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All travel requires some planning but the level of detail varies. This trip required enough that I thought it would be useful to write this post as a place to store links to sites with details about the places we might visit. Much of it will be little more than bookmarks with comments.

Majella had been wanting to see the Western Australian wildflowers and we first started planning this trip for her 70th birthday in September 2020. We had spoken about it with Lynne and John Nunan and they decided to join us. COVID-19 interfered in 2020 so we planned again for 2021. Majella and I were to drive a rented camper van across the Nullarbor, meet Lynne and John in Perth, switch to a rental car, and continue around the southwest. WA kept its borders closed for COVID-19 and we had to abandon that plan. Now in 2023 the borders are open and we are booked to fly to Perth on 10 September.

When we first started planning for this trip I found a set of itineraries developed by Tourism West Australia. Among those, a 12 day itinerary for the South West Edge seemed to suit us best so we adopted that with the addition of a diversion to New Norcia and a day or two in Perth at either end. Lynne kindly worked through that plan and booked accommodation for our 2021 trip before COVID intervened. For 2023 we used that as a base and Lynne once again booked the accommodation but could not match exactly what she had booked in 2021, especially in smaller places where accommodation is scarce.

Because New Norcia is north of Perth and the balance of our itinerary is south, that diversion fitted best at the beginning or end. Contact confirmed that accommodation was available for the first two nights of our trip so we booked that. Later we discussed Lynne’s suggestion of visiting The Pinnacles while in that area and found room in our itinerary to do that.

The South West Edge itinerary identifies towns for overnight stays and suggests things to do enroute from one town to the next or in the local area. It does not suggest a sequence of activities or even how much time should be allowed. Getting the most out of the available time was going to need more detailed planning based on information I could glean by searching the web for things mentioned in the outline itinerary. What follows is a day by day plan with links to sites with information about the places and activities I managed to squeeze into our more detailed itinerary in Tripit. I attempted to fit daily activities between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm with suggestions for times but they may change and there will be flexibility to drop something if we are not interested or add something that seems more interesting at the time. There is a Google Map showing the planned route embedded below.

Day 1

(Driving: 124 km, 1.5 h)

We will arrive at Perth Airport in the middle of the day and collect our rental car. It’s 1.5 hours to New Norcia where we have ensuite accommodation booked for 2 nights in the monastery guesthouse with meals included. On Monday we can visit the museum and take the afternoon guided tour. There will be time to relax and look around independently.

Day 3

(Driving: 520 km, 6 h)

We will drive about 2 hours to The Pinnacles and follow the drive trail around the loop. From there we will drive about 4 hours south to our accommodation at Bunbury with stops for refreshment and sightseeing along the way.

Day 4

(Driving: 160 km, 2.5 h)

  • Drive about an hour south and west to Busselton Jetty for morning coffee and local exploration
  • Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, about 40 minutes west, might be a good spot for a picnic lunch
  • Ngilgi Cave about 30 minutes south seems worth a look
  • From there it is about an hour south to our accommodation for 2 nights at Margaret River.

Day 5

(Driving: 100 km, 2.5 h)

Day 6

(Driving: 225 km, 3.5 h)

Day 7

(Driving: 320 km, 4.75 h)

Day 8

(Driving: 200 km, 3.25 h)

Day 9

(Driving: 560 km, 6 h)

Day 10

(Driving: 140 km, 2.5 h)

Day 11

(Driving: 560 km, 6 h)

  • Ravensthorpe is 2 hours out of Esperance and a likely coffee stop
  • Another 2 hours will get us to Hyden and Wave Rock where we should find lunch
  • Mulka’s Cave is just 15 minutes away and worth a look
  • The Tin Horse Highway near Kulin may be worth the slight deviation on the road to Corrigin where we stop for the night

Day 12

(Driving: 230 km, 3 h)

  • The Corrigin Dog Cemetery is just out of town on the way toward Perth
  • A stop for morning coffee at York would allow for some sightseeing of heritage buildings
  • Depending on time along the way we may be too early for our Perth hotel so a short deviation to South Ledge and Golden View Lookout may be appropriate

Days 13 & 14

There will be time to explore Perth and surrounds.

Our itinerary includes visits to several national parks. For some of those access is free but for others there is an entry fee. Our best strategy may be to buy and print an online pass that will allow access to any park over a 2 week period.