Although we loved the laid back vibe of Perth, there isn’t a ton to do in the city itself. There are a lot of day tours offered but we found them super expensive, it’s cheaper to just rent a car and split the cost with friends. Leave the city behind and explore a bit of WA. Here are some of the best day trips from Perth.
1. The Pinnacles
2 hrs 20min from Perth ($12 per vehicle)
Check out these strange limestone formations in the desert within Nambung National Park. You can either drive along the loop (4km) through all the formations, with plenty of spots to pull over and park to take pictures, or you can take the trail and walk through the park (about 1 hr). We did both! We’d really recommend the trail, it didn’t take too long AND NO ONE DOES IT. We were almost the only ones out there, and it takes you away from the road.
While you’re out here, make a quick stop at the nearby saltwater Lake Thetis! It has LIVING FOSSILS. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can see living marine stromatolites. These stromatolites are about 3000 years old and formed by cyanobacteria, a single celled organism. You can either walk for 5-10min straight to the stromatolites or you can do a loop around the whole small lake. We decided to do the loop, because again, NOT A SINGLE PERSON DID IT while we were there. If you’re heading further north towards Shark Bay, you will see more stromatolites at the more popular Hamelin Pool.
There is also sandboarding in the dunes nearby in Lancelin! We didn’t go, and decided to hit up a beach instead. Hangover Bay is close by and has a long and beautiful white, sandy beach. It’s a great beach for snorkeling and surfing. It’s also a popular place to spot dolphins, and while we thought we had, turns out they were sharks near shore!
2. Wave Rock
3hrs 40min from Perth ($12 per vehicle)
Drive inland towards the Wheatbelt to see this incredible and unique rock formation! It’s 15m high and about 110m long. It’s basically in the middle of nowhere, the closest town is Hyden. Although a bit of a drive, you’re not going to see anything like this again. There are a few walks to different rock formations around Wave Rock (Hippos Yawn and The Humps), and you can even climb to the top of Wave Rock and take in the views of the surrounding farm land. The shape of Wave Rock is the result of over 60 million years of wind and water erosion.
3. South West (Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River)
Busselton: 2hrs 30min from Perth / Dunsborough: 2hrs 45min from Perth / Margaret River: 3 hrs from Perth
The South West has it all – surfing, snorkeling, vineyards, giant trees and a beautiful coastline with epic sunsets. Pick a town and spend the day experiencing it’s beauty! Busselton has the longest timber piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere with an amazing Underwater Observatory at the end of it. Dunsborough has great snorkeling and surfing, as well as Margaret River; or you can visit the many caves and vineyards there! If you head a bit further south to Hamelin Bay you’ll be greeted by HUGE stingray right by shore. Even further is Pemberton and the beautiful Karri Forest, where you can even climb to the top of some of these giants!
While it is possible to do a day trip, to fully enjoy and explore more of the South West you should take a few days! Read my Adventure Guide to South West Australia!
4. Rottnest Island
25min-90min ferry ride, depending where you depart from in Perth (Fremantle departure is shortest).
We sadly didn’t have the time or extra money to take the ferry to the island for the day. Prices are about $80 pp (although it is possible to occasionally find deals). We’ve heard the snorkeling is incredible, and you can include snorkel gear and a bicycle in your ferry ticket to cruise around the island on. The island is also full of Quobbas which are hella cute!