No longer nicknamed a ‘country town’, Perth has become a popular destination for international students from around the world. With top-tier universities, a thriving arts, culture and entertainment scene and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Australia, Perth is a bustling hub that offers something for everyone.
But, there’s also a lot to see and do around Perth itself. If you’re living and studying in Perth, here are some of the best day trips just a short distance from the city.
With 63 beaches, 20 bays and a multitude of activities on offer, ‘Rotto’ is a great place to experience a little bit of everything. If you’re keen to chill on the beach, you’re sure to find a secluded spot. Want to take the ultimate selfie? Try and capture a cute shot with a quokka. If you’re looking for adventure, hire a bike and enjoy the two to three-hour cycle around the island.
Ferry operators offer package deals where you can hire bikes and snorkelling equipment, and take part in various historical and educational tours. Take a packed lunch if you’re on a budget or reward your outdoor pursuits with the delicious selection of food and drinks available at Hotel Rottnest, Dome Cafe, or the famous Rottnest Bakery.
You can hop on a train from Perth to Fremantle for less than the price of a coffee, but it’s much more fun to take a ride on the boat. Each voyage has an experienced local guide, who’ll tell you all about the river and its history. Once you’ve arrived in Fremantle, you’re free to choose between art and culture, food and drink, entertainment, and historical tours or try a bit of each. It’s easy to navigate from shopping to museums to dinner by hopping on and off the free buses that run throughout this busy port town.
Fremantle Art Centre showcases local and international artists and free exhibits, while the WA Maritime Museum offers information on the city’s history as a seaside port. In the centre of town, you’ll find the Little Creatures Brewery, a fantastic spot for craft beers and delicious share plates. If you’re in town on a weekend, the Fremantle Markets run Friday to Sunday, complete with buskers, sweet treats, and plenty of trinkets to send home. Fremantle Prison offers guided tours for under $20, or you could take part in one of the prison’s special events to really get your pulse racing.
Book your trip to Fremantle through Captain Cook Cruises.
For wine-lovers, the Swan Valley is Perth’s very own slice of heaven. Start the day with a walk at Bells Rapids before the crowds arrive (bonus: entry and parking are free). Then, head down the road the Swan Valley Gourmet Farm Café for sustainable paddock to plate meals, or enjoy a wine tasting at Olive Farm Wines. If you don’t have a car, you could take a cruise from Perth or try a guided tour of the wineries by boat. If you’re up for exploring as many wineries as possible, you can book a bus tour, or get active and do a tour by bike.
You might be fooled into thinking Perth is one wide open plain, but as you drive east, you’ll find the Perth Hills. To explore the natural beauty of the area, you can hire a bike near the Kalamunda Mountain Bike Park and try out world-class mountain biking trails that take you through incredible native forest. To book your mountain biking adventure, head to Rock’n’Roll Mountain Biking.
Right next door is the Calamuunda Camel Farm, where you can pet and ride camels on your choice of introductory, 30, or 60-minute trails.
If walking is more your style, visit Mundaring Weir to enjoy native bushland in peaceful surrounds. From Mundaring, you can take the scenic drive through Bickley-Carmel Valley and stop off at one of the local wineries or cider farms. Most cellar doors are open on weekends for free tastings, and some offer gourmet lunches. On your way back to Perth, stop off at John Forrest National Park for a sunset shot from Eagle View Lookout.
Yanchep National Park, Lancelin Dunes and The Pinnacles
As you head north, the city drops away, the suburbs disappear and bushland takes over. There are lots of guided adventures available, but you can easily drive yourself.
If you head to Yanchep first, you’ll find the stunning national park, a koala reserve and kangaroos relaxing on the grass around the local tavern, Yanchep Inn. Continue north to Lancelin and hire a sandboard to take on the incredible dunes just a short drive from the town centre.
Drive another 40 minutes north and you’ll discover the Pinnacles. The information centre here is very helpful, but you can easily pull up and enjoy taking in this natural rock formation. If you don’t have a car, guided tours start at around $150.