Perth's autumn scenery is truly breathtaking!
As we enter the cooler months, you'll find all sorts of changes to the landscape: red flowering gums, sand bottlebrush, yellow autumn lilies and banksias in bloom, gushing waterfalls and refreshingly cool days. It’s the perfect time to rug up, get out that picnic basket, gather your best buds, and experience all that’s magical about our very special corner of the world.
The tranquil Murray River flows in from the Peel Inlet and meanders 134km into the Peel Region, past quaint towns and unspoiled forest - it's the heart of the Murray and Waroona region, and a favourite getaway spot for many a Perth family. There's something truly soothing about being on and around the Murray, and you can experience that in many ways - boating (including houseboating!), canoeing, bushwalking, fishing and much more.
A great place to start is Pinjarra, with its gorgeous Heritage Walk, tasty fare and heritage streetscape. Get a wholesome breakie at quirky artisanal cafe Jarra Infusion, explore the Edenvale Heritage Precinct, and enjoy a magical stroll around the river - it's a perfect way to spend a few calm hours. In Waroona, you can check out Mooriel the Cow's latest fashion choices; enjoy a bushwalk or birdwalk at the Drakesbook Weir or Lake Navarino, and be humbled by the Southern Hemisphere's largest thrombolite at Lake Clifton, where you can see what life was like when the earth first began.
To really make the most of life on the Murray River, you won't want to miss Mandurah Cruises' half-day Murray River Lunch Cruise, as you explore Mandurah's picturesque waterways and the Peel Inlet, by cruising down the serene, winding Murray River and taking in an array of flora and fauna, listening to magical birdsong, and enjoying a delicious lunch on-board. Perfect for your self-care day, or maybe even a romantic trip for two!'
Nestled in deep forest and rich with native wildlife and birdlife - there's something truly magical about Dwellingup that's hard to explain until you've been there, but anyone who has will rave about it! Dwellingup is particularly beloved for its hiking and biking trails, and you can find plenty of great info on these at the Dwellingup Trails and Visitors Centre.
The centre is quite a tourist attraction in itself, too, with state-of-the-art tech, VR experiences, and the iconic, fully restored 1938 Mack Truck fire tender. There's also the Hotham Valley Tourist Railway in its backyard, which is a must-do in itself: an opportunity to travel back in time on a restored vintage train as you venture deep into the forest. Their restaurant train has just reopened, complete with 1919 Vintage Dining Car and 1884 Club Car: truly a dining experience from days gone by!
There's so many trails that you’ll want to spend more than a day here. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, from camping in the bush (check the weather first!) and modest cabins, to luxe life. A particularly magical place to stay is the Dwellingup Retreat, a newly renovated heritage home and a great forest escape.
This magical little spot in the Perth Hills near Kalamunda is a hidden treasure beloved by folks in-the-know! It's also a particularly splendid place to view colourful autumn leaves. The town is really special this time of year, and particularly buzzing during the upcoming Bickley Harvest Festival on the 1st and 2nd of May, with plenty of special (and family-friendly!) happenings across 19 venues - many of which you'll find on the Bickley Valley Wine Trail (for example, the iconic Core Cider House, Tonon Vineyard & Winery and the The Packing Shed @ Lawnbrook).
As you can imagine, the walking trails in the Bickley Valley are seriously magical too! The nature-loving folks at Off the Beaten Track WA do a very special Bickley Valley Hike Wine Dine experience; you'll be totally immersed in the valley as you hike with likeminded people from Bickley Reservoir to Victoria Reservoir, past babbling brooks, through gorgeous wandoo woodlands and over granite outcrops before enjoying a two course modern Australian lunch and wine tasting.
More magical forests! The Serpentine National Park is a great place to visit and includes Serpentine Falls with its cool, emerald-coloured waters. Jarrahdale, the local town, is named aptly after the Jarrah forest that surrounds it. The town is full of art and history, as well as delish pub fare and locally produced wine which you can sample at a number of wineries just outside of town such as Millbrook Winery. Serpentine-Jarrahdale is a perfect spot for nature lovers, with its forests, parks, rivers and natural attractions: some of our faves include the Heritage Trail & Railway Trail and the Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail. The nearby Millbrook Winery, is especially beautiful this time of year, with its stunning vistas of the rolling landscape. You enjoy wine tasting at the cellar door, lunch in their restaurant, or find your own picnic spot by the lake.
