The Four Best Day Trips From Perth
A complete guide to making the most out of Perth and surrounds.
Most of Australia’s population live on its east coast, meaning Western Australia feels so far away that you almost need a passport to get there. The distance from Sydney to Perth is around 4000km. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly half the distance between Sydney and Tokyo, while the distance between London and Moscow is just 2900km.
Given how far Perth is from the majority of Australians (not to mention the rest of the world) a trip out west would be wasted if one didn’t take the time to explore what else there was on offer. It may take four or five days to drive from Perth to anywhere further east, but there are plenty of short, easy daytrips from Perth that are just a couple hours drive (or less!).
Here are four of the best Perth day trips:
Everyone loves a good waterfall, and if you happen to be in Perth, Serpentine Falls is an absolute must-see. Situated within the heart of Serpentine National Park, it’s less than 90 minutes drive from Perth, making it the perfect weekend getaway for visitors, or locals keen to escape the city (but still want to get home in time for dinner).
The gorgeous waterfall (or rather, waterfalls) is the centrepiece of the national park and by far its most popular tourist attraction, with rushing water cascading down huge granite cliff faces, surrounded by the truly beautiful scenery that is the forestland.
There’s plenty to do and see apart from the waterfall itself, from hiking, observing the local fauna (the park is a sanctuary for kangaroos, echidnas, brushtail possums) and birdwatching – some 70 species of birds have been spotted throughout. Oh, and if you stick around for nightfall, you’re in for some absolutely spectacular stargazing.
Lancelin Sand Dunes
When you think about central Australia, what comes to mind? Chances are you’re picturing vast, scenic stretches of arid red desert, with sandy dunes dotting the plains as far as the eye can see. For the most part, you’d be right, but you don’t need to get to the Simpson Desert to see the dunes for yourself.
The Lancelin sand dunes are a West Australian haven for lovers of all things sand. It’s a long-time favourite spot for desert-loving adventure seekers; a giant, sandy adult play-land that’s perfect for four wheel driving, quad biking, tail bike riding and the like.
One of the best activities to enjoy at Lancelin is sandboarding, which is kind of like skateboarding or snowboarding – but on sand. You can rent sandboards on arrival, which you’ll strap to your feet (just like a snowboard) and navigate your way down the vast dunes. Lancelin is home to the biggest dunes in Western Australia – some allow you to race down at an exhilarating 45 degrees.
Perth is a drink-lovers wonderland, full stop. From the Whipper Snapper whisky distillery to renowned cocktail joints like The Aviary, there’s a lot to take in and enjoy. But if you’re really looking to step it up a notch, Swan Valley is the place for you.
Swan Valley is so close to Perth that you can barely consider it a road trip; just a half hour’s drive from the city centre, it may not be the country’s most famous wine region, but it’s certainly the oldest, not to mention one of the most diverse.
The region is best known for its wide selection of wines, and given its dry, temperate climate, is perfect for varietals typically associated with France and Portugal, including chenin blanc and verdelho, as well as red wines like petit verdot and shiraz.
If wine isn’t your thing, Swan Valley is also home to two distilleries and plenty of breweries, where you’ll find everything from Funk Cider to Canefire rum, vodka (including a few interesting flavours, like pavlova), liqueurs and even fortified wines.
Rottnest Island is just 90 minutes from Perth by ferry, but it feels so far removed, it’s like a tropical island escape. One of the best known islands off the West Australian coast, and famous for its cute little quokkas and stunning beaches, this is the perfect day trip for the whole family (though it’s a great mini-break for a whole weekend or longer).
There’s so much beautiful flora and fauna at your fingertips on Rottnest Island that you barely need to explore in order to find yourself amazed. Simply walking around the island will allow you a close-up encounter with all kinds of wildlife, but if you’re more interested in staying active, everything from swimming, diving and boating to golf, archery and even skydiving are available for the adrenalin-hungry thrill-seekers.
There’s plenty of accomodation, restaurants and bars on the island too, from luxurious hotels to basic cabins and bungalows for the budget-conscious. There’s even a local bakery, cafes and other treats available, some of which are completely locally-sourced for the full Rottnest Island experience.
Perth itself offers more to see and do than you could possibly experience in just a few days, and there’s even more on its outskirts. Considering how far it is from almost every other major city, it’s worth turning the trip into something bigger, and exploring Perth’s gorgeous, unique surrounds, as well as the city itself.
(Lead image: The Swan Valley / Facebook)