With COVID-19 now presenting a new version of normal where international flights are at a standstill and the thought of even jumping on a plane to see friends on the east coast of Australia are a distant dream, our own backyard is now our new playground. Not only does WA offer up arguably some of the best road trips in the country, but now more than ever, it is so important to support local tourism while they grapple with their new realities. So, to help you plan your next WA road trip, we’ve put together our take on the top routes across WA including a raft of local businesses worth a visit. We’re talking everything from a simple Sunday-whip-around down West Coast Highway to the almighty Gibb River Road.
West Coast Highway
If you are like us and in need of a quick hour break from your working-from-home zoom calls and meetings, West Coast Highway is a quick and efficient road trip set to provide that space away from your home office. We recommend starting off near Hillarys Boat Harbour before making your way all the way past Scarborough to City Beach. Our favourite spot has to be the hill just before Scarborough we view across Trigg Point can be seen. Supporting local business is easy here with heaps to pick from, including, Yelo coffee or Little Bay for a fancy lunch.
The Perth Hills
If you have a full day up your sleeves, we recommend the Perth Hills for a road trip through some of our states best vineyards and local communities including the Bickley-Carmel Valley and Kallumunda. If you are lucky enough to be a passenger for the day, we recommend a pit-stop into Core Cider House for a few brews of the best local cider on offer. Wine tours and day trips to the Swan Valley and Perth Hills regions are our bread and butter if you are chasing a full itinerary of what to do, head to our Ultimate Guide to the Swan Valley Region.
Denmark / Albany
Ok, now we’re moving on to some big hitters for those with at least a few days. The drive from Denmark to Albany including the return trip via Pemberton offers you with the best of both worlds. You’ll get to see some pretty phenomenal coastlines plus winding roads lined with tall Karri trees. We recommend dropping past the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk to really get a sense of the size of these trees exceeding 50m in height. While down in Denmark local is key and a trip to Boston Brewing Co will mean you’ll be supporting a local brewery continue to produce top-notch ales.
Hopetoun to Esperance
If you are on the road and chose to visit Denmark and Albany and time is on your side, we recommend taking it one step further and visiting Hopetoun and Esperance. While taking the scenic route passing some of our states whites beaches, be sure to drop off at the UNESCO listed Fitzgerald River National Park to get those legs moving. Explore a variety of walking trails and keep an eye out for whales breaching in the distance at Point Ann once you reach the summit.
Coral Coast Highway
This one in our opinion is the best on offer but does require a level of dedication and time to complete! The coral coast highway is a 1,250km road that for the most part, hugs the Indian Ocean coast as it travels from Perth all the way up to Exmouth. We really recommend splitting this drive across a few days stopping at Geraldton and Kalbarri to also support a variety of businesses in desperate need, too. No-brainer stops along this journey include Ningaloo Reef to swim with the whale sharks, Monkey Mia for a dolphin feeding experience (perfect for the little ones) and humpback whale spotting around the Vlamingh Head Lighthouse in Exmouth.
Quintessential Caves Road
This little road trip is a must-do for a jammed packed weekend down south. Caves Road stretches between two main capes – Naturaliste in the north and Leeuwin to the south. It is extra special because it is situated amongst huge jarrah trees and wineries but still only about 2kms from the coast making it a perfect route to duck in and out of beaches along the way. You can’t really go past a visit to Voyager Estate for a long lunch or for a quick bite at the White Elephant Cafe.
Karijini Round Trip
Tom Price is the closest towns to Karijini National Park and takes a sizable 19-hour commitment from Perth, via the Great Northern Highway. However, once here, you can use Tom Price as a base while you venture in to witness some of the world’s most incredible natural pools and gorges. Don’t miss Dales George for some pretty out-of-this-world views and moon-scape style rock formations. You can also swim in Circular Pool just above the lookout on the George Rim Walk. We love Karrinjini and entry to the national park supports a variety of local communities!
Gibb River Road
Ok, now we are hitting some pretty crazy territory. The Gibb River Road, only accessible using a 4WD is the crème de la crème of Western Australian road trips. Situated in the far north of our state, to truly hit all the spots and experience all that the Kimberley has to offer, we recommend a good 12 days for this one. Derby will most likely be your first stop when leaving Broome where you can check out the huge Boab trees and the cultural significance of this location to Australia’s first owners – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Following Derby, the real fun begins as you hit the unmarked road and travel to Winjana, Bell and Manning Gorges before circling around to see the Bungle Bungles. This one takes some planning but is highly rewarding!
And there we have it, 8 unmissable road trips across our great state. With COVID-19 presenting some pretty uncertain and unsettling times for local businesses, now really is the perfect time to get out there and support them while seeing some pretty phenomenal natural landscapes along the way.