Explore the South-West of Western Australia

The South-West of Western Australia is not just a haven for wine enthusiasts but also outdoor lovers who come to see the rugged coastline, lush forests, and sprawling outback. Its also a place of discovering a curious place called Gnomesville, a population of 7000+ Gnomes!

Take a journey off the beaten path and experience the very wild and unspoiled side of Western Australia.

The South-West of Western Australia is not just a favourite for wine enthusiasts but also outdoor lovers who come to see the rugged coastline, lush forests, and sprawling outback.

From Perth to Esperance, this South Western Australia road trip is one of the best kept secrets in the land down under. The scenery is ever-changing, from the farmlands of Ferguson Valley to the white sands of Hamelin Bay and the towering forests in Augusta.

As for wildlife, this part of the coastline is a haven for bird life and a known pitstop for migrating humpback whales. And then there’s the gourmet cheese and local food and wine which is sure to leave you feeling full by the time you reach Esperance. While you might travel to Western Australia for the wild and lonely landscapes, each section of this adventure is full of life and a road trip through the South-West is sure to be one you will never forget!

SUGGESTED Travel itinerary

Explore the South-West of Western Australia - Travel Times & Highlights

Please note: Distances and travel times are estimates only and may vary due to alternative routes, weather and road conditions. Please check with Main Roads Western Australia for updated information before commencing your journey.


perth city wa

Perth is a place of contrasts where white sandy beaches and leafy parks can be found next to busy bars and a fascinating art scene. 

You will find colourful neighbourhoods here and lively schedule which showcases a long line up of concerts, festivals and events throughout the year. This is also the ideal place to pick up last-minute supplies and prepare for your road trip from Perth to Margaret River.

This can also feel like an urban oasis as the landscapes outside of Perth are wild and barren in every direction. You can encounter unique wildlife and prestigious wineries and then there’s Rottnest Island.

Situated just off the coast, Rottnest Island is a haven for quokkas and features some of the most iconic vegetation, beaches and turquoise waters in Western Australia.

Distance from Perth: 27 min (21.5 km)


There’s plenty of things to do in Fremantle.

Fremantle is renowned as Perth’s Old Town, full of vibrancy, colour and culture. The streets buzz with buskers singing and the sidewalks fill with a wild collection of art and the music that floats out from trendy cafés and bars.

Spend a night or two with an excellent selection of accommodation options ranging from friendly backpackers to luxurious hotels.

Distance from Fremantle: 1 hr 55 min (171 km)

Ferguson Valley

Dardanup is a historical town on the edge of the Ferguson Valley. It’s just 15 minutes’ drive from Bunbury and the beginning of an odyssey through farmland, rolling hills and spectacular scenery.

It is here you will find the delightful town of Gnomesville, a City of Gnomes a population of about 7,000+ Gnome residents, yet you won’t find it “officially” on any map.

Ferguson Valley is also known for food and wine so you can expect many cafes and restaurants with everything from gourmet cheese and handmade pizzas to some of the best wineries in Western Australia.

The winding roads are steep in the valley, and they provide many vantage points at which to stop and drink in the colourful views. Indeed, it’s not just the wine that makes Ferguson Valley a highlight on this South Western Australia road trip from Perth to Esperance.

Distance from Ferguson Valley: 17 min (15 km)


bunbury wa

Bunbury is  located in the heart of the Bunbury-Geographe region.

Bunbury is rich in art, culture and heritage. Home to Bunbury Regional Art Gallery the largest A class regional gallery in Western Australia, Bunbury is also the region’s cultural and entertainment hub with cultural and entertainment offerings and many award winning and cafés, restaurants and small bars.

Bunbury boasts a number of natural and tourist attractions, and is coupled with a Mediterranean climate, making it an ideal holiday destination.

Distance from Bunbury: 1 hr 11 min (86.5 km)


yallingup wa

Yallingup is a seaside suburb and one of the most popular places for Western Australian’s to holiday. Boasting trendy breweries, white sand beaches, surf breaks, and beautiful national parks with the views of the Indian Ocean from the winding roads are stunning and an incredible place to watch the huge waves crash onto the shore.

This region has the most incredible beaches. There are plenty to choose from; the sheltered shores of Geographe Bay or the surfy beaches on the other side.

Distance from Yallingup: 31 min (36.5 km)

Margaret River

margaret river wa

Surrounded by ocean on three sides, the pristine and geographically isolated environment ensures that every wine is special but not one is the same. Sustainability and innovation is a core focus for many of the region’s wineries specialising in organic, biodynamic and natural winemaking.

Journey through Margaret River’s 90+ cellar doors (over 65 of which are rated Halliday 5 star wineries) is sophisticated yet relaxed, authentic and unique. 

The diversity ranges from farm-style to architecturally elaborate, many of which have casual cafés ranging to world-class restaurants.

Distance from Margaret River: 36 min (28 km)

Hamelin Bay

Photo by Ross Ogston

Hamelin Bay is the kind of place that makes a South Western   Australia road trip feel more like a holiday. With a beautiful stretch of white sand and pristine blue waters, this is the perfect place to swim, snorkel and take walks along the coastline.

The bay is sheltered which is largely why the marine life is so plentiful and just as eager as the tourists to visit Hamlin Bay. In fact, sting ray are often spotted from the shoreline and the clear waters ensure excellent visibility. You will also find a still freshwater lake nearby which is home to an array of birdlife including grebes, grey teal, hawk and eagle.

Hamlin Bay is a wonderful stop on a South Western Australia road trip itinerary so make sure to arrive early and take your time to explore the surroundings.

Distance from Hamelin Bay: 13 min (16 km)


Photo by Abel Sillano

Augusta is located at the very edge of the South West of Western Australia. Featuring Karri tree giants and immaculate stretches of beach, this isolated pocket is a hidden gem on a trip to Western Australia. You can even walk to the lighthouse at the tip of Cape Leeuwin and marvel at the meeting of the Indian and Southern oceans.

Many visitors follow the Cape to Cape track which runs 135 kilometres from Cape Naturalist through some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world. Depending on the time of year, this is also where you can see humpback and southern whales from the shore as they migrate toward the breeding grounds up north.

Flinders Bay is especially popular for whale watching tours but there are many more excursions which venture into forests, caves, and the upper reaches of the Blackwood River. Augusta town is 315 metres from Perth and the perfect end point to a South Western Australia road trip.

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