Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Travels with Kids
A Margaret River to Albany road trip is amongst the most epic things you can do in Western Australia! Essentially a South West Australia road trip, you will see this route recently marketed as “The South West Edge”.
We are taking the best of the South West Edge itinerary and giving you lots of insider detail and hot tips! We honestly think the section from Margaret River to Albany is the absolute best of this area. Once leaving the gorgeous hills and coast of Margaret River, you will travel through the tall timber at Pemberton – these surely are the most beautiful forests in Western Australia – and into the pristine, Walpole Wilderness (marketed as ‘Litter Free’). Then, you hit the coast near Walpole and you will discover the truly amazing South Coast.
The South Coast Western Australia has to be one of the most rugged, wild, and isolated places on earth. Visitors to the South Coast of Western Australia seem to overlook it alongside its far more sophisticated and glamorous, cousin Margaret River. While the Margaret River Wine Region becomes more populous and even trendier (if that is possible), the South Coast offers that wilderness, and life in harmony with nature that originally made the Margaret River region so very attractive.
Your south coast adventure takes a turn to the north in Albany as we direct you back up the Albany Highway. Here we offer a few suggestions to make your Albany to Perth road trip memorable! For example, you might like to take a detour to explore the Porongurup National Park, especially the Granite Skywalk and Castle Rock.
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Why Take Our Advice On This Margaret River To Albany Road Trip
There is a lot of information out there on the web. When you are planning a trip you need to be able to trust the advice given. So why trust us? We’ve traveled these roads many times over the years. Yes, we are locals to Western Australia, and we know the best places to stop. There are places that are included on other blogger’s lists of things to do on the South Coast of Western Australia that we haven’t included, because … well… we are valuing your time.
What Are The Amazing South Coast And The South West Edge
It is going to sound a touch boring, but these are both marketing terms that are used to describe some of the areas we mention in our Margaret River to Albany road trip information.
The South West Edge is an itinerary of 12 days that covers the 1200 km from Perth to Esperance. This road trip takes you through the wine regions around Busselton and Margaret River before heading down to the South Coast with is fresh air and isolated beaches. The South West Edge itinerary ends up at Esperance before heading inland to the outback before traveling back to Perth. Do check out the South West Edge Instagram, you will really get a feel for what makes this area so awesome!
The Amazing South Coast is another marketing term and is much more specific. It refers to the towns of Albany and Denmark which are both on the Southern Coast of Western Australia. The name ‘Amazing South Coast’ refers to the fact that this has to be one of the wildest, rugged and AMAZING coastlines in the world!
Most Instagrammable Places In South Coast Of Western Australia
There are some incredible Insta spots along the South Coast of Western Australia! The best news is that there are so few tourists that you shouldn’t have to wait long (if at all) to get that people free Insta-winner.
During our Margaret River to Albany road trip, we have also outlined what are the best Instagram spots along the Amazing South Coast.
Our Perth to Margaret River tips are covered comprehensively in our post From Perth to Margaret River Road Trip.
Our South West Australia Road Trip tips are covered in the A Guide To South West WA – South West Australia Road Trip Ideas.
We like to write long detailed recommendations – that’s why they are separate posts. However, if you are reading this and think “why can’t they just do a ‘day by day’ this is what you must see – we’d be happy to oblige! Just shoot a message on socials or comment below with “we want a day by day itinerary of the South West and South Coast areas of Western Australia”!
Margaret River Region
If you are looking for Margaret River highlights take a look at our family-oriented highlights, the Best Of Margaret River With Kids. If you would like to sit back, relax, and enjoy a beer, then we’ve also comprehensively summarised the Best Breweries In Margaret River for your reading pleasure!
Before heading down to the South Coast WA on your road trip, and leaving the Margaret River region behind, you might want to consider making a stop at Augusta. The distance from Margaret River to Augusta is about 40 km and takes about 30 minutes to drive. If you have time then we would highly recommend taking a trip from the Augusta Boat harbour to see the whale migration – if you are short of time then head over to the mind-blowing (blowing as in windy) Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse for stunning views
Margaret River To Pemberton
Your first stop on this epic Margaret to Albany road trip will be Pemberton. There are two ways that Google Maps will direct you from Margaret River to Pemberton depending on what part of the Margaret River region you are in. The first way will send you via Nannup and then to Pemberton WA. The second way is directly to Pemberton along the Brockman Highway.
