Perth to Margaret River Road Trip

Beautiful Margaret River is one of Western Australia’s best-known destinations. Combining excellent beaches, plentiful vineyards, and an excellent cultural scene, this year-round destination offers something for everyone. Margaret Rivers’s location in the southwestern corner of Australia is often considered remote, but it’s only a 3-hour drive from Perth. This makes it the perfect distance for a mini road trip adventure.

The beauty of the Perth to Margaret River road trip is that not only is the end destination spectacular, but the journey itself is pretty special. Along the 270 km route, you’ll find an abundance of attractions, making this classic road trip one of the best short road trips in Western Australia. Traveling along good quality roads and through epic scenery, expect to find beaches, national parks, and plentiful wildlife. 

With so many different places to stop on the way, it’s hard to know what to choose. Luckily for you, we’ve gathered all the information you need to make this a memorable road trip. So read on to learn the best route to take, the best places to stop, and the optimum time to travel.

How far is it from Perth to Margaret River?

The distance from Perth to Margaret River is approximately 270 kilometres (168 miles) when traveling by the quickest route via State Route 2. This road trip typically takes around 3 hours of driving time in good traffic conditions. There’s a great variety of places to stop along the way, so we’d suggest factoring in plenty of extra time for sightseeing and comfort breaks.

View of Wilyabrup in the Margaret River Wine Region
Margaret River with it's many Vineyards is the destination for this classic Western Australia road trip.

Best Route Between Perth and Margaret River

The best and quickest route to Margaret River from Perth follows a southern trajectory along State Route 2, National Route 1, and State Route 10. These roads are often better known as the Forrest Highway and Bussell Highway. Along the way, there are numerous opportunities to stop and take detours to incorporate the many sites and attractions along the way. The proximity of these attractions to the main route means that these stops shouldn’t add too much driving time to your journey.

The route begins in Perth, and you’ll head south on State Route 2 along the Forrest Highway. The road passes through Perth’s southern suburbs before exiting the city limits. As you continue, the highway leads through long stretches of Australian bushland, occasionally dotted with towns and small communities.

After approximately two hours of driving, you’ll reach Bunbury, a charming coastal city, where you could opt to take a short break and explore its attractions or grab a bite to eat. Continuing along the route, the scenery transitions from farmland to lush forests, and you’ll pass by towns like Busselton, renowned for its iconic Busselton Jetty stretching out into the sparkling waters of Geographe Bay.

From Busselton, you’ll follow the Bussell Highway, a picturesque road that winds through the heart of the Margaret River region. This leg of the journey unveils rolling vineyards, expansive farmlands, and pockets of ancient forests. 

Finally, after approximately three hours of travel time, you’ll arrive at Margaret River, surrounded by its renowned wineries, stunning coastline, and an array of attractions waiting to be explored.

Detours from the Main Route

As we alluded to earlier, there’s the possibility of taking many different detours along the way. However, three detours stand out as they incorporate some of the best sights and attractions in the area. 

Freemantle & Rockingham Coastal Detour

The Freemantle and Rockingham detour comes right at the beginning of the road trip. It provides an opportunity to follow the coastal route south of Perth, passing through historic Freemantle and onto Rockingham. In Rockingham, you can visit Garden Island or the ever-popular Penguin Island. The route continues along the coastline from Rockingham, eventually joining up with the main route at Preston Beach.

Ocean view from Rockingham
Rockingham is a pleasant port city and the jumping off point for a visit to Penguin Island.

Inland Detour via Serpentine

The inland detour is another detour available at the beginning of your journey. On this detour, you’ll exit Perth to the southeast using State Route 30 before continuing along State Route 20. The main reason to follow this route is to visit the spectacular Serpentine Falls in the Serpentine National Park. You’ll also pass by the popular Cohunu Koala Park and Ranger Reds Zoo & Conservation Park, both of which more than justify a visit.

View of the Serpentine Falls in Serpentine National park just outside of Perth
The Serpentine Falls in Serpentine National Park are a popular stop just outside of Perth.

Dunsborough, Cape Naturaliste & Yallingup Detour

This final detour comes on the final leg of the road trip. Instead of turning south from Busselton along the Bussell Highway towards Margaret River, you will head west towards Dunsborough. This charming town has a beautiful beach and is a popular holiday destination, and so are nearby Meelup Beach and Cape Naturaliste. From the Cape, you’ll turn south, passing by the excellent Yallingup Beach and attractive Cowaramup Bay before reaching your final destination, Margaret River.

A view along the quiet Dunsborough Beach
Dunsborough Beach is a scenic, quiet, and calm destination.

