Australia’s Most Instagrammable Road Trip
Spend 11 days taking in one unique road trip along the edge of arguably the most beautiful corner of Australia. This drive takes you through wine regions, karri forests, and along the dramatic south coast to Esperance. Here are ten reasons why the Great South West Edge road trip will give you more memories per mile than almost any other.
Where: Perth to Esperance
What: The Great South West Edge
Length: 11 days
How: Hire car
Footage credit: Bianca Uyen
1. This stunning natural spa
On Day One, hire your car in Perth and drive straight to Margaret River. Famous for its premium wines and world-class surf, it’s also the home of beaches, plenty of restaurants and this secret spot. Locals come to Indijup Natural Spa for peace and quiet; you simply sit in the water and relax as waves rhythmically fill the pool with a gentle fizz. Nearby you’ll also find an equally beautiful monument, Sugarloaf Rock – perhaps spend a couple of nights here, soaking it all in.
2. An insta-famous brunch spot
On Day Three (still in Margaret River), head straight to White Elephant. This beachside café has become an internationally-recognized Instagram star (it’s been featured several times on @Australia, for example), but locals come for something even more important: great coffee. Sit on the balcony and order one of the prettily-plated meals; several social media celebrities have been spotted ‘gramming the colourful smoothies, too.
3. An ancient valley of giant trees
On Day Four of your trip, you’ll drive to the Valley of the Giants: a deeply serene forest of some of the world’s biggest trees, which stretch back hundreds of years in age. You can walk beneath them, explore the sights from their leafy tops via a suspended aerial walkway, or even climb one, if you’re game: the Dave Evans Bicentennial tree near Pemberton is the highest fire-tree lookout in the world, and the views from its 72-metre top are photo-worthy… although perhaps for daredevils only, as @DailyMailUK suggested!
4. A natural, bright green pool
Instagram star @JarradSeng deemed Greens Pool “Western Australia’s answer to Icebergs”, the famous swimming pool in Sydney (except we think this one is better, of course). Framed by huge boulders, which act as a protective shore break, the naturally-occurring, almost perfectly circular pool of peppermint-tinged water attracts locals from the nearby town of Denmark for their morning laps, while ‘grammers flock to snap the striking colour of its aptly named water. You’ll reach this pool on Day Five… but you might want to stay another night for what’s coming next.
5. Elephant Rocks
On Day Six, explore this striking picnic spot: it’s located just five minutes’ walk from Greens Pool. Elephant Rocks – so named for its likeness to a herd of elephants walking through water – enjoys the same mint-hued water as its neighbour, with the added bonus of those boulders, making it the perfect spot for a sunset picnic. Australian travel journalist @GeorgiaRickard called this particular spot “beyond extraordinary”. What do you think?
6. The largest gathering of wild orcas in the Southern Hemisphere
Leave Denmark on Day Seven and get ready to spot the biggest known gathering of wild orcas in the Southern Hemisphere – this little-known natural phenomenon only occurs in one special spot, a further two hours along the Great South West Edge. Jump on board at the beach town of Bremer Bay on Day Eight and enjoy the cruise; this is one of few places on Earth you can see these special animals in such numbers.
7. Great Ocean Drive
As you drive into Esperance on Day Nine, you’ll come across the Great Ocean Drive – get your camera ready! Passing along 20 kilometers of stunning coastline, it’s been dubbed “Australia’s most beautiful stretch of road”, and for good reason – you’ll see more than a dozen dazzling beaches, almost 100 islands and the famous Twilight Beach (named one of the 10 best beaches on the continent by @Australia last year). Esperance is your final destination along the Great South West Edge – but there’s still plenty more to see and do…
8. Kangaroos on the beach!
Recognise this image? Snapped by @JarradSeng, it was picked up by media and broadcast on television, and attracted tens of thousands of online views. In fact, kangaroos can be found at Lucky Bay (just near Esperance) on most days – so get ready to make some furry friends (and take some great shots). Lucky Bay has attracted some of the world’s biggest social media celebrities for its white sands, beautiful waters and those cute kangaroos. Don’t forget your camera.
9. A bright pink lake
With its bright pink hue and striking juxtaposition against the ocean, the naturally-coloured Lake Hillier has been the subject of several viral videos, as well as a National Geographic inquiry and a feature on US Condé Nast. Found on Middle Island (just off the coast of Esperance), Lake Hillier is best seen from the air, where you can line up the classic Instagram shot: half pink, half blue; all beautiful. You’ll see it on Day Ten of the Great South West Edge.
10. Wave Rock
Instagram sensation @JeremyJauncey (who is also the man behind Insta-juggernaut @beautifuldestinations) took his 600,000 followers to Wave Rock in 2015, declaring it a “Bucket list” location; @LeeAbbamonte – the youngest American to visit every country on Earth – has also been, seen and grammed about it. Thought to have formed some 130 million years ago, Wave Rock is entirely natural and measures about 15 metres (roughly three storeys) in height; it’s about four hours’ inland from the Great South West Edge. You’ll see it on your way back to Perth.