WA Day Trips from Perth: Locals Guide 2023

As someone who has had the privilege of exploring Western Australia extensively and calling Perth my home, I can confidently share my tips on day trips from Perth. These experiences have allowed me to curate a selection of the best destinations, including Rottnest Island, Fremantle, Swan Valley, Mandurah, and Guilderton.

From snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters of Rottnest Island to uncovering the fascinating history of Fremantle Prison, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the diverse offerings of Western Australia.

Top 5 Best Day Trips from Perth

a brown quokka close up on two legs smiling for the camera rottnest island

1. Rottnest Island 🏝️

☀️ Best Time to Visit: Summer
💵 Cost: Starting at about A$80 for return ferry
🐶 Dogs: No dogs allowed
🚻 Facilities: Toilets, showers, drinking water, bus, barbecues

Distance/Time from Perth: Rottnest Island ferries take about 25 minutes from Fremantle or 90 minutes from Elizabeth Quay, Perth.

Overview: Rottnest Island, just off the Perth coast, is a paradise teeming with breathtaking beauty and endless possibilities for an unforgettable day trip.

Highlights:

  • Natural Beauty: Rottnest Island has stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque landscapes.
  • Quokkas: Renowned for its adorable quokkas, only found in Western Australia.
  • Outdoor Activities: The island provides numerous outdoor activities, including snorkelling, diving, cycling, and hiking.
  • Historical Significance: Rottnest Island has a rich history, with significant cultural and historical sites to explore, like the Wadjemup Lighthouse and the World War II tunnels.

Pros

  • Natural Beauty
  • Quokkas
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Historical Significance

⛔️ Cons

  • Time Constraints: Consider an overnight stay on Rottnest for a more in-depth exploration.
  • Crowds: Visit on weekdays to avoid peak crowds.
  • Weather Dependency: Check weather conditions for the best experience.

Personal Experience: “I still remember the first time I visited Rottnest Island on a day trip all those years ago. The beaches on Rottnest Island are nothing short of breathtaking, with turquoise waters glistening under the bright sun. Snorkelling is an absolute dream with vibrant coral reefs and an incredible diversity of marine life. However, the highlight is seeing the famous quokkas – these adorable creatures are so cute and friendly.”

Best For: Nature Lovers, Adventure Seekers, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Beachgoers, & History Buffs.

Attractions: 🔗 See this post on things to do on Rottnest Island.

Local’s Tip: Hiring a bike is one of the best ways to explore the island. Rottnest Island is car-free, so biking is the most convenient and eco-friendly way.

Fremantle fishing harbour with boats restaurants and a ferris wheel in the background ad one of the Best Day Trips from Perth

2. Fremantle ⛴️

🚘 Driving Time: 20 to 30 minutes
☀️ Best Time to Visit: Year-round
🚗 Parking: Ticketed parking applies
🚻 Facilities: Toilets, barbecues, drinking water, free wi-fi
🛣️ Unsealed Roads: No


Overview:
Fremantle blends history, culture, and a laid-back atmosphere, creating a fun destination that all visitors enjoy. Explore streets with well-preserved heritage buildings, vibrant street art, and a bustling market offering a sensory feast of sights, sounds, and flavors.

Highlights:

  • Historical Charm: Fremantle is steeped in history, with well-preserved heritage buildings, like the Fremantle Prison and the Round House.
  • Cultural Hub: The city is vibrant, with a thriving arts scene, bustling markets, and various festivals and events throughout the year.
  • Culinary Delights: Fremantle is renowned for its culinary scene, offering a variety of cafes, restaurants, bars, and food markets.
  • Waterfront Attractions: Fremantle’s waterfront area, including the Fishing Boat Harbour and Bathers Beach, provides a picturesque setting for leisurely walks, al fresco dining, and even swimming.
  • Shopping and Souvenirs: Fremantle is a shopper’s paradise, with its eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and unique gift shops.

