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In total, a Perth to Margaret River road trip is only 3 hours of driving time, and it is possible to do it without making any stops! However, there are so many things to do between Perth and Margaret River you would be missing out of you didn’t take the time to explore.
You could also consider this a Perth to Busselton route, as Busselton is also located in the Margaret River Wine Region.
In addition to making our suggestions for the best places to stop on the way from Perth to Margaret River, we also have included an excellent Perth to Margaret River itinerary in the second half of the post.
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Why You Should Margaret River Self Drive
If you are traveling with kids then self-drive is totally the best way to travel from Perth to Margaret River! As a bonus, when you get to Margaret River you will find that a lot of the attractions are spread out and the only way to see them efficiently is if you are driving yourself!
If you are considering the Perth to Margaret River Road trip then please take a look at our Tips for Road Tripping with kids in order to have the smoothest possible trip with your children.
Did you know that car seats are mandatory for children in Western Australia up to 7 years old? So for non-Australians or even interstate visitors, there is a lot to consider. Please consider whether you should bring your car seat to Australia!
From Perth To Margaret River Stops To Make
Penguin Island – 45 Minutes South Of Perth CBD
Just 45 minutes south of the Perth CBD Penguin Island in the middle of Shoalwater Marine Park is absolutely worth a stop while on the way to Margaret River. Take the short ferry ride, and visit the Penguin Rescue Center. Alternatively, take a walk around this rugged little island. Allow 2-3 hours. For more information read our post A Day Trip To Penguin Island WA.
Thrombolites In Yalgorup National Park – 1.5 Hours South Of Perth CBD
Thrombolites (or living rocks) are easily seen from a short boardwalk and make for a great break in a from Perth to Margaret River road trip.
Also known as the Lake Clifton Thrombolites, these strange ‘out of this world’ structures are very curious. They are stunning in the early morning or sunset light!
Plus for little explorers, the science and history behind it can make a great lesson. The thrombolite-building micro-organisms are minuscule. They are impossible for the eye to see but they look like the earliest forms of life on earth. Scientists have used thrombolites to understand micro-organisms and understand the earliest forms of life on earth.
It is not known why the thrombolites form at Lake Clifton, but it is possibly because the lake is associated with small shoots of fresh groundwater that is high in calcium carbonate.
To get to Lake Clifton, you have to take the Old Coast Road by going through Mandurah (not the new Bypass). Look for the turnoff 25km south of Mandurah.
If you feel like exploring a bit more there is a 5km, 2 hours return, easy to walk hiking trail around the edge of Lake Clifton.
Bunbury – 2 Hours South Of Perth CBD
One of Western Australia’s biggest regional centers, Bunbury, seems to be looked over in people’s rush to get to “Marg’s” (as Margaret River is affectionately known)! This is a mistake in our opinion as Bunbury has a lot to offer.
The Dolphin Center at Koombana Bay is a must-stop place on your way from Perth to Margaret River in the summer months. December to March has frequent visits from dolphins. Though, as they are wild dolphins the times, can’t be guaranteed. Check here for more information on the Dolphin Cruises in Bunbury.
If you love street art, Bunbury is filled with it and we had an enjoyable break in the drive going for a walk in this big, country town. Y Travel blog has covered their top things to do in Bunbury here.
Take note that when you are traveling south from Perth to Margaret River there is a bypass around Bunbury city. You have to follow the signs for the city center.
Take A Side Trip To The Picturesque Ferguson Valley
The Ferguson Valley is a beautiful rural area is filled with farms, cows, and the most amazing collection of garden gnomes at Gnomesville Western Australia. We enjoyed a few days stay in the Ferguson Valley. However, if you don’t have the time, most definitely make a stop at Gnomesville. You will need to use the map and exit the Bunbury to Perth freeway before arriving in Bunbury, in order to get to Gnomesville.
If you are traveling with kids, we would then recommend continuing on the amazing Apple Fun Park playground in Donnybrook, 20 minutes from Gnomesville. Apple Fun Park is a huge playground. It is touted as the largest free entry playground in all of Australia! Using your GPS, from here it is only 40 minutes into Busselton, going cross country.
