The Great South West | Albany to Perth | Australia

840km +5500m elevation gain 10 riding days from Albany to Perth! πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸš΄β€β™€οΈπŸ™πŸΌπŸ˜

Making up for lost time from 2020, this tour was meant for 2020 but Covid happened. And had another scare too – Almost had to cancel this tour because of a Covid scare in Perth, WA just one week before the tour was scheduled to start! Very thankful that there were only 1-2 cases and the snap 3-days lockdown by WA government clamped down the spread of the virus to the wider community. The lockdown was lifted 4 days before my flight πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

It was another incredible journey and very grateful for every minute of it! As always, thank you to All Trails team, Richard and Lou, for their amazing support and tireless work to make this trip happened. We made them ran around (literally) especially so on Day 9 from Dunsborough to Bunbury when all 20 of us were scattered everywhere πŸ˜… Very thankful for their patience.

It was another great group to be riding with for 10 days. I was very happy and excited to see Leah and Glen, Carol and Andrew, and Fey and Richard, again whom I have met during the Tasmania Cycling tour. I started drafting behind Andrew and Carol on day 6 from Augusta to Margaret River in the rain. It helped immensely to be riding in a group in rather challenging riding conditions. Since then we have been riding as a group of 3/4, including Leah or 6/8 with few others whenever we could. Riding in the group was lots of fun and one of my favourite moments in this tour.

I have many other highlights but my most favourite ones would be day 4 from Northcliffe to Pemberton. It was finally a sunny and dry day after two days of rain and wet roads. We were still in the National Parks, surrounded by towering magnificent Karri and Marri forests. Another highlight was day 8 riding from Margaret River to Dunsborough. Riding down to Yallingup beach was a wonderful experience and indescribable feeling of awe and majesty.

It is always bittersweet when a tour ended. I was glad all the riding went smoothly with no accident in this trip but very sad to be saying goodbyes to all the other wonderful cyclists. I am thankful to have met and spent time with them and hope to see them again soon on another tour πŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

Albany to Perth

Day 0 – Arrival Day

🌦🌦🌦 A quick stroll around the town of Albany before orientation and briefing. A windy day and rain clouds moved in and out today. The weather didn’t look promising for the next 10 days, lots of rain were on the horizon. This would most likely be a wet tour.

The reason it’s called Dog Rock is because of this sculpture

β€œAlbany is a city at the southern tip of Western Australia. It’s known for its beaches, such as popular Middleton Beach. East of the city, Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve is home to secluded Little Beach. Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, a former whale processing plant, now houses a museum. Migrating whales pass off the coast at Torndirrup National Park, where steep cliffs give way to dramatic rock formations.”

All Trails
Dog Rock Motel

Day 1 – Albany to Denmark

ANZAC Peace Park

β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈπŸ’¨πŸ’¨ Today was supposed to be a cruisy ride as a warm up for the tour but mother nature says otherwise. It was strong headwind from 20km onwards πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜… Headwind is still more preferable than sidewind.

Princess Royal Drive – leaving Albany

Favourite section would be around 12km mark, riding along the backroads through Robinson as we leave the town of Albany (see clips below).

Another favourite section was riding into Denmark. It was picturesque.

Koorabup Motel

Day 2 – Denmark to Walpole

πŸŒ§πŸŒ§πŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ˜ͺ A challenging day with rain on and off from around 25km mark onwards. At one point the rain felt like sharp needles hitting my face! I thought it was hailing but it’s just rain. Plus windyyyy made today’s riding condition a pretty lethal combo. Absolutely battered but very glad to finish the ride in one piece especially in very wet roads and windy conditions! We stayed at Tree Top Motel tonight.

My favourite section – Entering The Valley of the Giants – The trees are stunning here! 😍
Another favourite was heading out of Denmark

Day 3 – Walpole to Northcliffe (Pemberton)

πŸŒ§β›…οΈβ›…οΈ Today’s ride was indeed stunning as we headed north beside and through Mt Frankland National Park, Shannon National Park and Jane National Park. We were truly immersed in nature for almost the entire day as there are no towns, communities or even farms until the very end of the ride as we near the tiny town of Northcliffe.

Drizzling at the start of the ride
Leaving Walpole
Keystone State Forest
Granite Peaks State Forest
Shannon National Park

The weather helped alot! After experiencing the rain and wind yesterday, we were so blessed with a fabulous weather today!

  • Summary of today’s ride:
  • First few kms – drizzle
  • Then start of hill climb – hot hot coz of rain jacket πŸ₯΅πŸ₯΅
  • Then sun came out πŸ˜β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ
  • Then it got windy (headwind)
  • Then pissing rain again
  • Then sun again
  • Yep, not confusing at all on what to wear! πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ
Our lunch spot for the day!

We finished our ride in Northcliffe and were transferred to Pemberton, where we stayed for 2 nights.

