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Road Trip from Perth to Esperance: Perfect Itinerary, 2 Best Routes + FREE Map Included

The remote town of Esperance is famous for its white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, friendly kangaroos, and unspoiled landscapes.

It’s a 700km drive from Perth and there are so many places to see in between, it’s ideal for a road trip!

There are 2 main routes for a road trip from Perth to Esperance, depending on how many days you have available:

  • Inland, via Hyden (Wave Rock). It’s the quickest way to get to Esperance and best for those who can only allow 4-5 days for the road trip.

  • Southwest, through the Margaret River region. The best route if you ask us. 7 bucket-list stops between Perth and Esperance, 10-15 days depending on how long you want to stay in each spot.

We’ll cover both of them below, key info to help you plan the road trip, different transportation methods (including public transport and tours), recommended stays, and more!

Interactive map of the road trip from Perth To Esperance (FREE download)

The itinerary below is jam-packed with stops and activities. Save time planning and steal this map! You can add it directly to your Google Maps account.

It has the exact routes mentioned further down and awesome spots to check out:

Click on the star in the upper right corner to add the entire map to your Google Maps.

Perth to Esperance via Wave Rock – Day 1

  • Distance covered: 714km

  • Total driving time: 7h 45m

The first leg of your Perth to Esperance road trip will be the longest, so make sure to start early and bring food with you!

You’ll drive through the picturesque countryside of Western Australia, with a stop at the iconic Wave Rock in Hyden.

Wave Rock

This massive granite cliff is naturally shaped like a wave. It rises 15 meters from the ground and stretches over 100 meters in length… it’s 100% worth a visit!

Apart from taking a picture with this unique attraction, you can stretch your legs by exploring the area, there are a few easy hiking trails around.

And while you’re there, check out Hippo’s Yawn, another huge rock that, well, looks like a hippo yawning.

If you leave Perth at 10 am and spend 2 hours in Hyden, you’ll arrive at your accommodation in Esperance at 8 pm.

Where to stay in Esperance? Our 5 favourite stays

There are dozens of accommodation options in Esperance, both in the centre of town and in more remote areas. These are our favourites, though:

Search for more accommodation options and deals in Agoda:

Esperance – Day 2 to 4

Wake up early, it’s time to immerse yourself in the beauty of this coastal paradise!

With 3 full days to explore, you’ll have plenty of time to discover the stunning beaches, national parks, and other attractions that make Esperance a must-visit destination.

We wrote a full guide with things to do in Esperance that should be on every itinerary, but here are the cliff notes:

Cape Le Grand National Park

This national park is a 45-minute drive east of Esperance and it is known for having:

  • Stunning landscapes

  • Beaches with crystal clear waters

  • Consistent waves for surfing

  • Top-notch hiking trails

The park has two campsites – Le Grand Campground and Lucky Bay Campground. We recommend staying at least one night in either one, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

The entrance fee costs $17 per vehicle per day. It gives you access to the entire park and attractions such as Lucky Bay, Hellfire Bay, and Frenchman’s Peak.

Visit the kangaroos at Lucky Bay

You can’t say you were in Esperance if you don’t go to Lucky Bay. Sorry, we don’t make the rules.

This beautiful beach is home to a population of friendly kangaroos that can often be seen lounging on the sand or along the shoreline. It’s one of the most iconic experiences in the area.

Check out Twilight Beach and Wharton Beach

Twilight Beach is a prime spot for swimming, snorkelling, and surfing. It’s in West Beach, a suburb of Esperance.

There are a few massive, smooth rocks you can swim to and jump off from!

Dolphins can often be seen at Twilight Beach, especially between September and May. They swam up to us one time, it was insane.

Wharton Beach is our favourite beach in Australia.

The snorkelling and surfing are excellent, you can 4WD drive on the beach, and it has a great campground too – Duke of Orleans. You can also spot dolphins and seals!

