Start Point: Bayswater Car Rental, Hay St, Subiaco, Perth, WA
Finish Point: Esperance, WA
Estimated Driving Time: 8 hours (Not including stops)
If you're looking for a road trip that offers spectacular coastal scenery, historic settler towns and a glimpse into life in the outback, this coast to coast adventure is the trip for you. Starting from the laidback and liveable capital of Western Australia and finishing in Esperance, one of the state's highlights thanks to its wealth of stunning beaches, this road trip is one of Australia's best.
Before you fill up the car and head out of town, make sure you fully explore Perth. Australia's sunniest state capital has a lot to boast about, from its 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, its 19 beautiful beaches, proximity to natural bushland and easy access to world-class local wineries. In the city itself, the 400-hectare expanse at Kings Park is a great place to explore nature with a city view, or have a picnic, while the city's museums such as the Western Australia Museum – Maritime and the Art Gallery of Western Australia are the places to go for a dose of culture.
Kings Park, Perth [Tourism Australia]
Heading 300km east of Perth you will eventually find one of Australia's biggest inland ‘waves’. Believed to have been over 2,700 million years in the making, Wave Rock rises 15 metres above the outback plain and looks remarkably like a huge ocean wave, despite being several hours from the nearest coastline. Visitors can 'surf' the giant wave by climbing up the rock face, or join one of the many nearby walking trails to see the imposing rock and its illusion of liquid motion from different perspectives..
Hyden Wave Rock [Tourism Australia]
Heading southeast for a little over 200 kilometres, you will find Wagin, a farming hub renowned for its thriving Merino wool industry and rich history. At the town's Historical Village, visitors can explore early settler life by wandering around a village of restored and relocated buildings, including a bank, a one-room school and a general store. Anyone with an interest in sheep, cattle or goat farming should aim to visit in early March as that is when Woolorama, one of Australia's biggest agricultural fairs, is held.
A 30-minute drive west of Lake Grace is Kukerin, another historic town with a number of sights to see. Australia’s famous Rabbit Proof Fence is near here. It was built in the 1920s to keep pests such as rabbits out of Western Australian pastoral areas. There are three fences and together they cover an incredible 3,253 kilometres. The town is also home to a large sandalwood industry which started in the mid 1870s. If you're into crustaceans, Cambinata Yabbies is located in Kukerin. Don't miss the chance for a stop there to pick up some gourmet fare.
Another 120km east of Wagin is the historic town of Lake Grace. Like Wagin, Lake Grace gives an insight into early settler life through its two Inland Mission Hospitals, as well as showing visitors what life in the outback is like today. The drive to Wagin is flanked by beautiful scenery and on arrival at the town one of your first stops should be at the visitors’ centre at the old Stationmaster's House for information on local attractions. One thing they will recommend is a visit to Lake Grace itself. The lake is 50 kilometres long and up to 7.25 kilometres wide with plenty of viewing points along its shore to enjoy panoramic vistas.
Lake King is a 160km drive east of Kukerin. It’s a popular stop for anyone who likes Australian wildflowers. When in season – the flowers are usually at their best in October – you will see some magnificent displays in the town's nature reserves. Travelling east along the Lake King Causeway, road trippers enjoy cruising on the longest road in Western Australia, which is built across a salt lake. Local history here is very interesting too: you can walk the Roe Heritage Trail and retrace part of the journey taken by surveyor and renowned explorer General Roe, who was the first Surveyor-General of Western Australia.
Heading 70 kilometres south of Lake King on National Route 1 you will end up in Ravensthorpe, a must-stop on your coast-to-coast adventure. For history fans, there are heritage trails which trace local history from the town's mining past, and for outdoor types there are lots of walking trails that lead to breathtaking viewing points in the middle of pristine bushland - the Ravensthorpe Range is a great place for a meander.
The final destination of this road trip from Perth is Esperance, one of Western Australia's natural gems which enjoys some of Australia's best beaches. Its unspoiled coastline is a major draw, thanks to its brilliantly blue waters and stark white beaches, as are the other natural wonders of WA's south coast such as Cape Le Grand National Park, Cape Arid National Park and the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. The town of Esperance has a wide range of accommodation options and makes a wonderful base for exploring the area's stunning natural sights.
Meeting the locals at Esperance, WA [Tourism Australia]
While at Esperance, a trip to Pink Lake is a must. Just seven kilometres from the main town, Pink Lake is among the area’s surrounding pristine coastal scenery. The lake is best viewed from the Pink Lake Lookout. One of several local bodies of water in this mysterious choral colour, the cause of the shade is thought to be due to a high concentration of algae created by the bacteria living in the water’s salty crust. As an eco-system, the lake supports a significant number of both Australian native and migratory birds and has been has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Bird Life International. The pink lakes of Esperance were noted in the diaries of explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802. Another nearby example is Hillier Lake on Middle Island, off the coast of Esperance. This pink lake is 600m long and can only be viewed from the air.
Pink Lake, Australia’s Coral Coast [Tourism Australia]