The road trip from Perth to Adelaide makes for one amazing adventure! This route will take you on stunning coastal drives, stops at some of the best beaches in the South West, across the Nullabor Plain highway and along the longest stretch of straight road in Australia.
of Australia tends to be the path less travelled compared to the East Coast, but trust me when I say that you will love this trip! There’s no shortage of nature, ancient forests, beautiful turquoise waters, desert, kangaroo filled beaches and so much more! Be warned the drive from Perth to Adelaide is not a short one. It can take close to 35-37 hours if you follow the same or a similar itinerary to the one below. You can power through this trip or take your time and taking time is what I recommend as there’s so much to see along this route. Due to time constraints, this trip had to be a bit more rushed when I did it. Looking back now I totally wish there had been more time to explore some of the amazing stops along the way.
The Drive Itinerary From Perth to Adelaide
(Estimated driving times)
- Perth to Margaret River = 3 hours driving
- Margaret Rover to Walpole = 4.5 hours driving
- Walpole to Denmark/Albany area = 1.5 hours driving
- Albany to Esperance = 5 hours driving
- Esperance to Ceduna = 14.5 hours driving
- Ceduna to Port Augusta = 5 hours driving
- Port Augusta to Adelaide = 3.5 hours driving
The entire trip from Perth to Adelaide was spent sleeping in a tent at free to low cost campsites or in the car. Wiki Camps is an amazing app used for finding campsites. It lists free sites, donation sites, pay sites, RV camping and more. You can also see reviews and pictures left by other campers and download offline maps. It also includes shower sites, bathrooms and gas stations where you can see fuel prices. Its so handy when road tripping Australia. Highly recommend it.
Margaret River Region
This was the first stop on the drive from Perth to Adelaide and the area is a popular tourist destination in the West. World famous for its wineries, Margaret River also boasts beautiful turquoise beaches. Being on a strict budget completing a two month road trip at the time, sadly no wineries were visited (GASP… I know!) However, there was plenty of beach time.
A Few Beaches to Visit
Hamelin Bay – Sandy white beach, clear water and amazing spot to see sting rays
Yallingup Beach –Great beach for swimming, snorkeling and surfing
Smiths Beach –Crystal waters, white sand and a perfect spot for soaking up the sun, swimming and surfing
Prevelly and River Mouth –Popular surfing location and great swimming spot
Gnarabup Beach – Longest beach and popular swimming spot in the Prevally area
Meelup Beach – Perfect spot for a beach day and great swimming location as the waters tend to be on the calmer side
Injidup Beach – Great beach for snorkeling, swimming, surfing and just laying on the pristine white sand soaking up the sun.
This part of the drive from Perth to Adelaide was one of my favourites. There are some amazing sites to see along this stretch including ancient forests with treetops reaching for the clouds and dreamy coastlines with elephant shaped rocks.
Valley of the Giants
This is a must do while driving to Adelaide from Perth and the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature. Located in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park between Denmark and Walpole, the Valley of the Giants is home to ancient Karri and Tingle trees attracting tourists from all over. The main attraction is the Tree Top Walk which takes you 40 metres above the ground high into the tree top canopy of the giants.
The cost for the Tree Top Walk will run you $21 per adult. If you are on a budget you can opt to avoid the tree top walk and instead complete the Ancient Empire Walk which will keep you on the ground and is still incredibly fascinating. Walking among the ancient tingle trees and just seeing their sheer size is more than enough! Experiencing these trees will make you truly appreciate nature. Entry to the Ancient Empire Walk and the Discovery Centre are free.
Located in the William Bay National Park, this spot really is a stunning wonder of nature. The name for the rocks explains it all. They literally look like elephants in the water! You can climb and walk along the rocks looking down over Elephant Cove. Be careful as the rocks are quite smooth and can be slippery. Once you’ve had your fun exploring the rocks, take the stairs down to the Elephant Cove Beach. There is a car park at Elephant Rocks and is easily accessible from the road.
A beautiful beach located between two giant rocks and makes for a great swimming and snorkeling spot. We didn’t make it into the water when we were there as the temps were pretty cool for the time of year but there were a few braving the waters!
Located just a few hundred metres from Elephant Rocks and Elephant Cove, this beach is another great swimming spot with calm waters surrounded by the same smooth boulders which provide shelter on windy days keeping it a relaxing day at the beach. There is also a car park here and walking trail that leads to the Elephant Rocks
Using the WikiCamps Australia app we were able to find an amazing free camping spot located off the highway nestled down a dirt road. The spot had a bare-boned cabin that you could sleep in which was used by either hikers or rangers as the area has some popular hiking trails. Due to my fear of spiders, the tent was set up inside the cabin for extra protection. I wasn’t taking any chances! It was really neat because other backpackers and campers had left items behind after their stay and also written in a book marking the date and a written message from their stay.