Climb Frenchman’s Peak

This 262-metre-tall peak offers a challenging hike that feels more like a climb than a walk. But don’t be deterred – the incredible views from the top, overlooking the national park and the southern coast, are absolutely worth every step.

Great Ocean Drive

If you’re looking for a scenic way to explore Esperance’s stunning coastline, follow the 40km Great Ocean Drive loop.

This picturesque drive leads to 23 different attractions, including must-visit spots like:

  • Rotary Lookout

  • Twilight Beach

  • Observatory Point

  • The Pink Lake.

Keep reading: +15 things to do in Esperance that should be in every itinerary.

Return to Perth through these 7 stops (via Margaret River)

You can return to Perth the same way you went to Esperance, via Wave Rock (Hyden).

But if you can add more days to your trip, return via the Margaret River Region.

The area has everything – stunning coastlines, beautiful rivers, tall forests, ancient caves, and even top-notch wines!

There are so many things to do in the southwest of Western Australia, we recommend adding 10-11 days just to do the south-west route!

If you decide to return to Perth this way, there are 7 famous destinations you can stop at:

1) Bremer Bay (Day 5)

A 4-hour drive from Esperance, Bremer Bay is famous for being a hotspot for the largest gathering of orcas in the southern hemisphere.

Over 150 orcas traverse the Bremer Marine Park from late January to April each year.

This town is also famous for its amazing beaches and for being an access point to the stunning Fitzgerald River National Park.

Spending one day here may be enough to have a taste of this beautiful spot, but 2-3 days is ideal.

2) Albany (Day 6-7)

A 2-hour drive from Bremer Bay, Albany is a historic town with numerous attractions to explore. The highlights include:

  • Torndirrup National Park, known for its stunning coastal scenery and natural rock formations

  • Middleton Beach, a beautiful spot for swimming, windsurfing, and relaxing

  • The National Anzac Centre

There’s plenty to see and do in Albany. If you can, try spending 2-3 days here!

3) Denmark (Day 8-9)

Denmark is a 45-minute drive from Albany. It’s home to William Bay National Park, which has some of Western Australia’s most beautiful natural attractions:

  • Elephant Rocks, for top-notch snorkelling

  • Greens Pool, with iconic turquoise waters

  • Waterfall Beach, has a small waterfall on the beach

  • Mazzoletti Beach, a hotspot for 4WD driving

There are many things to do in Denmark, so it’s worth staying 2-3 days in this coastal gem!

  • William Bay Cottages. The best choice if you want a private, peaceful retreat in nature. Luxury cottages for up to 8 people.

  • Denmark Rivermouth Caravan Park. A low-cost option right next to the river, a 3-minute drive from Denmark’s town centre.

  • The Koorabup Motel. Self-contained units at walking distance from the town centre. Ideal for couples and families!

4) Augusta (Day 10-11)

Augusta is a 3.5-hour drive from Denmark and it’s located at the southernmost point of Western Australia. This coastal gem offers a variety of attractions, including:

  • Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on the mainland, with incredible views of where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet

  • The Jewel Cave, a spectacular attraction with impressive stalactites

  • Whale-watching between June and September

  • Dozens of snorkel sites teeming with marine life, like Hamelin Bay

Unless you want to do a whale-watching tour, 1-2 days is enough to visit the main attractions in Augusta.

  • Boogaloo Camp. Up for some glamping? This luxury tent is ideal to come and relax. Yoga classes and SUP rentals too!

  • Baywatch Manor. Budget stay at walking distance from the town centre and excellent views of the river.

  • Turner Holiday Park. Also near the town centre, this option is ideal for families.

5) Margaret River (Day 12-13)

Magaret River is a short 30-minute drive from Albany. As the heart of the region, it has something for everyone:

  • Top-notch waves for surfers of all levels

  • World-class wine, where aficionados can visit acclaimed wineries such as Vasse Felix

  • Hikes, waterfalls, and even a giant hedge maze!

