Australia Destinations Western Australia

6 Unmissable Day Trips from Perth

Exchange the metropolitan buzz of Perth for a beautiful day trip among nature with our top six adventures within 90 minutes of the glittering CBD.

You don’t need to go far to wander out yonder. Just 90 minutes will be enough to experience some of the most inspiringly diverse regions in Western Australia – all easily accessible from cosmopolitan Perth.

From renowned wine regions where cellar doors and flourishing vineyards await to unparalleled waterways that are ripe for discovery, these are the best escapes within a stone’s throw of Perth. Too much to fit in one day? Plan a night or weekend stay in any of these stunning destinations.

1. Vine-hop your way through Western Australia’s oldest wine region: Swan Valley

A vine-laced landscape woven with Aboriginal history and strong European roots, the Swan Valley is a palate-pleasing regional pocket that encompasses a smorgasbord of more than 40 world-class wineries, six breweries, two distilleries, three cideries and a meadery – wound around a plethora of vibrant art galleries and bustling markets.

Western Australia’s oldest winemaking region is also home to chocolatiers, fromageries and experimental distilleries bottling everything from rum to pavlova-infused vodka.

Wind up the Swan River on a full-day tasting cruise from Perth, stopping by Sandalford Wines for award-winning tipples and an alfresco lunch, or take the car and carve out a foodie itinerary, ticking off a bucket-list of artisan producers and gourmet providores. Swing past Mondo Nougat for Calabria-famous cakes that rival Nonna’s or pick up some sticky goodness from Windarra Honey and spread a little of the Swan Valley on your pancakes when you get home.

Don’t miss the chance to meet some of Australia’s most adorable animals at Caversham Wildlife Park, including kangaroos, koalas and wombats, or get up close to the dazzling spring wildflowers along one of the many nature trails.

How to get there: The Swan Valley is an easy 30-minute drive or cruise north-east of Perth. Planning on having a few drinks? Catch the train from Perth to Guildford Station and take an uber or taxi from there. Alternatively, book a tour or gourmet cruise up the Swan River.

Where to stay: Immerse yourself in a world of wine at The Colony at Mandoon Estate. This top-rated Swan Valley oasis features a fine-dining restaurant, its own craft brewery and cellar door.

Holiday in Western Australia
Lancaster Wines, Swan Valley

2. Discover the charms (old and new) of vibrant Fremantle

A symphony of old and new sings loud and proud in Fremantle, a stunning portside town where craft beer is brewed in colonial pubs, eclectic markets thrive by a World Heritage-listed prison, and trendy boutiques line one of the world’s most beautifully preserved streetscapes.

Sitting on Perth’s southern fringes, this vibrant waterfront city, with its rotating calendar of festivals and events, effortlessly embraces waves of modernity while maintaining its authentic roots. Be charmed by 19th-century architecture along the Heritage Trail, visiting the WA Maritime Museum and the iconic Round House before taking a spooky tour through Fremantle Prison. Refuel at a casual caffeine lair along the ‘Cappuccino Strip’ then pick up a bargain at the famous Fremantle Markets – bustling for over 100 years.

By day, Freo’s main laneway is sparkling with local designers, high street fashion and vibrant galleries showcasing Aboriginal art, and when the sun sets, buzzing bars and clubs bring a 21st century feel to the historic streets. Witness the lively vibe from an alfresco restaurant or head down to the harbour and sample fresh local seafood with a glass of premium wine or locally brewed ale.

How to get there: Fremantle is an easy 30-minutes’ drive south of Perth. Alternatively, take the Fremantle line train from Perth Underground Station — approximately 45-minutes — and perhaps hop off at Cottesloe Beach enroute.

Where to stay: Extend your day trip with an overnight stay at Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges, an 1850’s icon surrounded by restaurants, boutiques and bookstores.

Read more: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play in Perth 

Aboriginal playing didgeridoo at Fremantle Markets, Fremantle

3. Swim with wild dolphins in Rockingham

Shipwrecks to discover, snorkel trails to explore and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with wild dolphins; Rockingham’s epic marine encounters are just a short drive away.

A hub of relaxation and recreation, this coastal suburb invites visitors to shop, dine and soak up ocean-side vibes as well as maximise their time with breathtaking adventures. Avid divers should plunge into Point Peron’s waters – a shallow dive with great visibility – while leisurely bathers can enjoy a dip in the sheltered waters of Cockburn Sound. Rockingham’s raw natural beauty is enhanced by a gorgeous border of crystal-clear waters frequented by wild dolphins from September to June. Don’t miss the chance to slip on a wetsuit and swim alongside these magical beings, or simply bask in the sun on board the boat and watch playful pods chase the bow beneath you.

Their cute neighbours on Penguin Island are equally as charming and just a short ferry ride away. Cruise across and coo at the island’s 1200 fairy penguins before jumping on board a glass-bottom boat to Seal Island where colonies of cute creatures await.

