Visiting Perth is an absolute must for any visitor to Australia, with plenty to see and great weather to enjoy. And although there’s heaps of stuff to do in the metropolitan area, there’s a huge variety of day trips from Perth as well. So if you’re looking to get out of the city for a day or two, read on for the best day trips from Perth!
The beautiful city of Perth is the capital city of Western Australia, and one of Australia’s most interesting cities. Straddling the Swan River, right beside the Indian Ocean, Perth is home to just over two million people.
The local Noongar Aboriginal tribes have lived in the area for almost 40,000 years, while the modern settlement (originally known as the Swan River Colony) was founded by English settlers in 1829.
Today, modern Perth is one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Australia, owing much of its prosperity to the mining and natural resources companies based in the city.
10 Day trips from Perth
We have started with two of the most popular day trips, Fremantle and Rottnest Island both on almost every visitor’s agenda for good reason. These are followed closely by the Swan River where you can taste some of the regions best food and wine.
To round out our list we have included a couple that are less well known by visitors to the city but a great chance to Serpentine National Park and Penguin Island, which will give you a chance to explore some of the natural beauty close to town.
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One of the most popular day trips from Perth is a visit to Rottnest Island. Located about 18 kilometres off the coast of Perth, Rottnest is a large sandy island approximately 19 square kilometres in size.
With gorgeous white sandy beaches, colourful coral reefs, fascinating history, and beautiful walking trails, Rottnest Island is a genuine paradise. And even better, it’s home to one of Australia’s most famous animals, the ultra-cute quokka.
Almost exclusively found on Rottnest Island, quokkas are a small type of wallaby, roughly the size of a domestic cat. They’ve become Insta-famous due to their friendliness and almost impossibly large smiles, and close encounters with the lovable animals (particularly “quokka selfies”!) is a highlight of any visit to Rottnest. But remember, they’re a protected species, and feeding or touching them is strictly forbidden.
We have written detailed advice on visiting Rottnest Island either on a tour or using public transport, but if you want to sort out a quick tour now, consider one like these that includes snorkelling and cycle hire.
Fremantle is a port city, located about 30 minutes south-west of Perth, right where the Swan River empties into the Indian Ocean. Originally settled as a separate colony near Perth, these days Fremantle (or Freo, as the locals call it), has been largely swallowed up by the continuing sprawl of suburban Perth.
But there’s a lot here for a fantastic day trip. Fremantle’s streets are lined with well-preserved heritage buildings, dating back as far as the convict era and the gold rush era as well. The best way to see the city is to join a walking tour. They also have a hop on hop off trolley bus, or you can book a 3-hour cycling tour if that’s more you thing.
There’s a great variety of architectural styles here, including the Round House, constructed by convicts in 1830, and the oldest remaining building in Western Australia. Nearby you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison, one of the Australian Convict World Heritage Sites.
Craft beer fans will love the Little Creatures Brewery – one of Australia’s first craft beer breweries. You can join a brewery tour, and Freo is also home to some fabulous historic pubs. We joined a well-priced pub tour where we visited 3 pubs, learned more about the pubs and the areas.
Tip: If you’re visiting on the weekend, be sure to check out Fremantle Markets.
The Swan Valley
Located about 25 minutes to the north-east of downtown Perth, the Swan Valley area is Western Australia’s oldest wine-growing region and one of the most popular Perth day tours.
Centred around the Swan River’s upper reaches, the valley area includes the historic town of Guildford and several other smaller villages.
There are over 40 wineries in the Valley, with various top-notch drops, including Verdelho, sparkling Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Petit Verdot, and Shiraz. Some of the highlight wineries here include Houghton, Sandalford, Faber, Tyler’s Vineyard, and many others.
But it’s not all about wine! The Valley’s fertile soil and excellent climate make it the perfect place for agriculture and other produce. There are several craft breweries in the Valley, along with gin distilleries, beekeepers, coffee roasters, a chocolate factory, olive groves, a lavender farm, and several cheese farms as well. There’s such a great variety of produce in the Swan Valley, it’s enough to satisfy even the most discerning tastes!
