Perth is well-known for its spectacular scenery and laid-back atmosphere, so it's no surprise this place is well-endowed with options for day trips. It's been voted one of the world's most liveable cities for good reason. But what exactly is the best day trip in Perth? Where do you go when you find 'liveable' a little lacking?
It's a tough choice, with so many possibilities to select from. And there's huge variety – after all, from which other city in Australia could you walk around a desert, visit top-notch wineries, or go to a tranquil island, each one of them within a day trip?
Here's some ideas to get you started:
If you think the Pinnacles is just a tourist cliché, you'd be very wrong. This place blew me away when I first visited it. Ancient limestone pillars rise eerily from yellow sand - there's really nowhere else like this in Australia, and especially not within a day trip of a capital city. If you're still unconvinced, click here for a detailed review and photos of the Pinnacles.
Tour the local wineries
The Swan Valley is Western Australia's oldest wine growing region and it has a solid reputation for its wines, ranging from their specialty, Verdelho, to other white styles, full-bodied reds and some of the world's finest fortified wines.
It's an easy day trip from Perth and there's even a 32 km scenic wine and food trail – for details, click here and for a review of Swan Valley wine cruises, click here.
If you have time to venture further, there's also the Margaret River region south of Perth, which is known for its excellent Chardonnay, vibrant Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, intense Cabernet and luscious Shiraz. It's also a beautiful area, with heaps of green and rolling scenery. Just the sight of all that green can be a big relief during a Perth hot spell. For more information about the wineries, including tours, click here.
The coastline around here is fantastic too – try walking by the sea near Yallingup and not be impressed.
An easy half hour away by ferry, peaceful, car-free Rotto is an excellent day trip. You can easily cycle around the quiet roads on the island, taking in the views, quokkas and visiting the lighthouse (although mind the hills and the occasional dugite). If you don't own a bike, they're available for hire at Thomson Bay.
Another good idea for during the cooler months is to go to some of the little country towns just inland from Perth. Overseas visitors especially love these places as they embody the 'real' Australia, quite distinct from the big, more cosmopolitan cities. York, with its cute boutique shops and wide variety of cafes is always popular, but the historical village of Toodyay, which is also an easy drive from Perth (85km), also offers many similar attractions. During wildflower season, driving out to anywhere in the wheatbelt is lovely, and our family have done some nice day trips to several lovely small towns including Brookton, Beverley, Quairading and Bruce Rock. All these towns have lovely picnic areas, cafes and parks, as well as a host of local attractions. Most hold an agricultural show during the spring, and some also have special wildflower festivals.