Road Trip Perth to Esperance Australia: The Best of 11-Day

Elephant Rock at William Bay National Park

This 11-day road trip Perth to Esperance will take you to some beautiful towns on the way, which includes Wave Rock, a total of 3500 kilometers. There are a lot of beautiful things to see and experience during this trip. However, it is not like driving in Europe, where in some places you have a gas station every ten kilometers.

In this part of the world, you drive for hours before you see a town. Would I do it again? Sure, I will. Western Australia was one of the best parts of the country. Don’t take this the wrong way. After my recent trip, I have seen the six states of OZ.

Tourist Visa for Australia

If you have a European passport, you can apply for a tourist visa online, and they are free of charge, which allows you to stay for up to three months in Australia. First, create an ImmiAccount. Click the link HERE  for the Australian Department of Home Affairs. You see the ImmiAccount on the top right. 

When you click on it, it will take you to a page where you can log in or create an account. After you create an account, you will get an email confirmation. And then, you can start applying for your visa. 

Don’t get too excited, and make sure you have plenty of time because there are six pages you have to answer. And once you submit the form, your visa is immediately granted, except if you have a criminal record. For the safe side, I applied three weeks before my trip.

Road trip Western Australia
Some snapshots on the road

Planning this trip 

I was excited about this trip because this was my first time in Western Australia. If my daughter hadn’t moved to Perth I would not have seen this place. I told her about going on a road trip. She said to me I had to choose between the North and South because my time was so limited. I have seen the few highlights in the North from years back, so I pick the South down to Esperance. Anyway, I managed to plan the itinerary on such short notice, especially the accommodation booking during peak season (December).

Get a SIM card before you go on this trip.

I recommend getting a Telstra sim card if you depend on Google Maps. I bought the cheapest one (Optus), but it is often out of service than it works. My daughter got a Telstra and has never fallen out of signal. She paid like 60 dollars monthly with mobile data of 50 GB. Anyway, I always traveled with the offline app on my phone Maps. me as a backup if Google Maps is out of service. Thus, I have used it most of the time on this trip.

Is Esperance worth a long drive? 

Twilight Beach Esperance
Twilight Beach Esperance

Sure, it is worth a long drive. It’s a 7 to 8-hours drive from Fremantle, Perth. You can do the nonstop trip, but that is insanity! I won’t jeopardize my life for it. The road to the South Coast is less driven, and if you have a car problem or accident, it will take a while before someone sees you.

Nevertheless, your effort being so brave behind the wheel will pay off once you reach Esperance. I have been to Fiji islandSeychelles and Mauritius, but nothing can beat the beaches in Esperance.

Book the accommodation in advance!

When planning this trip, our first idea was to stay at a campsite, but they weren’t cheap. Some require multiple nights of stay, especially during peak season.

After evaluating between camping and a motel with a few extra dollars, I booked the motels. However, if you don’t need much, you can pop up your tent on the roadside. I saw people doing it, just watch out for the sign (no camping in this area).

If you plan to stay in a motel, reserve your room in advance. Because motels in this area have irregular office hours. Even they mentioned their opening time on the booking, but when we arrived, they were closed. We found the room keys in an envelope outside the office with names on them.

Madfish Bay Willam National Park
Madfish Bay, Willam National Park

Places we overnight on this 11-day road trip

I listed the accommodations here, and you see the number of nights. And from our experience, these motels are valuable! Each has parking, free wifi, and coffee facilities in the room. Some have a microwave and kitchenette.

Lucky Bay Esperance

Day 1 – Perth to Pemberton (325 km)

This is a long drive on the first day, and we have a short stop in Bridgetown, a cute little town. Our purpose here is just for the bathroom. And then continue our trip to Pemberton, where we spend our first night.

Things to do in Pemberton

Big Brook Dam – not far from town on a sealed road is the place for a picnic and swimming. I love the artificial sandy little beach with a picturesque backdrop. Also, you can walk around the dam and admire the scenery.

Pemberton Tram station
Pemberton Tram Station

The Pemberton Tramway – this is a nice thing to do in Pemberton. It costs 28 dollars per person, an enjoyable experience. The slow journey of a 75-minute return trip will take you to the surrounding forest area. The opening time of the station is from Monday to Friday from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm. Wednesday is closed. Saturday, it opens from 10:30 am and closes on Sunday.

