Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand National Park, Esperance. Photo by Tourism WA
We’re starting our adventure of a lifetime in the lush south, in the stunning seaside town of Esperance. Scientific tests have ruled that Esperance has some of Australia’s whitest sand, and you can see the magic for yourself when you check out the cream of the crop, Twilight Bay. Explore the ancient landscape of Cape Le Grand National Park as well as its most famous beach, Lucky Bay, where friendly kangaroos soak up the sun on the white sand. Jazz up your Instagram feed by paying a visit to Lake Hillier, famous for its dramatic pink colour. Take a trip to the world’s only full size replica of the UK’s Stonehenge – a quirky attraction on a cattle property, where cattle graze in between the pillars.
If beaches aren’t your thing but history is, replace one or more of these days with a trip to the iconic gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie, just a four hour drive from Esperance. Pay a visit to The Super Pit, the second-biggest open pit gold mine in Australia that is large enough to be seen from space. The view across the Super Pit from the official lookout is one of the most spectacular vistas in Australia, and will take your breath away. Enjoy a unique tour of Hannans North Tourist Mine, learning all about Kalgoorlie’s colourful Gold Rush history. Have a meal at the famous Palace Hotel, once the stomping ground of former US President Herbert Hoover!
Valley of the Giants Treetop Walk, Walpole
From Esperance, we’re continuing on towards Perth, and there’s plenty to see and do along the way. A five hour drive from Esperance and you’ll hit Albany, known for its gorgeous beaches and prime location for whale spotting. Continue along to the stunning town of Denmark, then walk along the treetops of the pristine forests of Walpole and finish up by exploring the national parks of Pemberton. Are you a hiking fan? These four towns make up key points along the world-famous Bibbulmun Track, and YHA is one of the only accommodation providers in these spots. You could spend weeks on end doing the Bibbulmun Track in its entirety, but since we have so much of Western Australia to see and so little time, we recommend taking an unforgettable day trek. Passing through these four charming towns is a fun and unique way to make the trip from Esperance to Perth
Wine tasting at a Margaret River winery
Before you get to the big city, we have one more stop – the incomparable Margaret River region! After your days of exercise and adventure along the Bibbulmun Track, it’s time to reward yourself by swilling and sipping Western Australia’s best wine. Margaret River wines comprises only 2 per cent of Australia’s wines, yet 20 per cent of our premium wines, so you know it’s pretty damn good. On top of the wine factor, the town of Margaret River is home to endless adventure – it’s a coastal paradise renowned for surf, native forests and caves of epic limestone and crystal formations. On a Saturday, the Farmers’ Market is a must do – sample the finest and freshest produce you could hope for. When you're all wined and dined out, kick back and watch the one-of-a-kind sunset over the Indian Ocean at Surfers Point in Prevelly.
Hungry for more sunsets? Of course you are, and the nearby town of Dunsborough has some of the best you’ll ever see! A short trip from Margaret River, the prime sunset spot in Dunsborough is from Sugarloaf Rock in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Explore hidden beaches, take a whale watching tour, wander the town exploring boutiques and surf shops and explore more wineries and breweries. An hour’s north of Dunsborough, you’ll hit the gorgeous town of Bunbury, a vibrant port city known for wild bottlenose dolphins that swim super close to the beach at Koombana Bay. Wade in slowly and watch as the dolphins swim around you! Fall in love with yet another Western Australian sunset at the beautiful beach that is Geographe Bay. Enjoy your last few days in a small town – we’re heading off to big, bustling Perth next.
Fishermans Wharf, Fremantle
This is what you came for! A measly two hours from Bunbury, we’re hitting the city of Perth – a vibrant hub of arts, culture, food and nightlife. The most popular thing to do happens to be totally free – spend the day exploring Kings Park, bigger and better than Central Park in New York City! Here, you can see panoramic views of the Swan and Canning Rivers and the Perth skyline, as well as explore the stunning Botanic Gardens. Need to cool off? Take a dip in the cool turquoise waters of Cottesloe Beach, and soak up the friendly vibe in the affluent yet welcoming neighbourhood of Cottesloe. Get cultured in the super hip area of Northbridge - just a five-minute walk from Perth CBD, you can enjoy the coolest, quirkiest bars you ever will see as well as art galleries and museums for days.
