The weekend has arrived and for once there’s a lull in social events and the house can’t possibly get any cleaner. With plenty of hours in the Saturday or Sunday to play with, why not hit the open road (or ocean), and be back in time for MAFS or some other terrible reality TV show.
Alright we’re gonna start closer and work our way out, kicking things off with Yanchep, a miserly 60km from 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.
45 minutes in the other direction is of course WA’s next biggest city, Rockingham. Head straight to the coast to see some of WA’s largest penguin and seal colonies – with Penguin Island packing in both, along with dolphins and plenty of other marine life. Just jump on the 5-minute ferry every hour between 9am-3pm, catch penguin feedings throughout the day or do some of your own exploring, swimming (look out for the natural spa), sunbaking and/or snorkelling.
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. 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.
Bit of a no-brainer this one, but we’d be foolish to leave it off. There’s literally dozens of beaches and bays to explore for a day of bike-riding, snorkelling and picnics, along with mini-golf, surfing, Quokka-spotting and a heap more. And while you wait for the ferry home you can always dabble in a pint or two at the Hotel Rottnest, or go have a chat to a couple of old boys watching the footy at the Gov.
Cervantes + The Pinnacles
Another trip for those who don’t mind a scenic (2 hour) drive, Cervantes is the gateway to not only Australia’s Coral Coast, but Namburg National Park AKA the home of WA’s world famous limestone rock formations, the Pinnacles. If pristine beaches and fresh seafood (make sure you find some of Cervantes’ famed lobster) are your bag, hit the Pinnacles early then park up by the beach for the rest of the day. And if Cervantes is a little bit far north for your liking, stop an hour earlier at Lancelin; another haven for beach activities, including some massive white dunes for the sandboarders out there.
So this one’s pushing the boundaries of what we may define as a “day trip”, but if you’ve got the time it’s worth the drive to really get away from the big smoke. Head here around spring as it starts to warm up and enjoy some excellent inland swimming holes, including Wellington Dam, Minninup Pool, Honeymoon Pool and the always ‘Gram-worthy Black Diamond Lake. Along with plenty of walking trails, if history is your thing make sure you make a stop at the Railway Museum.
Situated a short drive south of Mandurah, Lake Clifton is home to some of the oldest living organisms in the world – thrombolites. Go on a short boardwalk to check ‘em out, then stop in at the Lake Clifton Tavern down the road for a serious pub lunch, then wind your way back up through Mandurah’s glorious southern beaches in Dawesville and Falcon, or hit the Mandurah foreshore for some gelare and dolphin-spotting.
If you’re a little wary of Serpentine Falls being overcrowded, why not head to Brigadoon’s Bells Rapids for some serious bushwalking with a little dip thrown in if it’s hot enough. Only 45 minutes from the city, it’s a popular vantage point for the Avon Descent, but is just splendid without the fuss as a pet-friendly picnic spot, one that’s close to the Swan Valley if you feel like an afternoon vino to treat yourself after a day of exploring.