Combining Perth and Margaret River is the perfect way to marry the discovery of a new city with the discovery of the forests, caves and beaches of Western Australia's premier wine region. Here're 10 highlights to help you get the best of both, either side of your trip.
Perth No. 1: A Day Trip to RottnestIsland
There’s countless ways to reach Rottnest, with the most economical being the Rottnest Express, but if you prefer to spend your day on the water, Charter 1 offer day luxury catamaran hire complete with esky for drinks, food supplies, BBQ paddle boards, kayaks, snorkels to explore the island. If you took the ferry over, you can hire cycles to explore the bays overland, as there are no cars on the island.
For just $35, three venues in Northbridge offer a three course roaming dinner, beginning with entrees and apertivi at No Mafia, mains at Francoforte Spaghetti Bar and dessert at new-wave gelato joint, Chicho where you’ll find flavours like prickly pear, or lavender and honey. Simply ask a staff member at No Mafia for a ticket, and present it in each proceeding venue.
Departing from the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour at 5pm Thursday to Sunday, be immersed in orange sunlit waters that become an opaque-indigo colour at twilight, making for a heightened sailing experience.
Perth No. 4: Sunset Cycle Through Kings Park and Explore the StateBuildings
Whether you choose to explore by wheels or by foot, Kings Park is one of the world’s largest inner city parks and home to 3,000 species of WA’s unique plant life. Home to some of Perth’s most popular bars and restaurants including Wildflower’s rooftop fine-dining restaurant, and Petition Wine Bar — meandering the halls of this remarkably designed building is worth the visit in itself.
Perth No. 5: Explore Elizabeth Quay and Isle of Voyage forDinner
There’s always something going on at Elizabeth Quay, so it’s best explored spontaneously with an idle stroll. This November on Geoffery Bolton Avenue, an oasis will be pitched with white sand, tents, bar, and a scene that takes cues from Coachella Valley. You might also stumble upon a floating pop-up bar from Pier 4 Barrack Street Jetty. Further down is Isle of Voyage. A river view restaurant that features wood fired pizza, fresh seafood, and a breakfast menu for early risers.
Margaret River No. 1: Yallingup Beach and Andy’s General Store andCafe
This surf-bum town is home to sweeping turquoise and white coastlines for swimming, surfing, or soaking up vitamin D on the sand. No trip to Yallingup Beach is complete without following up with breakfast at Andy’s Café and Yallingup General Store, a humble and laid-back spot, whether you’re after a bacon and egg sandwich, or a nutritious smoothie.
Margaret River No. 2: Explore Meelup Beach and Lunch at Eagle BayBrewery
Protected by Geographe Bay, Meelup Beach has tepid and still turquoise water that makes for a glassy snorkelling or paddle boarding spot. With native trees for shade, public change rooms, toilets, and showers, rinse off before heading to Eagle Bay Brewing Co for a lunch. Overlooking their family owned vineyard, the end product is featured on their menu, along with a micro-brewery and pizza oven on site, it’s the perfect low key location to sprawl on the grass the enjoy the afternoon sun.
Margaret River No. 3: Injidup Natural Spa andRetreat
At the end of Wyadup Road in Yallingup, is Injidup rock pool. Sheltered from the waves that crash intermittently through the inlet, it creates a spa-like experience with water erupting between the rocks and dispersing into white foam. A visit to Injidup is best spent swimming, bouldering, or laying a towel down on a warm rock to soak up the sun. Five minutes up the road is Injidup Spa Retreat, an ocean view villa stay with individual pools, direct beach access, and a range of treatments from an hour massage, to a full spa experience with detoxifying marine body wraps and a hydrotherapy spa bath.
Margaret River No. 4: Explore Boranup Karri Forest and Swim at ContoBeach
Best enjoyed by foot or by mountain bike, meander past wildflowers and through Karri Trees reaching 50-meters or more, in the direction of Boranup Lookout to see sweeping views of the forest. A few minutes’ drive away is the idyllic Conto beach, a cove with a reef break for beginner to advanced surfers and gentle enough conditions for a swim, or a paddle board.
Margaret River No. 5: Rock Climb, Cave or Abseil atWilyabrup
The windswept sea cliffs at Wilyabrup are a climbers dream, and you can abseil from 10 to 40 meters depending on your preference, and a snack break before climbing from the bottom up. After a morning at the cliffs, Margaret River Climbing Co drive south to Boranup Forest where you’ll abseil into caves 70m below the forest floor, all sustenance taken care of inbetween. There are also half day options for those that want to take it easy.
For years, Perth has been hovering under traveller's radars, keeping its pristine beaches, hip small bar scene and festival fun to itself. Not anymore. Local travel journalist Fleur Bainger blows the lid on the places you shouldn’t miss.
The long weekend means one thing to us Perth locals; a road trip. Come Friday afternoon, the highway from Perth is buzzing with resident vacationers on their way to make the most of Margaret River’s rejuvenating combination of surf, wine country, and nature.