The South West Edge

Adventure into the heartland of an undisturbed and uncrowded Australia, on a road trip that will change you forever!

The South West Edge is an epic road trip around the South Western edge of Western Australia, through wine regions, towering forests and along marine life-rich coast, before returning to Perth across the outback.

Leg 1: Rottnest Island to Fremantle 25 kms

On day one, jump on a ferry ride from Fremantle to the picturesque Rottnest Island.

Here you can hire a bike and explore the many beaches that are perfect for snorkelling, plus Mermaid Pools and blowholes.

Meet friendly quokkas and enjoy the Thompson Bay Settlement or hop on a Rottnest seafood tour to experience fresh delicacies before catching the ferry to the mainland.

Stay overnight in the historic town of Fremantle, which has a vibrant arts scene and plenty of boutique shops for some retail therapy.

Quokka Experience Western Australia Japan Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Quokka, native to Rottnest Island, Western Australia © Experience WA Japan

Leg 2: Fremantle to Bunbury 190 kms 2 hours

Enjoy the gourmet cafe culture of Fremantle for breakfast and browse local boutiques for unique or vintage finds.

Then jump in your 4WD and head to Bunbury via the rolling hills of the Ferguson Valley.

Spend the morning wine tasting, exploring or mountain biking in Wellington Forest National Park and stop by Black Diamond Lake near Collie for a view of turquoise waters.

Roll onto Bunbury, where you can purchase fresh local produce from farmers markets, meet native animals at a wildlife park, shop the boutiques and spend the evening immersed in the nightlife at one of the many bars and restaurants.

Camp at nearby Honeymoon Pool or Potters Gorge campgrounds.

Ferguson Valley @discoverfergusonvalley Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Ferguson Valley © Ferguson Valley Marketing Inc

Leg 3: Bunbury to Yallingup 95 kms 1 hour

Interact with wild dolphins at Koombana Bay this morning before departing for the Margaret River region, beginning at Busselton and Dunsborough. Swing amongst the trees on a high ropes course of dive below the Busselton Jetty for a view of colourful sealife.

From winter through spring, spot whales as they migrate along the coast.

Indulge in gourmet food at beachfront dining before continuing to Yallingup, and incredible coast spots like Canal Rocks and Injidup Natural Spa.

Feeling adventurous? Hike the Cape to Cape track between the lighthouses, or connect with the world’s oldest living culture through an Aboriginal experience.

Take your 4WD with roof top tent to Yallingup Beach Holiday Park

Busselton Jetty, Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Busselton Jetty, Western Australia © Matthew Butcher

Leg 4: Yallingup to Margaret River 40 kms 30 minutes

Famous for its premium wines and world-class surf, Margaret River is also home to plenty of restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries for foodies to enjoy.

Visit cellar doors and meet the markers on guided tours with nature-meets gourmet experiences.

Adventure seekers can ride the waves, go rock climbing or abseiling, or take a kayak or canoe along the Margaret River.

Savour the natural surroundings with plenty of underground caves and the stunning Boranup Forest and meet stingrays at Hamelin Bay.

Stay at Conto’s campsite.

Hamelin Bay Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Hamelin Bay, Western Australia © Hannes Jocarter

Leg 5: Margaret River to Pemberton 165 kms 2 hours

Drive to Pemberton through Nannup and Manjimup – home to the Perigord truffle. Search for this black gold in winter, and feast on other local delights such as marron, trout and chestnuts on your way.

Need to stretch your legs? Ride on of the many mountain bike trails or tackle the Munda Biddi, hike the Bibbulman track and admire Beedelup Falls.

Test your fear of heights at the 58m-tall Gloucester Tree, once a fire-lookout, and climb the makeshift ladder to the top.

Gloucester Tree Pemberton Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Gloucester Tree Pemberton, Western Australia © Base Imagery

Head to Fonty’s pool and caravan park.

Leg 6: Pemberton to Denmark 195 kms 2 hours

Take a four-wheel drive tour of the world’s largest moving sand dune system, Yeagarup Dunes, before you head to Denmark via Northcliffe and Walpole.

Enjoy views at Mount Chudalup, join a Walpole inlet eco-cruise and walk among the tops of tingle trees at Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk.

Then, its on to Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks – framed by huge boulders which act as a protective shore break for the peppermint-tinged waters, this sanctuary is perfect for snorkelling.

Set up camp at Parry Beach or head closer to Albany and stay at Torbay Inlet.

Greens Pool, Denmark, Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Greens Pool, Denmark, Western Australia © Australia’s South West

Leg 7: Denmark to Albany 55 kms 40 minutes

Next stop: Albany, where you will find farmers markets, fresh oysters and marron galore, and some of the most pristine beaches this side of the equator.

Go paragliding at Shelley Beach, or wreck diving in King George Sound.

Visit the striking coast at The Gap and Natural Bridge, and historical attractions at Discovery Bay.

Ready to take a safari, South West style? Spend an extra day between January and April to join the Bremer Bay orca tour, chasing the largest-known group of orcas in the Southern Hemisphere.

Albany The Gap and Natural Bridge Tourism Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
The Gap and Natural Bridge, Albany, Western Australia © Tourism WA

Leg 8: Albany to Hopetoun 360 kms 4 hours

Start off early today and drive inland where it is another world entirely!

Hike the trails in Porongurup National Park and climb to the top of the Granite Skywalk for spectacular views across the jarrah, marri and karri forests, and undulating farmland to Albany.

Reward yourself with lunch at on the boutique Porongurup wineries.

Search for wildflowers in spring and climb one of Western Australia’s highest peaks, Bluff Knoll for sweeping views of the Stirling Range National Park.

 roof top tent - Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
View from roof top tent – Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia © Rebina Criddle

Leg 9: Hopetoun to Esperance 185 kms 2 hours

With unique wildflowers and fauna in Fitzgerald River National Park, not to mention the dramatic coastal views, you will want to visit here before Hopetoun!

Next, head to Esperance and sip on refreshments at Lucky Bay Brewing, sample local olive oil and take in the town museums and craft shops.

Keep the adventure rolling by exploring the numerous lagoons and beaches along the breathtaking 40km loop of the Great Ocean Drive before watching a sunset at twilight.

There are a number of campsites available around the Esperance region, however camping within Cape Le Grand National Park at Lucky Bay is an unmissable experience.

Explore Esperance

The nearby Lucky Bay, in Cape Le Grand National Park lives up to its name in plenty of ways – translucent water and sand like icing sugar, not to mention sunbaking kangaroos!

Explore other stunning beaches around Esperance via coastal walk trails or for a bird’s-eye view, take a scenic flight to witness the striking juxtaposition of bubblegum pink Lake Hillier on Middle Island against the blue ocean.

Esperance Lucky Bay RebinaCriddle Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Lucky Bay, Esperance, Western Australia © Rebina Criddle

Leg 10: Esperance to Perth 715 kms via Hyden or 985 kms via Kalgoorlie 7 hours (depending on the route taken)

Return to Perth via Hyden or Kalgoorlie other the next two days – the choice is yours!

If you travel through Hyden, be sure to visit the impressive Wave Rock on your way. Thought to have formed some 130 million years ago, Wave Rock is entirely natural and measures about 15 metres (roughly three storeys) in height.

If you travel back to Perth via Kalgoorlie, immerse yourself in living gold history, quirky outback pubs and be stunned by the scale of the Superpit gold mine.

Break up the trip back to Perth by staying a night or two near Hyden at the Wave Rock Caravan Park or Goongarrie Homestead, or Lake Mason near Kalgoorlie.

 

Tourism Western Australia Lake Ballard Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Lake Ballard, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia © Tourism WA
Total kilometres: 1,874
Total travel time: 20.5
Travel times are estimated based on an average speed of 80km p/h and should be adjusted to suit road conditions and weather. The travel times indicated should allow for delays due to road works, traffic, fuel, food and bathroom stops. Travel times and distances are approximate and we recommend using as a guide only, along with a published map book or GPS navigational system.

Itinerary: courtesy of The South West Edge

Quick South West Trip

South West itinerary in 8 days or add to another adventure for a complete road trip around Australia’s South West region.

Leg 1: Perth to Yallingup 263 kms 3 hours

Head south to Bunbury.

