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The Ultimate Canberra to Perth Road Trip Guide

Busselton WEATHER

Calling all adventure seekers! Buckle up for the ultimate Aussie road trip – a monster journey from the nation's capital, Canberra, all the way to the sun-drenched shores of Perth on the west coast.

Whether you're a seasoned road trip pro or a wide-eyed first-timer, this itinerary is your ultimate guide. We'll break down the journey into manageable chunks, highlighting must-see stops, quirky detours, and hidden gems along the way. 

So, pack your bags, crank up the tunes, and get ready to hit the wide-open road on this unforgettable Canberra to Perth adventure!

Day 1: Canberra to Hay

First stop on your epic Canberra to Perth drive: Hay! Ditch the city lights for a taste of true-blue Aussie country charm. Here's how to make this leg of your trip unforgettable.

Hit the road! The drive from Canberra to Hay is about 5.5 hours. Crank up the tunes, wind down the windows, and soak up the scenery. Keep an eye out for those iconic Aussie road signs warning of wombats - you might just spot one of these furry fellas hopping by!

Hay There! (See what we did there?). Explore the quirky town of Hay. Check out the amazing main street, lined with historic buildings. The Hay Visitor Centre is a great place to start - they'll tell you all about the town's fascinating history.

Mildura, VIC

Day 2: Hay to Mildura

Next stop on your east-west adventure, Mildura! Wave goodbye to the wide-open plains of Hay and get ready for a sun-soaked stopover in this Murray River gem.

The drive from Hay to Mildura is a cruisy 4.5 hours. This stretch of the Hume is known for its stunning scenery. Keep your camera handy for snaps of rolling hills, vineyards (yep, you're getting closer to wine country!), and maybe even a cheeky emu or two!

Welcome to Mildura! This riverside city is a hub for all things outdoors and delicious. Stretch your legs with a stroll along the scenic Mildura Riverfront Precinct, or hire some bikes and explore the Murray River trails.

Adelaide, SA

Day 3: Mildura to Adelaide

Last leg before hitting the bright lights of Adelaide on your Canberra to Perth road trip! Buckle up for a scenic drive with a delicious detour (because, well, food is always a good idea).

The drive from Mildura to Adelaide is a breezy four-hour cruise down the Sturt Highway. Pop on some tunes, share some travel stories, and enjoy the ever-changing scenery - from lush vineyards to vast outback plains.

Shaken up a bit by all that highway driving? Take a delightful detour to the Barossa Valley! This world-renowned wine region is just a smidge off the highway and totally worth the extra hour or so. Indulge in a winery lunch (think gourmet delights paired with stunning views) or explore some cellar doors and sample some of the Barossa's finest drops.

Refreshed and recharged from your Barossa break, continue your journey to Adelaide. As you approach the city, the landscape transforms into rolling hills and bustling suburbs. Soon, you'll be cruising down Adelaide's vibrant streets, ready to explore everything this cool capital has to offer!

Port Augusta, SA

Day 4: Adelaide to Port Augusta

Adelaide's a vibrant city that caters to all tastes. Foodies will devour the Adelaide Central Market's global delights, while culture vultures can get their fix at the Art Gallery of South Australia or the spooky Adelaide Gaol. 

Wander through Adelaide's hidden laneways, overflowing with trendy bars, quirky cafes, and amazing street art. Adelaide's the perfect stopover to recharge and explore before your outback adventure truly begins!

Adelaide to Port Augusta is a chill trip, perfect for winding down from the city buzz and getting prepped for the wide-open spaces. The drive from Adelaide to Port Augusta is a cruisy 3.5-hour journey.

As you approach Port Augusta, the landscape starts to transform. Rolling hills give way to the dramatic Flinders Ranges in the distance. Port Augusta itself is a bustling outback hub, a great place to stock up on supplies, fuel up for your next adventure, and maybe even spot a road train or two rumbling through town.

Day 5: Port Augusta to Ceduna

The next leg of your Canberra to Perth road trip takes you along the Eyre Highway, showcasing the diverse beauty of the Eyre Peninsula. Buckle up for a scenic drive with quirky stops and endless outback charm (approximately 5 hours).

As you leave Port Augusta, the Flinders Ranges will keep you company. Keep your camera ready for epic outback vistas!

Stretch your legs and grab a bite at Kimba, the self-proclaimed halfway point across Australia. Don't miss the Big Galah statue, a quirky outback landmark.

