We travelled Australia’s South West by campervan in 10 days and it was absolutely incredible! Now we want to share our itinerary with you so that you can plan your own South West road trip!
Day 1 – Picking up our campervan and driving to Wave Rock
Start your trip in Perth. We flew direct from Sydney which was around a 5 hour flight. As soon as we arrived in Perth, we picked up our campervan from Apollo and then had dinner at a pub near Apollo (it was called the BoabTavern) where the food wasn’t bad but extremely filling and large servings. There is also an IGA next to the tavern which is where we bought our groceries from for the next couple of days. We then drove to Hyden which is where the famous Wave Rock is located. This was about a 3.5 hour drive which we didn’t start until around 7pm so we arrived at our campsite extremely late (around 10:30 – 11pm). The campsite we stayed at in Hyden was called Wave Rock Campground, and was actually located at the foot of the rock! The cost of the campground was $30 for an unpowered campsite for one night.
Once we had arrived, we parked our van in our campsite and set off on a close to midnight adventure to find the rock. Our headlamps definitely weren’t the best and we actually ended up walking right past the signs to the Rock and started on an hours long walking trail until we reached a sign with a map showing us that we were no where near the rock and that it was back where we had started. We walked all the way back to near where our campsite was and were amazed to find that Wave Rock was actually only a 5 minute walk from our van! It may have been the full moon or the fact that it was the middle of the night with no one else around, but the rock had such a spooky feeling about it when we shone our lights onto it for the first time through the dark. We then settled in and took some astro photos with the rock. It was definitely after 1:30am (or 3:30am Sydney time) before we finally went to bed!
Day 2 – Wave Rock to Lucky Bay
After our super big first day and a late night, we slept in on day 2 and then after breakfast and packing up our bed, we checked out Wave Rock in the daylight. It was just as awesome but a little busier as you can imagine. We had big plans to fly the drone over the rock for a cool picture but had forgotten to redownload the DJI app and had absolutely 0 internet so eventually after trying the closest town for wifi, decided to give up and move on.
The drive ahead of us was 4 hours to Lucky Bay Campground which is an awesome campground overlooking the ocean! We stopped off in Esperance to get some groceries and drinks and arrived after dark to our campsite. That night was a pretty early one as we planned to wake up the next morning for a sunrise hike.
Day 3 – Frenchman’s Peak and Cape Le Grand National Park
Day 3 began before sunrise. We got out of bed in the dark and headed straight to the Frenchman’s Peak parking lot which was about a 10 minute drive. We have to say that you need to be super careful driving on the roads in Cape Le Grand National Park especially at dusk and dawn due to all of the kangaroos. It was a pretty terrifying experience because we could see them watching us from the side of the road but we drove pretty slowly and carefully and both us and the kangas remained safe and sound 🙂
From the Frenchman’s Peak carpark, we put on our headlamps and jackets and started our hike up to the viewpoint. It took us around 40 mins and is 3km pretty much straight up slick rock. We highly recommend wearing shoes with good grip as the rock can be pretty slippery. When you reach the top, there is an awesome cave where you can shelter from the wind if it is windy and watch the sunrise or sunset from. We actually didn’t realise this but once you reach the cave, you can keep walk all the way around to the other side and there is an awesome view from there too!
Once the sun had fully come up, we headed back down and drove back to Lucky Bay to have breakfast whilst looking out at the view.
The rest of our day in Cape Le Grand National Park, consisted of beach hopping. We checked out Lucky Bay first (pictured below on the left) to see if there were any Kangaroos on the beach to say Hi to. Unfortunately there weren’t but this beach is famous for its jumpy residents so definitely look out for them if you visit. Lucky Bay is also 4wd friendly and there were lots of 4wds driving up the beach to the other end. Maybe the kangaroos were further up there…
Next we visited Hellfire Bay (pictured below on the right). Hellfire Bay has an awesome view of the beach from the rocks where we seriously could have sat for hours. If you are facing the water, go left and climb up the rocks. (This is also where our first picture in this blog post is from)! Pretty nice right?!
The next beach on our list was Thistle Cove (pictured below) which we didn’t stay at for long as we were running out of time at this point and needed to drive to Esperance before it got dark.
After Thistle Cove, we went back to Lucky Bay one last time to check for Kangaroos (still none to be seen) and then drove back to Esperance where we stayed at Pink Lake Tourist Park for 2 nights. That night we drove along the coast line in Esperance trying to find a spot for sunset and MAN was it beautiful! We were both exhausted and didn’t get many photos but a sneak peak of the sunset is shown below.
Day 4 – Esperance
Our time in Esperance was unfortunately extremely raining. We started the day by getting up for sunrise and going to Blue Haven Beach. There was not really a proper sunrise and it was absolutely freezing but still beautiful. After that we went for coffee at this awesome little cafe called Cloud Eleven Cafe that we discovered and ended up going back to a few times. They do great coffee there and if you follow us on Instagram you already know how much we love our coffee.We spent the rest of the semi-dry part of the day exploring. We checked out Pink Lake which is actually incredibly hard to get to because it all private land. We also found some salt flats down a dirt road which were awesome and completely by accident! They were great for some pictures. After this we went to Wylie Bay to have lunch and check out the beach but it start pouring with rain so had lunch in the van there and then headed back to our campground and watch movies for the rest of the day.
Day 5 – Esperance to Two People’s Bay Nature Reserve
As the weather was due to clear up on day 5, we wondered if we should stay for an extra night, but the next place we were heading to was going to be such a beautiful beach that we decided it wasn’t worth changing our plans.
