Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Australia & the Pacific (
-   -   10-15 days in Western Australia (

tdot_guy Oct 5th, 2019 05:34 AM

10-15 days in Western Australia
I've been to east coast before (SYD,CNS , Hobart) This time I scored a business ticket using points to PER. I've been looking at many options and cant make up my mind about where to go and what to see in Western Australia, any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have 10 days in WA -arriving and departing from Perth in Dec. After 10 days in WA I have a flight booked to Brisbane where I will have 6 days( I can alternatively just stay in WA for all 15 days)

I hope to spend at least a day or two in Perth. I would also like to do an overnight in Rottnest Island. I hope to spend a few days in Margaret River, how long to spend here, I'm not sure? From there, I'm hoping to go to Esperance. I don't know whether it would be practical to stop in Bunbury then Margarent river then continue onto Esperance, I don't want to spend the whole time driving and not getting to see the places. Also I want take transit where I can.

If I go directly to Esperance,is there an alternative trip back from Esperance to Perth so that I can see new places on our return trip.

Would also greatly appreciate if you could inform me of the best things to see and do in the places on the itinerary.

I added the PER-BNE flight only because I had a free stop and I got my reservation in premium cabin for no extra cost/points, I don't absolutely have to use it.

Thanks everyone.

rellie2 Oct 14th, 2019 09:38 PM

I live in Perth and happy to help. What sort of things are you interested in? Also, is there something, in particular, you want to see in Esperance? I've also just come back from Brisbane and spent a few days there last year so I can give you some ideas for there too. You'll need to hire a car for this trip as it's pretty vast (other than when you're in Perth).

tdot_guy Oct 16th, 2019 07:59 AM

hi , thank you for replying , I'm looking to see all the natural beauty WA has to offer( beaches , cliffs, mountains etc. Some hikes would be great . I know I can't cover everything so trying to cover things in the south(south west). I chose Esperance based on pics I saw online, I'm trying to make a practical itinerary, if its too far I don't have to go there. Looking for ideas. What are some of your favorite places? Would you stay a night in Rottnest?

thanks again

tdot_guy Oct 17th, 2019 06:08 AM

rellie2 can you also please recommend some not so busy beaches near Brisbane, I would like to get out of the city and possibly stay in some small town.


KayF Oct 17th, 2019 04:57 PM

For beautiful beaches near Brisbane, you'd have to head to the Gold Coast, about 1-1.5 hours drive south, or to the Sunshine Coast, about 1.5 hours to the north. Both have lots of smaller towns with beaches, cafes, accommodation etc. The Gold Coast is a lot more built up, more popular with tourists but we prefer the Sunshine Coast. Check out Caloundra or maybe Coolum to the north - Mooloolaba will be busier - and Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast though nowhere down there is quiet.

If you don't want to travel that far but want to be near the ocean, you could look at Redcliffe and that general area. No beaches though (none around Brisbane).

I've been on day trips to Rottnest and also stayed overnight. If you have the time, I'd stay the night. Check out the trip reports on WA on this forum, there are some great ones written by Mel who no longer lives in the west but she gave us all some great info.


northie Oct 18th, 2019 03:30 AM

There an 8 day trip on Australian traveler from Perth to esperance - 1030 kms via Margaret River, Manjimup, pemberton, Denmark Albany - it nvolvs flying from Perth to Esperance .
This goes ideas anyway . I'd suggest at least 2 days in Margaret River .

rellie2 Oct 18th, 2019 05:19 PM

If you like hiking and scenery then definitely look at the Cape to Cape walk. It's 123km, but you can just do parts of it. It's a beautiful part of our coast line. There is lots of info on the main Margaret River website for different hikes and trails. You can't go wrong with any of the beaches in this area (Gracetown, Gnarabup etc). If you want a great swimming beach, that’s protected, Geographe Bay is great. Also, Shelley Cove at Bunker Bay is beautiful (but I got married there so have a soft spot for it ��).

