When it comes to natural wonders and wide-open spaces, there’s plenty worth seeking out in Australia. With over 500 national parks, the problem isn’t finding them – it’s choosing just one or two to visit. Here’s where we think you should head once you’ve picked up your rental car at the nearest Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch.
The city of Perth might already be a hefty distance from its nearest neighbour, but if you want to see the best of Western Australia, a lengthy flight to its capital is just the beginning. Don’t let the size of this state scare you, however, because plenty of its best attractions can be found within a few hours drive of Perth. So pack the snacks, update Google maps and ready your playlists, because we’ve found seven of the best road trip destinations to head for once you’ve booked your car hire from one of our Perth branches and are ready to hit the road.
One for foodies and nature lovers alike, a road trip to Western Australia’s Margaret River region is best fuelled by endless cheese, chocolate and wine - plus all the other fresh produce the area has to offer. Make sure you plan your itinerary for a self drive trip from Perth well, because with so many farm gates, vineyards, artisan producers and world-class restaurants to stop at all throughout the region, you’ll want to take an empty stomach to each and every one. Work up a hearty appetite with walks through the stunning state forests surrounding Margaret River, like Boranup Karri Forest, or a wander through one of the many dramatic cave systems nearby. An easy three hour trip from Perth, Margaret River is best explored over a long weekend, so plan your car hire and accomodation accordingly.
Consistently topping lists of Australia’s best beaches is the dramatic coastline surrounding the towns of Denmark and Albany, which you’ll reach in under five hours drive from Perth. Hit a new patch of sand every day you spend in the region with coves like Little Beach, Middleton Beach and Frenchman Bay to lay your towel out in, each one of them with whiter sand and clearer waters than the last. If hopping in and out of rock pools is more your style, head for Elephant Cove, where giant boulders tumble down the beach and into the ocean, creating crevasses and pools just begging to be explored.
Head north from Perth and about two hours in your rental car will get you to The Pinnacles, one of Western Australia’s most unique natural sights. Here, thousands of limestone spires rise out of a sandy landscape, creating a lunar-like scene almost too strange to believe. You can get there in a day trip from Perth, but we suggest staying a little longer and enjoying what the surrounding area has to offer, like wining and dining on fresh locally caught seafood in the coastal town of Cervantes, and hitting the pristine beaches of the Coral Coast. Got a fortnight or two to spare? Keep driving up the coast as far as you have time for - those beaches get better the further north you go.
Want to explore WA’s stunning coastline but don’t have the time (or the patience) to spend more than a few hours in the car? In Dunsborough, you’ll find all the secluded coves, dreamy beaches and rocky coastlines you could want in an easy three hour drive from Perth, the perfect amount of time for a long weekend road trip. While you’re there, squeeze in an all natural spa day at Yallingup, where the rock formations combine with the tide to create a frothing (if a bit chilly) natural jacuzzi, and catch a sunset at the Busselton Jetty, whose blue huts are a Western Australian icon. Plus, being within the Margaret River region, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking between dips.
They might be a lengthy seven to eight hour drive from Perth Airport, but the beautiful beaches of Cape Le Grande are well worth the trip (and upgrading your rental to a spacious SUV will make the drive even easier). Plus, the remote location means that the only sun seekers you’re likely to have to share your beach with are the friendly local wallabies who like a good sunbathing session almost as much as the tourists. Base yourself in Esperance for access to all the amenities you’ll need, and be sure to take a day trip to Lake Hillier if you’re a fan of the colour pink. The saline lake on the edge of an island is quite literally the colour of bubblegum, and best seen from the air for a jaw-dropping contrast between its bright pink water and the deep blue ocean right next door.