Pros

  • Historical Charm
  • Cultural Hub
  • Culinary Delights
  • Waterfront Attractions
  • Shopping and Souvenirs

⛔️ Cons

  • Time Constraints: Due to the limited time available on a day trip, it may be challenging to explore and experience everything Fremantle has to offer. Consider staying overnight at one of Fremantle’s accommodations.
  • Crowded at Times: Fremantle can be bustling, especially on weekends and during popular events.

Personal Experience:
“We always take our visitors to Fremantle and enjoy a day trip from our northern beaches home every couple of months. Fremantle’s culinary scene is excellent, from cozy cafes serving artisanal coffee to trendy eateries offering international cuisines.
There are plenty of bars, pubs, and breweries to enjoy a drink too. The maritime museums in Fremantle are a highlight. The Western Australian Maritime Museum features a fascinating collection of maritime artifacts and interactive exhibits. It was interesting to learn about the city’s seafaring history, the tales of shipwrecks, exploration, and the importance of the sea to the region.
The best experience in Fremantle was visiting the iconic Fremantle Prison. The True Crime guided tour delves into this former prison’s dark and intriguing history. Walking through the cells, hearing stories of prisoners, and exploring the gallows sent shivers down my spine.”

Best For: History Enthusiasts, Foodies, Culture and Arts Lovers, Maritime and Nautical Enthusiasts, & Adventure Seekers.

Best Route: The most scenic route is on a Swan River cruise from Perth. Otherwise, the train is a great option or by car.

Attractions: 🔗 See this post on things to do in Fremantle.

Local’s Tip: Visit the Old Synagogue for drinks at Mr Chapple or dinner at Tonic & Ginger.

the grape vines at Mandoon Estate Swan Valley Perth

3. Swan Valley 🍷

🚘 Driving Time: 35 minutes
☀️ Best Time to Visit: Year-round
🚻 Facilities: Toilets, barbecues
🛣️ Unsealed Roads: No

Overview:
Escape the city and enjoy the enchanting beauty of Swan Valley, a beautiful destination just a short drive from Perth. Known for being Western Australia’s oldest wine region, Swan Valley beckons with its lush vineyards, rolling hills, and tempting gourmet delights.

Highlights:

  • Wine and Food: Swan Valley is renowned for its wineries, offering a wide selection of award-winning wines for tasting and purchase.
  • Variety of Activities: Swan Valley offers a diverse range of activities, including wine tastings, gourmet food experiences, river cruises, and scenic drives.

Pros

  • Wine and Food
  • Variety of Activities

⛔️ Cons

  • Transportation: Public transportation options to the region are limited, so you may need to book a Swan Valley Tour if you don’t have a car.
  • Crowds: Swan Valley can become crowded, especially on weekends and during peak tourist seasons. Popular wineries and attractions may experience larger crowds, so booking ahead is recommended.

Personal Experience:
“For first-time visitors, our first stop is always Whiteman Park, a family-friendly attraction with lots of activities for everyone to enjoy. We then head to Caversham Wildlife Park, where you can get up close and personal with Australia’s fascinating wildlife. In the heart of Swan Valley, you can indulge in a delightful journey of wine and food. We visit a few estates, where you’re warmly greeted by knowledgeable staff who guide you through tastings of their exquisite wines.”

Best For: Wine Enthusiasts, Foodies, Families, Nature Lovers, & Couples and Romantic Getaways.

Best Route: The most scenic route is on a Swan River Cruise.

Attractions: 🔗 See this post on things to do in Swan Valley.

Local’s Tip: Book a wine tour if you don’t have a non-drinker to drive you.

dolphins swimming in mandurah canals alongside luxury boat and houses

4. Mandurah 🐬

🚘 Driving Time: 1 hour
☀️ Best Time to Visit: Spring, Summer & Autumn
🚻 Facilities: Toilets, barbecues, free wi-fi
🛣️ Unsealed Roads: No

Overview:
Discover the serene coastal beauty of Mandurah on this day trip from Perth. Known for its stunning waterways, pristine beaches, and friendly dolphins, Mandurah offers an escape that feels a world away from the city.

