If you ask the average Perth local where they are going over the summer you will invariably hear “down south”. This not-so-small corner of the country is gaining in popularity, but it’s fair to say that it still remains somewhat of a hidden gem.

The south west has it all – vast areas of forest, an endless coastline and more national parks than you can poke a hiking pole at. The opportunities for getting outdoors are endless, and if you know where to look there are some really special spots. It’s prime road trip territory so maybe you should make your next road trip a South West Australia road trip. Just make sure you bring your sense of adventure.

Below you will find 5 of the best outdoor adventures in Australia’s South West. Some are popular and some are a little off the beaten path, but they are all unforgettable.

Things to Know for these South West Australia Adventures

Getting Around

W.A is a big state and these adventures are quite far from Perth, the only major city. The only way to reach these spots is by car or on an organised tour.

Given the long driving distances, the best option is to explore as many as you can on one trip. An epic South West Australia road trip from Perth to Esperance will take you to every single one of these spots.

National Park Entry Fees

Entry fees apply for every spot on this list, but you can cover them all with a single national park pass. If you are planning to explore W.A then check out the official website to find the best pass for your needs.

Best Time of Year

The south-west has a Mediterranean climate which means warm summers and wet winters. Spring also tends to have a lot of rain in this region. 

The beaches of Cape Le Grand are best seen in summer. For the best chance of dry weather, plan the other adventures between November and April.

Watch the Sunset from Castle Rock

South West Australia road trip - Castle Rock

Porongurup National Park is located around 50 kilometres from the popular tourist town of Albany. The park features several great hikes and a number of premium wineries.

The most popular activity is hiking up to the Granite Skywalk on Castle Rock. This purpose-built glass viewing platform wraps around the huge granite boulder. It is accessed by some fun scrambling up rocks and climbing a ladder so requires a moderate level of fitness.

The views from the top are phenomenal at any time of day but this place is particularly special at sunset. While this is a popular spot, it is far enough off the beaten path that you will more often than not be the only one up there.

The trail is 4.7km return and well maintained. The last part near the top is challenging but the majority of the trail is moderate. Make sure to bring a good head torch as the dense forest means it gets dark really quickly after sunset.

Distance from Perth: 397 km / 4 hr 35 min
Cost: Standard National Park Entry Fee

Climb Above the Treetops in Pemberton

The small town of Pemberton sits amongst some of the most beautiful forests in the state. It was traditionally a forestry town but luckily this has been greatly reduced in favour of tourism.

The town hosts one of the most unique outdoor experiences in Australia. This involves climbing up huge old-growth trees that were used as fire lookouts.

There are steel rods inserted into the tree and spiralling around it all the way to the top. There are a couple of cabins at the very top with stunning views of the canopy.

The two trees you can climb are called the Gloucester Tree and the Bicentennial Tree. They are both either in town or a short drive from town and measure 58m and 75m high respectively.

The Bicentennial Tree especially towers above the surrounding canopy. The view from the top as the trees blow in the wind is like watching a roiling ocean of green.

Distance from Perth: 324km – 3hr 40min
Cost: Standard National Park Entry Fee

Pemberton Fire Lookout Trees

Hike Between Western Australia’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Cape Le Grand Beaches - Western Australia

If you have ever seen a list of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, chances are you will have heard of Lucky Bay. This beach is located in the Cape Le Grand National Park near the town of Esperance.

To be fair to the other destinations on these lists, what they don’t tell you is that this park is home to 5 of Australia’s best beaches! Several of them are quite close together and there is an amazing hiking trail linking them.

Separating each bay are hilly headlands that offer spectacular panoramas of the turquoise waters and brilliant white sands. The best part however is that each time you reach another bay you get to cool off in the crystal clear waters.

Keep in mind that all the hikes are out and back so you need to factor in return distance or team up and leave a car at the finish point. Starting from Lucky Bay (which has an excellent campground), the closest bay is a 4-kilometre return walk.

For a bonus adventure, you can 4WD all the way back to Esperance along Cape Le Grand Beach. This is a remote area and has areas of very soft sand so make sure you’re well equipped.

Distance from Perth: 755km – 8hr 25min
Cost: Standard National Park Entry Fee

Explore the Valley of the Giants

South West Australia road trips: Valley of the Giants

The town of Walpole is a short drive from the popular tourist hotspot of Denmark. You can easily base yourself there when completing this adventure. You can then also enjoy the world-class wineries, beautiful beaches and many accommodation options.

The evocatively named ‘Valley of the Giants’ is perhaps the most pristine and beautiful area of old-growth forest in W.A. The Walpole-Nornalup National Park is host to a huge area of giant Tingle and Karri trees, some of which are over 400 years old.

You can explore this magnificent view from both the ground and the air. Pay a visit to the Treetop Walk and you can take a stroll through the canopy at around 40m above the ground. Once you descend there is a second walking trail that takes you around the forest floor.

If you jump back on the main road and drive a little further towards Walpole you can also visit the Giant Tingle Tree and Hilltop Lookout. This is a 450-year-old tree that has been hollowed out by fire but continues to grow. The Hilltop Lookout offers amazing views over the forest, all the way to the ocean.

Distance from Perth: 430km – 5hr
Cost: Standard National Park Entry Fee + Treetop Walk Entry Fee
Adult $21.00
Child (6-15) $10.50
Child (under 5) Free
Concession $15.50
Family (2A, 2C) $52.50

Go Caving in Margaret River

South West Australia road trip: Margaret River Caving
The aptly named Caves Rd follows the Margaret River coastline and allows access to many amazing caves. The ground here is made up of porous limestone which commonly forms extensive cave systems.

Several of the caves have been well developed with lighting and walkways so you can easily explore on a self-guided tour or with a guide.

The most popular and accessible caves are Mammoth Cave, Lake Cave and Calgardup Cave. If you only have the time/money for one or two then the first two are the best.

For more of an adventure check out Giants Cave, this cave requires ladder climbs, tight tunnels and some rock scrambling.

If you want to do some proper caving, then you should check out the offerings from Margaret River Climbing Co. They offer guided tours to lesser-known caves that are accessed with ropes and torches.

When you have finished exploring under the ground, you will be perfectly positioned to access some of Margaret River’s best beaches at Hamelin Bay and Prevelly.

Distance from Perth: 270km – 3hr
Cost: Prices vary depending on the cave and tour type. Explore all the options here.

Have you been on a South West Australia road trip? Got it on your bucket list? Got any questions, comments, updates or corrections? Let us know by commenting below.