Travel

Hit The Road And Uncover The Places And Faces Of WA’s Best Road Trip

By Morgan Reardon
19th Apr 2022

In partnership with:

Sponsored by

What makes the perfect road trip? While a cracking playlist, premium snacks, excellent company and comfy pants are essential, the most important element of your roadie is not the destination, but the adventure that happens along the way. Most importantly—the places and faces you encounter on your journey. And while it’s easy to map out the k’s you’re going to cover, those special ‘pinch me’ moments that happen at each of your pitstops can be a little harder to plan—unless you’re reading this guide, then don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.

We’ve teamed up with our mates at Ampol to curate the ultimate road trip from Perth to breathtaking Denmark, chronicling all the best things to eat, see and do—and the quirky characters you need to meet. Take note and buckle up. 

Day One: Perth To Yallingup 

You’ll start your journey in Perth, but before you hit the road, there’s someone special you should meet first. The outback isn’t the only place you can connect with Aboriginal culture, and while the landscape in the city might have changed, the traditional owners' connections still run deep—just ask Noongar elder Walter McGuire who runs Go Cultural Tours in Perth. Over the course of 90 minutes, you’ll embark on a walking tour of the city, starting with a traditional welcome before discovering age-old sacred sites hidden amongst Perth’s modern landscape. You’ll listen to McGuire sing songs of the Dreaming, while standing on the banks of Derbarl Yerrigan (the Aboriginal name for the Swan River), and learn what life on the waterfront was like for his ancestors. This immersive experience is absolutely on the must-do list. 

Now it’s time to jump in the car and make tracks to Dunsborough, a two and half hour drive south. This beautiful slice of paradise is where the bush meets the beach. Think: a sparkling turquoise coastline fringed by granite boulders and dense foliage. It’s here you’ll want to stop for a well-earned feed at Meelup Farmhouse. Nestled in a dreamy, greenery-strewn pocket of Eagle Bay, the sprawling property is home to a drool-worthy restaurant run by Mark and Liz Ahearn (the legendary duo behind iconic Perth cafes The Little Bay and Little h). Dine in the white, weatherboard farmhouse on seasonal, fresh produce like squid ink linguini with blue swimmer crab and salt and pepper free-range pork belly with chilli caramel. Post-meal, stroll the grounds, have dessert under the gum trees and be sure to introduce yourself to the resident alpaca family, Mila the farmhouse dog who is always down for a belly rub and Lizzie, Meelup’s gorgeous blonde highland cow. 

Keep the food coma at bay as you drive just 15 minutes down the road to Caves House Hotel—a heritage-listed building where you’ll rest your weary head for the night. Grab dinner on the deck under a canopy of Peppermint Trees and listen to live music before sinking into your plush bed. 

Driving Duration: three hours

Day Two: Yallingup To Augusta 

Rise and shine for a beautiful morning in Yallingup. Drive or stroll down Valley Road to get to Yallingup Beach and its azure waters for a refreshing dip. Then pop into Lagoon Yallingup—located at the top of the beach stairs—for one of the best brekkies of your life. Pro tip: Order the gingerbread pancake with salted butterscotch or the tomato, salted ricotta,  kale and aniseed myrtle pesto on sourdough.

Next, it’s time to meet the locals, and view the town through the lens of the direct descendants of the world’s oldest culture with Koomal Dreaming. Led by Wadandi man Josh Whiteland, you’ll walk the rocky tip of Cape Naturaliste, traversing the capes and coves while Whiteland explains Noongar culture and lore, which native foods and plants are used for traditional medicine and the unique Noongar seasons. As you enter the stunning underground Ngilgi Cave—a million-year-old limestone cave filled with crystals and stalactites—you’ll be treated to a haunting didgeridoo performance, amplified by the cave’s natural acoustics. It’s a goosebump-inducing experience. 

Back in the car and it’s time to hit the road and make tracks to Margaret River because you can’t travel to southwest WA and not check out a winery or two. Our favourites include Cape Mentelle (Margaret River’s third oldest winery), the iconic Leeuwin Estate and organic and sustainable superheroes Voyager Estate. Swing by Pizzica in the stunning Bridgefield Guest House for a late lunch, feasting on a three-page menu loaded with every type of pizza imaginable—it’s like a slice of Southern Italy right in WA. 

