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8 Best Day Trips from Perth Australia

man throws fishing line into ocean at sunset over Yanchep

The capital of Western Australia may be one of the most remote cities in the world, but that doesn’t mean it lacks nearby spots to take a break from city life! Here we have a handful of the best day trips from Perth Australia to prove you don’t have to drive for days to find incredible national parks, iconic wildlife, and family-friendly activities!

There is so much diversity around WA. The best day trips from Perth are perfect to get a taste of how much can be experienced close by. Just outside the city is a whole range of places that offer a jam-packed itinerary if you’re short on time!

1. Penguin Island

Less than 2 hours drive from Perth city, near the city of Rockingham, is Penguin Island. On a day trip to Penguin Island you’ll get exactly what it says on the tin: penguins!

Enjoy a cruise around the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park which stops by Bird Island (no guesses for what you find there), the misnomer Seal Island where you’ll find sea lions, and search for the local dolphins.

Once on the island, you can enjoy a walk around the island, paddle at the beaches, spot the wildlife, and watch the penguin feeding inside the education centre. Here, you’ll learn a bit more about the world’s smallest penguin, why protecting them is so important, and hear a couple of stories about the rescued residents.

This day trip from Perth is a perfect outing for people of all ages. We enjoyed all the wildlife and sunshine just as much as the families with kids!

penguin island jetty

2. Mandurah

For a day trip from Perth that doesn’t require a car ride, head down to Mandurah! Just an hours train ride from Perth on the Mandurah line and you’ll arrive and this relaxed coastal city.

Around the marina there are several beaches to enjoy as you watch the sailboats float by. Head to a cafe overlooking the water and keep your eyes peeled for the local dolphins that frequent the bay!

If you fancy a fun activity to fill your day out, visit the crazy golf course too!

If you’re visiting Mandurah by car, you can take a short drive around the coastline to the vast expansive beaches for a long walk, a fishing session, a paddle, or a sunbathe.

There’s plenty to do in Mandurah on your day trip from Perth. Whether you enjoy immersing yourself in nature or discovering some of the local history, take a look at the activities on offer in Mandurah to plan your trip!

If you want to explore further afield, I’d highly recommend a trip to Dwellingup, only 45 minutes from Mandurah, which has charming small town vibes and an expansive forest perfect for hiking and immersing yourself in nature. For those who are especially adventurous, pop over to Lane Pool Park Trees Adventure for a highropes experience of traversing through obstacle courses in the sky. Who doesn’t love  ziplining through the trees?!

3. National Parks

For an outdoorsy activity day out from Perth head to one of the nearby national parks for a hike, stroll, picnic, or to simply admire the views.

You can enjoy some gorgeous short walks amongst the forests and be rewarded with gorgeous city views at Ellis Brooks Valley Reserve in Korung National Park or Lesmurdie Falls National Park. It doesn’t take long to get out of the city and into nature with the 15 national parks around Perth.

All the parks have plenty of information on the Parks & Wildlife Service of WA about their facilities and activity options. You might be surprised to find a range of things to do from golf to birdwatching!

Better still, visiting the national parks around Perth are the best way to experience the local native wildlife. Emus, kangaroos, reptiles, birds, insects, and more can all be spotted around various parks. So keep your eyes peeled!

If a picnic in the park and a quaint trip to a museum is more your vibe, pop over the Whiteman’s Park. Here you can ride the tram, visit the village, and splash about in the waterpark.

perth city view from top of short hike

4. Yanchep

One particular national park you can visit for a great day trip from Perth is Yanchep National Park.

Located around 1 hours drive from Perth, you can find kangaroos, koalas, walks, lakes, caves, and history all in one spot!

Exploring Yanchep National Park is easily done on foot. There are several great walks that take you around the lake at varying lengths. Whichever you choose you can keep an eye out for local flora and birdlife along the way!

For those after a more adventurous day out, you can go caving at the Crystal Cave or ziplining with Trees Adventure within the national park’s facilities. You’ll be fully briefed by trained staff and allowed to try a number of different courses to traverse your way through the forest. Flying foxes and all sorts of obstacles make up this family-friendly activity. Just make sure no one’s afraid of heights!

