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Long scenic drives through south-western region

Johor Bahru...
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Long scenic drives through south-western region

Hi all,

Family of 4 adults visiting in mid january 2014. First 2 days will be in Perth CBD and Freemantle, showing my daughters the sites that I've done last april, by bus, train. I gather its school holidays and summer time. Is the daylight hours longer so that i can drive longer the next 4 days? Plan to do 10-12hrs day trips with some stops along the way, casual eats, no wines. Itinerary;

3rd day renting a car to Margaret River, probably lunch at Busselton, then Bussel highway, check in near MR town. Later on the northern caves road to Dunsborough to visit the lighthouse and picnic at Shellys beach near sunset.

4th day, plan to visit Nannup and Balingup to see some flowers and apple, cherry picking, via southern caves road to Augusta, Brockman highway, Nannup- Balingup road then return to MR either via the northern loop thru Donnybrook or southern loop thru Manjimup.

5th day, from MR to Walpole stopping to see the bicentinal tree or gloucester tree then checkin Walpole lodge , later to the beach Green pools or Elephant rocks.

6 th day morning do Valley of the Giants, then head back to Bunburry via another scenic road ?Mt Barker, Muirs highway. Thinking of a longer loop via Chester Pass road bypass Stirling range, then Katanning or Dumbleyung to Wagin to Bunburry for the night.

Last day from Bunburry to Perth returning the car to Perth, Bayswater or international airport by around noon. Flight to KL 4 pm.

Have read the advice about the dangers of night driving :-)

Any kind thoughts, suggestions and comments. Thanks very much.

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Hi. Looks like a good trip, I did similar in October. The bicentennial tree was AMAZING. Hands down best thing I have done in Australia. Mostly because it is so unassuming, it just sits I the forest. No warden or ranger or pay station or safety equipment. Just a HUGE tree.

It is 75m high, significantly higher than the Gloucester tree and diamond tree.

Are you planning to climb it? It is not suitable for children. And make sure you bring loose sports wear and sports shoes.

Greens pool and elephant rocks are stunning too.

There is a honey wine meadery (Bartholomews) near greens pool. It is good fun to try mead, and you can watch the bees in the glass-sided hive.

Abs :)

Johor Bahru...
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2. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Hi Abs. Yes I'm more in favour of the Bicentennial tree visit for the reasons you mentioned. Probably climb 20-30ft, take some pictures and brag it on Facebook, lol.

Since MR is known as a wine region, so i mentioned i don't drink wine while in fact I'm a muslim non drinker :) . Sorry for that. Sightseeing interesting wineries are ok. Thanks.

Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Sunrise is around 5.30 and sunset 7.30 in the MR region in January. Watch for wildlife if driving early, the dangers are similar to late afternoon as roos et al are moving before it gets too hot.

Your days would be too long for me but each to their own.

Johor Bahru...
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4. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Thanks Perthite. Some days we'll do 9-10 hrs drive. Usually we set out around 9am and end the journey around 7pm. After that its tiring but doable with 4 drivers ( 2 have IDPs ). Yes, we'll be extra careful as always and taking the zero excess insurance :)

Some of the detour roads are unsealed and thinking of hiring a SUV. Bayswater rental online has got toyota Rav4 2WD but no subaru forrester 4WD, still researching the options.

Fremantle, Australia
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5. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Day 6- as interesting as The Stirling Range National Park is, I would not head that direction for your trip back to Bunbury. Way too much driving and will most likely be hot. I would be more inclined to stick around Walpole area and enjoy it and head back same route as you came. Muir hwy is not very scenic.

Another possibility for a longish day would be to head to Denmark (lovely small town) then Mt Barker and head up the Albany Hwy then cut across at Darkan , Collie then Bunbury.

Can't see you needing a 4WD as doesn't seem you are heading to remote beaches for fishing or forest tracks for hiking.

Johor Bahru...
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6. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Ok agree JeanPerth, the Stirling Range route is pushing it too far and I'll drop it. The Mt Barker> Albany highway> Collie is a worthy option. I see there's another route along Albany highway i.e Kojonup to Boyup Brook> Donnybrook. Or maybe go back Manjimup> Bridgetown> Balingup from Walpole. Will read up more.

Probably will hire the SUV. Thanks.

A J
Subiaco, Australia
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7. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

To be honest, it looks like a bit of a dog's breakfast to me. All over the place and travelling down the same roads on consecutive days (or on the same day)

Why dont you just head straight down to Albany via the Stirling Ranges, stay the night in Albany. Next day have a couple of hours exploring Albany, head to Denmark, William Bay NP and Treetop Walk. Overnight in Walpole. Next day drive via Pemberton, Manjimup, Bridgetown, Balingup, Nannup and then to MR. 2 nights in MR gives you a whole day there driving around exploring the region. Then last day head back to Perth. Bunbury will be an anticlimax after the other locations you've been to so just bypass it altogether.

No backtracking or doubling up. Eliminates the not so interesting roads and concentrates on the "best bits" of the southwest.

rural West Aussie
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8. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Totally agree with AJ. Doubt you will see much in the way of flowers as well, it's got very hot and everything's browned off. Muirs Highway would have to be one of the most boring roads in WA, as it is lined with tree plantations- thousands of the same tree lining the road and impossible to see anything but a bajillion identical tree trunks for kilometre after kilometre.

Johor Bahru...
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9. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

Wow A J, that's a nice reality check :) Have done the dog's breakfast many times :(

Choosing Bunbury for the last night is a psychological ' safe distance to return back to the airport the next morning', about 2hrs vs 3.5hrs from MR, on a familiar route.

I've already made accommodation bookings on a counter clockwise route. Maybe take one night off from MR and book around Balingup or Bridgetown. On the overall planning i was more skewered to do MR from initial readings on TA, didn't plan to do Albany (MR attractions vs Denmark and Albany attractions )and just planning up to around Walpole area as a base given the time.

A J
Subiaco, Australia
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10. Re: Long scenic drives through south-western region

:) Just throwing my 2c in there. I wasnt sure if you'd already made any bookings and you can only work with what you've got. You'll still cover all the same areas. Maybe not quite as time efficient as one could work it but at the end of the day its no big deal. Im sure you'll have a great time.

There's some long drives in there but some people get enjoyment out of just that. For example the Perth-Esperance run is arguably a very boring 8 hour drive...but I never tire of it. I love it!, so I can understand why people dont mind spending lots of driving time when on holidays.