Perth is buzzing. Boutique bars and niche shopping options are popping up (Zara and Topshop stores are in the mix), and entire precincts are being developed or expanded – think Crown, the $2.6 billion Elizabeth Quay project and new Perth Stadium. Fremantle is home to trendy new dining options, and MANY 6160 (the converted Myer building) has garnered a huge following. Outside the big smoke there’s a couple of hundred kilometres of mercifully under-developed country. Coastline, fertile valleys, marine parks, ancient forest and hill regions are all within 90 minutes of the city. Today, tomorrow, this weekend – it’s time to venture out and start exploring. From leisurely bush walks in the Perth Hills to shooting in the Swan Valley, there’s something for all wallets, tastes and abilities. Perth and its surrounds have something for everyone.
TOP THINGS TO DO
See the wildflowers in Kings Park
Hot-air balloon over the Avon Valley
Sample the wines in the Swan Valley
Take a mountain bike to the hills
Check out the Maritime Museum in Fremantle
Have a drink at Brookfield Place in Perth
Start the Bibbulmun Track in Kalamunda
Have a Sunday session on the coast
Swim with dolphins in Rockingham
Climb the dunes in Lancelin
Go crabbing in Mandurah
All these things to do and more at www.scoop.com.au/perth&surrounds
Where to go CBD, Northbridge, Brookfield Place, Perth Cultural Centre, the coast
Where to go Fremantle CBD, East, South and North Fremantle, Maritime Museum, markets
Perth to Fremantle: 30 minutes/22km
Where to go Rockingham town centre, Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, the jetty
Perth to Rockingham: 40 minutes/47km
North Coast & Valleys
Where to go Chittering Valley, Gingin, Lancelin, Moore River, Wedge Island
Perth to Lancelin: 1.5 hours/130km
Where to go Thompson Bay, Oliver Hill Battery, The Basin, everywhere…
Fremantle to Rottnest: 25 minutes (ferry)/19km
Where to go West Swan Road, Whiteman Park, Guildford, Benara Road
Perth to Guildford: 20 minutes/14.5km
Where to go Mundaring, Kalamunda, Armadale, Bickley and Carmel valleys
Perth to Mundaring: 35 minutes/34.5km
Where to go York, Toodyay, Northam, New Norcia
Perth to York: 1.5 hours/97km
Where to go Mandurah, Hotham Valley, Pinjarra, Dwellingup
Perth to Mandurah: 1 hour/70km
Kalamunda Circuit | Built following recommendations from local mountain bikers, the Kalamunda Circuit is the real deal – an internationally recognised 22km trail best suited for riders of intermediate to advanced skill levels. Highlights include the Camakazi trail, considered the best in Perth; Rocky Balboa, a challenging technical climb; and Muffin Tops, a fast downhill with tabletop jumps. Park at the nearby Calamunnda Camel Farm and enjoy a scone after your ride. Beelu National Park, Mundaring.
Shake, Rattle n Roll | Not confident to go out on your own? Try Shake, Rattle n Roll, a short loop track and skills area. The track has signs before each obstacle, explaining the best way to tackle each one – you’ll be tearing it up in no time. Paulls Valley Road, Paulls Valley.
Goat Farm Mountain Bike Park | A fully designed mountain bike park, Goat Farm is an ideal stop for riders wanting some practice. Beginner options include the 4X trail and the Skills Park, great for perfecting new tricks. Winter’s the best time for the Goat Farm – its lack of shade can make summer riding unbearable. 12831 Great Eastern Highway, Greenmount.
Munda Biddi Trail | This 1000km, world-class track runs from Mundaring to Albany. It’s easily accessible by car and there are campsites along the route. The trail features vast areas of unspoiled bushland and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll spot rarely sighted native wildlife. Sculpture Park, Mundaring.
Mountain biking in Mundaring (photography WA Mount Bike Trail Guide).
Lake Leschenaultia | A great school holiday option, Lake Leschenaultia offers barbecue and camping facilities, as well as an easy 5km bike trail. Brave the cold with a post-ride swim – the trail starts at the lake. Rosedale Road, Chidlow.
