The Great Southern experience in 9 days
Driving from Perth to Kalgoorlie is an adventurously freedom-finding way to experience the Great Southern Region. It can be done in six hours if you are in a hurry but, if you have time to spare, you’ll really enjoy some of the most spectacular natural attractions that Australia has to offer. Several self-drive routes are readily available for you to plan where and how to spend the 593-kilometre journey.
The 9 Day Great Southern experience
Anything worth experiencing should not be rushed and in order for you to really enjoy quaint country towns, changing landscapes and horizons that the Great Southern Region boasts, we’ve come up with a 9-day self-drive itinerary from Perth to Kalgoorlie and then back to Perth that you’ll love.
Day 1: Perth to the Margaret River (275 km)
Driving from Perth to Margaret River takes three and a half hours along the Bussell Highway. Staying at least one night will make sure that you really experience the region’s wonderful beaches.
The surfer in you will be thrilled to know that the surfing region of Margaret River covers an impressive 130 kilometres. You’ll be able to find your very own surfing spot between Cape Naturaliste and Leeuwin.
If surfing is not your thing, you can drift along the picturesque coastline, visit the Ngilngi Cave or climb the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.
Day 2: Margaret River wine tour
With more than 200 vineyards, Margaret River is one of Australia’s largest wine regions that produces more than 25 per cent of the country’s premium wine, particularly the cabernet sauvignon and shiraz varieties. If you are a wine lover, you will most definitely want to visit some of these wineries to taste what they have to offer. You can choose to join wine tasting tours with local experts or just explore the wineries on your own.
Day 3: Margaret River to Pemberton (139 km)
Driving direct from Margaret River to Pemberton takes only two hours. But, with plenty of natural and human-made wonders to see en route, who would want to hurry? Make sure to stop off at the Cape Leeuwin lighthouse. This is where the Southern and Indian oceans meet. If you want to spot whales, make sure you drive by in season, so you don’t miss these giants of the sea.
Drive on to the timber towns of Manjimup and Pemberton. Manjimup is home to the famous Pink Lady apple and is also Australia’s largest producer of black Périgord truffles. From June to August every year, which is the truffle season, you can visit a truffiere and join a truffle hunt. Here, participants follow highly trained yet sweet dogs as they sniff around in search of black truffles.
Day 4: Pemberton to Albany (240 km)
Visit the Walpole-Nornalup National Park to experience the famous Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. Gloucester National Park is renowned for its enormous Karri trees. Climb to the top of the 65-metre high Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, where you will be rewarded with sensational views of the Karri forest and a climbing certificate to commemorate your achievement.
Continue driving along the coast and stop at the incredible Greens Pool near Denmark. This popular snorkelling beach has a long gradual slope that allows children to experience the ocean safely.
Day 5: Albany
Spend an entire day exploring Western Australia’s oldest town. Albany offers plenty of things to see and do, such as The Gap and Natural Bridge, Whale World and the Wind Farm.
Day 6: Albany to Esperance (483 km)
Driving along the coastline from Albany to Esperance takes about five hours. You are encouraged to take detours along the way, such as the Bluff Knoll. It is the highest peak in the South West at 1,095 metres above sea level. The good news is, it is accessible even for the average person. It takes three to four hours to reach the summit and back.
Day 7: Esperance
Esperance is a town of crystal blue waters and spectacular sights. Head out early if you want to make the most of your stay, as there are plenty of things to do and places to visit, including Cape Le Grand National Park. You can take the 40-km Great Ocean Drive that goes through West Beach, Blue Haven Beach, Salmon Beach, Fourth Beach and Twilight Beach.
The Great Ocean Drive also takes you to Lucky Bay Brewing Co., where you can sample local beers handcrafted from raw barley, then back to Esperance via Pink Lake.
Day 8: Esperance to Kalgoorlie (390 km)
The drive from Esperance to Kalgoorlie takes about four hours. A historic mining town, Kalgoorlie is immortalised by the layers of red and purple earth at the Super Pit gold mine and the world’s largest outdoor art gallery at Lake Ballard. Named Inside Australia, British sculptor Antony Gormley created it in 2003 as part of the 50th anniversary of the Perth International Arts Festival.
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder WA Museum and the Royal Flying Doctor’s Visitor Centre give you an authentic slice of gold rush life. You can also check out several art galleries that feature the works of Goldfields and Aboriginal artists. But, there’s more to Kalgoorlie than meets the eye. It is also home to the multimillion-dollar international golf course that is fast becoming one of the top desert courses in the world.
Day 9: Kalgoorlie to Perth (593 km)
Drive back to Perth by heading west. You’ll pass by Coolgardie, Southern Cross and Northam.
A Restful Night’s Sleep After Your Drive
Self-driving from Perth to Kalgoorlie is full of pleasant surprises. In order to enjoy the breathtaking sights, you will need a restful night’s sleep. At Cornwall House Accommodation, we offer comfortable, clean and well-appointed rooms. All of our rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi and coffee and tea making facilities to make your stay convenient.
We are located in Kojonup, 250-km southeast of Perth. We’ll help make your Great Southern experience a memorable and comfortable one. Check our room availability today, or find out more by visiting cornwallhouseaccommodation.com.au or calling us on (08) 9831 0214.