Keep an eye out for the ever-growing collection of stunning silo art along the highway.  These giant murals depict everything from local wildlife to Aboriginal dreamings, making for awesome photo stops. Some popular spots include Peake, Minnipa, and Punsand Bay.

As you approach Ceduna, the turquoise waters of the Great Australian Bight come into view.  Ceduna is a laid-back coastal town and the perfect base for exploring the Eyre Peninsula's natural wonders, from swimming with dolphins to spotting majestic whales.

Great Australia Bight, SA

Day 6 & 7: Ceduna to Esperance

Get ready to swap Ceduna's laid-back charm for the turquoise paradise of Esperance (approximately 10 hours). This scenic drive along the Eyre Highway takes you through the heart of the Eyre Peninsula and along the dramatic coastline.

Before you hit the road for the next part of your Canberra to Perth drive, make the most of Ceduna's offerings. Relax on Shelly Beach, perfect for families with calm waters and stunning sunsets. For a more adventurous experience, try surfing or fishing off the Ceduna Jetty.

Our tip: if you’re looking for family friendly accommodation right on the shores of Ceduna, book your stay at Ceduna Shelly Beach Caravan Park.

Witness the incredible sight of Great Australian Bight whales (seasonal) at the Head of Bight lookout. These majestic creatures migrate past the cliffs here, making for an unforgettable experience.

As you depart Ceduna, the dramatic coastline unfolds. Cross the border into Western Australia and conquer the longest straight stretch of road in Australia – the Nullarbor Links (approximately 145 km). Keep an eye out for the iconic Nullarbor Roadhouse, a must-do stop for outback supplies and a quirky photo opportunity.

Break up the journey with a relaxing stopover in Eucla, a tiny outback town known for its friendly atmosphere and the quirky Eucla Telegraph Station ruins. Stretch your legs, grab a bite, and soak up the unique outback charm.

As you approach Esperance, the turquoise waters and white sand beaches come into view.  Get ready for relaxation, exploration, and some of Australia's most stunning coastlines.

Lucky Bay, WA

Day 8: Esperance

Esperance boasts some of Australia's most stunning beaches. Lucky Bay, famed for its resident kangaroos, is a must-visit. Stretch out on the white sand, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, and snap a photo with a furry local. Twilight Beach and West Beach offer more options for swimming, surfing, and soaking up the sunshine.

Cape Le Grand National Park is the crown jewel of Esperance. Hike along the Cape Le Grand Coastal Walk, marvel at the towering cliffs of Frenchman Peak, or explore the hidden coves and beaches. Keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, emus, and diverse birdlife.

Bonus Tip: Feeling adventurous? Kayak through the sheltered bays of Esperance or take a thrilling 4WD adventure through the rugged bush landscape.

Esperance is a place where time seems to slow down. So, relax on the beach, explore the natural wonders, and create unforgettable memories in this slice of paradise. What better place to explore Esperance from than Esperance Bay Holiday Park, book your stay online today!

Valley of The Giants Tree Top Walk, Walpole

Day 9: Esperance to Walpole

The next leg of your adventure takes you inland, swapping Esperance's turquoise paradise for the lush forests and hidden wonders of Walpole (approximately 6.5 hours).

Leaving Esperance behind, enjoy the scenic drive through rolling countryside and quaint farming towns. Keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos and emus grazing by the roadside.

As you approach Walpole, the landscape transforms into a wonderland of towering karri trees and ancient forests. This is a great place to stop, stretch your legs, and breathe in the fresh forest air.

This charming town is the gateway to the Walpole Wilderness Area, famous for its towering tingle trees and the enchanting Valley of the Giants.

Must-Dos in Walpole:

  • Explore the ancient tingle trees, some estimated to be over 400 years old. Take a walk on the Tree Top Walk for a unique perspective of the forest canopy.
  • Hike through a variety of trails, from short family-friendly walks to challenging multi-day adventures. Keep an eye out for the Walpole Wilderness Railway, a miniature steam train offering a scenic journey through the forest.
  • Embark on a guided tour through The Jewel Cave adorned with beautiful crystal formations.

Margaret River, WA

Day 9: Walpole to Margaret River

The next part of your Canberra to Perth road trip adventure takes you from the towering tingle trees of Walpole to the world-renowned wine region of Margaret River (approximately 3.5 hours).

Enjoy a scenic drive through rolling hills and charming farmland. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of the coastline as you journey towards Margaret River.

