Feel like you’ve seen and done it all, WA-weary traveller?
With borders just opening up after many months of being our own island-in-an-island, it’s tempting to hop on a plane and explore the rest of our sunburnt country; but actually, there’s a whole lot of lesser-known spots right here at home that you may not known existed, that you can reach in a jiffy without airfares. Here’s some of our fave places to help you #seeperth in a whole new way this summer!
Perth City Secrets
Mere minutes from Elizabeth Quay station lies a little-known serene oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Perth City, John Oldham Park. This lush park boasts waterfalls and stunning cityscape views, and forms part of the Narrows Interchange Parkland. You’ll find walking & cycle paths, and sweet little spots for a picnic, making it a perfect place to experience the beauty of the great outdoors.
It’s also conveniently located next to a ton of attractions, as the location might suggest; it’s a short walk to Jacobs Ladder leading you up to Kings Park, a quick bus ride away from the Matilda Bay Reserve adjacent to the lush, historic Sunken Garden. While you’re in the heart of the city, there’s a few other hidden gems to enjoy, like savouring sustainably sourced WA Rock Lobster on an all natural, hand-rolled brioche bun at the Lobster Pier or experiencing the magic of live gold-pouring at the Perth Mint. There’s also the unmissable Old Perth Fire Station, now converted into the DFES Education and Heritage Centre. Showcasing a heritage trail complete with a history of each room, vintage fire service appliances, and exhibition space featuring the stories of past fire brigades, hazards and emergency responses.
If you’re a budding photographer looking for more CBD hidden gems, you’re in luck: the Perth City Hidden Gems Photographic Walk by Capture the Light Photographic Tours is just the ticket. This small group walking tour (maximum of 6) explores the laneways, architecture and open spaces of Perth. You’ll be given input and instruction from acclaimed professional fine art photographer Anna-Mair Francis to help you improve on your technique and achieve memorable shots, with morning tea at a local coffee shop is included.
Eagle View Walk Trail
One of most spectacular walking trails in the Perth Hills, this 15km circuit walk across John Forrest National Park in the Perth Hills’ Darling Ranges offers stunning cityscape views across the Swan Coastal Plain to Perth City and the ocean in the distance. The trail passes through a variety of unspoiled habitats, including heathlands, open wandoo woodlands and mixed jarrah marri-wandoo forest - in springtime, you’ll find beautiful waterfalls with wildflower displays to boot. The trail follows Jane Brook down the alley, before climbing up the valley wall for a gorgeous panoramic vista. It then weaves up and down valleys, creek lines and hills before heading back to the Brook. There’s lots of perfect picnic spots along the way, including the undulating Hovea Falls.
Along the way, you’ll also find the fascinating Swan View Tunnel, the only historical railway tunnel in WA. Dating back to 1895, and operating into the 1960s, the tunnel was closed for several decades before reopening as a heritage landmark. The tunnel was a "significant technical feat for the time" according to Engineers Australia, and was also noteworthy for enabling “major commercial and social development by opening up the Jane Brook valley for timber-cutting, quarrying and farming, the development of associated communities and towns” as well as providing the public access to the National Park itself (the first national park in WA, and the second nationwide). However, the tunnel has also been mired by tragedy, with numerous dangerous and even fatal incidents; there’s rumours of the tunnel being haunted, and it certainly has an eerie feel to it! It’s certainly a fascinating part of WA’s history, and well worth a visit (although maybe not on Friday 13th).
If you’re finding yourself hungry after your hike, head to the Parkerville Tavern, where you’ll find very tasty pub fare in a beautifully restored heritage building dating way back to 1902. You can also soothe away your tiredness at the Hills Healing Retreat, a sanctuary to restore your mind, body and spirit. The retreat offers kinesiology, floatation, massages, facials and more, in a gorgeous private bush setting. Or for history buffs enjoying all the heritage vibes, head to Kalamunda History Village and Stirk Cottage for more fascinating insight into the way we were; lastly, the Zig Zag Gallery is a perfectly lovely Perth Hills gallery with interesting exhibitions to enjoy.
