Dawn Teh

by Dawn Teh

posted on March 11, 2024

Ditch the plane and embark on an unforgettable adventure with a Perth to Adelaide road trip. This route will take you through some of the country’s most iconic outback towns and breathtaking landscapes — including Australia’s most pristine beaches and the untouched rugged countryside.

Keep reading to discover all you need to know about driving from Perth to Adelaide including the best stops and the top travel tips to keep you safe along the way.

Stop at a roadhouse on the Nullarbor Plain on your next Perth to Adelaide road trip
One of the roadhouses along the Nullarbor Plain

An overview of the Perth to Adelaide road trip

If you’re travelling from Perth to Adelaide by car, you have two choices in terms of which route to take on this epic journey — the inland or coastal route. The biggest difference between the two options is the first third of the drive.

The inland route takes you through Western Australia’s most famous outback mining towns that are rich in history and culture while the coastal route follows the picturesque coastline of WA’s southwest region.

Both eventually converge at the town of Norseman and you’ll continue your journey with the Great Australian Bight just outside your window before reaching Adelaide.

Here’s an overview of both journeys:

Coastal route

  • Perth to Adelaide drive time: 38 hours
  • Perth to Adelaide distance: 3,150 km
  • How many days by car: 6 to 8 days
  • Best for: Coastal and forest scenery

Inland route

  • Perth to Adelaide drive time: 29 hours
  • Perth to Adelaide distance: 2,760km
  • How many days by car: 5 to 7 days
  • Best for: Shorter distance, Australian outback scenery, mining towns
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Perth to Adelaide road trip itinerary

Although you could technically drive Perth to Adelaide in four days, there are plenty of iconic towns and interesting attractions not to miss.

If you’re taking the inland route, you’ll get to see Western Australia’s mining towns such as Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie which are rich in gold mining history and Australia’s outback culture. The drive itself is mostly flat with long straight roads stretching out into infinity. It can be quite monotonous at times, but if you crave solitude and wide-open spaces, this is the perfect route for you.

Along the coastal route, you’ll be treated to stunning coastal views and pass through vibrant seaside towns like Albany and Esperance. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for a swim or enjoy fresh seafood while admiring incredible scenery.

Keep reading to discover the best stops along the coastal route, followed by the inland route, and then we’ll finish off with an overview of the journey where the two routes meet (at Norseman) through to Adelaide.

Perth to Adelaide road trip: Coastal route

Along this coastal route, you’ll wind your way through the famous stretches of sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and foodie destinations of Western Australia. The highlight of this journey has to be the pristine white beaches and crystal clear waters, so don’t forget to pack your bathers!

Kangaroos on the beach in Western Australia

Bunbury

Best attractions:

  • Bunbury Regional Art Gallery
  • Back Beach

As the second biggest city in WA, Bunbury offers plenty of places to visit, including natural attractions, animal conservation centres, and cultural spots. Head to Back Beach for a dip in the ocean or a relaxing stroll along the coastline, swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Discovery Centre, and visit the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery for some thought-provoking exhibitions.

Margaret River

Best attractions:

  • Surfers Point
  • Wine tasting
  • Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Known as one of Australia’s premier wine regions, Margaret River is a must-visit spot on your road trip if you’re a foodie. Once you’ve had your fill of wine samplings and gourmet meals, it’s time to enjoy the great outdoors. Surfers Point offers world-class waves for surfers, and you can catch stunning views of the ocean with a climb to the top of Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.

Sunset at Sugarloaf, Margaret River

Pemberton

Best attractions:

  • Beedelup National Park
  • Gloucester Tree
  • Pemberton Tramway Company

With three national parks in its backyard, Pemberton is most famous for its towering karri forests which project an atmosphere of tranquility and calm. If you’re seeking a thrill, climb the famous Gloucester Tree (one of the world’s tallest fire-lookout trees) where you’ll take in breathtaking views from its lofty platform. Beedelup National Park is also a haven of serene waterfalls, walking trails, and picturesque picnic spots. For a unique experience, take in the lush Western Australian countryside from a vintage tram on a visit to the Pemberton Tramway Company.

Denmark

Best attractions:

  • Valley of the Giants
  • Greens Pool
  • Elephant Rocks

From towering granite rocks to serene ocean pools, the picturesque coastal town of Denmark is a nature lover’s paradise. Make a trip to see the impressive boulders of Elephant Rocks that sit majestically against the clear turquoise ocean. If you’d like a relaxing swim or snorkel, few places offer the same level of tranquillity as Greens Pool. The stunning granite boulders lined along the shore also serve as a barrier against the Southern Ocean, creating a calm place to wade in the crystal-clear waters. If adventure is your thing, the Valley of the Giants offers the enchanting Tree Top Walk, where you can stroll along a bridge suspended 40 metres above the forest floor. Beyond natural splendours, Denmark’s vibrant, bohemian spirit shines through in its quirky town as it’s filled with charming boutiques, local artisan markets, and a warm, welcoming community.