Day 2 – 3 Pemberton to Denmark (186 km)

Denmark in Western Australia? It jolts me because I don’t expect this in Western Australia. Denmark lies on the South Coast Highway between Walpole and Albany. The vast majority of the area around Denmark consists of unspoiled natural forests and a coastline interspersed with bays, dune landscapes, rock formations, and cliffs. It’s a lovely city with more dining choices, shops, and gas stations. It certainly did not disappoint us for staying two nights.

Things to do in Denmark 

Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. One thing you can’t miss on this 11-day road trip is walking through the suspension bridge. It’s absorbing scenery of 40 meters above the ground. The whole experience is valuable for the price of 21 dollars.

The Valley Of The Giants Tree Top Walk
The Valley Of The Giants Tree Top Walk

After coming down from the tree-top walk, you can take the boardwalk through the ancient empire that winds through majestic stands of ancient Red Tingles. Some trees have split at the bottom and are big enough to stand in.

William Bay National Park is free of charge!

You may start any of these: our first stop was at Waterfall Beach. And my tip: take your snorkeling gear. Greens Pool seems a great area to see some marine life.

Greens Pool, William Bay
Greens Pool, William Bay National Park

Waterfall Beach – is not a big waterfall, but while you are in William Bay is worth checking out, and if you come during low tide, you will see the water flowing.

Mad Fish Bay is right next to the waterfalls you can even walk if you want to. The beach here comes from both sides and can be crossed if the water is low.

Greens Pool is the first thing you see from afar when descending to the beach area. The breathtaking scenery, white sand, and clear blue-green water were magnificent. The beach is sheltered from the wind by rocks, so this is the best place for swimming and snorkeling. 

Elephant Rocks sits alongside the Greens Pool and is another spectacular in the area. It is in fact, one of my favorites in William Bay National Park. You can walk down the stairs and through the rocks to the beach when it is low tide. To get a perfect shot, climb to the rocks, but be careful as they can be slippery.

Day 4 – Denmark to Albany (55 km)

This was the shortest drive we had on this trip. Albany is an old harbor town with several historic buildings and museums. Also, it has a whaling history and is currently the center of massive aquaculture ventures. The City is nestled between Mount Clarence and Mount Melville. Further, you will find the granite domes in Torndirrup National Park.

Albany City
The Roof of Albany

Things to do in Albany

Goode Beach – is not the top beach in WA, but worth checking out. An idyllic beach a bit off the beaten track and practically deserted.

Frenchman Bay Beach is about a 25-minute drive from Albany Center. One of many lovely places to enjoy on the coast is the beautiful shoreline with crystal clear water and squeaky sand.

Mt Melville Lookout – not many places give you 360-degree views. But Mt Melville Lookout does, which was worth a drive up there. Great to see the city and its surroundings from the top.

Visit Torndirrup National Park: Park payment on the vending machine is 17 dollars.

Gap and Natural Bridge – These two are stunning natural landmarks and just a short walking distance from each other. The viewing platform stands way out over the waves crashing into the rocks. 

The Gap and Natural Bridge
The Gap and Natural Bridge, Torndirrup National Park

And while the Natural Bridge reminds me of the one in the Caribbean. Seeing this phenomenon rock brings my memory back to Aruba.

The Blowholes – it is a long walk from the parking lot. Going down is easy, but going up to a hundred steps is quite hard. However, you can be lucky if you see the blow. We didn’t see it but truly enjoyed the surrounding areas. 

Tip! Walk to an uneven surface about 100 meters from the blowholes and get some scenery from the other side. Additionally, for sunset lovers, Emu Point is one of the best places in Albany.

Day 5 – 6 Albany to Hopetoun (352 km)

On the way to Hopetoun it will be worth making the time to stop at Kukenarrup Memorial an ideal place to stretch your leg…about 15 km west of Ravensthorpe. There’s a picnic table under the shade. Also, it has a short walk trail that winds way through shrubland. 