Of course, if you were not on the Perth to Margaret river road trip, you could spend much longer. Check out Ferguson Valley Western Australia With Kids.
Busselton Jetty – 2.5 Hours South Of Perth CBD
A must stop in any Perth to Margaret River itinerary is Busselton. More specifically, the Busselton Jetty! It is the longest wooden piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and quite simply a hugely long jetty.
40 minutes south of Bunbury, or 2.5 hours south of Perth, the Busselton Jetty is one of Western Australia’s icons and an enjoyable visit for the whole family. You can choose to walk along the foreshore (there is a great kid’s playground under the Pines), have a picnic, or take the train out to the end of the Jetty! For those who are looking for something very unique, you can even visit the Underwater Observatory at the end of the Busselton Jetty!
Note, if you were looking for Perth to Busselton things to do – then you have reached the end of your journey! Please enjoy our Things to do in Busselton.
Stop And See The Cows At Cowramup
Just 12 kilometers north of Margaret River, you’d be forgiven if you think you will race through tiny Cowramup in your enthusiasm to finish your Margaret River Road trip! However, we know you will stop!
All along the main road in Cowramup are huge life-size models of … cows! They are worth a picture or two. Also, while you are there, we highly recommend dropping into the Candy Cow. Candy Cow is famous for its delicious sweet treats.
There is a lot to do around Cowramup, like the creamy Millers Icecream or the newer Cowramup Brewery. However, if you have taken our advice you will have packed a lot into your from Perth to Margaret River road trip and we bet you want to get to your accommodation.
What About Margaret River To Perth Places To Stop
Depending on your personal itinerary you can do some of these stops on your journey south, and then save the others when you are returning from Margaret River to Perth.
You might like to make a plan according to the times. For example, at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, the wild dolphins usually come in the mornings between 8 am and noon. On the other hand, the gnomes at Gnomesville aren’t going anywhere!
3 Day Perth To Margaret River Itinerary
Margaret River is a must-see itinerary for anyone visiting Western Australia. Here we have put together our “very best” Perth to Margaret River itinerary for the visitor who has just three days. We’ve taken into account drive time from Perth, so you can comfortably enjoy the best of this fantastic region.
Day One – Best Of Margaret River Itinerary
9 am Depart Perth
As you drive south you will be on a major freeway to Bunbury, about 2 hours’ drive.
We recommend a stop at the Koombana Bay Dolphin Discovery Centre in the warmer months of the year as there is a chance to see local dolphins who visit in the mornings between 8 am and 12 noon. Keep in mind these are wild animals and no time can be guaranteed!
From Bunbury continue to the delicious 3 Oceans for lunch; we’ve chosen it because it’s on the main highway and is just less than 3 hours driving from Perth. There are great lawns for the kids to run on, and some great wines to taste.
If beers are more to your taste, another option is the Cowramup Brewing Company. This is a family-owned Microbrewery with a wholesome menu featuring local produce. If you like to know what goes into your beer, they also offer a behind the scenes tour.
Or, if you have packed your lunch and are looking for an ice-cream as a treat, why not stop at Millers Ice Cream. They have a great playground and the kids liked milking the cows there!
Heading south with a full stomach you will be glad to get out of the car for a walk and enjoy the cows at Cowramup. Our kids love to pose with them, you can take as little as 20 minutes or much longer. If the kids need a little sugar fix, then head to the Candy Cow.
As it’s already been a long day, we recommend heading south and enjoying your accommodation.
Day 2 – Explore The Best South Of Margaret River
Today you will head south of Margaret River.
The first stop is Hamelin Bay, a gorgeous white sand beach with a picture-perfect remainder of a jetty for some Insta perfect photos. Most famous for the Hamelin Bay stingrays, these friendly locals visit nearly every day in summer – usually in the early morning. They don’t like rough or windy weather which is why you are less likely to see them in winter.
We also enjoyed a walk up onto the cliffs above the jetty to enjoy spectacular views of this amazing coastline.
