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Eight of the Best Day Trips from Perth

There's no shortage of great day trip options for visitors to the Western Australian capital, including the historic port city of Fremantle, seaside Mandurah, the sublime Perth Hills, and further afield, Margaret River and Wave Rock. Here are eight amazing destinations that can each be done in a day.
Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Eight of the best day trips from Perth: Pinnacles Desert. Image: Bigstock

1. Pinnacles

Forget just getting out of Perth; a trip to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park will have you feeling like you’ve landed on a different planet! The golden landscape, complete with its scattering of oddly-shaped limestone pillars, is both eerie and captivating — especially in the late afternoon as the pillars cast their shadows over rippled sand. Don’t forget your camera!


Ten of the best things to do in Perth

Perth Tours, Activities & Attractions


Combine this outing with some sandboarding at Lancelin. The crayfishing town is home to Western Australia’s biggest dunes and sliding down the pure white slopes is an exhilarating experience that allows you to work up an appetite for an indulgent seafood lunch. The Lobster Shack beside the beach at nearby Cervantes serves up the best crays, and provides an informative tour of the lobster processing plant.

Driving from Perth will take you two and a half hours — longer if you stop to spot wildlife and take in the scenery (including the stunning wildflowers from September to November).

2. Swan Valley

Just 25 minutes’ drive from Perth, the Swan Valley is a favourite weekend getaway for locals and the perfect destination for foodies all year round. This is the oldest wine region in Western Australia, and you’ll find some of the state’s best wineries here — including Mandoon Estate and Sandalford.

But it’s not all about the grapes. The area also boasts boutique breweries, distilleries and cideries and the valley’s rich soil and climate ensure a variety of freshly grown produce. Follow the new Fresh Seasonal Produce Trail to buy direct from the farm gate, lunch at local restaurants and stock up on gourmet and artisan goodies at places such as Lamont’s, Whistler’s Chocolate Company, and The House of Honey.

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Enjoy the rustic beauty of the Swan Valley. Image: Tourism Western Australia

History lovers will also appreciate this trip; the charming town of Guildford with its colonial buildings, museums and antique stores, is the gateway to the Swan Valley.

3. Mandurah

Only 50 minutes by car south of the capital, Mandurah has a special place in the hearts of Perthites. Many of us have fond childhood memories of time spent in this family-favourite coastal town. Fantastic beaches, an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour, and the waterways of the Peel-Harvey region are all on offer, and leisure activities include boating, water sports, wildlife spotting, fishing and crabbing, and even the chance to swim with dolphins!

After all the excitement on the water, take some time to relax beside it. Mandurah’s redeveloped foreshore is a great place to take a stroll along the boardwalk, picnic in the park, explore the vibrant cultural hub, or simply sit back and enjoy a meal or a drink at one of the many seafood restaurants and bars. Cicerello’s and Redmanna are two top options.

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Hang ten in Mandurah. Image: Tourism Western Australia

For serious seafood lovers, a visit in March is a must for Mandurah’s annual Crab Fest celebration.

4. Perth Hills

Another popular escape from the city is the hills area within the Darling Range — a 45-minute-or-so drive drive east of town. The village of Kalamunda captures the essence of country life with its quaint pubs, cafes, and art galleries (such as the Zig Zag Cultural Centre), as well as a weekly farmers market in its central mall.

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Araluen Botanic Park. Image: Tourism Western Australia

Nature lovers will enjoy the area’s sublime national parks. There are over forty hiking and biking trails that range from easy to difficult, including the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, Lesmurdie Falls Bush Walk, and the start of one of the world’s greatest walking trails — the Bibbulmun Track. The gardens at Araluen Botanic Park and the scenic lookout at Mundaring Weir are also worth a visit.

Watch our video of ten top things to do in Perth:

10 Great Things to Do in PERTH, Western Australia, 2024 | Ultimate Perth Travel Guide & Tips

In this episode of our online travel series, we bring you tips for ten top things to do in Perth.

5. York

What do haunted hospitals, giant animals sculpted out of straw, and motorcycle festivals all have in common? You’ll find them all in York — an hour and a half east of Perth by car. If you’re looking for somewhere a bit quirky to visit, this town nestled in the Avon Valley should suit.

Established in 1831, York is the oldest inland settlement in Western Australia and is known as one of the best preserved 19th century towns in the country. As such, there are many period buildings to admire, including Town Hall, the Courthouse Complex, the Residency Museum, and Old York Hospital (rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of patients past).

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Eight of the best day trips from Perth: Visit historic York.