12 Mile Beach Hopetoun
12 Mile Beach Hopetoun

Hopetoun is just a small town with two gas stations and one supermarket IGA. We base here for Fitzgerald River National Park. Some will prefer staying in Ravensthorpe, but the lodging prices are expensive. So I booked a two-night stay in Hopetoun. 

Also, a better place to enter Fitzgerald River National Park if you don’t have a 4WD because it is a paved road through Hamersley Dr.

Things to do in Hopetoun

Spend one day in Fitzgerald River National Park. The Park entry fee is 17 dollar at the vending machine.

Just be aware not all roads are paved. But most of the tourist sites are accessible by regular car. So you definitely enjoy your drive around. There is so much to see and do, it can take an entire day to see everything, even if you don’t do the hiking.

4 Mile Beach – the first stop once you get in the park. One of many stunning beaches in the Fitzgerald National Park.

Barrens Beach – is around the corner from Four Mile Beach.

Barren’s Lookout – if you can fancy a walk, this is the place and it is just a short loop trail. 

East Mount Barren – we were looking to each other if we do the hike or not. It says not an easy walk, and seeing the faces of my companions, we decide not to do the hike.

Some of the beautiful beaches in Fitzgerald River National Park
Some of the beautiful beaches in Fitzgerald River National Park

Mileys Beach – You can’t miss it if following the sign to the parking. Getting to the shoreline, you will walk in a unique landscape passing a creek and limestone cliffs.

Cave Point – the lookout point is an easy walk about 600 meters back and forth from the parking. It’s something you won’t miss in Fitzgerald. With so many things to see around, I suggest looking at the map at the entrance or on your cellphone and narrowing down the things you want to visit.

Hamersley Inlet – this is a place to spot some birds we’ve seen a few. 

Sepulcralis Hill Lookout – you will drive about 3 km through a dirt road doable with a regular vehicle. The lookout is just 600 meters from the parking lot. Walking on rocky ground but not as steep as the east Barren, you can see Hamersley Inlet and dunes.

Day 7 – 8 – 9 Hopetoun to Esperance (191 km)

On the way just outside Hopetoun you will find the Art Trail, just take a quick snapshot.
Esperance is an overwhelming beauty with a cracking white sandbank, clear blue waters, and a winding coastline. If you can manage driving for eight hours from Perth without a stop, I admire your credibility.
Three nights and four days in Esperance will fulfill at least you have plenty of time than we do.

Kangaroos at Lucky Bay
Kangaroos at Lucky Bay

Things to do in Esperance

The Jetty – is a relaxing place where you can leave your car at the parking for an unlimited time. This is the area to see a piece of Australian and local history. I love wandering around the museum village where a collection of historic buildings with individual shops.

Great Ocean Drive – this is a loop of 40 km scenic drive through the coastline of Esperance with many viewpoints along the way, a substantial way to spend a few hours. Be sure to get out of your car and experience all the coast has to offer. Some require walking from the parking, so don’t miss the opportunity.

If you don’t want to miss anything, I suggest getting a map from the visitor center. However, Google Maps also shows the point of interest. 

Things you can’t miss during the ocean drive: 

Observatory Lookout
Observatory Lookout

Pink Lake, West Beach, Salmon Beach, Blue Haven, Twilight Beach, Fourth Mile Beach, Chapman’s Lookout, Observatory Lookout, Rotary Lookout and Nine Mile Lagoon. 

Tip! Observatory Lookout is one of the best place for sunset in Esperance.

Cape Le Grand National Park – Standard park entry fees are 15 dollars per vehicle.

If you drive a 4WD you can access the beach but I don’t worry too much about it, because the entire park is conventional 2-wheel drive on sealed roads.

It is definitely worth spending one day around the park, even if you don’t do the hikes. It’s a mindblowing place! The landscapes are spectacular together with pristine beaches and the turquoise water. Words are not enough to describe the beauty of this park.

It was before Pink Lake
Pink Lake, it was pink before

I have been to Aruba, which was known for its beautiful shoreline in the Caribbean. But nothing can change my opinion, Esperance has the best beaches in the world. After all, our long drives were compensated. I can understand why some will take the risk to get to Esperance so quickly. Even so, I won’t do it, continuously driving.