Langford Park | This track offers a range of different trails, suitable
for a variety of skill levels, all joined by a short track called The Spine. Highlights include Lovers Lane, for beginners; The Fox, for those who like a challenge; and the free barbecue areas, for those who like a post-ride feed. Langford Park, Nettleton Road, Jarrahdale.
Turner Hill | There are plenty of options at Turner Hill, making it perfect for people who can’t quite make up their minds. The main trail is 11km, the shortcut track an easier 5km, and there’s also a 1.1km kids’ trail. Still undecided? Visit the nearby Marrinup track in the same day. Scarp Road, Dwellingup.
Forsyths Mill | Take the family to Forsyths Mill – its 5.6km track takes less than an hour to complete, and there are no major climbs (read: avoid that humiliating dismount-and-push combo). There’s also a shorter kids’ trail – turn right when the trail forks near the car park. There’s no drinking water available, so make sure to pack bottled water. Corner Great Eastern Highway and Gorrie Road, Sawyers Valley.
Riding the Kalamunda Circuit.
CITY TO THE SEA
A shared path for cycling and walking, the city-to-sea track follows a series of reserves and parks from Perth to City Beach. The route takes about 45 minutes from east to west, but we’re willing to bet that the Underwood Avenue hill ascent makes the other direction just a bit longer.
As well as the cycle trails within the park, there are also tracks that lead there from nearby suburbs. Try the leisurely 25-minute ride from Matilda Bay Reserve via Mounts Bay Road.
RIDE AROUND THE RIVERS
The Swan and Canning Rivers are surrounded by 50km of shared paths, making them ideal for a scenic cycle. The best bit: the view of the Swan River from Windan Bridge on the 5.5km Perth to Maylands leg, followed by a coffee on Whatley Crescent.
The 55km costal stretch between Sorrento and Coogee is another lengthy scenic trip that can easily be broken into shorter legs. Take care around Swanbourne, where the Campbell Barracks take you from the shared coast path to the road.
YELLAGONGA REGIONAL PARK
The Yellagonga bushland around Lake Joondalup is a great option for a family ride. The track is flat, and there are plenty of barbecues, picnic spots and playgrounds to stop at. Plus you’ll see native birds – an estimated 120+ species inhabit the park.
SKYDIVE TO THE BEACH AND BEYOND | Australia’s largest skydiving centre offers jumps from Perth, Rockingham, and York (the York base was formerly known as Skydive Express). Winter’s the best time for a York jump – the views of the lush Avon Valley are incredible. Various locations.
WA SKYDIVING ACADEMY | Feeling charitable? You can jump here for free by
registering your fundraising campaign, and raising a minimum of $500. Raise the stakes with a 4500m jump – the highest drop in WA. Hangar 1, 2 Mustang Road, Jandakot.
WA’s beautiful parks and bushland are in full bloom in winter – take advantage of the scenery with a bushwalk. Check this list, and visit trailswa.com.au or everytrail.com for directions, top tips and must-see sights.
Lesmurdie Falls | A rewarding but definitely more challenging track, the falls offer incredible views for walkers who brave the steep track. Winter is the perfect time to see the dramatic waterfalls flowing – be careful on the slippery rocks – and on a clear day, you can see right out to the city. Lesmurdie Falls National Park, Lesmurdie.
Mount Dale Walk Trail | This 2.5km loop is a good option for families, with an easy climb offering 360-degree views of the Darling Ranges from the Mount Dale peak. Wander through the beautiful jarrah forest – watch for eagles overhead – and take a picnic. Helena National Park, Mundaring.
Bibbulmun Track | The ‘big kahuna’ of WA walking trails, the Bibbulmun Track stretches an impressive 1000km from Kalamunda to Albany. Broken into nine sections, with a range of shorter walks available, it can be tackled with
a day trip from Perth. Try the 20km Mount Cooke hike – the peak is the highest point in the Darling Ranges. Sullivan Rock, Jarrahdale.
