21 Ideas for Close Day Trips from Perth, WA

Perth is known as one of the most isolated cities in the world and at times has had a bit of a reputation of being a sleepy city.  You’d be forgiven that there is nothing to experience outside of the CBD.

But Perth is surrounded by the ocean, rocky hills, history, majestic animals and stunning scenery, thereby offering so many ideas for Perth day trips all within an hour’s drive from Perth city. Read on to find the perfect short road trips from Perth for your day out.

In this Article Gather Ideas for Perth Day Trips within an Hour’s Drive from the CBD

Click to Jump to Your Interest


old colonial buildings lining the main street of York, Western Australia
Do you know someone who would find this useful?
Please share this with them

This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*.  This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links. Learn more at the bottom of this post.

Big Nature Parks

The city is surrounded by an abundance of national parks, perfect for self-drive day trips from Perth.

Yanchep

entrance to the Yanchep Cave in bushland
Yanchep National Park

A one-hour drive north of Perth is the coastal suburb of Yanchep.  Just outside the suburb, you will find the 28km2 natural bush and wetland park that sits above a limestone cave system – it is all known as Yanchep National Park. 

There are a number of things to do in Yanchep National Park including:

  • Cave Tours
  • Koala boardwalk
  • Aboriginal experiences
    • I did this many years ago – it was sooo interesting
  • Tree adventures
  • Golf
  • Bird watching
  • Spotting grey kangaroos

It costs $15 (as of May 2020) per vehicle to enter the park.  Check the website for the latest information

Don’t have a car, don’t worry.  Combine a couple of these attractions in one tour.

Whiteman Park

replica Australian colonial train station at Whiteman Perk
Whiteman Park

Another place to experience all manner of vintage vehicles is Whiteman Park located 30 mins northeast of Perth.  Vintage motor museums include:

  • Revolutions Museum
  • Motor Museum
  • Tractor Museum

From the main vintage street, you can take an old tram ride or bus trip to further parts of this 3732-hectare park. Or take a vintage train ride from the vintage train station.

Whiteman Park was originally a working farm owned by Lew Whiteman who along with his neighbours sold the land to the government to be used as public open space in order to protect the underground Gnangara Mound water source.  The park offers huge grassy fields to enjoy games of cricket, large playgrounds and a waterpark to cool off in the summer months.

Find out more on the official website.

Perth Day Trips to Country Towns

New Norcia

The church at New Norcia
New Norcia church

A unique slice of Western Australia history is located one hour and forty minutes northeast of Perth, yes it’s over the benchmark of an hour drive but well worth the extra half hour or so.  The best way to get the most of this area is to book a New Norcia tour through the New Norcia Visitors Centre.  The guides will spend a couple of hours regaling tails of the area’s founder – a Spanish monk named Salvado who began the only Benedictine Monastery in Australia. 

The tour transverses across the gravel rocky terrain to the old school, church, monastery and old bakery (which is now closed).  At the end of your tour, you can check out the museum or stop at the pub for lunch.

Tours start at $15 per adult or you can make your way around for free on a self-guided tour.  Check out the website for the latest information and opening times.

Don’t have a car, don’t worry.  Combine a couple of these attractions in one tour

Northam

Water feature in Avon River at Northam
Avon River outside the Northam Visitor Centre

Recently we spent some time in Northam. It is a pretty, historic town on the Avon River. Take time to circumnavigate the river walk and enjoy the imported white Swans. The town is filled with historic buildings and you can learn the history by reading the signage outside each building of the main strip.

One of the things I want to go back and discover is the Aboriginal Museum Bilya Koort Boodja located next to the Northam Visitors Centre.

Toodyay

the entrance to the miniture railway in Toodyay
Toodyay’s Miniature Railway

I have to say I love Toodyay there are so many different options on things to do to fill a whole day if not a weekender. Wander through the town, check out all the eclectic stores, and stop at the fun and delicious eateries. Then pop into the Visitors Centre to get a walking map to discover the town’s history.

To help plan your day out learn about

York

colonial buildings along the main street of York, Western Australia
York

If you are interested in history and want to feel as though you have stepped back in time York an hour’s drive east of Perth is worth a visit.  The main street of York is lined with beautiful colonial buildings, brac-a-brac shops to explore and the York Motor Museum to guide you through the motor vehicle evolution.

On the official tourism website, you’ll find a free walking trail app to download to help you explore the town.

Perth Hills

The Perth Hills region aka the Darling Rangers offers so many beautiful natural surroundings to explore.  But just a word of warning this region lies to the east of Perth and therefore it can become too hot to enjoy in summer – but is wonderful in the cooler and temperate months.

Perth Observatory

An exception to this would be the Perth Observatory if you were heading here for an evening star gazing night.  Day tours are also available, it is something that has been on my wish list for some time.  Offering insights into the history of astronomy and seeing that massive telescope.

Check out the website for the latest information on tours and opening times.

