7 Best Road Trips From Perth For The Best Self-Drive Vacation (From 30 Mins to 21 Hours)


Qistina Bumidin •  Oct 07, 2022

Road trips can be a great way to explore a destination without having to rush or worry about time, and if there’s something we want on vacation, it’s more time to relax and unwind ? Feel the freedom when you rent a car and take a self-drive trip to check out some of Western Australia’s most gorgeous attractions. Western Australia is one of the most magical places for a road trip, and we promise you and your entourage will enjoy being out and about in nature ?

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We’ve compiled a list of road trips of varying drive times, from the shortest to longer ones! Plus, we’re using Perth as a central point, as it’s only a 4.5-hour flight away from Singapore and 5 hours from Malaysia! Planning a route can be tricky, so let us help you focus more on the relaxing vacation part and less on organising your itinerary ?

1. Perth - Fremantle

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

This might be the shortest road trip on our list, but Fremantle’s small-town charm, quaint markets and buildings steeped in history will draw you in immediately ? Plus, it’s only a 30-minute drive from Perth city centre, which makes it an easy day trip for families! First up, you can’t miss the iconic Fremantle Markets, which only runs on weekends - here’s where you can find everything from fresh produce and locally-made treats to handcrafted decor that makes the perfect souvenir to bring home ?

Credit: @thehoneycake on Instagram

We did a guide on how you can explore Fremantle Markets right here! Here’s one treat you can’t miss, though - the famous honey cakes from The Honeycake ?

If you’re looking for a lunch spot, walk 10 minutes to Kailis Fish Market Café. This local favourite sells delicious fish, chips, and seafood platters by the harbour ? The serving sizes here can be quite generous, and we recommend sharing the Seafood Platter and Fish and Chips platter to try out the variety of dishes they offer! The seafood in Western Australia is out of this world, and you won’t find fresher, sweeter or better anywhere else ?

P.S. Halal status: While this is not a halal-certified eatery, seafood options are available and are cooked separately from non-halal chicken meat and alcohol. Do dine with discretion. 

Credit: @skubes33 for Instagram

Afterwards, stroll down to the Esplanade Park next door, and relax! Lay a picnic mat, let the kids run around, and bask in the vacation vibes! Don’t forget to ride on the Fremantle Tourist Wheelfor a breathtaking view. The sun, sky, and sea - there’s something idyllic and amazing about this quaint little town ?

P.S. If you’re in Fremantle on a Friday, and looking to do your prayers, head to St Paul Church. Since 2016, they have opened their community hall, located within the church's compound, to the Muslim community to perform their Friday prayers! 

Best time to visit: Spring (Sept-Nov) and autumn (March-May

Drive time: 30 mins

Duration of trip: Day trip/2D1N

Click here for more Fremantle itineraries.

2. Perth - Rockingham - Mandurah 

It’s hard to find dolphins in their natural habitat in Singapore and Malaysia. Western Australia is one of the few places nearby that offers a marine wonderland where dolphins play daily! If you’re bringing the little ones with you or just love animals, it’s time to pop out of the Perth bubble and explore Rockingham and Mandurah - both home to playful marine mammals! ? 

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Start your dolphin search by following the Kwinana Freeway south from Perth to Rockingham and the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. The drive only takes about 50 minutes! Take a dolphin watch cruise here and glide alongside more than 200 wild dolphins that frequently visit the area. You might also enjoy a bonus encounter with the rare Australian sea lions, stingrays, pelicans and more! ? Afterwards, grab some lunch at Rockingham Kebabs & Pizza, a halal-certified Turkish restaurant. Savour their various pizzas from Beef & Lamb, Meat Lovers, or the classic Margarita! ? Before zipping off to Mandurah, do your prayers at Ar Rukun Mosque. It’s only 3 minutes away from Rockingham Kebabs & Pizza!

P.S. Planning to stay longer? Why not pop by Penguin Island, a 5-minute ferry ride from Rockingham? This unspoilt nature reserve is home to little penguins, dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, pelicans and ospreys!

Credit: Mandurah Boat Hire on Instagram

It’s time to make a 20-minute journey to Mandurah. There are two ways to catch views of the resident bottlenose dolphins here: by playing boat captain or boarding a cruise. If you prefer the privacy of doing so, rent a boat and take it out to Mandurah's glistening, calm waterways - make sure to keep those cameras ready for the marine stars ?

