Best Day Trips From Perth, Australia

The Pinnacles are ideal for a day trip from Perth
The Pinnacles are ideal for a day trip from Perth | © Tobias Keller / Unsplash
Photo of Cassie Wilkins
7 July 2020

Perth might be one of the most isolated cities on the planet, but all that means is that there’s plenty to do and fewer people to share it with. From emu-spotting in the eerie Pinnacles Desert, and visiting crystal caves, world-class wineries, sea lions and fairy penguins, to hot-air ballooning, swimming in waterfalls and sandboarding down giant dunes, here are just a few of Culture Trip’s favourites.

Swan Valley

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Swan Valley Vineyards - Perth - Australia
© Adwo / Alamy Stock Photo
A short trip northeast of the CBD, Swan Valley is a picturesque area dotted with vineyards and local produce stalls. To get there, you can join a tour, take an Uber or go on a self-drive journey. Culture Trip suggests starting your day with a walk at Bells Rapids before taking your pick of cellar doors, breweries and other offerings, including coffee, chocolate, nougat and cheese.

Rottnest Island

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Rottnest Island - Australia
© Adwo / Alamy Stock Photo
Western Australia’s favourite holiday destination, Rottnest is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Fremantle. Home to the famous smiling quokkas along with fascinating historic sites, underwater snorkelling trails and 63 beaches – including the very Instagrammable Basin, Culture Trip recommends taking the early ferry and renting electric bikes to maximise your time on the island.

The Pinnacles, Lancelin and Yanchep National Park

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Two hours north of the city in Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles are one of Western Australia’s most famous spots, where thousands of weathered limestone pillars rise out of the desert sands. When you’re all Pinnacled out, you can take a dip at Hangover Bay, visit the stromatolites at Lake Thetis or head back to Perth, stopping en route to sandboard down Lancelin’s famous dunes and visit the koalas and crystal cave at Yanchep National Park.

Penguin Island

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Four Australian penguins at Penguin Island, Rockingham, Western Australia
© Marco Taliani de Marchio / Alamy Stock Photo
Did you know that you can see penguins in Perth? Half an hour south of the CBD, the aptly named Penguin Island is home to around 1,200 fairy penguins, the largest colony in Western Australia. Take the five-minute ferry from Rockingham to meet some friendly penguins, see pelicans and dolphins, and check out the island’s rugged coastline, with cliffs, caves and natural bridges. If you prefer something more active, you can go snorkelling, swim with wild dolphins or join a kayaking tour to see sea lions, seals and penguins in their natural habitat.

York

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Western Australia’s first inland town, the first settlers arrived in York in 1831. These days, the historic town is a popular day-trip destination, home to heritage buildings including the York Town Hall, the courthouse and prison, the Motor Museum and pretty cafés, shops and art galleries. While the 90-minute drive along winding country roads is probably adventurous enough for most, thrill seekers might want to go via Northam for a trip in a hot-air balloon and a bird’s-eye view of the Wheatbelt.

National parks, dams and hills

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Make the most of Perth’s varied landscapes with a day trip out to the hills, just a 30-45 minute drive from the city centre. Depending on the season, you can see spring wildflowers, go for a dip in natural pools, check out the autumn colours or marvel at waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffs. If that doesn’t sell it, you can also take a tour of the region’s oldest pubs, have a drink with a kangaroo in John Forrest Tavern or watch the sunset over the city from Lesmurdie Falls.
These recommendations were updated on July 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.