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The Perthfect Road Trip Best Scenic Drives in Perth

The Perthfect Road Trip: Best Scenic Drives in Perth

Feeling a little bit down? Or are your days starting to get a bit monotonous, and you’re tired of seeing the same things over and over again?

Thankfully, Perth offers a lot of scenery, both man-made and natural, that you can explore. And the best way to see them is with a good old-fashioned road trip across the winding streets of the city and its suburbs.

So sit comfortably, prepare that playlist, and strap your seatbelt, because you’re going on a road trip to the best scenic drives in Perth!

See the beauty of Perth’s skyline along the banks of the Swan River

Total distance you can drive: 30 kilometres 
Attractions along the route: Old Mill, Elizabeth Quay, Blue Boathouse, Sir James Mitchell Park, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth Zoo, and Fremantle Harbour

Of course, every road trip in Perth must at least feature the city’s beautiful Swan River. The river cuts right through the middle of the city, so any road beside it is guaranteed to show you the liveliest and most exciting parts of Perth.

Start things off with a quick visit to the historic Old Mill in South Perth. This colonial-era building serves as a great starting point where you can learn more about Perth’s history and culture.

Once you’re good to go, you’ll drive through Mill Point Road and make your way towards Causeway Bridge. 

If you plan to start the road trip before lunchtime, it might be a good idea to add Sir James Mitchell Park as one of your stopping points. This park has many restaurants and food trucks beside it where you can eat a good meal.

Once you’re out of Mill Point Road, you’ll need to turn left at Canning Highway, then continue straight until you reach the on-ramp road that’ll take you to Causeway Bridge.

Once you get across, turn right onto Riverside Drive, where you can truly begin your drive beside the Swan River’s northern banks.

It’s okay to slow down here and take your time to appreciate the beautiful view. The next destination, Elizabeth Quay, is another tourist spot you can certainly look forward to.

Elizabeth Quay is a hub of fun activities and Instagrammable scenery. Park the car for a moment, and check out the top tourist attractions here, like The Bell Tower and the BHP Billiton Water Park.

Once you’re good to go, you’ll make your way towards the historic port city of Fremantle. To do so, you’ll leave Elizabeth Quay via Birdiya Drive, which is another road located beside the Swan River.

You’ll then continue straight on to Mounts Bay Road, where you’ll see another tourist attraction, the Blue Boat House. This is one of the best places to capture beautiful photos, so make sure your camera is ready!

It’s also where the drive near the Swan River will end (don’t worry, you’ll see it again) as you make your way towards the western suburbs.

You’re now reaching the end of your road trip. After Stirling Highway, you’ll need to turn right and drive through Curtin Avenue, which will take you to North Fremantle

During your drive through Curtin Avenue, you’ll have an opportunity to see the Indian Ocean and nearby beaches like Leighton Beach and Mosman Beach.

Once you reach the end of Curtin Avenue, you’ll need to continue straight on towards Port Beach Road, which will take you straight to the mouth of the Swan River. 

The journey ends at the Middle Mole, where you’ll have the chance to see the point where the Swan River and the Indian Ocean meet.

Pro tip: There are many romantic spots you can visit with your significant other while driving through the Swan River Scenic Drive.

The Bell Tower offers a romance package that will give you two tickets that grant you full access to the tower’s observation area and a personalised love lock that you and your partner can link to one of the tower’s walkway chains.

Feel the cool sea breeze at the Sunset Coast Drive

Total distance you can drive: 40 kilometres 
Attractions along the route: Scarborough Beach, Trigg Beach, City Beach, Mindarie Marina, and Hillarys Boat Harbour

It was a fun experience travelling through the centre of the city, but there’s still more. Let’s check out Sunset Coast Drive, one of the best routes for a relaxing seaside drive.

You’ll start off by visiting Reabold Hill, where you’ll have a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean and the nearby City Beach. From there, you’ll make your way towards the West Coast Highway, where you’ll cover the first half of your journey.