If you have plenty of time then Nannup makes a truly lovely place to stop for a cup of tea and a scone at one of the heritage tea rooms, wander along the charming main street which feels like you have stepped back in time. In August the town becomes alive with color for the annual flower festival. It’s on my bucket list to experience this famous flower festival soon!
Things To Do In Pemberton WA
If there is one thing you do in Pemberton WA then enjoy the stunning forests in Western Australia – they are oh, so beautiful. These forests feature the Karri tree (Eucalyptus Diversicolor) which gets its Latin name from the changing color of its creamy white bark. These straight trees are the tallest trees in Western Australia and one of the tallest hardwood trees in the whole world, growing up to about 80metres in height. The oldest karri trees grow to around 300 years and the forests around Pemberton have lots of old-growth forests. So we totally recommend get out, breath in the fresh air, and even do some forest bathing. You won’t regret it.
If you are short of time, then there are two must-do things in Pemberton WA, apart from experiencing the forest. One is climbing a forest lookout. The two that are open to the public around Pemberton WA are the Gloucester Tree, which is just in town, or the Dave Evans Bicentennial tree – which is out of town. Our other favorite thing in Pemby (as the locals call it) is visiting the beautiful Beedelup Falls. I keep saying I’m going to write about the best waterfalls in Western Australia, and when I do Beedelup will most definitely be on the list. If you are interested in waterfalls, be sure to read A Guide To The Best Waterfalls Perth.
If you can, allow 1 full day in Pemberton. We have covered the many things to do in the Best Things To Do In Pemberton WA. There are LOADS of ideas!
Most Instagrammable Place Pemberton WA– It has to be the fire tower lookouts! Even if you climb up a few rungs, you can get some very creative shots. Or, better still if you make it to the top you’ll get an awesome angle!
Things To Do Between Pemberton WA And Walpole WA
Once you leave Pemberton, you will head south either via the main highway or the village of Northcliffe. If you have an extra 15-20 minutes I’d recommend taking the road via Northcliffe and stopping there to see their excellent Understory exhibition. We have covered Northcliffe in detail in our A Guide To South West WA – South West Australia Road Trip Ideas.
I like the drive via Northcliffe as it passes through dairy farms before giving away to Forest. Shortly after turning back onto the main South West Highway, you will see the Shannon River which has camping and picnic areas should you wish to stop in a lovely spot in the forest.
Soon after, you will encounter the Walpole Wilderness. As would be expected with a wilderness area, what strikes you most is HOW MUCH forest there is. This wilderness area is a group of 7 National Parks that celebrate the land that is untouched by humans! Even for Australians, who are used to large spaces, this place is a gem with untouched beaches, forest,s and more. If you want just a taste, we recommend the Mt. Frankland Wilderness view at Mt Frankland, which can be visited via the Fernhook Falls road.
Walpole, South Coast of Western Australia
Having driven through a hundred kilometers of forest, when you arrive in the sleepy village of Walpole you feel like you are a long way from everywhere! The village itself has a big main street and some days in winter we’ve seen it with not a car in it.
Lots of people will race through Walpole in their excitement to either visit the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, or get to Denmark WA. We think they’re missing out. While the town of Walpole isn’t the most beautiful, the surroundings are truly incredible and it is an amazing nature-based destination. Hiking, kayaking, and exploring are all things you can do in Walpole.
For more walks and beaches that celebrate wilderness read our full review: TOP Things To Do In Walpole Western Australia.
The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk
This is the jewel in the crown of the Walpole area. It is certainly the place with the most bang for its buck. Walk 40 meters above the forest floor on a canopy walkway through 400-year-old red tingle trees that can measure up to 20 meters around at their base. This is a place of gigantic proportions and should not be missed! The Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is one place that should not be missed on any vacation to the South Coast of Western Australia.