I was too hungry and forgot to take photos of the dinner before I engulfed the food! I had prawn cocktail, chicken and tiramisu at the motel restaurant πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Best Western Pemberton

Day 4 – Northcliffe to Pemberton

The Diamond Tree

β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈπŸ’¨πŸ’¨ Yayyyy! A sunny day!!! Woohoo! There was moderate headwind but it was nothing compared to last 2 days. We were blessed with a glorious morning!

This was my favourite day so far not just because of the weather but beautiful sceneries and quiet roads. Today’s ride was a looping journey through more National Parks and State Forests with a stop at the famous β€˜Diamond Tree’. The last 20km was through farmlands with huge dams.

Our morning tea break at The Diamond Tree

My bums (sit bones) were starting to grumble. We aren’t even halfway yet! 😣

Day 5 – Pemberton to Augusta

πŸŒ₯πŸŒ«πŸ’¨πŸ’¨ Two ride options today: shorter (73km) or longer (127km). Decided to go for the shorter option as the bum was getting extremely sore. I foresee myself struggling if I have to ride another 50km. It was the right decision to go for as well because as soon as we got into the van, it started to drizzle then showers/rain.

This morning’s weather turned out to be perfect for riding! The rain predicted was moving along the coast instead of where we were pedaling. Overcast skies, light winds becoming moderate around 50km mark.

Today was our last day cycling through the endless beauty of the National Parks, State Forests and Nature Reserves of the Southwest corner. It’s great to have a change of scenery tomorrow as the forests’ views were starting to get monotonous.

We stayed at the Augusta Motel. It boasts one of the best views of any hotel in Western Australia. It has a superb river front location high on the banks of the Hardy Inlet, where the Blackwood River meets the Southern Ocean.

View from the Motel Room

Dinner at the motel’s restaurant was unfortunately the worst grilled fish I’ve ever tasted…one would thought having located so close to the coast, they should be able to do a decent fish and chips. I was wrong to assume that. Good thing the soup entree wasn’t too bad.

Day 6 – Augusta to Margaret River

πŸŒ¦πŸŒ§πŸŒ§πŸ’¨ It was raining in the morning while we were getting breakfast. I was feeling rather sluggish seeing the rain and contemplated whether to ride or not. But decided to press on and went ahead with riding. There were a few drizzle along the ride before morning break then showers/rain after the break till about 60ish km. Very glad and thankful to survive another unfavourable riding conditions πŸ™πŸΌπŸ’ͺ🏼

We started by heading down to Cape Leeuwin, location of the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. This historic lighthouse is situated at the tip of a spectacular peninsula where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet – the most south-westerly point of Australia and the start of the β€˜cape to cape’ experience that we would cover in the next 3 days.

Cape Leeuwin

Then we headed north towards Hamelin Bay for morning break, then past the popular Lake Cave and Mammoth Cave to our rest day destination of Margaret River.

Hamelin Bay
Is WA always this rainy? Been here for 9 days and it rain 6/9 days
Yayyy! Survived another day with challenging riding conditions

Sooo glad to have a rest day tomorrow! My sit bones were numb! And legs were incredibly tired. For whatever reasons, I felt more tired from this tour compared to Tassie tour eventhough Tassie riding were more hilly and supposedly harder than Perth. I was totally exhausted! πŸ˜ͺπŸ˜₯

Dinner at Stay Hotel Restaurant. The Pannacotta was so gooodd!
Stay Margaret River

Day 7 – Margaret River Rest Day

A slow and relaxing day to recover and recuperate the achy muscles. Also did some work so that my boss stays happy and let me travel often πŸ˜†πŸ˜›

Wondered around the town. Great bumping into Leah and Glen (with their friends) at a cafe. I wanted to get cheesecake and have it at the hotel but it started raining again so had it at the cafe instead. Then was offered a ride back to the hotel (Yay! Didn’t get wet in the end 😁).

Do I need to ride tomorrow? Can I have another rest day tomorrow? 😝

Day 8 – Margaret River to Dunsborough

πŸŒ₯β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈπŸ˜πŸ™πŸΌ Finally, a near perfect day for riding! The streets were still wet from the rain last night so a little slippery. Clouds cleared to a very beautiful sunny day! 😎 Absolutely love the sun and blue skies especially after tough riding conditions the last few days.

β€œToday we headed back on Tourist Drive 250 (Caves Rd) which we joined down near Augusta. The stunning roadway continues, and you will understand why the journey along this stretch of road is an attraction in itself, with its scenic qualities and beautiful vistas around every corner as the tarmac winds through the tall Karri trees. Calling into Yallingup is a must and we stopped here for morning tea at the beach to watch the surfers carve up the waves.”

All Trails
Riding down to Yallingup beach has got to be my most favourite!

