Albany to Esperance Detour
The rural 480km of South Coast Hwy (Rte 1) between Albany and Esperance is a relatively unpopulated stretch. Break up the first leg by taking the Albany Hwy (Rte 30) to Mt Barker, and then heading east to Porongurup. Travel north through the Stirling Ranges, and turn east again through Ongerup, and rejoin the highway at Jerramungup. This route adds 57km to the trip.
At Ongerup, the Yongergnow Malleefowl Centre is devoted to the conservation of a curious endangered bird that creates huge mounds to incubate its chicks.
There are excellent craft beer breweries in Albany, Esperance and Denmark. The Great Southern is also one of Australia's top wine-growing regions, particularly renowned for its cool-climate wines. Wineries around Denmark, Porongurup, Albany and Mt Barker are largely small-scale, family-run affairs, without the attendant high prices of Margaret River.