Driving Holiday in West Australia

Mar 29th, 2007, 07:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 114
Driving Holiday in West Australia

Hi, my wife, 20 month old son and I are going on a driving holiday in the South West coast of Western Australia in end April/start May. We're planning a 7 day driving trip starting and ending in Perth.

When I started doing my route, I learned about the distances between places, and was surprised to find out that even 7 days is short for the route I planned. I don't want to spend most of those 7 days on the road between places.

We enjoy nature very much ... and miss that, living in an urban area... so want to experience as much of the natural beauty of theplace. We like stroller friendly hikes/walks ; enjoying the coast and the beach ; want to visit the Giant forests ; and still have enough time to have relaxed lunches or strolls in a quaint town or two. We also want to minimize "straight drives" to two hours because of my son ... though it would be possible to break up a 3 hour drive for the day to accomodate that. As much as possible, I'd max out the driving time for a day to 3 hours.

Here's my going-in route ... any suggestions on which I can afford to miss so that we have more time to enjoy the places rather than driving all the time.

Perth - Busselton
Busselton - Walpole
Walpole - Albany
Albany - Pemberton
Pemberton - Margaret River
Margaret River - Perth

That's already 6 days, if each of the above is the drive for the day! I think I have to cut a place or two so we're just not driving all the time! Would appreciate some tips.


Eric_Bal is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:45 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 78
Hi Eric,

In my opinion you could probably leave out Albany and Walpole.
So a possible itinerary would be
Perth - Busselton/Dunsborough (2 nights)

Busselton - Pemberton (2 nights)

Pemberton - Margaret River (2 nights)

Though it may seem like you are doubling back by going Busselton - Pemberton - Margaret River, to leave Pemberton til last would mean you would take about 4 hours to drive from Pemberton back to Perth. So MR to Perth would be a little shorter...

Busselton/Dunsborough will give you the beach
Margaret River has wineries, beach and forest
Pemberton has wineries and forest.

All 3 will have walks etc nearby.

Chelsea1479 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 02:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,741
Eric -

We recently returned from a similar trip, but did it over a two week period: Perth-Albany-Pemberton-Margaret River-Perth. We spent multiple nights in all of these places and took day trips to Denmark from Albany. Our longest drive day was from Perth to Albany at around 4 hours and from Margaret River to Perth via Busselton at 3.5 hours.

The Pemberton, Denmark and Walpole areas are where you'll find those massive trees and forest, but you'll find places to walk in all the locations you've mentioned.

Personally, I love Albany and Denmark, but with only 7 days and wanting to limit your driving time, I suggest you not go any further south than Pemberton.

If you don't mind an initial long day of driving, you mgiht want to consider driving from Perth to Pemberton (339 km) and then work your way back north to Perth.

Maybe something like this:

Pemberton-Margaret River OR Pemberton to Augusta then Margaret River
Margaret River - Busselton
Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:18 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 114
Thanks! I didn't realize how long the drives were when I first started planning to explore what seemed to be a "small" area in the map of Western Australia. Now, I feel like I should have set more time for this!

Some thoughts :
I'm feeling that I'll really enjoy Albany / Walpole area forests + coastal drives and views). Instead of skipping that as you recommend, I'm thinking of removing Busselton/ Margaret River instead. I'll still enjoy the coasts in Albany, etc ; and we can afford to skip the wineries as my wife doesn't drink.

So, I'm thinking :

April 26 Leave Perth at 12noon to Bridgetown area. Stay for one night.

Apr 27 - 28 Drive to Albany. Stay for 2 nights. Explore Albany/Denmark area.

Apr 29 Drive to Walpole. Stay for 1 night

Apr 30-May 1 Drive to Pemberton. Stay for 2 nights. Explore Pemberton area

May 2 Drive to Dunsburough. Stay for 1 night.
May 3 Drive back to Perth

Does that make sense ?


Eric_Bal is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,741
Eric -

Yes, that makes sense, although you'll be going through Walpole twice if you take Highway 1.

If you have time, be sure to make the side trip to Northcliffe (20 minutes from Pemberton) to check out Salmon Beach and D'Entrecasteausx National Park - gorgeous coastal scenery surrounded by dramatic cliffs.

Several walks originate from the Gloucester Tree near Pemberton and the trees are enormous and fun to climb.

I just posted a detailed trip report from our two weeks in the SW of WA and it might give you some ideas.

Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 114
Thanks, Melnq8 ... your advice and narrative are truly helpful! I'm printing that out as our guide...wonderful.

I read from your post that you're baesd in Sumatra. What do you there ? And where are you originally from ?



Eric_Bal is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,741
Hi Eric -

My husband works for an oil company - we're from Colorado.
Melnq8 is online now  
Apr 27th, 2007, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Hi Eric,

I'm planning a trip to Perth-Albany in sep/oct. My kid will be 17 months old by then. I'm also concerned how the kiddo will take to long distance in the car, and which places are toddler / stroller friendly, so it'll be wonderful if I can have your trip itinerary / report for reference.

I'll bookmake this page and hopefully, you'll post something up here when you return.

Have a nice trip!!!
Chenoa is offline  
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