We’ve written a post called A Complete Guide To The Valley Of The Giants Tree Top Walk Walpole. Or, is it Denmark’s tree top walk – ask a local and see how they reply!
Most instagrammable Spot In Walpole – Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk for sure. There are many places around Walpole that are spectacularly beautiful and will look totally gorg on your feed. However, the thing about Instagram is that if you are looking for likes and comments you need to look for iconic places! And so it is with our recommendation for Walpole. The best spot to get the Insta-winner is on the tree top walk. Another place with a lot of wow is the Giant Tingle Tree.
Wildflowers South West WA – Margaret River To Albany Road Trip
If you can plan to do your Margaret River to Albany road trip during the Western Australian spring (from August through the end of October) you will be rewarded with amazing wildflowers.
Last spring we drove the 100 km stretch between Manjimup and Walpole. We were rewarded with reds, yellows, purples, and whites for most of the trip. Take the opportunity to enjoy the quieter August through September period and be rewarded colorfully!
For the best hints of where and what to see we have also covered the wildflowers of the South West WA in our post Where To Find The Best Wildflowers In Western Australia.
Experience A Farm Stay South West WA
We think that Walpole WA is a wonderful place to experience a farm stay. Not just for the farm animal experience but for the solitude and isolation of the farm stays. If you are interested in a Walpole farm stay jump here to our summary at the end of the post.
Things To See Between The Valley of the Giants and Denmark WA
Peaceful Bay WA
After you leave the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk it is about 20 minutes drive to glorious Peaceful Bay. As the name suggests, this beautiful white sand beach and azure waters are often peaceful and picture-perfect.
There is a swimming beach that is also very Insta-friendly, and a dog beach which is popular with the locals. Peaceful Bay is what an old fashioned holiday used to be about. There is a simple shop (which serves up great fish n chips). Also a rustic Caravan park under the peppermint trees.
Kids can ride their bikes, eat ice-cream, and enjoy the beach. We cover everything to do around Peaceful Bay in A Guide To Peaceful Bay WA.
Instagram Alternative – Shhhh … don’t tell anyone but the beach at Peaceful Bay, with its azure waters, white sands, and granite rocks is just as beautiful as the Insta famous bay at Green’s Pool! You can get some lovely people-free shots here!
Green’s Pool – William Bay National Park
With waters so turquoise, you would think you are in the tropics! Green’s Pool is one of the best beaches on the South Coast. Overall, William Bay National Park offers stunning scenery. It also offers a sheltered swimming for the entire family. This is good especially when the wind is coming from the East.
We love exploring the granite outcrop “Elephant Rocks”. It is named for its likeness to a herd of elephants or going for a swim at Madfish Bay.
Most Popular Instagram Spot In Denmark WA – Greens Pool and Elephant Rocks are amongst the most photographed places on Instagram in Western Australia! People especially get some great shots with their drones, especially above Elephant Rocks. I noticed there was a special notice on the signs about drone usage at William Bay!
Denmark, South Coast of Western Australia
So-called the “next Margaret River”, a couple of days in this slightly hippy, but delightful Denmark is highly recommended. Located roughly in the middle of the other destinations in this guide (Albany and Walpole), you could base yourself here for an awesome place to explore the little-known South Coast region. For full information, take a look at the complete guide to The BEST Things To Do In Denmark WA.
Denmark Animal Farm
Formerly known as the Denmark Alpaca Farm. This little farm offers a lot of animals to pet in a small area. Our kids loved the kangaroos and alpacas. The parents can’t help but be charmed too. As a bonus, the Denmark Animal Farm is located on the extremely scenic Scotsdale Road which is dotted with a number of world-class wineries.
Denmark Animal Farm is so awesome it was included in “The Ultimate Guide to Australian Animal Encounters”.
Denmark Town & River Area
With so much to do in the surroundings, it is worth mentioning that the town of Denmark warrants some time. Buskers often play in the streets, and the kids will love the playgrounds, especially the Kwoorabup Community Adventure Park. Not your conventional playground, this fun, and funky nature park challenges your kids to play differently and use their imaginations. After you wander back into town, older kids might enjoy a paddle on the Denmark River.