How to get there: Rockingham can be reached by rail or road in just 40 minutes. Hop on the Mandurah line train from Perth Underground station.

Where to stay: There is a range of self-contained, hotel and boutique accommodation options available in the area.

Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, Rockinham

Planning a trip? Discover our collection of Western Australia escapes

4. Fill your hamper, belly, and soul with Perth Hills’ regional delights

Tucked away in the Darling Range, just a 45-minute drive from its namesake capital, the picturesque Perth Hills feels a world away from the city bustle.

This blissful region, dotted with tree-cloaked valleys, tumbling waterfalls and heritage landmarks, is scattered with emerging cellar doors and boutique vineyards. From unique tipples created by progressive winemakers to house-hold wines curated by local families over generations, Perth Hills is packed with palate-pampering experiences.

Fill your hamper with an extravaganza of regional produce at the weekly Kalamunda Farmers Market or sample hand-crafted cider and boutique beer along the self-guided Perth Hills Cider and Brews Trail. Plan your trip around harvest time and hop between orchards, picking juicy plums, pomegranates, persimmon and more, or swing-past roadside stalls enroute to Armadale — a town overflowing with history and heritage.

Perth Hills also provides a visual feast: take your pick from an extensive network of 40 scenic drives and cycle trails and immerse yourself in a realm of national parks and state forests. Time your visit with spring and admire carpets of vivid wildflowers, or take in the flora and fauna on a fun camel safari at Calamunnda Camel Farm.

How to get there: Perth Hills is a scenic 45-minute drive south-east of Perth. Make the road trip part of the experience and stop for scenic walks and tastings enroute.

Where to stay: Whether you’re seeking a romantic retreat or family apartments, there are plenty of accommodation options available.

Helena Reservoir in the Darling Range, Perth Hills

5. Take to the water in Mandurah – WA’s modern-day Venice

Flaunting a backdrop of impressive beaches and an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour, Mandurah is where aqua adventurers come to play.

Cradling the WA coast, just one-hour south of Perth, this modern-day Venice is connected by a 134-square-kilometre network of waterways and winding rivers, making it the ultimate hub for activities on or near the water. Begin with a relaxing boat cruise and spot resident wild dolphins playing in the waves or grab a jet ski and take in serene views and a hit of adrenaline while you ride the surf. Go with your own flow and hire a self-drive boat (no licence required!) or slow it down with a leisurely canoe through the inland canals. For something fun with friends, hop in an eco-BBQ boat and kick back with a 360-degree dining experience as you float through Mandurah Ocean Marina.

On land, you can traipse through forest trails filled with towering trees and suspension bridges, churn up some serious dirt along purpose-built mountain bike trails or chase waterfalls along Kitty’s Gorge Walk.

How to get there: Hit the road or go by rail along the Mandurah line train from Perth Underground Station, both options will see you in this coastal haven in approximately 50 minutes.

Where to stay: Make the most of Mandurah’s coastal lifestyle with a stay at The Sebel Mandurah, featuring waterfront views from an enviable esplanade location.

Mandurah

6. Spot quokkas on Rottnest Island

Hiking, push-biking and fine shores await on Rottnest Island. Boasting Class-A Nature Reserve status, this pristine wildlife haven features 63 secluded beaches, 20 bays and over 10,000 famously cute critters. Rottnest’s resident quokkas are happy-faced marsupials that frolic through the island’s heath and woodland, chomping on shrubs and succulents and welcoming selfies with human visitors – most famously, Chris Hemsworth.

Capture a snap with these native creatures on a free guided walk, take to two wheels and pedal at a leisurely pace around the island’s cycle paths, or hop on the Island Explorer bus, stopping to sink your toes into the blinding white beaches. Our top picks: Go for a dip in the crystal-clear shores at The Basin or snorkel at Little Salmon Bay, home to translucent shallows overflowing with 135 species of tropical fish. Dive deeper to discover an underwater playground of shipwrecks and reef, hire SUPs, water bikes or inflatable jet-skis and spot pods of dolphins riding the waves – or head to the West End Boardwalk between September and December to witness breaching whales.

As the sun sets, head to Frankie’s on Rotto in historic Thomson Bay and settle on the deck with a sourdough pizza and a glass of wine before jumping on the ferry back to Perth.

How to get there: Catch an easy 90-minute ferry from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty, services depart daily. The mainland is car-free, but you can hire a bicycle once you arrive.

Where to stay: If you want to stay overnight, you can’t look past glamping in one the 83 eco-tents on one of the most picturesque locations on the Island – Pinky Beach.

Planning a trip? Discover our collection of Western Australia escapes

Read more: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play in Perth 

Rottnest Island

Image credit: Tourism Western Australia