Highlights:

  • Coastal Beauty: Mandurah has stunning waterways, pristine beaches, and a picturesque coastline.
  • Dolphin Encounters: Mandurah is known for its resident population of playful dolphins. A cruise offers the chance to witness these majestic creatures up close.
  • Water-based Activities: The waterways of Mandurah provide ample opportunities for water-based activities such as boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
  • Fresh Seafood: Mandurah is renowned for its delicious seafood.

Pros

  • Coastal Beauty
  • Dolphin Encounters
  • Water-based Activities
  • Fresh Seafood

⛔️ Cons

  • Weather Dependency: Like any coastal destination, Mandurah’s enjoyment is weather-dependent.
  • Crowds: Mandurah can be popular, especially during school holidays and Christmas. Book tours ahead of time.

Personal Experience:
“The highlight of my day trips to Mandurah is the Dolphin Cruise , where you can witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

Exploring Mandurah’s beautiful canals is another highlight. Hiring a boat allows you to navigate the waterways, lined with luxurious houses and stunning waterfront properties. We always see the resident dolphins on our journey through the canals.”

Best For: Nature Enthusiasts, Wildlife Admirers, Boat and Water Sports Enthusiasts, Families.

Best Route: Either train from Perth or by car.

Attractions: 🔗 See this post on things to do in Mandurah.

Local’s Tip: To see the dolphins, book a cruise or hire a boat (skippers ticket not required during the day).

view of brown colour river from a lookout

5. Guilderton 🛶

🚘 Driving Time: 1.5 hours
☀️ Best Time to Visit: Summer
🚻 Facilities: Toilets, barbecues
🛣️ Unsealed Roads: No

Overview:
A day trip to Guilderton’s Moore River offers the beautiful coastline and the tranquil Moore River. Take a stroll along the beach, dive into the refreshing waters for a swim, or try fishing along the riverbanks.

Highlights:

  • Natural Beauty: Guilderton has pristine beaches and the picturesque Moore River, offering a tranquil coastal escape from the city.
  • Outdoor Activities: The area provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and hiking.
  • Relaxation and Tranquility: It’s an ideal destination to unwind, soak up the sun, or enjoy a leisurely picnic.

Pros

  • Natural Beauty
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Relaxation and Tranquility

⛔️ Cons

  • Limited Amenities: Guilderton is a small coastal town with limited amenities compared to larger urban areas.
  • Weather Dependency: Guilderton’s enjoyment can be weather-dependent, like any outdoor destination.

Personal Experience:
“We enjoy the family-friendly calm waters of the river, especially when the kids were younger, and spent the day swimming, kayaking, and enjoying water activities together. We usually find a perfect spot on the foreshore for a picnic or barbecue. Or head to Seabird Tavern, a 15-minute drive from Guilderton.”

Best For: Families, Nature Lovers, & Water Sports Enthusiasts.

Best Route: Perth to Guilderton via Indian Ocean Drive. Combine it with a visit to the Pinnacles.

Attractions: 🔗 See this post on things to do in Moore River Guilderton.

Local’s Tip: Get there early as the car park gets full, and it can be extremely windy once the sea breeze arrives.

Day Trips from Perth Map

See the locations of the suggested day trips on the map below.

map showing destinations close to perth

Taste your way through Swan Valley, Western Australia’s oldest wine region. Meet Rottnest Island’s / Wadjemup’s cheerful quokkas. Lose yourself in the lunar-like landscapes of the Pinnacles. Whether you’re dreaming of historic Fremantle / Walyalup or Mandurah’s / Mandjoogoordap’s pristine beaches, some of Western Australia’s most unforgettable experiences are just a day trip from Perth. 

Tourism wa

What’s your favourite day trip from Perth? We’d love you to join our Facebook Group and let us know! Our community enjoys hearing tips and seeing photos.

Common Questions

Are these day trips suitable for families?

Yes, many of these day trips are family-friendly. Rottnest Island, Fremantle, Mandurah, and Guilderton Moore River offer activities and attractions that cater to families, such as wildlife encounters, calm swimming areas, and picnic spots.

Can I visit multiple day trip destinations in one day?

Visiting multiple destinations in one day may be challenging due to travel time and the desire to experience each location. Focusing on one day trip destination at a time is recommended to make the most of your visit.

Read More: