The Complete South West Loop

Use this itinerary to enjoy some time at all the highlights of the South West. From Perth to Margaret River, to Albany, Esperance and back (with all the sights in between). It’s time for beautiful scenery, beaches, forests, food, and wine!

Road Trip Summary

  • Day 1: Perth to Eagle Bay
  • Day 2/3/4: Margaret River and Augusta
  • Day 5/6: Hamelin Bay and Pemberton
  • Day 7/8: Walpole and Denmark
  • Day 9/10: Albany
  • Day 11/12/13: Fitzgerald River National Park
  • Day 14/15/16: Esperance
  • Day 17: Hyden (Wave Rock)
  • Day 18: York and Perth

Trip distance

2177 km

Trip duration

18 days

Recommended vehicle


Eagle Bay

Day 1: Perth to Eagle Bay

Eagle Bay is one of the best beach destinations in Australia and it's well worth the journey to get there. Start from Busselton, where you can explore the world’s longest wooden jetty for a great lunch pit stop. Next, drive south towards Dunsborough, and don't forget to check out Simmo’s Ice creamery for some delicious treats.

Then follow the road along Cape Naturaliste, where you can enjoy beautiful beaches such as Meelup Beach, Eagle Bay, Bunker Bay, and Sugarloaf rock - each offering its own unique character. And if you’re looking for an outdoor adventure between here and Margaret River, there are plenty of hikes you can take!

Day 2/3/4: Margaret River and Augusta

A great way to get to Margaret River is by detouring 19km via Yallingup. Enjoy the unique Natural Spa where visitors can splash around in a natural pool surrounded by crashing waves over rocks! Then, make sure to check out Canal Rocks for some interesting rock formations before heading towards Margaret River.

Once there, you can take advantage of its excellent beaches, cafes and wineries like Vasse Felix, Gralyn Estate and Lleuwin Estate. Other activities include visiting the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and the Eagle Bay Brewery for beer-lovers.

There are also some interesting caves in the area that you could check out including Jewel Cave, Lake Cave or Mammoth Cave (cost applies). See this guide.

As the day draws closer, be sure not to miss Prevelly Beach where surfers and onlookers alike can enjoy watching big waves crash onto shore. Jewel Cave, Lake Cave or Mammoth Cave (cost applies).

You should also consider visiting the nearby town of Augusta.

Margaret River
Hamelin Bay

Day 4/5: Hamelin Bay and Pemberton

Stop off at Hamelin Bay on your way to Pemberton for a unique experience! Famous for its friendly stingrays gliding in the shallow waters of the bay, you can actually brave up and give one a pat! If you want to stay and make use of the water, grab your snorkel or swimming gear and take a dip.

Once you’re ready to move on, drive towards Pemberton and take in its magnificent forests. Pemberton has a beautiful forest full of tall trees. You can even climb a couple of them which feels very scary. This is because you are basically climbing ‘metal steps/spikes’ sticking out of the tree! There are a few trees you can climb but we recommend the Gloucester Tree. It was previously used as a fire lookout, back in 1947.

For more natural beauty it’s worth checking out the Big Brook Abortorium with its giant trees. Inside, there is Big Brook Dam which is a nice spot for a swim and a picnic. If you are lucky, you can catch a camp spot at this location.

Day 7/8: Walpole and Denmark

Walpole is home to some truly remarkable giants of nature, namely the majestic Tingle Trees and the towering Valley of the Giants tree top walk. You can take a walk through one of the tunnel-like hollows formed in the century old trees or stop by Hilltop Inlet lookout for a serene view of the countryside. If you are looking for an outdoor adventure, you can find something exciting to do on any number of nearby hikes such as Deep River Walk Trail. As you leave Walpole, make sure to visit Peaceful Bay for a relaxing dip in the calm waters.

Denmark offers a plethora of picturesque sights and activities to do. From Greens Pool or Elephant Rocks beachside spots to the little town of Denmark itself—you can find it all here! For those looking for more than just your typical beach experience, there are many beautiful wineries and breweries that provide enjoyable atmospheres. To make sure you get the most out of your trip, we recommend dedicating 2 days between Walpole and Denmark, so you have ample time to explore this stunning region.