If you fancy a bite to eat then the Chocolate Drops Tearoom is the ideally pit stop for tasty treats. They make their chocolate onsite so you can’t leave without sampling some of the many flavours!

view over lake in yanchep national park

Native Wildlife

No visit to Yanchep National Park is complete without walking the koala boardwalk. Koalas are one of Australia’s most famous native animals, however, they aren’t often found in Western Australia. At this small sanctuary there are a handful of resident koalas who arrived here to be rehabilitated and cared for. They like to sleep and eat a lot while sitting in the tall eucalyptus trees – wouldn’t we all! If you time your visit just right you might even get to ask the ranger a couple of questions and they’ll point out where they might be hiding.

As the day draws to a close, you’ve got to hang around to see the kangaroos come out to play. Kangaroos typically can be found at the start and end of the day where the temperature is cooler. As kangaroos are found in groups, once you see a couple you’ll probably start to spot many more.

kangaroo looks at camera

Yanchep Lagoon

Once you’re done with the national park, make the most of your day trip to this outer suburb by stopping by Yanchep Lagoon. You can either choose to head to this pristine beach for a paddle, a sunbathe, or a walk. The lagoon is a wonderfully safe place to bring a family thanks to the rocks that protect the lagoon from the ocean.

There are a handful of beachside cafes, toilet facilities, as well as it being a popular fishing spot. The best time of day to go is late afternoon. At this time, the sun isn’t as strong yet the water is still comfortable for a paddle. Best of all is staying until sunset. You’ll be treated to an exceptional performance by the Sun creeping closer into the horizon and dipping into the deep, golden ocean.

View overlooking Yanchep Lagoon as father and child paddle in water

Two Rocks

A bonus spot to explore near to Yanchep is the town of Two Rocks. I’ll be honest, there’s not much there! There is a nice marina and short jetty walk, and an expansive beach which is, as expected, beautiful. It’s on this beach that there are unsurprisingly two big rocks. Who’d have thought! It’s a great place to go for a gentle walk with uninterrupted peace.

One weird attraction to see in Two Rocks is the abandoned Atlantis Marine Park. Built in 1981 and closed in 1990 the area is now a mess of overgrown weeds, creepy dilapidated statues, and a bunch of littered cans of beer. Doesn’t sound much fun I’ll admit… But, if you fancy walking up to the statue of Neptune you’ll get a pretty neat view. Plus it’s a chance to get up close and personal with an actual Roman God (kinda).

view over tree tops and ocean from Two Rocks Atlantis water park

5. The Pinnacles

A visit to the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park is another great day trip from Perth.

Located 2.5 hours drive north of Perth you’ll head up the Indian Ocean Drive until you reach the Pinnacles Desert.

The Pinnacles are tall pillars made from the deposits of sea shells. Across a 17,000 hectare desert it’s a truly otherworldly place.

On arrival, you’ll pay $15 per vehicle entry fee (up to 12 passengers). You’ll be happy to hear this fee also gives you entry into any other national park on the same day! That means you can stop by Yanchep National Park on your way back to Perth for one fee. Yay!

There are 2 ways to explore the Pinnacles Desert. You can choose to either park up and take a 1.2km walk to get right up close to these fascinating rock formations or drive the 4km track. We ended up doing both and it was SO worth it to get two different perspectives.

While you’re there, keep an eye out for the local wildlife that roams the desert. We were lucky enough to see a whole family of emus on our walk!

There is also a small museum and gift shop at the Pinnacles. Grad a souvenir or a snack and enjoy this gorgeous part of the Coral Coast of WA. If you want to extend your visit beyond the Pinnacles, consider visiting Cervantes or go sand boarding in Lancelin.

emus walking through the pinnacles desert

6. Swan Valley

One of the most popular day trips from Perth takes you around the Swan Valley.

Less than 30 minutes drive from Perth and you’ll be entering this gorgeous part of leafy countryside. The Swan Valley is famed for its history, foodie vibes, and delectable wines!

A particularly great area to visit is Guildford. Here, you can take 4 heritage walks around town to visit notable sights and learn about Guildford’s history. Whether you fancy the majesty of Guildford Grammar School Chapel or the quirks of the antique shops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Guildford.

