Busselton

Adelaide to Perth Road Trip (8-Day Budget Itinerary!)

An Adelaide to Perth road trip is one of the most interesting drives you can do in Australia.

It takes you from South Australia, across the barren Nullarbor Plain and into Western Australia, finishing at Perth.

This is one of the longest road trips in Australia you can do and certainly not one for the faint-hearted!

While it may be a long drive, it is scenic and will allow you to see excellent spots in South and Western Australia such as Albany, Ceduna and Esperance.

My Adelaide to Perth self-drive itinerary will take you to some of Australia’s lesser-known, but most beautiful spots!

Let’s get into it!

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Adelaide to Perth Road trip

Quick Adelaide to Perth Drive itinerary
Distance – 3,149.km (1,956.6 miles)
Time – 8 days
Day 1 – Adelaide to Port Lincoln: 653km (405 miles)
Day 2 – Port Lincoln to Ceduna: 405 km (251 miles)
Day 3 – Ceduna to Mundrabilla: 604 km (375 miles)
Day 4 – Mundrabilla to Salmon Gums: 709 km (440 miles)
Day 5 – Salmon Gums to Esperance: 107 km (66 miles)
Day 6 – Esperance to Albany: 483 km (300 miles)
Day 7 – Albany to Busselton: 332 km (206 miles)
Day 8 – Busselton to Perth: 224 km (139 miles)

The distance between Adelaide and Perth is 2,693.3 km (1,673.5 miles). It’s a huge distance and one of the longest road trips in Australia you can do!

If you’re were to do it without stopping, it would take you 28 hours, which is insane!

That is the shortest route between the two cities, but not the one I would advise taking. Instead of taking the inland route, you should take the coastal route, which is more scenic.

This route is 3,149.km long and would take 33 hours to complete in one go!

However, it will offer you more sights, things to do and take you through some of the best spots in Western Australia!

Driving from Adelaide to Perth is not a short trip! You will need to be prepared for some long drives along the way!

Before setting off

Before you do any Australian Road trip it is important to have everything in order. The first thing you need to get is a vehicle. Without one, there simply won’t be a road trip! Depending on your numbers and where you plan on sleeping, you have two options.

Depending on how many of you there is, you can either rent a car or a campervan. If you’re planning on staying in hostels, I would go with a car. Otherwise, a campervan would be a good idea, particularly if there are 4 to 6 of you.

You can book these direct with companies such as Jucy and Wicked, but my advice would be to look online. You can use a company such as Rentalcars.com to book your car or campervan.

If you’re starting from Adelaide, click here to book your rental car. If you’re starting from Perth, click here to book your rental car.

Important info

Busselton

Driving across Australia is not the easiest task due to the size of the country. This is exacerbated when the journeys involve covering large areas where there’s little in the way of civilisation. The main concern is running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere.

If your tank is nearly half-full, you should stop at the next petrol station. You never know how far the next one will be. The last thing you want to do is run out of fuel!

Nowhere is this truer when driving in Australia. The distances between places are so large, you need to make sure you have all the tools and safety equipment you need in case of an emergency.

If you break down in the wrong place, you could be there for a while waiting for assistance!

One tip that I picked up during the Australian road trips I did was to take note of signs. When you are in the outback and unpopulated areas, there are little green signs every 5km to let you know how far you are from the next town.

It’s important to look out for these signs. They will help you to gauge how far the next town is and when you can stop to eat and refuel.

If you feel tired while driving, take a break. Driving in Australia involves long distances no matter where you go. Obviously, you want to get to wherever you’re going quickly, but this shouldn’t come at the expense of safety.

Try and stop every 4 hours for a short break! Obviously, doing a road trip in Australia you should be stopping a lot anyway to check out the great scenery!

Before doing any road trip in Australia, ensure that you have proper travel insurance! I use World Nomads to keep me safe on the road, it’s designed for backpackers and adventurous travellers.

You never know what can happen on the road. Keep yourself protected against all eventualities! Click here to get a quote!

Essential items to pack for an Adelaide to Perth Road trip

Before setting off, it’s important to ensure you have everything you need for your trip. You may want to check out my road trip packing list before you head off.

There are certain items you need to include to make your life on the road that little bit easier. Driving long distances isn’t easy and it can be a lot harder if you don’t have the right items with you.

This is especially true when driving in Australia as the distances involved make road trips more challenging. You want to have everything you need with you in case you break down in the middle of nowhere.

