving, road trips etc.
Hiring a Car
Before you head out, you may need to organize a hire car in Perth. To search for car hire in all of the countries we travel to, we use Rentalcars.com. It’s an easy website to use, they have a large selection of providers with reasonable prices and no booking fees! Use the form below or click here to browse car hire options.
The Ultimate 11 Day Perth to Esperance Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1 – Perth to Pemberton
When I dream about my next trip to the south-west, images of Pemberton are always the first to come to mind. That unforgettable juxtaposition of lush, vine covered valleys with towering old growth forest.
The major industry of Pemberton has been logging since back in the early 1900’s. The logging of old-growth forest has thankfully decreased over the years, with plantations of pine and karri replacing it.
The majestic forests of Pemberton are the main attraction, but there is plenty more to see. This itinerary includes some of the best spots around town. If you want more then check out our post on all the best things to do in Pemberton.
Reaching Pemberton already involves quite a bit of driving. After arriving in Pemberton, consider checking out some of the sights close to town. This way you will save your energy for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. See below for some recommendations.
Lunch at the Hidden River Winery
Your first priority on arrival is probably going to be lunch. You could grab something quick in town, but why not dive straight into holiday mode at a beautiful winery?
Check out the Hidden River Winery and Restaurant. The food here is all local and they have a changing seasonal menu to keep it fresh.
If you do want something a little cheaper and faster, you’ll find a bakery and several small cafes on the main street.
This tree lined brook was adapted as a swimming pool for the local logging families in the 1920s. It provides a great place for the kids to burn some energy, as well as making for some great photo ops.
The Gloucester Tree
Climbing to the top of a towering tree is the must-do activity whilst visiting Pemberton. Those with no love of heights may have to give this a miss unfortunately!
Built as a fire-lookout, metal pegs driven into the wood snake around the tree up to a height of 60+ metres. There is a little hut at the top offering breath-taking views above the forest canopy.
Climbing is free however to enter the park you need to pay the national park entry fee. A W.A. Parks Pass covers all national park fees in the state. You can also buy a single entry pass for $15 at the Pemberton Visitor Centre.
Fine Woodcraft Gallery
The trees around Pemberton produce a beautiful, red-tinged hardwood called Jarrah. In this woodcraft gallery, beautiful pieces of Jarrah are used to create all sorts of artistic and practical things.
Pop in and simply admire or maybe pick up a unique souvenir.
Daily – 10am to 1pm
Where to Stay in Pemberton
RAC Karri Valley Resort – The ultimate getaway for those seeking a bit more luxury. Beautifully set right next to Lake Beedlup and surrounded by lush forest, the Karri Valley Resort is actually 20 minutes away from Pemberton but we had to include it because of the spectacular location and beautiful property.
Forest Lodge Resort – This beautiful historic lodge is located just outside of Pemberton and overlooks the forest. The rooms are clean and cosy and some even feature a hot tub or spa bath. Kangaroos hang around this area so you can relax in the evening and watch them hop around.
Pemberton Hotel -Conveniently located on the main street of Pemberton, this classic country hotel features comfortable rooms and a restaurant/pub. Great for the budget traveller who prefers to do this road trip without camping.
WA Wilderness Glamping – Experience the beauty of the forest at this unique glamping style campground. Each tent features 4 single beds with everything ready to go on arrival. There is a BBQ and dining area for your use.
Pemberton Caravan Park – Choose from camp sites, caravan sites or cottages in this peaceful location next to Lefroy Brook. It’s only 3 minutes from town and less than a 5 minute walk to the Pemberton Pool.
Big Brook Arboretum – This government run campground is located near the scenic Big Brook Dam. It’s surrounded by the beautiful forests of Pemberton and perfect for those who love to disconnect in nature. The campground runs on a first come first serve basis and costs $11 per night. See the official website for more info.
Day 2 – Pemberton
Today is all about ticking off as many of the amazing highlights of Pemberton as you can manage. You might not have enough time to see everything but below you’ll find the top spots to aim for.
Pemberton Tramway and the Cascades
This company operates a tram that winds through the beautiful forest around Pemberton, whilst providing a commentary on the history of the area.