Chittering and Toodyay
The tranquil town of Chittering is only a half-hour drive from Perth''s northern suburbs, but it feels like a completely different place! You'll find delish food on both the Chittering Farm Flavour Trail and Eat, Pick, Grow Trail, gorgeous orchards and farms, fantastic wine and beautiful landscapes.
Chittering is home to the quaint townships of Bindoon, Muchea and Wannamal. It's the perfect day-trip or short break destination with a number of accommodation options that include farm stays, B&Bs and guest houses. You'll find farmgate experiences, unspoiled bushland and wetlands, and seriously stunning scenery. We love the artisan cheese tastings at Local Goat, the award-winning Bindoon Bakehouse, and the pure, unprocessed bush honey at Little Eeden Farm Apiary. You can also get to know a wide range of native plants at the Muchea Tree Farm - the autumn blooms are truly spectacular!
About 40 minutes drive south-east of Chittering, the picturesque town of Toodyay is also well worth a visit for its walking trails and Toodyay Food and Picnic Trail; you'll find seasonal produce for your picnic basket, and meet growers and producers of dates, olive oil, wine, breads, pastured meats and more. There's also nature reserves, unspoiled bushland and riverside areas that are perfect for getting your autumn scenery fix.
Fremantle and Rottnest Island
Fremantle's heritage architecture is pretty magical in itself, and makes a great backdrop for your Insta feed; a stroll around Bather's Beach and the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour to enjoy the cool ocean breeze really feeds the soul. You also won't want to miss the gorgeously colourful Aboriginal rock art. From Fremantle, you can take a ferry to Rottnest Island, which is blissfully quiet during the cooler months, so the flora and fauna are relatively undisturbed and you can beat the heat and crowds. We particularly love the Wadjemup Bidi walking trail, which you can enjoy by yourself or join a guided tour with the Hike Collective.
Just off the shore of Shoalwater Bay in Rockingham, you'll find Penguin Island, home to a colony of fairy penguins. There's also gorgeous autumnal scenery on the Penguin Island Boardwalk Trail. The 1.7km loop trail starts at the Penguin Experience Island Discovery Centre, and takes you past close encounters with birdlife and flora galore. There's 75 plant species here in total providing habitats for many species of birds, like Caspian terns, Australian pelicans, singing honeyeaters and more. There's also the occasional Australian sea lion visiting from nearby Seal Island, and 5 species of reptiles to keep your eyes out for!
The Swan River is the heart of Perth City, an aquatic playground and place of respite and joy for many generations. Some particularly magical spots in autumn include the scenic Matilda Bay, the Baigup Wetlands and Peninsula Farm in Maylands, and the Bells Rapids walking trail in the Swan Valley.
And for a truly memorable way of experiencing the Swan River in a different light, join GoGo Active Tours as you paddle slowly from East Fremantle to Bicton. These tours allow you to investigate the magnificent limestone formations of the Blackwall Reach cliffs (towering 8 metres above you), see the interesting boats and houses overlooking the river on Bicton Bay, and chill out below the cliffs on your kayak - all while enjoying the serenity before paddling back to your launch spot. It's perfect even for those who’ve never paddled before, and comes complete with a safety briefing and how-to-paddle demonstration.
Mettam's Pool and Bailey's Beach
Head north to Trigg for two very special adjacent snorkeling spots - Mettam's Pool and Bailey's Beach. Mettam's Pool is renowned among locals as a great spot for snorkelling, and it's calm conditions make it perfect for beginners and kids too. It’s a teeny cove with a reef, making it a great snorkelling spot in calm conditions. Bailey's Beach is a beautiful, yet smallish beach that's similarly calm, but a bit quieter than Mettam's Pool - meaning you can enjoy having this usually secluded mini-beach all to yourself!
From autumn leaves to red flowering gums, bird habitats to riverside wetlands, there're so many magical and natural spots to enjoy autumn in Perth, and plenty of tasty fare and fun things to do along the way. Enjoy your autumn travels as you explore our amazing city!