After visiting many areas in Australia’s South West, over many years, we have compiled an ultimate 2-week road trip itinerary. This itinerary includes where to go down south and the best things to see and do. So, in 2-weeks your family will travel from Perth to Albany, exploring everything Australia’s South West has to offer!
This itinerary is designed to suit any budget, with many free activities and affordable accommodation options for your family. However, if you have more flexibility with your budget you can easily add in extra experiences and unique accommodation. With things like boat charters and tours, staying at an eco-friendly resort or glamping for the night, there are plenty of options to add to your itinerary!
What You Will Need for Your Road Trip
Obviously you will need a car to go on a road trip around Australia’s South West. In fact, a car is the only way to travel around the region with ease. But, if you don’t live in the area and need to hire a vehicle, I suggest hiring a campervan as it can double as a place to sleep along the way. Just note that you can only park up a vehicle to sleep in, in designated area and campgrounds.
If you are planning to camp, make sure that you have all the gear that you need. You can purchase your own gear at a local camping store such as BCF. Otherwise, you can hire gear through sites such as Gumtree or Facebook marketplace.
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Australia’s South West Road Trip Itinerary
- Day 1-2: Collie
- Day 3-4: Busselton
- Day 5-7: Margaret River
- Day 8-9: Augusta & Hamelin Bay
- Day 10-12: Denmark
- Day 13-14: Albany
Day 1-2: Collie
On the first day of your road trip, head towards Collie, a regional mining town in Australia’s South West. It takes around 2 hours of driving from Perth to get here. Although the town is small, there are plenty of outdoor activities and sights to see in the Collie River Valley.
Camp in Wellington National Park
Camping is the best way to experience the natural surrounds during your stay in Collie. The Wellington National Park has plenty of camping options, where you can wake up to the sounds of running water, birds and wind in the trees.
Honeymoon Pool: Honeymoon Pool is popular campground and swimming spot located along the Collie River. It is well equipped with flushing toilets, free gas, picnic tables and a fire pit per campsite. The campground is designed for tents only, but each site has an allocated parking space.
Even if you don’t stay at Honeymoon Pool it is well worth the visit for a swim!
Gelcoat Rapids: Located alongside the Collie River, not far from Honeymoon Pool, Gelcoat Rapids is a much quieter campground. While you cannot park your car up next to your tent, the parking area is only a short distance from the campsites. The campground also has a toilet block, picnic benches and two fire pits to share with other campers.
Potters Gorge: Situated on the shore of the Wellington Dam, Potters Gorge is suitable for tents as well as campervans and caravans. It has flushing toilets and fire pits as well as a BBQ area, with picnic tables. If you have a boat, you can also go water skiing in a small section of Wellington Dam at Potters Gorge.
Prices may change and vary depending on the season, be sure to make your booking through the Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Read More: Tips for Camping with Your Baby
Visit Black Diamond Lake
One of the top things to do in Collie is to visit Black Diamond Lake. This, once, mine is now filled with water and quickly became an Instagram sensation with its stunning turquoise blue colour. It is a great place to pack a picnic lunch and spend the day swimming and relaxing in the sun.
Although Black Diamond Lake is considered the most popular, Collie is filled with many other beautiful attractions. Read this blog post for more ideas and activities to do during your stay in Collie.
Day 3-4: Busselton
From Collie, start driving further south to make your way to Busselton. Busselton is our most visited place in all of Australia’s South West and a personal favourite. If your only visiting the area for a short time it’s a great place to use a base for exploring other places and attractions.
Make a Stop in Bunbury
While you make your way to Busselton, make a stop over in Bunbury. Here you can head to Koombana Bay where you can often see dolphins! Pop into the Bunbury’s Farmers Market where get yourself some delicious food to use for your dinner.
Drive the Tuart Drive Scenic Route
Seeing as you are on a road trip, why not take the scenic route as you make your way into the town of Busselton. The Tuart Drive Scenic Route is filled with stunning views of tuart trees that are only native to Western Australia. This detour will only take you a few minutes longer than driving the highway.