The tram passes through some of the best bits of forest and takes you over some interesting bridges. In wildflower season from Sep to Oct, the forest will be alive with colour.
The tram makes a 25 minute stop at the Cascades where you can go for a short walk to view the many small waterfalls. The total trip is 75 minutes.
(Check website for holiday hours)
Monday to Friday – 9am to 4:30pm,
Saturday – 9am to 4pm
Monday to Saturday – 10:30am and 2pm
Adult $28, Child $14
Channybearup Rd and Wineries
After exploring the forest in the morning, grab some lunch in town or pack a picnic. Next up is a jaunt through the beautiful undulating vineyards along Channybearup Rd.
This scenic drive passes by some of the top wineries and provides breath-taking views. If you’re into wine then you’ll want to book in a couple of tastings along the way.
Pemberton makes some fantastic cool climate wines. You might consider picking up a bottle (or two) for tonight. If you’ve packed a picnic then you can enjoy lunch on the grounds or at the falls on your next stop.
You should to drive the road from north-east to south-west to end near the falls. You don’t have to drive the entire length of the road if you don’t want to. There are several roads that intersect along its length.
This pleasant waterfall emerges from the dense forest before tumbling down a steep rocky path to Beedelup Lake.
There is a lookout platform above the falls which offers beautiful views of the surrounding trees and lake. A boardwalk skirts one side of the falls and crosses the water on a suspension bridge. This offers a perfect view back onto the main part of the falls.
You’ll have to visit in winter or spring to see the full flow and get the best out of it. It’s still a nice spot to visit in any season however.
After the falls, you are well positioned to visit this impressive mountain of sand. It is in fact the largest land-locked mobile dune system in the southern hemisphere. (Parks W.A).
The imposing wall of sand rises abruptly from the forest and high above the tree tops. The strong coastal winds blow the dune about 4m further in to the forest every year.
With a 2WD you can reach the day-use area at Yeagerup Lake. There’s an information post here, as well as a picnic area, toilet and campground. From here you can walk to the dunes (about 3km return).
If you have a 4WD then there is a sand track which will take you to the base of the dune. This track is not difficult and is suitable for any type of 4WD vehicle.
Once you reach the dunes you can carry on across the top of it via a marked track all the way to the coast. This should only be attempted by people with serious 4WDs.
►If you don’t have a 4WD, we recommend booking this off-road adventure tour that departs Pemberton and takes you through the old-growth forests, Yeagarup Dunes, and then to the beach for a swim.
If you take the gravel road back towards town rather than returning to the pavement, you will pass by the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree.
This is another climbable giant, with metal pegs and a lookout at the top. The Bicentennial Tree just beats the Gloucester, coming in at 65m.
The forest around this area is beautiful and the view of the canopy from the top is breath-taking.
If you can time your climb for sunset or sunrise, it’s an unforgettable experience. Just ensure you leave enough light to climb back up or down! Bring a head torch just in case.
Day 3 – Pemberton to Denmark
Today you’ll be making your way to Denmark via an action packed route, featuring some of the best sights of the Great Southern.
You don’t have to rush out the door in the morning, but try to leave soon after breakfast. You’ll want to be able to make the most of each stop. You’ll also make it to Denmark with plenty of time to settle in and catch an amazing sunset.
Along the way are a couple of scenic lookout points that you might optionally choose to visit. See below for details of each.
Snake Gully Lookout
You’ll be heading out of Pemberton to re-join the south western highway in the direction of Walpole.
About 30 minutes down the highway you can turn right onto Middleton Road for a great little viewpoint.
Here you’ll find a boardwalk surrounded by big trees and you’ll likely have it to yourself to bask in the beauty and tranquillity of the forest.
Mount Frankland Wilderness Lookout
At some point before reaching Walpole you can take a turn off down some gravelly back roads to reach this lookout. You can then follow more back roads to Walpole town centre before continuing your journey.
This detour will add about 50km to your trip, however the drive itself passes through some rather scenic hills and countryside.
