Perth To Margaret River Road Trip: Locals Guide [2023]

Exploring Western Australia’s natural beauty on a road trip from Perth to Margaret River, Australia is an unforgettable experience. Travelling this route gives you ample opportunity to take in the stunning scenery and explore some of the state’s best-loved attractions.

From rugged beaches, to charming towns, wineries, breweries and much more, there is something for everyone on this adventure.

Lucky for you I am a Margaret River local, and I have done Perth to Margaret River road trip plenty of times, and I’ve narrowed down my top 17 things to do on your journey from the big smoke d’outh (this is short for “down south” in case you were wondering!)

Enjoy your journey as you make your way down the coast, with plenty of stops along the way to take it all in and make some wonderful memories. So, buckle up, get ready for an exciting journey, and enjoy this Perth to Margaret River itinerary!

17 Best Stops From Perth To Margaret River

1.Fremantle

2.Penguin Island

3.Mandurah

4.Lake Clifton Thrombolites

5.The Crooked Carrot

6.Koombana Bay Dolphin Discovery Centre

7.Bunbury Museum And Heritage Centre

8.Bunbury Farmers Market

9.Ferguson Valley

10.Gnomesville

11.Donnybrook Apple Fun Park

12.Busselton Jetty And Foreshore

13.Beerfarm

14.Churchview Estate

15.Margaret River Chocolate Factory

16.Margaret River Dairy Company

17.Cowaramup

Why You Should Visit Margaret River

Whether you’re looking to explore the stunning coastline and national parks, enjoy local wine and beer, or just get away from it all, Margaret River is an ideal holiday destination.

The region is renowned for its world-class wineries and breweries, as well as its beautiful beaches and surfing spots, making it a great spot for both beach bums and wine enthusiasts. The Margaret River region also boasts a number of stunning national parks, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking and camping.

Along with this, Margaret River has plenty to offer foodies too, with some of the best restaurants in Australia offering up delicious local produce and fresh seafood. With all these great things to do, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience when visiting the Margaret River region.

Perth To Margaret River Drive Time

Perth to Margaret River is a 270km journey via car, and will take you approximately 3 hours if you don’t make any stops.

Perth To Margaret River Distance

The distance from Perth to Margaret River is 270km by road. A very achievable south west WA road trip!

How To Get From Perth To Margaret River By Car

Main Route

To get to Margaret River from Perth, follow the Kwinana Freeway out of the city. The journey will take around three hours by car. eventually, you’ll hit Forrest Highway – keep going until you reach Bunbury and then Busselton. If you want to make a few stops along the way feel free but otherwise, main roads bypass these towns. Margaret River is 50km south of Busselton so once you’re there, congrats -you’ve made it!

Alternative Route

The South Western Highway is a slower route that takes you inland, but it is very scenic. I actually prefer this route if I’m not in a hurry because it’s a lot more interesting than looking at a busy freeway! The South Western Highway starts in the suburb of Armadale and guides you through Pinjarra, Waroona, Harvey, Brunswick Junction, and onto Bunbury, Busselton, and finally Margaret River.

Do I need an International Drivers License?

If you’re planning on renting a car during your trip, an International Driver’s License is recommended but not required. You can find more information about which countries require additional licences to drive on Australian roads through the WA Department of Transport website.

How To Get From Perth To Margaret River By Bus

You can take a bus between Perth and Margaret River daily with South West Coach Lines or TransWA, but keep in mind that times and prices are subject to change. For the most accurate information, check their websites directly.

How To Get From Perth To Margaret River By Train

To get to Margaret River by train from Perth, you could take the Australind Rail Service which departs Perth City Station to Bunbury Terminal, and from here, take a coach from Buinbury to Margaret River. This route takes 4.5 hours and can be found on the TransWA site.

How To Get From Perth To Margaret River Flights

Swan River Sea Planes take you on a 45-minute flight from the Perth CBD to Margaret River Busselton Airport as part of a luxury wine-tasting package including lunch. They also offer private charters, but you need to contact them directly for this.