Visit the Busselton Jetty
The Busselton Jetty is the most iconic landmark, known for being the longest timber jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Reaching 1.8km long, the Busselton Jetty is perfect for a walk with gorgeous ocean views. Entry onto the jetty cost $4 for adults, with children being free. If you come after 6pm, entry is also free.
Walk the Busselton Jetty at sunset for a beautiful and FREE experience!
You can also take the Jetty Train along the Busselton Jetty. If you are travelling with young kids they will be so excited to go on a train out to sea! Taking the Jetty Train will take you around 45 minutes return and a family pass will cost you $38.
At the end of the Busselton Jetty is the Underwater Observatory. Here you can experience the natural underwater world of Australia’s South West while keeping dry! Descend 8m below the ocean’s surface to see corals, sponges, fish and maybe even a dolphin! A family pass will cost your $99 but this also includes a return trip on the Jetty Train.
Booking the Underwater Observatory Tour includes a return trip on the Jetty Train!
One of our favourite things to do near the Busselton Jetty is to enjoy some fish n’ chips in the nearby park. It is a great way to take in the views and eat some delicious food! The Busselton Jetty is also a great place to go fishing. So if you have the gear, spend your evening fishing from one of South West Australia’s iconic landmarks!
Day 5-7: Margaret River
As you drive from Busselton to Margaret River, take the scenic route heading through Dunsborough and Yallingup. At this point, you may begin to notice a trend for your road trip through Australia’s South West? We are all about the scenic drives.
Read More: The Most Beautiful Stays in Margaret River
Explore Dunsborough and Cape Naturaliste
The town of Dunsborough is a great place to stop for a little bakery snack. From here, drive along Cape Naturaliste Road towards Meelup Beach where you can enjoy a swim at the beach. Sugarloaf Rock and the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse are also top places to stop along this road.
Stop in at Yallingup Beach
Even if you don’t walk down to the beach, it is well worth your time to make a stop at Yallingup beach. The drive down towards the beach will award you with stunning views of South West Australia’s coastline. We love to come here simply to watch the surfers and admire the views.
Bathe in Injidup Natural Spa
Injidup Beach has a natural spa, which fills up with water at high tide. You can watch the waves come crashing over the rocks, spilling into the rock pools. Because of the surging water, it is probably not the best place to swim if you are visiting with young kids. However, it is worth a visit simply for its photography opportunities!
Sample Local Produce as You Drive
Throughout Australia’s South West there are countless places where you can go and taste the local produce for free. The Margaret River Region is the BEST area to sample the local produce; you can taste everything from olives, jams, olive oils, cheese, and wines. Simply spot signs along the road as you drive, and try some of the best produce in the region.
Here are some of the companies that you don’t want to miss are:
- Margaret River Chocolate Company
- Margaret River Providore
- Vasse Virgin
- The Margaret River Dairy Company
- Yahava KoffeeWorks
- Swings and Roundabouts Winery
- Aravina Estate Winery
As you visit these local companies, be sure to purchase some produce to put together a picnic for lunch or dinner!
Have Lunch at a Brewery Down South
While you are spending your day driving around the region, be sure to stop and have lunch at one of the local breweries! There are plenty of breweries located in the Margaret River Region, each with their own distinctive style, making it the ultimate destination for craft beer lovers. With unique blends, ciders, seasonal beers and great food it is the perfect place to sit back and relax.
All the breweries are family friendly, making them a great place to take the kids. They have large grassed areas and most have playgrounds. So grab yourself a tasting paddle while you watch your kids run around!
Margaret River breweries are family friendly!
Wander Through the Town of Margaret River
During your stay in Margaret River, spend some time walking through the boutique stores in town. The quirky and eclectic Margaret River Bakery is a great place to stop and enjoy a coffee!
