Iconic South West Road Trip
Iconic South West Road Trip | 10 days
Amazing beaches, towering old-growth forests, award winning food and wine, some of the top trails in the country. Discover the best of Australia's South West.
|Start:||Dwellingup | 1 night|
|Getting there:||Fly directly to Perth from the eastern states, hire car available from the airport. Dwellingup is an hour and half drive south of Perth.|
WHERE TRAILS MEET • GIANT JARRAHS • MEET THE LOCALS
- Head over to the Dwellingup Trails and Visitor Centre. This newly built Visitor Centre has a fantastic selection gear, souvenirs and local crafts on sale and bike hire is available should you wish to pedal rather than walk for the afternoon. Call in to Waypoints cafe for a coffee and a cake on the lawn.
- Consider booking a trip on the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway, an adventure in the treetops or learn to make some bush medicine with the local Kaarak Dreaming tours. Enquire at the Visitor Centre while you're there.
- Time for lunch! There's plenty to choose from in this bustling town. Our pick: Head to Longriders Cafe and Restaurant for very good american style BBQ.
- Take the car down to Lane Poole Reserve, a pleasant 20 minute south of Dwellingup. Here you'll find the King Jarrah Track, a very challenging 18km hike featureing an ancient and incredibly tall "King Jarrah" tree.
WAMBENGERS • A GIANT MURAL • AFTERNOON SIPS
|Stay:||Collie | 1 night|
|Getting there:||Collie is just under 1 and half hour south of Dwellingup.|
- Collie is the next major trail-heavy town in the South West and home to an extraordinary outdoor art installation. Before you get to Collie, take the turn off to Wellington Dam and make your way down to Kiosk at The Dam. This great little cafe serves homemade cakes, coffee and is licensed. Continue on to the lookout carpark and take the short walk down to the viewing platform to see the world record breaking 8000 square metre mural on the dam wall.
- From here, head out on the Jabitj Trail, a 12km return trail through to the incredibly beautiful and calm waters of Honeymoon Pool. This trail is part of Collie's Wambenger Trails. Honeymoon is a great spot for a swim on a warm day.
- Follow the Collie Mural Trail back toward Collie for lunch.
- Head to the Coalfields Museum housed in the historic 1900 and 1930 Road Board offices. Treasures include a restored barrel organ made in Italy that was used to entertain guests at the former Fontana's Wine Saloon, and a massive letterbox (pillarbox), a relic of the penny postage days.
- Enjoy an afternoon of wine or beer tasting on the balcony at Harris River Estate, soaking up the spectacular view while grazing on tasty tapas.
TALL PEAKS • SWEEPING VIEWS
|Stay:||Mt. Barker | 2 nights|
|Getting there:||Mt. Barker is 2 and half hours drive south of Collie.|
- Mt Barker is a convenient place to base yourself to explore the wonderful Porongurup and Stirling Range National Parks. Head south to Mt. Barker and take the turn off to Porongurup National Park. Stretch your legs and start the Castle Rock Trail, a very challenging 4.7km return trail to the base of Castle Rock and the lower lookout. Take the hallenging climb up the Granite Skywalk; an amazing steel structure that winds its way around the massive granite dome, providing panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
- You've earned lunch, head back to Mount Barker and make your way to Plantagenet for a very special wining and dining experience.
- Spend the afternoon around town, Mt Barker has some fantatsic historic buildings to discover which were built by convict labour, including the historic Police Station.
- Stirling Range National Park is about a 40 minute drive from Mt Barker and is one of the most treasured National Parks and one of the few mountain wildernesses in the state. Bluff Knoll is one of the most challenging and famous hikes in Western Australia. This towering peak stands at 1059 meters above sea level and as you can imagine provides incredible views from the top. This trail is not to be taken lightly, many people are rescued each year and there have been fatalities. Please be mindful of the weather - things can change rapidly towards the top, and be sure to check the trail information prior to attempting this trail.
- Bluff Knoll, is a 6.8km return trail to the top of the peak, the trail is well signed and often attempted in the early morning to get to the peak for sunrise. The peaks in Stirling Range NP are famous for their incredible cloud formations, bring the selfie stick this is a perfect place to catch an award winning happy snap.
- Mt Toolbrunup is the second highest peak in the park and an equally challenging route up to the top. This 4km return trail will reward you with magnificent views from the summit.
ANZAC CENTRE • AZURE BAYS • STUNNING COASTLINE
|Stay:||Albany | 2 nights|
|Getting there:||Albany is a 30 minute drive south of Mt Barker toward the coast.|
- Albany has a huge amount to see and do, being one of the largest towns in the South West. The Beaches here are especially beautiful, start at Two Peoples Bay, 45 minutes east of Albany along the coast. The Baie des Deux Peuples Heritage Trail is a moderate 5km "choose your own adventure" trail in Two Peoples Bay Reserve. The trail offers stunning views of the coastline looking over Two Peoples Bay.
- Head back to Albany and make your way to the National Anzac Centre. There's a great cafe for lunch and this award-winning centre is well worth a visit and provides the opportunity to assume the identity of an actual service man or woman, and follow their experience of the Great War.
- Rent a bike or take a walk on the Ellen Cove to Albany Port Trail. This 6km dual-use pathway is one of the best ways to see the beautiful coastline of the historic town of Albany in the Great Southern region.