As I mentioned, the wineries and farms around the Swan Valley are one of the main attractions of the area. Take yourself on a tour around the countless wineries to sample the excellent local produce. Many wineries even have restaurants or tearooms to enjoy an indulgent bite to eat. Even better are those with chocolate, nougat, or honey samples!

Even if a historical walking tour or wineries don’t suit your interests, there is still so much to enjoy in the Swan Valley. Wildlife, indulgent pampering spas, artisan goods, arts and crafts, and more can all be found in this popular region of Perth. You might even find just one day isn’t enough!

gothic style school chapel in guildford WA

7. Rottnest Island

By far one of the most popular day trips from Perth is to Rottnest Island. Called Rotto to the locals, it’s an idyllic island 33km off the coast of Fremantle. Although you can book accommodation for a longer visit, a day trip to Rottnest Island is the perfect amount of time to enjoy all that is on offer.

Probably the most famous attraction on Rotto is the world’s happiest animal… The quokka! These little marsupials are native to the island, and the coveted #quokkaselfie is a mission for eager tourists. Make sure to not feed them or pet them, mind. They are still wild animals that deserve their space.

quokka smiling

Although Rotto is a beautiful holiday spot now, it has a dark past as an aboriginal prison in the 1800s. Later, during WWII the island was used as a defence base where guns were installed atop the island’s tallest hill.

Aside from the island’s historical points of interest, there is also a LOT of natural beauty to admire. Cycling is the best way to get around the island, and in doing so you can stop at any of the secluded, gorgeous bays for a swim or snorkel. At certain times of year, these bays are packed with marine life and many locals and tourists alike flock to enjoy water-based activities here.

Bright blue waters and beach

8. Fremantle

A visit to Fremantle is often at the top of the best day trips from Perth, and for good reason. In this port town you’ll find all sorts of exciting activities to choose from. For the history buffs you can visit the WA Maritime Museum, WA Shipwrecks Museum, Fremantle Prison, or the Roundhouse Cannon. All of these experiences will give insights into colonial life and the naval past that dominates this part of Western Australia. You’ll be surprised how much there is to learn!

Anyone who loves some quirky culture will enjoy roaming the op shops (second hand shops) around Freo for vintage treasures. Or maybe you’re more of a browser who fancies meandering through the Fremantle Markets to find local artwork, food, clothes, and more.

What’s particularly special about Freo is the positive atmosphere that radiates from the streets. Everywhere you go has something special about it which easily makes it many visitors’ favourite spot. It’s got a strong art scene with several independent galleries as well as the Fremantle Arts Centre which offers a range of classes, exhibitions, and events. Personally, most of all I love the architecture of the older buildings around Fremantle, and the laid back vibes that the locals and visitors embrace from the cafe culture to the beach lovers.

The outdoor spaces around Freo are particularly excellent. Take a ride on the Esplanade’s ferris wheel to admire the coastal views from up high and look out across the park. There are several excellent beaches perfect for relaxing and swimming (and watching the AMAZING sunset!). South Beach is my personal favourite, but you can walk the coastal path to find your preferred spot including dog beaches and surf opportunities.

Bright pink and purple clouds of a sunset over the beach and sandy pier


Day Trips From Perth to Suit Every Visitor

I hope these day trips from Perth have shown you just how much can be enjoyed within a short drive from the city. It’s always a shame to visit a new destinaition and not see what is out there beyond the inner city. Perth has a particularly diverse mix of things to enjoy from nature to history to culture. All of my favourite things, in fact!

Day trips aren’t just for tourists, either. Our time spent living in Perth was such a great chance to experience these day trips. We felt lucky to take mini breaks away from the repetition of everyday life at the weekends in favour of exploring something a little wild or a little different.

It’s often the case that locals are least familiar with the experiences available right on their doorstep. So I hope that whether you’re a resident of perth, temporarily visiting, or just passing through – you’ll find something to make your time memorable in Perth!

 

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    05/18/2020 at 9:03 pm

    I haven’t heard of any of these except the Pinnacles, Fremantle and Rottnest! All of which are on my list. Seems like there are so many beautiful places around Perth!

    • Reply
      suzystories
      05/18/2020 at 9:54 pm

      Those are definitely the most popular I reckon 🙂 There’s so much to see around there, I guess it’s the benefit of being such a big place!

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