How To Travel In Western Australia: Public Transport Vs Driving A Car

Western Australia remains one of my favourite regions in Australia when it comes to travelling. It has moving sand dunes, white sand beaches, some 100,000-year-old sandstone formations, massive gorges, mountain ranges, vineyards, historical towns, indigenous communities and whatnot!

The only problem is, however, transportation, unless you are driving.

If you’re going to and from the main cities, like Perth or Albany or Broome, you still have public transport, but if you’re going off the beaten path, consider yourself screwed because there will be no public buses or trains available. And if you still manage to find something, the cost of transportation will be so much that you will regret it.

On the east coast of Australia (regions like Queensland and New South Wales), public transport is still affordable, but on the west coast, the case is rather the contrary. Here buses are surprisingly expensive, due to limited competition.

For example, a 250km ride between Perth and Margaret River, which takes less than 4 hours can cost a whopping 80 dollars if you aren’t eligible for a student or a senior citizen discount — which, as a traveller, will most likely be your case.

I remember when I backpacked in Western Australia and used public transport, I regret moving from one city to the other, as I consumed most of my travel budget in taking buses.

But fret not, the basis of my travel experiences, I am sharing a few useful Tips On Travelling Through Western Australia If You Don’t Have A Car And Aren’t Driving. These tips will help you save a little money.

You may also be interested in reading this detailed guide on the cost of travelling in Australia for 12 months and getting a better idea of how expensive Australia can be.

Now let’s start with the topic in hand and discuss…

How To Travel In Western Australia: Useful Tips

Use Facebook Rideshare Groups

One of the quickest, most convenient and cheapest ways to travel in Australia is ride-sharing. Find someone who is going in the same direction and chip in some fuel money. Moreover, in a country where people are always struggling to travel, ride-sharing is more active.

Facebook groups can be a great way to find people to travel with. For example, I used a Facebook group called ‘Margaret River Ride Share’ to find someone driving from Margaret River to Perth. And the group helped me find a ride for only 20 dollars.

A bus would have cost 77 dollars. Pretty sweet deal, right? Search similar Facebook groups, targeting the city you are going to or leaving from, and you never know if you may go lucky just like I did.

Find Someone In Your HostelIf you happen to check the notice board of your hostel, chances are you may find a sticky note humbly asking you to share a ride. If not, why not stick a note for yourself, or ask at the reception of your hostel, and moreover of a few motels nearby you. Forget sharing fuel cost, some kind people sometimes even drop travellers for free.

From Bunbury to Margaret River in the south, I found a humble lady in my hostel who was driving to Margaret River. Neither did she drop me right in front of my hotel doorstep in Margaret River, but also took me for a quick tour around the city and took me to the beach for a beautiful sunset.

Use Transwa, They Have The Widest Network In Western Australia

Though you may find a few other bus companies operating in a different part of WA, for example, Southwest Coachlines in the Southwest region and Integrity Coachlines in the Northwest, among others, Transwa has the most widespread network of national and regional buses and trains, particularly in and around Perth.

They’re moreover slightly cheaper than others, so if nothing works out, give their website a visit and see if you have a service where you’re going.

What About Hitchhiking?

Honestly speaking, I never tried hitchhiking in Australia. Though the idea struck me a few times, other people always discouraged the idea by saying it’s not safe anymore.

Speaking of legal matters, to the best of my knowledge it’s not actually illegal to hitchhike in Australia, although some states (particularly Victoria and Queensland) make you believe it is.

In Western Australia, on the contrary, this is definitely not the case and is comparatively okay to hitchhike. On highways, it will most certainly be illegal to do so as people are not allowed to walk on them, so be careful. Moreover, since obstructing traffic is an offence throughout Australia you need to have your wits about where and how you’re doing it.

All in all, hitchhiking never felt like a good idea to me, not because it felt unsafe, but because road laws in developed countries have always been too complicated for me to handle.

That’s all I’ve to share. But is there anything you’d like to add? Any suggestions, spill them in the comments below.

Also Read From My Other Experiences: Best Spots For Photography In Perth | Mountain Biking In Margaret River 

Categories Australia


I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

  1. Australia zoo

    I can imagine how expensive australia can be. I run a food blog and finding stories in Australia was so tough, food is super expensive there lol.

  2. Terri Beavers

    Love your tips Dev. They seem so useful. I am also planning to travel the western part of Australia, but since it is even less populated I can imagine how expensive everything would be. Long distance transportation makes everything far expensive in Australia.

    • That’s so true Terri, I think the very reason why everything is so expensive there, is because of long distances only.

  3. Very useful tips.

  4. Bites for Foodies

    I can imagine how expensive australia can be. I run a food blog and finding stories in Australia was so tough, food is super expensive there lol.

  5. harjeet singh

    Looks useful info. Australia is so expensive.

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