Perth to Esperance Road Trip – Discover the South West of Western Australia

Take a Perth to Esperance road trip and discover the native wildlife, sprawling landscapes and rugged coastline for which Western Australia is world famous! If you ever dreamed of taking an Australian coastal road trip, the Perth to Esperance route features an impressive lineup of historic towns, open roads and natural attractions.

Take a Perth to Esperance road trip and discover the native wildlife, sprawling landscapes and rugged coastline for which Western Australia is world famous!

If you ever dreamed of taking an Australian road trip, the Perth to Esperance route features an impressive lineup of historic towns, open roads and natural attractions. Here you will find Karri forests, hidden bays, and sandy beaches at every turn and just a fraction of the tourists you might find elsewhere in Australia.

That said, you really need a couple of weeks to drink in the scenery and properly experience everything a Perth to Esperance road trip has to offer. From Kangaroos to spotting marine life off the shore, you should encounter lots of wildlife on this route. Western Australia is also a haven for local food and wine which should help whet the appetite for this magical coastal journey in the South West of Western Australia.

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Perth to Esperance Road Trip – Discover 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 modern city and often cited as the ”sunniest capital in Australia”. This is rather isolated city and home to more than 80% of the population in Western Australia.

There is much culture and atmosphere as evidenced in the art galleries and historical neighbourhoods and the lively bars, cafes and restaurants in the city centre. However, where Perth really stands out is for the sandy beaches and leafy parks surrounding the city at every turn. Perth sits right on the doorstep of the natural landscapes for which the region is best known.

It’s true; the city is surrounded by natural beauty and the ideal place to begin a road trip in Western Australia. It might just be your starting point for a road trip but Perth really deserves a few days to soak in everything the city has to offer up.

Distance from Perth: 1 hr 22 min (98km)


York was one of the first colonial towns in Western Australia and the first settlement for Europeans back in the day. This is best evidenced in the colonial architecture of York and the many historic buildings dotted around town. 

In fact, you can even visit the Old Gaol & Courthouse and the York Motor Museum is another chance to step back in time. While most visitors cite these historic places as being the highlight, you will find many excellent restaurants, bars, and hotels in York.

There are also arts, food and wine festivals throughout the year and a holiday atmosphere during the peak season. Indeed, York is still a hugely popular town for new arrivals to this day!

Distance from York: 1 hr 31 min (135 km)


Photo by Bahnfrend

Narrogin is the perfect place from which to explore the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. More specifically, Narrogin is where you can access the Dryandra Woodland which is home to hundreds of bird species and native Australian wildlife. Narrogin also offers a historic museum, several walking trails to explore and plenty of options for cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Distance from Narrogin: 26 min (32 km)

Dryandra Woodland

Image by Terri Sharp from Pixabay

Dryandra Woodland is a stunning national park with 22 mammal  species and more than one hundred bird species. This park is also home to a spectacular array of wildflowers and some of the most stunning landscapes in Western Australia. On a Perth to Esperance road trip, this is probably your best chance to see kangaroos, woylies and possums.

What’s more, Dryandra is home to many endangered species which include wallabies, bilbies, and the western bandicoot. You can also stay overnight at Dryandra in either campsites or cottages and then use this time to feel fully immersed in the surrounding nature. Either way, Dryandra is not to be missed!

Distance from Dryandra Woodland: 2 hr (172 km)


Donnybrook is the apple capital of Western Australia due to the extent of fresh produce you will find here. In fact, the streets of Donnybrook are lined with apple trees and cherry blossom trees and there are endless roadside stalls with fresh produce during the spring. 

As with York, the colonial architecture remains, and you should find a jovial atmosphere about the town. There is also a huge fun park which is completely free to enjoy and an award-winning tour to enjoy at the local cider factory. Just outside town, you will also encounter scenic drives along the coastline and beautiful rolling landscapes that seem to go on forever.

In short, Donnybrook offers the ideal mix of history and nature and countless spots for a picnic in between!

Distance from Donnybrook: 40 min (57 km)


Photo by Calistemon
Bridgetown is located on the Blackwood River in the South West of Western Australia. The town is best described as an idyllic country town overflowing with arts, crafts, and local produce.

Bridgetown is one of the largest producers of fresh produce in Western Australia and a bustling hub for mining, forestry, and farming. You can sample this produce in the cafes or restaurants and perhaps venture into some of the many art galleries around town.

The Blackwood River Valley is a great place to explore by foot or bicycle and there are many trails leading into the valley from Bridgetown. If you want to see Bridgetown at its’ best, try visiting during the ‘Blues at Bridgetown’ festival which takes place in the month of November each year.

