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On The Road

On The Road

Photography Ross Wallace

SWAN VALLEY

Distance from Perth CBD 20km

BEST FOR: Wine Lovers

Ultimate daytrip

You’re about to have a seriously food- and wine-filled day, so prime your stomach properly at cute local cafe Little Guildford (104 Swan Street, Guildford). Go for the big breakfast or the buttermilk pancakes – you can thank us later. Digest with a wander around the historic town of Guildford, and browse the many antique shops for a bargain or a bit of kitsch. You’ll be ready for your second coffee by now, so head over to Yahava Koffee Works (4752 West Swan Road, West Swan) for a coffee tasting. Best part? It’s free! Later, grab lunch at Mandoon Estate (10 Harris Road, Caversham), the valley’s most awarded winery. There’s fine dining at the fancypants restaurant, excellent casual meals at Homestead Brewery (order the wagyu burger and a pint of the Thunderbird Pale Ale), or a providore and outdoor bar at the ready for picnics – they even lend out picnic blankets. Time for dessert! Join in on the Chocolate & Wine Matching Masterclass at Providore (5123 West Swan Road, West Swan). It costs $30 per person and includes a bottle of chocolate liqueur to take home. Bookings are essential. OK, enough eating, you pig! Burn off some calories playing Supa Golf, or – provided you’ve brought your own kayak and canoe – paddling on the Swan. The best launch spots are Middle Swan Reserve or Fishmarket Reserve. When night falls, grab dinner at Alfred’s Kitchen (98 James Street, Guildford). It’s practically an institution, and the burgers are
a steal at $7.50 a pop.

The Post Office in Guildford.

Tempted to stay an extra day?

After breakfast at the very tasty Taylor’s Art and Coffee House (510 Great Northern Highway, Middle Swan), explore Whiteman Park by bicycle (if you’ve brought your own), by foot (the Goo Loorto Trail is a leisurely 3km return trip), or else on a Segway with Chariots of Hire, provided you can handle the inherent dag factor. Bookings are essential. Next, visit the beautiful Yonga Boodjah Aboriginal Art Gallery (6571 West Swan Road, West Swan), featuring the works of acclaimed Noongar artists Phil Narkle and Dennis Kickett, among others, who are often on hand to speak to. It’s beer o’clock, so head to Elmar’s in the Valley (8731 West Swan Road, Henley Brook), a family-owned microbrewery producing a world-class range of awarded beers. Arrive thirsty and order a tasting tray. Next, head to The Cheese Barrel (920 Great Northern Highway, Millendon) for lunch – yes, you have permission to make an entire cheeseboard your lunch – and a glass of sparkling rose from the neighbouring Olive Farm Wines, home to the oldest vines in the valley. For something sweet, visit The House of Honey (867 Great Northern Highway) which specialises in raw, pure, unpasteurised and unadulterated varieties of honeys. Don’t leave without tasting the sparkling honey water. Last stop is Talijancich (Hyem Road, Herne Hill), an historic, family-run winery that, true to the valley’s roots, makes some of the best fortified wines and liqueurs around. Don’t forget to toast an incredible two days before you leave.

George’s Furniture Restoration in the Swan Valley’s Old Village Markets.

 

3 Things you didnt know about the Swan Valley

1. Swan Valley is the oldest winemaking region in WA and celebrated 180 years of winemaking in 2014.
2. You can take a cheese-making class at The Cheese Barrel.
3. The Swan Valley has six breweries including the new Homestead Brewery at Mandoon Estate.

Top activity for families

Wildlife encounters at Caversham Wildlife Park (Whiteman Park, Whiteman). What kid doesn’t love cuddling a koala?

Pimp your Road Trip

  • Hire a vintage car, like the uber cool 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville or 1969 Ford Torino from Perth Classic Car Hire, and road trip in serious style. perthclassiccarhire.com.au.
  • Why drive and miss out on all the wine-tasting fun, when you can hire your own dedicated driver? The shiny black Jaguar will earn you and your mates some serious swag. jag-u-car.com.au.
  • Create the ultimate picnic hamper by visiting one of Perth’s best providores, such as Scutti in South Perth, The Black Truffle in North Fremantle, Re Store in Northbridge or Leederville, Boatshed Market in Cottesloe, or Smoult’s Continental Deli in Maylands. 

