Perth, South West and Golden Outback itinerary, Western Australia
If you've only got a week in Western Australia, try our 'Taste of the West in a Week' suggested itinerary.
This itinerary visits Perth, the South West and the Golden Outback taking in wineries, forest-fringed coast and sand plains...
Day 1: Perth - Margaret River (approx 275km)
After heading south from Perth, amble through Fremantle. Have a coffee or meal on South Terrace, rummage through the markets on the weekend or check out the port's maritime history. A day trip to Rottnest Island from Fremantle will take just half an hour where you can cycle, snorkel and meet the island's friendly quokkas. Alternatively begin your journey south stopping at Rockingham where you can swim with dolphins or cruise around Seal, Penguin and Bird islands. Dolphin swims are also available at the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre another hour south where you can snorkel beside wild dolphins in Koombana Bay.
Continue along the coast to the Busselton Jetty and walk the 1.8km to the Underwater Observatory where you can observe corals and schooling fish without getting your feet wet. Drive around Yallingup, where you can swim, surf, fish or walk the coastline in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Continue to the world renowned Margaret River region. Overnight - Yelverton Brook Luxury Eco Retreat and Wildlife Sanctuary.
Day 2: Margaret River
Explore some of the region's 100 wineries and assorted breweries today. Wine purchases can be complemented with culinary delights from the Margaret River Cheese Company and Margaret River Chocolate Company. Work it all off by exploring the multitude of caves; Caveworks will point you in the right direction of the different underground experiences. Alternatively try your hand at learning to surf with more than 40 beaches to test your skills with conditions ranging from powerful reef breaks to fun beach breaks. Drive through towering karri forests to Hamelin Bay, where you can snorkel with stingrays and walk the idyllic sands of Boranup Beach. Nearby Cape Leeuwin marks the separation between the Indian and Southern Oceans. Between June to November take a whale watching cruise and you may see humpback and southern right whales together. Overnight - Burnside Bungalows and Organic Farm.
Day 3: Margaret River - Pemberton (approx 139 km)
Drive south to Pemberton, which sits in the middle of majestic karri forest. You can even climb one of these skyscrapers - the 61-metre high Gloucester Tree. Walk four-wheel-drive or horse ride through the forested national parks of Warren, Brockman or Beedelup. Between September and mid-November the forest has colourful exhibits of spring wildflowers. Drive out to the stark cliffs and shifting sand dunes of D'Entrecasteaux National Park. Back in town, canoe or fish on Pemberton's river, lake and estuary. End the day in a lakeside chalet or country retreat where your tranquillity is interrupted only by the kookaburras. Overnight - Karri Valley Resort.
Day 4: Walpole - Albany (approx 118km)
Wind 48km through the old-growth karri forest of Shannon National Park. Here you can walk through the tree-tops at the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk and float around Walpole and Nornalup Inlets on a houseboat or eco cruise.
Walk a section of the Bibbulmun Track, or mountain bike part of the Munda Biddi Trail. Drive along forest-fringed coast, stopping to swim at Peaceful Bay and Greens Pool in William Bay National Park. Pass through the village of Denmark and stop in West Cape Howe National Park for a swim.
Reaching Albany, on the edge of vast King George Sound you can learn about the town's convict history on the Amity Trail, see the weather-carved rock formations of Torndirrup National Park and spot whales between July and October. Overnight - Torbay Sea View Apartments.
Day 5: Albany - Esperance (approx 478km)
Keep hugging the coast, stopping to wander the wildlife reserve and beach of Two Peoples Bay. Or head inland for the wineries around Mount Barker and the walking trails of Stirling Range National Park. Trek to Bluff Knoll for panoramic views and bright seasonal wildflowers. You can even camp or sleep overnight in a cabin at the foot of the jagged Stirling Range. Pass through tiny Jerramungup for Fitzgerald River National Park, a Biosphere Reserve which contains more than 1,800 species of flowering plants, around one fifth of all the plants in the state. Continue to Esperance, where you can swim, surf and ocean fish from the clean, empty white beaches. Visit Cape Le Grand National Park, where you can camp, bushwalk, meet friendly kangaroos and swim from Lucky Bay. Cruise to the pristine islands of the Recherche Archipelago, past sea eagles and the colonies of sea lions and fur seals. Or for the ultimate eco experience take a trip to Woody Island with a scenic wildlife cruise and stay in safari hut accommodation. Overnight - Comfort Inn Bay of Isles or Woody Island Eco Stay.
Day 6: Esperance - Kalgoorlie (approx 391km)
Head north to Norseman, home to life-sized monuments of early camel trains. Take in views from Beacon Hill and fiery sunsets at salty Lake Cowan. Pass through Kambalda for the historic goldfields city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. Have a pint on Hannan Street, named after Irishman Paddy Hannan who struck gold in 1893. See Aboriginal and goldfields art in the Flying Doctor's Visitor Centre and explore a prospector's campsite in the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame. Visit the vast Super Pit Mine, which is as deep as Uluru is high and about the same circumference. If you want to stay an extra day, take a trip north to the Inside Australia exhibition at Lake Ballard. These 51 black stick-figures on the brilliant white landscape are awesome to behold by British sculptor Antony Gormley. Overnight - Rydges Kalgoorlie.
Day 7: Kalgoorlie - Merredin (approx 334km)
Cross the sand plains - cloaked with colourful wildflowers between September and November - to the former gold hub of Coolgardie. Here you can visit the Goldfields Exhibition Museum or do a camel trek through the desert. Four wheel drive the historic Holland Track or follow a gold discovery trail through Goldfields Woodlands National Park on your way to Merredin. Overnight - Merredin B&B.
Day 8: Merredin - Perth (approx 260km)
From Merredin, you'll be shadowing the 560-kilometre Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. Built at the dawn of the 20th Century, it was the most ambitious water supply scheme ever built and remains the longest freshwater pipeline in the world. Pass through Northam and the green hills of the Avon Valley, before arriving in Mundaring. Here you can walk over the dam waters of Mundaring Weir, where the Golden Pipeline begins. Explore the nearby National Trust-listed towns of Toodyay and York, the state's first inland town. Go skydiving over the valley; take a sunrise balloon flight or bushwalk in John Forrest national parks. Continue onto Perth.
This itinerary is a guide only. All distances are approximate. Accommodation suggestions do not list the full available accommodation options in each town. You may find our South West distance chart
helpful (opens in new window).
Read our suggested itineraries for Coral Coast
and Outback Adventure
For more ideas, read about activities
in Western Australia
Responsible Travel would like to thank the Western Australia tourist board for their sponsorship of this guide