The lookout is located right at the peak of Mount Frankland and offers impressive views over the surrounding national park.
Lunch in Walpole
You should pick up lunch in Walpole as there are few options along the rest of the route. There is a grocery store in town as well as a very good bakery.
If it’s still early then pack a picnic to enjoy later at one of the many fantastic picnic spots along the way.
There is also a popular café in the following town called Nornabar. You’ll likely need a reservation, meaning you will have to time your trip carefully.
The Giant Tingle Tree
A short distance down the highway from Walpole is a left turn onto Hilltop Road. This road loops past the tree before looping back onto the main highway.
Along the way you’ll also pass the Hilltop Lookout. This spot offers a great view over the treetops, all the way out to the sparkling ocean.
From the carpark at the Giant Tingle, there’s a boardwalk that will take you to the tree. The tree has been hollowed out by fire, allowing you to stand inside and admire its size from within.
Valley of the Giants – Tree Top Walk
This is one of those super unique places in the world for me, that evokes an unforgettable sense of wonder and joy. As you turn off the highway onto the valley’s main road, the giants rise up all around you, towering over the tarmac.
The Tree Top Walk is a raised pathway that takes you up to 40m height among the canopy. When you have descended there is a boardwalk that takes you on a winding tour along the forest floor.
This is one of the nicest bits of forest in Western Australia and being able to explore it from multiple levels is a real treat.
Daily – 9am to 5pm
Tree Top Walk Only (Boardwalk is free)
Adult – $21, Child – $10.50
Denmark Dinosaur World
If you have time left in the day then definitely check out this unique little business. This is especially true if you have kids, who will love the various exhibits and animals.
Despite the name there is more than model dinosaurs to see here. The dinosaur models are displayed in a hall surrounded by various live reptiles.
The reptile handling is the definite highlight of the visit and makes for some great photos!
Outside you will find a collection of native birds, as well as an area with tame kangaroos that can be pet and fed. They also have a café and BBQ area.
Oct to Apr
Daily – 9:30am to 4:30pm
May to Sep
Daily – 10am to 4pm
Daily – 11am and 2pm
Adult – $14, Child – $7
Where to Stay in Denmark
You will likely arrive in Denmark in the late afternoon and be ready to relax. Find your accommodation, settle in and then perhaps spend the evening indulging in some of the amazing local wine.
After many trips to Denmark we can recommend some great places to stay in and around town. See below for our top spots.
Chimes Spa Retreat – An adults only retreat might be just what you need to relax and unwind. Chimes Spa Retreat is set in the scenic hills outside of Denmark and overlooks green fields and the ocean.
The Koorabup Motel – Only 2 minutes from the town centre, this comfortable motel is a great place to base yourself to explore the surrounds of Denmark. The rooms are spacious and some include fully equipped kitchens.
Big 4 Denmark Ocean Beach Holiday Park – Located on the coast just outside of Denmark and only 20 minutes from Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks. This caravan park offers a choice of cabins, camp sites and caravan sites. Featuring a large camp kitchen, laundry facilities, a playground, mini golf and more.
It’s also home to over 300 kangaroos and plenty of kookaburras sitting in the trees above, giving you the full Aussie camping experience!
Parry Beach Campground – If you love camping on the beach, this one’s for you! Parry Beach is run by volunteers and operates on a “first in best dressed” policy. You’ll find showers and toilets here but no other facilities. Make sure to come prepared with enough drinking water etc.
Tents, caravans and motorhomes are all welcome.
Day 4 – Denmark
You have an entire day to explore Denmark today so you can do as much, or as little, as you desire. The highlights of Denmark, for most people, are the beautiful sheltered bays of Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks.
You could easily spend a day here enjoying the beach. If you want to explore or it’s poor weather, you’ll find plenty of other attractions.
Denmark has some of the most picturesque cellar doors in the Great Southern, as well as very tasty wines. A couple of stops for lunch or a tasting are definitely advised.
We’ve listed some of our favourite spots below however there are many others to explore in the area.
Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks
These beautiful, turquoise bays are conveniently located right next to each other. Found within the William Bay National Park, 15 minutes drive from the town centre. There are toilets on site and plenty of parking however on weekends it can get very busy.
Greens Pool is a beautiful sheltered beach with calm, shallow water for swimming and some great snorkelling potential. The sand is soft and white and is as comfortable as it is photogenic.
Elephant Rocks is a narrow, rectangular bay with huge boulders scattered across the beach and in the water, giving the bay it’s name. The water here is also calm and plenty of fun can be had jumping from some of the rocks.
Make sure to bring a picnic as you might find that you don’t wish to leave for some time! These bays tend to have that effect on people. There is no cost to enter this national park.
Wineries and Brewpub
Denmark is one of the five sub-regions in the Great Southern wine region. The wines produced here are highly regarded and win awards every year.
There are several beautiful and welcoming cellar doors that will leave lasting impressions.
Our recommendation for lunch would have to be The Lake House. Their restaurant and outdoor dining deck sit beside a pretty lake, providing a fantastic backdrop for your meal.
A lot of the food is locally sourced and the platters are every wine lovers dream accompaniment. If there was ever a time to treat yourself during this road trip, it’s at the Lake House Winery!
The Lake House is very popular during high season. To avoid disappointment, book your gourmet lunch by the lake ahead of time.
Some other favourites to keep in mind for tasting stops:
Singlefile Wines – The grounds and cellar door are gorgeous and the wine is top-notch. They are right near the Lakehouse on the same road.
Rockcliffe – Their single vineyard offerings are some of the best wine in W.A. Beware that it will be hard to leave without a few bottles in tow!
Boston Brewing – For the beer lovers there is also a great option here. Their beer garden sits next to rows of vines, and there’s lots of activities for kids. The menu is extensive and features plenty of fresh local produce.
Opening hours vary by venue and time of year, click the links above for more info.
Denmark Farmhouse Cheese
If you follow the scenic Scotsdale Rd for 20 minutes out of town, you will find the Duckett’s Mill Winery. Also home to Denmark Farmhouse Cheese.
They produce several varieties of tasty handmade cheese, all with local milk. They also make amazing takeaway platters with various cheeses and other accompaniments.
Daily – 10am to 5pm
Denmark Animal Farm
For those with kids (or adults who love petting baby animals), there is a great little interactive farm. They have both native animals and farm animals that you can interact with.
The farm also houses an alpaca stud and shop. You can purchase alpaca wool goods as well as other art and craft offerings.
Daily – 10am to 4pm
Adult – $15, Children – $8, Family (2 Adults, 3 Children) – $50
Day 5 – Denmark to Albany
It’s best to early leave today, as there are so many awesome things to do in Albany, as well as along the way. The scenic drive and stops along the way are optional but don’t add too much time to the trip.
The rest of the day you can spend checking in and exploring some of the top sights around town. See below for our recommendations on the best accommodation.
Torbay Scenic Drive
If you wish to explore the sights along the way then the first thing to do is find the Torbay Scenic Drive. This follows the Lower Denmark Road and the turnoff is about 17km from town.
The drive itself is lovely, passing through lush undulating countryside and farmland. The turnoffs to the below optional stops are found along the way.
West Cape Howe National Park / Shelley Beach
This park feels remote and untouched, the raw power of the ocean on full display along the rugged coast. Steep hills plunge into the crashing waves, occasionally broken by beautiful white sand beaches.
There are some good hikes and surf breaks around here, as well as the potential for some serious 4WDing. The park is quite isolated and lacking in facilities so make sure you are well prepared.
The highlight of the park is Shelley Beach and the lookout high above it. You can often see paragliders launching themselves off a platform and soaring on the updrafts.
Another stop you might consider is Muttonbird Beach. This isolated beach is a top spot for surfers when the swell is right. The beach is long and 4WD friendly, so you can have a blast flying along the sand.
There’s a lookout at the top of the hill with some nice views of the beach and the small Shelter Island. There is a calmer area between the beach and shelter island for swimming.
Highlights of Albany
Even if you have taken the long route you should still have time to check out a few of the best sights around town.