Albany

Best attractions:

  • National Anzac Centre
  • Torndirrup National Park (The Gap)
  • Albany’s Historic Whaling Station
  • Albany Wind Farm

Albany is one of the most iconic towns in Western Australia known for its rich history and natural attractions. One of its most visited tourist spots is the National Anzac Centre, where stories of the WWI ANZAC troops are brought to life through interactive exhibits. Albany’s Historic Whaling Station also highlights the bygone era of whaling, complete with a processing factory and whale-chasing ship. To experience the rugged beauty of Albany, head to Torndirrup National Park, where you’ll find dramatic rock formations and coastal views. Lastly, get an up-close look at the gigantic wind turbines providing power to the town at the Albany Wind Farm. It’s also a perfect location to soak in the panoramic views of the Southern Ocean’s impressive swells.

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Bremer Bay

Best attractions:

  • Blossoms Beach and Back Beach
  • Fitzgerald River National Park
  • Wellstead Heritage Museum
  • Whale Watching

You’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of natural attractions once you set up base at Bremer Bay. Begin your trip with a visit to one of its many beautiful beaches with stretches of white sand and crystal-clear waters that provide the perfect setting for swimming, snorkelling, or simply unwinding by the serene coastline. Don’t miss Blossoms Beach and Back Beach. The nearby Fitzgerald River National Park is another interesting area to explore with its rugged terrain, unique flora and fauna, and diverse range of walking trails. The awe-inspiring whale-watching tours in the area also provide an unforgettable experience, where you’ll get to see these graceful giants of the ocean. You can also step back in time at The Wellstead Heritage Museum where you’ll find an old car collection, farming tools, and little knick-knacks that offer a glimpse of what life was like back in the day.

Esperance

Best attractions:

  • Lucky Bay
  • Great Ocean Drive (Blue Haven Beach, Twilight Cove, and Ten Mile Lagoon)
  • Cape Le Grand National Park
  • Esperance Stonehenge
  • Esperance pink lake (Lake Hillier)

The last stop before the two routes merge is also one of the most iconic locations in WA. Esperance is a treasure trove of natural attractions waiting to be discovered! So if you don’t have much time, you’ll need to be selective about what to see. If there’s one place that’s an absolute must-visit in the area, it’s Lucky Bay. It’s been officially verified by scientists as having the whitest sand in Australia, and you might even get to meet the local kangaroos that are often seen enjoying the crystal-clear, turquoise waters as well. After that, buckle up for an epic 38 km journey along the Great Ocean Drive where you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping coastal scenes at every turn. Blue Haven Beach, Twilight Cove, and Ten Mile Lagoon are some of the best spots for a dip in the calm waters. Also, don’t forget to lace up those boots for some hiking and adventure in the nearby Cape Le Grand National Park. Don’t miss out on a climb up Frenchman Peak for some panoramic views.

Lucky Bay, Esperance WA

Perth to Adelaide road trip: Inland route

Get off the beaten path and venture out to the lesser-known parts of Western Australia through the inland route. Here, you’ll pass by historic mining and outback towns, along with expansive remote wilderness. Embrace the enchanting sense of solitude as you disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life on this epic journey through the outback.

Toodyay

Best attractions:

  • Connor’s Mill Museum
  • Toodyay Miniature Trains
  • Newcastle Gaol Museum

Toodyay’s rich history is reflected in its well-preserved colonial architecture and quaint streets. Visit Connor’s Mill Museum to learn about Toodyay’s agricultural history through its well-preserved displays or take a stroll along the Avon River. And don’t forget to check out the local art galleries and cafes! If you’re here during the wildflower season (August to November), the surrounding countryside turns into a vibrant landscape of yellow, pink, and purple blooms.

Northam

Best attractions:

  • The Old Northam Railway Station
  • Mount Ommanney Lookout
  • York

While in Northam, visit The Old Northam Railway Station and see its many heritage buildings to soak in the rich history of the town. There are also plenty of outdoor activities including walking across the suspension bridge hanging over the Avon River and taking in stunning views of the town from Mount Ommanney Lookout. If you have time for a detour, head over to the town of York and climb to Mount Brown Lookout for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Merredin

Best attractions:

  • Merredin Military Museum
  • Silo art
  • Wave Rock

Once known as “The Garden Town in the Heart of the Wheatbelt”, Merredin is rural life at its finest with plenty of bush walks (like the Merredin Peak Trail), heritage buildings, iconic Merredin silo art, and Merredin Railway station. The Merredin Military Museum is a must-visit for history buffs, showcasing restored military vehicles and equipment.

