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  • Writer's pictureTania Wee

5D4N Itinerary: Perth & Margaret River Road Trip

Sun, sand and scenery, this five-day, 605-kilometre trip from Perth to Margaret River urges you to kick back and embrace the barefoot luxury synonymous with the South West.

Australia’s sunniest capital, Perth is a mash-up of urban sophistication and natural beauty. By day, hit Cottesloe beach, swan around the Swan River, shop for threads at designer boutiques, and explore Kings Park Botanic Garden – a massive green wonderland with panoramic views over the city below.

By night, the social scene explodes across the city’s many hotels, celebrated restaurants, alfresco breweries, laneway bars and live music venues. Book an early dinner and check out a ballet, opera or live music performance at the Perth Concert Hall, State Theatre or His Majesty’s Theatre.

On Perth’s southern doorstep, Fremantle combines fascinating colonial history with eclectic modern style and a thriving beer and seafood scene. Perk up on the ‘Cappuccino Strip’ and treat your senses at the famous Fremantle Markets. Stop for refreshments at ‘Freo’s’ buzzing restaurants and microbreweries, or soak up the port city’s history at the Maritime Museum and World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison.

Dunsborough – less than three hours from Perth – reconnects you to nature, with white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, whale-spotting and glorious Indian Ocean sunsets. Uncover a chamber of secrets and some impressive stalactites and stalagmites at Ngilgi Cave near Yallingup.

In Margaret River, foodie folk mingle with wave-catchers in this world-famous surf- and wine-lover’s haven, where the ocean meets the bush. Explore the abundance of world-class wineries, fine restaurants, boutique breweries and art galleries. Add a dose of adventure with fishing, rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking and canoeing. Or simply follow the magnetic pull of the incredible coastline.

Day 1 - Perth to Kings Park return

The perfect introduction to Perth is the view of its iconic cityscape from one of the largest inner city parks in the world – Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Catch the free CAT bus, make the ten-minute drive, or take the 25-minute walk from the centre of Perth.

A visit to the park between August and September comes with a profusion of colour, thanks to the extraordinary display of Western Australian wildflowers throughout the Park. Lunch in Kings Park or head back to Perth and discover the hidden gems of the laneways – from quirky cafes, to cool small bars and restaurants.

Head to Northbridge and the Perth Cultural Centre - home to the Art Gallery of WA, WA Museum, State Library and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts. From here, you can also follow the City Public Art Walk to view a series of striking art installations.

Alternatively, spend your afternoon indulging in some retail therapy by heading to King Street for high end labels and boutiques, Watertown for outlet shopping, or the Hay and Murray Street malls for local and global brands.

Perth’s award-winning restaurants plate up the finest fresh local produce with premium wines, and many have views to die for. If you book your table early, you’ll have time to catch a live performance at the Perth Concert Hall, State Theatre or His Majesty’s Theatre.

Day 2: Perth to Fremantle return

It’s just a 30-minute drive or train ride from Perth to Fremantle; however, if you’d prefer to take the scenic route, hop on a Swan River cruise from Barrack Street Jetty.

On arrival, grab a sidewalk table and a coffee on Fremantle's bustling ‘Cappuccino Strip’, or go in search of artisanal baked goods for a delectable breakfast or brunch. Take a wander through Fremantle’s maze of streets, filled with Georgian and Victorian-era architecture, where local independent fashion designers flaunt their eclectic styles.

If you’re visiting on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or a Monday public holiday, head for the Fremantle Markets. With its exotic aromas, fresh produce, fashion, live music, performance art, crafts and Aboriginal art, you'll discover what has lured visitors here for more than a century.

For lunch, get your first taste of Fremantle's maritime history at the Fishing Boat Harbour – the freshest local seafood has been on the menu here since the early 1900s.

From here, you can fill your afternoon with the dramatic tales of early explorers, bloody mutiny and convict life at the Shipwreck Galleries, Whaler’s Tunnel, Roundhouse, Western Australian Maritime Museum and the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison.

Plan your visit between November and April, and you’ll also have the pick of the city’s outdoor cinemas, live performances and festivals.

Day 3: Perth to Dunsborough and Yallingup

Heading south on the Kwinana Freeway and Forrest Highway you’ll reach Bunbury – gateway to the South West – within two hours. Take a rest stop at this port town before joining the Bussell Highway for the 75-minute drive to Dunsborough.

Grab some picnic supplies in Dunsborough and head up the cape to a string of breathtaking white-sand beaches – Meelup Beach,Eagle Bay and Bunker Bay. Alternatively, stop in at the local brewery to sample their hand-crafted beers and gourmet produce.

At the very tip of the peninsula stands Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse and Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park. Enjoy the stunning views from the top by taking a fully guided half-hour tour of the lighthouse.

From here, walk the first section of the Cape to Cape Track – one of the most diverse scenic trails on Earth. Or, if you’re visiting between September and December, take your binoculars up to the lookouts and watch for migrating humpback whales.

Head to nearby Sugarloaf Rock for an Indian Ocean sunset before returning to Dunsborough for dinner.

Day 4: Dunsborough to Margaret River

Breakfast in Dunsborough before browsing the art galleries and boutiques. Or, for a little cultural enlightenment, let the local Aboriginal people lead you on a guided torch-lit walk through the formations and mystical legends of Ngilgi Cave, near Yallingup.

Continue south on scenic Caves Road and take your pick from the region’s many fine wineries and breweries for a leisurely lunch. Spend your whole afternoon indulging in premium wines and artisanal fare, hopping between the cellar doors and gourmet produce stores of Margaret River.

Hand pick your ingredients for a cook-your-own dinner, or dine on the creations of the region’s many award-winning chefs. See the Australian Good Food Guide for inspiration.

Day 5: Margaret River to Perth

Breakfast in Margaret River town, then browse the high street for arts and crafts, fashion and foodie treats.

Next, head up to one of the most famous of Margaret Rivers’ 40 surfing spots – Surfers Point, near Prevelly. Home to the internationally-renowned annual Margaret River Pro surfing competition, it’s a top spot to watch the local pros in action.

For lunch, indulge once more in the wineries, breweries and restaurants between Margaret River and Dunsborough. Or gather some gourmet ingredients for a picnic by the river or ocean.

Allow at least three hours for the drive back to Perth from Margaret River (via the Bussell and Forrest highways and Kwinana Freeway), and plan a rest stop in the coastal towns of Busselton, Bunbury or Mandurah.

This soul-stirring trip can be done year-round, but between August and November catch the wildflowers, Western Australia Gourmet Escape and Fremantle Festival.

Extend your stay to explore more of Australia's biggest state, a treasure trove of culture and nature. Sedunia Travel has the tour packages for you to see what it has to offer without taking away time to yourself. Either by coach or self-drive, adventure awaits in Western Australia.

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