The below attractions are close together and you can visit both this afternoon. Tomorrow is a full day in Torndirrup National Park, which has many beautiful sights.
National Anzac Centre and Princess Royal Fortress
This museum was built to celebrate 100 years of ANZAC history and it’s no accident that it is in Albany. King George’s Sound is where the ships carrying the ANZAC soldiers assembled. The centre sits high on Mt Clarence, poignantly overlooking this bay.
The centre houses displays detailing the history and stories of the ANZAC legend.
Outside is a historical fortress which has been here prior to the founding of Australia as a nation. Of course the current structures are more modern, dating mostly from WW2.
You can explore the gun batteries, bunkers and barracks of the fortress. There is also a viewing platform over King George’s Sound. Photos show how the ships assembled before departing to Gallipoli and Europe.
At the very top of Mt Clarence there is a desert mounted corps memorial and a platform with a great view of the town centre.
(National Anzac Centre only, admission to Fortress is by donation)
Adult – $25, Child – $11
National Anzac Centre – Daily: 9am to 5pm
Princess Royal Fortress – Daily: 9am to 4pm
Middleton Beach and Ellen Cove Boardwalk
Middleton Beach is Albany’s main beach and is a perfect place for a calm swim. The Ellen Cove Boardwalk starts from one side of this beach and wraps around the headland of Mt Clarence.
As you ascend you achieve amazing views back over Middleton Beach and out into King George Sound.
This sound is a main stop on the Humpback and Southern Right whale migration. From June to October you might spot them from one of the several lookouts along the route.
You can also walk to or from the National Anzac Centre on the boardwalk. There is a nice café overlooking Middleton Beach near the beginning of the boardwalk.
Where to Stay in Albany
Evelyn House – This beautifully restored cottage is right in town and features chesterfield sofas, a fireplace and beautiful jarrah furniture.
Dolphin Lodge – Highly rated self-contained apartments only 200m from Middleton Beach, nearby shops and restaurants and close to all major attractions in Albany.
BIG4 Middleton Beach Holiday Park – A popular beachfront caravan park near Albany with both campsites and villa rentals. It features a heated pool and hot tub, easy beach access and is close to the town centre.
Betty’s Beach Campground – If you’re looking to disconnect and escape reality for a few days, then look no further than this stunning beach campground. It’s located next to a pristine beach near the Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Albany but you won’t regret spending a few days at this secluded paradise. Note that the only facilities here are drop toilets.
Day 6 – Albany/Torndirrup National Park
The following attractions are all in and around Torndirrup National Park, a scenic 30 minute drive from Albany. There is so much to do that you should plan to spend most of the day out here.
Consider bringing a packed lunch as there are a number of great picnic spots. Don’t worry if you forget or don’t want to pack a lunch as there are a couple of local shops.
The Gap & Natural Bridge
This is one of Albany’s star attractions and for good reason. The almost un-natural gash carved into the exposed granite looks like a blow from a giant’s axe.
A viewing platform extends out over the gap where you can watch the huge waves crash in and explode into spray. The Gap is undeniably one of the most unique natural wonders of WA.
A short walk away on the same network of walkways is an equally impressive formation of stone. A huge bridge that spans a gap created by millions of years of wave action eroding the underlying layers.
Another viewing platform offers a great perspective. You are able to walk onto the bridge itself but make sure to stay well away from the edge!
Standard W.A. National Park Entry Fees – Covered by W.A. Parks Pass
Vehicle with up to 12 occupants – $15
Motorcycle – $8.00
The next stop along the main road is the blowholes. This attraction does involve a moderate walk and some rocky terrain. The blowholes are cracks in the rock that reach down to caves hollowed out by wave action.
Waves crash into the caves, creating high pressure which escapes from the cracks in a blast of water and air. The attraction only functions with a decent swell so you might want to check before you commit to the walk. There is no entrance fee.
Back on the main road, you will only have to travel another 30 seconds or so to reach Newell’s Road. The lookout here offers a beautiful view of a narrow bay squeezed between the steep sides of the flanking hills.
