The South West Edge – The Hero Route

The South West Edge is an epic 12 day road trip around the southern tip of Western Australia. It will fill your lungs with discovery and wonderment - every turn giving you a new experience.

Discover a journey into the heartland of an undisturbed and uncrowded Australia – a road trip that will change you forever. It’s an adventure that will fill your lungs, leave you in awe, and breathing more deeply. It feeds your soul with discovery and wonderment; every turn giving you a new experience to linger and absorb.

This epic road trip journeys around the south western edge of Western Australia through wine regions, towering forests and along marine life-rich coast before returning to Perth across the outback. The Edge can be done in just 12 days and travels from Perth to Esperance, returning via Kalgoorlie or Hyden (Wave Rock).

A drone shot of a long stretch of road next to pristine blue coastline
Great Ocean Drive
Chapter 1

Rottnest Island

Your journey en route along The Edge starts in Perth. On day one, jump on a ferry ride from Fremantle to the picturesque Rottnest Island.

Note: Rottnest ferries take approximately 25 minutes from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour, or 90 minutes from Perth's Barrack Street Jetty.

Here you can hire a bike and explore the many beaches that are perfect for snorkelling, including The Basin, plus Mermaid Pools and blowholes. Meet friendly quokkas and enjoy the Thompson Bay Settlement or hop on a Rottnest seafood tour to experience fresh delicacies before catching the ferry back to the mainland.

Chapter 2

Rottnest to Fremantle


Catch the ferry back to Fremantle to overnight. Stay in the historic town of Fremantle, which has a vibrant arts scene and plenty of boutique shops for some retail therapy. Enjoy the gourmet café culture of Fremantle for breakfast and browse local boutiques for unique or vintage finds.

Chapter 3

Fremantle to Ferguson Valley


Jump in your car and head to Bunbury via the rolling hills of the Ferguson Valley. Spend the morning wine tasting, hiking or mountain biking in Wellington Forest National Park and stop by Black Diamond Lake near Collie for a view of turquoise waters. Pack a picnic with fresh produce to be enjoyed at Honeymoon Pools, where you can take a dip or kayak down the Collie River.

Take a picnic hamper or go for a swim at Honeymoon Pool in the Wellington Forest National Park. Here, the cool, crisp waters of the Collie River are shaded by an overhanging canopy of peppermint trees. Soak up the sun on the wooden platform, wander the trails along the banks of the river, or explore by water on the kayak trail. Flowing rivers, leisurely bushwalking and ample picnic spots await in Wellington National Park. The central point is the Wellington Dam, which is painted with the world's largest dam mural at 8,000sqm.Ssurrounded by jarrah, marri and blackbutt forests, over 300 species of wildflowers bloom in the park during spring.

Don't miss the beautiful Black Diamond Lake, which has risen to Instagram fame due to its vibrant colour. The viral popularity of a picturesque isolated swimming hole on social media has led to a tourism boom at a West Australian lake that is inside an abandoned mine. You might have seen images of swimmers floating peacefully on an aqua lake so bright in colour, it looks digitally enhanced. Don't forget to bring your inflatable floaty toys! Black Diamond Lake is an abandoned mine site south of Perth. The lake filled with water after it was decommissioned in the 1950s and has been a popular swimming hole for locals ever since. The town of Collie is only 5 kilometres south-east of the lake, so make sure to drop in for a bite to eat, do a bit of shopping and check out the visitor information centre to find out what else you can get up to in Collie. There have also been water quality issues and signage has been erected to warn swimmers when dangerous levels of bacteria are present in the water. So make sure to read these signs before you head on in.

Chapter 4

Ferguson Valley to Bunbury


Roll into Bunbury, where you can purchase fresh local produce from farmers markets, meet native animals and shop quaint boutiques.

Fill your your hamper with fresh local produce from farmers markets, meet native animals at a wildlife park, shop local boutiques and spot vibrant street art before spending the evening immersed in the nightlife at one of the many bars and restaurants. Overnight in Bunbury and wake to interact with the friendly wild dolphins of Koombana Bay or SUP in the calm, still water of the bay.

Visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre to interact with wild bottlenose dolphins. With so many dolphins living along the coast, Bunbury and Koombana Bay offer the perfect opportunity for dolphins and humans to meet and interact right. The Interaction Zone has been designated as a special dolphin protection area for this very purpose. Under strict license conditions set out by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (BDCA), the Centre has been able to offer a unique interactive experience on the beach right in front of the Centre since 1989. Dolphin Volunteers have been trained to ensure the interaction guidelines are followed and they will always be present on the beach to answer your questions and manage the interaction should dolphins visit the zone. Inside you'll find the beachside cafe and the new Interpretive Centre which showcases an expanded range of themed fish and coral aquariums.