Credit: Mandurah Wild Seafood Experience

But if you like to keep it hands-free, Mandurah has you covered with the ultimate cruise experience - dolphin watching, wild seafood catching and more! ? No matter what you choose and what time of the year you’re in Mandurah, you’re bound to spot one, so say goodbye to long waiting times on boats and hands shaking from the weight of the camera waiting for the picture-perfect shot ?

Since you’re in an aquatic gem, you must try the fresh and scrumptious seafood from Cicerello’s! The restaurant isn't halal certified as there is alcohol served on the premises ? However, Cicerello’s can cater to Muslim-friendly options (all grilled fish meals, crayfish, seafood chowder and items can be cooked in their vegetable oil fryers). We recommend that you dine at your discretion. 

Credit: @visitmandurah for Instagram

There are plenty of other activities to do in Mandurah, from shopping to other water sports activities, or simply dipping in the newly opened Estuary Pool (which is twice the size of Sydney Harbour, by the way).! Before heading back to Perth (an hour’s drive), stay a little longer and enjoy the fiery sunset views from Dolphin Quay! ?

Best time to visit: September to May

Travel time: 1h10mins

Duration: Day trip

Click here for more Rockingham and Mandurah itineraries.

3. Southwest Nature Drive – Bunbury, Busselton, and Margaret River

The area just south of Perth is known for its greenery, beautiful beaches, and national parks. While you can reach Margaret River after just 3 and a half hours of non-stop driving from Perth, we recommend you stretch your trip out over a few days to get the best of Western Australia’s fresh air and breathtaking sights ?

Credit: @dolphindiscoverycentre for Instagram

Make sure to stop by Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre to learn more about the research and conservation of bottlenose dolphins and other local marine animals ? The best thing about the Discovery Centre is its dedication to an ethical experience – meaning you and the kids will learn more about dolphins and other marine creatures without disturbing the animals. Further south, Busselton Jetty is the Southern hemisphere’s longest timber jetty, with some of the most stunning views you’ll ever see – and the perfect spot for that classic Insta shot ?

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

To get the best of local life, visit some lively farmer’s markets or community gardens along the way to see how local produce is delivered from farm to table. The produce you’ll find here is so fresh, crisp and colourful it’ll feel like you’re tasting familiar foods for the first time ?

Credit: @bunbury_farmers_market for Instagram

Bunbury Farmers Market hosts over 150 local growers, giving you the best of Western Australia’s produce throughout the year – plus, they sometimes mark prices down after 5 pm, so even if you arrive after most of the crowd leaves, you’ll be able to grab some bargains to make up for it ?Busselton’s Community Garden has volunteer days every Tuesday and Saturday morning where the whole family can help and gain an appreciation for their food. Margaret River’s own Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday throughout the year, shows off the hard-earned products of the farmers’ determination and grit. Pick up some fresh produce such as vegetables, fruits and more at the markets so you can make the perfect picnic stop along the way ? Do note that the baked goods and other food may not be halal, so dine with discretion!

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

P.S. You can continue on your journey to Cape Le Grand National Park to marvel over their white, silky fine sand and Wave Rock, a natural formation resembling ocean waves about to crash as part of the South West Edge route. You can learn about it viaTourism Western Australia’s road trip guide!

Best time to visit: June to October

Drive time: 3.5h

Duration of trip: Day trip/2D1N

Click here for more Indian Ocean Drive itineraries

4. Perth - Lancelin - Cervantes - the Pinnacles

This 200km drive may sound intense, but the gorgeous natural landscapes and enchanting wildlife will make it all worth it. Start your first full day by driving to theLancelin Sand Dunes, where you can sandboard down the dunes ? The drive up from Perth is fairly short at 1.5 - 2hrs. Stop by the Lancelin General Store on your way to the dunes torent a sandboard. Sandboard rentals cost just AUD12.50 for 2.5 hours, so you can spend the morning without worrying about breaking the bank. Reserve your boards beforehand, especially if you’re visiting during the peak season ?

Next, zip up to Cervantes within 1.5h  - a coastal playground filled with fresh lobster feasts and white sand beaches. We suggest trying out Lobster Shack, one of the most popular eateries among locals and visitors. This family-run business has been around since the 60s, and it’s still going strong! Lobster Shack is famous for its BBQ Lobsters and freshly-caught Natural Oysters ? You can even join a factory tour to see how the day's catch is processed! 