Below are a few items I recommend you take on your Adelaide to Perth self-drive, to make the drive that little bit easier!

Why you should go on an Adelaide to Perth drive

The best reason to do a road trip from Adelaide to Perth is that you will see parts of Australia that most travellers don’t see.

This route isn’t as popular as the East Coast and is often neglected by this backpacking around Australia.

This is a shame because the trip takes you through some of the most beautiful places to visit in Australia!

Due to the substantial difference in tourists visiting the East Coast of Australia, the West Coast almost has an untouched feel about it.

You won’t see large hordes of travellers while doing this road trip. If you stop at some of the beaches along the way, you will notice they are peaceful and undisturbed,

This is in stark contrast to what you can find on the East Coast, where there is an abundance of tourists.

Driving from Adelaide to Perth is a serious undertaking and the drive will feel never-ending at times.

However, you will more than be rewarded by the incredible views and scenery you will see along the way!

For this reason, it is one of the best road trips in Australia and one you can’t miss out on while you’re there!

Where to stay between Adelaide and Perth

Despite this road trip taking cutting across large swathes of the outback, you’ll be relieved to know there are a number of places to stay between Adelaide and Perth.

Even if you stop in the outback, which you will have to do at some point, there are places to stay in the small towns you encounter.

Once you get past the Nullarbor Plain, you will find there are a lot more places to stay, and you have more choice.

If you’re doing the trip in a campervan, you don’t need to worry about this. You can just park up wherever you want and sleep for the night. If you’re doing it in a car, then I have listed some hostels below which are ideal places to stay during this road trip!

HostelLocationFacilitiesBook
Adelaide Central YHAAdelaideHuge Common Room
Ping-Pong Table
Tour Bookings
Book Now!
Port Lincoln YHAPort LincolnFree Parking and wifi
BBQ
Games Room
Book Now!
Six DegreesAlbanyFree Parking and wifi
Bar and Restaurant
Games Room
Book Now!
Perth City YHAPerthFree wifi
Fitness Centre
Bar and Cafe
Book Now!

Places to visit on an Adelaide to Perth Road trip

Albany

Albany

Albany is a city at the southern tip of Western Australia and somewhere you should definitely stop while driving from Adelaide to Perth.

There are a lot of things to do in the area. You can visit Torndirrup National Park, which has numerous walking trails along the beautiful coast, while there are plenty of beaches you can check out too!

There is also King George Sound, which is a 42 square mile inlet, which offers amazing sights. It’s a spectacular sight and is a great addition to visiting the nearby national park.

Albany is home to some of Western Australia’s best beaches, so you can’t pass by without checking some of them out!

Denmark

Elephant Rocks
Photo Credit: Dale Smith

I know what you’re thinking! Yes, there is a place in Australia called Denmark! As for it being similar to the country, the only similarity is the name. This Denmark is very different in nature.

It is a small coastal town over 400 km from Perth, with amazing beaches close by. This part of Australia is renowned for its natural beauty and Denmark is no different! 

One place you should check out while you’re in the area is Greens Pool. Massive granite boulders pop up from the ocean’s surface, which makes for an incredible sight and a great place to explore!

There are many small towns you can stop at during your Adelaide to Perth drive, but Denmark is one you have to check out!

Lucky Bay

Lucky Bay

Lucky Bay is one of the best places you can visit in Australia, never mind driving from Perth to Adelaide or vice versa!

It is located in Cape Le Grand National Park, not far from Esperance. One of the best reasons to include Lucky Bay on your Adelaide to Perth road trip itinerary is that the bay is home to a significant number of kangaroos!

If you haven’t seen one yet, while you’ve been travelling around Australia, lucky Bay is one of the best places in the country to see them. You can get up close and personal with them, and they are much tamer than other roos you may encounter in the wild!

As well as the kangaroos, the beach here is beautiful with white sand and turquoise waters. It is a picturesque place you can’t afford to miss!

Nullarbor Plain

Nullarbor Plain Road Sign
Photo Credit: Brain Voon Yee Yap

You don’t have any choice about visiting the Nullarbor Plain as you have straight through no matter which direction you are going.

Despite this, and the barrenness of the area, it is still an interesting place. The longest stretch of straight road in Australia passes through the plain. You will be travelling on this road for 90 miles (146.6 km) before it deviates in any way!

