Perth is a bustling city conveniently located just a short distance from some of the best attractions in the country.
WA’s capital city is a popular tourist destination thanks to its white-sand beaches and scenic parks. However, visitors shouldn’t miss out on the incredible day trips from Perth.
The Pinnacles Desert
Only two hours drive from Perth you will find the Pinnacles Desert. Located in Nambung National Park, this red sand oasis spreads over 17,000 hectares and is one of WA’s most popular tourist destinations.
The Pinnacles are national limestone structures formed around 25,000 years ago as the sea receded and left large collections of shells. Eventually, winds cleared the surrounding sands to expose the formed pinnacles. Visitors are welcome to visit the Pinnacles all day long, and may even spot kangaroos and emus while wandering.
For a richer experience, you can join Australian Pinnacle Tours. They offer several different tour options out to Nambung National Park, however the favourite has to be their Pinnacle sunset and stargazing tour. Departing from Perth in the early afternoon, the tour will take visitors out to the pinnacles to watch as the sun sets and a sky full of stars appears. The experience includes dinner and a relaxed but breathtaking view of the pinnacles at night, without the impact of light pollution.
Rottnest Island is a short 90-minute ferry ride from Perth CBD. It is famous as the home of Australia’s adorable quokkas. While they inhabit most of the island, there are a few ideal vantage points for quokka spotting. Garden Lake is surrounded by trees and grass, where quokkas love to rest, and many also make their homes at Bickley Bay. Definitely bring your cameras, but make sure not to disturb these native animals.
The coast along Rottnest Island is also a great place to snorkel. Little Salmon Bay is a naturally sheltered beach perfect for exploring. The Little Salmon Bay snorkel trail includes ten buoys with information plaques on the seabed to help divers learn more about the sea life around them. Spot tropical fish, limestone rocks, and possibly even sea lions.
There are plenty of places to eat on the island as well. Lontara Restaurant takes its inspiration from the delicious food of Southeast Asia. Their dishes are intended to be shared, and use the best local produce for unbeatable flavour. The menu features several unique cocktails, spiced coconut duck curry and sambal tiger prawns. Here, you can enjoy views over the bay while you dine.
This historic town is 30 minutes away from Perth, and well worth the journey. Every street is packed with culture and heritage just waiting to be explored.
Fremantle Prison was built by convicts in the 1850s and is now a popular tourist destination. On a convict prison tour, visitors learn about the history of the prison and its population. For a more unique experience, you can join a tunnel tour to explore the labyrinth of tunnels 20 metres below the gaol. The guide will take you past blast holes and artefacts from the construction days, and down passageways that can now only be explored by boat
Fremantle Markets are another local favourite. Established in 1897, they are still held in the same Victorian building today. Watch as locals and tourists rush to the vendors every weekend for fresh produce, art and music.
If you’re feeling like it’s time to relax, stop for a drink and a slice of pizza at Little Creatures. Located in an old crocodile farm, this brewery serves a range of tasty beers and even runs brewery tours where you can learn more about the process of making hops. The menu includes tasty burgers, pizzas, and options for the kids
Rockingham is a nature lovers oasis less than an hour south of the city.
Here, the Eco-tourism group Perth Wildlife Encounters offers the chance to swim with dolphins. Visitors can hop on a boat and travel out to join the 200 dolphins that live in Rockingham Bay. Zip up your wetsuit, tighten your goggles and jump into the clear water to swim alongside the friendly marine animals. Along the bay, you’ll spot lots of other marine life as well.
For another adventurous experience, you can skydive over Shoalwater Islands Marine Park in Rockingham, landing right on the beach. Jump from 15,000 feet for 60 seconds of freefalling and a slow descent back to land, with amazing views all the way out to Rottnest Island
Plus, the boardwalk hosts plenty of great places to eat and drink. A quick stroll will ofer up anything from fine dining to fish and chips, the choice is yours!
Yanchep National Park
A 40-minute drive from Perth, Yanchep National Park is for outdoor lovers and thrill seekers.
Your first stop here should be a stroll along the koala boardwalk to discover the park’s large koala colony.. Families will also love the treetops adventure, which includes more than 70 obstacles and 16 ziplines nestled in the bushland.
To explore more natural wonders, join a cave tour to discover the history and geology of the region’s only tourist cave. Full of stalagmites, helictites and columns, the natural decorations of this large limestone cavern make it beautiful and fascinating.
Yanchep is also home to Chocolate Drops, a specialty chocolate shop and tearoom. With homemade goodies and light meals, kids and adults will love stepping back in time in this historical building, before taking home some delicious chocolate treats
Swan Valley is WA’s oldest wine region, with more than 40 wineries, 10 breweries, five distilleries and lots of gourmet producers. And, it’s only a 40-minute drive from Perth.
There are nine self-guided trails designed to suit all sorts of visitors, featuring sweet treats, artistic wonders and, of course, plenty of drinks. Choosing the fine wine trail will take you on a tour of 12 of the region’s award-winning wineries. At Black Swan Winery, you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the vineyard, wander the lawns and vines, or stop by the restaurant to enjoy magnificent wines and an array of fresh, seasonal dishes.
No trip to Swan Valley would be complete without stopping at Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery, which displays works from local Indigenous artists and puts on bushtucker talks and tastings for visitors. At the gallery, you can buy a range of bush tucker products, and admire the fine art of highly-talented creatives.
Finally, stop of at Bailey Brewing Co. after a long day. Established by a father and two sons, this brewery is designed for families. The tavern serves up hearty meals and delicious beers, while the playground and native bush garden entertain the kids.
To read about the best day trips from Hobart, click here.