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Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. It's a great, chilled out alternative to the bustling cities of the east coast, with a great original music scene and some beautiful beaches. The travelers, gypsies and vagabond mecca of Perth is the small port city of Fremantle, located about 30km from the CBD on the coast. (CBD means Central business district, the Ozzie term for city center.)
Getting out of Perth is easy. The people in WA are generally more relaxed, friendly and trusting than folks on the east coast, which makes it a great place to hitchhike. Whether it's a short trip around the South-West forests and beaches, a full blown stint across the Nullarbor to Adelaide or an escape north to Broome or Darwin for the winter, it is usually less than half an hour's wait until your first ride out of Perth. As with any city, the trick is to get as far out of town as you can using the local public transport (Perth has a train network that will take you to within cooee of all the good hitching spots). Once you're at the spot, it's usually just a hop, skip and a jump or the straight and narrow to your next destination. Check out Perth on the Hitchwiki Map for some good spots.
To Southwest Region (Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River, Pemberton)
To get down to the southwest along the coast, take the train from Perth to Mandurah (if leaving from Fremantle, catch the 99 bus to the Murdoch train station and go to Mandurah from there). Once in Mandurah, walk out of the station and catch the 594 bus south at B4 platform (you can use the same ticket you had on the train) to the Miami Bakehouse (just ask the driver). They have really good pies, and there is a great hitching spot only about 500m south on the highway, with a big pullout onto some gravel.
- Note: They recently opened the Perth-Bunbury highway extending from the freeway, which means there is less traffic heading through Mandurah, however I have hitched it since the opening, and still only waited 20 minutes for a ride!
South to Albany
Take the train all the way to Armadale. From Armadale train station, walk about a kilometre up the hill to the Albany Hwy/Southwestern Hwy junction (also a good alternative to get south to Bunbury via Pinjarra/Harvey along the Southwestern Hwy if you wanted). Walk about 200m up the Albany Hwy until you get to the small pulloff before the hill. See map for exact spot.
This will be a big hitch, no matter where you're headed. It can take 3-4 days to get to Broome in a car. Trucks will probably be a better option. Whether your first stop is Geraldton on the coast, or Meekatharra (I hope it isn't!) on the inland highway, it will be at least 5-6 hours, possibly more, before you arrive anywhere. Take plenty of supplies (food, water...etc) and be prepared to start out early, or not at all.
- Option 1: Take the train all the way to Midland. Then catch either the 310 or 311 bus and ask the driver to drop you at the big truck stop. These buses only leave early in the morning (around 8am), so make sure to check on the Transperth Website for the timetables and get there early so you don't miss them! Plenty of trucks and cars fuel up at this stop, and there's even a good spot to stand on the road (if there is two of you, one can be asking at the servo while the other is thumbing on the road). You'll need to find out if your ride is heading up the coast (Brand Hwy), or inland (Great Northern Hwy), as these are two very different routes. If you just want to get north quick (to Broome or Darwin), try to get rides in trucks heading up the Great Northern, as this will cut a few hundred kilometres off the trip, however if you want to take the scenic route up the coast (Monkey Mia, Coral Bay, Exmouth) make sure to get in with someone heading to Geraldton.
- Option 2: If you want to hitchhike along the coast, you can try to start at State Route 60. Take a train to Clarkson (the most northern stop of the Joondalup line) and change for bus 484 going to Alkimos and hop off at Ridgewood Bvd After Hester Av (7 stops, I believe). Walk back 200 m to the main road passing by a petrol station on your left, turn left and follow the main road for 1.5 km until you reach State Route 60. Turn right and after 100 m there should two fairly busy petrol stations. I (single male) didn't have any problems to get a lift to the pinnacles or Jurien Bay. To be explicit: map.
Bear in mind that anywhere north of Perth is getting into desert country. Take plenty of water and know where you're going!
East toward Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, Sydney
Also a big hitch, be sure to take plenty of water and supplies if you will be camping. In winter it does get cold at night in the desert. (Even though you've never seen it be cold in Australia on the TV, it does happen. Don't tell anyone.) If you're heading for the east coast the quickest and comfiest option is with a truck if you can get one who isn't prohibited from giving lifts, one who maybe owns his own truck. You can have good luck with this just by thumbing on the roadside, as well as talking to the driver at a servo (service station) or truck/rest stop (these can be quiet though). Most trucks are carrying things to be delivered by Monday morning at their destination, so the busiest times for them leaving Perth are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday whereas you will see much fewer on a Saturday or Sunday. Trucks will not go through Kalgoorlie, they cut across from Coolgardie to Norseman.
If you hitch a car they may ask if you're willing to share the driving, in which case be aware that driving on the left and through thousands of kilometers of empty road in the desert leads easily to that special kind of microsleep where one may crash in a second, so take it easy!
Getting out of Perth, take the train to Midland station, at the end of the line. From here take bus 320 and ask the driver to put you down on Great Eastern Hwy Before Park Rd A. There is a small paved rest stop area before the bus stop, where cars and even trucks can pull over easily, and good visibility of the road for some distance. Here you're out of the city already and should easily get a lift at least a few km along the road to the towns of Sawyer's Valley and Baker's Hill, which are good places to catch a longer ride as the road slows there for the townships. Further along is Northam, which the main highway bypasses (don't take a lift into the town, but rather stay on the bypass which is the highway). There is an ok spot to stand at the second turnoff to Northam, but it is just by the highway and people tend to be driving by fast.
The bus only goes once an hour from Midland, mostly at the half-hour but you may want to check in advance to avoid a long wait. You'll be getting off in Zone 3, so plan your bus/train ticket accordingly. Midland train station is also a famously bad area of Perth, so take care of your stuff and yourself, and don't be there at night if you can help it. But you'll be fine in the daytime and there are usually police around somewhere. Just be aware also that if you look too scruffy, drivers may hesitiate to pick you up on account of this.