Chapter 5

Bunbury to Busselton


Depart for the Margaret River region, beginning at Busselton. Swing amongst the trees on a high ropes course or dive below the Busselton Jetty for a view of colourful sealife. Extending 1.8kms over the protected waters of Geographe Bay, the heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Walk or catch the electric solar-powered train to the end of the jetty, where you can explore unique coral and sea-life in the Underwater Observatory. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Australia, it is a must see for any visitor to the Margaret River region.

Indulge in gourmet food at beachfront dining as you make your way towards Dunsborough and Yallingup.

Chapter 6

Busselton to Yallingup


Explore the breathtaking coastline of Yallingup, hike the Cape to Cape Track and spot migrating whales from winter through spring.

Visit incredible coastal spots like Sugarloaf Rock, Canal Rocks and Injidup Natural Spa near Yallingup today and spot whales as they migrate along the coast from winter through spring.

Is it real, or a simulation? Rising above the ocean like a tessellated pyramid, Margaret River’s famous Sugarloaf Rock draws an open-mouthed audience each day as the descending sun sets into the ocean, framing the enormous rock formation with a clear, rose-hued light. You may also wish to follow the lead of other clever picnickers and bring your own champagne hamper; there’s plenty of space to find your own snuggly viewing spot within the wildflower-dotted scrub nearby.

Experience unique rock formations and gushing ocean at Canal Rocks. Stand on a wooden bridge and watch as the crystal-clear waves flow beneath your feet. Long enjoyed by locals, Injidup Natural Spa is the result of a high rock shelf on one side, which creates a natural barrier against the ocean’s tidal movements. As waves crash onto the rocks, they filter through cracks like natural bubble jets, causing a temporary ‘spa’ in the stunningly clear water.

Feeling adventurous? Hike the Cape to Cape Track between the lighthouses, or connect with the world’s oldest living culture through an Aboriginal experience.

Overnight in Yallingup before sampling your way along Caves Road towards Margaret River.

Chapter 7

Yallingup to Margaret River


Spend the day exploring Margaret River, famous for its premium wines, ancient limestone caves and world-class surf.

Famous for its premium wines and world-class surf, Margaret River is also home to plenty of restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries for foodies to enjoy. Visit cellar doors and meet the makers on guided tours with nature-meets-gourmet experiences. Adventure seekers can ride the waves, go rock climbing or abseiling, or take a kayak or canoe along the Margaret River. Overnight in Margaret River and wake up to savour the natural surroundings with plenty of underground caves and the stunning Boranup Forest, and see the wild rays at Hamelin Bay near Augusta and climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. This historic lighthouse is situated just south of Augusta, at the tip of a spectacular peninsula - where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet - the most south-westerly point of Australia.

Chapter 8

Margaret River to Manjimup via Nannup


On day five, drive to Pemberton through Nannup and Manjimup; home to the Périgord truffle. Known as Australia's truffle heartland, Manjimup has some of the most nutrient-rich soils perfect for growing truffles. In winter, join a truffle dog hunt to search for this black gold and indulge on truffles at one of the region's restaurants. Feast on other local delights such as marron, trout, cherries and chestnuts along the way.

Chapter 9

Manjimup to Pemberton


Make your way to Pemberton, where you can stretch your legs on mountain bike trails, hike the Bibbulmum Track or scale a climbing tree.

Need to stretch your legs? Ride one of the many mountain bike trails surrounding Pemberton, or tackle the Munda Biddi, hike the Bibbulmun Track and admire Beedelup Falls. Test your fear of heights at the 58m-tall Gloucester Tree, or the 75m-tall Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, once used as fire-lookouts, and climb their makeshift ladders to the top. Overnight in Pemberton before exploring one of the world’s largest moving sand dune systems, Yeagarup Dunes, on a four-wheel drive tour.

Chapter 10

Pemberton to Walpole via Northcliffe


Make your way towards Denmark via Northcliffe and Walpole.

On the way, stretch your legs at the Understory Art & Nature Trail from the Northcliffe Visitor Centre. Then, enjoy views at Mount Chudalup, taking the 1.5-kilometre Summit Walk Trail. Here, you'll be rewarded with 360 degree views over the surrounding karri forest and coast.

Once in Walpole, join a Walpole inlet eco-cruise and get a birds-eye view of the forest from a 40m high tree top walk amongst giant tingle trees at Valley of the Giants.

Explore the beauty of the treetops on a lightweight cabled walkway, which leads you high above the leafy canopy across a series of aerial platforms that gently sway back and forth with the breeze. Then, back on the ground, follow a twisting pathway through the forest floor to see their size and grandeur up close. As well as the famous karri trees native to the region, the valley is home to red tingle trees which, fittingly, often impart a sense of tingling wonder in those who come to see them


Chapter 11

Walpole to Denmark


On the way to Denmark visit Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks where you'll see peppermint-tinged waters framed by huge boulders.

Spend some time exploring Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks - framed by huge boulders which act as a protective shore break for the peppermint tinged waters, this sanctuary is perfect for snorkelling.

