Western Australia ? South-West Coast driving holiday.
Great Australian Road Trips
Okay, so road trips in Western Australia might bring to mind punishing distances and dusty towns, and accidentally forgetting to fill up on petrol only to pass your remaining three days under the thin shade of a dead tree wondering if any car is likely to come your way. And no doubt this is readily available in a state the size of many small countries sticky-taped together, with frequent stretches of desert.
For those with different tastes, the classy (and petrol-station dotted) option is the gorgeous coast to the south of Perth, with the south-west pocket of Bunbury, Margaret River and Albany, stretching on east to Esperance and Cape Arid National Park.
Getting started ? from Perth downwards.
So have a bit of a wander around Perth ? check out Fremantle (where the Perth cappuccino elite head en masse on the weekend) and commune with the cute furry side of nature on a day-trip to Rottnest Island. Not the most attractive name for an island, but the quokkas (little kangaroo-rat things with a penchant for your peanut butter sandwiches) and the gorgeous beaches make this a brilliant side trip. Just make sure you bring your bicycle legs for the day, as there's hardly any motorised transportation. After that, it's onwards in a southerly direction.
Need a car for your road trip? Hire one at Car Rental Perth.
Wine, more wine, and then some nibbley things.
Right, so first you'll need to make a stop at Bunbury, if only for a day or so to have a traipse around, stretch the legs, and have a dabble at the water's edge to chance a meeting with a dolphin or two.
Then it's time to get serious and head on in to the Margaret River Region. Winos and gourmands will happily revel in many chance encounters with world-class restaurants (sometimes attached to wineries) which dot the countryside. Surfers may never want to come back in from the swell ? the surfing here is world-renowned.
Further along the coast, before you arrive in Albany for a frolic, you'll want to have some quality time with some very tall plants. This here is Tall Timber Country, and the karri forests will imbue you with a somber respect for all things leafy. Stop off at the Valley of the Giants to take the Treetop walk, or take on the Gloucestor Tree near Pemberton ? steps fixed around its trunk allow you to climb up 60 metres high.
A day-trip out from Albany will thrust you into the heart of another wine-growing region (it seems the one necessity of this road trip would be a designated driver) ? the Mount Barker, Porongurup National Park and Frankland area can get you over the driving limit in the most delightful way.
And finally, a short drive away is the lovely town of Esperance and its ridiculously blue ocean, situated at the western end of the Archipelago of Recherch. The archipelago has 110 coastal islands ? full of crafty old goats and colonies of seals ? which you can tramp about on at your leisure. Or there's always a rewarding trek to be had in surrounding national parks like Cape Le Grand and Cape Arid.
From Esperance you've got the option of returning to Perth via an inland route, maybe heading up to Kalgoorlie before heading back on the Great Eastern Highway, or really change your road trip's tempo, nip up north and turn right onto the Eyre Highway.
In that case you'd better steel yourself for a very long drive to Adelaide on a straight road which goes for thousands of kilometres through an unvarying landscape designed especially to send you insane. Or, perhaps returning to Perth to hop on a plane going that direction might be a more attractive option?
Need a car to get you started?
There's loads of websites that collect the specials of all the car rental companies to save you time looking around. Just do a google search for "car hire deals" or check out a website like http://www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au which often has some good Perth and Western Australia specials.
Take care on those roads and keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos!
Vroom Vroom Vroom / Carhire