No trip to Perth is complete without checking out the port city of Fremantle, a hippie mecca boasting markets, a dazzling waterfront and all round colour and pizzazz. Watch the street performers, perch on the grass and enjoy the view at Monument Hill, swim at Leighton Beach and check out the statue of revered late AC/DC frontman, Bon Scott. The iconic Little Creatures brewery is a must for you beeries! A day trip simply won’t cut it, so you need to stay a few nights in a cell at Fremantle Prison YHA. The thing you can’t leave without doing? Take a ferry out to Rottnest Island and populate your camera roll with photos of white sand beaches, Australian wildlife, gorgeous views and if you’re lucky – the ultimate quokka selfie!
Sanboarding at Lancelin
It’s time to leave the big city, but make no mistake, the party will go on. Just two hours in the car from Perth, we’ll hit the super cool town of Lancelin. With a population of just 728, you’ll love the friendly small town vibe, but there’s nothing small about the adventures to be had here. Spend the morning kayaking and soaking up some rays on the beach. When the afternoon wind blows, it’s time to get up those sails and try your hand at wind or kite surfing. And the sand dunes! Whether you’re still in your teens or a full-blown adult, sandboarding is an absolute hoot all the time – get your heart rate up and your blood pumping as you slide down the dunes, again and again and again. Take a trip out to The Pinnacles - massive limestone formations within Nambung National Park, and feel like you just stepped onto Tatooine. Watch out for kangaroos, cockatoos, emus, bobtails, sand goannas and carpet pythons!
We’re not done yet – from Lancelin, spend five short hours in the car and end up in the ultra-underrated resort town of Kalbarri, where the red outback meets white sand beaches. A perfect climate all year round, you can enjoy fishing, swimming and every other water activity under the sun at Kalbarri’s many beaches. Check out scenic walking trails and incredible red rock formations at Kalbarri National Park, visit a parrot breeding centre at Rainbow Jungle and enjoy relaxing and taking it all in. We’ve got some long road trips ahead of us, and a whole lot more adventure to come!
Snorkelling at Turqouise Bay, Cape Range National Park, Exmouth
It’s a seven hour ride from Kalbarri to Exmouth, but boy are you rewarded at the end! A water baby’s paradise, Exmouth boasts the white sand and turquoise waters of your dreams. Get to Cape Range National Park and try your hand at drift snorkelling at Turquoise Bay – let a gentle current pull you along, so you can focus on taking in the stunning marine life below your belly. Take a Ningaloo Reef whale tour and enjoy a once in a lifetime experience – swimming alongside the gentle yet majestic whale shark! Sample the region’s famous tiger prawns and make a lasting memory by getting a photo with The Big Prawn, one of Australia's many Big Things. Australia’s Coral Coast is as pretty as it sounds – enjoy the bright blue and white hues, because we’re about to head to the red outback!
Okay, Western Australia is enormous – so it’ll take you 30 hours to get from Exmouth to Broome. Obviously you can’t do the trip all at once, but fear not - there is plenty to see and do along the way that’ll make the time pass in a lovely blur. The road from Exmouth to Broome is a famous road trip known as Warlu Way. The fastest way to get to Broome is to make two stops – from Exmouth, it’s six and a half hours to Tom Price, where you can easily access the stunning waterfalls of Karinjini National Park. From there, it’s another six and a half hours to Point Samson, for fresh seafood and absorbing the rich Indigenous history of the area.
One more eight hour trip and you’ll arrive in the heart of the red outback – Broome! There is so much to love about this little coastal town, from sunset camel rides along Cable Beach to the quirky past-time of the locals – hermit crab races. From March to October, you’ll be able to witness the phenomenon of the Staircase to the Moon – where the moon reflects on Cable Beach’s turquoise water to produce a "staircase." If you’re loving the vibe of the Kimberley – and you definitely will – continue even further north to Kununurra and breathe different air at the very top of our great country. A world of vast lakes, huge outback stations and ancient history, Kununurra is like nothing you’ve seen or ever will see.