The ultimate Western Australia road trip guide

by Kelly

The ultimate Western Australia road trip guide! Western Australia (or WA as we call it here) is the largest state in Australia. It covers the whole western third of the country which is 2.646 million km²…it’s big!  This makes it one epic road trip or as many people choose to do, many smaller epic road trips! We decided to fly into Perth, pick up a campervan and drive a fair way north to Exmouth then turn around and head south down to Esperance. We didn’t stop here and headed over the Nullabor Plain to South Australia, but you can read about that here, this blog is all about the great state of WA. And I mean it. I was blown away by it. I had always wanted to go there but nothing prepared me for how good it was going to be. No actually…how GREAT it was going to be! I feel like it is Australia’s best kept secret, I don’t know why I waited to so long to get there but one thing is for sure I will definitely be heading back there soon!

Useful WA Information

For the basic Australia information check out this blog, here is the stuff that you need to know for WA!

Capital City – Perth. A beautiful city with great beaches, restaurants and laid back people.

Roads – The roads in WA are not like the rest of Austraila…they are better. Seriously if you are road tripping this is something you notice and we really did notice. They are in great condition.

Food – The supermarkets are the same costs as other parts of Australia, nothing out of the ordinary. Except that there are tons of places you can pop in to farms or stalls and buy fresh food from the growers and this is great. Obviously Margaret River is in WA and they have some fantastic wines and local foods, check out our itinerary for your self drive Margaret River tasting tour here. We went everywhere to bring you the ones you shouldn’t miss!

Public toilets – Yes it seems strange to be talking about this…except that they are unlike the rest of Australia. They are clean, big and in many places they are the eco (long drop) toilets and they do not smell. Often they’ll be made from local materials like wood or rock and look like they belong there. I am not kidding when I say that WA has consistently the best, cleanest public toilets in Australia.

National Park fees – There were national park fees and you can buy a pass to cover a year, month, a few weeks or a day. You can find out the cost and h0w to purchase them at this website. It is worth getting one to cover you if you are going to be visiting a few like we did. You can purchase on line and get it printed out at any national park office, then we just left it on our dash and didn’t have to worry about it again. The only place this didn’t cover (that we went) was Monkey Mia and you have to pay separately there. The money goes to the maintenance of the parks, rangers and conservation. It is well worth it when you see the facilities that are available at most parks, particularly if you make use of the campsites, although these do cost extra per night.

Safety – I never felt unsafe travelling in WA, but it is like anywhere you shouldn’t take unnecessary risks. On the whole we felt safe road tripping around the state and if anything were only met by helpful and kind locals. Shout out to the blokes who helped us get fuel in our tank when none of the bowsers would fit in our tank!

Fishing on jetty

Quick cost information:


FREE – Free Camping

Budget – National Park Campsites $10-$30

Mid-range – Caravan Park $30-$70

Luxe – Hotel room $80 +


Supermarket food – same as rest of Australia, it is reasonable but not the cheapest in the world. Look for the sales and specials. If you want to get an idea before you come check out Woolworths  for pricing, it is one of the bigger supermarkets throughout Australia. We did online orders also to pick up in the next town when we needed a bigger top up shop so we didn’t waste time in a new town.

Fishing and cooking up your catch is also fun!

Restaurants $20 – $30pp

Splurge $30+pp


Flights to WA from other states vary but range around $100-$400

Car hire – We hired a Maui campervans and LOVE it!  Read all about our latest campervan hire here.

The costs range depending on which you choose but we 100% recommend this company and have used them multiple times now. Check out the current rates on their site here.

Fuel you can check out current fuel prices on the state government website.

Trip Planning

Best time to go – The best times of year to visit WA is split in to the south from November to March and north from May to October. In the north you will see whale sharks March to end of July (and sometimes a little either side of this). However having said this we did our trip north and south in November and yes it was windy and chilly but still just stunning. I would go anytime of year as I completely fell in love with it!

How to get there – The airport at Perth is the usual however there are regional airports as well. You can drive there from SA or the NT, it just adds to your road trip.

Transportation – We LOVED our campervan! Some people buy a cheap car and then sell it on, others take tours and busses. Ultimately whatever suits you but I loved the freedom of going where ever we wanted. The only thing I would ever add is that a road trip in Australia is better with a 4WD as you can go anywhere. Sometimes you wont be able to access off road places in a 2WD vehicle.

