Pack the snacks, update Google maps and download your Spotify playlists, because it's road trip time!
Whether you're after a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive up the coast or you want to get way out of Perth, we’ve found 7 of the best scenic drives in WA.
The Golden Triangle
No, we're not talking about the western 'burbs. In scenic drive terms, The Golden Triangle refers to the three roads that join the towns of Balingup, Nannup and Bridgetown—and it makes for one of the state’s most beautiful road trips.
While the 45 kilometre leg between Balingup and Nannup can technically be completed in half an hour, we recommend slowing things right down and checking out some of the local shops that line the narrow winding road which follows the Blackwood River.
Other places worth a Facebook check-in are The Old Cheese Factory (which ironically is a completely feta-free zone and has actually been converted into an art and craft gallery—we were disappointed too, but it's still worth a visit) and the Balingup Lavender Farm.
The Perth Hills
Looking for a road trip closer to home—say about 35 kilometres away from Perth? The Mundaring Weir to Kalamunda drive is the drive for you.
Start by getting your walk on through the bushland along the Mundaring Dam, before hopping back into your car and continuing your journey via Bickley-Carmel Valley.
If you’re not designated driver, exit onto Bickley Valley and visit one of the local wineries, Plume is best for #humblebrag social media status updates. And if you need to stop for lunch the baked brie at Core Cider House will give you life.
Continue onto Kalamunda and stop in at some of the orchards along the way to spend the afternoon stocking up on all of the organic kale, free-range eggs and generally excellent produce you can physically consume, before returning to Perth via Zigzag Road.
Even less time? Leave it with us.
The West Coast Highway drive—past the 19 beaches that line our beautiful coast—is the quintessential WA road trip. Simple and straight-forward, the toughest decision you’ll have to make is which ocean front cafe you’ll stop at for breakfast (and lunch... and pre-dinner drinks and dinner) on the 11 kilometre route.
Start with a coffee at Bib & Tucker in North Freo, before heading north to Cottesloe Beach for a cheeky dip. Continue to City Beach and detour to Reabold Hill for sweeping views of Perth city from the highest natural point along the coast.Your next stop should be in North Beach so you can pop into North Beach Deli for lunch.
Moving right along, make your next stop Sorrento for a surf (or a perve at the surfers if that’s more your area of expertise.) Then you can basically keep driving forever, taking in that splendid coastline!
Would you believe us if we said you could get to Denmark and back to Perth in four days and have an epic weekend while you're at it? True story.
Ok so you probably won't find any Australian crown princesses, but WA’s southern wine region (encompassing Albany, Denmark and Walpole) is the perfect way to spend a long weekend. Plus a sneaky sick day at either end.
First, get yourself to Albany, where, among all the heritage buildings, you’ll find restaurants, bars and plenty to do.
Continue by following the southern coastline west to Denmark, and then take the 45 minute drive west to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk within the Walpole-Nornalup National Park for a panoramic view of some of Western Australia's majestic tingle trees.
You’ll have to do this bit on foot but climbing into the forest canopy and meandering through the treetops is totally worth it.
The Coral Coast
Channel your inner Thelma and Louise (minus any law-breaking shenanigans) and hit the open road with your bestie for one of Western Australia’s finest scenic drives.
Make your way from Perth to Yanchep National Park—where you can stop to play with the koalas if that’s your thing. Then, north of Yanchep, join the Indian Ocean Drive to reach The Pinnacles—the 30,000-year-old limestone formations at the Nambung National Park.
The next part of your drive is all laidback beachside towns before you hit Geraldton for windsurfing, ocean sunsets and the best rock lobster this side of Australia.
Tick Carnarvon, Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef off your map, before you start the return journey home via Coral Bay, where you can try your hand snorkelling, whale watching or swimming with whale sharks if you’re brave.
Depending on how much time you have to pit stop on the way home, you might like to peek into Shark Bay and check out the oldest, biggest living fossils to be found anywhere on the planet. Finish by making your way back to Perth while seriously considering handing in your job resignation to do it all again.
While this road trip does require a little more time, dedication and petrol money (give yourself five to seven days of driving) you will be rewarded with a lifetime of memories and the kind of squad goals that would make Britney “Crossroads” Spears proud.
Need a scenic road trip that includes wineries, beaches and a tasty cafe or five? Caves Road is where it’s at.
This 111 kilometre long scenic route, connecting Yallingup with Augusta in the South West, is marked by 350 caves hidden within the limestone ridge underneath the area of Margaret River.
Is your style less caving more cab sav? Most of Margaret River’s best wineries are located off Caves Road and offer cellar door tastings which pair perfectly with a freshly caught fish dish from the Indian Ocean.
Beach babes will also be pleased to hear that there are many opportunities to go swimming or catch a wave at one of the world-class surfing spots off Caves Road.
Three to four hours of driving will get you to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and mainland Australia’s south-western tip. Here, the Indian and Southern Oceans meet, and literally mark the end of your journey.
Karijini National Park
Who the frick decided that the journey was more important that the destination, anyway? Umm yeah, nah.
Because while the three-day, 1400-ish km drive from Perth to Karijini National Park is pretty (the most popular route is through New Norcia, Wongan Hills, Dalwallinu and Meekatharra*), let’s not kid ourselves. It’s all about the feels you get when you finally arrive.
Think ancient rocky tunnels, plunging gorges, crystal-clear waterways, lush waterfalls and straight up some of the state’s most spectacular scenery.
Although most of the park is accessible on foot, a four-wheel-drive will get you to the top of Mount Meharry (the highest mountain in Western Australia) where the 360-degree view of the Hamersley Ranges is everything.
*Flying to Karijini is also an option. The nearest airport is Paraburdoo.
Want more? Check out these 8 Under The Radar Getaways In WA.
The Perth Hills | Image credit: Louise Coghill