Perth is known by many to be one of the most remote cities in the world, however don’t be put off by this as there is a whole world to be explored around Perth – from quaint country towns to spellbinding national parks. Western Australia is host to some of the most beautiful scenery and beaches, and whether you are a visitor or a local, there will always be something to offer!
Here are the top 10 trips you can take from Perth if you have a day to spare.
1. Rottnest Island
Only a short ferry ride from Perth, Rottnest is an idyllic island playground – car free and carefree! Rottnest Island is blessed with a casual atmosphere, picturesque scenery, dazzling marine life and some of the world’s finest beaches and pristine bays.
Rottnest is a haven for swimmers, snorkelers, and surfers, the water teeming with tropical fish and colourful corals. Seasoned divers will be happy to know that just off the coast lies a vast graveyard of over thirteen shipwrecks waiting to be explored.
Rottnest Island is an A-Class Reserve renowned for its high conservation and community values, and provides critical habitat for a range of animal species, including the Quokka. The Quokka is the only mammal which is native to Rottnest Island, and can be found almost everywhere on the island. They have quickly become one of the main attractions of Rottnest Island because of their cute appearance and their reputation across social media as the ‘happiest animal on Earth’.
There are a number of day tours available inclusive of ferry rides to and from Rottnest Island and bicycle hire.
2. Pinnacles Desert & Lancelin
Located 200km outside of Perth, this awe inspiring natural attraction in the heart of the desert is well worth the journey. The eerily beautiful Pinnacles Desert is a unique natural wonder and one of Western Australia’s most photographed tourist attractions.
You will be able to view thousands of rock spires which stand in the middle of the golden sand desert. The magnificent limestone structures rise as tall as three and a half metres, with unique characteristics – some appearing jagged, some smooth, and others sharp edged. Drop by the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre where you can learn more about the history of the Pinnacles. Take note – it currently costs $12AUD for a vehicle to enter the national park.
Whilst in the area, it is worth paying a visit to the pure white sand dunes at Lancelin, one of Australia’s premier sand boarding destinations. Whether you are seeking an adrenaline rush of sand boarding, quad-biking or 4 wheel driving, the Lancelin Dunes are where the fun is to be had. Head to one of the nearby gas stations where you will be able to rent sand boards for less than $10AUD.
3. Wave Rock
Wave Rock is a natural rock formation located near the town of Hyden, Western Australia, that is shaped like a tall, breaking ocean wave. The ‘wave’ is about 15 metres high and around 110 metres long. Indigenous Australians have inhabited the Wave Rock region for many hundreds of years, and there are very significant historic sites located here.
There is an abundance of activities to do in Hyden including appreciating the Indigenous rock art at Mulka’s cave and The Humps, taking in the spectacular wildflowers (throughout the spring months in particular), and on a cloudless night, be sure to look up at the stars as this will give you a rare opportunity to see constellations not visible in the city.
4. Margaret River
Located a three hour drive from Perth, Margaret River is one of the most popular locations for Perth locals to retreat for their weekend city escapes. Margaret River has a wide array of attractions including the best wine (coupled with great fresh produce) in the country, adventurous outdoor activity, and beautiful scenery.
Wine is one of Margaret River’s most famous calling cards, with the area being home to over 150 individual wine producers, ranging from small boutiques to major labels that continue to grow in national and international renown every year. Winery tours are thus incredibly popular, and if you are unsure of a single activity to take part in, this is the number one must-do in the Margaret River region.
Be sure to check out the awe-inspiring limestone cave networks that formed approximately 1 million years ago, and be amazed by the massive labyrinths adorned with intricate limestone crystal formations. There are several caves to explore from completely self-guided tours, guided tours around boardwalks with excellent commentary, or adventurous ‘abseil your way in’ expeditions. If you are strapped for time, definitely check out Mammoth Cave (the largest cave network) or Lake Cave (arguably the most beautiful).
If you are a foodie, you’re in luck! The Margaret River region is renowned for its culinary delights due to the array of fresh produce grown in the region, which combine with the aforementioned wineries for some truly outstanding eating and drinking for locals and visitors alike.
5. Swan Valley
The Swan Valley region, situated a short half an hour drive from Perth, is known for its distinguished vineyards. One of the more popular day trip locations to visit, the Swan Valley is full of attractions as well as wineries. For the best Swan Valley experience, make sure to drop by several of the world class wineries, the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, and if you are a coffee connoisseur, Yahava Coffee Works.
The best way to experience the Swan Valley region is to join a day tour – allowing you to spend time indulging in the excellent wines from the most popular wineries, without the concerns of driving.
6. Caversham Wildlife Park
If you are interested in seeing many of Australia’s unique native animals (think koalas, possums, wallabies, wombats and more), be sure to make a visit to Caversham Wildlife Park, where you will have the opportunity to have closeup encounters with some Australian icons.
Catch the Wombat & Friends Show, where you will be able to see, touch, and learn about various Australian native animals, as well as the Farm Show to get a glimpse of farm life with whip-cracking, sheep-shearing, and more. Overall, Caversham Wildlife Park is a fantastic Australian experience all in one day!
Rockingham is one of the best destinations in Australia for marine life encounters, as pods of dolphins and other marine wildlife regularly frequent the shores which makes it the perfect daytime adventure from Perth. Less than an hour from Perth, visitors can either swim with the dolphins in a unique opportunity to interact with the beautiful creatures or simply watch them from the viewing platform of an island ferry. Over the course of 20 years, the crew that hosts these dolphin experiences has befriended over 200 local dolphins, which makes for an incredible day interacting with these amazing, intelligent creatures.
With the 1.8km long Busselton Jetty as its focal point, the waterfront area is brimming with activities. There are seaside cafes, kiosks, bars, and restaurants to visit, as well as a calm, tranquil, white sandy beach. At the end of the Busselton Jetty is the Underwater Observatory, where you can view amazing marine life.
The laid-back city is one of Western Australia’s favourite tourism towns and is the perfect area for a relaxed daytime trip from Perth. In the summertime, the sea is a beautiful tropical blue at Busselton, and for beach-lovers will be a great way to spend a hot summer’s day.
A day out in Fremantle is a unique blend of fabulous food, handcrafted beers, great coffee, and a lively music and arts scene. Highlights include the Fremantle Prison, Western Australian Maritime Museum, and the Fremantle Markets (open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).
For lunch, check out the various fresh seafood and excellent fish and chips at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour, which is the best place to get the catch of the day. After lunch, walk over the Little Creatures Brewery – Fremantle is the home of handcrafted beer in Western Australia, with many of the local brews gaining a large following across Australia.
For something different, head to Fremantle Prison. After 136 years of use, the prison opened its gates to the public in 1992 to share its gripping history and stories. You can choose from day tours, or if you’re feeling particularly brave, haunting night tours.
Located only a short half an hour from Perth City, Fremantle is a great area to spend the day.
York is known for not only its picturesque countryside and pastures, but also the town’s colonial charm, making it one of the perfect daytime destinations from Perth. Located less than a two hour drive from Perth, York has retained its cultural heritage boasting many well preserved Victorian buildings and churches.
During the spring season, York is renowned for its yellow canola field crops as far as the eye can see. Stop by and take as many photos as you can as it is surely a sight to see. However, be sure to stay outside of the fence, as many of these canola fields are private property and trampling the plants may affect the farmer’s yield.
There are countless areas to explore in Western Australia around Perth, but these are our top recommendations. Are there any places near Perth you have been to that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below as we’d love to hear about it!