You’ll find Greens Pool in William Bay National Park, just twenty minutes from Denmark. A hop, a skip and a jump down the short walking track and you’ll reach your reward: postcard-perfect views that are even prettier in three dimensions. Thanks to a shore-break of smooth boulders, this shallow-bottomed body of water is protected by the ocean’s normal current, creating a giant natural pool of water in hues of pastel peppermint. Join the locals and kick out a few morning laps across its top, or make do with a splash in the shallows and relax on the flat, sun-warmed rocks. Local tip: small multi-coloured coral communities have sprung up underwater around the base of the boulders; pack your snorkel for a close-up look.

A stone’s throw from Greens Pool, the peppermint-tinged waters at Elephant Rocks in Denmark juxta positioned with the giant boulders will give you another vibe entirely. Here, humongous rock formations resemble the world's largest land mammals; giving the coastal gem it’s name

Sample the gourmet producers and cellar doors along Scotsdale Tourist Drive and Mount Shadforth Scenic Drive before overnighting in Denmark.

Chapter 12

Denmark to Albany


Next stop is Albany, where you’ll find farmers markets, fresh oysters, and some of the most pristine beaches this side of the equator.

Explore Albany Farmers Market, trying fresh oysters and marron galore, before adventuring to some of the most pristine beaches this side of the equator. Go paragliding at Shelley Beach, or wreck diving in King George Sound. Visit the striking coast at The Gap and Natural Bridge and historical attractions at Discovery Bay. Ready to take a safari, South West style? Spend an extra day between January and April to join the Bremer Bay orca tour, chasing the largest-known pod of orca in the Southern Hemisphere. Overnight in Albany.

Chapter 13

Albany to Porongurup


Start early today and drive inland to Porongurup to hike the Granite Skywalk, sip Great Southern wines, and search for wildflowers in spring.

Start early today and drive inland where it's another world entirely. Hike the trails in Porongurup National Park and climb to the top of the Granite Skywalk for spectacular views across the jarrah, marri and karri forest, and undulating farmland.Reward yourself with lunch at one of the boutique Porongurup wineries. Search for wildflowers in spring or stay to climb one of Western Australia’s highest peaks, Bluff Knoll for sweeping views of the Stirling Range National Park.

Chapter 14

Porongurup to Hopetoun


Spot the arrays of wildflowers during spring as you make your way through to Hopetoun.

Overnight in the coastal town of Hopetoun. Rise early to explore the unique wildflowers and fauna of Fitzgerald River National Park, not to mention the dramatic coastal views perfect for whale spotting during winter and spring.

With 20% of Western Australia’s wildflowers found here alone, not to mention the dramatic coastal views, you'll want to spend some time exploring. Fitzgerald River is renowned for its rugged hinterland, coastal scenery and rare plant species, many unique to the park. In spring, the landscape is dotted with colourful wildflowers including banksias, hakeas, bottlebrush, feather flowers, Quaalup bell and many others. Go bushwalking on one of the trails - including to the top of East Mount Barren - and you might spot endangered native animals like the dibbler, a small marsupial which has recently been rediscovered in the park.

Chapter 15

Hopetoun to Esperance


Next, head to Esperance and sip on refreshments at the local brewery, sample local produce and take in the town museums and craft shops.

Keep the adventure rolling by exploring the numerous lagoons and beaches along the breathtaking 40km loop of the Great Ocean Drive before watching a sunset at twilight.Overnight here for the next two nights, taking day trips or tours from Esperance. The nearby Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park lives up to its name in plenty of ways – translucent water and sand like icing sugar, not to mention sunbaking kangaroos! Explore other stunning beaches around Esperance via coastal walk trails - hike up Frenchman Peak or soak up the impressive turquoise ocean views of Hellfire Bay. Or for a bird’s eye view, take a scenic flight to witness the striking juxtaposition of bubblegum pink Lake Hillier on Middle Island against the blue ocean.

Chapter 16

Esperance to Hyden


Return to Perth via Hyden or Kalgoorlie over the next two days – the choice is yours!

If you travel through Hyden, be sure to stop in Ravensthorpe on your way.

Once in Hyden, visit the impressive Wave Rock. Thought to have formed some 130 million years ago, Wave Rock is entirely natural and measures about 15km (roughly three storeys) in height. It’s the perfect end to your Instagram highlights reel. Alternatively,travel back to Perth via Kalgoorlie and immerse yourself in living gold history, quirky outback pubs and be stunned by the scale of the Superpit gold mine.

Chapter 17

Hyden to Perth


Back in Perth, spend the evening discovering Perth’s bar and restaurant scene.

You don’t have to stray too far from your accommodation to find some of Perth’s best fine-dining restaurants or take in a sunset and enjoy the idyllic climate at a trendy roof-top bar.

Chapter 1

The Start


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