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 head east to Porongurup. Then 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.
Near Jerramungup is Fitzgerald River National Park – base yourself at Hopetoun or Bremer Bay to explore the national park. Note that Bremer Bay is best reached by taking the South Coast Hwy from Albany.