It’s a long drive from Adelaide to Perth, but the journey between these two vibrant Australian cities is an adventure in itself, following the spectacular southern coastline on an epic road trip that takes you from the state of South Australia (SA), across to Western Australia (WA).
The shortest route between Perth and Adelaide covers 2,600 kilometers of road, but the opportunities for detours are endless and our extensive route, outlined below will take you on a voyage of at least 3,500 kilometers. You’ll want at least two weeks of travel time or more if you want to take your time and really explore all that there is to offer in this scenic part of Australia.
Recommendation: If you are renting a car for this Adelaide to Perth road trip, make sure to check out Rentalcars.com. They search and compare rental prices from all major rental companies in Australia, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best possible price on your rental car.
Best Time to Road Trip From Adelaide to Perth
A road trip from Adelaide to Perth can be undertaken all year round, but if you really want to enjoy the drive you might want to consider traveling in spring, summer, or autumn and avoiding the colder, wetter months of winter.
The vast southwestern coastline of Australia enjoys a relatively temperate climate in comparison to other parts of the country, but in summer you can still expect extraordinarily high temperatures, which regularly break the 40-degree barrier from December through to February.
It can be stifling hot, but it’s a great time to hit the beaches. Spring and autumn can be more pleasant times to drive when things aren’t quite as busy but temperatures are still high. Towards the end of autumn, you can expect rain and wet weather, while winter can be surprisingly ugly in places.
Things to Know about Driving from Adelaide to Perth
Here are few things to keep in mind when driving from Adelaide to Perth or vise versa.
1. Don’t Underestimate Driving Times
There’s a long distance from Adelaide to Perth to cover on this road trip, with anywhere from 2,600 to 3,500 kilometers depending on your exact itinerary. Although the areas directly to the west of Adelaide, and the far southwestern coast up to Perth have been extensively developed and are today densely populated, the huge stretch of highway that crosses the Nullarbor Plain is mostly empty, with just a few roadhouses along the route.
The Nullarbor can be a challenge to cross, as there is little to see for hundreds of kilometers. You will even have to endure the longest stretch of straight road in the world. Despite its tediousness, there is a well-connected network of roadhouses and service stations where you can stock up on supplies, including food, water, and petrol.
2. Get Roadside Assistance
Ensure that you have adequate roadside assistance should anything happen, and take some extra water and fuel for this long stretch of road.
3. Consider Camping
Roadhouses can provide accommodation outside of the towns and cities, or if you are adventurous, you can save on costs by camping out along the route.
If you are not into camping, don’t worry, we have listed the best places to stay for each stop on this Adelaide to Perth road trip itinerary for you below.
4. Avoid Driving at Night
Avoid driving at night, particularly in rural areas, as kangaroos and other Australian animals regularly cross the roads and turn into driving hazards that can cause fatal injuries.
The Ultimate Adelaide to Perth Road Trip Itinerary
From Adelaide to Perth you’ll visit pristine beaches and stunning national parks, you’ll cross the vast and empty Nullarbor Plain, the desert landscape that separates SA and WA. It’s a long trip, but it’s one of the best road trips you can take in Australia.
However, before we get to our itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
Now with that out of the way, let’s get this Adelaide to Perth itinerary on the road already (pun intended)!
Your road trip begins in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, a vibrant and culture-filled city which enjoys wonderful weather for much of the year. It’s a small city, and under-visited in comparison to the more popular eastern destinations such as Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane, but you’ll find plenty of attractions in Adelaide to keep you busy as you make preparations for your trip from Adelaide to Perth by car.
Port Augusta is located just up the road from Adelaide along the coast, 300 kilometers up the road to be exact – it’s a spot where you can visit the informative Outback Centre, day trip into the desert to discover the towering Flinders Range, or relax along the coastline. It’s a great overnight stop before you begin to head west.
From Port Augusta, head south along the Eyre Peninsula to visit South Australia’s Seafood Capital, the town of Port Lincoln. From here, after enjoying some fresh seafood, you can explore Lincoln National Park and Coffin Bay National Park, where you’ll find spectacular cliffs, dense sand dunes, and some great hikes.
Next up on your road trip from Adelaide to Perth, follow the coast of South Australia north-west from Port Lincoln towards Ceduna. Along this spectacular stretch of coastline, you can stop off at any number of hidden coves and bays that extend for almost 400 kilometers along the peninsula. Ceduna is a small town that’s revered for its fresh oysters. Enjoy the seafood before joining the long highway west into the Nullarbor.