     

 

PERTH HILLS

Distance from Perth CBD 30km

BEST FOR: Foodies

Ultimate daytrip

Grab breakfast at the local favourite, Le Croissant du Moulin (169 Railway Road, Gooseberry Hill), which serves amazing French pastries and one of the best almond croissants we’ve tasted outside of Paris. Beware: the cafe accepts cash only. Next, drop by the Zig Zag Cultural Centre (50 Railway Road, Kalamunda) to pick up any maps you might need (mobile reception is patchy), and while you’re in Kalamunda, check out the cute little shops in town. Hit the road and take a scenic drive through the Bickley Valley/Pickering Brook wine region. Drop by the wineries to sample the region’s pinots and cab savs, and don’t forget to visit Myattsfield (Union Road, Carmel) for a taste of their wine sorbet! Cider more your thing? Head to Core Cider House (35 Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook) for a lunch on the verandah overlooking the orchard and rolling hills beyond. Bookings are essential. OK, time to get active! Call on the Calamunnda Camel Farm (361 Paulls Valley Road, Paulls Valley) and experience a camel ride, book a mountain-bike tour with Rock ‘n’ Roll Mountain Biking (located at the same venue) to explore the Munda Biddi Trail, or take a bushwalk along the beginning of the world-famous Bibbulmun Track. Before sunset, head to Lesmurdie Falls or the Zig Zag Scenic Lookout to experience the best views of the metro area. On a clear day, you can see all the way from Hillarys in the north, Rockingham in the south, and as far west as Rottnest Island. Now turn your gaze to the heavens – until April or May, you can book in a Star Viewing Tour at the Perth Observatory and be dazzled by the WA night sky.

Tempted to stay an extra day?

If you’re visiting on a weekend, then explore the Kalamunda Farmers Market on Sunday morning to sample some locally grown, seasonal produce, as well as breakfast. Otherwise, grab breakfast at the funky Haynes Street Larder (2a Haynes Street, Kalamunda). Adrenalin junkie? Checkout Statham’s Quarry and book an abseiling adventure if you’re brave! Otherwise, spend the morning relaxing and beautifying at Annasha Day Spa (120 Williams Street, Gooseberry Hill), or take a scenic drive down Mundaring Weir Road to Mundaring Weir, and visit the No.1 Pump Station for a bit of history (open only on weekends). Hungry again? Stop off at the Mundaring Weir Hotel (Mundaring Weir Road and Hall Road, Mundaring) for some lunch, and soak up the picturesque surroundings. While you’re there, walk across the road to the Mundaring Weir Gallery. Then spend the afternoon at Lake Leschenaultia. Hire a canoe, go for a swim, and wish the trip would never end.

Kalamunda Hotel.

 

3 Things you didnt know about the Perth Hills

1. A spiritual investigation was conducted at the Kalamunda Hotel (43 Railway Road, Kalamunda) and it was found that four ghosts haunt the premises.
2. There are 12 cafes in the Kalamunda town centre. Almost enough to rival Freo’s cafe strip.
3. Kalamunda Library has the largest stained glass window in the Southern Hemisphere.

Top activity for families

Join a Nocturnal or Discovery Tour at Kanyana Wildlife Centre (120 Gilchrist Road, Lesmurdie) and experience close encounters with amazing native critters. Bookings essential.

5 Golden Rules of Road Tripping

1. Don’t forget a GPS and an old-school map. Getting lost outside of mobile phone range is (almost) never fun.
2. Choose your travel companions wisely. Friends with similar interests, tastes in music, budgets and energy levels are the best. Do you really want to be 150km from home when you discover that your new mate has a penchant for Britney Spears and shrimp chips?
3. Do your research beforehand, but be open to improvisation along the way. Ask locals for ideas on where to go, and follow that mysterious dirt road just for the hell of it.
4. Beat boredom. Put together your own ultimate road-trip soundtrack and download a handful of podcasts, like Radiolab and TED Talks, to keep the troops entertained.
5. Bring snacks to avoid between-meal grumpiness, and serviettes for cheese-coated Twisties fingers. 

Millbrook Winery.

 

JARRAHDALE/SERPENTINE

Distance from Perth CBD 55km

BEST FOR: Nature Lovers

Ultimate daytrip

Start the day with breakfast at The Stockman’s Rest (1409 Karnup Road, Serpentine), a restaurant whose large portions, friendly staff and beautiful grounds have made it a must. Afterwards, visit the 15-20m Serpentine Falls at Serpentine National Park. Enjoy the falls, go for a swim, have a picnic or barbecue – the picnic area is full of local wild kangaroos. If you love bushwalking, check out the fantastic walk trails Kitty’s Gorge or Baldwin’s Bluff. Next, head to Millbrook Winery (Old Chestnut Lane, Jarrahdale) for a lunch whose deliciousness is matched only by the stunning views over the vineyard, lake, and forest surrounding it. Make sure to give yourself 15 minutes for a pre-lunch wine tasting. If in doubt, order the marron and reserve chardonnay. Lunch bookings are essential. Keep indulging your taste buds with a visit to Mundella Foods (46 Randell Road, Mundijong), one of WA’s premier dairy companies. Group bookings (eight people or more) include tastings of Mundella’s cheese, yoghurt and probiotic drinks. Come dinnertime, check out the rough-and-ready Jarrahdale Tavern (640 Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale) a real country pub. The food’s not anything to rave about, but there’s live music most Saturday nights, and a decent beer selection.

Tempted to stay an extra day?

Have breakfast at the charming Jarrahdale General Store Cafe (701 Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale). A generous helping of apple pie with cream and a hot chocolate ought to do you. Next, go on a guided or self-guided walk to explore the history of the historic timber town of Jarrahdale. You can pick up walk maps from the Old Post Office Museum. If your feet are up for it, hit Baldwin’s Bluff Nature Track, a walk that climbs up a gravel track and requires you to be reasonably fit. The views from the top are stunning – on a clear day you can see as far north as the city and as far south as Mandurah. By now you’ve worked (walked?) up an appetite, so get a late lunch at Cafe on the Dam (Kingsbury Drive, Jarrahdale), which overlooks Serpentine Dam, one of the biggest in WA. Spend the rest of the day exploring the dam before heading home. 

3 Things you didnt know about Jarrahdale/Serpentine

1. The Jarrahdale Holiday Carriages (324 Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale), situated on a lush 10.5ha property, invite guests to stay in converted railway carriages with superb bush views.
2. Of the 100 bird species known to occur on the Darling Scarp, 70 have been recorded within Serpentine National Park. The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo and Baudin’s Black Cockatoo are threatened species that can be seen there.
3. The Munda Biddi Trail, WA’s premier long distance off-road cycling track, runs through the historic town of Jarrahdale.

Top activity for families

Jarrahdale Equestrian Centre (162 Jarrahdale Road, Jarrahdale) offers safe and affordable horse-riding lessons for children and adults of all riding abilities.

 

NORTH COAST AND VALLEYS

Distance from Perth CBD 130km

BEST FOR: Adventure Seekers

Ultimate daytrip

Grab breakfast at the local favourite, Le Croissant du Moulin (169 Railway Road, Gooseberry Hill), which serves amazing French pastries and one of the best almond croissants we’ve tasted outside of Paris. Beware: the cafe accepts cash only. Next, drop by the Zig Zag Cultural Centre (50 Railway Road, Kalamunda) to pick up any maps you might need (mobile reception is patchy), and while you’re in Kalamunda, check out the cute little shops in town. Hit the road and take a scenic drive through the Bickley Valley/Pickering Brook wine region. Drop by the wineries to sample the region’s pinots and cab savs, and don’t forget to visit Myattsfield (Union Road, Carmel) for a taste of their wine sorbet! Cider more your thing? Head to Core Cider House (35 Merrivale Road, Pickering Brook) for a lunch on the verandah overlooking the orchard and rolling hills beyond. Bookings are essential. OK, time to get active! Call on the Calamunnda Camel Farm (361 Paulls Valley Road, Paulls Valley) and experience a camel ride, book a mountain-bike tour with Rock ‘n’ Roll Mountain Biking (located at the same venue) to explore the Munda Biddi Trail, or take a bushwalk along the beginning of the world-famous Bibbulmun Track. Before sunset, head to Lesmurdie Falls or the Zig Zag Scenic Lookout to experience the best views of the metro area. On a clear day, you can see all the way from Hillarys in the north, Rockingham in the south, and as far west as Rottnest Island. Now turn your gaze to the heavens – until April or May, you can book in a Star Viewing Tour at the Perth Observatory and be dazzled by the WA night sky.

Tempted to stay an extra day?

If you’re visiting on a weekend, then explore the Kalamunda Farmers Market on Sunday morning to sample some locally grown, seasonal produce, as well as breakfast. Otherwise, grab breakfast at the funky Haynes Street Larder (2a Haynes Street, Kalamunda). Adrenalin junkie? Checkout Statham’s Quarry and book an abseiling adventure if you’re brave! Otherwise, spend the morning relaxing and beautifying at Annasha Day Spa (120 Williams Street, Gooseberry Hill), or take a scenic drive down Mundaring Weir Road to Mundaring Weir, and visit the No.1 Pump Station for a bit of history (open only on weekends). Hungry again? Stop off at the Mundaring Weir Hotel (Mundaring Weir Road and Hall Road, Mundaring) for some lunch, and soak up the picturesque surroundings. While you’re there, walk across the road to the Mundaring Weir Gallery. Then spend the afternoon at Lake Leschenaultia. Hire a canoe, go for a swim, and wish the trip would never end.