Also, heading down to Hamelin Bay and Augusta is a nice drive and beautiful scenery again with blue beaches and the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse at Augusta. You may enjoy exploring the caves in region and of course the wineries, chocolate factory (I Temper temper over the very touristy Margaret River Choc Factory), the Berry Farm and Bannister Downs (diary factory - I haven't been here yet as it's fairly new to the region, but it's on my list).

You could easily spend a lot of time here, but suggest 3 to 4 days to get a feel for the region.

Skip Bunbury, there’s nothing there (unless you want to go to the Dolphin Discovery Centre and go swimming with the dolphins).

You could consider doing a loop – Perth, Margaret River region, Augusta, Nannup, Bridgetown, Balingup, Perth. This way you can see some gorgeous country towns and the Blackwood river region. Depending on the time of year there are festivals and garden displays on.

Northie's route is great too. Albany is a great place to visit for a few days.

Esperance is beautiful but a long way to go and personally I don't think there is much to see apart from Esperance and Lucky Bay. Lucky Bay is a popular destination and I have to say, a stunning beach - if you're lucky you will even see kangaroos on the beach. We stayed there for a few days a few years back and while it was good to see, the drive was fairly boring.

Rottnest Island is great and worth overnight. It’s a small island but you can walk, ride or catch the bus around the island. There are plenty of bays to explore and to go snorkelling etc. It’s also easy to do as a day trip from Perth via the ferry.

Perth is worth more than a day or two (but I’m biased ��). You can spend time in the city wandering the streets and laneways + bars, galleries, and there are quite a few festivals throughout the year. Check out Kings Park, walk around Elizabeth Quay and the heritage precinct, cruise up the river (or you can walk around it as well), visit the Zoo in South Perth, Fremantle is pretty cool with markets and eclectic vibe. Unfortunately, there are a few vacant stores in the area, which is a pity.

We just got back from a trip to Brisbane and drove out to Byron Bay for the day. I loved it, so much going on and a great vibe.

We had planned to drive to the Sunshine Coast for a day but got stuck in traffic (long weekend) so had to turn around as we had a wedding that night. I would love to come back and spend a few days there. Brisbane itself only lends itself to a few days.

Last year when we were there, we cruised up to the koala sanctuary – this was awesome. I took a walking tour around the town and learnt more about its history.

I visited the Gold Coast years ago and was a little disappointed. The beaches in WA are much more picturesque.

tdot_guy Oct 18th, 2019 08:59 PM

Wow , you guys are awesome , thank so much for your input. rellie2 KayF northie
I've booked 1 night hostel in rottnest. I should have mentioned this before that I am backpacking and looking for hostels/cheap accommodation. Where exactly in Margaret river area would you stay ?(what area)
I was mapping all the places you suggested, I like Perth, Margaret River region, Augusta, Nannup, Bridgetown, Balingup, Perth idea. If I don't have much time I will stay along the coast .
Is there anyway to do this itinerary using public transit? or rent a car and take the car from Perth to somewhere and return the car in another city and fly back to perth.
Also -any recommendation for car rentals?

I'll do more research on all your recommendations and possibly comeback with more questions. Thanks again all of you.

KayF Oct 19th, 2019 01:44 AM

I don't know the west very well but I think your best bet is to hire a car in Perth, drive south along the coast then return it to Perth. We used a cheaper hire car company years ago and thought they were good but check reviews -

Other than that I'd try Hertz as they are always reliable but there are no doubt cheaper places out there.

Outside inner city areas, public transport in Australia is not great. There is a train from Brisbane airport to the Gold Coast but it doesn't go along the coast so once you arrive, you'd need to find buses to reach the coast. Same thing with the Sunshine Coast, there is a train but it doesn't go to the coast. You could get to somewhere like Nambour then get a bus but it would be much more convenient and possibly cheaper to hire a car.