Ellis Brook Valley
Located about half an hour from Perth City, Ellis Brook Valley is home to hundreds of species of birds and flowering plants, making it a great spot for birdwatchers and budding botanists alike. There's four walking trails varying from easy to difficult (including one wheelchair-accessible loop), passing through woodlands, heathland, thickets, waterfalls and scenic lookouts. You may even spot an echidna! Of particular interest is the old Barrington Quarry, where old workings provide a window into the area's geology. It’s not an easy walk, and is better for semi-experienced walkers, but if you’re up to it, it’s a top spot: the quarry is particularly distinctive for its year-round blueish green water which is very Instagrammable, especially during the cooler months when the waterfall flows from above into the quarry.
It’s worth noting that there’s no drinking water supply in the valley, so come prepared - especially on a hot summer day. While you’re in the area, pop into the fairytale-like Araluen Botanic Park, located within 59 hectares of native Australian bushland. The developed gardens cover 14 hectares within various precincts, each featuring various exotic plant species that flourish in the cool micro climate of the Roleystone Perth Hills. If you’re visiting with the kids, don’t miss their school holiday activities; and when you’re ready for some R&R and something to nosh, head to the Chalet Healy log cabin tearooms and have a BBQ onsite. Or head to the Naked Apple Cider House for something tasty and a tipple.
This calm, family-friendly natural rock pool just north of Trigg Beach is protected by a surrounding reef and teeming with marine life. It can get a bit wild in winter, but in summer it’s a popular spot for reef snorkeling & swimming, including for beginners; if you’re exploring Perth with kids it’s well worth a visit. Beyond the shelter of the rock pool, there’s so much more to explore of the protected Marmion Marine Park, so it’s a great place to start a day’s underwater adventure.
While you’re in Trigg, don’t miss the fun in the sun of Trigg Beach, the Mediterranean-inspired coastal dining of Island Market, and the sustainability-focused morning market Summer X Salt Markets (arrive early for free yoga & meditation sessions!)
This easy walk boasts gorgeous native vegetation, plenty of birdlife and a lovely playground. Starting at the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary and Riverside Gardens, you can continue through the 1km Baigup Wetlands walk, and then to Bath Street Reserve and the fascinating heritage site and tearooms at Peninsula Farm. Next, saunter over to the well-preserved old Maylands Brickworks site, and the gorgeous Tranby Reserve with its quaint covered gazebo. After you’re done with your relaxing walk, head to the main strip of Maylands (Eight Avenue) for some boutique shopping and delicious cafe fare.
Yanchep & Two Rocks
This favourite playground of northern suburbs residents is often overlooked by city dwellers and SOR residents alike, but they’re really well worth a visit! Yanchep is home to the gorgeous Yanchep Lagoon, a popular beach for swimming and snorkelling. You’ll also find the blissful Yanchep Lavender Farm and gift shop. When the lavender is blooming from mid-Jan to February, it really does look almost like the fields of Provence! Don’t miss Yanchep National Park, where you’ll find beautiful walking trails, picnic & BBQ spots, and notably Perth’s only tourist cave, Crystal Cave, named for its stunning crystalline geographical formations. Lastly, challenge yourself at Trees Adventure - Yanchep National Park, Perth's newest tree ropes and zipline experience, perfect for adventurers of all ages.
In Two Rocks, you’ll find a truly quirky sight: the abandoned remains of Atlantis Marine Park randomly dotting this quiet suburb in quite an unexpected fashion; it’s been almost completely reclaimed by nature, making for some very interesting happenings-upon as you wander around finding everything from King Neptune to Charlie Chaplin.
Well, that's a wrap! We hope we've inspired you to explore our incredible backyard. And with the summer holidays upon us, we've found plenty of offers to help you Stay and Play in Perth this summer; click here to find out more.