Which do you prefer, a beach holiday or an active vacay in the forest? Well in Australia’s Southwest you can have both! This perfect week long road trip itinerary will take you through the majestic Southern Forests showing you all the highlights, with free or cheap camp suggestions. Of course you may decide to treat yourself to some of the gorgeous luxury accomodation along the way. You’ll find everything you dream of for your SW WA road trip in this region.
Day 1: Perth to Greenbushes
245km – 2 hrs 45mins
Set off in the morning to enjoy a nice drive south through the Southern Forests of WA. The bustle of city life is easily forgotten when you coast down the Forest Highway and then through the rolling hills through Bailingup, Greenbushes and Bridgetown.
Set up camp at Greenbushes Pool and have a dip in the glorious lake to refresh after your drive. You can enjoy an evening stroll around one of the many walk trails in Greenbushes or head to the Greenbushes Hotel for dinner and some entertainment. If you get time you can check out the Greenbushes Discovery Centre to experience what it would have been like to work down a mine shaft or in a timber mill.
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Greenbushes Pool: $5 per adult donation at the service station. Toilets and BBQ’s provided as well as a park and fenced off shallow shore of the lake for children.
Day 2-3: Greenbushes to Northcliffe
110km – 1hr 20mins
In the morning have a stroll through Bridgetown Main Street and stop for breakfast at one of the many cafes. You’ll find many local crafts and arts in Bridgetown which is famous for it’s quirky atmosphere.
Continue south through Pemberton stopping for a swim at Pemberton Pool, then on to The Cascades for a gentle hike along Lefroy Brook.
In season you can pick up crates of avocado straight from the farm gates, perfect for a light simmer salad or home-made guacamole dip.
Camp at Sid’s camp in Northcliffe, a gorgeous bush camp with unique solar showered made from old ute canopies and bits and bobs collected from around the farm. Sid’s Camp is a destination within itself with several walk trails around the many dams and abundant bird life. On the weekends you an enjoy a beer around the open fire with Sid and wife Ann, a great fun camp community tradition.
Sid’s Camp: $5 per adult and $1 per child unpowered, add $10 per night for power. Solar showers, toilets, camp kitchen and ‘Bull Bar’ with a music system, TV and wood burning stove.
If you have the time why not stay a few days and explore the wonderful black basalt columns of Black Point or the many beaches in D’Entrecastreaux National Park. Nearby you can climb Mount Chudalup for the best seat in the house to watch sunset. There is no shortage of places to go for a swim to cool down around the Southern Forests.
Day 4: Northcliffe to Walpole
100km – 1hr 10mins
Today you pass through the glorious and ancient Walpole Wilderness area. The best way to truly experience the Southern Forests is to take a walk around the Valley Of The Giants. This incredible tree top walk gives a unique perspective and is an experience you will not forget in a hurry.
Continue back to the coast to check out the dramatic cliffs and wonderful ocean views from Conspicuous Cliffs. Camp for the night at Parry’s Beach where you can fish for your own dinner or take a hike along the Bibbulmun Track.
Just around the bay from Parry’s Beach is the wonderfully clear water of Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks. You won’t want to miss this famous spot on your road trip!
Parry’s Beach: $17 for 2 people per night plus $8.50 per additional adult and $3 for children 6-15 years. under 6 years are free. Toilets, solar shower, camp kitchen
If you choose to stay extra days you can climb to the summit of Mount Frankland and check out my favourite family-friendly beaches between Walpole and Denmark.
Day 5-6: Walpole to Albany
120km – 1hr 20mins
You will never get bored exploring this coastline! its so many hidden beaches and secluded bays you could spend a month here! Albany’s Historic Whaling Station at Discovery Bay makes for a fascinating and informative morning detailing both the economic dependence of whaling in the past and conservation efforts today and in the future.
Check out The Gap and the Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park then enjoy dinner with a view at Due South Restaurant on Albany’s foreshore. Fall asleep listening to the waves at Cosy Corner East campground, Start the day the very best way by taking a dip in the Southern Ocean just footsteps from your camp. Take a short drive up to Shelley Beach in West Cape Howe National Park (2WD accessible)
A 4WD adventure into West Cape Howe National Park is definitely recommended if you are able to spend a few extra days. You’ll find imposing black dolerite cliffs and hidden little beaches – a 4WD adventure for sure!
Cosy Corner East Camp: free with a 7 day max stay in peak season. Toilets and an RV dump point.
Day 5: Albany to Perth
420km – 4hrs 40mins
No one wants a holiday to end so why not detour on your way back north to take in the stunning scenery of the Porongurups and the Stirling Ranges. Stop off to climb the Granite Sky Walk or if you’re really lucky you might even time your trip to see snow on the summit of Bluff Knoll! Though that only happens once every few years.
So what was your favourite part of the Southern Forests of Western Australia? Have somewhere to add? Why tell us in the comments below 🙂