There might be plenty to do in Perth, but the summer holidays or a sleepy winter weekend call for mini getaways out of the Western Australian capital. We think one of these top five weekend escapes from Pert could soon become your family’s favourites.
1. Ledge Point and Cervantes – 1.5 to 2 hours from Perth
North of Perth is a stunning stretch of coastline packed full of attractions. Whether you are a first-time visitor to Western Australia, or playing tourist in your own town, you’ll love the terrific trio of Ledge Point (great for camping and visiting the huge Lancelin sand dunes), Cervantes (a lovely fishing village) and Jurien Bay (stroll along its jetty).
All of these spots are great for a day trip to The Pinnacles, a phenomenal landmark consisting of loads of bizarre limestone structures.
2. Northam and York – approx. 1.5 hours from Perth
Head inland from Perth and you’ll find historic townships with grand architecture and quirky museums.
In quiet Northam, explore Old Northam Railway Station, or the historic Morby Cottage, once the home of an early pioneer family. Cross the Avon River via Northam’s Suspension Bridge, or stay overnight in the Avon Valley’s lush farmlands in the first inland town in Western Australia.
York is famous for its skydiving if you’re brave and old enough, or opt for a tamer excursion to the Residency Museum.
3. Bunbury – less than 2 hours from Perth
Bumble along the highway to Bunbury for a cityscape away from the state capital.
Koombana Beach is home to the Dolphin Discovery Centre, where you can dolphin dive into informative exhibits, a discovery room, and an interactive shallow water area to meet the majestic and intelligent bottle-nosed ocean mammals.
On dry land, feed parrots at the Bunbury Wildlife Park, or gallivant in the Gnomesville garden with creatures of a different, plastered, colourful kind.
A short car trip inland and you’ll come across great walking trails and campsites in the state and national forests of old coal town Collie.
4. Margaret River – approx. 3 hours from Perth
The Margaret River region is huge, extending from Busselton to Dunsborough and down to Augusta, so we’re talking more specifically about Margaret River town, famous as a foodie’s fantasyland. Enjoy the cafes and abundant fresh produce, making sure to stop in for fruit and veg at the weekly Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays. Mums and Dads will know the area for its premium wines, great to pair with a picnic at Surfer’s Point.
Delve into the centre of the earth beneath limestone crystals in Lake and Mammoth Caves, or leave town altogether and drive less than an hour north to Cape Naturaliste. Built out of limestone bricks in 1903, Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse is a breathtakingly picturesque vantage point from which to view the Indian Ocean, which can also be enjoyed in a sandier, sunscreen-y fashion at Yallingup’s family friendly beach.
If you’re heading to the Margaret River, you might like to read more in one of these stories: Margaret River’s best breweries. Wining and dining in Margaret River with kids and The best weekend away in Margaret River.
5. Augusta – approx. 3.5 hours from Perth
Venture further south again and you’ll hit Augusta – a coastal town known for water sports and spectacular scenery. Families will enjoy fishing, snorkelling, windsurfing and kite-surfing in Hardy Inlet, Blackwood River and nearby beaches.
Once you get out of the water and dry off, why not climb Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia. This watchtower is the furthest you can go south-west on Australian land. And if you’re lucky you might catch sight of a passing whale. For your best chance of spotting one of the 35,000 odd whales that pass by this spot from June to August, visit Flinders Bay.
Away from the coast, the kids love the guided tours of the mysterious Jewel Cave in Deepdene. Or let them burn off energy in the Boranup Forest Maze before you all check out the amazingly tall trees of Boranup Karri Forest – some of the trees are over 60 metres tall!
There is loads more to explore around Perth. Rottnest Island and its bike rides and cute quokkas is well worth an overnight stopover, not to mention destinations a teeny bit further afield, like Geraldton or Albany. Perth itself and its close neighbour Fremantle are both packed with attractions.