The Gap Albany

Day 9/10: Albany

No visit to Southwest Australia is complete without visiting Albany, the region's largest town. Here, you can stock up on your supplies before heading out to explore Torndirrup National Park. One of the park's must-see attractions is the coastal lookout, The Gap. Those looking for a challenging yet rewarding outdoor experience should hike to Bald Head for spectacular views of the ocean and beyond. For another hiking experience, drive 50 kilometres out of Albany to Porongurup National Park. Here you can take in Castle Rock and Granite Skywalk, both of which feature breathtaking landscape vistas.

The iconic Stirling Ranges should not be overlooked by anyone looking to explore the mountains of Western Australia. Though they are an hour outside of Albany, the detour is well worth the time and effort. The Stirlings are the only major range set in the southern portion of WA and gives hikers opportunities to climb Bluff Knoll ––the highest mountain in all of Western Australia (if you’re quick you can go up and down in only 2-3 hours) ––Mt Toolbrunup, and Mt Trio for stunning views and challenging tracks. For a slight break after intense climbs, the scenic Two People's Bay offers ocean views and a stopping point for rest. No matter where you decide to explore in this captivating region, you will be sure to find something incredible!

Day 11/12/13: Fitzgerald River National Park

Fitzgerald River National Park is a wild and wonderful place that's home to 20 percent of Western Australia’s flora species, and many of them are only found in this region.

It’s not possible to drive through the park from the west end to the east end with a two-wheel drive vehicle. So, if you want to visit both sides you’ll have to enter on the east side, then when you’re ready to drive out, go back to the highway and drive to the other end of the park to enter on the east side.

On the west side of Fitzgerald National Park is Bremer Bay. It’s a beautiful beach and a nice place to relax. There are a few trails that you can complete on the western side, however, they are about an hour drive from Bremer Bay.

The eastern side is a little more visitor friendly and has some nice campsites. We recommend hiking East Mount Barren, it should take about 1.5hrs to reach the summit. Following your hike, you can enjoy swimming and snorkelling at nearby beaches such as Four Mile Beach and Cave Point.

Fitzgerald River National Park
Lucky Bay Esperance

Day 14/15/16: Esperance

We’ve recommended 3 days in Esperance as everyone loves the white beaches here, and the kangaroos that hang out on them! There’s some debate, but the famous Lucky Bay (where you can find the kangaroos) might even be the whitest beach in the world.

There are many places to explore throughout Cape Le Grand National Park. We recommend checking out Cape Le Grande Beach, Hellfire & Little Hellfire Beach, Twilight Beach, and Thistle Cove Beach (you can also see kangaroos here!).

If you want a break from the beaches, we recommend climbing ‘Frenchman’s Peak’; a moderately easy 3km walk with some pretty sweet views. There are also many other walk trails throughout the park. If you’re looking for something a bit different, there’s Western Australia’s ‘Stone Henge’, located 15 minutes by car out of Esperance.

Day 17: Hyden (Wave Rock)

It’s time to start heading back to Perth! On your way, stop in Hyden to see Wave Rock. Once an obscure outback town, Hyden became famous when a photo of Wave Rock was published in the National Geographic magazine in 1964. Although Wave Rock is the main attraction, there is more to discover here. A short walk away you'll find Hippos Yawn, and a short drive away is Mulka's Cave with its aboriginal handprints. Another must-see is The Humps, a set of rocks offering incredible views of the surrounding area. And after all that exploring, what better way to end your day than by watching the sunset from the top of Wave Rock? Hyden truly offers something for everyone!

Wave Rock Hyden
York Western Australia

Day 18: York and Perth

On your way back to Perth, take the scenic route and make a pit stop at the old town of York. Situated about 100 kms from Perth, by the Avon River, the quaint district offers a beautiful view of the area, perfect for taking some last-minute snaps before heading back home to Perth.

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