Once again turning right from the main road, you will find the aptly named Stony Hill. A short stroll from the carpark to the granite peak offers great 360 degree views over the park.
The start point for the Peak Head walk trail is here. This is one of several hiking trails in the park. If sticking to this itinerary then the limited time means you can probably only tackle one.
We recommend our favourite below, but you can research the other trails and pick one that suits.
Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
If you are a history buff you might want to learn something of the history of whaling in Albany. While not a pleasant industry, whaling was a big part of the early development of this town.
The well-appointed museum features interactive displays, a huge whale skeleton and a real whaling ship. In the same area there’s also a wildflower garden and a small wildlife park with native marsupials.
Adult: $32, Children (6 to 15yrs): $12, Family of 5: $75
Daily: 9am to 5pm
Point Possession Heritage Trail
This is our recommended hike as it is very scenic and is easily achievable within the day. See this link for a summary of some other hiking trails in the park.
The trail begins near some of the most beautiful beaches in the area before angling up for great views of Albany and Frenchman Bay.
The narrow peninsula laid out below you is the target of your hike and can be a good place to spot whales during the season.
Seeing these marvels of modern engineering up close is an interesting experience. Standing near the base of a giant turbine and looking up as the blades race round is quite amazing.
The landscape surrounding the turbines is dramatic and beautiful. There are some brilliant viewing platforms and walkways on the steep cliffs to make the most of it.
You might find some of the best sunset views on the south-west coast here. If not then it’s enough to watch the endless surge of the waves as they meet their end against the cliffs.
Day 7 – Albany to Esperance
Today is a big driving day as you make your way from Albany to Esperance. The direct trip takes around 5 hours but we recommend stopping at one of the following two places along the way.
You could choose to include both stops but in that case you’d have to make sure to leave early! Don’t feel too rushed to arrive in Esperance as you have two full days to explore the area and see the main highlights.
Little Beach, Two People’s Bay
It’s likely that you’ve seen a photo of this place before, thanks to its rise to fame on Instagram. A 40 minute drive from Albany will bring you to the calm turquoise water and clean white sand of Little Beach.
It’s no surprise that Little Beach is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia.
Follow a path over a small hill to reach the neighbouring Waterfall Beach, which is just as scenic and perhaps a little more quiet.
Castle Rock, Porongurup National Park
The road to Esperance passes through Porongurup National Park. This is an easy stop to make along the route and the hike up to the Granite Skywalk shouldn’t take you longer than 2 hours. The panoramic views from the top are well worth the effort.
Be aware that the hike does get quite steep and involves scrambling over rocks and climbing a ladder. Wearing sturdy hiking shoes is a must.
Where to Stay in Esperance
Hospitality Esperance – With a great location right on the waterfront and beautiful ocean views, this hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay in Esperance. Hospitality Esperance is highly rated and features a swimming pool, a bar and restaurant, and free guest parking.
Esperance Bay Holiday Park – Close to shops and restaurants and a 15 minute walk from West Beach, this caravan park is the perfect spot to base yourself in Esperance. It’s a 45 minute drive to Cape Le Grande National Park and offers a range of accommodations to suit all types of travellers. Book a villa here or book a campsite here.
Lucky Bay – This simple but well-located government run campground is by far the most popular beach camping spot in Esperance. Base yourself right in the national park for easy access to all the best beaches of Esperance. For $15 per night, this campground has toilets, showers, BBQs and is only steps away from the famous Lucky Bay beach.
Booking ahead of time is essential, visit the WA Parks website for prices and availability.
Day 8 – Esperance/Cape Le Grande National Park
Cape Le Grande National Park is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia. Squeaky white sand stretches out across a seemingly endless number of spectacular beaches and bays.
It’s easy to spend the entire day beach hopping through Cape Le Grande National Park, and that is exactly what you should plan to do on day 8!
Get your beach bag ready first thing in the morning and set off to explore the best of the national park. Popular activities here are surfing, stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling, fishing and 4WDing. Aside from lounging around and swimming of course.
The following are some of the most popular beaches of Esperance that you might want to check out today.
