The Seven Most Scenic Drives in WA

1.       Caves Road

Caves Road is a 111km long scenic drive in WA’s South West that winds through the heart of the famed Margaret River region. 

The narrow, romantic country road begins in Busselton, and meanders through vineyards, towering Karri forest and farmland before finishing up near the mouth of the Blackwood River in Augusta. 

A myriad of world-class wineries and breweries dotted along the length of Caves Road offer convenient rest points, and should you take a turn off to the West at any stage you might just stumble across some of WA’s best beaches and surf breaks. 

Towards the Southern end of Caves Road, the speed limit slows from 90km/hr to 70km/hr as the road twists and turns through the magical Boranup Forest; one of the most picturesque spots in a region spoiled with beauty. 

Aptly named, Caves Road earned its namesake as it was once a way of accessing the many caves dotted around the region.  Some of the major caves include Ngilgi Cave, Mammoth Cave, Giants Cave and Rainbow Cave.    

 

2.       Sunset Coast Tourist Drive

Perth is often called the city of sunsets, and for good reason.

The Sunset Coast Tourist Drive hugs the metropolitan coastline, passing by Perth’s 19 beaches and offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.  Drive in the late afternoon and watch the sun set over the ocean from the comfort of your car. 

Beginning in Fremantle, the road stretches 38km, up to the Hillaries Boat Harbour and past the famous Cottesloe Beach and vibrant Scarborough beachfront.

Hop out and take a stroll between the iconic Norfolk pine trees – once planted as an indication of land to passing seafarers - or continue up the coast and watch the sunset from one of the many picturesque beach cafes or restaurants Perth has to offer.  

If you make it as far as Mettams Pool, grab a snorkel and mask and take a quick dip under the water.  The pool is a calm and safe place for families to swim on what can be an otherwise treacherous coast. 

Perth is one of the few Australian capital cities with beautiful beaches a short distance from the CBD, and the Sunset Coast Tourist Drive is a great way to glimpse some of Perth’s most beautiful attractions. 

 

3.       Gibb River Road

A former cattle route, the 660km rammed earth road runs through the wild heart of the Kimberley region and is one of the most rugged and remote roads in the world.

The Gibb River Road is best attempted by those with a sturdy four-wheel-drive and a strong sense of adventure.  Those who tackle it will be rewarded with a unique outback experience.

Travelling the Gibb can take anywhere between a few days to two weeks.  Camping along one of the many rugged campsites will allow you to experience the true beauty of one of the world’s last true remaining wildernesses. 

The Gibb River Road spans from Derby to Kununurra, cutting a swathe through one of the world’s most ancient landscapes.  Highlights include El Questro station, the Gibb River crossing, and Bell Gorge. 

Many of the other famed Kimberley gorges are found along the Gibb River Road, and there are plenty of swimming holes and waterfalls to take a secluded swim in.  Just be careful of crocs!

 

4.       Gunbarrel Highway

If the Gibb River Road is best attempted by those with a strong sense of adventure, the Gunbarrel Highway is strictly for downright kamikazes. 

A 1,400km long isolated desert track that runs through the barren gizzards of Central Australia, this is for confident four wheel drive enthusiasts only who can handle the challenge of washaways, heavy corrugations, stone, sand and flood plains. 

The Gunbarrel Highway begins near Wiluna in WA’s Northern Goldfields, and runs through to Yulara in the Northern Territory.  Many excellent bush camps are spread out along the way, some containing fresh water bores. 

Much of the ‘highway’ passes through Aboriginal reserve, and you’ll need a permit to pass.  Travelling this road offers an extraordinary glimpse into what ancient Australian civilisation was like, and the vast difficulties the landscape presented to the first European settlers.  

Built by Len Beadell and his ‘Gunbarrel Road Construction Party’, the road earned its namesake due to Mr Beadell’s intention was to build a road as straight as a gun barrel.  

During construction, extreme temperatures overheated machinery, vaporised the limited supplies of fuel, melted plastic parts of Beadell’s instrument panel and radio transmitter, and even loosened the nails in his boots causing the heels to fall off!

Today, while driving the Gunbarrel Highway may not be as horrendous as Mr Beadell’s expedition, it still requires travellers to be totally self-sufficient and carry a surplus of food, water and supplies. 

While it may sound like a nightmare to most drivers, the Gunbarrel Highway is one of Australia’s most famous and challenging outback adventures, and offers beautiful and barren scenery unlike anywhere else in the world. 

 

5.       Esperance Tourist Way

The Esperance Tourist Way wraps its way around some of the best beaches Australia has to offer.   

The drive is known to locals as ‘Millionaires Row’, owing to some of the luxurious houses on roads edge overlooking the coast’s white sand and turquoise waters.  You can, however, take in these same million dollar views without leaving your car. 

Beginning in the Esperance town ship, the 30km route crawls winds around numerous dazzling beaches and rocky coves, and overlooks the hundreds of granite islands that dot Esperance’s horizon. 

The road then leaves the coast, turning inland and passing the mysterious pink lake, a stunning spot to add a bit of extra colour to the sunset. 

Travel a little further back to the West and visit Lucky Bay, where you’ll see Kangaroos frolicking on Australia’s whitest beach. 

 

6.       South Western Highway

The National Highway 1 loops right the way around the Australian continent, and in the most South Western corner you’ll find one of its most spectacular sections – The South Western Highway. 

While the road starts in Perth, the most stunning part of the journey stretches a little over 250km from Bunbury to Walpole.   It cuts through the wild ‘Valley of the Giants’, where megalithic Karri trees tower up to 40m tall over the road, and occasionally, the forest is interspersed with quaint timber towns.  

Near Bunbury, you’ll travel through the heart of WA’s fruit growing country where plenty of charming road side stalls offer delicious fresh produce.  Try Donnybrook for some of the juiciest apples you’ll ever eat, and Manjimup for world famous truffles. 

If you’re not afraid of heights, stop at Pemberton and have a go at climbing the iron spikes to the top of the Gloucester tree.  At 72m tall, it’s the world’s second tallest fire lookout tree, and only 20% of visitors have the nerve to climb all the way to the cabin atop the lookout. 

To stroll through the Valley of the Giants at a more user friendly altitude, keep driving to Walpole and cruise along the Tree Top Walk. 

 

7.       Eyre Highway – Nullarbor Plain

Sure, driving the Nullarbor is a long, arduous haul along a very straight highway through vast stretches of flat country. But there’s very few roads in the world in the world that’ll take you on a trans-continental adventure like the Eyre Highway will.  

Beginning at Norseman, the Eyre Highway cuts across the middle of the continent, traversing the infamous Nullarbor Plain.  It spans 1,660km and was named after explorer Edward John Eyre, the first European to cross the Nullarbor by land in 1840-41. 

Major highlights include the ethereal ‘Treeless Plain’; the 90 Mile Straight – one of the longest stretches of straight road in the world; numerous eerie, outback roadhouses, and sections of highway that double as a landing strip for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. 

Careful of wild camels, emus, wombats, bullocks, dingoes and kangaroos.  Don’t drive at night!