Another favourite stop along the drive from Perth to Adelaide and one you definitley don’t want to miss! If you have dreamed of witnessing postcard beaches with sunbathing kangaroos then make sure you visit Esperance. It was actually Christmas when we reached this part of the road trip from Perth to Adelaide and Esperance was such an amazing place to spend Christmas camping on a farm and exploring pristine beaches. If you want to read up on it check out the post here .
You can find a detailed map here of some key places to see including:
- West Beach – swimming, surfing with strong currents and two reefs creating ocean pools.
- Champions Point – snorkelling, surfing and swimming
- Blue Haven – protected beach from windy days
- Salmon Beach – snorkelling and fishing
- Fourth Beach – swimming, surfing and leads to Twilight Cove Beach
- Twilight Cove Beach – one of Esperance’s most famous beaches
- Dolphin Cove – might spot some dolphins!
- Observatory Beach – popular spot for windsurfing
- Observatory Point – amazing lookout point where you might see whales if its migration season
- Nine Mile Beach – rock pools and snorkelling
- Ten Mile Lagoon – swimming and fishing with access to a nudist beach
- Eleven Mile Beach – swimming and rock pools
Cape Le Grand National Park
This is the place to be for the ultimate Australian experience. Cape Le Grand National Park is about a 45 minute drive from Esperance and home to the famous Lucky Bay where kangaroos actually lounge around and sunbathe on the shores of this stunning beach. It looks like something out of a movie. Postcard perfection. The waters are a breathtaking vibrant turquoise especially against the white sand. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing especially with the kangaroos hanging around just loving life. It was just like all those pictures I used to stare at on the internet while daydreaming at work had come to life. What a feeling witnessing your visualizations become reality!
Crossing The Nullabor
And now for the long haul of the trip. This is by far the longest part of the road trip from Perth to Adelaide and there isn’t much to see along this stretch apart from straight roads and baron land. Crossing the Nullabor also includes driving Australia’s longest stretch of straight (146.6 km) road beginning in Balladonia two hours out of Norseman.
The drive itself from Esperance to Ceduna will take about 14.5 hours. If you’e determined to cross it quickly like we were, you can do it over two days with one night camping. We stopped around the half way point and found a free camp site through the WikiCamp app. When I say free camping, I mean sleeping in the car in an area off the main highway with kangaroo carcasses and even a little scorpion wandering around. It made for an experience!
A few tips for crossing the Nullabor
- Gas is expensive along this stretch since there is nothing else around
- You will drive straight for a very long time (have good music and hopefully you have good company)
- There isn’t much to see along this stretch except for open land
- There aren’t many cars on the road but you will see road trains which are massive transport trucks with numerous trailers. Be wary of them and pass with caution
- Don’t drive at night – it can be super dangerous!
- There are a few road houses along the way that have motels and campsites you can stay at if roadside camping isn’t your thing.
- Be careful for bush fires – when we were driving across, we could see black smoke in the distance and it was a far off bush fire. With only two road lanes and nothing but land on either side it can be dangerous. Check road conditions ahead as mobile service can be really limited if any at all.
- Enjoy the journey, although long, its an experience and one to tick off the list.
- Be mindful of the time difference from WA to SA – 1.5 hour between the states but jumps to 2.5 in the summer due to WA having no daylight savings
- Stock up on food and water before venturing across the Nullabor but keep in mind there are strict rules when crossing state borders in regards to fruits and veg so make sure to eat them up before crossing into South Australia. We used a camper stove to cook meals along the way
- Crossing the border is an exciting feeling and you will be very happy to see civilization and ocean after that stretch
- We didn’t spend much time in Ceduna and Port Augusta except for stocking up on fuel, food and sleeping spots for the night before continuing on to Adelaide.
I can’t really describe how great it felt to be in a city again especially knowing there was a hostel bed, hot shower, tasty meal and wine waiting after completing the road trip from Perth to Adelaide. With only a few days in Adelaide it left just enough time some quick exploring of the city and a trip to the Barossa Valley which I will be do in separate post!
The road trip from Perth to Adelaide is definitely one exciting and adventurous route. The land changes drastically at every turn from the most majestic and pristine beaches to nothing but baron open land and dead kangaroos along the highway. (Unfortunately many kangaroos are hit by cars and road trains). Australia is such a vast and beautiful country. Driving from Perth to Adelaide really allows you to see much of the road less travelled.