Recommended Farm Stays Around Denmark WA
There is some lovely farm stays around Denmark. We have included some of these in the farm stays of WA section at the bottom of this post, or you could check out our complete guide to the The Best Denmark WA Accommodations.
Places To Eat Around Denmark Western Australia
There are some awesome restaurants around Denmark WA. In town one of our favorite options is Mrs. Jones Café or we recommend trying an award-winning pie from the delicious Denmark Bakery.
Boston Brewery wins our recommendation for family-friendly eateries in the Denmark area. With a relaxed atmosphere, live music, and a playground among the vines, it is tops. Check out our A must visit – Boston Brewing Denmark WA review.
Albany, South Coast Of Western Australia
Albany is the biggest city in the area and has lots to do and see for families. However, in our experience, you have to dig a little deeper to find the magic that is Albany. We have provided a complete collection in our Things To Do In Albany Western Australia.
Middleton Beach & Emu Point
Our kids love to play at both of these popular beaches. With well-equipped playgrounds, stunning beaches, and tasty café’s nearby there is plenty to do for at least half a day. Check out our complete wrap up of Albany Playgrounds. There is so much stunning scenery on the WA coast.
The Gap and Natural Bridge – Torndirrup National Park
These are stunning rock formations on the extremely wild and rugged coastline near Albany. Brand new, state of the art facilities mean that you can get close to these fascinating attractions, without being at risk. (When you see the location of these places you will see what we mean). We still held Master 3’s hand tightly, but overall it was safe for smaller children.
The Albany Windfarm
Our family believes that harnessing the power of the wind and sun. We believe it is vital for the future survival of our planet. A visit to the Albany wind farm gives you the chance to get up close and personal to huge wind turbines. It also helps to get an understanding of how electricity is made.
Discovery Bay – Whaleworld
Formerly known as Whale world, this complex includes the former Whaling Station, a Wildlife Park, and a Wildflower Garden. With a kids playground and restaurant, as well as impressive 3D movies that are shown in the converted whale oil tanks there is plenty for your kids. Ours particularly enjoyed exploring the old Whaler the Cheynes IV. Depending on the age of your kids, you might want to avoid some of the grislier explanations of what whaling was all about. Our 5-year-old was visibly perturbed. However, for older kids, a visit to the old Whaling Station is a valuable educational experience.
National Anzac Centre
We haven’t been to this recently built facility but it was voted as Australia’s No.1 Museum. Normally we don’t include places on our list that we can’t recommend personally. Friends who have visited with younger children found their interests were limited. We have decided to make a visit when our kids will better understand the information provided at this important facility. At a guess suitable for ages 8 up, but that is a guess!
Best Instagram Spot In Albany WA – I personally think that the best spot for Insta would be at The Gap, but I don’t see a lot of posts about it. I do see a lot of shots of people at Little Beach, at Two People’s Bay which is extremely pretty with white sands and blue water. Check out our information about Two Peoples Bay in our Things To Do In Albany Western Australia.
Places To Eat Around Albany WA
Places To Stay Around Albany
Dolphin Lodge – Self-contained apartments, very helpful staff. Choice of self-contained apartments, villas, or suites. Perfect accommodation for families visiting the area. Check here for current rates to stay at the Dolphin Lodge.
Albany Holiday Units – Very clean, well-appointed, self-contained units. Close to the National Anzac Centre and a short way to the beach. Check here for current rates to stay at Albany Holiday Units.
Albany Gardens Holiday Resort – Perfect family accommodations in Albany. They offer holiday units as well as and camping caravan facilities. The property also has a swimming pool. Check here for current rates to stay at Albany Gardens Holiday resort.
For a full list of accommodation around Albany Western Australia, read the Best Accommodation In Albany Western Australia.