Halal status: Seafood options are available, but do remember to request that alcohol not be used in your meal. Alcoholic beverages are also served on the menu. As this eatery is not halal-certified, we advise you to dine at your discretion.

Take a break and stretch those limbs by chilling by the beaches. If you’re up for it, try your hand at boating or diving! From Cervantes, it’s a short drive to Nambung National Park (about 17 mins) and one of Australia’s most fascinating landscapes, the Pinnacles ?

Credit: Malaque Mahdaly

Explore the best of mother nature as you witness the dramatic formations of limestone pillars. Visiting the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centreis a great way to understand the history behind these marvellous supernatural creations (plus, you’ll get some sweet shady relief from the heat! ?‍?) Nambung is also a great stargazing site, so you can visit after the sun sets before heading back to Perth to witness the beauty of the night sky above ?

Best time to visit: July to October

Drive time: 8h8mins

Duration of trip: Day trip/2D1N

Click here for more Pinnacles and Cervantes itineraries.

P.S. For more day trip ideas, head to Tourism Western Australia’s website for comprehensive guides and helpful tips for the best vacay.

5. The Indian Ocean Drive: Perth - Nambung National Park - Cervantes - Kalbarri

This might be the most colourful road trip you’ll ever take - star-studded night skies, moon-like Pinnacles, red gorges, brightly coloured wildflowers and the deep blue ocean; it should be on your travel bucket list ?

Credit: Sea Lion Charters

The Indian Ocean Drive is an extension of the day trip from Perth - Lancelin - Cervantes - the Pinnacles route (see the itinerary before this!). However, you’ll continue the journey to Jurien Bay instead of returning to Perth from Cervantes. Come from September to November, where you’ll see more than 900 wildflower blooms carpet the landscape of Lesueur National Park in a tapestry of colours ? Afterwards, there are endless activities for everyone - snorkel turquoise waters, snap photos of rare wild sea lions on a boat tour or skydive for a bird’s-eye view of the stunning, rugged coastline.

Seafood enthusiasts will appreciate Dongara, a 1-hour drive from Jurien Bay. You’ll get tocast a line off the jetty - fish for your supper or indulge in some of the freshest rock lobster you’ve ever eaten. After an overnight stay, amp up the adrenaline and drive down to the mecca for wind sports, Geraldton ? Geraldton is emerging as a trendy beach escape where you’ll find great cafes, Aboriginal driving trails and a laid-back coastal vibe. Plus, it’s also a paradise for seafood lovers, so get those bellies ready! 

P.S. You can choose to do your prayers at Geraldton Mosque, a 5 minutes drive away from the city centre!


Credit: Tourism Western Australia

The Indian Ocean Drive ends in Geraldton, but your coastal adventure continues to Kalbarri National Park, where the outback coast and wilderness intersect. Hike or rock climb the land. Take on the new Kalbarri Skywalk that hangs 100m above. Fish, kayak or cruise the waters. Fly over the scenic bubblegum-pink waters of the fascinating Hutt Lagoon, one of the most wondrous sights to behold. Adventure is yours to choose ?

P.S. Since you’re already in Kalbarri National Park, head to Nature’s Window, one of Western Australia’s most iconic natural attractions. This natural rock arch is formed from layers of Tumblagooda Sandstone and perfectly frames the view of the Murchison River. It’s also the perfect spot for that Insta-worthy shot, so get your poses ready!

Best time to visit: June to October

Drive time: 12h

Duration of trip: 5D4N

Click here for more Indian Ocean Drive itineraries.

6. The Coral Coast Highway (extension of The Indian Ocean Drive)

If the Indian Ocean Drive wowed you, The Coral Coast Highway would make your jaw drop. Touted as one of Australia’s Great Scenic Drives, it combines everything that makes Western Australia such a dream - white sand beaches, turquoise fringed coral reefs (world’s largest, by the way! ?), breathtaking gorges, encounters with wildlife in their natural habitat and more! This route is an extension of the Indian Ocean Drive, so from Kalbarri National Park, take a 4 h drive to Shark Bay, and visit one of the best places to meet friendly dolphins -  Monkey Mia ?

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Monkey Mia is the only place in Australia where bottlenose dolphins visit daily, so you can expect a pod all year round. If you’re lucky, you can spot other marine animals, like turtles!  ?As Shark Bay is the traditional place of three Aboriginal groups: Malgana, Nhanda and Yingkarta, why not learn about their history and culture through the Aboriginal Cultural Tour? Return home after profound Aboriginal experiences with the world’s oldest living culture and the traditional custodians of this magnificent land ? Opt for a day tour of walking and kayaking, or a night tour with a local Malgana guide!