Australia is jam-packed with some of the world’s most unusual and impressive natural formations, and of course, the area around Perth is no exception. The Pinnacles is a large area of weathered limestone pillars situated in a sandy desert.
It’s best to avoid visiting the Pinnacles during the middle of the day in summer, as the heat can be extremely intense.
There’s a huge number of pinnacles in the area, with a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Some are quite short, while others stand up to five metres high!
The Pinnacles are best experienced by visiting the Pinnacles Desert Lookout and Drive located within the national park. However, it’s highly recommended to stop at various points along the way and see these magnificent formations up close. But remember, they’re fragile structures and should never be touched or climbed on!
Where: The Pinnacles are located in Nambung National Park, about 250 kilometres north-west of Perth – roughly a 2.5-hour drive.
Recommended Day Tours to the Pinnacles and Nambung National Park
It’s a big day of driving if you head out yourself so best with 2 drivers. One of these day tours lets everyone relax and take in all the sites along the way.
Check out this guide to photographing the Pinnacles that is worth a read if you are planning a visit to this area.
Located about 220 kilometres south of Perth, at the northern end of the Margaret River region, is the fascinating town of Busselton. A great day trip from Perth, Busselton has a surprising amount to offer.
The highlight attraction here is the incredible 1.8 kilometres Busselton Jetty, considered one of the world’s longest wooden structures. Originally built to serve the busy port, today, the Jetty is a tourist destination with a railway, underwater observatory, shops, and cafes.
Busselton is also a great place to hit the water, with white sandy beaches and wonderfully clear, calm water. There are excellent opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, skiing, kayaking, or diving, while if you feel like heading further offshore, there’s plenty of whale watching tours available as well.
And of course, don’t forget to visit the Busselton Museum, located inside the Old Butter Factory – the oldest dairy in Western Australia!
Where: Busselton is a 2 and a half-hour drive from Perth – its 3.5 hours by public transport so you might be better off renting a car if you don’t have one or booking a tour from Perth
Check out these Busselton Tours if you want more ideas.
Cervantes is a small crayfishing town located on the coast of Western Australia, about 200 kilometres north of Perth. A popular weekend getaway spot for Perth locals, Cervantes is also one of Perth’s best day trips. It’s the gateway to Nambung National Park and the Pinnacles (mentioned above), but Cervantes also has much more to offer.
There’s a fascinating Street Art Trail through the town, featuring 23 pieces of art on various topics – from the ocean to the town’s famous namesake, Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes.
There are great spots around town for surfing, swimming, boating, kayaking, snorkelling and fishing. There is also some fantastic hiking in the area.
And of course, don’t miss Lake Thetis and its Thrombolites, just south of town. Lake Thetis has extremely high salinity levels, similar to conditions in primeval Earth. This allows for the development of stromatolites and thrombolites, some of the earliest known living organisms, and essentially living fossils.
There’s a fascinating walk around the lake with excellent information signs, and it’s definitely one of the most intriguing things to see in Cervantes.
Where: It’s about a 200km drive, and while it can be done on public transport it involves a bus and a train and takes close to 4 hours, so you need to be keen!
Serpentine National Park
A drive to Serpentine National Park is one of Perth’s most popular day trips. With iconic red cliffs, green trees, and a lovely creek, Serpentine National Park is centred on Serpentine Falls, where water cascades over the smooth granite surfaces into a large plunge pool. It’s a great place to have a swim and enjoy the gorgeous environment.
There’s plenty of walking trails in the Park as well, with lots of diverse flora and fauna to enjoy – particularly in spring when the wildflowers are blooming and the wildlife is most active.
One particular highlight is the Kitty’s Gorge Walk, where you’re likely to see possums, wallabies, echidnas, and more. Kangaroos are also very common in the National Park and are renowned for closely investigating visitors’ picnic lunches!
