While a visit to Perth and Fremantle has lots of interesting places to see, there is so much more to discover in Western Australia – the Pilbara, Broome, Monkey – Mia, Kalgoorlie and many other places.
Here we are focussed on SHORT TRIPS and OVERNIGHT TRIPS FROM PERTH – but NOTE you can also stay longer!
SWAN VALLEY – close to Perth
- Guildford Town – Guildford in the Swan Valley was one of the three towns in the Swan River established in 1829 – the others being Perth and Freemantle. It is just up-river from Perth on the Swan River (about 14km from Perth CBD), and the town was a hive of activity in the early days when the river was the only means of transport, before roads and rail lines were built. Today, Guildford retains much of its early buildings, built around Stirling Square, where the Visitor Centre is also located, with walks set up to take you past the places of interest. Look for the Crown & Anchor Hotel; Guildford Grammar School, and look for the Gothic style Chapel of St Mary and St George; the old gaol, Courthouse and the Art Deco Town Hall.
- Whiteman Park – off Lord Street, just north of Guildford is a large park with picnic areas, walking trails, art gallery, café, lolly shop and Caversham Wildlife Park (cavershamwildlife.com.au ) where you can see lots of animals and birds. Almost next door is the Revolutions Transport Museum, the Vintage Tram and Train Museum and on Mussel Pool Road the amazing Tractor Museum.
- Swan Valley wineries – there are more than 150 wineries in the Swan Valley – including such well known wineries as Houghton and Sandalford, but lots of smaller ones too. It is easy to find a cellar door that is open to allow you to taste their vintage, and there are also lots of places to buy olives, cheeses, chocolates, have something to eat, to stay over, have an ice cream or just take in the scenery. It’s a great day out, and even better if you stay over at one of the B&B’s, resorts or other places.
- Swan Valley Micro-Breweries - The Swan Valley is very proud of its food and wine traditions, but equally its micro-breweries. There are a number of Tour Companies in Perth that will take you on a tour, so you don’t have to drink and drive – some of these Tour Companies are beernuts.com.au , www.tastebudtours.com.au, www.svtours.com.au , www.dvine.com.au , www.brewersdray.com.au OR you can make your own way to some of the micro-brewers – these ones on West Swan Rd – Elmar’s in the Valley (8731 West Swan Rd) , Duckstein Brewery (Lot 9720 West Swan Rd Henley Brook); Mash Brewing Co. (10250 West Swan Rd, Henley Brook), and nearby Feral Brewing Company (152 Haddrill Rd, Caversham); and Ironbark Brewery (55 Benara Rd, Caversham).
- Woodbridge House - is a grand style mansion built in the 1890’s just north of Guildford on the Swan River (Ford St, Woodbridge Tel: (08) 9274 2432) It is open Thursdays to Sunday 1to 4pm) and will give you a glimpse into the ‘world of wealth’ in the 1890’s.
- Rockingham – is around an hour from Perth down the coast, with the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park about 500 metres off the coastline. Here you can kayak, paddle board, swim and scuba dive and see lots of fish, dolphins, sea lions and other sea and bird life all around you. The water is sheltered by Garden Island and Penguin Island making it easy to paddle a canoe, or wind surf and you can also enjoy sky diving landing on the beach. The islands in the marine park have fairy penguins and sea lions, and are surrounded by coral reefs, and you can either paddle to the islands, or take a cruise with a glass bottom and listen to a commentary. There are also dive wrecks off the coast here too. Rockingham itself has golf courses, cafes, and many places to stay, and being so close to Perth means Rockingham is very popular with people from Perth on weekend excursions.
- Mandurah – is a township of about 90,000 people located a little over 70km down the coast from Perth CBD. The town was first settled by Thomas Peel in 1830. It is very much a holiday destination with beautiful beaches along the coastline, and is right next to the Peel Harvey Estuary and Serpentine River, with boating, fishing, wind surfing, jet skiing, bird watching for Pelicans, egrets, terns and other birds, golf courses, seeing dolphins, with a lively town centre, great walkways along the foreshores, restaurants and fashion shopping. There are also wineries nearby, as well as National Parks, which add to the enjoyment of staying over in the town. One of the big attractions to Mandurah are the crabs – and there is a crab festival each year in mid-march.
Also take a drive to Abingdon Miniature Village (24 Husband Rd, Barragup, near Mandurah Tel: (08) 9534 9079). Here you will find a beautifully designed garden with miniature historic village of houses (most around a metre high) with tea rooms to sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
NORTH OF PERTH –
Many people coming to Perth will have heard of the Pilbara, the Kimberly region, Monkey Mia and Broome – and these are all places that you want to see. Distances are big in Western Australia – and to cover these big distances, many people choose to take a flight rather than drive.
To give you an idea of distances from Perth – Monkey Mia is 866 kilometres away, the Pilbara 1480 kilometres and Broome 2240 Kilometres away – but if you take the drive in stages, it can be the trip of a lifetime, and of course you can always fly or take a tour bus.
Close to Perth – heading North –
Yanchep National Park – is just 56 kilometres from Perth and this is where you can see Koalas in their natural habitat – sleeping in the branches of the trees above the boardwalk. Here in the Park there are also some 400 caves, with Crystal Cave, Adventure Cave and Cabernet Cave open to see. The area is home to the Whadjuk and Yued Aboriginal people – and if you are lucky you may be able to see and hear some of their dreamtime stories. Loch McNess is also worth seeing, though there is no Loch Ness Monster to be found here. Yanchep town itself is on the coast and has a great beach. The town grew from the 1970’s when Alan Bond set out to develop it into a Sun City, and it is now almost a suburb of Perth. Close by at Bullsbrook, there is also ‘The Maze’ – a water park with mini-golf, native animals and other attractions too (1635 Neaves Rd, Bullsbrook Tel: (08) 9571 1375).
Gingin – (93kilometres from Perth ) is a small town a little further north, and this is where you will find the Gingin Observatory where you can see stars (www.ginginobservatory.com 1098 Military Rd, Muckenburra Tel: (08) 9575 7740). Close by is the Gravity Discovery Centre
( www.gravitycentre.com.au Tel: (08) 9575 7577 located at 109 Military Rd, Muckenburra) where there are interesting scientific presentations and attractions all related to the power of gravity including a large tower.
Lancelin – 130 kilometres north of Perth is a beautiful coastal town with a great beach, lots of accommodation, even a YHA youth Hostel, and nice places to eat. There is a reef offshore, and surfing at Back beach, wind surfing, kayaking, and other water sports as well as fishing to enjoy.
Cervantes – 200 kilometres from Perth following the Coast Road is close to Nambung National Park where the Pinnacles are located. The Pinnacles are an amazing sight – 100’s of Limestone pinnacles of rock from a metre up to three metres in height, standing like anthills poking out of the orange-red sands of the desert. A rough road allows you to drive around the Pinnacles, or you can walk and take photos. You could well tell your friends when they see your photos that you were walking on the surface of the moon!
TO READ MORE – about places North of Cervantes – see “Heading North to Broome and beyond.”