The capital of Western Australia and a hotspot for outdoor activities, Perth is definitely an underdog when it comes to exploring the Land Down Under!
Instead of just confining your sightseeing to the centre and leafy Mount Eliza areas, why not venture beyond Perth’s city limits and fill your camera roll with awesome snaps of gorgeous landscapes, historic seaside towns and rugged islands?
There are so many places which can be reached in under an hour by car from Perth. These are some of our favourites. Where will you venture to? And can we come with?
You’re a wannabe surfer. Then why not pick up a board and hit Scarborough Beach?
Just like its UK equivalent, this seaside suburb of Perth boasts a beach that’s an absolute corker when it comes to surfing!
Rumour has it some of the best wave conditions are found at the Brighton Road end of Scarborough’s shoreline. Well it’s not really a rumour. We’ve been and we can confirm that the surfing here is bodacious.
After some lessons from a pro? Or just need to hire a board? Well you’re in luck as there’s a brilliant surf school. After something even more adrenaline fuelled? The breezy conditions means windsurfing and kiteboarding are also up for grabs. Holidaying with the kids? Scarborough Beach’s soft sand also makes it a prime place for sandcastle building.
Staying at Scarborough Beach ‘til sunset? The north stretch of the Esplanade is littered with chilled out beach bars which stay open for drinks and good times well into the night. You little ripper!
Distance: 25 minutes
Scarborough Beach, WA, 6019
For amateur historians keen to learn more about Oz’s past, head to Fremantle
This charming harbour town sits 23km south of Perth and is a magnet for those after indie markets, boho brewpubs, quirky music venues and amazing eateries serving up every kind of cuisine under the sun. Bit of a coffee fiend? Getting a caffeine hit couldn’t be easier at cafés along the so-called “Cappuccino Strip”!
Call yourself a history buff? Well another major draw of Fremantle is its sheer amount of history. It’s been a port since Victorian times and is awash with gorgeous buildings – many built by convicts – from that era. You’ll also have the chance to do some time at the monumental Fremantle Prison (the first building to be made a World Heritage Site in Western Australia!) before getting to grips with the town’s intriguing nautical past at the WA Maritime Museum and WA Shipwrecks Museum.
Distance: 30 minutes
Fremantle, WA 6160
Keen cyclist after an Australian adventure? You won’t be disappointed by biking along the Munda Biddi Trail
Ready to get sweaty? It’s time to hire a mountain bike and tackle one of the best Perth outdoor activities! The good news is that it’s ideal for all cycling abilities thanks to its gentle inclines and straight-forward route.
Famed for being the longest off-road cycling track in WA, the Munda Biddi Trail starts just outside Mundaring and winds its way over 1000km to Albany on the south coast. We don’t expect you to complete the entire route (that would take days!), but you could challenge yourself to a small section of it.
The first stop on the trail is Jarrahdale, which’ll take you around four hours to reach and will see you pedalling through untouched forests and past beautiful bushland. Not sure about an eight hour round trip? We get it, don’t think our legs could handle it either! Well you’re in luck. You can simply cut your route short at the Midgegooroo National Park. It’s just two hours from Mundaring and the ideal sport for a picnic and post-lunch snooze.
Distance: 55 minutes
Jarrahdale WA 6124
Fancy going all Steve Irwin? Well for a real Aussie wildlife experience, hop on a boat to Rottnest Island
Okay, let us fess up first! This day trip destination will actually take you a little longer than 60 minutes to reach, but it’s well-worth the journey. We promise, we’ve done it ourselves!
All you need to do is park up near the Port of Perth and jump on the ferry over to Rottnest Island. The boat trip will take around 90 minutes. And the best bit? You might even spot humpback or southern right whales swimming on the horizon! Wow.
A bit of an outdoor fanatic? Well once you get to Rottnest Island, you’ll quickly discover it’s a playground for outdoor adventurers. Fancy a dip? The Basin is a spectacular cove that’s popular with snorkellers thanks to its clear, shallow waters. If you’re a surfer, you might want to check out the breezier Strickland Bay, while busier Thomson Bay has a great waterpark to keep children entertained.
Besides having 60+ beaches, Rottnest Island is known for two things – its daredevil skydiving experiences and its resident quokkas! Related to the iconic wallaby, quokkas are super cute and very happy marsupials who have free reign on Rottnest. While you’ll spot colonies in other areas of Australia, the small island is home to the largest known group (at least 10,000 in total!). Look out for them while you’re wandering around. They’re very friendly, although remember it’s – sadly – illegal to cuddle them…
Distance: 90 minutes
Rottnest Island, WA 6161
Always wanted to swim with dolphins? Have a Flipper moment at Halls Head Beach
While the coastal city of Bunbury may be home to a Dolphin Discovery Centre, you don’t have to go quite that far to glimpse these clever mammals.
Just under an hour outside of Perth, and minutes from Mandurah, is where you’ll discover Halls Head Beach. Yes it’s a stunning sandy stretch ideal for soaking up some vitamin D or catching some gentle waves on a boogie board, but the bay is also a prime dolphin spotting area.
Mandurah is actually thought to be home to one of the largest populations of Bottlenose dolphins in the state! So keep your eyes peeled for flippers when you’re sitting on the shore. Or why not try and get closer to them in the water while you swim? To guarantee some fun with flippers you can always book onto an organised dolphin spotting cruise with a local tour company.
Distance: 55 minutes
Halls Head Beach, WA 6210
There are so many awesome sights to enjoy just beyond the world’s largest cities! For a little inspiration for your next trip to Europe, we’ve got the low down on Frankfurt’s incredible wineries, the essential need-to-knows to enjoy a day trip in charming Cambridge, and the 411 on exploring the numerous medieval cities within an hour of romantic Venice.