Tip!

Thistle Cove was my favorite…even on a busy day, we still found a quiet spot for ourselves. Is not easy to get there like other beaches, as you descend to big rocks to get to the beach. And it can get slippery, but if you are careful, it is worth the effort.

Lucky Bay – this was the first beach we drove to, hoping to see the kangaroos in the morning. But we hadn’t seen them, so I was a bit disappointed. Another thing that turns me down is the vehicles driving on the beach. It’s a shame to allow this while it is just a hundred meters from the parking.

Thistle Cove
Thistle Cove

That said you will need the entire day hopping off and on the beaches. Don’t miss out during your visit to Cape Le Grand National Park: Hellfire BayThistle Cove, Cape Le Grand Beach, Wharton Beach, and don’t forget to check out Whistling Rock. This was close to the beach. And of course, Lucky Beach, which is very popular.

Also, before leaving the park drive to Rossiter Bay, down to 6 km of badly corrugated dirt road, but doable with a regular vehicle. The bay is the least attractive which does not get many visitors. And I would say, if you don’t see all those bays inside the national park, then your visit is not complete. And if you are into more adventures climbing the Frenchman Peak

Day 10 – Esperance to Hyden Wave Rock (382 km)

Wave Rock has been on my list for a long time. So, when planning this 11-day road trip, I squeeze Wave Rock on the itinerary. Believe it or not, the extended drive was worth it. Some people will take a day trip from Perth to see the rock. I don’t want a back-and-forth trip – if I can do it, you can too. 

Wave Rock Amazing Rock Formations
Amazing Rock Formations

Tip! To fully enjoy the place, I suggest staying a night in Hyden. When we arrived here at noon, it swarmed with day trippers. So we checked into our hotel first and came back later in the afternoon, and to my surprise, we had the whole place to ourselves, so amazing.

Free Entry to Wave Rock

It sounds confusing. Some said it costs 12 dollars entry per person to visit Wave Rock. So I went to the kiosk and asked for a ticket, and they said it was free entry to Wave Rock. If you park your car close to the site, you have to pay 12 dollars, the ticket is available at the vending machine in the parking area. If you leave your car at the visitor center parking, which is a ten-minute walk to the site you don’t need to pay.

Where to stay in Hyden? It’s a bummer that there are only two places to stay in Hyden. You likely have to choose between the hotel and the caravan park. The caravan park is close to the rock. And while the Wave Rock Hotel is a five-minutes drive from the site.

Things to do in Hyden

Wave Rock – this natural phenomenon of rock is worth a detour with its spectacular scenery. The Rock Formation lived up to my expectations – a lovely place to hike to the top or just sit and enjoy the breeze and the atmosphere at this breaking ocean wave. 

The Yawning Hippo
The Yawning Hippo

Hippo’s Yawn – is approximately a 15- 25 minute walk from Wave Rock. Another interesting natural rock formation looks like an open Hippo’s mouth and throat. It’s a lovely and shaded spot with sitting in the yawn looking out.

Day 11 – Going back to Perth

It’s a 4-hour drive to Perth. If you want to stop somewhere, Brookton is a beautiful historic town. We love strolling around the shops and having some drinks before hitting the road again. It felt good to break a long journey, especially driving on a boring highway. If you are not planning to go back to Perth, I hope you have a pleasant journey ahead.

To summarize this trip!

Exploring this part of Australia is just awesome! I’ve been to many beaches during my journey, but here are the best pristine shores I have seen. I thought I’m dreaming once I stepped on one of the beaches in Esperance!

Anyway, going on this trip is not the same as going on a holiday in Asia where you can bargain for a hotel room. In general, accommodations in Australia are expensive even higher than in the Middle East. Also, you need liters of petrol. Plus, if you need to rent a car, this can sum up to your budget. Moreover, the park entry fee, food, and other things you might bough on the way. In other words, you’re broke when returning home, LOL.

Wave Rock

 

2 thoughts on “Road Trip Perth to Esperance Australia: The Best of 11-Day”

  1. I really enjoyed reading about this 11day road trip
    I have visited some of the places on the journey but would like very much to see Esperance and surrounding area
    Love WA thank you

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