Best Things to see Between Perth and Margaret River

There’s an incredible amount of attractions between Perth and Margaret River, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. While we’ve tried to make this guide as comprehensive as possible, there will still be plenty more sights and attractions you will discover as you progress on your road trip. That’s all part of the attraction of taking a road trip in this part of Australia.

We’ve split the attractions on the road trip into three sections to help you plan and organize your trip. The first section is attractions near Perth, while the second is attractions in the region between Perth and Bunbury. The third and final section is attractions in the region between Bunbury and Margaret River.  

Attraction in the Perth Region


This historic port city near Perth is known for its rich maritime history, Visitors will be delighted to find Victorian architecture, lively markets, and a vibrant arts scene. Popular activities include exploring the Fremantle Prison, enjoying fresh seafood at the Fishing Boat Harbour, and soaking in the bohemian atmosphere.


Slightly south of Freemantle, Rockingham is a coastal city famed for its beautiful beaches, including the sheltered waters of Rockingham Beach and the aquatic adventures of Shoalwater Bay. It’s a hub for water activities like snorkeling, diving with dolphins, and exploring the nearby Penguin Island nature reserve.

Penguin Island

A short 5 minute ferry ride from Rockingham is Penguin Island, a designated nature reserve and home to over 300 penguins. The island offers visitors the chance to see these charming creatures in their natural habitat. The island also boasts stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, nature trails, and opportunities for seal and dolphin spotting.

Cohunu Koala Park

This popular attraction is situated just outside Perth. Set in 14 hectares of bushland, 25 cute koalas call the park home. If you’re in pursuit of that quintessential picture of you cuddling a koala, you’re in the right place! It’s also an excellent place to see other native Australian animals, such as dingos, wallabies, and emus. The park isn’t just about animals, and has a wonderful miniature railway and space observatory among its other eclectic attractions.

Serpentine Falls & Serpentine National Park

Serpentine National Park is a haven for nature lovers with its lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque walking trails. The park is home to the iconic Serpentine Falls, where you can swim in the falls bracing waters. There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife spotting.

Attractions Between Perth and Bunbury

Ranger Reds's Zoo & Conservation Park

This family-owned wildlife sanctuary offers an interactive and educational experience. It is located near the town of Pinjarra and hosts a diverse array of animals, including kangaroos, koalas, reptiles, and exotic birds. Visitors to the park can engage in hands-on encounters, feeding sessions, and informative tours. 

Preston Beach

Preston Beach is a tranquil coastal town nestled between Mandurah and Bunbury, renowned for its pristine white sandy beaches and relaxed atmosphere. It’s an ideal spot for fishing, beachcombing, and enjoying serene sunsets along the Indian Ocean coastline. Nature enthusiasts can also enjoy the nearby Yalgorup National Park, known for its thrombolites and diverse birdlife.


Bunbury is the most populous town or city between Perth and Margaret River. It’s a city with a blend of coastal charm and urban attractions. For visitors, it’s probably best known for the friendly bottlenose dolphins at Koombana Bay, where you can watch or swim with these majestic creatures.

The city’s urban side offers many cultural experiences, such as art galleries, cafes, and the scenic Leschenault Inlet, perfect for boating and picnics. For something a little different, why not visit Bunbury Wildlife Park, which showcases a range of native animals.

Sunset at Bunbury
The sunsets over the Indian Ocean are one of Bunbury's many charms.

Attractions Between Bunbury and Margaret River

Tuart Forest National Park

If you fancy a break from the road or the area’s vast array of beaches, why not check out Tuart Forest National Park? This excellent national park is home to one of the world’s few remaining Tuart Tree forests. The park showcases these majestic trees, some of which are over 33 meters tall. The park also offers walking trails and ample birdwatching.


The coastal town of Busselton is one of Western Australia’s most loved locations. The town is famous for its iconic Busselton Jetty, stretching 1.8 kilometers into Geographe Bay. The town also boasts pristine beaches, calm family-friendly waters, various water sports, and the Underwater Observatory allowing glimpses of the area’s marine life. Many family-friendly attractions, markets, and wineries characterize this coastal gem.

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


Just to the west of Busselton, Dunsborough is a charming seaside town renowned for its stunning coastline, crystal-clear waters, and proximity to idyllic beaches. Visitors come to enjoy snorkeling, diving, and fishing in the beautiful waters of Geographe Bay. Dunsborough is also well located to explore the nearby Cape Naturaliste with its hiking trails and breathtaking ocean vistas.