Keep in mind these beaches are fairly spread out so you might not be able to see them all in one day. They are listed here in order from the closest to furthest away from Esperance town.
Entrance: $15 to enter the national park/free for WA park pass holders
This gem is a local favourite, situated only 10 minutes from Esperance town along the stunning Great Ocean Drive.
With calm water and unique granite formations, you can’t go wrong spending a few blissful hours sunbathing at this scenic beach. Since Twilight Bay isn’t located within the national park, there is no entrance fee.
Only 15 minutes from town, Wylie Bay is yet another spot that has become increasingly popular with photographers.
The crystal clear water and incredible coastal scenery make this is a particularly scenic spot for a long drive on the beach. The sand is quite soft in areas so you’ll definitely need a 4WD for this.
If you have a drone, make sure to pull up onto the Wylie Bay sandbar when the tide is low to capture this iconic top-down view.
If you’d prefer something a little less busy but still absolutely stunning then look no further than Hellfire Bay. This hidden gem of Esperance has everything you need for the perfect beach day.
BBQs and sheltered picnic tables look out over the beach, making it a great place to have some lunch with a view.
It’s been called one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is deserving of this title. Not only is Lucky Bay picture-perfect, but the resident kangaroos are what make this place truly unique.
Lucky Bay combines everything you need for a classic Aussie experience. Brilliant turquoise water, soft white sand and a few friendly kangaroos hopping around.
On the eastern edge of the national park and just over an hour from the town of Esperance, this pristine beach is a popular spot for swimming and surfing.
With smaller waves, Wharton Beach is great for those who are new to surfing. If you’ve got a 4WD you’ll be glad to know that beach driving is permitted here.
For those who would like to stay in this area, you’ll find the Orleans Bay Caravan Park only 5 minutes from Wharton Beach. If you visit Wharton Beach, don’t miss out on having lunch at the fabulous Condingup Tavern.
Day 9 – Esperance
There are plenty of awesome things to do in Esperance besides seeing the national park. On day 9 of your Perth to Esperance road trip, plan to start the morning with a hike up to Frenchman Peak.
The rest of the day can be spent seeing any of the highlights listed below and finishing it off with dinner and a pint at Lucky Bay Brewing.
For a spectacular view over the national park and southern coast, make your way up the steep trail that leads to Frenchman Peak.
This short but challenging hike is located within Cape Le Grande National Park. It’s only a 2.5km return hike but the terrain is very steep and as you get closer to the top you will find yourself scaling a large granite rock face.
The hike shouldn’t take you longer than 2 hours to complete but keep in mind that it’s classed as a Grade 5 hike so a high level of fitness is recommended. Of course, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t attempt this without good hiking shoes.
Lake Hillier/Pink Lake
If you’ve ever seen a photo of a stunning pink lake near Esperance, you might be fooled into thinking that it’s the one just outside of town. That particular pink lake has lost its vibrant colour over the years and is no longer as impressive as it once was.
The best pink lake in the area is Lake Hillier which is located on Middle Island, about 130km off the coast of Esperance. The striking beauty of a vividly coloured pink lake alongside the turquoise water of the ocean is a sight you won’t soon forget.
The only way you can see Lake Hillier is by taking a scenic flight or a boat cruise. Scenic flights depart 3 times a day from Esperance airport and last for around 1.5 hrs. Boat tours to Lake Hillier only operate at select times during high season which starts in January.
Find more info about prices and booking your Esperance to Lake Hillier boat cruise here.
If you don’t want to hike up Frenchman Peak, you’re not totally out of luck. Rotary lookout is only a 4 minute drive from the town and best of all, you can park your car directly at the lookout.
At the top you’ll find an epic panoramic view over the town, coastline and stunning beaches below.
Just outside of Esperance you can find a rather unexpected attraction. A scale replica of the famous Stonehenge in England! Built to resemble how it would have appeared over 5000 years ago.
Unlike the original in the UK, the Esperance Stonehenge hasn’t been fenced off so you can get up close to the stones and take some fun photos.