Oenophiles will want to stay 2-3 days to explore the wineries. Otherwise, a full day of exploring may suffice to do the main things in Margaret River.

  • Cherubino Wines. Stay in a luxury guest house of this family-owned winery. For up to 12 people.

  • Riverview Tourist Park. A low-cost stay close to the city centre, ideal for all types of travellers, from couples to families.

  • Stay Margaret River. This stay provides a great escape for the whole family, with a kids playground, a pool, and easy access to the town.

6) Yallingup / Dunsborough (Day 14)

After driving 30 minutes from Margaret River, you’ll arrive at Yallingup.

Yallingup and Dunsborough are practically next to each other. Both give you access to incredible attractions in the area, such as:

  • The Ngilgi Caves

  • Injidup Natural Spa

  • Cape Naturaliste

  • Whale-watching tours

  • Top-notch beaches

  • Wineries

Nature lovers will love staying in Yallingup, as there are stunning beaches and great hikes near most accommodations.

Dunsborough is ideal for those who’d rather stay in an urban environment, while still being at a short driving distance from the main attractions of the area.

There’s a lot to do and explore in the area, so you may want to stay 3 days to enjoy all the natural attractions.

7) Busselton (Day 15)

To finish your Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary, make one last stop in the coastal city of Busselton – a 30-minute drive from Yallingup/Dunsborough.

This popular destination is home to the Busselton Jetty, the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. It stretches 1.8 km out to sea!

The jetty has an underwater observatory, so checking it out is a must during your visit. There are great beaches, whale-watching tours, and more.

Take 1-2 days to do the main attractions in Busselton before the final, 2.5-hour drive to Perth!

  • The Sebel Busselton. A beachfront aparthotel with self-contained units that sleep anywhere between 2 to 6 people.

  • Busselton Ithaca Motel. This low-cost stay is in the city centre, at a 10-minute distance from the jetty.

  • RAC Busselton Holiday Park. This family-friendly caravan park is on the outskirts of Busselton. It’s secluded enough to enjoy nature while being close enough to the town centre.

Planning your trip to Esperance

How will you get to Esperance – self-drive, tour, or public transport?

There are 3 ways you can road-trip to Esperance – by self-driving, by booking a tour, and by public transport:

Self-drive

This is the best way if you want the whole road trip experience and the freedom to explore at your own pace. There are two main ways to get to Esperance from Perth by car:

  • The quickest way is inland. It’s a full-day drive, 7 to 8 hours depending on the route. We recommend stopping in Hyden to stretch your legs while visiting Wave Rock.

  • Through the South West, via the Margaret River region. It’s a beautiful area with lots to do, so this can take a few days depending on where you stop.

Multi-day tour

Do you love road trips but hate all the driving? No problem.

Several tour providers take you road-tripping from Perth to Esperance, but this is our favourite.

It’s a low-cost, 6-day adventure tour that takes you all over the Margaret Region, with 2 full days in Esperance!

It includes transport, tour guide, activities, accommodation (in campgrounds), and most meals.

Bus/Coach

TransWA is a public transport company that takes you from Perth to Esperance.

At the moment of writing, a one-way trip costs between $100-$140 (AUD) and takes 10-12 hours to go from Perth to Esperance. You can purchase the tickets online.

It’s an excellent option if you are on a budget or don’t want to drive all the way, but you’ll have to plan your trip carefully to not miss any bus.

TransWa buses depart from the East Perth terminal and drop you off at Dempster Street, right in the centre of Esperance.

Check the current timetables and routes of Transwa here.

You can also fly there

If you’re short on time or simply want to get to Esperance quickly, you can always fly there.

Regional airline Rex offers daily flights from Perth to Esperance. You’ll get there in 1.5 hours and you can find cheap round-trip tickets for $300, depending on the season.

