Perth to Esperance Road Trip

Embarking on a road trip from Perth to Esperance is an extraordinary journey through the stunning natural beauty of southwestern Australia. This road trip takes you through a diverse landscape, ranging from vibrant cityscapes to breathtaking coastal cliffs, pristine beaches, and magnificent national parks. Depending on your route, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks such as Wave Rock, picturesque towns such as Busselton and Margaret River, and the rugged wilderness of Fitzgerald River National Park.

Whether you have a few days or weeks to complete the trip, you can tailor your itinerary accordingly. We promise this route will be one of the best road trip routes you will ever take. So read on to find the best routes, places to visit, and time to undertake this road trip.

Distance Between Perth and Esperance

The distance between Perth and Esperance stands at 698 kilometers when traveling along the most direct route by road.  It’s a journey that can be completed in 7 hours and 30 minutes. Although this route is the quickest, it’s not necessarily the best as it lacks any major attractions.

An alternative and more popular route is to travel via the unique Wave Rock in Hyden. While the route is slightly longer at 718 kilometers, it’s a far more interesting drive, and Wave Rock is the perfect place to stop. The drive via Wave Rock can be completed in just over 8 hours. 

Aerial view of Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance.
Esperance with it's famous beaches such as Lucky Bay is the destination for this road trip.

Best Routes Between Perth and Esperance

When traveling between Perth and Esperance, there are several different routes you can choose to take. The routes vary considerably in length, travel duration, and attractions, but each has its own merits. The amount of time you have available for the road trip is likely to be the biggest factor in deciding the final route you choose to take.

The first route you can take is the Inland Route via Wave Rock. It heads east of Perth and travels via the spectacular Wave Rock in Hyden. The route then turns southwards and travels through Ravensthorpe and onto National Highway 1 towards Esperance. This Inland Route is the quickest route by a considerable margin and has several worthwhile stops and attractions. If you don’t have much time and have never been to Wave Rock before, this is the route for you. 

The second route is the Coastal Route via Margaret River. Heading south from Perth, it follows the coastline into the Margaret River region before turning east and passing through Walpole, Denmark, and Albany. The route continues eastwards towards Bremer Bay and Fitzgerald National Park before finally arriving in Esperance. In this guide, we’ve incorporated both the Margaret River region and Bremer Bay, but you might bypass these areas if you’re limited on time. 


Main Attractions


Driving Time

Inland Route via Wave Rock

> Wave Rock

> Munglinup Beach

> Stokes National Park

718 km

8 hours

Coastal Route via Margaret River

> Margaret River

> Denmark

> Bremer Bay

1,268 km

14 hours

Inland Route via Wave Rock

The Inland Route commences in Perth and exits the city in the east. Exiting the city, you follow State Route 40, known as the Great Eastern Highway, for 336 km to Wave Rock. The highway initially passes through the picturesque Darling Ranges, offering panoramic views of rolling hills, dense forests, and charming rural communities. As you continue eastward, the landscape transitions into vast open plains.

Along the way, you’ll be greeted by expansive fields, farmland, and the occasional clusters of eucalyptus trees. As you approach the town of Hyden, where Wave Rock is located, the scenery becomes more distinct and unique.

The stunning rock formation at Wave Rock is undoubtedly the star attraction on this route. It’s the one must-see sight, and we’d suggest spending the night in the nearby town of Hyden. From Hyden, it’s a further 194 kilometers and a 2-hour drive to the next stop of note in the town of Ravensthorpe. Ravensthorpe is a good lunch spot and a base for exploring the nearby Fitzgerald National Park. In the town, you’ll also be treated to the sight of some brightly colored silos as part of the Silo Trail that stretches from Northam to Albany. 

From Ravensthorpe, the route turns due east along Highway 1. If you can’t wait until Esperance to hit the beach or if you just need to cool off on a hot summer day, consider taking a short detour to Munglinup Beach. The beach’s soft powdery white sand and snorkeller-friendly lagoon make it a popular destination.

Another option for a coastal detour is Stokes National Park. Located slightly closer to Esperance, the park is home to some stunning beaches backed by dunes and woodland and heathland areas. Outside of the summer months, it’s a good hiking destination, but during the summer, the beach becomes the main reason to visit. 

From the access roads to Munglinup Beach and Stokes National Park, it’s a straight run to Esperance along Highway 1. If you’re arriving in Esperance with the time to spare and the inclination to keep driving, consider following Esperance’s Great Ocean Drive. It showcases the amazing coastline in the area, and you’ll pass by many of the best beaches in Esperance along the way.