Apart from this, you will be able to see whales along the way as the route goes by the world’s longest line of sea cliffs! You can also visit places such as Eucla and see the shifting sand dunes which are slowly claiming a telegraph station that was once the busiest in Australia!

Nullarbor means ‘no trees’ in Latin, but despite its reputation as a barren part of Australia, there is a lot to see as you drive through!

Perth

Perth at night

Perth may be isolated from the majority of Australia, but that doesn’t make it any less of a great city!

There are plenty of things to do in Perth and the city has some of the best weather in Australia!

One of the best things about Perth is the number of amazing beaches that are on its doorstep!

After you have completed this monster of a road trip, you can relax on the beach and take in your beautiful surroundings!

Things to do on an Adelaide to Perth road trip

Visit Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island

One place you should try and check out before the end, or start, of your road trip, is Rottnest Island. It’s located off the coast of mainland Australia near Perth.

It is a picturesque island that is home to cute little creatures called quokka, a small wallaby like a marsupial. The island is a protected nature reserve, which means the scenery here is incredible!

As well as the cute critters, there are numerous white beaches and secluded coves for you to explore. You can even go surfing near Strickland Bay if you wish.

To get to Rottnest Island you will need to book a ferry and island admission ticket, which costs about $73 altogether. I would book these in advance to make sure that you’ll get the chance to visit this beautiful island!

Book Your Tour Now

Whale Watching

Whale

One of the more interesting things you can do while driving from Adelaide to Perth is to go whale watching. I did this while I was in South Australia and it was an amazing experience, and I only watched the whales from the shore!

My recommendation would be to book a boat tour, so you can get up close and personal with these incredible creatures. That way, you will be able to take in the sheer size and scale of the whales!

There are whales in Western Australia almost all year round, with various species of whales migrating at different times of the year. Here is a handy guide, so you which whales are in the area during the year.

Augusta, Busselton, Dunsborough and Perth are the places you need to include on your drive from Adelaide to Perth if you want to do some whale watching! It’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!

Book Your Tour Now

Shark Cage Diving

Great White Shark

Australia is renowned for the range of animal you can find on the continent, one of the most feared is the Great White Shark.

A lot of them can be found in the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. A few enterprising souls have decided that the plethora of sharks in the area represents a good business idea.

They are offering you the opportunity to dive the depths in a cage and come face-to-face with these beasts of the sea!

This is not something I would consider doing, but I know a lot of people are bigger risk-takers than me. If you want to get in the cage it’s not cheap. Prices start at around $540. I would only pay this if you’re determined to do it.

There isn’t a lot to do in Port Lincoln, where the dives are based, so if you’re passing through, it’s something to consider. If you don’t want to put your life in danger, then you can carry on your merry way!

Book Your Tour Now

Example Adelaide to Perth Road trip itinerary

This is an example itinerary and by no means the only route you should take, It is just a recommendation if you want to skip some places or take a quicker route, by all means, do so!

This itinerary will take you past some of the best places to stop on an Adelaide to Perth road trip such as Lucky Bay. It primarily hugs the coastline, but if you wish, you can take the inland route.

The sights may not be as spectacular, but you can still visit weird and wonderful places such as the Kalgoorlie pit and Wave Rock!

Day 1 – Adelaide to Port Lincoln

Port Lincoln
Photo Credit: Ghoongta

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Distance

653 km (405 miles)

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Time without stops

6 hours 56 minutes

 

The first part of this Adelaide to Perth itinerary does not represent the quickest route to take. That would be to head to Port Augusta and to continue inland.

Instead, I am recommending you head down the Eyre Peninsula to Port Lincoln. As I mentioned earlier, this is where you can go shark cage diving if you’re brave enough.

Port Lincoln is a lot more scenic than the inland route, so even though it will add a bit of time on to your trip, I recommend heading there. You can go for a walk by the coast and eat some great seafood at the numerous restaurants by the shore.

It takes around 6 hours and 56 minutes to get to Port Lincoln from Adelaide. It’s not a short drive, so it’s best to set off early in the morning!

Day 2 – Port Lincoln to Ceduna

Ceduna Jetty

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Distance

405 km (251 miles)

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Time without stops

4 hours 17 minutes

 

Driving from Port Lincoln to Ceduna isn’t that much of a drive compared to the previous day. It’s still a long drive at 4 hours and 17 minutes, after the first drive it will feel a lot shorter!