Then it’s time to jump back in the car and head to Augusta, a 45-minute drive south and your pitstop for the night. Pro tip: take Caves Road as it tracks the beautiful coastline. Located right on the tip of rugged Cape Leeuwin, in Augusta, you’ll witness the waters of the Indian and Southern oceans collide - and should you find yourself here from June to September, be sure to scope out Flinders Bay where migrating humpback whales gather before continuing on their journey north for the breeding season. Check into Augusta Seine Bay Waterfront Cottage for zen-like vibes as you watch the sun set over Blackwood river from the veranda. 

Driving Duration: one and a half hours

Day Three: Augusta To Denmark

Wake up to the sound of the river gently lapping at the banks and get ready for your last day of driving. Grab some flaky pastries and caffeine hit from Augusta Bakery—just a two-minute drive from your accommodation - and prepare to hit the road, putting Elephant Rocks in your sat nav. Crank up your playlists or pop on your favourite podcasts and four hours later you’ll arrive at this bucket list-worthy spot. 

Park in the Greens Pool car park in William Bay National Park and follow the winding trail for about 10 minutes along the coastline. You’ll scale two large granite boulders (it’s super easy) before descending a staircase into the rocks, from there you’ll pass through a pretty magical cave-like walkway before coming out onto the beach. Your jaw will hit the sugar-white sand as you take in the stunning sight of glittering crystal clear waters and giant smooth grey boulders that jut out of the sea resembling, yep, you guessed it—elephants. Want to know our top tip? Carve out a few hours here, pack a snorkel and float between the rock pools then throw a towel down and soak up the good vibes. 

After a few hours of sun-worshipping go meet the locals over at the Denmark Animal Farm. When we said it was important to meet the faces of the places you were travelling to—we meant the furry ones as well. Here you can pat, cuddle and feed a huge range of cute creatures like Tess and King Lear, the Scottish Highland cows, Kimba the camel, Snorkel the pig and Jox and Basil the foxes. It’s a cute overload. 

Grab a Buddha bowl or pulled pork burger for lunch in town at Mrs Jones Cafe before heading to the Denmark Good Food Factory. Have a yarn with owners Jon and Gill Atkinson whose passion for decadent delights has resulted in creating their own toffee factory (the chilli salt lime, lemon myrtle and dark chocolate orange are a must-try) and a cidery brewed with Great Southern fruits. You can grab a takeaway pack or enjoy a refreshing cold one on the property’s sprawling garden. Fill your basket with the local produce and jump back in the car for your final destination of the trip, Upland Farm

Combining luxury and sustainability, this gorgeous rural stay was created by husband and wife duo Tyrone and Shelley Kennedy who moved from Perth to Denmark for a more nourishing lifestyle—and that’s exactly what they’ve created.  Nestled in the foothills of Denmark's rolling green mountains, Upland Farm is environmentally conscious but uber boujee in the best way possible. The two-bedroom, two bathroom guest house features blonde timber throughout that perfectly compliments the farmland vistas. Plus it’s got all the mod cons you could need like a smart TV, washer-dryer, and premium kitchen appliances, as well as a toasty indoor fireplace to curl up next to. That’s if you can tear yourself away from stargazing on the deck that overlooks 107 acres of working cattle farmland. Yep, you might just want to put off that drive back to Perth for a few extra days and soak up the good life down south. 

Driving Duration: four hours

It's time to tick off one of Australia's most iconic road trips, made oh, so memorable with so many perfect places and friendly faces to meet along the way.

Be sure to fuel up at your local Ampol along the way—for fuel and a cheeky bag of red frogs at the Foodary—because, well, essential road trip snacks. Whatever you need, Ampol has got you covered so all you need to worry about is your next destination. 

Image credit: Eagle Bay Beach near Dunsborough, Meelup Farmhouse near Dunsborough, Leeuwin Estate Winery, Greens Pool in William Bay National Park, Tourism Western Australia

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Ampol and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like