2020, outside of the year we came to grips with a global pandemic, will definitely go down as one Western Australians re-discovered Western Australia.
Unable to travel outside of the state for holidays, we’ve looked inward and experienced the many world class attractions WA has to offer.
It’s also meant that WA’s tourism hotspots have been super busy, and you’re no doubt having a little trouble trying to get in certain places.
So to help you scratch that itch until things calm down a little, here’s a few day-trip ideas for you to tackle on a weekend coming up.
We’ve tried to find a few options that are somewhat less run-of-the-mill, and within a couple of hours of Perth tops.
Chittering Valley / New Norcia
Northeast of Perth lies WA’s gateway to the Wheatbelt – Chittering, one of a few quaint little towns with plenty to offer.
The Chittering Valley sits pretty along the northern hills of the Darling Range, covered in lush bushland and wetlands and vineyards.
During the spring months it’s also covered in incredible wildflowers and orchards, with the upcoming Chittering Spring Festival a must-do for enthusiasts.
Further north you’ll land in New Norcia, Australia’s only monastic town and filled with stunning historic buildings founded in the 1840s by Benidectine monks.
It’s a beautiful town to walk through – start off at the Museum and wind your way along the dusty old streets before grabbing a snack at the New Norcia Roadhouse, owned and operated by the Benedictine Community.
Araluen Botanic Park
An often slept-on gem set amidst the Roleystone Perth Hills, Araluen Botanic Park is only about 30km south of Perth and a place to get lost in.
The developed gardens cover 14 hectares, and feature a massive array of exotic plant species, mostly famously their tulips, which fire up every Spring.
100,000-plus tulip bulbs put on a spectacular show as part of their annual tulip festival, drawing thousands of visitors each year.
Outside of that time though, it’s simply a beautiful place to get lost in, relax and unwind in the fresh hills air.
Golf enthusiasts would do well to bring their clubs and hit up Araluen Golf Course for a hit – one of Perth’s most beautiful courses.
Keen to indulge in a few wines but looking for something a little less played out than the Swan Valley?
The nearby Bickley Valley has been making a case in recent years as a more bespoke option, filled with charming cellar doors, family-owned and operated wineries and a nice selection of cideries to boot.
It’s amongst the Perth Hills, only 23km out of the city and a wine- and cider-lovers paradise, especially those looking for a more personal touch.
Photo by Ben Langley
It’s tempting to brush Mandurah off as that place with the canals south of Perth, but it has a heap of potential to make a great day trip.
It’s got some beautiful beaches all along the stretch, some world-class golf courses, fantastic walking and riding trails (national parks and along the coast), some great little wineries and of course, crabbing.
The Mandurah foreshore and entertainment precinct is littered with great eats options along with a few handy pubs overlooking the estuary where you may just spot a dolphin or two swimming by.
Another unheralded gem south of Perth is Marradong Country, about 90 minutes southeast and comprising of towns like Boddington, Wandering and Williams.
Traditionally farming (and mining) land, the region is fast becoming well known for its bubbling winery scene, rolling green valleys and country town charm by the hectare.
Go for a canoe at beautiful Ranford Pool (pictured); take a look back in time in the Jesse Martins Historical Village; walk/hike along any number of nature-filled trails; and grab a hearty pub lunch at the Wandering Tavern.
These options barely scratch the surface, so we recommend checking out MarradongTrails.com to plan your trip in advance.
Only 100km east of Perth is WA’s first inland town, York, a place for those interested in the more historical side of our big old state, featuring a heap of heritage-listed buildings.
It’s also filled with things to do, including a Town Hall visit, Residency Museum, the old Courthouse & Gaol and a swinging bridge for the more adventurous out there.
If you fancy a hike bring your walking shoes for a short walk up to the Mount Brown lookout, or get serious with one a host of walk trails around the area, including along the glorious Avon River.
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park
This protected ocean park located on the coast of Rockingham is a marine biodiversity hotspot, home to penguins, sea lions, bottlenose dolphins and a variety of sea-faring birds.
The pièce de résistance of the area is of course Penguin Island, but if you want to avoid the crowds there’s plenty to discover along the whole stretch.
Pull up on a white sandy beach for a day of relaxing, or go diving, snorkelling or kayaking in waters rich with marine life.
A little further north you’ll find another excellent aquatic playground – Point Peron and Cape Peron.
Photo by @nickharrisvisuals
Yanchep National Park
If Coral Coast destinations like Lancelin or Cervantes are a little too far north, why not stop early in Yanchep, just 60km north of the city?
Get up there early for a dip in the sheltered Yanchep Lagoon, before heading onwards to Yanchep National Park.
It’s full of walking trails, wild life to spot (including Koalas), prime picnic locations, indigenous art and even a 9-hole golf course.
There’s also the Crystal Caves for those feeling a little more adventurous, or the Yanchep Lavender Farm for something a little tamer.
Photo by @lporrsy
Just over an hour-and-a-half from Perth lies Dwellingup, a stunning country town surrounded by Jarrah and Marri forest.
A popular destination for mountain bikers, it’s the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts with walking trails, gushing rivers and wild life spotting.
Lane Poole Reserve is a popular spot for campers, while the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway allows for an authentic, steam-powered trip down memory lane.
Given the extensive network of waterbodies in the area, kayaking, canoeing, rafting and fishing are also popular.
Photo by @renatodg66
Okay we’re stretching the definition of day trip (Bunbury comes in at just under two hours south of Perth), but if you’ve got the right playlist you can make it work!
And should you choose this adventure, you’ll be spoilt for choice with so many things to do you might need to stay the night.
There’s the Dolphin Discovery Centre (which is basically a mini AQWA); an incredible street art walking tour; a bubbling winery scene in the Ferguson Valley; great pubs, restaurants and small bars; walking and mountain biking trails; huge Farmer’s Markets and much more.
Plus, just a quick 25 minutes inland of Bunbury and you may find yourself a few tiny new friends at Gnomesville.
Photo by @Cody_batess
More like this:
Perth’s Best Day Trip Locations
The Best Dog-Friendly Hikes & Walks Around Perth
Some of the Best Picnic Spots in Perth
The Best Bushwalks in Perth
Bells Rapids: Everything You Need To Know
Cover photo by Graham Leggate