The best day trips from Perth for foodies, history buffs and nature lovers

The best day trips from Perth for foodies, history buffs and nature lovers

There’s plenty to do in Perth, but if you’re keen to see further afield (or just get out of the city for a bit), a day trip sounds like just what the doctor ordered. With so many beautiful destinations within a couple hours’ drive from Perth, there’s plenty to keep your Saturdays full for months to come. Whether you’re into food and wine, nature walks, history, or meeting local wildlife, you’ll find a day trip to make all your weekend dreams come true (while still going to sleep in your own bed at night).

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Swan Valley

40 minutes from Perth

Swan-ValleyPhoto by Robert Young

If you’re a food or wine enthusiast (who isn’t?), the Swan Valley is a must-visit destination. Drive along the 32-kilometre Swan Valley Food and Wine trail, making frequent stops to sample the local produce at some of Western Australia’s best wineries, breweries, cafes, and markets. Work off your afternoon of indulgences by rolling along the 12-kilometre Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail, which takes you past various landmarks important to the history and natural attraction of the region. You can hire a bike from Spinway’s stand outside Swan Valley Central shopping centre or Perth Electric Bike Hire.

Serpentine Falls

1 hour from Perth

Serpentine-FallsPhoto by Martin Pot

The Serpentine National Park is a favourite destination near Perth, and it’s easy to see why. This beautiful landscape offers a few different walking trails, including the 16-kilometre return walk along Kitty’s Gorge trail. This trail passes impressive granite outcrops and several waterfalls. Serpentine Falls themselves are accessible from the nearby carpark, and you can spread out for the afternoon in the grassy picnic area. You might be tempted to swim at the falls, but be careful if you choose to go for a dip as the waters can pose hidden dangers.

Fremantle

30 minutes from Perth

3395315820_61b02db189_bPhoto by Amanda Slater

No trip to Perth is complete without a visit to the 19th Century port city of Fremantle, known for its maritime history, Victorian architecture and past as a British penal colony. These days the city is also known for good food and a thriving arts scene. Explore some of Australia’s oldest buildings, like the Roundhouse and Fremantle Prison, and take in an exhibition or performance at the Fremantle Arts Centre. If you’re in town on Friday, wander through the Fremantle Markets. Recharge with lunch at one of the many cafes along Fremantle’s ‘Cappuccino Strip’ before finishing off your day at the Shipwreck Galleries or Western Australian Maritime Museum.

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park

1 hour from Perth

Swim, dive or snorkel in the pristine waters around Shoalwater Islands and you’re likely to meet some local marine life, like sea stars, urchins, different species of fish and bottlenose dolphins. Head to Seal Island to see some rare Australian sea lions, and Penguin Island to see Fairy Penguins. Tour operators run kayaking tours and wildlife spotting cruises, and you can unwind with a picnic on the shady lawns. There are no rubbish bins in the park so make sure you take all your rubbish with you to protect the wildlife and keep the area pristine.

The Pinnacles

2.5 hours from Perth

The-PinnaclesPhoto by Binarysequence

For something entirely different, head north to the desert landscape of Nambung National Park. The Pinnacles themselves are limestone monoliths scattered across the desert, and if you visit between July and October you’ll see the area at its most beautiful as colourful spring wildflowers bloom. Just outside the desert, the contrasting landscape of Hangover Bay beach is a perfect spot for snorkeling and swimming. The nearby town of Cervantes offers delicious local seafood and panoramic views from Thirsty Point Lookout.

New Norcia

2 hours from Perth

New-NorciaPhoto by SUTFERN 75

Established in 1847 by Benedictine Monks, New Norcia is Australia’s only Monastic Town. The Museum and Art Gallery features artefacts from New Norcia’s history as an Aboriginal mission, farming centre and educational facility. Tours of the town depart from the museum twice a day and take you through the town’s historical buildings including the Abbey Church, Flour Mill, and St Ildephonsus’ and St Gertrude’s Colleges. Visitors are welcome to join the monks for one of their seven daily prayer sessions in the chapel.

Yanchep National Park

40 minutes from Perth

Although they’re not native to Western Australia, Yanchep National Park is one of the best places to see koalas. Wander along the 140 metre koala boardwalk to see them in the gumtrees above and catch the daily koala talk to find out more about these interesting creatures. The park is also home to a huge network of limestone caves, including the spectacular Crystal Cave which you can view on a guided tour. If you’re feeling more adventurous, take on the treetop obstacle course at Trees Adventure or one of the walking trails through the park.

Rottnest Island

1.5 hours from Perth

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Catch the Rottnest Express Ferry from Fremantle or the Rottnest Fast Ferry from Perth to the beautiful Rottnest Island, famous for its super cute resident quokkas. Quokkas are small native Australian animals known for their cute faces that seem plastered in permanent smiles. Cars aren’t allowed on the island, so the best way to get around is by foot or bike. You can hire a bike from either ferry company, and the bike and helmet will travel with you across to the island. If you have your own bike, you can bring it on the ferry for a small extra charge. You can explore the 22 kilometres of cycle trails along the coast line, to the top of Oliver Hill or out to Cathedral Rocks where you might be lucky enough to spot a local fur seal.

Busselton

2.5 hours from Perth

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The focal point of the beachside town of Busselton is the 1.8 kilometre jetty, the world’s longest wooden pier. Stroll to the end of the jetty (or catch the cute solar-powered red train) and head down the spiral stairs to the underwater observatory. Look out for dolphins frolicking in the water, and if you’re visiting between September and early December you might be lucky enough to spot some migrating whales. The main street of the town offers a range of restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops, and the Busselton Museum and Old Courthouse Art Complex are also well worth a visit.

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