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
Frenchman Bay Road has been turned into 'Whaleworld'- an attractive tourist attraction. (Please 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 coast.

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 wilderness splendour.

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.