What Are The Best Farm Stays South West WA
There are a number of farm stay experiences in the Walpole and Denmark areas. Seriously, what could be better than staying in a villa or cottage and experiencing the fresh air and farm life? This would be a perfect complement to your Margaret River to Albany road trip. Rural farm stay offers a different range of farm style activities, including pony rides and animal feeding. You should contact each one directly for availability, and details before booking.
Keep in mind that farm stays often provide a unique and rustic experience. However, they can be way out of your comfort zone. In fact, we’ve written up some guidelines in this post about Why Choose A Farm Stay. This is definitely a ‘must-read’ piece of information if you are in any way doubtful of whether taking your family to stay at a farm is a good idea! In short, if you are not good with the great outdoors, rustic accommodations – or getting a bit dirty – then make sure you read the reviews carefully so that you get an experience that suits you.
On the other hand, staying at a farmstay WA might just be the experience of a lifetime and one that your kids talk about for years to come. Mine do!
Recommended Farm Stays Around Walpole Include
Tree Elle Resort – Lovely gardens and plenty of animals to pet. This property has a luxury farm stay feel to it. It is located half-way between Walpole and Denmark. Check here for current prices to stay at the Tree Elle Resort.
Walpole Wilderness Resort – Nature at your doorstep; where kangaroos graze on the lawns right outside your accommodations. Four different chalets, each with a heated whirlpool tub with views of the forest. Check here for current prices to stay at the Walpole Wilderness Resort.
Billa Billa Farm Cottages – A rustic farm stay experience with traditional, self-contained cottages. This is also a pet-friendly property. Check here for current prices to stay at Billa Billa Farm Cottages.
Click here for a full list of hotels and different types of accommodation around Walpole.
Recommended Farm Stays Around Denmark
Misty Valley Country Cottages – Great family farm stay experience. Centrally located to all the nearby attractions. Check here for current rates to stay at the Misty Country Cottages.
Cinnamon Coloureds Farm Cottages – A true farm stay experience for families. Kids can pet and feed the resident alpacas and mini-horses. Check here for current rates to stay at the Cinnamon Coloureds Farm Cottages.
Click here for a full list of hotels and different types of accommodation around Denmark.
Return to Perth -Margaret River to Albany Road Trip
Perth To Albany Road Trip
You may have spent so much time enjoying the South Coast of Western Australia you don’t have much time to enjoy an Albany to Perth Road trip. And that’s ok. It is 420 km and 5 hours from Albany to Perth. Meaning that you can get home in a day, easily. However, we think you would be missing out on some exciting things to do and see.
We would recommend leaving Albany along Chester Pass Road (not the Albany Highway) and heading towards the Porongurup National Park, home to the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. It is a 40-minute drive, about 45 kilometers.
This unique structure is wrapped around Castle Rock and provides insanely great views. You need to allow a couple of hours to climb up. We recommend doing this early in the morning, or in the afternoon to avoid the heat. Our full review and suggestions are found in this guide to Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Western Australia.
Best Instagram Spot In Mt Barker – Apart from getting a fabulous shot on top of Castle Rock, Mt Barker is the center of the Porongurup Wine region and there are some divine views across the vines. You might like to get photos of yourself wandering in vines or quaffing at a vineyard.
Mt Barker is located 20 minutes from Castle Rock, a pretty drive through rolling agricultural areas.
While not as well-known as the other towns on the Amazing South Coast, Mt Barker is part of this area and offers interesting historical insight into the area if you are traveling Perth to Albany (or vice versa). We particularly like the Mt Barker Police Station, and it is definitely worth a stop while traveling through. Take a full look at our Things To Do In Mt. Barker WA.
Mt Barker To Kojonup
This is about a 1-hour drive.
We’ve recently committed to teaching our children more about Australian indigenous history from their point of view (instead of teaching the white, European version) and the Kodja Place Kojonup is a great place to do this.
Voices, photographs, art, and objects from Kojonup’s Noongar-Aboriginal and settler cultures are woven together in imaginative and richly-layered stories. For example, you can explore the Australian Rose Maze along with Yoondi, Elizabeth, and Maria who reveal 100 years of Noongar, English, and Italian experiences.