If you’re up for a detour, stop by Wave Rock — a massive wave-like rock formation that’s over 2,700 million years old and stands at around 14 metres high.

Southern Cross

Best attractions:

  • Yilgarn History Museum
  • Baladjie Rock

Southern Cross is another historic gold-mining town filled with fascinating stories from yesteryears. Explore local mining heritage at the Yilgarn History Museum or visit the amazing granite outcrops in the area like Baladjie Rock.

Coolgardie

Best attractions:

  • Coolgardie Historic Railway Station
  • Warden Finnerty’s Residence
  • Coolgardie Goldfields Exhibition Museum

As you enter Coolgardie, you’ll immediately notice the many heritage buildings that line the streets. These life-sized reminders of the town’s reputation as a bustling hub during the gold rush also showcase the grand architecture of the era. Notable places to visit include the Coolgardie Historic Railway Station, Warden Finnerty’s Residence, and Coolgardie Goldfields Exhibition Museum.

Kalgoorlie

Best attractions:

  • Super Pit
  • Hannan’s North Tourist Mine

Kalgoorlie is one of Australia’s most historic mining towns with iconic landmarks like the Super Pit (one of Australia’s largest open-pit gold mines) and Hannan’s North Tourist Mine. If you’re feeling adventurous and have a bit of extra time, take a detour to the Lake Ballard sculptures — a breathtaking collection of over 50 statues that stand in stark contrast to the salt plain beneath them. As you continue your journey towards Norseman, stop by the sparkling white salt lake of Lake Lefroy for a look at this contrasting geological feature.

The Nullarbor Plain

Perth to Adelaide road trip: Both routes

The inland and coastal routes eventually converge at the town of Norseman, and here is where you’ll get to cross the iconic Nullarbor plain with the Great Australian Bight just outside your car window!

Norseman

Best attractions:

  • Beacon Lookout
  • Lake Cowan Lookout
  • 90 Mile Straight
  • Dundas Rocks and Lone Grave

If you’re looking for a chance to enjoy Australia’s isolated outback wilderness and spend some time in quiet contemplation, this is your chance. Situated at the start of the iconic Eyre Highway, Norseman is the entry point to the Nullarbor Plain where you’ll find a vast expanse of treeless terrain and Australia’s longest straight road. Here, you’ll also discover some hidden gems like the Dundas Rocks and Lone Grave, along with Beacon and Lake Cowan Lookouts.

Pink cockatoo spotted in Norseman, WA

Caiguna and Cocklebiddy

Best attractions:

  • Caiguna Blowhole
  • Cocklebiddy Cave
  • Eyre Bird Observatory

As you continue your journey along Australia’s vast and mesmerising outback, you’ll want to stop by the quirky towns of Caiguna and Cocklebiddy where you’ll find interesting natural attractions and effervescent locals. Feel the Earth’s breath at the Caiguna blowhole where gushes of wind can be felt at this natural vent as air pressure changes. You can also visit the Cocklebiddy Cave which is one of Australia’s longest caves, with 90% of it being underwater — it’s truly an aquatic wonderland! If you’re a birdwatcher, the Eyre Bird Observatory is a must-visit, as you’ll see some rare feathered friends in their untouched habitat.

Eucla and Border Village

Best attractions:

  • Nullarbor National Park
  • Border Village
  • Eucla National Park
  • Old telegraph station
  • SA-WA border sign
  • Bunda Cliffs

You’ve finally made it to the border of Western Australia (WA) and South Australia (SA), where there’s plenty of adventure and rugged wilderness waiting to be explored. First up, journey back in time with a detour through the hauntingly beautiful ruins of the Old Telegraph Station in Eucla. Then, take a selfie by the iconic SA-WA border sign as you straddle two time zones! The dramatic scenery of the Bunda Cliffs will also leave you gobsmacked as you take in the contrasting view of the Southern Ocean meeting the steep drop of the cliffs.

