10 Days Western Australia - Roadtrip - Part 1

clifford chow
3 Jun 2020

Simply because... we love roadtrips!

Western Australia to Singaporeans, is one of the best “baby food” destinations for road trips. Traffic is easy, roads are well maintained; and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Coupled with easily manageable flight times, without any airport transfers, and if you were to head anywhere South from Perth, there are no toll roads; and the further down South you go, the better the country gets.

Our 10 days of travel covered Perth City itself, Fremantle, Rockingham, Bunbury, Eagle Bay which is near the Margaret River region, Augusta, Denmark and Albany. Which also included a spot of getting lost offroad while attempting to snag some highly recommended fish n chips at a place called Peaceful Bay. 

In this two-part special, we will also input some other destinations which we had in our plans for your own planning... activities we wanted on our itinerary, but unfortunately because the weather was less than ideal for us to embark on, or it was off-season, or we simply ran out of time. 

So allow us to share some of our experiences with you.

A Few Good Things We Did Do, In Random Order:

  • Abide by the speed limit.
  • Brought our own shopping bags, since Australia has banned plastic ones.
  • Dared to deviate from our initial routes to explore things in different areas.
  • Drive smoothly, so that fuel is maximised (then again we had a diesel engine).
  • Airbnb first, hotels second.
  • Were respectful of our hosts, the places we stayed at, and the places we visited.
  • Google Maps first, inbuilt car SatNav second.
  • Plan and pack well for the trip, cooler boxes are very good for storing drinks, occasional snacks and perishable groceries - if you plan to cook your own food during your trip… We had a few good kangaroo steaks.

Also note that at the time of writing this, some places might still be temporarily closed due to the current COVID-19 situation.

Perth City
The city itself is worth taking a walk around, especially at night, historical buildings, and the dining scene is simply lovely. Perth is a cultural melting pot, and there are plenty of food choices.

Asian food is easily found with some pretty good Vietnamese fare in abundance. I’d recommend some Com Tam Dac Biet(originally a poor man’s dish of broken rice, now with barbecued pork, pickles and a sunny side up egg). For those who need something closer to home, there are even shops that sell a decent Mee Goreng, and for those who love western fare like we did, we tucked into some lovely pizza.

Do not forget to check out some of their outlet stores before flying back home. Off-season bargains can be too good to resist. 

Swan River
Swan River is the main waterway that runs through the city, and flows towards Fremantle. You could take a drive to South Perth Esplanade (North-east facing) to catch a lovely sunrise, ideal especially for those who love a good photo, and have a tripod with them.

Photo Credit: Madhav Rajesh on Unsplash

Or how about an OOTD shoot at the Blue Boat House? A Singaporean travellers’ favourite, the Crawley Edge Boatshed, as it is officially known, consists of a distinctive blue house with a white door and white-framed windows, and a wooden walkway that leads to it. Do check tide timings too, as the jetty that leads to the shed can get submerged during high tide. We never got to stop by the house, as we were already in transit to Fremantle city.

Travelers Tip:
Where to park: Kings Park Avenue is just opposite to the boat house, and forms a T-junction to the main road. 

Due to the frequent visits by tourists, there have been many cases of car break-ins. Do not leave your belongings in view from the outside, be wary of who is around when you exit your vehicle, and do not stay at the Boat House for too long. 

Getting Around in Perth
Take a walk and soak it in if you are in the city centre. You will miss out on plenty if you were to drive. Perth has a comprehensive bus network, and a good rail service, which also stops at Fremantle. So if you do not have plans to stay in Fremantle, but would love to do a day trip, the rail service can be a great alternative.


Laid back, yet vibrant. Fremantle offers a little something for everyone. A half-hour drive from Perth, the city reveals a flavourful mix of historical nuggets, like Fremantle Prison, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The market is a must for those looking for that little something special to bring home. You might even get lucky, and catch a game of Aussie Rules at the nearby Fremantle Oval.