We prefer using Trip.com to find cheap flights, try it out:

Best month to go to Esperance

The best month to visit Esperance is anywhere between September and April.

If we had to choose one month, it would be February. There are lots of sunny days, ideal for exploring the region’s beautiful beaches and national parks.

Not that winter (June through August) is not a good time, but it’s cold and windy. Plus the chance of rain is higher compared to other months.

Most people visit Esperance to enjoy the beaches, so winter may not be the best time to do this.

August through November is an excellent time to visit if you want to witness wildflower season, though!

That said, the weather in Esperance can be variable even in summer. You may get a cloudy day or a bit of rain at some point.

How many days should you spend in Esperance?

You should spend at least 3 full days in Esperance. It’s a remote location and there’s a lot to do, so you’ll want to at least check out the main spots during your visit.

But if your schedule and budget allow, try spending at least 5 days in Esperance. Stay at least one night in one of the many beach campgrounds – you won’t regret it!

What to pack for a Perth to Esperance road trip?

At the very least, you should bring:

  • Food. There are no restaurants or grocery stores within the national park. If you want to spend a full day exploring, bring food!

  • A rubbish bag. These landscapes will remain pristine and beautiful as long as we do our part. Leave no trace!

  • Camping supplies if you plan on staying in any of the campgrounds in Cape Le Grand National Park.

  • Sturdy shoes, plenty of water, plus insect repellant and sunscreen that are reef-safe.

Petrol stations can be few and far between in remote areas of Western Australia. Make sure to top up your fuel at every available opportunity.

Finally, make sure to save the itinerary into your Google Maps. It has the exact route mentioned above with dozens of places to check out! Click on the star to save the map, as shown here:

Top Tips

You can rent a car in Perth easily. The cost per day depends on the duration of the rental, but renting a car for 5 days costs $70-$90/day with unlimited mileage.

Having unlimited mileage is key, as most providers cap it at 900 or 1200km – this is not enough for the entire trip back and forth.

That said, you need a car to explore everything Esperance has to offer, even if you don’t want to drive all the way there.

We recommend using RentalCars for this, as they scan all the major providers (Sixt, Avis, Hertz…) to find you the very best deals! Try it out:

Did you know?

Cape Le Grand National Park is a sanctuary for ancient, endemic species, such as:

  • Western grey kangaroos, black-gloved wallabies, and bandicoots

  • Reptiles like legless lizards, bobtail lizards, and heath monitor

  • Bird species like the wedge-tailed eagle and the rainbow bee-eater.

  • Marine animals like dolphins and seals

These extraordinary creatures give us a glimpse into the evolutionary history of the region, and how they had to adapt over time to survive in this habitat.

FAQs

What is the best month to go to Esperance?

The best month to go to Esperance is February. It offers the perfect balance between sunny days and excellent weather.

However, anywhere between September and April is a great choice!

How many days should you spend in Esperance?

You should spend 3 full days in Esperance to enjoy the main attractions – the beaches, Cape Le Grand, etc.

But 5-7 days is ideal, as this allows you to visit more beaches, explore without rush, and climb Frenchman’s Peak (and recover from the exertion!).

Do you need a 4WD for Esperance?

You don’t need a 4WD for Esperance unless you want to drive on the beach or access more remote areas.

The bottom line

A Perth to Esperance road trip is a must-do adventure for anyone looking to explore the beauty of Western Australia’s south coast.

With stunning beaches, captivating landscapes, charming coastal towns, and a wealth of attractions to discover, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.

The quickest way to get there from Perth is through Hyden (Wave Rock). But if you want to make the most out of your road trip, add these towns to your Perth to Esperance road trip itinerary:

  • Bremer Bay

  • Albany

  • Denmark

  • Augusta

  • Margaret River

  • Yallingup/Dunsborough

  • Busselton

These popular destinations of the southwest are close to each other, but they’re 100% worth doing a road trip just to visit them!

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