If you’ve got at least a week – or better, two weeks – try this mega itinerary on for size. With your Perth Airport car rental, you’ll be able to explore forests, beaches and historic goldfield areas. Start and end in Perth.
Head south from Perth, passing through Mandurah and Bunbury – where you can snorkel with dolphins and check out the dolphin discovery centre – and Busselton, home to the longest timber pier jetty in Australia. At the jetty, check out the underwater observatory.
At Dunsborough, pay a visit to the lighthouse at the tip of Cape Naturaliste, and the clifftop whale lookout.
Take Caves Rd past Yallingup, home to a great beach and surf spot, and through the margaret River wine region. Along with wine, you’ll find excellent coffee, chocolate, olive oil and other gourmet goodies. You can take a detours to Jewel Cave, Lake Cafe, or Mammoth Cave, otherwise continue on toward Augusta. Here, the Indian and Southern Oceans meet at Cape Leeuwin. Whales migrate through Flinders Bay in winter, making a spectacular sight.
Double back along the Bussell Highway to Karridale, turning east onto the Brockman Highway. At Pemberton you will find yourself surrounded by towering karri trees, some of which you can climb.
Onwards from Pemberton you’ll pass through the heart of Shannon National Park. Continue on along past Walpole, perhaps stopping at the Tree Top Walk in the Valley of the Giants. Beyond Walpole, you’ll reach William Bay National Park and West Cape Howe National Park.
Albany was Western Australia’s first settlement and hosts some beautiful historic buildings. Check out Dog Rock, Middleton Beach, and Natural Bridge.
Either take the South Coast Highway, possibly popping into the wildlife reserve of Two Peoples Bay, or head inland toward the Stirling Range. Once you reach Esperance you’ll be close to some ofAustralia’s best beaches. The Great Ocean Drive is a 38 kilometre circular route that hugs the coast and ideal for beach hopping.
From Esperance, you’ll drive through farmland and woodlands toward Norseman. Here, the gold mining tower and giant corrugated iron camels (a nod to early camel trains) live on. Continue to the old mining city of Kalgoorlie–Boulder, the heart of the WA goldfields, and visit the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame.
Along the Great Eastern Highway you’ll pass through another gold town, Coolgardie. At Merredin, check out the iconic Cummins Theatre, or detour to Wave Rock. Once you hit Northam and the Avon Valley, you’ll know you’re on the home stretch. Here you may opt for a skydive or hot air balloon flight before returning to Perth.