Perth - Norseman via South
Western Highway and South Coast Highway (Hwy 1)
Total Distance 1,427km.
All distances measured from Perth.
You get a choice when leaving Perth to travel to the South West
- you can use the lovely smooth flowing Kwinana Freeway (Hwy 2)
to get you out of town and on your way quickly and without hassle
or you can use either the Canning (Hwy 6) or Leach Highway(Hwy
7) to connect with Highway 1 and meander down past Fremantle towards
Kwinana Beach, Rockingham and Mandurah (74km). The area around
Mandurah is worth looking at with lots of waterside development
both on Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary.
Whichever way you choose to start your visit to the SouthWest,
you will by now be travelling on the Old Coast Road (Hwy 1) or
the South Western Highway (Hwy 20) and the two join up at Bunbury
( 176km) and continue as the South Western Highway (Hwy 1) for
rest of the way.
Bunbury, is a major city and port as the centre of a rich agricultural
area with dairy, orchard and forestry being the main occupations.
It is also a popular resort area for holiday makers with access
to firm, wide Indian Ocean beaches.
This is where you make a decision about where you want to go as
the Busselton Highway (Hwy 10) will take you down through Busselton
to the famed Margaret River wine growing area and the wild, beautiful
coast at Augusta - the most South-westerly point in Australia.
Donít forget they grow Marron - succulent freshwater crayfish
- down that way and sell them live or cooked .
Staying with the South Western Highway (Hwy 1), we start getting
into more hilly country and notice many town names ending with
ëupí like Boyanup and Gwindinup on the way to Donnybrook
(212km) . It is one theory that ëupí means a place
with water and if so, the South West must be very wet!
At Bridgetown (266km) we pass the Brockman Highway (Hwy 251) and
continue on to Manjimup (303km) - quite a big farming centre and
the start of the tall country for which the South West is famous.
Just past the town is the junction with the Muirs Highway (Hwy
102) and on the right a little further on, we come to the Vasse
Highway (Hwy 10) that would take us to Pemberton - famous for
the Gloucester Tree that was formerly a fire lookout but nowadays
provides spectacular views of the magnificent forests for any
tourists game to climb it via the 153 rungs that go 60 metres
up to the platform at the top.
We meet Highway 10 again a bit further south just before we get
to Shannon (355km) and then the highway continues through tall
timber country in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park to Walpole
(425km). At this point the highway changes its name and becomes
the South Coast Highway but remains Highway 1 as it follows the
coast to Denmark (491km).
A turn off to the left after Walpole would take you to the Valley
of the Giants - an area of huge tingle trees with a cantilevered
tree-top walkway taking you up where birds usually fly. This gives
a fantastic view of the treetops and back down to the ground but
the faint-hearted need to know that the walkway, although completely
safe, does sway a bit - particularly if a number of people are
walking along it at the same time.
Denmark is a delightful little coastal town with a street of interesting
shops and accommodation including a caravan park along Wilson
Inlet. There are lots of little coastal spots in this area well
worth exploring if you have the time and inclination or you can
press on to reach the large and popular destination of Albany
(545km) where you can spend days or even weeks without getting
bored. The shorter route via the Albany Highway (Hwy 30) would
have got you here in just 409km but you would have missed some
very beautiful countryside on the way.
There are two wonderful lookouts in Albany and both give excellent
views over the town and district - particularly on a nice fine
day. Make sure you take warm clothes if you visit during the winter
because it can be very cool with winds coming unchecked from the
Southern Ocean. Mt Melville has a tourist kiosk and tower while
Mt Clarence has a war memorial and a walk to the summit.
Albany , Western Australiaís oldest town, was a whaling
port and the site of the old Cheynes Beach Whaling Station at
Bay Road has been turned into 'Whaleworld'- an attractive tourist
note that this is not at CHEYNES BEACH!) Another tourist attraction down by the waterfront
is the brig 'Amity' - a replica of the little ship that brought
settlers to the district from Sydney in 1826.
If you decide to stay a while and explore the area you will find
much of interest including then town of Mount Barker and its wineries,
the Stirling Ranges National Park and the rugged and beautiful
Leaving Albany behind we continue on the South Coast Highway (Hwy
1) through undulating agricultural country with the outline of
the Stirling Ranges in the distance on our right. At some times
of the year the purple of the ranges is emphasised by the vast
stretches of bright yellow canola in the foreground.
The first place we come to on this stretch is the little settlement
of Jerramungup (724km) and it would probably pay to top up fuel
tanks here or at the next town of Ravensthorpe (838km) as itís
a fair stretch on to Esperance (910km).
This is another destination that asks for an extended stopover
as it has such attraction with its beaches, islands, gorgeous
views, and good facilities. First priority is the Rotary Lookout
with its sweeping views of the bay and islands. A circular drive
along the coast and past the Pink Lake is a must and if you are
taking things easy and not rushing along, then a drive out to
the Cape Le Grand National Park is worth doing. It has good camping
areas as well that can also accommodate caravans and RVs in almost
Renewed by a few days relaxation at Esperance itís time
for the last short leg of the journey to Norseman (1117km) passing
through Salmon Gums on the way. Salmon Gums were very plentiful
in this area until gold was discovered in nearby Kalgoorlie and
timber was needed for shoring up the tunnels in the mines - exit
most of the local trees.