Budget – Check out our budget column, we look for specials when booking our vans but the people at Maui/Britz are really reasonably priced for the type of van you get. In good condition and with everything you need.

What to pack – WA is a huge state and can be different depending on the part you are visiting. I would bring a wide range of clothing to accomodate for this. I wished I had brought a big jumper and a jacket as I really didn’t plan for such cold days, particularly in the Margaret River area. Obviously it will also depend on the time of year you visit. In November when we visited it was very hot up in Exmouth, got more moderate around Perth and increasingly got colder as we moved south.

WA pink lake


We loved WA. I knew it was going to be good but I had no idea just how much I would adore it. I definitely wanted to do as much as we could fit in our time there. The thing is it is super huge, the distances between major places is…a lot. So we decided to do what we could without having to rush too much and yet we still long to go back and spend more time in certain places.

We flew into Perth and picked up our campervan. The Maui office is really close to the airport so you just need a quick Uber ride and you are there. I have reviewed the campervan we chose, you can check it out here!

You could follow this full itinerary or parts of it. I will add in where I would have stayed longer if I could have as well.

Day 1 – Fly into Perth and pick up your campervan or car of choice. Head off for Exmouth! That’s right we are going north. Now this is actually a 12 hour, 1252km, trip so we did it in 2 days. The first day we landed late and put us behind but we took off for Geraldton and stayed there the night. We got in pretty late and stayed in this free camp in town which is offered by the council. Here is the link to check it out. There are some bays in the marina carpark where fully self contained vehicles can pull in to sleep for a night. There are a few that are for just a few hours as well. It is best to get here early as they fill up! It is an easy walk into town for dinner and there is a pub nearby too. We got in late and were exhausted so went to the supermarket and then settled in for the night.

Maui Cascade Campervan

Day 2 – Exmouth – 4 days – Seriously I loved Exmouth. We drove straight there the next day, up early and off. The town is nice but the best part for me was in the national park. This is the website to book and there are loads of campsites all along the coast there. Lots are 2WD friendly and we had no real trouble. Having said that the roads in and out of the campsites can be corrugated and really bumpy. We were pretty concerned about taking the rented campervan over it but if you go really slowly it is ok. I do mean really slowly! The campsites are big and you feel surrounded by nature. We stayed in Kurrajong and Mesa campgrounds, both were great. Kurrajong is larger and you feel like you have more space. The beach front is rocky to the left and sandy further north which is nice if you want to fish and swim. The sun set here was stunning! We took some drinks up on to the sand dunes and watch it slip away. You can also book a nice campsite at one of the caravan parks in Exmouth. They have excellent facilities and are more ‘civilised’!

Mesa was seriously pretty. There is a beautiful stretch of beach and also a river inlet. As you walk out to the water you cross a mini desert which is pretty unique too. There is meant to be some good fishing and while we tried we didn’t have much luck. We were also told there was good snorkelling south of the campground. It is a very pretty spot and well looked after. Both campgrounds had hosts that checked you in and kept the grounds tidy. The toilets are eco toilets, they are clean, spacious and don’t smell. We slept well in both campgrounds, I absolutely recommend staying there if you’re thinking about it. The best things to do in Exmouth are all in the national park (in my opinion!).

Turquoise Beach Exmouth

Day 6 – Travel south to Coral Bay – As we didn’t have a 4WD we couldn’t go to a few places like Ningaloo Station, but we definitely would if we could have. If you are travelling in a 4WD I would recommend heading there as it looks amazing! Instead we headed down to Coral Bay, a sleepy little town which is super quiet. There are a couple of caravan parks, a few coffee shops, bakery, supermarket and dive shops. The slow pace is lovely and the water is beyond amazing. The main area starts shallow and gradually gets deeper until you are able to snorkel over a pretty reef. It was an easy snorkel and there was great reef there teeming with fish and colour. This is a place we would have stayed longer if we could have. Another day would have been perfect but sadly we had to keep going, that afternoon we took off and headed for the Overlander Roadhouse. You can free camp here overnight as they have a spot out the back to pull into. It is basically just a dusty area but we were told it was safer than the side of the road and quieter. The toilets here are clean and we filled up with fuel and bought some snacks to support this business. Having these free spots to stay is so good when you are on the road that you really try to support the people that offer them.

