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Road Trip -Part 1, Western Australia to South Australia

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Driving more than 4000 km from Perth to Adelaide, sleeping on top our car!

How to best explore Australia… well, there are many ways as it is such a huge country. For us we decided that driving would be just perfect, as we have done quite a few road trips before around Europe. We decided for a car with tents… but definitely not your average tents or even average car for us. Read on to learn more about an amazing road trip from Perth to Adelaide.

There are many options for a road trip, and we settled on a 4WD with rooftop tents. To everyone but Aussies, this is most likely an unfamiliar term. We got a great Mercedes 4WD, which was very nice with a 4000 km. trip ahead of us. On the roof the car was equipped with two tents with a hard bottom and mattress. This meant that we could pull over and have our tents ready for the night in a couple of minutes, and we didn’t have to worry about all kinds of “interesting” Aussie wildlife on the ground, wanting to share our tent with us.

Car with a pull-out kitchen

As we had a pick-up style 4WD, we could open all windows, even in the back of the car, and access our bags etc. directly from all windows. It was super easy and very convenient. Oh, and there was a mini-kitchen in there too with a sink. Hard to believe, when we first saw the car, but super handy!

The Pinnacles… what’s that?

Our first destination was a few hours north of Perth. We were so excited to finally be on the road, in our “own” vehicle for the first time during our full time traveling. The Pinnacles in the Nambung National Park was our first stop. Never have we seen anything like it! Limestone pillars, shooting out of the red sand base and up to 3,5 meters tall in something that looks like a desert. There was a great little free museum explaining all about the Pinnacles as well as the wildlife there – perfect for a homeschool project for the boys. After our drive and walk around the trails through the Pinnacles with lots of “wows”, a game of hide and seek, as they are ideal for, and lots of photos, we were ready to find a location to open up our tents for the first time.

Spending 5-10 minutes on the first tent and figuring out the techniques, we were flying. Despite the heavy wind, as we were in a beach campsite right on the Indian Ocean, our tents were well secured on the car roof, and we barely felt the wind. It was a good night sleep.


The next morning, we drove a bit to something that especially the boys had been looking forward. Sandboarding in the sand dunes just outside Lancelin, where we had stayed for the night. This activity was fun for the whole family. It certainly helped to have some knowledge from the snow version, but not as easy to turn in sand as in snow. The most demanding part, though, was climbing the sand dunes in order to get a good long ride down. Best advice for people/kids with long hair, use a scarf around your head, as you will have sand absolutely everywhere afterwards, both due to a few rolls in the sand but also from the constants wind. But it was worth it all. Super fun, and after a couple of hours even the boys were getting tired. By then, Martin and I had been taking quite a few breaks enjoying the boys having tons of fun and the great views from the top of the sand dunes.

New Friends and A Quick Date

Our next stop was Mandurah for our second night. We found a great campsite for the night, put up the tents in the dark and had a great sleep, tired from all the sand boarding. We slept an adult and a child in each tent for the entire 2 weeks. The boys swopped tents several times, but that way all felt “safe” and could have a good night’s sleep. Next morning, it didn’t last long for the boys to find some new friends, as it so easy to do on a camp site – and they were even Danish. Oh, the joys. We ended up spending an extra day and night at the campsite, and we barely saw the boys, who were enjoying their new Danish friends’ company. Martin and I even “snug off” to go grocery shopping on our own and saw the opportunity to go on a quick date and a glass of wine on the waterfront by the water ways which go through Mandurah, thanks to our new lovely Danish friends. This was where we got the idea for the next day activity, dolpin watching.

After some good times with new friends, we were off to go on a Dolphin Cruise in Mandurah the next morning. Everything was sold out, but luckily there was a pirate cruise… Ahoy, we went! We had fun, but only saw dolphins quite far away. What we did see though, was the beautiful town of Mandurah from its waterways, and that was pretty cool too.

A Jetty Train

On the same day we made it to Busselton, where we had researched that the Jetty and the

Underwater Marine Observation should be on our to-see list. The 2 km. long jetty was pretty impressive, and after another great sleep in the tents, we went to the awesome foreshore. All the trips to the end of the jetty on the tiny little jetty-train were sold-out, except for the very last trip – the sundown trip including a tour at the Underwater Marine Observation. We spent all day at the foreshore. Building sandcastles, swimming (within the shark net) and playing at one of the most awesome playgrounds we have come across during our travels… oh, and drinking lots of good coffee.

Finally, time for our Busselton Jetty Experience. The train ride was fun and with a beautiful view all 2,5 km. Getting off at the tip of the Jetty, we were right in the Underwater Observatory. We went down the 9 meters under sea level, seeing all kinds of exciting things. Huge schools of fish, corals and lots of different fish swimming by the huge underwater windows looking right into the Indian Ocean. It sure was a very special and cool experience, unlike anything we have done before. The sunset on the way back was now equally beautiful and we finished the day back on the super cool playground lit up by colored lights, making it both safe and fun in the dark.

Rather than making this a marathon read, there is a Part 2 and a Part 3 to follow. Once uploaded in a couple of days, you can click here to read what happened next and here if you against all odds would want to skip to the last and third part of the road trip.

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