Cliffs in Nullarbor, South Australia

Ceduna

Best attractions:

  • Head of the Bight Visitors Center
  • Point Sinclair Pink Lake
  • Ceduna Jetty
  • Eyre Peninsula
  • Coffin Bay National Park

Also known as the Oyster Capital of Australia, Ceduna is a small coastal town filled with fresh seafood and stunning natural scenery. Before you even set foot in the town, make a stop at the Head of the Bight Visitor’s Centre to witness an awe-inspiring migration of the majestic southern right whales. You can also admire the surreal beauty of the Point Sinclair Pink Lake, where the water shimmers in shades of pastel pink. Upon arrival in Ceduna, the iconic Ceduna Jetty is the perfect spot to soak up the serene ocean views with the mesmerising sunset as the backdrop.

If you have time, take a detour around the Eyre Peninsula — the food and wine paradise of South Australia. You can explore the rugged coastal views of Streaky Bay and indulge in some freshly shucked oysters at the Coffin Bay Oyster Farm or savour some award-winning wines in the town of Port Lincoln.

Port Augusta

Best attractions:

  • Wadlata Outback Centre
  • Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden
  • Water Tower Lookout
  • Mount Remarkable National Park

Port Augusta, often hailed as the ‘crossroads of Australia’, isn’t just a stopover destination for those travelling between major cities. It’s a charming town filled with rich history and stunning natural landscapes. Step way back in time with a visit to the Wadlata Outback Centre where you can learn all about the local history, from the time of the dinosaurs to Indigenous settlement and current modern life in the Australian outback. For an enlightening experience, head to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, where you can learn more about the unique and diverse plant life of Australia’s arid regions. For breathtaking views of Port Augusta and its surrounding landscape, make your way to the Water Tower Lookout. From here, you can even see the Spencer Gulf and Flinders Ranges.

Port Augusta to Adelaide

Best attractions:

  • Wine regions (Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, and more)
  • Whyalla Maritime Museum
  • National Railway Museum
  • Port Pirie Regional Tourism and Arts Centre

You’re on the last stretch to your final destination in Adelaide, and there are still many exciting destinations not to be missed along the way. Pamper yourself with some of the most exquisite food and wine with a trip to Clare Valley and the many other renowned wine regions in the area. There are also plenty of museums where hands-on exhibits and knowledgeable guides bring the rich heritage of this region to life. Places like Whyalla Maritime Museum and the National Railway Museum will be definite hits with the whole family.

South Australian countryside

Top stop (especially for vegans): Once you get to Adelaide, be sure to visit Two Bit Villains – located in Adelaide Arcade’s historic Grand Ballroom, this diner boasts some of Adelaide’s best veggie burgers and hotdogs – not to mention, they have their very own vegan grocery and butchery!

Travel Tips for Your Perth to Adelaide Road Trip

Making the journey across the Australian continent by car is not your average road trip. You’ll face stretches without any phone signal and petrol stations aren’t always just around the corner. Here are some top tips to keep safe and prepared for a pleasant adventure.

  • Plan your rest stops: Ensure you take regular breaks to avoid fatigue. Aim for at least a 15-minute rest every two hours and have a good night’s sleep if travelling for multiple days.
  • Pack enough emergency food and water: Keep non-perishable food items and plenty of water in the car in case of unexpected delays or breakdowns.
  • Plan your refuelling stops: Research and note down the locations of petrol stations along the route, especially considering the long stretches without service on the Nullarbor Plain.
  • Check biosecurity laws for each state: Be aware of the biosecurity regulations between Western Australia and South Australia. Dispose of restricted fruits, vegetables, and plants accordingly to avoid fines.
  • Insurance for remote towing: Confirm that your vehicle insurance policy includes coverage for towing and emergencies. Ensure that it applies to remote areas between Perth and Adelaide that you’ll be passing through.
  • Share your itinerary: Before setting off, inform friends or family of your road trip. You can even let them know you’ll send them a text at each major stop so they know you’re alright.
  • Ensure your car is in good condition before setting off: Do a basic check-up of your car including tyres, radiator coolant level, brakes, and lights.
  • Beware of road trains: You’ll find many large, heavy road trains along your journey. Keep a safe distance from them and try to give yourself extra road space ahead of you when overtaking them.
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Hire the perfect car for your Perth to Adelaide road trip

Whether you’re looking for a rugged SUV or a large people mover for your Perth to Adelaide road trip, you’ll find your perfect vehicle on Turo. Browse a wide range of cars and vans at affordable rates with many possible customisations like delivery to your location. Convenient add-ons like GPS systems and child seats are also available to make your trip a breeze.



Dawn Teh

Dawn Teh

Dawn, an ex-psychologist and avid travel writer, blends her expertise in human behaviour with her passion for adventure. Her writing reflects a unique perspective on personal growth, wanderlust and what it is that helps humans thrive. Her current mission is to live the van life and tour the Australian outback with her family.

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