Turquoise Beach Exmouth

Day 7 – We drove up to Monkey Mia, stopping at shell beach on the way – This drive is really pretty. Shell beach was so unique and I loved it. It was just beautiful, bright white shells and turquoise water. Then on to Monkey Mia! You can stay here or just spend some time and camp further south at a national park. We decided to stay at the Monkey Mia caravan park and it is excellent! The facilities were great and almost all new. The beach was lovely with dolphins swimming by as they pleased. There are a heap of activities you can do, a cafe and restaurant and pools. Emus wander around freely looking for food.

Dolphins at Monkey Mia

Day 8 – We drove off to Kalbarri National Park. It is a 3.5 hour drive and there are so many places to check out here. There’s natures window, the skywalk and the coastal part of the park. We only got to the inland part unfortunately but hope to go back sometime soon. There is no real free camp spots in Kalbarri. There is the Glena Bridge North rest area which is off the highway north of Kalbarri National Park. It would make sense to stay here the night before you do the national park but it is a hike to head back there if you are heading south afterwards. You can stay at Murchison House Station but they were closed when we came through. There are some caravan parks and hotels you can stay at in Kalbarri township as well.

Kalbarri National Park

Day 9 – We started the next morning and headed off to Hutt Lagoon! This was something I had been waiting for. The first pink lake I had been to and I couldn’t wait to explore it. It was beautiful and yes it is pink! I loved wandering around in the pink water and droning to see what we could see from above. There is a little sign indicating the lookout and you can walk down from there to find a spot you like. We drove slowly down the coast, stopping off at towns along the way. We ended up staying at Tuarts Reserve, a little free camp that is inland a bit from Jurien Bay. It is another free camp offered by the local council areas. These are such great little spots and so worth supporting. It was pretty full when we got there but we squeezed in. It was super pretty out in the bush/national park area. I would really recommend getting there early.

Day 14 – We travelled down, stopping at all the small towns on the way, there were little treasures like Cervantes where we checked out The Lobster Shack. It was a really cute spot for a meal or drink and you can go on a tour here to swim with sea lions. After that we made it back to Perth. We had a problem with the navigation unit on our campervan and organised to stop in and get it fixed. The service was incredible. The man fixed it within 20 minutes and was so helpful. We moved on to Cottesloe Beach and it was just gorgeous. The beach was packed and whether we were sunning ourselves on the sand or chilling on the grassy hill we just loved the day there. After that we took off for Freemantle. Another really vibey place. The old buildings, cobbled streets and heritage areas were really sweet. I could have stayed here a few days exploring and I definitely want to go back. We found a little spot where you could park up for free and stayed there overnight.

Day 15  – Rottnest Island! We had to go to Rotty, and we definitely had to get a quokka selfie! Mikes was way better than mine but it was fun trying to find one to get a pic with. They are actually really easy to find but getting that perfect shot is kinda tricky, or it was for me. The island is really lovely. You can ride around it or take a bus. We originally planned to walk around but quickly found out that was a bit too much so we grabbed the hop on, hop off bus and off we went. Ideally I would have planned this day a little better. I would have loved to stay on the island and get more time to see it all. Safe to say we still loved our time here and definitely rate it as a must do. Once we got back in the afternoon we headed straight off to Bunbury to sleep overnight at their free rest area for fully self contained campervans. This is offered by the Bunbury council and it is very popular, you can find out about the locations here but they were great, right next to the water, toilet and bbq facilities nearby. We were lucky to get in a spot and I would recommend getting there early. Take a walk in to town and buy some dinner to support the town that supports van life!

Quokka selfie

Day 16 – We drove to Busselton. Wow, this place was a surprise. We were not expecting such a cool little town. There are loads of cafes and shops to wander, they have the longest jetty there (so long that there is a train you can ride to the end of it), a beautiful foreshore and a great brewery right near the jetty. We could have stayed a couple of days here easily. You can park in the carpark near the jetty all day for free, there are no camping signs here although we did see some people trying their luck, I am not sure how they went but it was a steep fine if they got caught.