Best Things to see on the Inland Route

Wave Rock

Near Hyden, Wave Rock is a natural rock formation resembling a massive ocean wave frozen in stone. The formation stands 15 meters tall and stretches for about 110 meters in length. The site offers walking trails, ancient Aboriginal rock art, and the chance to learn about the local flora and fauna.

View along the 15 meter high and 110 metre long wave rock
The stunning natural Wave Rock is a highlight of the inland route.


Ravensthorpe is a charming agricultural town in Western Australia known for its stunning wildflower displays during spring. It serves as a base for the nearby Fitzgerald River National Park. The park has a diverse ecosystem and landscape, which includes coastal cliffs, rugged mountains, and pristine beaches. There’s a good range of amenities in Ravensthorpe, and it’s also one of the sites on the Silo Trail. 

Munglinup Beach

Munglinup Beach is a hidden gem located southeast of Ravensthorpe. The beach is known for its pristine white sands, clear blue waters, and rugged coastal scenery. The beach is good for swimming, snorkeling, fishing, camping, and beachcombing. Its secluded location provides a peaceful and tranquil escape for nature lovers and those seeking a quiet coastal retreat.

Stokes National Park

Situated between Esperance and Ravensthorpe, Stokes National Park is a coastal reserve that showcases the region’s natural beauty. The park features stunning beaches, dunes, and rocky headlands. Most visitors choose to come to swim, fish, and picnic in the serene setting.

Outside the scorching summer months, you can enjoy the various bushwalking trails. These trails meander through the park’s diverse vegetation, which includes heathlands, woodlands, and banksia thickets.

Esperance Great Ocean Drive

The Esperance Great Ocean Drive is a scenic coastal road that winds along the stunning southern coastline. This 38-kilometer drive offers breathtaking views of turquoise waters, towering cliffs, and pristine beaches. Enjoy picturesque spots like Twilight Beach, Blue Haven Beach, and Salmon Beach. There are also some attractions along the way, such as the Esperance Stonehenge. It’s a great way to see the greater Esperance area and helps you find the perfect beach.

Coastal Route via Margaret River

The Coastal Route via Margaret River from Perth to Esperance is an epic journey around the stunning southwest region of Australia. There are so many amazing beaches, things to see, and places to go that we simply can’t fit everything into a single guide. However, we’ve given it our best shot and included the very best things to see on the way.  

The route starts out heading south out of Perth. You’ll pass by Fremantle and Rockingham as you travel along State Route 2. While there are plenty of opportunities to stop, we suggest you push on to Busselton, some 220 km south of Perth. Busselton is an amazing destination to visit for a few hours or days. Situated on Geographe Bay, its calm, clear waters are popular with families who flock to the area. The town is home to a 1.8-kilometre-long jetty, another good reason to visit. There’s also the small matter of Busselton Beach, which stretches for a whopping 15.3 kilometers. 

From Busselton, you take State Route 10 down to Margaret River. It’s a short journey of 50 kilometers that shouldn’t take you much longer than 30 minutes to complete. Margaret River is a cultural and tourist hub with amazing beaches, fine vineyards, and a packed events calendar. It’s another destination where you can easily spend a few days or hours. There’s no bad time to visit Margaret River as it’s a year-round destination.

Continuing onwards, it’s 133 kilometers to the town of Pemberton. Located within Gloucester National Park, it’s a popular base for visiting the surrounding national parks. The route then turns south along Highway 1, the road to Esperance. It first leads you to the coast before taking you through the pleasant and popular towns of Walpole, Denmark, and Albany. This area has plenty of attractions and reasons to stop if you’ve got the time. The Stirling Range National Park is probably the pick of the bunch, particularly if you’re a fan of hiking.

Highway 1 with a sign showing the destinations of Esperance and Ravensthorpe
Expect wide open spaces and open roads along this stretch of Highway 1.

After Albany, Highway 1 cuts back inland and follows a north-easterly trajectory. After 122 kilometers, you’ll reach Boxwood Hill and the turn-off to the stunning Bremer Bay. A visit to Bremer Bay necessitates retracing your route down the sole access road to the area. However, we think this detour is more than worth the effort. 

The route continues on Highway 1 and loops around the north of the impenetrable Fitzgerald National Park. Shortly after passing through the town of Ravensthorpe, you’ll turn right towards the coastal town of Hopetoun along the Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe Road. Hopetoun is a great little coastal community with a laidback vibe and accommodation in town. If you’re short on time, skip Hopetoun and continue along Highway 1 towards Esperance. However, we think Hopetoun’s remote setting and relaxed vibe justify a visit. 

The final leg of the journey sees you head east from Hopetoun, heading towards Esperance. Along the way, you’ll pass the scenic Lake Shaster Nature Reserve, which is well worth a stop. From here, the road turns north to rejoin Highway 1. Once on Highway 1, you’ve got a clear run into the heart of Esperance to close out this amazing road trip route. 