Day 8-9: Augusta & Hamelin Bay
As you leave Margaret River, drive toward the beach to watch the surfers at Surfers Point. You can even pop into the Elephant Café at Gnarabup Beach for some breakfast or morning tea. This café is situated right on the water so has the best views to enjoy while you sip a coffee. During the winter months, this can be a great spot to look for whales!
Camp at Conto Campground
If you are wondering where to stay in this area I highly recommend camping at Conto Campground. The sites here are suitable for tents, caravans and campervans and are great for people who are travelling on a budget!
During our stay here we had a HUGE site, access to a basic campers kitchen and toilet. With sites that are surrounded by nature, you may even get to see kangaroos!
Explore the Boranup Forest
The Boranup Forest is a unique little pocket of land that provides a complete change of scenery for this region. With lush greenery in contrast to the striking red dirt, it is a beautiful place to visit. There are plenty of easy walk trails to follow through the forest, making it a great place to explore with kids. You can also follow the Cape-to-Cape hike trail from your site at Conto Campground!
See Stingrays at Hamelin Bay
One of the best ways to have a memorable holiday in this region is to have an animal encounter. Stingrays are very common along South West Australia’s coast. In order to encounter one up close, the best place to visit is Hamelin Bay! Here the stingrays are protected and you are able to feed them.
They often come right up to the shore, so that you can even touch them! While I am normally not a sea-life lover, I had to give it ago. This unique encounter is free, which will make for a cool experience for your time down south in Western Australia.
Augusta and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
You can’t come to this area without a little visit into the Town on Augusta. We love to pop into the Augusta Bakery for a snack to enjoy while we take a walk on the beach. You can also visit the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, an iconic attraction in the South West and the most southerly point in Western Australia. However, a visit here will set you back $20 per adult and $14 for a child.
Day 10-12: Denmark
Next it is time to make the 4-hour drive to Denmark. Break up the drive by making a little road trip detour into Pemberton, a town known as one of the green jewels of Australia’s South West. Here you can see the towering Karri forests and lush agricultural lands. Our favourite thing to do in Pemberton is to climb one of the Karri Forest Trees. Gloucester Tree. Originally, the tops of these trees were used to scan the landscape for fires. However, today they are used as a free nature-based tourist attraction!
Gloucester Tree: This tree is 61m tall, with a lookout located at the top. This tree will give you spectacular views over the surrounding karri forest and farmland.
Bicentennial Tree: This is the tallest of the trees, reaching 75m above ground. From the top you can have a 360 degree view of the karri forest.
Camp at Parry Beach
If you’re looking for an affordable place to camp near Denmark, we highly recommend Parry Beach Campground. It is by far our favourite natural campsite we have stay at down south in Western Australia. We really enjoyed the huge sites that had a lot of shade throughout the day.
Parry Beach Campground also has showers that are heated by solar, flushing toilets and BBQs for cooking. After coming from a campsite that had no showers and long drop toilets, this was very exciting for us! With the solar showers, hot water doesn’t last very long. So shower between 11am and 3pm for hot water and remember to keep your showers short.
The campground is located right next to the beach, with four-wheel drive access. We did not come prepared with a four-wheel drive, but the sand was very hard and we still took our car on the beach. It is also a great area for beach fishing! This meant it was easy for Jason to go for a fish during Koby’s naps. We also went for a beach walk every evening, which quickly became one of my favorite parts of our stay!
While you cannot book here, the cost per site is very small. The sites fill up fast during the school holidays, so arrive early if you plan to stay here during that time.
Cost Per Night: $15 per car, per night (for up to 2 people)
Visit the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
If you love nature, head towards Walpole to experience the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. The tree top walk is internationally recognised as a nature-based tourism attraction. It is a 40-minute drive from Denmark, but very worth the distance.
It is a great family friendly activity, for kids of all ages. The 600m long walkway is accessible for both prams and wheelchairs. The trail doesn’t take long to complete so it is worth your money to go around twice!
Cost: $21 per adult
Go to Boston Brewery
One of our favourite breweries to visit in Australia’s South West is Boston Brewery. It has such a beautiful setting, delicious food and beer and a great playground to keep your kids entertained while you relax. Make sure you add a visit to your down south itinerary, even if it’s just for a quick drink!