Our drive was about 5 hours and we booked a campground quite last minute. It was a very quiet campground located around 20 minutes from Two People’s Bay National Park and we stayed there one night. We went to Little Beach for sunset and sunrise the next day and both were absolutely magical! You have to pay to enter the national park, however if you are road tripping around WA, it’s definitely worth getting a couple of weeks pass to all of the parks. Believe us, you will use it!
This beach was so so so so gorgeous but unfortunately we couldn’t swim here. There was a huge sign at the entrance of the beach saying shark sightings and then the ranger came by a bit later in the morning and triple warned us about the enormous sharks that had been spotted here over the past few weeks!
Day 6 – Albany and Castle Rock Porongurup National Park
From Little Beach, we drove to Albany to stock up on groceries and experienced the craziness of The Gap.
The Gap is this crazy overhang (tourist attraction) overlooking the ocean. There is about a 5 minute boarded walk from the carpark to the outlook. The Gap carpark is around 15-20 minutes drive from Albany.
Next up, was our sunset hike to Castle Rock. As usual, we were running late and had to hike quite quickly to get to the top in time for sunset. The hike is 4.7km return and will take you around 2-3 hours depending on how long you spend at the top. This hike is a pretty basic bush walk, until the end, where you will have to do some basic rock climbing and a bit of scrambling. To get to the very top, you will climb up a ladder and then you step onto the Granite Skywalk, a steel structure on top of a huge granite dome rock with 360 panoramic views. If you plan on doing this hike at sunset don’t forget to bring headlamps for the way back down!
After our sunset hike we drove into Stirling Range National Park where we had planned to do Bluff Knoll a hike straight up a mountain at sunrise the next morning.
Day 7 – Bluff Knoll, Shelley Beach and Elephant Rocks
We started our hike in the dark and in the rain and almost got to the top except the conditions seemed to be getting worse and worse and so we decided to make our way back down. You can get really epic sunrises from the viewpoint at the top of Bluff Knoll but the day we went was definitely not a day for sunrises. Maybe another time!
On the way out of the park the clouds cleared up and we were able to get some nice photos of the beautiful Australian outback roads.
Once we left Stirling Range National Park, we headed towards Hamelin Bay which was a 4 hour drive. Along the way we stopped at Shelley Beach, Elephant Rocks and Green Pools and then camped on the side of the road in a designated free campsite.
Day 8 – Hamelin Bay, Boranup Forest and Margaret River
Oh what a day this was! (It was a massive day)
We went straight to Hamelin Bay in the morning which is a famous beach/bay with resident stingrays. It was a bit of a stormy day so it was hard to see them but we definitely saw one or two which was awesome!
After Hamelin Bay, we drove to Boranup Forest, which was only a short 20 minute drive away to take some photos. The forest is absolutely stunning. Our photo below on the left is from the Boranup Forest Viewpoint. Then we carried onto Margaret River and stopped in at the Voyager Estate Winery for a quick tasting. We both loved their Chardonnay and sparkling. Once we had lunch, we drove all the way up to Sugarloaf Rock which is around an hours drive from the forest. We had planned on getting there for sunset and then driving back to Yallingup (20 mins drive) to stay.
This is where it all went horribly wrong. We got all of our camera gear ready to go to take sunset photos and couldn’t find our tripod. Soon we came to the horrible realisation that we had left it all the way back in Boranup Forest! By this point the sun was setting and we were getting hungry. We had to back a quick decision on whether we should drive back an hour to see if it was still there (with the high chance that it was gone as we were there hours ago)!
Eventually, we decided to take our chances and drive back to try to find our tripod. The drive felt like an eternity and I’ll never forget the moment we turned down the dirt road where we knew we had left it and the cars headlights lit it up in the dark! There it was! Right where we had left it on the side of the road in the bushes. Feeling a massive sigh of relief that we hadn’t driven 2 hours out of the way for nothing and that we didn’t need to buy a new tripod, we headed back to Yallingup to our campsite.
Day 9 – The Aquarium, Indijup Spa, Canal Rocks and Sugarloaf Rock
Day 9 was a full day of exploring! We started off by visiting Indijup Spa where we were planning on going for a swim, but the weather had other ideas. The water in the spa was pretty dangerous and there was no way we were getting in without getting push against the rocks constantly. So we put up our drone and looked at the spa from the sky.
Next we headed to Canal Rocks which was definitely a drone spot. The rock formations cross over each other with a stream of water in between making it look like a canal. Pretty awesome!
Once we were all droned out, we put on our swimmers and headed to The Aquarium, a snorkelling spot that you have to walk to along a bush track to get to. The Aquarium is a small lagoon next to the ocean protected by rocks on either side where the water is absolutely crystal clear and great for snorkelling!
To get to the Aquarium, turn onto Canal Rocks Road from Caves Road and you will come to a small carpark on the right hand side. From here, you will need to join the Cape to Cape walk and follow the markers until you reach a wide open track that leads down to the ocean. Follow this down to the beach and snorkel up!
Once we had finished snorkelling, we headed to Sugarloaf Rock once again for sunset. We had our tripod this time!
Day 10 – Heading back to Perth
Day 10 was the last day of our road trip and our day to drive back to Perth to return our campervan. We had a bit of time to stop at the Blue Boat House on the way and were lucky enough to be the only ones there! The drive from Yallingup to Perth was around 3 hours and we arrived at the boat house at around midday, which isn’t exactly perfect photography conditions but it was the only time we had.
And so, this completes our South West Road Trip. We saw some of the most beautiful beaches that we had ever seen in Australia and we cannot wait to return for more!