Fly Rottnest Island also offer something similar, with a flight from Jandakot Airport Perth, landing at Leeuwin Estate’s own private airstrip, just out of Margaret River, then enjoy a thrre-course lunch with wine pairings and a cellar door wine tasting.

Flights are available from Melbourne to Busselton Margaret River Airport with Jetstar Airways, but unfortunately at this time there are no other flight options from Perth to Margaret River.

How To Get From Perth To Margaret River By Boat

I know this is a bit out of left-field, but you could always get a crusie ship if you wanted to get from Perth to Margaret River, or Margaret River to Perth. P&O Cruises and Princess offer cruises that go from Busselton to Perth, while Azamara and Oceania Cruises have cruises that depart Fremantle and stop in Busselton.

Perth To Margaret River Tour

If you’re super short on time, why not consider doing a day-trip to Margaret River on a tour? You’ll get to see some of the best highlights of Margaret River, including a wine tasting and some beautiful beaches, plus you don’t have to worry about driving which means you can sleep on the way home!

Best Stops Between Perth And Margaret River

Depending on how long your holiday is, some of the stops I have recommended may be more or less important depending on how much time you have.

I have included potential stops that are close to the main route, but you can also use this list to just choose one or two things to do, or not stop at all and drive straight to Margaret River!

Let’s get into it!

1.Fremantle

Fremantle is a bustling port town just 30 minutes south of Perth. It’s packed full of history, art galleries, cafes and pubs, and plenty of shopping opportunities. Spend your time exploring historic buildings such as the Round House and Fremantle Prison, or head to the Fremantle Markets for some souvenirs.

As a kid, my parents used to take me to Cicerello’s or Kailis’ for fish and chips at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour, and I feel like this is a pretty iconic attraction to stop at, especially if you’re a bit of a fish and chip expert.

If you’re into your craft beer, you could visit Little Creatures Brewing, the brewery that started the whole craft beer/beer hall scene in WA all those years ago.

If history is more your thing, you could visit the WA Maritime Museum for an insight into the city’s maritime past.

Location: Fremantle

2.Penguin Island

Penguin Island is a popular tourist destination located just off the coast of Rockingham, about 45 minutes south of Fremantle.

Here you can explore the island’s stunning beach, go snorkelling in its crystal-clear waters and marvel at the colonies of wild penguins!

You can take a 60 minute cruise to get up close and personal with the wildlife, and spot rare Australian sea lions on the beach at Seal Island.

There are daily penguin feedings at the Discovery Centre, which make this such a fun stop off for the kids!

While you could just go see the Penguin Feeding and be back at the mainland in an hour, I recommend that you spend a minimum of 2 hours here so you can explore. Many visitors choose to spend half or even the full day on this island relaxing on the beach, swimming, or simply taking in its atmosphere.

Location: Penguin Island

3.Mandurah

Mandurah is a coastal town located just an hour or so south of Perth. Here you can find all kinds of activities ranging from swimming and fishing to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

If you’d rather stay on dry land, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars as well as pirate-themed adventure parks, cinemas and bowling alleys. The popular Mandurah Boardwalk is also a great place to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the views as well as a bite to eat.

Location: Mandurah

4.Lake Clifton Thrombolites

Lake Clifton Thrombolites are a special type of living fossil that can be found in the Yalgorup National Park, just under half an hour south of Mandurah. These creatures have existed for over 3 billion years and resemble large clumps of rocks that bubble and ooze.

Visitors are able to explore the area around Lake Clifton and discover these prehistoric organisms in their natural habitat. A boardwalk and viewing platform provide easy access, allowing everyone to marvel at these unique-looking creatures without disturbing them.

The thrombolites are an important part of the ecosystem here, so be sure to take only photos and leave only footprints when you visit.

Location: Lake Clifton Thrombolites

5.The Crooked Carrot, Myalup

The Crooked Carrot is a great place to stop off for lunch during your road trip. This quirky café and store is located in Myalup, just 30 minutes south of Lake Clifton.

Here you can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals made with fresh local produce, as well as hand-crafted drinks and baked goods.