Distance from Bridgetown: 26 min (36 km)


Manjimup is literally surrounded by immense karri trees which are the tallest of the hardwood trees in Western Australia. This town is also the capital for black truffles in Australia which never fail to get all the top chefs and foodies excited. 

More than 80% of Manjimup is designated forest and national park so you can also expect to spend much of your visit exploring the great outdoors.

For instance, there are some excellent swimming spots to visit at Fonty’s Pool and Donnelly River, while the towering trees at King Jarrah and Four Acres are a majestic sight. Manjimup also features several heritage buildings which explain the local history and a café, picnic area and barbecues which are free to use.

Fancy standing beneath the tallest trees in Australia? Manjimup is not to be missed on a Perth to Esperance road trip!

Distance from Manjimup: 1 hr 22 min (119km)


Photo by Dhx1

Walpole is a forest experience like no other and where you can use suspended walkways to get a birdseye view of the trees.

These are some of the tallest timber trees in the world  in the Valley of the Giants, and the walkway travels through the forest for more than 600 metres. It’s a spectacular way to see this enchanted forest but you will also find rivers, inlets, and beaches in Walpole.

This is why kayaking, rafting, and boating is so popular in the area and Walpole is on the Bibbulmun trail which is one of the most famous long distance walking trails in the world.

Walpole a nature lovers paradise and a great way to feel fully immersed in the unspoiled nature of Western Australia.

Distance from Walpole: 48 min (65.5 km)


Photo by Dale Smith

Denmark is township which is home to a charming lineup of cafes, bakeries, and local restaurants. However, this town is probably best known for wildness as the surroundings consist of wildflowers, forest, and unspoiled wilderness.

Many of the surrounding trees stretch upward for more than 60 metres and these trees are thought to be several hundred years old. You can explore the forest from a nearby suspension bridge or choose to stay on the forest floor to take in the full magnitude of their size. Either way, nature is the main attraction in Denmark and most visitors come here with the intention of drinking in the scenery.

Denmark is also part of the Southern Wine Region which means there are vineyards along the way and this mix of nature and entertainment makes it another memorable stop on a Perth to Esperance road trip.

Distance from Denmark: 41 min (54 km)


Photo by Harry Cunningham

Albany has a rather cool climate and sits on a quiet harbour next to a national park. You will find a rugged coastline with boulders, beaches and nature trails stretching away from the town. The small wine bars and restaurants bring a lively atmosphere to the town and the historic buildings ensure it maintains the local heritage.

Albany was the first settled town in WA and one of the largest fleets of ANZACS departed here during the First World War in 1914. You can sense this history as you walk around town but there are still all the modern facilities etc to make for an enjoyable stay.

Between May and October, there is also the chance of spotting humpback whales from the shore in Albany and nearby Fitzgerald River National Park is a haven for walking, swimming, and biking. In fact, Albany is located on the famous Bibbulmun Track so you can even use this track to experience the surroundings.

Distance from Albany: 3 hr 36 min (342 km)


Located on the shoreline of MaryAnn Haven, Hopetoun is an idyllic town and the perfect starting point for exploring Fitzgerald River National Park. Featuring more than 329,000 hectares of natural attraction, the park is home to thousands of plan species and many of which are native to the park.

The shoreline is also inhabited by hundreds of bird species and even the whales like to use the hidden bays when it comes to calving season. But how might you explore the area? Perhaps you can walk the sandy beaches and swim or snorkel in the bay. There are marked walking trails at every turn and many rock pools and blowholes to see along the way.

You might also drive to East Mount Barren Lookout for breathtaking views of a pristine coastline that stretches for more 200 kilometres. Whether you spend this time relaxing or exploring, Hopetoun is a must-visit on a Perth to Esperance road trip.

Distance from Hopetoun: 2 hr (192.5 km)


Esperance is the kind of place where you lay down your towel and watch kangaroos sunbathing on the shore. It’s true, the local wildlife is just as much in love with Lucky Bay as the tourists and it’s easy to see why with white powered sands and pristine blue waters. In fact, Lucky Bay is the whitest beach in Australia and where you can also spot everything from starfish and crabs to seals and dolphins.

It’s also possible to charter boats for a different perspective or perhaps venture up to Frenchman’s Peak for unobstructed views of the 110 islands out to sea. While the surfers prefer West Beach and Fourth Beach, there are sheltered bays in which to swim such as the popular Blue Haven.

You can also explore Fitzgerald River National Park from Esperance and enjoy one last adventure among the wild landscapes, wildflowers, and wildlife. If you want something more ‘out there’ you can also take a ferry to Woody Island and maybe even stay overnight in one of the huts.

The town itself has everything you could want in terms of places to eat and stay and makes for the perfect place to finish off a Perth to Esperance road trip in Western Australia.

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