There are two ways you can do the drive. You can either take the inland route, which is a bit boring, or you can take the coastal route. My preference would be for the coastal route. It’s a lot more scenic, and it offers better places to stop along the way.

The Eyre Peninsula is a beautiful part of Australia and one that isn’t often visited by travellers. You can stop off at places such as Baird Bay, with its pristine coastline. You can also go swimming with sea lions too!

Once you get past Baird Bay, you should stop at Murphy’s Haystacks. They are an outcrop of pink granite boulders that were formed many thousands of years ago due to erosion. The boulders are 40 km southeast of Streaky Bay, as you make your way to Ceduna.

Day 3 – Ceduna to Mundrabilla

Head of The Bight

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Distance

604 km (375 miles)

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Time without stops

6 hours 30 minutes

 

The next part of this Adelaide to Perth drive will take you into the Nullarbor plain. No matter where you are heading to it’s a long drive. Mundrabilla is 6 hours and 30 minutes from Ceduna, but you can go further if you wish.

Bear in mind, that you don’t want to be driving for too long unless there are a number of you in the car. Distances in-between places in the outback are far, and if you have an accident in the middle of nowhere you could be in trouble.

The drive takes you along the Eyre Highway, which is the main route connecting Adelaide with Perth. One place you should stop is at Yalata.

You can venture off the highway to go to the Head of the Bight to do some whale watching if you’re travelling from May to October. You will need a permit to do so and you can get one from the White Well Ranger Station as you make your way to the Bight.

The Bunda Cliffs are also on this leg of the route. The 90 metres (300 feet) high sheer cliffs are an impressive sight! Do be careful when exploring the cliffs, as the limestone clifftops can be unstable!

There are five signposted lookouts along the route. These are the places you should stop at to appreciate the cliffs!

Day 4 – Mundrabilla to Salmon Gums

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Distance

709 km (440 miles)

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Time without stops

7 hours 30 minutes

 

This leg of the road trip is the longest. It takes 7 hours and 30 minutes from Mundrabilla to reach the wonderfully named Salmon Gums!

This is a long drive, and you are still not back to the coast. You can drive the rest of the way to Esperance if you wish, but it will add another hour to your journey at least.

8 hours is a lot of driving to do in one day. My recommendation would be to spend the night in Salmon Gums, and get up early in the morning and spend the following day in Esperance. 

This part of the drive includes the famous 90-mile straight road, so make sure you stop by the sign to get a photo! You will also pass through the Madura Pass, which has a number of elevation changes.

A bit of a surprise, when you’re expecting the outback to be as flat as a pancake!

This isn’t the most interesting part of the journey. Although it is always intriguing driving through the outback, as the scenery slowly changes. It’s more of a get there and get it done kind of drive instead!

Day 5 – Salmon Gums to Esperance

Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand

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Distance

107 km (66 miles)

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Time without stops

1 hour 10 minutes

 

From the longest drive of the road trip to the shortest. If you didn’t decide to drive to Esperance straight from Mundrabilla, you will have to complete the short drive from Salmon Gums instead.

There isn’t a lot to see on this drive owing to its short nature. However, once you get to Esperance, there are plenty of things you can do.

One thing you have to do is visit Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park. It’s a short drive to the national park and one that is well worth it! You will be treated to a beautiful beach and the sight of kangaroos hopping around!

Lucky Bay is one of the best beaches in Australia and I would definitely spend a few hours there taking in the scenery and admiring the roos!

Esperance has its share of great beaches too, with Twilight Beach, one of the best! My recommendation would be to set off for Esperance early in the morning so you can make the most of it.

As it’s a short drive, it’s a good place to recharge your batteries and spend a day relaxing, before you head off again the following day.

Day 6 – Esperance to Albany

Ellen Cove in Albany

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Distance

483 km (300 miles)

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Time without stops

5 hours 6 minutes

 

After a short drive yesterday, it’s back to the lengthy drives. This is one of the downsides of driving in Australia, as it does take a long time to drive between places!

However, the drive from Esperance to Albany isn’t too difficult and the endpoint is one of the nicest places you can visit in Western Australia.

The route takes you inland along National Highway 1, where you can see some of the most interesting and unusual places in Australia. One of which is the Pink Lake, which is a short drive from Esperance.

If you set off early, you could head to Stirling National Park and hike up Bluff Knoll. It is the highest point in Western Australia at 1099 metres, with the hike taking 3 hours to complete in total.