Meelup Beach

Nestled close to Dunsborough, this picturesque beach boasts calm, turquoise waters, making it a haven for swimming, picnics, and family outings. Surrounded by native bushland, it offers a serene escape with stunning coastal views. It’s spectacular setting makes this one of the best beaches in the Margaret River area. 

Aerial view of the white sands and clear waters of Meelup Beach
Meelup Beach occupies a spectacular setting and is one of Margaret Bay Region's very best.

Cape Naturaliste

This stunning headland showcases some of Western Australia’s most dramatic coastal landscapes and breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. There are plenty of hiking trails in the area with far-reaching views across the surrounding ocean. The historic Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse provides even better panoramic views of the coastline and opportunities for whale watching during certain seasons.

Yallingup Beach

South of Cape Naturaliste is the world-renowned Yallingup Beach. Known for its world-class surf breaks, this beach draws surfers and tourists seeking pristine sands and excellent waves. Its rugged beauty, coastal walks, and proximity to the wineries of Margaret River contribute to its allure.

View across Yallingup Beach
Yallingup Beach is one of Western Australia's most iconic beaches.

Cowaramup Bay

Visitors often overlook Cowaramup Bay in favor of the better-known beaches in the area. However, Cowaramup Bay is a scenic coastal spot popular with locals for its excellent surfing conditions and tranquil atmosphere. The bay offers a more secluded beach experience amidst captivating landscapes, ideal for both relaxation and water sports enthusiasts.

How to get to Margaret River Without Driving

There are several ways to reach Margaret River, so if you can’t or don’t want to drive there, don’t panic! While a self-drive journey is the most common way to get there, it’s also possible to travel some or all of the way there by train, plane, taxi, or bus. Read on to find out what travel options are availble to you. 

Perth to Margaret River by Bus

There are several bus operators offering services between Perth and Margaret River. TransWA and South West Coaches both operate a daily coach service that connects Perth with Margaret River and other towns in the South West region of Western Australia. The journey usually takes around 5 hours, and the buses offer comfortable travel with generous luggage allowances. Expect to pay in the region of $50 for a single journey.

Various different private operators also provide services between Perth and Margaret River. These operators offer different schedules and stops along the way, but the cost is generally much higher than either TransWA or South West Coaches. 

Traveling to Margaret River by Plane

Margaret River is served by Busselton Margaret River Airport, which lies several kilometers to the south of Busselton. This small domestic airport offers infrequent flights to and from Melbourne and Sydney with Jetstar. So, if you’re traveling from either of these cities, this could be an option for you. However, you’ll still need to arrange transport for the 56 km road journey to Margaret River. 

Most travelers visiting from out of State choose to fly into Perth Airport and travel by road to Margaret River. The journey by road is only 2 hours longer than from Busselton, and you’ll have access to a much greater range of flights. Flights into Perth are also generally much cheaper than flights into Busselton Margaret River Airport. 

Perth to Margaret River by Train

While it’s not possible to take a direct train all the way to Margaret River, there is the option of a hybrid train and bus journey. The Australind train, operated by TransWA travels as far as Bunbury, where you can take a connecting Westrail bus service onto Margaret River. The combined journey takes around 5 hours and 30 minutes and costs in the region of $50. 

Perth to Margaret River by Private Taxi or Uber

There’s a variety of companies offering private transfers between Perth and Margaret River. The minimum you should expect to pay for the journey is $350, but this would be traveling in a regular sedan or Uber X. If you want to travel in a little more comfort, expect to pay between $500 and $600 for the journey. Most vehicles can carry up to 4 passengers, so if you’re traveling as a family, this might be a more feasible option. 

Best Time for a Road Trip Between Perth and Margaret River

The best time for a road trip between Perth and Margaret River typically falls during the shoulder seasons of autumn (March to May) and spring (September to November). During these times, the weather is generally pleasant, with comfortable temperatures but with fewer crowds when compared to the peak summer months.

Autumn offers mild temperatures and is perfect for exploring wineries, as it coincides with the grape harvest season, showcasing the region’s stunning vineyards. 

Spring brings blooming wildflowers, transforming the region into a colorful paradise. It’s an excellent time for outdoor activities like hiking and exploring the lush landscapes.

While we generally recommend avoiding the peak of summer (December to February) due to high temperatures and increased visitor numbers, its also the best time to enjoy the area’s spectacular beaches. Conversely, winter (June to August) can be rainy and cooler, but it’s also a great time for cozy wine tastings and storm watching along the coast.

Want to Know More About Margaret River?

If you want to learn more about Margaret River, why not check out some of our other guides and blog posts? You can discover the best beaches in Margaret River in our excellent beach guide. You can also find out the best time to visit Margaret River and what to expect by season in our comprehensive blog post. 

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