Road trip: Great South West Edge

Francois Peron Great South West Edge my nrma road trips
Francois Peron Great South West Edge my nrma road trips
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Get ready to be blown away by WA’s Great South West Edge. Stunning coasts, pristine beaches, towering forests and mountains will accompany you on your way from Margaret River to Esperance, while you’ll pause for breath in peaceful towns and some of WA’s most vibrant coastal centres.

Experience unforgettable natural wonders up close, get some of the world’s whitest sands between your toes and learn about the region’s rich history while tucking into its celebrated food, wine, beer and produce.

Image credit: Tourism Western Australia

Day 1: Margaret River to Augusta

30min | 40km

Stop 1: Visit the biggest show cave in Australia

The drive south to Augusta is only 40km direct, but it’s better split up with stops at the best natural attractions in the Margaret River region, starting with its limestone caves. A number are open to the public, including Mammoth Cave, the biggest show cave in Australia, with a wheelchair accessible chamber.

Stop 2: See the view from Cape Leeuwin

Visit Boranup Forest to take a walk through the towering karri trees or beautiful Hamelin Bay Beach, then stop at Xanadu Wines for a late lunch before venturing on to Cape Leeuwin, the most south westerly tip of Australia and home to the tallest lighthouse on the mainland.

Cape Leeuwin Great South West Edge my nrma road trips
Cape Leeuwin (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)

Day 2: Augusta to Walpole

3hr 30min | 290km

Stop 1: Climb an ancient tree in Pemberton

Head north east towards Nannup, the gateway to WA’s Southern Forests and its tracts of karri, tingle and other old growth trees. Continue onto to Pemberton and take the daring 58m climb to the top of Gloucester Tree, one of the town’s historic fire lookout trees. Stop for lunch at Jarrah Jacks Brewery at WoodSmoke Estate or one of the many good eating options in town.

100 year forest Great South West Edge my nrma road trips WA
The 100 Year Forest (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)
Stop 2: Dine and stay in Walpole

Then head south towards the coast again and Walpole. Spend a lazy afternoon on Coalmine Beach or visit attractions such as the Giant Tingle Tree, a huge tree hollowed out by fire, before filling up for the night with home style cooking at Top Deck Cafe or pizza at Flaming Hot Takeaways. Bayside Villas offers a selection of fully equipped villas just 500m from town.

Day 3: Walpole to Denmark

1hr | 75km

Stop 1: Eat lunch at Conspicuous Cliff

Take the short drive north east to the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, where you can explore a grove of gigantic tingle trees from a walkway 40m up in the canopy. Grab lunch at the Bow Bridge Roadhouse or stock up on goodies for a picnic. Then head to the coast and Conspicuous Cliff to take in its stunning limestone cliffs and eat lunch.

Conspicious Beach Great South West Edge my nrma road trips
Conspicious Beach (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)
Stop 2: Swim at Greens Pool and stay in Denmark

Stay on the coast as you head east towards Denmark and stop at Greens Pool, a beautiful sheltered rock pool, for a swim or snorkel, or Elephant Rocks with its huge boulders scattered among shallow waters.

Then continue on to the postcard perfect coastal town of Denmark. Grab an iced treat from Denmark Gelato Co and explore the town by foot. Check out the shops, galleries and studios or hike up Monkey Rock for amazing views before dining on classy pub fare at Boston Brewing Co with an extensive accompanying beer and wine list. Aiyana Retreat has self contained villas made from luxurious natural materials in peaceful natural surrounds and an onsite massage and yoga centre.

Green Pool Great South West Edge my nrma road trips
Greens Pool (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)

Day 4: Denmark to Albany

45min | 55km

Stop 2: Brush up on history at the National Aztec Centre

Round off the afternoon at the National Anzac Centre, located in Albany’s heritage listed Princess Royal Fortress and overlooking the harbour from which more than 41,000 Australians departed for World War I. See million dollar views of Albany from the Padre White Lookout before you leave.

Padre White Lookout Great South West Edge my nrma road trips
Padre White Lookout (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)
Stop 3: Dine and rest in Albany

Then head back into town to sample the region’s renowned seafood at Ocean and Paddock or another of its dining spots before delving into a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. The Beach House at Bayside is a romantic guesthouse minutes from the centre of Albany and a short walk from Middleton Bay.

Day 5: Albany to Hopetoun

4hr | 355km

Stop 1: Make a pit stop in Amelup

Head north east to Stirling Range National Park to take in sweeping vistas from Central Lookout and Bluff Knoll or picnic in the shady surrounds of White Gum Flat. Continue on to Amelup and – if you haven’t eaten already – grab lunch at the Bluff Knoll Cafe. Then head for the wheatbelt towns of Borden, Ongerup and on to the varied landscapes of Jerramungup Shire.

Day 6: Hoptoun to Esperance

2hr | 190km

Stop 1: Get back to nature at Stokes National Park

The beaches around Hopetoun are unspoilt and pristine, so enjoy a peaceful morning swim before starting your drive east towards Munglinup. Take one of the opportunities along the way to visit Stokes National Park, home to one of the most picturesque estuaries along WA’s southern coast.

Stop 2: Sample Esperance's restaurant scene

Continue east through Coomalbidgup, Dalyup and onto Esperance, a port town with no traffic lights, but plenty to justify staying a while, from the stunning coastline views of the 38km Great Ocean Drive to the wilderness of Woody Island and Cape Le Grand National Park, and its many places to eat, drink, stay, shop and engage your mind. Comfort Inn Bay of Isles offers affordable beachfront accommodation. Or for something more plush, Esperance Island View Apartments has fully equipped self contained apartments with fantastic views.

Thistle Cove Esperance Great South West Edge my nrma road trips WA
Thistle Cove, Esperance (Photo credit: Tourism Western Australia)


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