In Brisbane there are free buses, Monday to Friday only, that do a city loop (there are special stops and are marked Free Loop). Also the CityHopper ferry is free. If it's swimming weather you might enjoy the large swimming lagoon at Southbank which is free too.


rellie2 Oct 19th, 2019 02:26 AM

Public transport is pretty tricky outside of Perth so a car is your best bet, especially if you want to explore the south-west region. I won't say it's impossible though.

There is a train that goes from Perth to Bunbury (The Australind), you could see if there are then buses that will connect the towns. and

Maybe even check out Gumtree as sometimes people are looking to travel with other people around the areas. Might be a good way to share car expenses.

The main areas for accommodation that should have cheaper accommodations would be Busselton or Margaret River. I'd probably suggest Margaret River as that is a good base for heading around the region, inc Augusta. There should be a few budget-friendly options on the main strip of the town. Maybe even check out Airbnb. All these towns tend to have rooms at the local bars/hotels as well, so that may be an option.

Inner-city Perth has a free bus network called the CAT buses. You can also get the train or bus to Freo. The ferry to Rotto goes from Perth or Freo.

tdot_guy Oct 22nd, 2019 06:59 AM

That sounds like a great idea, given that I only have 10/11 days I could go straight to Margaret river after Perth & Rottnest and stay there for 5 days take day trips from there , they also have a YHA in Margaret River.
As for Brisbane I'm leaning towards Gold coast because I can fly out of Gold coast and that way I don't have to come back to Brisbane to fly out of Aus.
Thanks again and please share any local events happening in any of these places.


KayF Oct 23rd, 2019 12:10 AM

I might have missed it but couldn't see your dates anywhere. When are you visiting? Gold Coast has a lot of events, weather is pretty good year round and loads of accommodation so a good place to hold events I guess. Lots of concrete highrises though - be prepared. The beaches are still beautiful, particularly towards the New South Wales border (in my opinion anyway). If you are into theme parks, they have SeaWorld, MovieWorld and DreamWorld.


tdot_guy Oct 24th, 2019 12:21 PM

Hi, I'll be there Dec 3rd. I was looking for places for whale watching, I found Dunsborough(seems like a good spot according to IG), are there any other spots alone my tentative itinerary ?

rellie2 Oct 24th, 2019 05:14 PM

You can go whale watching from Dunsborough or Busselton in December. We actually got married 9 years ago on the 03 Dec and there were whales passing in the distance during our ceremony on the beach in the Bunker Bay area (near Dunsborough) :)

We took one from Augusta last year and it was amazing!

KayF Oct 25th, 2019 01:03 AM

You might want to check out when Schoolies is on. In case you don't know, that's when high schools break for the year and kids travel to places to have fun (and sometimes it's not so much fun). Could affect your accommodation as the Gold Coast is one place that's very popular with Schoolies. Depending on your age, you may think it sounds great, or will want to avoid it like the plague. Different states have different school terms dates but should be easy enough to check.


tdot_guy Oct 25th, 2019 06:08 AM

rellie2 that's amazing, I would definitely like to go whale watching or snorkeling(if possible) while I'm in WA. Slowly but surely getting excited for my trip KayF that's very helpful, I don't want to be around kids for sure lol , especially in a hostel, I'll check this for sure, thanks a lot.

Connie59 Nov 2nd, 2019 10:57 AM

Sounds like a fun trip. I'm thinking of taking a trip down under myself one of these days.

tdot_guy Nov 2nd, 2019 11:28 AM

Connie59 you can join if our dates match , we could share a rental car too :)

Melnq8 Nov 2nd, 2019 01:24 PM

FYI - Rotto is schoolie central. Bayswater is a good option for inexpensive car rental in Perth.

tdot_guy Nov 3rd, 2019 06:44 PM

Originally Posted by Melnq8 (Post 17010414)
FYI - Rotto is schoolie central. Bayswater is a good option for inexpensive car rental in Perth.

thank you very much.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:31 PM.