Or, you can enjoy yarns, billy-tea, and damper in Yoondi’s Mia Mia (bush shelter) with a Noongar Elder. This experience needs to be booked directly with the Kojonup Visitors Centre.
1 hour north of Kojonup.
When I was a kid we always stopped to get sandwiches and chips by the river in Williams. Nowadays you can stop at the Williams Woolshed. The locals have innovatively told the story of wool so that you can learn about where this fiber comes from. The Williams Woolshed also has food and some souvenirs!
From Williams, you have 2 options. You can head directly north back to Perth (about 1.5 hours driving). Or, you can head to the Dryandra woodland for what might be one of the most special and realistic animal tours you will experience.
Barna Mia Nocturnal Animal Tour, Dryandra Woodland
The Barna Mia nocturnal tour is one of a kind. Set in a real, isolated natural forest, the Dryandra Woodland conservation reserve offers an almost 100% guaranteed opportunity to see the small nocturnal marsupials. This is a great place to see nocturnal Australian animals in their own habitat!
Small groups get to head out in a large, natural habitat sanctuary with special infrared torches supplied by the tour guide. Just after the sun goes down, the little ones come out to feed. On our tour, we got to see Mala, Woylie, Boodie, Possums (mothers with their young), Quenda, and the most amazing Bilby! As they are fed (only a little) they come very close and are quite used to humans without being totally tame.
The reviews speak highly of the guides, and there are also souvenirs available for purchase.
Did you know: Australian animals Fact!
In Western Australia, many of the native animals have been close to being endangered. Or, even worse, extinct, due to the introduction of European animals like cats and foxes, clearing of native vegetation, and changes to the way the forest was (not) burnt during the European farming period. The huge sanctuary at Dryandra has ensured the survival of serval native species and is a Western Australian success story.
Take a look at more Fun Australia Facts for more interesting facts about Australia.
Places To Stay Near Barna Mia
As the tours here are at night (and there is not much to see during the day) you are best to stay the night at Dryandra rather than driving the 180km back to Perth in the dark. There are a lot of kangaroos on the road!
The nearest accommodation is Lions Dryandra Woodland Village, 15 minutes away from the sanctuary. This is a basic option. You need to bring your own linen. However, this is a better option than driving home a couple of hours in the dark. A word of warning: there’s no reception in the area, so Google Maps does not work!
Other Ways To Get From Perth To Albany
Which airlines fly from Perth to Albany? Regional Express (REX) Airlines run direct flights to Albany from Perth. There are 2 or 3 flights each day. They fly Perth to Albany, have a short wait in Albany, and then fly back. To maximize time on your Margaret River to Albany road trip, you could fly and rent a car.
Perth to Albany Bus
The Western Australian regional bus system is called Trans WA. TransWA buses run from East Perth to Albany and take about 6 hours. If you want to experience some of the different things we’ve described during this post, then you could consider taking the bus that travels from Perth to Albany via Bunbury and Walpole. This route takes about 9 hours. Go to TransWA for details of the Perth to Albany bus routes and fares. Then, it is best to hire a car upon arrival in Albany.
What If You Don’t Want To Return To Perth (The Big Smoke?)
Heading East from Albany you are in from a real treat. The sleepy town of Bremer Bay is just under 2 hours’ drive away, and a popular family holiday destination.
Popular things to do around Bremer Bay are visiting beaches or whale watching. We’ve covered the whole outback to ocean experience of the Esperance and Bremer Bay region in our whopper itinerary A Perth to Esperance Road trip! It’s huge and we hope we have ALL the angles covered! There is so much fun to be had in a Margaret River to Albany road trip, however, there is much more to explore.
Conclusion – The Best Of The South Coast Of Western Australia
We have loved taking you on this Margaret River to Albany road trip via Denmark as we have explored the amazing south coast of Western Australia! We are so incredibly lucky to live in a place of brightly colored and brilliant diversity. I also believe we are also blessed to have explored these areas over weekends and on multiple trips. We can present to you the very best things to do and see on the South Coast of Western Australia!
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