The Crooked Carrot is also a great place to pick up some souvenirs such as jams, relishes and chutneys, as well as some interesting curios and gifts – perfect for taking home with you after your road trip!

My kids love stopping here as it has a really cool, massive playground which they never want to leave!

Location: The Crooked Carrot, Myalup

6.Koombana Bay Dolphin Discovery Centre

Half an hour south of the Crooked Carrot, the Koombana Bay Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury is also worth a look, especially if you have kids. This centre is dedicated to protecting and conserving the local dolphin population, and provides educational presentations about these amazing creatures.

You can even join a 90-minute Dolphin Eco Cruise to watch dolphins from up close as they interact in their natural environment! There are also interactive displays and activities that teach kids about these amazing mammals.

Location: Koombana Bay Dolphin Discovery Centre

7.Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre

The Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre is another place to enjoy some fascinating history. Located in the centre of Bunbury, this museum has a fantastic collection of artifacts that tell the story of the city’s past.

Visitors are able to explore displays about local industry and culture, as well as learn more about the Indigenous history of the region. There are also interactive activities and hands-on displays that help to bring the history alive for kids, making it a great place to visit during your road trip.

Location: Bunbury Museum and Heritage Centre

8.Bunbury Farmers Market

The Bunbury Farmers Market is the perfect place to pick up some fresh local produce. Open daily from 7.30 am until 5.30 pm, you’ll find a huge range of handmade food and drinks, local and imported cheeses and locally farmed meats, just to name a few.

This is a great place to pick up some food to take to Margaret River with you, or even for some delicious souvenirs to take home with you after your road trip, as well as sample some of the amazing products from local artisans and producers.

Locals Tip: This is a MUST SEE destination in my books, if you love your food (like I do!)

Location: Bunbury Farmers Market

9.Ferguson Valley

A little off the main route, but still worth considering, the stunning Ferguson Valley is located just 15 minutes south-east of Bunbury and makes for a great stop during your road trip. This natural wonderland has rolling green hills, winding rivers and picturesque valleys that are ideal for bush walks, mountain biking and picnics.

With over a dozen unique wineries, two craft breweries and chefs passionate about making exquisite food, it’s also a paradise for any food lover.

Locals Tip: Bush Shack Brewery has recently relocated from Margaret River to the Ferguson Valley, and are definitely worth a stop if you want to try something different!

Location: Ferguson Valley

10.Gnomesville

Gnomesville is a whimsical village located in the Ferguson Valley that is home to over 5,000 gnomes! This fascinating spot was created by local residents and visitors from all over the world have since added their own little gnome friends.

It’s definitely worth a visit as it’s a great example of how art and nature can be fused together. The kids will love walking around the grounds in search of new gnomes, so make sure to bring your camera along for this unique experience. There is a nearby picnic area where you can stop for lunch as well, if you want to grab something to eat on your way.

Location: Gnomesville

11.Donnybrook Apple Fun Park

The Donnybrook Apple Fun Park, located in Donnybrook, is the biggest free entry playground in Australia, recently undergoing a renovation in and reopening in 2021 with too many features to list here.

If you have kids who love playgrounds, then this is the place for you! The kids will have so much fun here – it might take them all day!

Location: Donnybrook Apple Fun Park

12.Busselton Jetty And Foreshore

The Busselton Jetty and Foreshore is an iconic landmark located in the seaside town of Busselton. This 1.8 kilometre wooden jetty stretches across Geographe Bay and provides stunning views of the ocean, as well as a great spot for swimming during summertime.

In addition to this, there’s also a beautiful foreshore that features playgrounds, restaurants and cafes. It’s the perfect place for a picnic or just to spend some time enjoying nature and the views of the bay.

Busselton to Margaret River is only 50km, or about 40 minutes by car.

Locals Tip: If you only have time to stop at one destination on the way down, this is it!

Location: Busselton Jetty And Foreshore

13.Beerfarm

Want to sneak in a brewery on your way to Margaret River? Then the Beerfarm is the place for you! The Beerfarm is located in Metricup and serves up a variety of craft beers, ciders and wines as well as a range of delicious food.