It’s up to you which beaches you should stop by and relax for a moment. While on the West Coast Highway, you’ll be able to visit City Beach, Scarborough Beach, Floreat Beach, and Brighton Beach.

City Beach is one of the best beaches to visit if you plan to have a relaxing beachside picnic with your friends and family. Meanwhile, Floreat Beach is known for being a dog-friendly beach where your furbabies can freely run and play.

Scarborough Beach is another excellent choice thanks to its large and consistent waves that are perfect for surfing.

Once you reach the northern end of Scarborough Beach, you’ll need to exit the West Coast Highway and turn left onto West Coast Drive, where the second half of your road trip will take place.

There are more famous beaches you’ll be able to visit during your drive here, including Trigg Beach and North Beach. These two beaches are a bit quieter compared to the other ones I mentioned earlier.

At the end of West Coast Drive, you’ll arrive at Hillarys Boat Harbour, a hub for various water activities. It’s full of fun attractions to discover, and it also has many restaurants and bars to enjoy the rest of the day.

After Hillarys Boat Harbour, you have two options. One is to wrap up the road trip and make way towards home or continue on towards Mindarie Marina, located at the northernmost tip of Perth.

Pro tip: If you plan to start your Sunset Coast Drive in the late afternoon, make sure to stop by the Scarborough Sunset Markets. 

It’s a night market filled with food trucks featuring dishes from all around the world and live performances by some of Perth’s local artists.

Have a fun day exploring Fremantle and the nearby beaches at the Fremantle – Rockingham Drive

Total distance you can drive: 40.6 kilometres 
Attractions along the route: WA Maritime Museum, WA Shipwrecks Museum, Fremantle Markets, South Beach, Coogee Maritime Trail, Coogee Beach, Rockingham Beach, and Cape Peron

Still in the mood for a beachside road trip? Then let’s switch things up a bit and go south from the historic city of Fremantle to the town of Rockingham.

This one will be a very exciting trip for you, as not only will you have the chance to take another look at the impressive Indian Ocean, but you’ll also have the opportunity to visit some historic sites and museums along the way.

You’ll begin the road trip at the WA Maritime Museum. Here you’ll learn in detail about the importance of Perth as a trade hub in the Indian Ocean region and the contributions the city has made to improving maritime travel.

And the history lesson doesn’t end there. Just a few metres from the WA Maritime Museum, you’ll come across the WA Shipwrecks Museum, which features the most popular shipwrecks discovered on Perth’s nearby seas.

You’ll cover a total distance of 40 kilometres for this road trip, so it’s a good idea to buy some snacks and drinks for the journey. The best place to do that is at the historic Fremantle Markets, located on South Terrace Street.

After buying some supplies, you will now continue on towards South Beach by driving on the scenic Marine Terrace Street. 

From Marine Terrace Street, you’ll enter a roundabout and exit at the South Beach Promenade, which will take us straight to South Beach. The beach itself can serve as a great location for a beachside picnic. 

After South Beach, you’ll now head to North Coogee via Cockburn Road. Here you’ll have the chance to visit the Coogee Maritime Trail, where the shallow shipwreck of Omeo is located.

After a quick visit to the Omeo, you’ll continue driving down Cockburn Road towards Coogee Beach. Here is where you’ll find a chance to reconnect with nature by visiting the Woodman Point Recreation Reserve.

When you’re ready to continue, keep driving on Cockburn Road to finally reach the town of Rockingham. Here, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the beach again in Rockingham Beach.

You’ll then finish the road trip with a quick visit to Cape Peron, where you’ll get a great vantage point to see the Indian Ocean and the nearby Penguin Island and Garden Island.

Pro tip: If possible, carry snorkelling gear. 

The Coogee Maritime Trail is a diving trail filled with various sites you can visit aside from the Omeo shipwreck, like its artificial reefs and underwater art gallery.

Most of the trail is only 5 metres deep, so it’s safe to visit even for novice divers.