Although Serpentine National Park is a fantastic place to visit, its proximity to Perth means that it’s also extremely popular. The park has fairly limited capacity and closes when full, so it’s a great idea to arrive early on warm sunny days. To avoid disappointment, try to get there before 10am (and ideally even earlier!) to grab your spot in this wonderful slice of WA.
Where: Located about 50 kilometres or a one hour drive southeast of Perth. No public transport services the area so you will need a car (or a friend with a car) to check it out.
Penguin Island is a small sandy island located just off the coast of Western Australia near Rockingham, 30 minutes south of Perth. A diminutive 12 hectares in size, Penguin Island is famous for its large population of 1,200 little penguins, the world’s smallest penguin species.
Since the island is only 600 metres offshore, it’s possible to reach via kayak, swimming, private boat, or just walking across the sandbar at low tide (though the latter is generally discouraged by the authorities).
On Penguin Island itself, you’ll find a largely unspoiled paradise where birds and small animals are free to roam. There’s interesting caves, cliffs, rock arches and platforms, and of course some fantastic beaches as well. Don’t miss the Penguin Island Walk Trail, a 1.5-kilometre hike that loops around the island, visiting the main observation points.
The Island is open from September until early June and is completely closed for the winter penguin nesting season (though minimal, access is occasionally available).
With such a short distance to travel and so many great things to see, Penguin Island is definitely one of the best Perth day tours available and an excellent addition to any holiday itinerary.
Cruises are also available around the island, looking for wild dolphins and Australian sea lions, commonly seen in the area. This one-hour glass bottom cruise with Rockingham Wild Encounters is a great adventure and very affordable too!
Where: It’s a fifty-minute drive from Perth to Rockingham and then a five-minute ferry ride from nearby Shoalwater. You can take a bus (551 or 552) from Perth to the Shoalwater Marine Reserve.
The Margaret River region was founded in the mid-19th century as a timber logging operation. These days, Margaret River is famous for both its incredible coastline and its reputation as one of Australia’s best wine regions.
The coastline faces the Indian Ocean, with beautiful national parks and some amazing surf breaks. But it’s the wine-growing that put Margaret River on the map.
Most of Margaret River’s wine producers are small-scale, boutique operations, but produce a large share of Australia’s premium wines. The main grapes produced here are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc, Merlot, Shiraz, and Verdelho.
There’s plenty of incredible wineries in the area, but some of the highlights are Cape Mentelle, Robert Oatley, Voyager Estate, Howard Park, Leeuwin Estate, and Flametree Wines.
Where: is about 270 kilometres south of Perth, and while you can easily spend several days here a day tour from Perth is a great way to see the region if you are short on time.
Recommended Margaret River Wine Tours
There is a wine tour for every budget in Margaret River. If you make your own way, there pop into the visitors centre for recommendations on local operators. If you are planning, we like these.
The incredible Wave Rock is one of the largest waves in Australia, but surprisingly – it’s nowhere near the ocean! It’s located in the town of Hyden, about 350 kilometres east of Perth. And what is it? As the name suggests, it’s a massive rock, shaped like a wave!
You can include a detour to Wave Rock on your return drive from Albany if you plan to explore the South West on your trip to Western Australia.
Wave Rock stands an impressive 15 metres high and stretches out for 110 metres, curving and overhanging the whole way like the perfect surf breaker. Formed over millions of years, Wave Rock is known as a “flared slope”, where the local groundwater has progressively eroded the granite above. It’s a great spot for a day trip from Perth, particularly in the springtime when the wildflowers are blooming.
Don’t miss the nearby Mulka’s Cave, with ancient Aboriginal rock art paintings, along with other rock formations like The Humps and the Hippo’s Yawn.
Where: Wave Rock is 335km west of Perth, and its best explored on a tour where experienced guides can show you highlights along the way that you are bound to miss
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