When thinking in terms of visiting Oz, most folks immediately think of Sydney or Melbourne as must do's. Both of which are certainly interesting on some levels, but they are also overly congested, full of pot holes and have more wet and humid weather, than their west coast counterpart. Enter Perth. According to many, this is the worlds farthest from anything, city of over 500,000 inhabitants. Creating a bucolic environment with over 3,200 hours of mediterranean-like, sunny days, each and every year. Adjacent to the mighty Indian Ocean to it's West and divided into many watery neighborhoods by the mighty Swan and Canning Rivers; both of which can be found flowing in and around immaculate residential districts with fun bars and eclectic shops.
A quick jaunt from most of Asia, as well as from other parts of Australia, Perth can make for a perfect one week escape. With the new direct Qantas flight from London, clocking in at just under 17 hours of transit time, the city can also make for an exceptional add on to larger adventures up and down the massive and remote Western Australian coastline. My suggestion, after landing at the small and easily negotiable Perth Airport, is to make your way out of the terminal to the Uber pick up zone, where you can catch your ride to your pre -booked South Perth accommodation. My recommended neighborhood for being without a vehicle, with ease of access to public transport as well as massive parks adjacent to the mighty Swan River, lively pubs, the Perth Zoo, boat rentals, and direct ferry into the Perth city waterfront. Scoring one of the many high rise apartments is easily accomplished on Stayz or Airbb. Get situated into your temporary home, go for a wander, grab a pint of VB and watch the sun set.
Day 2: Head out early down the the Mends Street Jetty for a lovely brekkie at Mister Walkers, while watching for dolphins over your avocado toast and flat white. From here take the ferry from the very same pier for a short ride into Elizabeth Quay and the Perth Waterfront. Any number of options can keep you amused for the day, or just a few hours, depending on your level of interest and how many pubs along the way lure you in. I can personally attest, the Lucky Shag, located on the waterfront, can turn into a bit of a time warp, where hours can slip by before you even realize what happened. Also in this new river park, you can find the Little Ferry, a delightful, solar powered, water taxi, which is a superb way to spend an hour or two up close and personal with the Swan River. Kings Park and Botanical Garden is a short 30 minute stroll, offering over 3,000 species of plants indigenous to Western Australia, as well as majestic views of both the Swan and Canning Rivers; impressive city skyline views give yet more instagrammable photo ops. Another option is to head the opposite direction from the ferry terminal, into Northbridge, about a 20 minute walk. This cultural center of the region, has the highest concentration of bars, pubs and clubs, in the state, as well as a plethora of art galleries and hip boutiques. When your wandering for the day is completed, take the ferry back across to your incredible view of the city at night from your South Perth vantage point.
Day 3: Adjacent to the ferry terminal in Elizabeth Quay, you will find a TransPerth train station. Jump on a train here, heading into Perth Station, where you will switch to the Fremantle train (or alternately you can walk to Perth Station from the ferry dock), to spend a leisurely day exploring the maritime community where the first colonists settled the region in 1829. Lonely Planet recently ranked "Freo"as the 7th most interesting city to visit when traversing the globe. From daily tours of the British Penal Prison to beautiful beaches; Fremantle Markets (if you are lucky enough to arrive Friday -Sunday or a holiday) and the fabulous Little Creatures Brewery....all in a walkable historic town filled with aboriginal art, street performers, pubs unique shopping opportunities. Feel free to hop on and off the CAT Bus which makes getting from the Harbor to South Perth to Museums, quick and easy.
Day 4: Catch an Uber to Bayswater Car Rental to pick up a vehicle for the next few days, for the best price and customer service, then head East out of the city and into the Swan Valley. Your destination is Mandoon, an incredible estate located on the Swan River: Winery, Brewery, Live Music, Fabulous Restaurant, and a cluster of rooms to spend a few days basking amongst the grapevines. Located less than 30 minutes from Perth, but worlds away. Enjoy the rest of the day relaxing amongst massive Gumtrees while sipping your favorite vino before retiring to your sleek and comfortable room overlooking the gurgling river below.
Day 5: Smack dab in the middle of the Swan Valley, the bucolic agriculture community where you have just spent the night, allows for another leisurely day exploring the many wineries in and around Guidlford. Antiquing, artisan foods, spas, distilleries, ciders and boutique ales, all surrounded by dozens of vineyards to taste and traverse. Hiring a bike or kayak are both great options for wandering the area, as well as a plethora of wine tour agencies, should you like a more educational experience and not worry about driving from here and there.
Day 6: After enjoying a coffee and breakfast on the deck of your patio overlooking the river, it's time to head out. Your last 24 hours will be spent heading north to enjoy some spectacular scenery and the surrealism of the Pinnacles. It will take you close to 3 hours, and well worth the drive. My suggestion is to stop in at Yanchep Park for a stroll and lunch. This is a lovely location with a variety of caves, kangaroos and koalas to keep you amused with countless selfies. From here it is a short ride to the entrance of Nambung National Park, where golden spikes seem to have erupted out of the soft earth, like some far away, yet to be discovered planet. Sunset is a fabulous time to meander through this surreal landscape, where emu's and 'roos play hide and seek amongst the rock formations. At this point, you may be exhausted, Cervantes is only a few minutes down the road and offers a number of accommodation options, as well as endless beaches to explore.
Day 7: depending on your flight time, a long walk along the Indian Ocean may be in store for you, or heading back into the Pinnacles to watch the sunrise over a breakfast picnic, is another superb option. Perhaps you did not have time for Yanchep on the drive North, or want to explore more on the drive South....Perth is really not that far away, and 3 hours will pass quickly. Should you be in the area during August-October, wild flower season is spectacular, take Highway 1 South back towards the city, instead of the Coastal Highway, to really get your color fill of endless buds. Back at the Perth airport, return your vehicle, head through security and board your flight home. A whirlwind escapade, sure to make your family, friends and neighbors eager to see all your incredible photos while hearing about your magnificent holiday.
As always, should you have itinerary questions or would like further explanation of this trip, or any others,
please do not hesitate to contact me.
There are a whole slew of other weeklong options heading all the way up the coast to Broome,
easily filling a month of more of travel adventures.
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