Consider a detour to the charming town of Denmark. Explore the historic streets, browse the unique shops, and maybe even take a surfing lesson on the stunning beaches. If you're travelling with kids, Dinosaur World is a fun stop with life-sized dinosaur models.

As you approach Margaret River, the landscape transforms into rolling vineyards and boutique wineries. Get ready for some serious wine tasting and relaxation!

Must-Dos in Margaret River:

  • Margaret River boasts over 200 wineries, each offering unique varietals and stunning settings. Plan your day around cellar door visits and indulge in some delicious wine tastings.
  • Margaret River isn't just about wine! The region is known for its fresh, local produce. From farm-to-table restaurants to award-winning cheesemakers, there's something for every taste bud.
  • Margaret River boasts some of Australia's most stunning beaches. Whether you're a seasoned surfer or just looking for a relaxing swim, there's a perfect beach for you. Popular options include Surfer's Point, Smiths Beach, and Gnarabup Beach.

Busselton, WA

Day 10: Margaret River to Perth

Your epic adventure is nearing its end, but the fun isn't over yet! This final leg takes you from the rolling vineyards of Margaret River back to the vibrant city of Perth (approximately 3 hours).

Consider a detour to the charming seaside town of Busselton. Explore the historic town centre, take a walk on the iconic Busselton Jetty (the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere!), or relax on the pristine beaches.

Welcome to Perth!  As you approach Perth, the city skyline emerges on the horizon. Get ready to experience the energy and excitement of Western Australia's capital city.

Must-Dos in Perth:

  • Kings Park and Botanic Garden: Escape the city bustle in this sprawling park with stunning botanical gardens, walking trails, and panoramic views of Perth.
  • Fremantle Fun: Explore the historic port city of Fremantle, with its charming streets, convict history, and lively pub scene. Don't miss a visit to the Fremantle Prison for a fascinating glimpse into the past.
  • Swan River Escapades: Take a ferry cruise along the Swan River, soaking up the sights of the city skyline and enjoying a relaxing journey.
  • Culture Fix: Perth boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene. Visit the Art Gallery of Western Australia, explore the Perth Museum, or catch a performance at the Perth Concert Hall.

Bonus Tip: Feeling adventurous? Take a day trip to Rottnest Island, a car-free paradise known for its adorable quokkas, stunning beaches, and turquoise waters.

The Margaret River to Perth leg is the perfect finale to your unforgettable adventure. Soak up the city vibes, indulge in some delicious food, and reminisce about the amazing experiences you had along the way. 

Accommodation Options

End your unforgettable Canberra to Perth drive on a high note with the perfect accommodation! Summerstar Tourist Parks, a WA family-owned fave, has you covered at every stop.

Rest under the stars in Ceduna, Walpole, or Esperance. Dive into Margaret River's wineries, or relax near Busselton's beaches - all with Summerstar! Comfortable stays, friendly service, and prime locations await. Book your stays and start creating those epic WA memories!

Frequently asked questions

  • What are some must-see stops on the trip?

    • Hay: A quirky town with a fascinating history.
    • Mildura: A sun-soaked stopover on the Murray River.
    • Barossa Valley: A world-renowned wine region with delicious food and cellar doors.
    • Adelaide: A vibrant city with a great food scene, art scene, and hidden laneways.
    • Port Augusta: A bustling outback hub with stunning views of the Flinders Ranges.
    • Ceduna: A laid-back coastal town with opportunities to swim with dolphins or spot whales.
    • Esperance: Home to some of Australia's most stunning beaches, like Lucky Bay where kangaroos roam.
    • Cape Le Grand National Park: Hike along the coast, see Frenchman Peak, or explore hidden coves.
    • Walpole: Gateway to the Walpole Wilderness Area, famous for its towering tingle trees and the Valley of the Giants.
    • Margaret River: A world-renowned wine region with wineries, fresh produce, and beautiful beaches.
    • Busselton: A charming seaside town with a historic jetty and pristine beaches.
  • How long does the Canberra to Perth road trip take?

    The total driving time for the Canberra to Perth road trip is about 38 hours, however we suggest spending 10 days along the way, making stops and exploring different locations. This doesn't take into account any detours you might make.

  • What are some things to consider when planning this trip?

    • Accommodation: Book your stays in advance, especially during peak season. Summerstar Tourist Parks is a great option and booking with us is easy through our online booking system.
    • Time of year: Consider the time of year you'll be travelling, as some activities may be seasonal (like whale watching).
    • Supplies: Stock up on supplies, especially when entering remote outback areas.
4 June 2024

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