Or how about booking a tour at the Little Creatures Brewery, or even having a meal there... I highly recommend the mussels.

Weekends may be crowded, but I do highly recommend staying over at Fremantle for at least one day of the weekend, especially if you are a car buff. There is quite a lovely vintage car scene here, and there are abundant cafes lining the streets for a good session of car spotting.

Travelers Tip:
Opt to stay at a place that offers you free parking, as parking around parts of Fremantle does come at a cost, gated locations are always recommended for reasons of security; after all most of Fremantle can be covered on foot, and it is worth the walk.

Rottnest Island

Ah yes, the place to find the world’s happiest creatures. Rottnest has become a popular haunt, because of their “ever-so-happy” Quokka, pristine beaches, and the opportunity to skydive. Rottnest island is a 25 minute ferry trip from Fremantle, with the ferry departing from B Shed along Peter Hughes Drive, offering Sealink Rottnest Island and Rottnest Express ferry services.

There are two good ways of getting around the island. The first is via their Island Explorer Bus service. Tickets for a whole day are at AUD$20 for Adults and AUD$15 for children. You can also opt for an AUD$50 family pass, which is good for two adults and two kids. The other way to get around is to rent a bicycle to take things at your own pace.

Those who plan to stay for a period of time, can enjoy residing at Hotel Rottnest or Karma Rottnest

Travelers Tip:
It is advisable to head to the island in the morning, since the last ferry back to Fremantle departs at 16:30, therefore you will want to maximise your time over there.

There is almost no escaping of sea-related activities when you think of Australia as a holiday destination, and Rockingham does have a few family-friendly ones available.

Photo Credit: penguinisland.com.au

Penguin Island gets its name from the world’s smallest penguins which populate the tiny T-shaped plot of land, which is just a 5-minute boat ride from Shoalwater. A ticket for two adults and 2 children costs AUD$80.

The island is also ideal for those who would want to have a swim at its pristine beaches, and even spot dolphins and whales if you happen to be there during the correct season (September to December).

Photo Credit: penguinisland.com.au

Rockingham is also a good alternative for you to skydive, if you have missed the earlier opportunity at Rottnest Island.

If you are keen to find a quiet beach to relax at, head further south to Port Kennedy Beach, along Port Kennedy Drive. (Don’t worry, the linked coordinates are not to the Nudist Beach slightly further up North)

Lake Clifton Thrombolites

An hour’s drive from Rockingham, Lake Clifton in my opinion is an optional stop, if you need to recharge your batteries. The Thrombolites are, in essence, clustered microorganisms which existed as far back as prehistoric times.

If you’d like to stop for lunch, there is Cape Bouvard Winery & Brewery, just a few meters before the Thrombolites car park, where you can have a decent spread. But it is more wine than food if you are not so fussy about a food menu.

Travelers Tip:
This stop is optional. I’d advise you to spend not more than 20 minutes.


Photo Credit: dolphindiscovery.com.au

Since we were in Western Australia during the colder months, we did not make a stop at Burnbury, which has a Dolphin Discovery Centre we’d like to highlight. The recently renovated centre facilitates family friendly activities, like a unique Swim With The Dolphins programme (available from November - April). The programme costs AUD$165 for those who are keen to get into the water with the dolphins. 

For those who are not keen on swimming, the centre also has a separate Interaction Zone. Depending on sheer luck, you might find yourself in the midst of these intelligent creatures, as they swim close to shore. The dolphins are known to arrive at the beach from 8am to 12pm, during the warmer months of the year. This is a public beach, hence it is a free experience.

The centre itself features an educational walk-thru, which is great for engaging the kids.

Tuart Forest National Park
Take a small detour and head through some B-roads which cut through Tuart Forest National park, as you head on South. The forest is home to the very last tall Tuart hardwood trees in the world, and are protected. They make for a casual-relaxing drive under their lush canopy.