Explore Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool
Located in William National Park, Elephant Rocks and Greens Pool are some of the most instagrammable places in Australia’s South West, a must see for your road trip itinerary. If you plan to come here to take photos, make sure you arrive early as the beaches fill up quickly during the summer. So does the car park.
Elephant Rocks: Elephant Rocks is my favourite of the two beaches, simply because there were less people here. The beach got its name from the giant boulder rocks that take the likeness of elephants.
Greens Pool: Greens Pool is the more popular of the two beaches, and is great for snorkeling and paddle boarding! Even though the beach is busy, you will easily see why it is a popular thing to do in Denmark and Western Australia.
Day 13-14: Albany
So far your 2-week road trip through South West Australia has been packed full with stunning sights and fun experiences. Now that we are onto our last destination, this isn’t about to stop! Albany is only a 45min drive from Denmark and has plenty of options for accommodation. So, as long as you aren’t visiting during peak periods, you will easily be able to find accommodation to suit you!
Explore Torndirrup National Park
The Torndirrup National Park holds some of Albany’s most visited attractions. Although you will need to purchase Park Pass to enter the national park, it will give you access to the other national parks within the region. Just be sure to print your park passes prior to leaving, as you need to have them displayed in your car.
The Gap: The Gap is a popular tourist destination in Albany where you can stand on overhanging lookout with the crashing waves 25m below. This is great for thrill seekers and people who love nature. Just make sure you keep your kids close while explore the area!
Natural Bridge: Just a short walk from the Gap is the Natural Bridge. Make sure you stay on the designated pathways while you walk to see the granite bridge carved by the ocean.
The Blowholes: Not a far drive from the Gap and Natural Bridge is The Blowholes. Come on a day where the swell is big so you can see sprouts of water coming up through the crevasses in the granite rocks.
Albany Windfarm: While not technically within the Torndirrup National Park, the Albany Windfarm is located in the same area. It is one of the largest and most spectacular windfarm in Australia, offering great views of the coastline and eco-friendly turbines.
Fishing is an popular activity to do along South West Australia’s coastline, especially in Albany. Throughout the year, the area is home to a multitude of species such as herring, whiting, squid and flathead. From March-April, during the annual Australian salmon run, Albany becomes an extremely popular place for local tourists. The Easter long-weekend will often see tourist flock to the region to try their luck in catching a prize fish!
Enjoy a Coffee at Middleton Beach or Emu Point
One of my favourite things to do in any destination is find a cute café to get a good cup of coffee. Both Middleton Beach and Emu Point are great places to sit and enjoy views of the ocean. You could even grab a coffee to go and enjoy it as you take a walk along the beach!
Go Hiking in Australia’s South West
With so much natural beauty down south, hiking is a great way to enjoy it! From Albany, there are several options for going on a hike and all will reward you with stunning views.
Bald Head: Bald Head is probably one of the most surprising hikes I have ever done. Even though we arrived here a little unprepared… we forgot the carrier for Koby, so we didn’t hike it all. However, every corner we rounded the scenery just got more beautiful and so we went much further than we expected!
This hike is perfect for families who are new to hiking, as you can easily turn around at any point. It is easily accessible, located in the Torndirrup National Park in Albany. Remember, if you are planning to do this hike you will need to pay the national park entrance fee.
Bluff Knoll: Located in the Stirling Range National Park, a national park pass is needed for this hike. Bluff Knoll is the highest peak in Australia’s South West, reaching 1095m above sea level. Along the way you can look for wildflowers, and from the summit you will be rewarded with views across the Stirling Range National Park.
Finish Your Road Trip in Perth
You have finally come to the end of your 2-week road trip through Australia’s South West! The drive back to Perth will take you approximately 4.5 hours through country towns and rural landscape. As you make your way back to Perth, be sure to stop over at one of the country towns for some fresh bakery food for lunch.