This will add a lot of time to your day, so I would only do it if time or getting to Albany isn’t an issue. Otherwise, you could head to the Porongurups, which is a mountain range of smooth granite boulders.

It’s an intriguing place to visit. To get there you will have to take a slight detour from the highway, but it’s worth it to break up the drive and see some interesting scenery!

Before you arrive in Albany, you can also visit Two People’s Bay, which is a nature reserve with beautiful scenery. The colour of the water in the bay is amazing, as are the granite boulders. There is also a hidden waterfall to find if you walk over some of the boulders!

Day 7 – Albany to Busselton

Beach at Busselton

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Distance

332 km (206 miles)

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Time without stops

4 hours 11 minutes

 

The drive from Albany to Busselton is a medium-length one. It takes around 4 hours and 11 minutes to get to Busselton. There is a slightly quicker route inland, but I think it’s better to snake along the coast for a bit before turning inland after you’ve gone past Peaceful Bay.

You have a few places to stop along the bay. Denmark is one of those places. As I mentioned above, the beaches here are incredible. So it’s well worth stopping here for a bit as you make your way to Busselton.

Once you reach Nannup you have a decision to make, You can either continue on towards Busselton or you can head to the coast and check out places such as Augusta and Margaret River.

Margaret River has some incredible beaches and if you want to do some whale watching, this is the place to go. There are also a number of wineries close by if you want to check them out too!

From here the drive to Busselton isn’t long. You will once again be presented with picturesque beaches and gorgeous scenery. Plus, at 1841 metres long, you will be able to check out the longest jetty in Australia!

Day 8 – Busselton to Perth

Bunbury

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Distance

224 km (139 miles)

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Time without stops

2 hours 25 minutes

 

The final leg of this road trip takes you all the way to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. The drive from Busselton isn’t too long and will only take 2 hours and 25 minutes to complete if you don’t stop.

However, that is something you shouldn’t do, as there are plenty of great places to stop along the way! 

You can stop off at Bunbury, which, surprise surprise, has some amazing beaches. Bunbury is where a number of bottlenose dolphins swim close to the beach at Koombana Bay. You can also visit the Dolphin Discovery Centre to learn more about these intriguing creatures!

Another stop you can make is in Freemantle, which is a city not far from Perth. It’s known as a maritime city and it was also a former penal colony. There are plenty of places to visit relating to both of these in the city.

Once you get to Perth, you can either explore the city, or you can visit Rottnest Island. The island is stunning and it’s worth visiting just to see the Quokkas that populate the island.

I would advise staying in Perth for a few days after you’ve finished the drive, so you can see all the city has to offer and check out the surrounding area too!

How much does an Adelaide to Perth Road trip cost?

Beach at Rottnest Island

Due to the length of this road trip, it will cost more money than other trips in Australia would.

Of course, the more of you there is, the cheaper the cost between you all. I would recommend doing this trip in a group if you can to save money.

While doing a road trip there are a few unavoidable costs. You will have to pay for petrol no matter what, as well as food and drink.

If you’re doing the trip in a car, you’ll have to pay for accommodation, unless you sleep in a tent! However, if you’re driving from Adelaide to Perth in a campervan, you won’t need to worry about accommodation.

Here’s a link to a fuel cost calculator from Travellers Autobarn, which should come in handy for your trip. Using the fuel price data from a Google search for “petrol prices Australia”, input the figure into the calculator and you’re set.

I got a quote of $1.44 per litre, driving the distance with a campervan led to a quote of $542.96. If there are four of you in the car, that will come to $135.74, which isn’t too bad considering the distance.

However, if there is only two or three of you, the costs will be a lot more expensive. Factor in the cost of renting a campervan per day, which comes to around $49, food and drink and any tours you decide to do on the way and the trip could easily come to over $500 each even if there are four of you.

If you want to keep the costs down, it is better to do the trip in a big group. It will cost a lot if you do it in a smaller group, but you will still have an amazing time!

In the end, it comes down to how much you’re willing to spend to have an experience of a lifetime. The trip will be expensive, but if you’re doing a working holiday in Australia or simply travelling around, it will be expensive regardless of what you do!

Concluding thoughts

This Adelaide to Perth road trip is one of the best you can do in Australia and it’s one you should do if you get the chance.

The drive will take you through some of the best-kept secrets in Australia and provide you with views that will last you a lifetime!

Have you done an Adelaide to Perth drive? Did you do an itinerary similar to mine?

Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Adelaide to Perth road trip