Advertisements

John Forest National Park

The observatory is right next to John Forest National Park providing the perfect natural bush setting to stop for a picnic after your tour. 

This national park was the first national park proclaimed in Western Australia and is one of the oldest conservation areas in Australia.  So in its own right makes a great day trip without being an add-on.  Offering dedicated picnic areas to base yourself in before heading off to explore waterfalls and many walking trails.

Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of this conservation park on the website.

Lesmurdie Falls

The national parks don’t allow dogs. So Lesmurdie Falls and the next few options are some of my top picks for day trips from Perth with dogs.

people climbing over rocks at the bottom of Lesmurdie Falls, Perth
Lesmurdie Falls

Another popular waterfall is Lesmurdie Falls – be warned it is so popular it can be tricky getting a parking spot in the car park, possibly due to the fact you can bring your dog here as opposed to the national parks. 

Lesmurdie Falls offers good facilities with terraced picnic tables, toilets, a viewing platform and a couple of walking trail options.  The more challenging being the trail to the bottom of the falls – but worth the effort.

Find out more about this Grade 3 trail on the website.

Noble Falls

low waterfall or small rapids at Noble Falls, Western Australia
Noble Falls

Another location dogs are welcome is Noble Falls, located an hour’s drive northeast of Perth near the town of Gidgegannup.  It offers a pretty setting with picnic tables, BBQ’s, toilets, a playground and the gentle 3.6km walking trail loop.

Learn more about this Grade 2 trail on the website.

Bells Rapids

people around the Bells Rapids in Perth cheering on the paddle boats
Bells Rapids

There are lots of little waterfalls around the Perth region.  But this one is famous for the Avon Descent race that runs every year in late July, the most thrilling part of the two-day race is watching the canoes, kayaks and powerboats making their way through the waterfall rapids. Plus it is also dog friendly too.

During the rest of the year, Bells Rapids offers a lovely spot for a picnic with walking trails.

Check out the website for the latest information.

FR Berry Reserve

large sheer rock on large red coloured granite rock at Berry Reserve a Perth day trip
FR Berry Reserve

A little hidden gem we found for a Perth day trip with a bit of hiking that is dog-friendly and small picnic ground is the FR Berry Reserve. You’ll be wanting to use your Google maps to make sure you don’t miss the turn-off, as it is not well signposted.

When we visit it is Autumn and just before the rain. The waterfall is dry, but still so pretty with the smooth granite rocks all oxidized.

Serpentine Falls and National Park

The last but certainly not least waterfall to mention is Serpentine Falls.  There is a picnic area and walking trails, in summer you can even swim at the base of the falls – but do be mindful of hidden trees and rocks.

The other thing to be mindful of is that Serpentine Falls is really popular. So much so that if you arrive much after 12noon you may not gain access to the park as it is full. My suggestion if it is full is to head over to Jarradale.

The official website has links to helpful hints on swimming at the falls.

Jarrahdale

This quaint little town has a number of historic buildings to learn about the history of Jarrahdale. Fifteen minutes further past town is the Serpentine Pipehead Dam. Once you have tracked to the bottom of the escarpment stop to feed the birds before making your way back into town and do a little wine tasting at Millbrook Winery.

Check out the website for more information

looking over Serpentine Dam
Serpentine Pipehead Dam

Lake Leschenaultia

Near the town of Mundaring, another natural swimming spot is Lake Leschenaultia there are even canoes and stand-up paddleboards to hire.  But there is more to this picnic spot with mountain bikes and walking trails with lots of birdlife and wildflowers to admire along the way.

Check out the website for the latest information.

Mundaring Weir

Mundaring Dam wall surrounded by bush
Mundaring Weir

However, Mundaring is most well-known for its Weir.  During primary school, all West Australian children are taught about the significance of Mundaring Weir.  In the late 1800’s the town of Kalgoorlie (over 500km east of Perth) was in the midst of the gold rush, the town desperately needed fresh drinking water.  An engineer by the name of CY O’Conner came up with a plan to dam the Helena River to create the Mundaring Weir and build a pipeline to Kalgoorlie.  In 1903 the engineering feat was completed.

Today you can learn more about the story, the engineering and the Perth and Goldfields water supply from the museum, storyboards, walking and picnicking at Mundaring Weir.

Plan your visit by reviewing the website for more information.

Wondering what to take on your Perth Hills picnic? Use our

Suburbs with Lots to Offer

Fremantle

The historic Round House gaol in Fremantle
The Round House

One of the best day trips from Perth by train is visiting the port city of Fremantle.  Once you arrive there is a free bus CAT service to get you about. 

Fremantle is just bursting with history as it was where the first colonial settlers arrived in 1829.

There are several Fremantle museums to take you through Western Australia’s history including:

  • Shipwreck Museum
  • The Round House
  • WA Maritime Museum
  • HMAS Ovens
  • Army Museum of Western Australia
  • Leighton Battery

Beyond the museums, you can meander Fremantle Markets, tour the Fremantle Gaol, enjoy a coffee along the cappuccino strip or have fish and chips on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Plan your visit by reviewing the official tourism website.

