Perth is the capital city of Western Australia. It has the title of “Most Isolated City in the World”. Perth has also, unfairly, been given the tag as boring! Irrespective of this opinion, there are many excellent day-trips to be had from Perth.
Alana Tagliabue is the family travel blogger behind Family Bites Travel. You can follow her honest account of slow-traveling around Asia with her three young sons. Alana hopes to inspire other families to have ethical and sustainable travel experiences. Here, she shares her favorite day trips from Perth.
A 30-minute drive south of Perth city, is the bustling port of Fremantle, or Freo as it is known to the locals. Formerly a separate settlement it now sits firmly within the greater Perth metro area. It is easily accessible from Perth city by public transport and once in Fremantle there is a free CAT bus that will allow you to access all the Freo sites. You can drive there but parking can be challenging and expensive.
Fremantle has a rich history. In 1850’s the port was used for the arrival of convicts from Great Britain. Unlike Perth, the original heritage buildings have all been retained and protected. You can easily spend a few hours walking the streets admiring the Georgian and Victorian-era architecture. Freo has the oldest building in Western Australia, the Roundhouse, built in 1830 it was originally a goal and today is used a wedding venue.
To this day Fremantle is functions as a major Australian port. It is also the main launching point for people visiting Rottnest Island and arrival port for visiting cruise liners. Fremantle has an eclectic mix of artisan shopsand cafes. Lunch at either the Freo Art Centre or the 100-year old Freo markets are always well worth the effort. If you want to learn more about the Ports history a visit to the WA Maritime museum should be on your itinerary. To complete the ocean theme, you can even go inside a submarine.
The beaches around Freo are also world-class. Leighton beach to the north is an excellent spot for wind and kitesurfing. Port and South beach are both excellent swimming beaches. Port and Leighton beach are both great for snorkelling. Although you should avoid the beach in the late afternoon. The infamous south-westerly wind known as the “Fremantle Doctor” pick up and can make it unpleasant.
A visit to Freo is not complete without visiting the iconic Freo Prison. It is the only World Heritage listed site in the metropolitan area. There are several tours on offer. If you are brave enough the prison offers night tours by torchlight. Or if adventure is more your thing, you can even climb underneath the prison and do a water tunnel tour. For the less daring you can have ample fun during a daytime visit.
You will never be disappointed with a dinner on the Fishing Boat Harbour to taste some local seafood. There are also a few microbreweries in the area to sample some real Australian beer. Live-music and performance artists are often performing along the cappuccino strip at night and this is an ideal way to end your day exploring Fremantle.
Book a day tour from Perth to take care of transport and other included activities for you. A few highly rated ones include:
Rottnest Island is 19km as the crow flies from the mainland, west of Fremantle. It is known colloquially as “Rotto”. Are you seeing a pattern? To get to Rotto, you will need to get catch a boat across. There are a couple of companies that will ferry you across to the island. You can catch the ferry from Perth or Fremantle.
There are no cars on the island. The only way to get around the island is by bus or by a push bike, although, if you are super keen you could walk. Many people bring their own bikes across on the ferry or you can hire one. The beaches are beautiful on Rotto, there are countless beaches that are excellent for snorkelling and swimming.
Rottnest literally translates to “rats nest”. When the Dutch arrived in the 17th century and mistook the local wildlife for rats. These ‘rats’ are actually a marsupial called a quokka. These animals are major drawcard to the island and when you see their little faces, you can see why. Although, it is tempting, you shouldn’t touch them and certainly do not feed them.
Most people go to Rotto for a day, although there are some accommodation options. Most people get an early ferry over and a late one back to the mainland. If you get seasick beware that the return trip can be rough, especially in the summer months.
Highly Rated Tours:
Margaret River Winery Region
When people hear “Australia” they often envisage beautiful beaches, seafood barbeques, killer-creatures and beer. Margaret River region has all that and more. Many people from around the world are surprised to learn about Australia is its wine production. and Margaret River region is full of over 200 bouquet-sized wineries. This area accounts for only 2-3% of Australia’s total wine produced but makes up 20% of the premier wine market.
The area is a 2-hour drive south of Perth. Care should be taken when driving around this area at night due to the risk of movement of wildlife along the bush corridors. Special care is essential around dawn and dusk due to the potential for hitting a kangaroo.
In the region, you will find the amazing Leeuwin-Naturalist National Park. It is arguably some of most beautiful coastal areas in Australia. These beaches have the whitest sand and bluest water. There is excellent surfing opportunities. Around Margaret River there are also many beautiful hiking trails through 60 plus meter Karri forests. Plus, the region has numerous caves with stunning rock formations to explore.
Highly Rated Tour:
The Nambung National Park is home to one of the most unique places to visit in Western Australia. The Pinnacles are limestone formations that look akin to an alien landscape. The region is an easy 3-hour drive north of Perth. Many people do this as a day-trip and include the surrounding towns along the way.
On the drive north, you can stop at the small town of Cervantes. Swimming, windsurfing and snorkelling are on offer here and it is commonplace to see sea lions and bottlenosed dolphins.
Another place of interest is Lake Thetis found adjacent to the Pinnacles desert. It is only one of a handful of place on earth you can see living fossils. These marine stromalites are the earliest form of life on Earth. You can walk around the lake and can often see kangaroos or emus.
The main attraction is the Pinnaces desert. Most people drive the desert loop. There is a lookout and you can walk through these unique rock formations. Visiting near sunset is also a highlight.
Jurien Bay is also a town close to Nambung where you can enjoy snorkelling, swimming and wildlife spotting. The area is also known as a skydiving area. You will enjoy deserted pristine beaches.
Other seasonal highlights in the region include buying some delicious Western Rock lobsters direct from the cray boats in Jurien Bay or Cervantes (End of November to mid-April). The entire coast of Western Australia comes alive with migrating whales during June to October. Many people also flock to see the seasonal wildflowers in the region from August to October.
Highly Rated Tour:
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