Australasia

A Drive From Perth to Margaret River

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Is a road trip from Perth to Margaret River on your bucket list? For some, it can be tempting to jump in the car and complete the three-hour drive in a single day, but with pretty towns, scenic forests and more to stop at, turning this day trip into a multi-day adventure certainly has its rewards. There’s no better way to discover Western Australia than by packing up the car and embarking on an epic road trip, and this route sees you move past the dazzling blue water of the coast towards the vineyards of one of Australia’s iconic wine regions. To make the idea of hitting the road even more appealing, we’ve mapped out an ultimate self-drive Perth to Margaret River itinerary for you to save for later.

Perth

Your road trip starts in Perth, Western Australia’s capital city, and it’s a great idea to spend a few days here before you make tracks for Margaret River. From natural attractions and cultural outings to world class food and wine, there are an abundance of things to see, do and discover in Perth.

What to do in Perth

  • Rottnest Island: one of Australia’s iconic tourist destinations and the home of the photogenic quokka. Rottnest Island is a slice of paradise that can be reached in only 30 minutes by ferry from Perth. As well as taking selfies with the smiling quokkas, a day out at Rottnest Island can include paddle boarding, snorkelling, cycling and walking tours.
  • King’s Park: this is one of the world’s largest inner city parks. Located in Western Australian Botanic Gardens, King’s Park houses more than 3,000 species of unique flora and has sweeping views of the city. It is a go-to place to relax and unwind with a picnic or leisurely stroll.
  • Perth beaches: make the most of the city’s fantastic coastal location and take a dip at one Perth’s sandy beaches. The two most popular beaches in Perth for swimming and surfing are Cottesloe Beach and Scarborough Beach; both with pristine waters and stunning white sands. 

After a few days in Perth, it’s time to hit the road on your trip to Margaret River.

Perth to Serpentine

Driving time: approximately 45 minutes

Leaving Perth, you’ll travel south through the heritage-listed town of Jarrahdale on your way to Serpentine. Some of the things to see and do around the area include admiring the stunning landscapes of Serpentine Falls and exploring Serpentine National Park. Located within a picturesque valley, this park has a number of walking trails if you want to stretch your legs. Those that would rather take it easy can instead pack a picnic and claim a spot on the lawn.

Serpentine to Bunbury

Driving time: approximately 1 hour 30 minutes

Your second destination is Bunbury. This port city has a superb coastal location, as it has borders of the Indian Ocean, Koombana Bay and Leschenault Inlet. Bunbury is renowned for the wild bottlenose dolphins that visit the Koombana Bay area, and visitors can even swim with them on a boat tour organised through the Dolphin Discovery Centre. For history buffs, there are several heritage attractions to explore, including the King Cottage Museum. 

Bunbury to Bridgetown

Driving time: approximately 1 hour 15 minutes

The next leg has you drive inland towards Bridgetown, a charming town located on the banks of the Blackwood River and surrounded by rolling hills, lush forests and beautiful scenery. Bridgetown can often be overlooked by travellers on a road trip from Perth, but a stop in this heritage-listed town is your chance to roam the main street where quaint well-preserved buildings line up alongside historic pubs, character-filled cafes and interesting shops. Plan your Perth to Margaret River road trip in winter to coincide with Bridgetown’s Winter Festival, a three-month-long event that showcases crafts, delicious food and more from across the region. 

Bridgetown to Pemberton

Driving time: approximately 45 minutes 

The next stop on your road trip from Perth to the Margaret River is Pemberton, a town known for its majestic Karri forests. Spend time walking along hiking trails that wind through alongside Karri trees and jarrah forests, and be sure not to miss the 360-degree view from the Gloucester Tree Lookout. This is one of the tallest fire lookout climbing trees in the world (at more than 60 metres tall) and provides panoramic views of the surrounding forests and hinterland. Other recreational activities to take up in the area’s national parks include canoeing, fishing, swimming, bushwalking and mountain biking. There are also exemplary wines and produce to savour throughout the area, including indulgent fresh seafood such as freshwater crayfish, marron and rainbow trout.

Pemberton to Margaret River

Driving time: approximately 1 hour 30 minutes

The last leg of your road trip is the one-and-a-half-hour journey from Pemberton to Margaret River. Known as the home to some of the world’s best wines, the Margaret River region is dotted with great craft breweries, award-winning vineyards, spectacular restaurants, and even beaches that boast acclaimed surf breaks. 

What to do in Margaret River

  • Wine tours: no visit to the Margaret River would be complete without a winery tour. Immerse yourself in the wine region by meandering from cellar door to cellar door, tasting delicious wines and admiring the stunning surroundings. Book onto a guided tour so nobody in your group has to be made designated driver.
  • Whale watching: plan your trip between June and early December to increase your chances of seeing whales as they migrate along the coastline. Join a whale-watching cruise or ask locals for the inside tip on where to spot these graceful mammals from the mainland. 
  • Cape to Cape Track: this long-distance nature walk stretches between two lighthouses. The entire length of the track spans 135 kilometres along the coast, but can also be done in smaller, more manageable sections. Admire the magnificent coastline, karri forests, sweeping cliffs, remote beaches, limestone caves and historic lighthouses along the way.

Hero image: Gralyn Estate, Wilyabrup, Margaret River. Credit: Mark Pegrum | CC BY 2.0

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