Kitty’s Gorge | This 14km track is accessible from either the Serpentine National Park or the Jarrahdale cemetery carpark. The trail is beautiful, but can be challenging – some steep sections and uneven ground mean it’s best suited for walkers with previous experience. If you start from Jarrahdale, there’s also the shorter Stacey’s Track. Jarrahdale cemetery, Jarrahdale.
JOHN FORREST NATIONAL PARK
Eagle’s View Walk Trail | A 15km hike, the Eagle’s View Walk Trail is recommended for people with at least moderate fitness levels. You get views of Perth city and the ocean from the top of the valley, and you’ll see waterfalls and lakes on the way up. Winter is the perfect time for this walk – the Hovea Falls will be flowing. Pack a picnic and stop by the falls for lunch. Ranger’s office, John Forrest National Park.
Walking in Lesmurdie National Park.
Taking the ‘pain’ out of paintball, laser tag offers all the fun of the real thing, without the bruises. Laser tag centres are popping up all over Perth, and there’s one that will even come to you. Here’s where you can get your fake-fighting fix.
Lazer Blaze | Shop 73 (Level 1) Southlands Shopping Centre, Burrendah Boulevard, Willetton; Unit 2/299 Victoria Road, Malaga.
Laser Corps | 10250 W Swan Road, Henley Brook.
Battle Zone | 892 Baldivis Road, Baldivis; corner Nicholson and Oxley Roads, Forrestdale.
DarkLight Laser Games | Unit 2/92 Winton Road, Joondalup.
Mobile Laser QuesT | Visit mobilelaserquest.com.au to arrange a private laser tag event.
“Surfing in winter is actually pretty good,” says Surfing WA CEO Mark Lane. “Many of the Perth reefs break during this time of year, from Mandurah to Two Rocks, including Rottnest. These places can handle pretty much any swell size that our winter storms serve us.” Brave the chill at these beaches, but, Mark says, always surf with a buddy, and make sure you can handle the swell before you paddle out.
Trigg | It’s that crowded for a reason – there are always consistent waves at both Trigg Beach and Trigg Point. 99 per cent of the time they close out, but they are worth a look. Trigg Beach, West Coast Drive, Trigg.
Watermans Bay | When the winds are light and the swell is up, this beach break is a good choice. Watermans Bay, West Coast Drive, Watermans Bay.
Mettams Pool | With smaller waves and a sandy beach, Mettams is a safe selection for beginners, and it’s great for snorkelling when the waves aren’t breaking. Mettams Pool, Giles Street, Trigg.
The Spot, Yanchep | A fast, powerful reef break, The Spot picks up a lot of swell, making it a reliable option and well worth the trip north. Two Rocks Road, Yanchep.
Cables | An artificial reef built 1km off the coast, Cables is the best wave in Perth, but needs a big swell to break, and can only be surfed a few times a year because it’s so exposed to the winds. Keep an eye out. Leighton Beach.
Madora Bay | A fast, hollow beach break, Madora Bay is a fun, uncrowded option, even when the swell is small. Check nearby Singoes as well. Madora Bay, Mandurah.
Cottesloe | The south-of-the-city equivalents to Trigg, the reefs north of Cott (Isolators, Coves, and Seconds) are usually crowded, but are dependable choices. The main beach break needs a bigger swell to break, but is fairly sheltered from southerly winds. Cottesloe Beach.
It’s estimated a third of WA’s population fishes. Join them, no matter your skill level (or your patience), at a spot either in the city, on the coast or, for the more adventurous, further afield. Check this list, then visit fishwrecked.com for updates and tips.
Swan and Canning Rivers | Easily accessible, the river is a good option for families – pack a picnic and set up for the afternoon. You’ll have some luck with bream and flathead under the traffic bridges that cross the rivers, at Mosman Bay, or in East Perth, but be careful of blowies before the sun sets.
Beach fishing | Serious anglers are out on the beach in the evening, chasing tailor and mulloway, but you can go at any time of the day. Try Pinnaroo Point or Mindarie for whiting or herring, or take the four-wheel-drive further north and explore Ledge Point near Lancelin – park on the beach and set up a shade cloth.