Bussleton Jetty

Day 17 – Dunsborough, Cape Naturaliste and Yallingup. This is where it gets a bit confusing. The whole area from Dunsborough down is referred to as Margaret River, and there is a town called Margaret River. So because we were travelling south we didn’t want to keep driving back and forth across the whole region, we visited them as we went down. We went to Cape Naturaliste first and went to the lighthouse. It was nice but honestly you have to pay $5 per person to get in and the better one is at Auguste so I would skip it. You can still go there and do the hikes in the area and they looked great but the lighthouse was a let down. Cute but I wouldn’t recommend if you are on a budget. After that we went to Meelup Beach, this was beautiful! We pulled up in our campervans and had lunch over looking the stunning turquoise water. There are some rocks to the right and a path you can walk along to castle rock or you can drive along the road a little more and drive down to it. A huge rock in the water it is a nice stop too. I would absolutely recommend this beach, we whiled away a few hours here. There are so many things to see in this area but we had to choose a few so we could keep to a time frame. Our last place for the day was Injidup Natural Spa. It was just gorgeous. Unfortunately it was freezing when we went but it didn’t take away from the stunning setting. You can sit with your back against the rocks and water will crash down around around you. I really can’t wait to visit WA again because I am definitely coming back here.

Day 18 – Margaret River (town). I just loved it here. The town is really cute, it is pretty much just a main street but there are lots of cute shops to wander. The big draw card here for me (and everyone else I guess!) is the food and wine scene. There are tons of wineries, breweries and boutique food places to visit. I could go on about how great this was but it will fill the whole itinerary section so if you want an epic itinerary for a day of wine, beer and food tasting check out my blog about it here. We stayed at a free camp which was just the best place. I think it was our favourite on the whole trip. Unfortunately I can’t actually disclose it here as we later learnt that it wasn’t a free camp and we had not understood the google map properly. Safe to say we were just really lucky that night but there are no free camps in Margaret River and you should just stay at one of the national park campsites (cost about $15-$20 per person/per night) or a caravan park. Or book in to one of the excellent hotels in the area. We had a fantastic time in Margaret River, once we were off we headed for our campsite in the forest, stopping off as we drove through the beautiful Boranup forest and really tried to soak it in. We stayed at Jarrahdene campsite which was great. Out in the middle of the forest it was beautiful. There are a few other options near by as well.

Maui van at Margaret River

Day 19 – Hamelin Bay was our destination for this day, we got there early around 7am and went straight to the beach looking for the sting rays that we had heard come foraging along the coastline. We got lucky and there were about 3 or 4 there cruising back and forth looking for food. They came so close to us we had to walk out of the water as we didn’t want to interfere with them. It was a really special moment and one we will remember. There is a caravan park there you can stay right near the beach but we loved the forest camping.

Stingrays at Hamelin Bay

Day 20 – We made our way to Pemberton, stopping at Augusta for some great baked goods for breakfast. We went to the Bleedup Falls which was just ok, the Glouster fire tree and the Dave Evans Bicentennial fire tree, both interesting and I can’t understand how no one has died climbing them! We carried on to the Pemberton area and then to Denmark. Unfortunately it was a cold and windy day which was definitely not conducive to swimming but it was still beautiful here. Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks were so windy we couldn’t drone but I loved them anyway. We stayed the night at Torbay Inlet free camp. It looked good online but was so odd when we got there I was glad it was just one night. It is a tiny place and there is about room for 3 bigger caravans/RVs. I wouldn’t recommend this one!

Day 21 – On to Albany which we loved! It is a really cool town, heaps of coffee spots, history and has a country town chilled out vibe. I could have stayed here for a few days but we only had the one here. We stayed out of the main town. There were loads of fishing spots and we drove around the area to explore as many as we could.

Day 22 – We moved on to stop at Two Peoples Bay. I had read so much about how amazing it is and it really did look nice except for our run of terrible weather. It was drizzly, overcast and there was a ton of seaweed washed up on the beach. We hung around but it didn’t clear up so we headed off again and stopped in at Cheyenes Beach. This was super pretty, even with the windy conditions. There is a caravan park here which we were told was beachfront but is actually a way back from the beach. We sat at a lookout spot for a while, wandered the beach and decided to head off again that afternoon. We made it to a rest stop and took a couple of hours sleep at night before continuing on to Esperance.