3 things you didnt know about the North Coast and Valleys

1. Solitude is a beachside mansion in Lancelin, complete with a helipad and a hefty pricetag of $3430 per night. Richard Branson and racecar driver Daniel Ricciardo are rumoured to have stayed there.
2. Over $6 million worth of rock lobsters are harvested from the ocean around Lancelin. Recreational fishermen are allowed to catch eight lobsters a day. Visit fish.wa.gov.au for more information.
3. Until the late 1940s/early 1950s, most of the towns between Seabird and Cervantes were considered closed towns where only bona fide fishermen were able to obtain land. Wedge Island is now the only ‘shack village’ where fishermen can live.  

Top activity for families

The Maze Family Fun Park (1635 Neaves Road, Bullsbrook) is home to six mazes, Outback Splash waterpark and a wildlife park filled with koalas, kangaroos, emus and exotic birds. 

Other Awesome Road Trips from Perth

Cervantes

DISTANCE 200km
HIGHLIGHTS Checking out the living stromatolites – the world’s oldest organisms – at Lake Thetis; spotting emus at the otherworldly Pinnacles Desert; and soaking up the coastal views from wildflower-covered Mt Lesueur.

Dwellingup

DISTANCE100km
HIGHLIGHTS Paddling along the Murray River; mountain biking along the forested Munda Biddi Trail; camping at Lane Pool Reserve.

York

DISTANCE 100km
HIGHLIGHTS Soaking up the history of Western Australia’s oldest inland town; visiting the York Mill’s gallery and bistro; and skydiving over the Avon Valley.

New Norcia

DISTANCE 130km
HIGHLIGHTS Exploring the monastic town’s Spanish- style buildings; sampling
the locally made olive oil, beer, port and bread; and joining in on the prayers with the monks.

Rockingham

DISTANCE 50km
HIGHLIGHTS Spotting sea lions at Penguin Island; lazing on the beach; kayaking around Seal Island. 

 

FERGUSON VALLEY

Distance from Perth CBD 180km

BEST FOR: Road Warriors

Ultimate daytrip

There aren’t a lot of breakfast options in the Ferguson Valley, so head to The Happy Wife (98 Stirling Street, Bunbury), a cafe overlooking the Leschenault Inlet, which is not only great for spotting dolphins, but also home to fantastic homemade crumpets. While you’re in the neighbourhood, explore the Collie River at the Eaton Foreshore. If you’ve brought your own kayak or canoe, take a paddle and look out for more than 60 species of birds. For landlubbers, there’s a quiet riverside walk upstream from the Eaton Foreshore car park. Next stop is the heritage township of Dardanup where you can do a two-kilometre, self-guided walking trail around the town to view the heritage buildings and sites. Grab a map at the visitor centre in town. Ready for a rest? Stop for a beer-filled lunch at local favourite The Moody Cow Brewery (791 Ferguson Road, Dardanup). Stay on Ferguson Road to explore the wineries, art galleries, hilly pastures and forests until you reach Gnomesville, an open-air congregation of garden gnomes of all shapes, sizes and characters, scattered through the bushland along the side of the road. It’s too bizarre to miss. If you’ve got time, take the short drive to view the ancient King Jarrah Tree. Dinner time! Head to Bull & Bush Tavern (104 Bridge Street, Boyanup) for a classic country-pub dinner experience.

Tempted to stay an extra day?

Take a morning walk around Evedon Park Bush Retreat (205 Lennard Road, Burekup) before a breakfast of Devonshire Tea. Time to hit the road. It’s a 30-minute drive along Wellington Forest Road to the Wellington Discovery Forest where you can follow one of the many walking trails through the picturesque woods. From here you can go to Wellington Dam and the Lower Collie Valley – just make sure to give yourself time to have a wine tasting and lunch at Hackersley Estate (1133 Ferguson Road, Ferguson), a real local gem. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the valley by making your way to Pile Road and a further selection of wineries, art galleries and restaurants, before driving north along Henty Brook Road where there are stunning views across to the coast before you descend to the South Western Highway near Burekup. Then you’re homeward bound!

3 things you didnt know about Ferguson Valley

1. You can shop at 2am or even later, seven days a week, at Eaton Fair Shopping Centre, thanks to the Shire of Dardanup’s 24/7 trading hours.
2. The annual Bull and Barrel Festival in Dardanup each October ends with the traditional Burning of the Bull ceremony. Artist Russell Sheridan has been making his over-sized timber fire sculptures each year for the past decade or so, only to see them burned at the conclusion of the one-day festival.
3. Bottlenose dolphins can be seen in the lower reaches of the Collie River near Eaton. The dolphins often swim into the Leschenault Inlet and the river from the ocean at Koombana Bay where they tend to live.

Top activity for families

Gnomesville, a quirky outdoor attraction of some 3000 garden gnomes in a forested roadside ‘village’. 

 

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