TORNDIRRUP NATIONAL PARK • CRAFT SPIRITS
- Take the 30 minute drive out to the beautiful Torndirrup National Park. Here you'll find the Bald Head Walk Trail, a challenging 12.5 kilometre return traverse of the Flinders Peninsula providing stunning views of the Southern Ocean and King George Sound. This rewarding hike won’t leave you wanting for more and has a number of great photographic opportunities.
- Head back toward Albany and stop at the Great Southern Distilling Company for a taste of award winning whisky and gin. They serve food too and you've definetely earned some calories.
OCEAN WILDERNESS • STONE ELEPHANTS
|Stay:||Denmark | 1 night|
|Getting there:||Denmark is a very pleasant 40 minute drive west of Albany.|
- Take the drive through to the picturesque town of Denmark. Check out the local shops maybe enjoy some morning tea and one of the local cafes.
- Take a drive down to Lights Beach to start the WoW Trail. The WoW (Wilderness Ocean Walk) Trail is a 6.5km one trail utilising the Munda Biddi and Bibbulmun Tracks. The views of the coastline along the trail are spectacular with many spots to sit down on the benches provided and relax and take in the vistas.
- From here head west toward William Bay National Park. Start the Greens Pool to Elephant Rocks Trail, a 1.5km loop walk. The trail starts at arguably one of the best beaches in WA. You'll also pass some wonderful granite formations known as Elephant Rocks. It provides a scenic go-between for beach-goers planning on visiting these two picturesque locations.
ROAD TRIP • WALK AMONG THE GIANTS
|Stay:||Dunsborough | 2 nights|
|Getting there:||Dunsborough is a 3 hour 45 minute drive from Denmark.|
- Take your time, you can drive dorectly to Dunsborough in under 4 hours, or for a longer but much more scenic route, take the road through Walpole, Pemberton and then Margaret River.
- Just before Walpole stop at the Valley of The Giants Tree Top Walk. Walk among the giants on a 600 metre walkway built 40 metres off the ground toward the canopy. The walk is both pram and wheelchair friendly. Access to the walk is through the Discovery Centre - which is also worth a look. They sell maps, books, unique local crafts and souvenirs.
- The Ancient Empire Walk is a family friendly interpretive trail which leaves from the Ancient Empire Discovery Centre. This short trail meanders around the base of the incredible giants providing a wonderful persepctive of the giant red tingles and hollowed out trunks.
- Continue through to Pemberton for lunch. You can take a detour before hitting the road again to the Gloucester Tree. This ancient karri tree stands at over 55 metres tall and is something to behold. The Gloucester Tree Walk is a 6km (12km return) easy walk through beautiful towering karri forest paths. There are barbecues, toilets and parking near the tree, so it's a great spot to grab a take away lunch in town and enjoy it at the base of this ancient giant.
- Continue through Margaret River and north up Caves Road to Dunsborough. You'll pass plenty of wineries along the way if you want to stop for a quick wine purchase to have with dinner.
- Take a look around the busy town of Dunsborough, shops are open until 5pm and you can use the opportunity to scope out somewhere for dinner.
SEA CLIFFS • CALM BAYS • CRAFT BEER
- Head out toward Cape Naturaliste to do the Bunker Bay Loop. This 3.6km walk lies at the tip of Cape Naturaliste near Dunsborough. It offers superb cliff top views and has the option to drop down to Shelley Cove at the eastern end.
- At Cape Naturaliste, you'll be able to take a guided tour to climb up Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and be rewarded with magnificent views of the rugged coastline.
- Make your way to Eagle Bay Brewing for a well earned pint and some lunch. The menu is great and you'll often see tap-takeovers from other local and international breweries. If you're still in a wine mood, head to Wise Winery, perched on the hill overlooking Eagle Bay this winery might have one of the best vista's in the south west. If you're looking for something a little quieter, enjoy a picnic hamper on the stunning grounds of Meelup Farmhouse.
- Cape Naturaliste is the northern terminus for the Cape to Cape Track, and one of the more popular sectionals due it's easy access. Explore the Cape Naturaliste to Sugarloaf Rock section of the Cape to Cape, an easy 3.5km one-way trail, or more challenging 7km return. At the end of the trail you'll be rewarded with views of the incredible Sugarloaf Rock - a towering rock formation peaking from the ocean.
AZURE BEACHES • CRAFT BEER • BUSSELTON
- Head back out toward the Cape Natualiste and stop in at the beautiful clear waters of Meelup Beach. Have a swim and relax a while, or head for a walk on the Meelup Reserve Trail. This 7km trail runs from Dunsborough through to Eagle Bay and passes isolated beaches and coastal heathland. Hot tip: If you're not up for a big hike, take the trail back toward Dunsborough to see Castle Rock, the beautiful rock formations nestled in the shores of a tranquil bay.
- Head down to the iconic Busselton Jetty. This 1.8km long jetty stretching over the sheltered waters of Geographe Bay is the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere and is home to one of six Underwater Observatories in the world.
- Make your way back through Dunsborough to the larger town of Busselton. Head to Shelter Brewing for some sophisticated pub food and an extensive local craft beer selection.
- Make the jounrey back to Perth to catch your flight. It's a 2 and a half hour drive back to Perth from BusseltonIf you're flying out of Busselton-Margaret River Airport then spend the afternoon at Shelter Brewing - you don't have far to go from here!