The kids will love the playground and gigantic slip and slide during summer, and dogs are welcome too, making this a great stop for everyone to stretch their legs on the road trip!

Learn more about all of the Margaret River Breweries here.

Location: Beerfarm

14.Churchview Estate

Is wine more your thing? Churchview Estate is a great winery to stop in at, if you’re wanting to have a wine tasting on your way to Margaret River.

The vineyard is located in the heart of the Margaret River region and has been producing premium wines, on their boutique, family owned, organic, single vineyard. The cellar door offers a range of tastings from Monday to Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm.

You are welcome to bring your dog (on a leash), and also your own picnic, and enjoy this on their verandah or grassed area overlooking the estate.

Locals Tip: Anything from the Estate Range is awesome (and affordable!)

Location: Churchview Estate

15.Margaret River Chocolate Factory

Have you even been to Margaret River if you have stopped at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory? This place is a must stop!

The Margaret River Chocolate Factory has been providing delicious chocolates since 1999 and continues to be one of the area’s most popular attractions. Here, you can find treats from all over the world as well as handmade Australian favourites like rocky road, honeycomb and nougat. Plus, there’s a viewing window for the kids to watch the chocolatiers make their creations.

Whether you’re looking for a treat for yourself, or some souvenirs to take home, this is definitely worth a stop!

Locals Tip: If you’re wanting to stop somewhere for a light lunch, consider the in-house Chocolate Cafe. At the Chocolate Cafe, you can satisfy both your savory and sweet tooth with delectable light lunches and desserts. Everything from burgers and salads to chocolate fondues, cakes, milkshakes, hot drinks, and the tastiest chocolate brownies in Australia!

Location: Margaret River Chocolate Factory

16.Margaret River Dairy Company

If you love cheese, then the Margaret River Dairy Company is where you need to go. The Margaret River Dairy Company has been operating since 1991 and offers a range of delicious cheeses made with the best ingredients.

The dairy company sources its milk from quality nearby farmers, ensuring that their cheese is of the highest quality. You can taste test a range of their cheeses at the cheese tasting room daily.

Locals Tip: Pick up some award winning Camembert and Triple Cream Brie to take home with you! It’s sure to have everyone drooling!

Location: Margaret River Dairy Company

17.Cowaramup

I like Cowaramup because it has a nice park for the kids, the public toilets are handy if you can’t quite make Margaret River (if you’ve had five kids like me you’ll know what I mean!), it has a large range of super-cute shops, and you can take some memorable photos of the large cows in the main street!

Try the Candy Cow for lollies, Gourmet Food Merchant for local artisan-made food and drinks, Temper Temper Fine Chocolate for the best chocolate, Seven Seas Tea if you like small-batch tea blends, and Mukau Giftware and Gallery if you’re looking for giftware.

It’s worth stopping in, even if it’s just for a few minutes to get some photos and say hello to the cows!

Location: Cowaramup

You’ve Reached Your Destination – Margaret River!

You’ve made it! Hooray! The Margaret River region is home to some of the best surfing and wine tasting in Australia. Here, you can find a range of activities from swimming, bushwalking, winery tours and cave explorations.

It’s also a great area for food lovers, with plenty of restaurants offering local produce paired with delicious wines. From the renowned Margaret River Bakery with their gourmet pies to the ever-popular Simmo’s Ice Creamery, you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Take your time exploring this beautiful region and make sure you take some time out of your day to just slow down and relax!

If you’d like ideas now on what to do while you’re in Margaret River, read my guide 57 Best Things To Do In Margaret River: A Local’s Guide In 2023!

If you’re doing a Margaret River to Perth road trip instead, just do these suggestions in reverse!

Location: Margaret River

FAQs

Can I Drive From Perth To Margaret River?

Yes, it is possible to drive from Perth to Margaret River. The journey takes around three hours with no stops, however if you have the time, there is plenty to see and do along the way!

Is Margaret River Worth Visiting?

Of course Margaret River is worth visiting! Margaret River is a beautiful and unique region that offers so much to do and explore. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation or amazing food, there is something here for everyone!