At Dunsborough (53km) we rode an optional 26km return detour to Cape Naturaliste, to complete the β€˜cape to cape’ experience (making a 79km daily distance). We then headed back to Dunsborough, located on the stunning turquoise banks of Geographe Bay, where we park up for the night in one of the most tranquil and magnificent locations.

Cape Naturaliste
In search of the lighthouse
Great to be riding with these ladies again! (Met them during the Tassie tour)

Day 9 – Dunsborough to Bunbury

The Busselton Jetty

πŸŒ¦β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈπŸ˜πŸ™πŸΌ Another gorgeous day for riding! It was drizzling in the morning while we were getting breakfast and cleared when we finished the food – how blessed are we?! πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ More clouds starting to clear to a sunny blue skies.

The weather was absolutely stunning when we got to Busselton. The bike path to Busselton was very nice and very well maintained and in great condition. The Busselton Jetty at 1.8km is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. Then after morning break, I ALMOST had a collision with another rider. It was sooooo close! Thankfully crisis averted πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

Riding into Bunbury – My favourite for the day! It’s so picturesque.

There was also 2-3km stretch of unsealed road 😱😱 All I could mutter were β€˜shit’ and β€˜pls don’t fall!’ After lunch at the Capelberry Cafe, the wind picked up and suddenly the weather became cooler. Plus it was onto 110kph speed highway! It was very scary and tense to ride in the highway for 20km ish. Thankfully there were Carol, Andrew and Leah, leading the pack and pulled me till end of the ride!

Quality Hotel Lighthouse
Dinner at the Hotel Restaurant – Basalt

Day 10 – Bunbury to Mandurah

πŸŒ₯β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈπŸ˜πŸ™πŸΌ An amazing day that’s filled with everything: another beautiful gorgeous day (sunny blue sky), bike paths, busy residential areas, SUPER BUSY HIGHWAY (with big long trucks passing), quieter backroads, a lady painting peacefully at the side of the road, mosquitoes, thrombolites (are they rock?), a sudden 8% from pan flat, mechanical issue (chain dropped out of cassette and got stuck) when I was so close to finishing the ride πŸ˜ͺ

Great peloton! 100km felt so much easier when you’re in a great group being led by a very experienced and strong rider. It was an amazing team effort!

Love riding with Leah! We have very similar riding styles (low cadence with higher gear). We were in sync and almost felt rhythmically πŸ˜†Thanks very much for riding together, Leah πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

Stunning ride on the bike path heading towards the hotel
The Sebel Mandurah

Day 11 – Mandurah to Perth

β˜€οΈπŸ’¨πŸ’¨πŸ₯΅πŸ₯΅πŸ˜ͺπŸ™πŸΌ HOMERUN!!! πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸ₯³

Timelapse of sunrise from hotel room. No tripod? No worries! Just use a pillow and random bottles to keep the phone upright! πŸ˜†

Extremely thankful and very very happy and glad that all the riding went smoothly with no accidents/mishaps! Yayyy!

Majority on bike paths for our last day of riding except for the first few kms heading out of Mandurah. It was a fairly easy ride, pan flats but that mean headwind. And it was a strong headwind pretty much for the whole 70km ride. Winds sometimes reaching high 20s kph straight in your face for yeap 70km πŸ’¨πŸ˜… Great thing I was riding in a team of two for the first 32km so we did rolling turns…then it was team of 3/4 for the rest of 40km.

It wasn’t the most picturesque ride…the bike paths heading to Perth were right next to the highway. Very thankful for the bike paths though – I don’t want to be riding in that headwind in 110km speed highway or any other day! The views got better once we near Perth as we rode along the coast with the city skyline in the background…It was gorgeous (see photos & videos below).

The last few metres to Kings Park was a killer. Straight out of bike paths and into a very steep hill, gradually increasing to 18%!! Thankfully I was on the right rhythm as I come out of the bike paths…If one has to stop (get off the bike) coming out of the paths (as it was a switchback with two metal kind of barricades). A few had to stop there going through the barricades, it’s impossible to get back on the bike and up the hill once you stop. All I could think of while going up the hill was β€˜legs please don’t give up on me…pls bear with me…I don’t want to fall!! πŸ˜…β€™. I did make it to the top of the climb! Yayyy! πŸ’ͺπŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

I was completely smashed at the end of the ride. My body crashed, didn’t have any appetite and was just extremely thirsty (ran out of water about 15km out). Gulped down a caramel milkshake and a bottle of water but barely ate the sandwich. Maybe it was the mixed emotions as well at the end of the ride that caused me to lose appetite.

Kings Park is absolutely stunning. Views of the Perth city skyline is completely unobstructed and very impressive πŸ˜πŸ™πŸΌ

Rendezvous Hotel

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You might also like to read on my recent cycling adventures in Tasmania, Launceston to Hobart via the East Coast and Hobart back to Launceston via the West Coast.

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