Mandurah

day cruise boat on the Mandurah canals
Mandurah cruise

Further south about an hour from Perth is another place to enjoy more seafood in the relaxed coastal canal town of Mandurah.  You can stroll along the canal boardwalks and catch glimpses of stingrays and dolphins.  Or take a Mandurah cruise through the canals that are lined by some very expensive homes with the hopes of catching sight of the local dolphins that live in the area.

We enjoyed this Mandurah Dolphin Cruise*

Swan Valley

tasting table of differnet flavoured preserves
Swan Valley

Thirty minutes east of Perth is the original wine region of Western Australia called the Swan Valley.  Not only will you find an abundance of boutique wineries, but also breweries and some of the most delicious gourmet locally made produce.

Check out the Gourmet Food Trail of the

Check out the official tourism website for more information.

Don’t have a car or worried about drink driving? Don’t worry, experience all the tastes on this tour:

Islands off Perth Coast

Penguin Island

Looking across Shoalwater Islands marine park to mainland with kayakers in the sea
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park

Another place to see more marine life is Penguin Island located 45minutes south of Perth.  You can either book a short ferry ride to take you to the island where you can stroll the timber boardwalks and watch the rescue penguins being fed.  Or book a dolphin cruise out to the island where you will spend an hour and a half escorted about the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park where you will get to see dolphins and sea lions playing in the water, not to mention all the birdlife.

We thoroughly enjoyed this Penguin, Dolphin and Sea Lion Tour*.

Rottnest Island

A protect beach on Rottnest Island
The Basin – Rottnest Island

However, the main tourist island near Perth is Rottnest.  Before cycling around Rottnest (there are no private cars) stop at the famous bakery for a cream bun.  Then head out and discover secluded white sandy beaches, the golf course, WWII bunker, the lighthouse, salt lakes and of course admire the famous Quokka marsupial animals that roam freely about the island.

Rottnest also offers a range of accommodation options if you wish to stay for a few days.

For these island Perth excursions, you’ll want the

Two-Day Trips

The next two places offer unique natural scenery and I have seen them written about as Perth day trip locations.  As a local Perthite let me advise these are not places to visit in one day – they are just a bit too far away.  But for a weekend getaway, they are perfect.

Wave Rock

boy standing at base of Wave Rock, Western Australia
Wave Rock

Wave Rock is actually a naturally formed rock formation within a larger rock called Hyden Rock, it takes about four hours to drive to the town of Hyden.  Now you understand why I am suggesting this for a weekender.  There are actually quite a few things to see in the town of Hyden and it will easily fill in your weekend.

When we visited we stayed at the Wave Rock Caravan Park in one of their pet-friendly cabins.

Cervantes and the Pinnacles

cars driving around the Pinnacles Desert, Western Australia
Pinnacles Desert

Booking a cabin or chalet in a caravan park is one of our favourite types of accommodation when taking West Australian road trips.  We stayed at the RAC Cervantes Holiday Park on our weekender to the Pinnacles Desert.  The unique limestone formations within the desert are the main attractions of this area, but it is not the only thing to do in Cervantes.  I found Lake Thetis with its 3000-year-old living thrombolites fascinating and the scenery from many of the lookouts breathtaking.

Pack for your weekend getaway with the

Top Trip Tips: Planning Your Day Trip Around Perth

It is all these stunning, fascinating and historically interesting locations that make you realise there are actually so many places to visit near Perth, Western Australia.

Location

To find the exact location of each of these days out near Perth check out this interactive map. It will also help you find directions when planning your day trips from Perth by car.

Getting Around

There is a reason Western Australia has marketed itself as the road trip state – it is because many of the destinations are too far off the main metropolitan public transport.  Although in saying that some are accessible by TransPerth.  Check out the Journey Planner to see if it works for you.

If you are heading out in the car for one of the longer drives, remember to plan your road trip and consider these safety tips for road trips.

  • Plan stops
  • Have snacks and water at hand
  • Don’t drive tired
  • Remember in Australia we drive on the left-hand side of the road

What to Take with You

Before you leave home plan your day and what you will take with you.

Include in your day trip bag:

  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Money
  • Water
  • Jumper/sweater in case it gets cold

Many of these locations make the perfect spot for a picnic.  Picnics don’t have to require elaborate picnic sets and fancy lunches. 

Check out our

More Information

Discover more things to do in Perth like:

There are also loads more things to do in Western Australia

Read one of these Western Australia travel guides*

⇓  PIN THIS  ⇓


DISCLOSURE:

Sally-Ann
Hi, I'm a Perth born and raised travel tips blogger/writer with over 20 years of experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism, along with a lifetime of varied travel exploits.
I love sharing the travel lessons I have learned to help you plan for your dream trip with my travel tips for trips.
Please follow along to receive all my travel planning tips, packing lists and destination inspirations.
Learn More About Me!

Comments are closed.