Day 3 – Margaret River–Yallingup -Busselton – Perth Itinerary
Today we are heading back home; so allow some time to pack your bags and have one last play at your accommodation.
First up we will head north to the picturesque Canal Rocks; in summer pack your swimmers for a play in the Indijup Natural Spa!
From here, you might want to stop for gorgeous purple ice-cream at Cape Lavender, or head onto lunch at either the Swings and Roundabouts Winery or the Cheeky Monkey Brewery.
With your fill; head onto Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse or alternatively if you haven’t had your fill of the stunning Margaret River coastline you can stop to see the sweetly named Sugarloaf rock.
From Cape Naturaliste its 3 hours driving back to Perth, so you need to take into account before you make too many stops!
We recommend taking a break for a stretch of the legs at the iconic Busselton Jetty, the longest jetty of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. For kids, there is a fantastic new playground on the Busselton foreshore.
From Busselton, it is 2.5 hours’ drive back to Perth.
We always travel with insurance, it has saved us numerous times. World Nomads have specially designed travel insurance for families! Perfect for your family’s Western Australian adventures. Take a look at their Family Travel Insurance here.
Forest And Farm Accommodation Margaret River WA
There is an enormous variety of accommodation in Margaret River WA, it would be impossible for us to provide a summary here. From camping spots to Margaret River Holiday cottages, there is plenty for people who like to travel on a budget or cook for themselves. On the other hand, if Margaret River Winery Accommodation sounds like more your thing, you are going to be spoilt for choice!
Margaret River Hideaway And Farmstay
Self-contained studios and cottages located just 5km from Margaret River. Each cottage has a patio and BBQ; free Wi-Fi. Check here for the latest prices to stay at Margaret River Hideaway & Farmstay.
Here we have included a few options for Luxury accommodation Margaret River as they are all on our Bucket list and I’ve been watching them for a while!
Burnside Organic Farm
Gorgeous bungalows situated on an organic farm and vineyard. They offer something for everyone from a 2-bedroom bungalow perfect for families to a 1-bedroom spa bungalow for a romantic retreat. Check here for the latest prices to stay at Burnside Organic Farm.
Glamping at Olio Bello
Glamorous camping at it’s finest surrounded by wildlife and over 8,000 olive trees. While they are known for their famous olive oil, Olio Bello’s glamping and bungalows are also a real treat. Check here for the latest prices to stay at Olio Bello.
Awesome, self-contained bush chalets. These chalets are modern and stylish, located only a 10-minute drive to Margaret River. Check here for the latest prices to stay at Acacia Chalets.
Best Beach Accommodation Margaret River
Margarets Beach Resort
These four-star resort accommodations are located only 10 kilometers from downtown Margaret River. You can choose from studio to four-bedroom apartments. These apartments are self-contained and perfect for families. Check here for the latest prices to stay at Margarets Beach Resort.
Why Do We Recommend This 3-Day Perth To Margaret River Itinerary
This is a general itinerary based on one of our weekend visits from Perth to Margaret River. You can amend this Margaret River itinerary in any way you like – truly anyone who visits the Margaret River region is SO spoilt for choice. If you are a beer lover there are great breweries, wine lovers can seek out their favorite drops! If cheese or chocolate is your weakness then why not make a stop at the Margaret River Dairy Factory or The Margaret River Chocolate Company.
Read our full description of the Best of Margaret River with kids.
Check out the best of Yallingup with kids’ reviews.
Also, read our original road trip from Perth to Margaret River places to stop post.
If you are looking for more information about Western Australia, check out our favorite books and guidebooks below. Click on each one for current prices.
From Perth to Margaret River Road Trip – The Verdict
We hope you have found both our general ideas of places to stop on the way to Margaret River useful, as well as the more detailed itinerary. In short, yes, you can drive this route in about 3 hours! However, if you follow our Perth to Margaret River itinerary you will discover there is a lot of interesting places to see along the way! Your journey from Perth to Margaret River will be so much richer for having discovered there is much more to this absolutely stunning part of Western Australia
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