P.S. If you have the time, why not take a nice stroll along Shell Beach? It’s one of the few places in the world where you’ll see a beach made from billions of tiny shells!

You can stop by Carnarvon for seafood or a quick lunch break! Do note that we cannot ascertain the halal status of the food available, so dine with discretion. You can also come prepared and bring your food from Perth too! From Carnarvon, it’s a 2.5-hour to 3-hour drive to Ningaloo Reef, the Coral Coast’s second World Heritage-listed site and one of the most diverse marine environments on the planet. 

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

P.S. While a 2 Wheel Drive will get you to most of the main attractions along the Coral Coast, if you want to go off the beaten path, you will need a 4WD!

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

One of the unique experiences you have to try is gliding through clear waters with giant whale sharks in Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef (don’t worry they are filter feeders so they won’t bite ?). You can join a Coral Bay or Exmouth tour for this once-in-a-lifetime experience! This underwater wonderland is also filled with a diverse array of colourful corals and more than 500 species of marine life, including dugongs (often mistaken for mermaids ?), turtles and manta rays ?

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

P.S. The Ningaloo Reef comes alive from March to August. Whale sharks visit the ocean paradise en-mass during this time, so be sure to plan wisely if you want to meet them close!

Afterwards, it’s a ride back to Perth! It might be a long itinerary, but with all the fun you’re having, you’ll wish you could stay longer ?

Best time to visit: March to November

Drive time: 21h36mins

Duration of trip: 9D8N/11D10N

Click here for more Coral Coast Highway itineraries.

7. BONUS: Perth - Rottnest Island 

Merely a 30-minute ferry ride from Perth, Rottnest Island might be small but packs on endless fun activities. Whether you want to snorkel, surf, or simply relax by any of their 63 beaches and 20 bays (of course, not forgetting the adorable quokkas!) This little paradise pocket is a must-visit for beach-loving, thrill-seeking travellers ☀️

Rottnest Island can only be reached by boat or plane, but the best way to do so is by boarding theRottnest Express, a cruise that departs to Rottnest Island daily. It departs from three locations in Fremantle and central Perth, which is especially convenient if you’re staying in Perth’s CBD area! ? The journey will take you around 35 minutes.

Rottnest Island is car-free, so you get around on foot, by bus, bike, or even Segway if you’re up for a little challenge. Get ready to go on your first mission: finding friendly Quokkas – the happiest animals in the world! Fun fact about Quokkas: they are the only marsupials native to the island, and you can’t find them anywhere else but here ?

Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Afterwards, cool down with water activities and explore the sparkling underwater world!  The best way to do that is by snorkelling! ? There are many snorkelling spots around the island, including The Basin, Little Salmon Bay, Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, and Little Armstrong Bay. If you prefer somewhere closer to the jetty, we recommend the Basin ? You can hire snorkel sets on the island at Rottnest Island Pedal & Flipper or book them online on Rottnest Express. 

Credit: Aquaplay Rottnest

There have been additions in the past two years, such as a new luxury hotel and the chance to explore the island from a new perspective - waterbikes! ? Take in the beautiful views as you glide across clear turquoise waters and learn about the island’s history and unique marine environment. It’ll be an unforgettable adventure! You can rent them at Aquaplay Rottnest!

Credit: @thelane_rottnest for Instagram

Take a break and fill up those grumbling bellies with fresh juices, smoothies and acai bowls from The Lane Cafe. Before the ferry ride back to Perth, grab a coffee from any cafes lining up Thomson Bay and gaze across the water to the Perth skyline ?

P.S. Although this eatery is not halal certified, they have some vegetarian options. We also cannot confirm the halal status of other cafes, so do dine with discretion. 

Best time to visit: September to March

Travel time: 30 minutes by ferry

Duration: Day trip

Click here for more Rottnest Island itineraries.

So there you have it - a few guides to kick off your road trip wanderlust for an unforgettable adventure! There’s a reason why Western Australia is the perfect destination for a self-drive vacation; whatever type of experiences and adventures you dream of, there’s something out there for you ? Which one will you be looking forward to? ?

This article is brought to you by Tourism Western Australia.