For some, crossing the Nullarbor Plain is the highlight of a trip from Perth to Adelaide or Adelaide to Perth. For others, this endless stretch of road is nothing more than an endurance test.
The Nullarbor Plain stretches for over 1200 kilometers on the highway which connects South Australia to Western Australia. There’s no way around it, and the only way forward is to go straight through the desert. The road is paved the whole way and these days there are plenty of roadhouses to stop off at, but other than these small outposts of civilization, the Nullarbor is empty, devoid even of trees.
This is the real Outback, and it’s an experience like few others in Australia. You can cross the longest stretch of straight road in the world, known as the 90 Mile Straight, or if you want to liven the journey up a little more, then you can play golf along the way.
The Nullarbor Links allows you to play a hole of golf at each of the roadhouses and communities along the route, finishing up in the city of Kalgoorlie in WA. You need your own clubs of course, but it’s an interesting effort to make the road trip more exciting.
5 Essential Packing Items for Australia
#1 Good Camera – Chances are you will be snapping pictures pretty much non-stop in Australia, so you really need a good camera to do its beauty justice. We highly recommend the Sony RX100 III. It’s super lightweight, compact, and the image quality is amazing.
#2 Good Walking Shoes – There will be a lot of walking around in Australia, so a good pair of shoes is really essential. Our go to shoes are Nike Free 5.0. They are comfortable, lightweight and sturdy. We pretty wear them all the time. We even hiked up multiple mountains/volcanoes with them.
#3 Good Guidebook – Lonely Planet guidebooks are still our favorites and their Australia edition is very thorough and a must for anybody traveling around Australia.
#4 Good Water Bottle – The sun can be brutal in Australia, so make sure to always carry a refillable water bottle with you. After all, tap water is drinkable in Australia, plus it’s free. Our favorite is the Klean Kanteen Classic Stainless Steel Water Bottle.
#5 Good Reef-Safe Sunscreen – Conventional sunscreen damages the reefs, so please make sure to get a good reef-safe sunscreen instead. The Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen works just as well as a regular sunscreen but without all the harmful chemicals.
After crossing the Nullarbor Plain, you’ll arrive on the other side, in Western Australia, at the old gold mining town of Norseman. Named for a horse that struck gold when a huge nugget became lodged in its foot, Norseman is a strange but intriguing place to discover.
This was once one of the largest towns in Outback WA, but when the gold ran dry, few people stuck around. You can discover old mining camps, abandoned desert towns and learn all about the gold rush of the 19th century.
From Norseman, you can either continue on the most direct route to Perth, by traveling via Kalgoorlie to the north, or if you are still up for an adventure you can head south, to the beautiful coastal town of Esperance.
This small holiday town is bustling with visitors in summer, but it’s still remote enough from Perth to ensure that it’s somewhat of an undiscovered destination in Australia. Esperance is home to some of the country’s whitest sand, and at Lucky Bay, within the wild preserve of the Cape Le Grand National Park, you can find beautiful camping spots overlooking the beach, where throughout the day, you’ll see the friendliest kangaroos in Western Australia hopping around.
From Esperance, carry on along the southern coast of WA until you reach the city of Albany. This is the oldest European settlement in Western Australia, older even than Perth, which was founded several years after, in the early 19th century.
It’s a historic place and you can learn more by visiting the local museums, or by calling in at the moving National ANZAC Centre to discover how it was from Albany that the first Australians and New Zealanders left to fight in World War I.
Margaret River is one of the most popular destinations in Western Australia, being that it’s just a short drive south of Perth. From Albany, you can take the long coastal road, or cut inland through the tall forests to reach Margaret River.
When you get to this great little town, you’ll find endless beaches, friendly stingrays which swim right up to the sands, and endless vineyards. This is the culinary capital of WA, and you can enjoy great cheese, wine, and gourmet restaurants before you tackle the final stretch of your road trip up to Perth.
Before you finish your trip to Perth however, you can stop off along the west coast at the small city of Busselton, which is less than an hour up the road from Margaret River.
Busselton is home to the longest jetty in WA, which stretches out from the harbor for 2 kilometers. The jetty is made of wood, and is thought to be the longest wooden structure in the world.
Perth is your final destination, and once you reach Western Australia’s fascinating and lively capital, you can relax on the nearby beaches, hit the bars and pubs, or head out on a ferry across to Rottnest Island, home to the furry little Quokkas. There’s a lot do in Perth and it’s a great place to end this long road trip from Adelaide.
As you can see the drive from Adelaine to Perth is very rewarding, so don’t let the long distance deter you.