Best Things to see on the Coastal Route


Located on the stunning Geographe Bay, Busselton is renowned for its iconic Busselton Jetty, stretching nearly 2 kilometers out into the ocean. Visitors can stroll along the jetty, take a train ride to the end, and even explore the underwater observatory to witness the marine life. The town also offers beautiful beaches, excellent wineries, and a vibrant arts and culture scene. The Busselton foreshore is probably the best in the whole of southwestern Australia. 

Aerial view of Busselton Jetty
Busselton's Jetty stretches out for an incredible 1.8 km over the waters of Geographe Bay

Margaret River

Renowned for its world-class wineries, pristine beaches, and lush forests, Margaret River is a haven for wine enthusiasts and nature lovers. The region produces some of Australia’s finest wines, and visitors can enjoy wine-tasting tours and indulge in gourmet food experiences. In addition, Margaret River offers stunning surf beaches, breathtaking caves like Lake Cave and Mammoth Cave, and the majestic Boranup Karri Forest.

View of Wilyabrup in the Margaret River Wine Region
There's over 200 vineyards in the Margaret River region.


Pemberton is a picturesque town nestled within the stunning Karri Forests. The town offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and a charming small-town atmosphere. One of the standout features of Pemberton is its towering karri trees, among the tallest hardwood trees in the world. Exploring the lush forests through scenic drives or walking trails is one of the highlights. You can also climb the iconic Gloucester Tree, a giant karri tree with a lookout platform at its summit.

The town is a relaxed and welcoming destination, with a good range of accommodation options, quaint cafes, and boutique shops. Pemberton’s culinary scene is another big reason to visit. It showcases fresh local produce, including delicious wines, artisanal cheeses, and farm-fresh fruits.


Walpole is a nature lover’s paradise situated within the Walpole-Nornalup National Park. The highlight of this area is the Valley of the Giants, where visitors can walk along the remarkable Tree Top Walk, suspended high among the ancient tingle trees. The region also boasts beautiful coastal scenery and tranquil inlets, perfect for kayaking, fishing, and bushwalking.

Stirling Range National Park

The Stirling Range National Park is a breathtaking mountain range paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The park is home to Western Australia’s highest peak, Bluff Knoll, which offers spectacular panoramic views. The park also boasts a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including rare and endemic plant species.

Bremer Bay

Bremer Bay is a hidden gem situated in the stunning Fitzgerald National Park. The bay is known for its pristine beaches and incredible marine life. One of the best things to do is to take a local boat tour where you can spot dolphins, whales, and sea lions. You can also enjoy swimming and fishing in the area’s calm and crystal-clear waters. The area is also famous for its wildflowers during the spring season.

Rust colored boulders in front of a perfect white beach at Bremer Bay
Bremer Bay is one of the finest beaches along this stretch of coastline.


Hopetoun is a coastal town in the picturesque Fitzgerald River National Park region. It offers visitors a tranquil escape, surrounded by stunning natural beauty. The area is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and white sandy shores. Popular beaches include Four Mile Beach and Starvation Bay. Hopetoun has various accommodation options, including holiday homes and camping grounds. The town offers basic amenities such as cafes, a grocery store and a golf course.

Lake Shaster

Lake Shaster, or Lake Jasper, is a picturesque freshwater lake within the D’Entrecasteaux National Park. Surrounded by dense forests, the lake is a great destination for boating, fishing, and bushwalking. It is a serene spot where you can appreciate the region’s natural beauty.

Esperance Great Ocean Drive

The Great Ocean Drive in Esperance is a scenic coastal road that winds along the stunning southern coastline. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of turquoise waters, dramatic cliffs, and pristine beaches, including Twilight Beach and Blue Haven. The drive also offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife encounters and visits to attractions such as the Esperance Stonehenge.

View of the steps and approach to Twilight Beach near Esperance
Beaches don't come much more spectacular than Twilight Beach near Esperance.

Best Time to Take a Road Trip Between Perth and Esperance

The best time to take a road trip between Perth and Esperance is during the spring months of September through November or the autumn months of March through May. The weather is generally mild and pleasant during these periods, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. The wildflowers are in bloom during spring, painting the landscapes with vibrant colors, and the autumn season offers comfortable temperatures without the summer heat.

This area of Western Australia can experience hot and dry summers, particularly from December to February, with temperatures often exceeding 35 degrees Celsius. The summer months can also bring occasional rainfall and strong winds. While it is still possible to undertake the road trip during summer, it’s not the optimal time and you’ll need to come well prepared. 

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