If you love driving miles and miles on a straight road, vast lands, with cloudless blue skies above you, then you will love this trip to Perth. It was a impromptu trip, born out of an after-work ranting session, with the sudden urge to just go somewhere. I had casually mentioned Perth, and since F has never been to Down Under before, it was an easy decision! So we bought checked our favourite skyscanner, bought the tickets, booked a car and our airbnb, and off we went! We had almost four full days in Perth, which was more than enough for us to do a bit of sightseeing, wine-tasting, shopping, and chillaxing!
What to do?
- Visit the mystifying ancient desert landscape at The Pinnacles
We spent one day driving 170km up the Indian Ocean Drive to The Pinnacles and back. It was a really beautiful drive – straight roads, miles and miles of unobstructed views, and clear summer skies. We drove into some of the seaside towns (Yanchep, Seabird, Lancelin) in search for food / coffee, but were disappointed to only find Fish & Chips kiosks or small convenience stores. Guess they don’t really have a huge population to serve. The Pinnacles, though, was really worth the drive up! It’s such a beautiful and strange place – a dessert amidst the shrubbery. As you can imagine, it was also BLAZING HOT at friggin 36 degrees celsius out there. (Now I know why people actually die when they get lost in the outback!) If you have your own car, you can actually drive through the 4km driving trail across the park – we didn’t because we couldn’t drive the rental car on the unsealed road, so we used the walking trails instead. There is also a sand dune at Lancelin where you can do sandboarding but we gave that a miss – it sounded really painful to be scrapping my ass or knees on the scorching hot sand!
- Wine-tasting at Swan Valley
Another day was spent driving around Swan Valley, where there is a 32km food and wine trail leading to various vineyards, restaurants and shops selling various local produce from chocolates to nougats to honey. With the iconic purple jacaranda trees in full bloom, and the vineyards stretching for miles, it was a really scenic drive. If you are driving, you can choose to spit out your wine at the wine tasting rather than drink it. In fact, that’s the real way of wine tasting, but isn’t it better if you can actually drink it? Haha.
- Taking it easy in Perth & Fremantle
For a long weekend trip, save yourself the hassle and time from traveling up and down and take it easy in Perth and Fremantle. We made the mandatory instagram stop at The Blue Boathouse (aka Crawley Boat Shed), to take pictures. Surprisingly, there wasn’t really a crowd. We also checked out the Twilight Hawkers Market at Forrest Place, a weekly street food market (only on Fridays) featuring cuisine from all around the world from Argentinean BBQ to Japanese okonomiyaki to Morrocan spiced beef with cous cous. We also spent a lot of time just hanging around Fremantle Market, checking out the stalls inside as well as the restaurants and bars in the area. We went to the boardwalk and did the whole touristy thing of having Fish & Chips and chili mussels at Cicerello’s (map) while fending off seagulls. We thought about riding on the Ferris Wheel but was put off by the $12 fee, so we just walked around the area, enjoying the breezy weather.
In all, it was a relaxing trip. We could have packed it with more sightseeing, but we decided to just kick back, chill in a cafe with our beer and people watch. We drove around a lot just to check out the city and the local folks. We also did a lot of shopping, stocking up our Aesops collection. If there was one thing I had wanted to do, it would be to check out Rottnest Island. Perhaps next time, after I’ve saved up a bit more money for that exorbitant ferry ticket!
How long to stay?
It was a long weekend trip. We stayed about 4 days in all. With the affordable budget flight tickets and the relatively short flights (only 4hours from SG!), I must say it’s quite a viable option for long weekends! More flight promos, please!
- Arrive in Perth international airport in the morning (Get equipped with your rental car and data SIM card at the airport. There’s a few telco to choose from but we ended up with Vodafone for the 5gb pocket WIFI router that connects up to 5 devices at AUD40. )
- 32km Food & Wine Trail at Swan Valley (link). Places recommended by Swan Valley visitor centre includes:
- Houghton’s vineyard – a rather atas vineyard but with a supposedly affordable restaurant
- Ugly duckling – for a quaint and quiet place
- Margaret River Chocolate Factory – for lots of yummy chocolate products
- House of Honey – for all sorts of honey products – from mead to cosmetics
- Mondo Nougat & Morish Nuts
- Houghtons Winery – a beautiful compound with lots of jacaranda trees
- Caversham Wildlife Park – for those who love to see some local animals such as the kangaroos!
- Drive up north to The Pinnacles (about 200km from Perth)
- Suggested pit stops:
- Yanchep National Park to see the koalas and wild kangaroos (the kangaroos appear in the dawn / dusk when the weather is cooler)
- Lincelin Sand Dunes for some sand boarding if you are not deterred by the heat
- Lobsters at Cervantes
- Perth City – Blue Boathouse, King’s Park (if the season is right, you can see the flowers in full bloom.)
- Visit Fremantle Market and surrounds –
- Check out Fremantle Market for fresh produce and local handmade products, from soap to handicraft
- Have a meal or a drink at one of the many restaurants, bars and cafes and people-watch (Try Little Creatures Brewing!)
- Visit one of the beautiful beaches / coastal area to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Ocean
- Dinner at Elizabeth Quay’s Twilight Hawker Market (only on Fridays)