Join the kangaroos on Australia’s whitest beach and surf a 15-metre wave.
Head for Esperance, where the golden outback meets the Southern Ocean and a string of stunning white-sand beaches. This makes for a striking contrast to the brightest turquoise waters and rust-red granite outcrops. Surrounding bushlands and islands bring you closer to nature at its most diverse, and your journey back to Perth leads you to WA’s biggest wave, hundreds of kilometres from the ocean.
Best time: September to November (to coincide with wildflowers and tail end of the whale watching season)
Sunset at Middleton Beach, Albany
Morning: Perth to Albany
From Perth’s Kwinana Freeway join the Albany Highway to make the four-hour-and-forty-minute drive south to Albany, stopping along the way for a refreshment break in one of the country towns of the Wheatbelt.
Albany marks the spot where the first European settlers set foot in Western Australia and the first convoy of ANZACs departed for the battlefields of the First World War.
Get a great introduction to the region’s rich history and heritage by taking a 30-minute walk along the Amity Trail.
Then visit Discovery Bay, home to the historic whaling station museum. Or follow the ANZACs’ extraordinary stories from Gallipoli, the Middle East and the Western Front through the state-of-the-art National Anzac Centre.
Or you can choose to spend your afternoon exploring one of the most dramatic natural coastlines in Western Australia – Torndirrup National Park.
As well as iconic features such as The Gap* and Natural Bridge* and The Blowholes, the coastal park is a top whale watching spot between July and October, when migrating humpback and southern right whales gather here to rest and play.
*Please note, these attractions are closed for redevelopment until early 2016.
Hiking in Fitzgerald River National Park
Morning: Albany to Fitzgerald River National Park
Take a two-hour drive east of Albany to Bremer Bay – the western gateway to one of the world’s biodiversity, wildflower and bush walking hotspots, Fitzgerald River National Park.
Several drives and walking trails lead you through unique wilderness landscapes where almost 20 per cent of Western Australia’s plant species thrive, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
If you’re visiting between July and October, make a beeline for Point Ann – just one of just three special locations in Australia where southern right whales come to calve in large numbers.
Afternoon: Fitzgerald National Park to Esperance
Make your way north on to Quinns Road to rejoin the South Coast Highway, heading east to Esperance.
If you’re keen to explore the equally beautiful eastern end of Fitzgerald National Park, take Hamersley Road to a string of beautiful secluded beaches and add an extra night in Hopetoun, Ravensthorpe or camping in the national park.
If you choose to go direct to Esperance, end your day with a sunset stroll along Tanker Jetty or join the locals for a spot of fishing.
Lucky Bay, Esperance
Pack a picnic and follow the Great Ocean Drive Tourist Loop to a string of beautiful white-sand beaches.
Swim or snorkel in the calm, clear waters of Blue Haven Beach and Twilight Cove, just a short drive from town. Or hit the surf at West Beach, Fourth Beach or Observatory Beach.
Afternoon: Esperance to Cape Le Grand
Within half an hour, driving east from Esperance, you’ll discover one of Australia’s most dazzling coastal jewels in Cape Le Grand National Park – the whitest sands of Lucky Bay.
Relax, take a beach stroll, cast your fishing line, or venture beyond the beach following bushwalking trails to breathtaking panoramas of the beautiful islands of the Recherche Archipelago.
If you have a 4WD and an extra day to spare, you can head a little further into the outback coast wilderness to Cape Arid National Park for more bushwalking, camping and fishing adventures.
Lake Hillier, Recherche Archipelago
Morning: Esperance to Recherche Archipelago
Take a full or half-day wildlife cruise through one of Australia’s most stunning seascapes – the 100-plus islands of the Recherche Archipelago – stopping to spot sea eagles and New Zealand fur seals, and explore Woody Island’s wilderness on foot.
If you opt to fly or cruise the archipelago by private charter, you may also be treated to the extraordinary sight of Lake Hillier – the brightest bubblegum-pink lake beside the deepest blue ocean.
Wave Rock, Hyden
Morning: Esperance to Wave Rock
Afternoon: Wave Rock to Perth
Your drive back from Esperance to Perth is over nine hours in total, but you’ll be breaking your journey at one of Australia’s biggest breaks – Wave Rock, in the Wheatbelt town of Hyden.
Gaze in awe at this 15-metre-high cresting wave of solid granite that’s been two billion years in the making.
Visit in spring, after good winter rains, to see the surrounding desert transformed into a sea of colourful wildflowers.
Important Travel Information
Many roads to and within the national parks are now sealed, or suitable for 2WD vehicles.
Unsealed roads within the national parks are not suitable for caravans, large buses or motor homes and may be closed to all vehicle access during wet times of the year. Check Park, Trail and Road Closures alerts for the latest updates.
| Perth|| 5 days|| Perth & Surrounds|
The South West
The Golden Outback
Perth to Albany
Albany to Fitzgerald River National Park
Fitzgerald River National Park to Esperance
Esperance to Cape Le Grand National Park
Cape Le Grand National Park to Cape Arid National Park
Cape Arid National Park to Esperance
Esperance to Wave Rock
Wave Rock to Perth