Rock fishing | Highly dangerous, rock fishing is only for the most experienced
of fishermen. If you’re ready, try the Fremantle moles for consistent catching, no
matter the wind. South Mole doesn’t fish as well as the North, but it is safer and less crowded. Look for herring and gardies at South Mole, and snapper, trevally and mulloway at North Mole.
Boat fishing | You’ll need a recreational fishing licence to go out on a boat (apply for one at fish.wa.gov.au) but once you’re out there, the possibilities are endless. Exmouth, Kalbarri, Onslow, Augusta, Esperance, the Rowley Shoals and Coral Bay are popular – just remember to respect local regulations and always fish sustainably.
Fishing at Cottesloe (photography Marc Russo).
WA Visitor Centre (08) 9483 1111;
Fremantle Visitor Centre (08) 9431 7878;
Rockingham Visitor Centre (08) 9592 3464;
Rottnest Island Visitor Centre (08) 9372 9730;
Swan Valley Visitor Centre (08) 9379 9400;
Armadale Visitor Centre (08) 9399 0410;
Dwellingup History and Visitor Centre (08) 9538 1108;
Mandurah Visitor Centre (08) 9550 3999;
Mundaring Visitor Centre (08) 9295 0202;
Northam Visitor Centre (08) 9622 2100;
Pinjarra Visitor Centre (08) 9531 1438;
Toodyay Visitor Centre (08) 9574 2435;
Perth Hills Visitor Centre (08) 9257 9998
Western Australian Museum, Perth (08) 9212 3700
Claremont Museum, Claremont (08) 9340 6983
Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle (08) 9431 8334
Aviation Heritage Museum, Bull Creek (08) 9311 4470
Museum of Natural History, Perth (08) 9377 3884
Rockingham Museum, Rockingham (08) 9592 3455
Motor Museum of Western Australia, Whiteman Park (08) 9249 9457
Mandurah Community Museum, Mandurah (08) 9550 3680
Army Museum of Western Australia, Fremantle (08) 9430 2535
Rottnest Island Museum (08) 9372 9730
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (08) 9492 6600
Australian Sailing Museum, Mandurah (08) 9534 7256
Avondale Discovery Farm, Beverley (08) 9646 1004
Beverley Aeronautical Museum, Beverley (08) 9646 1555
Jarrahdale Old Post Office
Museum, Jarrahdale (08) 9525 0161
John Curtin Gallery, Bentley (08) 9266 4155
Mundaring District Museum, Mundaring (08) 9295 0540
Subiaco Museum, Subiaco (08) 9237 9227
WACA Museum, Perth (08) 9265 7318
West Coast Motor Museum, Mandurah 0418 935 613
Yanchep National Park, North Coast & Valleys (08) 9303 7759
Neerabup National Park, North Coast & Valleys (08) 9287 1006
Marmion Marine Park, North Coast & Valleys (08) 9405 0700
Walyunga National Park, North Coast & Valleys (08) 9290 6100
Yellonga Regional Park, Perth Metro (08) 9442 0300
Herdsman Lake Regional Park, Perth Metro (08) 9442 0300
Matilda Bay Reserve, Perth Metro (08) 9405 0700
Kings Park, Perth Metro (08) 9480 3600
Woodman Point Regional Park, Perth Metro (08) 9442 0300
Jandakot Regional Park, Perth Metro (08) 9442 0300
Beeliar Regional Park, Perth Metro (08) 9219 9290
Rockingham Lakes Regional Park, Perth Metro (08) 9442 0300
Penguin Island Conservation Park, Perth Metro (08) 9405 0700
Avon Valley National Park, Avon Valley (08) 9290 6100
Korung National Park (Pickering Brook National Park), Perth Hills (08) 9257 9998
Gooseberry Hill National Park, Perth Hills (08) 9257 9998
John Forrest National Park, Perth Hills (08) 9290 6100
Beelu National Park, Perth Hills (08) 9295 2244
Munda Biddi Trail, Jarrahdale Nanga, Perth Hills (08) 9334 0265
Bibbulmun Track, Darling Range, Perth Hills (08) 9334 0265