What Is Between Perth And Margaret River?

There are many places to explore between Perth and Margaret River. Some of the popular stops include Bunbury, Ferguson Valley, Donnybrook Apple Fun Park, Busselton Jetty and Foreshore, Beerfarm, Churchview Estate and Margaret River Chocolate Factory. There is something for everyone with these amazing attractions!

How Far is Margaret River From Perth By Car?

The drive from Perth to Margaret River is approximately three hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. It is also possible to take a train or bus between the two cities, however this journey takes slightly longer (around four-five hours).

How Much Would Gas Cost From Perth To Margaret River?

The cost of petrol or diesel for the journey between Perth and Margaret River will vary depending on your car type, but I estimate that a standard sedan would use around $50-$70 worth of fuel to drive there one way (as of November 2022.)

It is always best to plan ahead and fill up your tank before you leave, however there are plenty of locations along the way where you can fill up!

What Are Some Other Road Trips From Perth?

Some other great road trip destinations from Perth (apart from Margaret River) include Albany, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Kalbarri, Denmark, Bremer Bay, Pemberton and Esperance. Of course, you can go further afield, especially if you head up north, but these are all destinations you can reach in one day, or under roughly 10 hours by car, although some are much closer.

There is so much to see and do in Western Australia – you’ll never run out of ideas for your next adventure!

What Are Some Day Trips From Perth By Car?

Some of the best day trips from Perth include Fremantle, Rottnest Island, Swan Valley, York and the Pinnacles. A bit further afield (four hours each way) is Wave Rock, also worth a consideration.

Bear in mind the vast size and distances of Western Australia when planning your adventure here. I have seen many tourists spend their entire holiday driving to reach the next destination and missing out on so much good stuff because of it.

How Many Days Should You Spend In Margaret River?

The length of your stay in Margaret River will depend on what you want to do and how much time you have. Generally, it is recommended that visitors spend at least 4-5 days exploring the region, but if you’re looking for a longer holiday then you could easily spend a week or two here and not get bored.

No matter how long you stay, there will always be something new to discover in this beautiful part of the world.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Margaret River?

The best time to visit Margaret River is from September to October and from April to May, when the weather is warm but not too hot. However, Margaret River can be visited year-round with its stunning scenery and attractions available all year long!

Spring is a great time to visit because there are wildflowers out everywhere and the weather is basically perfect, summer is great because it’s perfect beach weather, Autumn is lovely as things start to green up but there are still plenty of sunny days, and I’m especially partial to winter, because it’s rainy, everything is green, the crowds have thinned out so you kind have the place to yourself.

So, in summary, there’s no bad time to visit Margaret River. Just bear in mind that school holidays, long weekends, Christmas and Easter are peak season and rates at accommodation places will reflect this.

What Are Some Other Things To Do In Margaret River?

Some other activities to enjoy in Margaret River include whale watching, canoeing, hiking trails, winery tours, local markets and festivals as well as shopping and dining options. There’s something here for everyone!

Check out my guide of 57 Best Things To Do In Margaret River: A Local’s Guide In 2023! for more ideas.

Is It Better To Stay In Margaret River Or Dunsborough?

It really depends on your preference and budget. Margaret River has plenty of accommodation options in the town itself, while Dunsborough is a great option for those looking for a more relaxed atmosphere or those who have their own transport.

However, both towns offer many options and easy access to the local attractions – so it really comes down to personal preference. Whichever you choose, you’ll be sure to enjoy your stay!

Check out my list of Best Accommodation in Margaret River here.

Summing Up

Travelling from Perth to Margaret River is an unforgettable experience with plenty of things to see and do. With stunning scenery, amazing attractions, beautiful beaches, delicious food and unique culture, it’s a destination that you won’t want to miss out on when visiting Western Australia.

Whether you are looking for a day trip or planning a longer stay, both Margaret River and Perth are the perfect places to explore and create lasting memories. Make sure to plan your trip ahead of time to ensure that you get the most out of your visit.

If you’ve liked this, connect with me over on Instagram @accommodationmargaretriver where I post more Margaret River adventures!

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