See the full glow of Perth’s night lights from the hills of Zig Zag Scenic Drive

Total distance you can drive: 40.5 kilometres 
Attractions along the route: John Forrest National Park, Rocky Pool, and Darlington Estate

It was fun seeing Perth’s beaches and city centre, but how about its outskirts? Good thing there are a couple of routes you can take that’ll take you across the hills east of Perth, like the Zig Zag Scenic Drive.

You’ll start it off with a quick visit to John Forrest National Park. Don’t drive off just yet; take some time walking around the park and appreciate the beautiful sight of water flowing through the Glen Brook Dam.

Once you’re ready to leave, exit the park and turn right once you reach the Great Eastern Highway. Once you reach Greenmount, you’ll need to turn left at Scott Street and continue your drive there.

After Scott Street, you’ll need to continue driving straight through Ridge Hill Road, and then at the end of this road, you’ll need to turn left at Gooseberry Hill Road and then turn right at Railway Road.

You won’t be arriving at the Zig Zag Scenic Drive just yet. The next destination will be Kalamunda National Park because its elevation will allow you to drive through the Zig Zag Scenic Drive downhill, facing Perth.

Again, it’s best for us to take a quick break at Kalamunda National Park before continuing on your road trip. It’s a great place to hike thanks to its long, winding trails and cool temperature.

Once you’re ready to go back on the road again, you’ll continue the road trip back on Railway Road. However, instead of going back to Gooseberry Hill Road, you will instead turn right at Williams Street to reach the Zig Zag Scenic Drive.

After you reach the Zig Zag Scenic Drive, you will be rewarded with an amazing view of Perth’s cityscape. I strongly recommend you drive here at dusk so you can also see the city’s night lights in action.

However, make sure to drive slowly because the road has many narrow, hairpin turns.

After reaching the bottom of the hill, finish the road trip with a delicious lunch or dinner at the Darlington Estate. To get there, you’ll need to go back to Ridge Hill Road, then turn right at Clayton Road until you reach the estate.

Pro tip: Make sure to time your road trip well. The Zig Zag Scenic Drive’s switchback road is open only from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM every day!

Enjoy a calm drive between the flowering fields from Perth to Northam

Total distance you can drive: More than 80 kilometres 
Attractions along the route: Rotary Lookout, Mundaring, Bakers Hill Pie Shop, and Bilya Koort Boodja

Are the routes I’ve provided earlier still not satisfying your itch for a peaceful road trip? Don’t worry because the next one on the list will definitely deliver, as it’ll take you on an 80-kilometre journey through the Great Eastern Highway.

You’ll start off the road trip in Woodbridge, where the highway starts from Perth. The end destination will be the small town of Northam, which is located north-east of the city.

Just like the Zig Zag Scenic Drive road trip, you’ll also come across John Forrest National Park along the road. It’s best that you make a quick stop here and check out the Rotary Lookout, where you’ll see Perth and its surrounding suburbs.

After stopping by the national park, you’ll now continue on your long drive across the Great Eastern Highway towards the small town of Mundaring. It will serve as your resting point, where you can eat a quick lunch before driving on to Northam.

I recommend that you spare at least an hour walking around Mundaring first to see the beautiful houses here that were made in Federation-style architecture.

The drive between Mundaring and Northam is the highlight of the road trip. In this section, the Great Eastern Highway is flanked by massive fields of flowering yellow canola on both sides.

Have your favourite playlist ready during this section, as this is the most gorgeous part of the road trip.

Along the way to Northam, you will come across The Bakers Hill Pie Shop. Their pastries can serve as awesome gifts you can share with your friends and family back in Perth.

After a quick stop at The Bakers Hill Pie Shop, you only have to drive a bit further to reach Northam. Once you’ve arrived, there are a couple of tourist spots waiting for you at Northam, like the Bilya Koort Boodja and the Northam Silo Murals.

Pro tip: The best time to do this road trip is during the spring season, which is between the months of September and November. This is when the yellow canola is in full bloom.

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