Day 23 – Esperance! I have waited so long to come here and I really loved it. It is honestly a big country coastal town. It is laid back and relaxed, with a few cafes, restaurants and shops to choose from. The local bakery, The Esperance French Hot Bread Shop, was a favourite of Mikes. He was buying up sweets and bread from there everyday! It also serves hot takeaway food and snacks. We stayed in town and spent the day driving to all the beaches along the town area. They are all so beautiful and unique I couldn’t really choose a favourite but I did love Twilight Beach! There are some great holiday parks here to stay at, this was a popular one.

Twilight Beach Esperance

Day 24 and 25 – We went in to the Cape Le Grand National Park and had booked campsites at Lucky Bay for 2 days. This was just amazing! Two days wasn’t enough I could have stayed much longer. The perfect blue water, kangaroos on the beach, a great campsite, lots of other beaches to drive and visit if you want to head off for the day. Honestly I would stock up on food and water and just head out there for a week. Even though the weather was still windy and cold it was sunny and just beautiful. The campground was amazing too. We got a spot with a view to the beach, the bathrooms were clean and new although you do have to time the showers right to get hot water. There is a basic camp kitchen and bins. The only thing we didn’t have was electricity to plug in to but the Maui van was fine for this. A total dream, make sure to do it!


Day 26 – We took off and started the trek across the Nullabor Plains. It was a long and boring drive, broken up by fuel stops and not much else. There was the old Nullabor roadhouse to check out at Nullabor and there is a golf game you can play along the way but we were more keen just to get across so didn’t stop much more than that. It honestly wasn’t too bad a of a drive but just a little monotonous. Have lots of good snacks, lots of good music and just marvel at the nothingness! From here we began our SA road trip and you can check that out in our SA blogs!

What to do in Western Australia

I LOVE WA! I’m planning on going back as soon as possible so will continue to update as I do. I know I keep saying it but WA is just huge, you could easily do multiple smaller trips like Perth to Exmouth, Perth to Esperance, Exmouth to Darwin, Esperance to SA, the Perth area or Margaret River area. You could also do these in multiple ways, for example Perth to Esperance could be done either in land or the coastal way. We tried to fit as much into our time as possible but it was a lot of driving and we still have to do the north from Exmouth up.

I would be happy to go back and do any part of WA again as well, I just loved my whole time there! Below are my favourite things:

Kangaroos on the beach at Lucky Bay WA

1. Lucky Bay

I loved Lucky Bay so much, it is so beautiful and there are kangaroos on the beach…what more could you ask for?

Pink Lake Hutt Lagoon WA

2. Hutt Lagoon pink lake

This was a real highlight for me. I was just desperate to get here, yes it really is this pink! I ran around in the lake for ages taking photos and just really loving the experience.

Stingrays at Hamelin Bay

3. Stingrays at Hamelin Bay

Watching the stingrays come to the shore in Hamelin Bay was mesmerising. They were unafraid and calm, wild and free. It was a beautiful moment in our trip.

Kalbarri National Park

4. Kalbarri National Park, Natures Window

Kalbarri National Park is wonderful. There are so many places to see in there, split in to inland and coastal areas. I loved natures window but there are lots of other great spots in there too.

Twilight Beach Esperance

5. Twilight Beach Esperance

This beach is just stunning, a long wooden walkway through grasses to a lovely turquoise blue beach.

Turquoise Beach Exmouth

6. Turquoise Beach Exmouth

The water here is exceptional. Turquoise beach was just perfect, I can’t even describe it.

Dolphins at Monkey Mia

7. Dolphins at Monkey Mia

This was somewhere I wanted to go since I was a child. Watching the dolphins visit was great-you have to stay at Monkey Mia park it is perfect!

Quokka selfie

8. Getting a quokka selfie on Rottnest Island

I loved Rottnest Island, it was cute, relaxed and felt like a mini step back in time…and there are quokkas. Spend some time here, a couple of nights would be perfect!

Margaret River winery

9. Visiting beautiful Margaret River wineries

We had the best time visiting all the Margaret River wineries, wandering the lush gardens and sampling the stunning wines.

Bussleton Jetty

10. Visit Busselton Jetty

It is the longest timber piled jetty in the southern hemisphere. It is a lovely walk along the 1.8km jetty, there are fishermen trying their luck and a train that runs out to the end. It is a pretty walk and really lovely at sunset.

Where to stay

We found some really great places to stay in Western Australia. Actually we mostly free camped or stayed in national park campsites. There is info for the cheapest way to travel in WA.

You may also like

Leave a Comment