If you were to drive through these roads in the morning, you will be able to catch some ideal lighting for a few good photographs.

Travelers Tip:
Do keep a lookout though for grey kangaroos and ringtail possums which might make their way onto the road.


The main draw of Busselton (location map) is its historic jetty. The structure which dates back to the late 1860s, juts almost two kilometres into the sea. Its Interpretive Centre & Museum, styled to look like a boat-shed and painted blue with white accents, is its most recognisable feature, and forms an ideal instagram-worthy backdrop.

So long is the jetty, that it even has its own Jetty Train that takes you to the very end - a good means to get there quickly, especially if you are not a fan of walking the distance. An Underwater Observatory is at the end of the jetty. The observatory descends to a depth of 8-meters, where you can observe Australia’s largest artificial reef, which hosts a large array of tropical and subtropical marine flora and fauna.

There is also a seasonally available Undersea Walk, which allows you to explore marine life under the jetty. The activity is conducted within their very own Deep Sea Pool, an Olympic swimming pool-sized area, which provides a safe environment where you can take a walk on the ocean floor, while getting close to what nature has to offer.

A 40 minute drive East of Busselton Jetty, the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse offers an unobscured view of the surrounding area, including a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean. Entry to the lighthouse is AUD $15 per adult, and AUD $39 for a family of four. Those who are not keen on paying for the lighthouse experience, can access the public observation deck beside it, which faces the sea. 

If you have time for a little bit of whale watching, there is also a specially built platform north of the lighthouse. From between September to the early part of December, you can view Humpback whales in the distance as they linger within the area. They may be a challenge to spot, but look out for telltale signs of puffs of water spurting from their blowholes, as these majestic and intelligent creatures break the ocean's surface to catch some air.

Travelers Tip:
Bring a pair of binoculars or have a good lens on your camera to capture the whales in the distance.

Ngilgi Cave

Photo Credit: margaretriver.com

Ngilgi Cave is twenty minute drive South of Cape Naturaliste. There are two guided tours available, an ‘Ancient Riverbed’ and ‘Cave Explorer’ adventure tour; the latter offers a glimpse of glass-like stalactites, as you venture down into the cave. Tours are priced at AUD $22.50 for adults, and AUD $58 for a family of four. 

Photo Credit: koomaldreaming.com.au

For a more fulfilling time there, you can choose to book a tour with Koomal Dreaming, which also ups the cave exploration experience. Opting for a full Day Cultural Tour, hosted by local, Josh Whiteland and his team, that includes lunch, is an ideal way to learn more about indiginious culture. You can expect bush tucker unique to Australia, like Kangaroo and Emu, or even savour the unique peach-like flavours of their Native Peach, more commonly known to indegenous Australians as Quandong.

Photo Credit: koomaldreaming.com.au

Check out Part 2, as we continue further South, through the Margaret River region, ride some horses, and watch-whales-watching-us in Augusta.

About The Car

Our trusty ride for the trip is a BMW X3 xDrive20d, which is powered by a 2.0 turbocharged diesel engine delivering 140kW, and 400Nm, and is equipped with full time AWD. 

This variant is fitted with adaptive dampers which are ideal for different driving styles during the long journey. 

Recent upgrades like its Operating System 7, which features the all new Intelligent Personal Assistant, responds to naturally-spoken voice commands. It is deeply integrated with the car's functions; taking the user experience to a higher level, and is safer to operate too... all this while hands remain on the wheel, and eyes on the road.

While we will not find this gem of a diesel engine in the Singapore-spec cars, do check out our BMW X3 reviews, beginning with the base sDrive20i, middle-of-the-pack xDrive30i, and high-performance M40i.

#VisitWesternAustralia #WA #OZ #Perth #WesternAustralia #Busselton #Travel #Roadtrip #SG #Singapore #SelfDrive #Drive #Holiday #Vacation #Fremantle #Freo #Stralia

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