York also hosts two annual festivals: York Festival (where last year, animals were sculpted from straw by artists from Japan using a technique known as ‘wara’) and York Motorcycle Festival, where enthusiasts and exhibitors gather for displays and events.

6. Margaret River

A little further from Perth (about three hours’ drive south), but well worth the journey is Margaret River. Internationally renowned as one of Australia’s best wine regions, Margaret River is also home to pristine beaches, epic surf breaks, untouched forest and amazing local produce.

Enjoy lunch at award-winning wineries such as Leeuwin Estate, Vasse Felix or my personal favourite — Amelia Park (the cellar door and restaurant are both stunning!). Afterwards, sample local sweets from Simmo’s Ice Creamery, Temper Temper, or The Margaret River Chocolate Company.

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Amelia Park Wines, Margaret River. Image: Tourism Western Australia

The region’s natural beauty will have you wanting to get out and explore. Walk sections of the Cape to Cape Track (which follows the coast between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin), cycle along the Wadandi Track, hit the surf, or hire a kayak or paddle board at the river mouth and simply drift along while enjoying the view.

7. Valley of the Giants

Located approximately 420 kilometres from Perth in Western Australia’s South West region, the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk is an internationally-recognised nature-based tourist attraction. Plenty of visitors do it on a day trip from the Western Australia capital, so keen are they to see the magnificent tingle trees that give the valley its name. The name ‘tingle’ — believed to be derived from an Aboriginal word — includes several varieties of ancient eucalypts. Tingles are one of the tallest trees in Western Australia and can grow to a height of 50-metres-plus.

On arrival at the Treetop Walk, you’ll have the opportunity to stroll along a walkway 40 metres above the ground and admire the magnificent tingle forest canopy and stunning views. The 600-metre-long walk is suitable for all ages. There’s also a walking trail through the forest at ground level.

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Eight of the best day trips from Perth: Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk

Save some time to pop into the Wilderness Discovery Centre. It has information boards on some of the wildlife species that live in the area. There’s also a gift shop and a small kiosk that sells cold drinks and ice creams. Oh, and if you feel like a bit of fun, check out the car in the hollow of a tree. It’s a great photo opportunity!

Eight of the best day trips from Perth
Eight of the best day trips from Perth: Wave Rock

8. Wave Rock

Wave Rock is another of regional Western Australia’s natural wonders that’s doable as a day trip from Perth. This fascinating ancient geological rock formation, which is believed to be around 2,500 million years old, rises 15 metres above the surrounding outback plain. It looks like a surfer’s perfect wave, literally frozen in time. Getting to Wave Rock from the city takes around four hours. You’ll pass through small rural communities and magnificent farming country planted with wheat and canola. The plains seem to stretch to infinity beneath the endless blue sky. If you happen to be travelling in wildflower season (September and October), expect to see the landscape carpeted in colour.

Need to hire a car?

Ace Rent a Car offers car hire from Perth Airport, which means you’ll have the convenience of a vehicle from the moment you land in the Western Australia capital.

What to do in the event of a car breakdown

It’s important for all drivers to have a plan in place about what to do in the event of a car breakdown or accident. Researching the name and number of a towing company before setting off on a day trip is a good idea. Store the number in your phone, so you can contact them easily if the need arises.

To ensure everyone’s safety during a breakdown, including other road users, here are the top dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t leave the vehicle by stepping out into the traffic.
  • Do climb over to the side of the vehicle facing away from the traffic and leave the car that way (if it is safe to do so).
  • Don’t stay in the car if it is on a major or dangerous road. Move a safe distance away.
  • Don’t try to fix the vehicle yourself on a busy road.
  • Do put the hazard lights on and wait for the engine to cool down before looking under the bonnet (if it is safe to do so).
  • Don’t call a friend for help.
  • Do call a company that specialises in car towing in Perth (or wherever the breakdown occurs) to get professional assistance.

Executive Towing Services in Perth can be contacted in the event of a vehicle breakdown or accident.

This post was published thanks to Ace Rent a Car and Executive Towing Services.

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Do you have any suggestions to add to our list of the best day trips from Perth? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Cover image: Tourism Western Australia/Jean Leggat. Additional images: Bigstock

Bonita Grima

About the writer

Bonita Grima is a Perth-based freelance travel writer with a background in television and radio production. She believes that travel has the power to challenge, inspire, and educate us, and encourage empathy by providing a window into the worlds of others. When not working on a story, you’ll find Bonita at the beach, on a hiking trail, drinking great coffee, discovering what’s new around town, and dreaming up her next big adventure!

 

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