Cost: $12 – Adult, $5 – Child
Opening hours: 9am – 1pm daily
Lucky Bay Brewing
There’s no better way to finish off two full days of exploring Esperance than a relaxing evening with a pint or two and some good food.
Lucky Bay Brewing has been producing quality craft beers from locally sourced ingredients since 2015. It’s an award winning micro-brewery known for its delicious brews and tasty food.
If you’re interested in beer brewing, you’ll also have the option to take a tour of the brewery, which of course ends with a tasting. Make sure to check the opening hours before turning up as they are not open every day of the week.
Opening hours: Thursday – Monday 11:30am – 7:30pm (9pm Fridays)
Location: 63 Bandy Creek Road
Day 10 – Esperance to Hyden
The final day of sightseeing on your south west road trip brings you 4 hours north of Esperance to the town of Hyden.
This is the ideal spot to stay for the night and break up the long 8 hour drive from Esperance to Perth. Of course you’ll also get to see the jaw-dropping natural wonder of Wave Rock.
Wave Rock is one of the most famous and iconic natural landmarks of Western Australia. It’s something so unique, you might never see anything like it elsewhere.
The stone wave rises 15 metres above the ground and stretches over 100 metres long. This impressive formation is dated to 2,700+ million years old!
Walking beneath the wave makes for an awesome photo opportunity. You can also climb on top for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Follow an easy 20 minute walking trail from Wave Rock to reach another interesting rock formation. As the name suggests, it really does look like a giant hippo’s mouth, which you can step inside for some cool photos. There is a carpark at Hippo’s Yawn so you can also choose to drive.
Hop in the car and drive for 15 minutes from Wave Rock to arrive at Mulka’s Cave. Step inside the cave to find some fascinating ancient aboriginal art on the inside of the walls. There are a few walking trails in this area for those who wish to explore more of the bushland, find more info here.
Where to Stay in Hyden
Wave Rock Motel – Located within the town of Hyden just 5km from Wave Rock, this comfortable hotel has everything you’ll need to relax after a long day of driving and adventure.
The rooms are spacious and air-conditioned, there’s a pool, gym, and two restaurants to pick from. We personally stayed here when we visited Hyden and really enjoyed it, the Bush Bistro serves a great buffet dinner every night.
Wave Rock Resort – Stay in one of fourteen self contained villas right next to the beautiful Lake Magic, only 1km from Wave Rock. Each villa is fully equipped with a kitchen, 2 bedrooms, lounge, private courtyard and free Wi-Fi.
Wave Rock Caravan Park – Catering to both tent campers and those travelling in a caravan, this location could not be any closer to Wave Rock. Stay and watch the sunset from the top of the rock or wake up and beat the crowds to be the first one there.
Facilities include a pool, BBQ, playground, powered & unpowered sites, camp kitchen, and Wave Rock Café is just across the road.
Day 11 – Hyden to Perth
The road trip is nearly over and it’s time to head back home today. For those who aren’t quite ready to face reality, there are a few more cool things to do in Hyden.
Returning to Perth takes around 4 hours so you’ll have time to check out some other Hyden attractions before hitting the road.
Salt Baths – Enjoy a float in the salt pool only 800 metres from Wave Rock. Similar to the Dead Sea, the salt water here is extremely buoyant and is said to have therapeutic benefits.
Wildlife Park – Just across from Wave Rock you’ll be able to see a wide range of native animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, possums, wombats, exotic birds and much more.
Pioneer Town – A small museum dedicated to the history of the wheatbelt region. Get a glimpse into how the pioneers of this area lived with displays and memorabilia dating back to the 19th century.
Miniature Soldier Museum – An impressive collection of over 10,000 toy soldiers arranged to showcase a series of wars over the centuries.
Lace Place – A beautiful collection of women’s clothing dating as far back as the 1600’s featuring intricately handmade lace gowns and antique wedding dresses.
We hope you’ve found our detailed itinerary useful for helping you plan out your very own Perth to Esperance road trip! We’re so proud to call Western Australia home and we absolutely love sharing its beauty with the world.
Follow us on Instagram for more WA travel inspiration and check out some of our other popular Australian road trip itineraries below.
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