Don’t forget to stop for a quick trip to Yalgorup National Park, where you can see Thrombolites at Lake Clifton. This is one of few places in Western Australia where these Thrombolites survive.

Bunbury is popular for the  Koombana Bay dolphins. You can visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre for a close encounter.

From here, continue on to Busselton, where you can visit the longest wooden jetty in the world, before continuing your drive to Yallingup.

If you have children, stop at Simmos Ice Creamery, which offers over 60 flavours of icecream with a huge playground at the back for the kids.

Australiassouthwest Busselton Jetty drone_osprey Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Busselton Jetty, Western Australia © Australia’s South West

Explore Dunsborough area

  • Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
  • Premium wine tasting
  • Ngilgi Cave
  • Spectacular seascapes

Leg 2: Yallingup to Margaret River 42 kms 34 minutes

Explore the wineries, chocolate factory, cheese factory and other little wonders that the Margaret River region has to offer.

Ngilgi Cave Margaret River Tourism Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Ngilgi Cave, Margaret River, Western Australia © Archie Sartracom

Explore the Margaret River region

  • Award winning wine region
  • Best big-wave surfing locations on Earth
  • World’s tallest trees
  • Ancient limestone caves

Leg 3: Margaret River to Pemberton 150 kms 1 hour 30 minutes

Head south on one of the most scenic drives, Caves Road. Explore a few caves, then make your way to Pemberton.

Enjoy a forest walk, climb a tree, explore the waterfalls, or take the Pemberton tram and meander through the Karri forest.

Gloucester Tree, near Pemberton Tourism Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Gloucester Tree, near Pemberton © Tourism WA

Leg 4: Pemberton to Albany 260 kms 2 hours 40 minutes

Make your way to Albany via Northcliffe and Walpole.

Stop at the Giant Tingle Tree and explore the only place where these giant trees grow. Continue to the Valley of the Giant Tree Top walk (fees apply to enter). It features a stunning walkway positioned 40 metres above the ground amid the spectacular heights of the Tingle forest canopy.

Denmark is 52kms from Walpole. There are nice little shops on the way from Walpole to Denmark, toffee factory, burger place and even a honey shop.

Don’t miss Greens Pool, Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove before making your way to Albany.

Explore Albany

Take a break today and explore Albany, a town full of history.

  • Between June and October, you can watch out for humpback and southern right whales.
  • First convoy of ANZACs departed for the First World War
  • Torndirrup National Park
  • Albany Wind Farm
  • World-class hiking
Elephant Rocks, William Bay National Park Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Elephant Rocks, William Bay National Park © Tourism WA

Leg 5: Albany to Perth 410 kms 4 hours 40 minutes

A long drive to get back to Perth.

This trip can also be made in reverse if you wish to drive from Perth to Albany first.

Perth city Elizabeth Quay Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Perth City Elizabeth Quay © Tourism WA
Total kilometres: 1,086
Total travel hours: 12
Travel times are estimated based on an average speed of 80km p/h and should be adjusted to suit road conditions and weather. The travel times indicated should allow for delays due to road works, traffic, fuel, food and bathroom stops. Travel times and distances are approximate and we recommend using as a guide only, along with a published map book or GPS navigational system.
Itinerary: courtesy of  Tourism Western Australia

Top 10 destinations in the south west

Hire a 4WD and experience the magnificent south west region!

Red Dirt 4WD Rentals love helping customers experiencing the best that WA has to offer. This is our top 10 destinations in the South West. The South West has some incredible 4WD tracks, so don’t wait any longer and get a quote to hire one of our 200 Series Landcruisers!

1. Bunbury

Bunbury has a great array of activities to choose from. From bird watching to swimming with dolphins, it’s all there. Over 150 Bottlenose dolphins live in the bay and some of them can regularly be seen in front of the Dolphin Discovery Centre. The centre offers swimming experiences with the dolphins throughout the day. It’s a perfect little break before continuing your journey down south! Not far from Bunbury is the Tuart Forest. This forest is one of the rarest in the world and can be seen while on your way to Busselton.

