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Western Australia road trips worthy of your weekend
Download that Spotify playlist, crank up the volume and live your best life on the open road this weekend.
With boundless coast, space-like rock formations and sunshine in spades, there's a reason they call Western Australia the Road Trip State. You could spend weeks and even months driving its network of bitumen and dirt trails but when you live in Perth and need inspiration on where to go between Friday night and Sunday, you don't have to venture far to discover the wonders in your backyard.
Here are our top picks of drives that only take a few hours but feel miles away.
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Where can you go?
Avon Valley 500 Loop
Spent last year suffering from FOMO after seeing all your mates post photos of their summer in Europe? Wish you could have gone but couldn't muster up the funds? You don't have to spend thousands to feel the charm of cobblestoned streets under your feet when you pay a visit to Avon Valley.
Just two hours out of Perth CBD, the Avon Valley 500 Loop boasts Spanish and Victorian architecture throughout. Start your journey in York where Victorian and Federation architecture is the face of converted museums, art galleries and local stores.
Then, continue your European journey to New Norcia, which is Australia's only monastic town and revels in Spanish architecture having once been the home to Benedictine monks.
- Ideal for: History buffs, short trips.
- Distance: 395 kilometres.
- Top road trip stops: Mundaring, York, Northam, Toodyay and New Norcia.
- Best time to drive: May to November due to the cooler, more comfortable driving weather.
Point your compass north and pre-populate those Instagram posts with the hashtag #nofilter as you skirt your way up part of the Coral Coast to Gregory.
It's a popular tourist route, to be fair, but one that deserves all its accolades and then some. From the Lancelin Sand Dunes which beg to be sandboarded, to the lobsters at Cervantes (which beg to be eaten down) to the impressive 12-metre high rock formations of the Pinnacles and the pink salt lake at Gregory, it's an experience not easily forgotten.
From point A to point B it'll take you the better part of six hours, though with the numerous stopovers it's bound to take a lot more. Save it for a long weekend or start early and keep to schedule.
- Ideal for: Sightseeing, long weekends, iconic drives.
- Distance: 538 kilometres each way.
- Top road trip stops: Lancelin Sand Dunes, Cervantes, The Pinnacles, Jurien Bay, Dongora and Geraldton.
- Best time to drive: March to October due to the cooler weather.
A favourite you can (and should) visit time and time again, Margaret River is the place for lovers, families and foodies. The famous wine region needs no introduction being home to some of the most lauded wines in the country, but it's not its only drawcard.
The Margaret River region is a playground for kids big and small, offering adventure in the form of a limestone cave system under Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge and beach breaks at Geographe Bay.
If you feel like spreading your wings, we suggest exploring the neighbouring town of Nannup to hike or cycle its forested tracks or cruise down the Donnelly River.
- Ideal for: Romantics, quiet and relaxing weekend breaks.
- Distance: 636 kilometres, round trip.
- Top road trip stops: Dunsborough/Geographe Bay and Nannup.
- Best time to drive: Spring for wildflowers and autumn for cool, crisp days.
Denmark and Albany
Wheels up Perth, there's adventure in your sights and a long drive ahead. So stock up on car snacks, road trip playlists and games for the kids (if you're bringing them along for the ride) as you venture to the South Coast.
It can be none other than Denmark and Albany, two heralded cities that virtually have it all. Fringed by cakey soft beaches and craggy cliff face, spend your days pumping those legs along the networks of walking trails and lookouts and your nights dining on freshly shucked oysters overlooking the beach.
If nothing else, catch the pop-up Field Of Light which is a short drive from Albany and is open until 28 April 2019.
- Ideal for: Bushwalking, beachgoers and iconic trips.
- Distance: 889km, round trip.
- Top road trip stops: Pemberton and Porongurups (if you have time because the drive to Denmark and Albany is already almost 10 hours long).
- Best time to drive: November to June has the least amount of rainfall. If you're not keen on peak prices and tourists avoid December and January travel.
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