Dolphin Eco Cruises Dolphin Discovery Centre Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Dolphin Eco Cruises © Dolphin Discovery Centre

2. Busselton

This is the place to visit if you love jetties! Take a walk or catch the train to explore this 1.8 kilometre long jetty. There is also an Underwater Observatory where you can see amazing marine life.

Busselton Jetty, Western Australia Tourism WA Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Busselton Jetty, Western Australia © Tourism WA

3. Yallingup

This town is nestled on a ridge and surrounded by the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park with amazing views over Yallingup Beach and the Indian Ocean. There are many attractions to see in the area including the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, Sugarloaf Rock, Ngilgi Cave and many splendid beaches with white sand such as Injidup, Three Bears and Smiths Beach.

Leeuwin-Naturaliste Parks and Wildlife Service Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Leeuwin-Naturaliste © Parks and Wildlife Service

4. Margaret River

Just three hours’ drive south of Perth will bring you to one of the most popular destination in the South West – Margaret River. There is so much to do and see that your biggest challenge will be to fit it all in!

This is the place to be if you are a food lover, a nature lover or a sport lover! Just a short drive away is the towering Boranup Karri Forest, which is home to the largest tree species in the world. Don’t miss the numerous caves on the way such as Lake and Mammoth Caves. There are also many walking and cycle trails close to town. If you love surfing, then head to the beach. Margaret River is well-known for its spectacular surf.

Mammoth Cave, Margaret River, Western Australia Your Margaret River Region Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Mammoth Cave, Margaret River, Western Australia © Your Margaret River Region

5. Augusta

Augusta is fast becoming a mecca for adventure! Augusta’s attractions include the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, Jewel Cave, Hamelin Bay and various water sports such as windsurfing, paddling and snorkelling.

Augusta’s whale watching in Flinders Bay is fantastic from June to August. It is the first stopping point for many southern right and humpback whales.

Snorkelling, Western Australia Australia's Coral Coast Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Snorkelling, Western Australia © Australia’s Coral Coast

6. Manjimup and Pemberton

The region features the famous Gloucester, Bicentennial and Diamond fire lookout trees located in beautiful National Parks. All these trees can be climbed during your visit. The best way to experience Pemberton’s natural attractions is to drive the Karri Forest Explorer Drive, which is mostly on unsealed roads.

Manjimup, Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Manjimup, Western Australia © Instagram @k_ane_

7. Walpole

Walpole is home to the last giant tingle trees. The best way to experience this forest is to walk the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. You can also wander into the hollowed trunk of a tingle tree by walking the Ancient Empire Walk. Walpole is also home to splendid beaches including Mandalay and Conspicuous Beach. There are also many nature based adventure activities such as kayaking and four wheel driving in the National Parks.

Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk Parks and Wildlife Service Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk © Parks and Wildlife Service

8. Denmark

There is a lot to see in Denmark including the very popular Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove. To entertain the children, Denmark has its own dinosaur world with a world-class exhibition as well as an animal farm. For the food lovers, try the chocolate and toffee factories.

William Bay National Park, Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
William Bay National Park, Western Australia © Tourism WA

9. Albany

Torndirrup National Park is well-known for its spectacular wave-carved rock formations including Natural Bridge, the Gap and the Blowholes. For the adventure lovers, head to Mount Frankland National Parks, Stirling Range National Park and Porongurup National Parks. All of them offer a great variety of walks.

Porongurup is also home to the Granite Skywalk, a suspended walkway which spirals around a huge granite outcrop.

The Gap, Torndirrup, Western Australia Parks and Wildlife Service Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
The Gap, Torndirrup, Western Australia © Parks and Wildlife Service

10. Esperance

Esperance with its white sandy beaches never disappoints. The most popular beach is Lucky Bay with kangaroos often seen lazing nearby. Further east is Cape Arid National Park which presents a more rugged experience for those wanting to get in touch with remote nature. A 4WD is necessary for this national park.

Twilight Bay, Esperance, Western Australia Tourism Western Australia Red Dirt 4WD Rentals
Twilight Bay,  Esperance,  Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia
Images courtesy: Tourism Western Australia
The Crikey Group Red Dirt Rentals Red Dirt Rentals Red Dirt Rentals