With the temperature rising and the water beckoning, and end of year holidays almost upon us, it’s that time of year again we all start asking ‘ what should we do this weekend’. Or if you’re one of the lucky ones who has a couple of weeks off over Christmas – making the most of your annual leave and going on mid week adventures is highly recommended.
December and January are the perfect months to escape the hustle and bustle of Perth and head out of town for a mini break . We’ve put together four of our favourite days out within a couple of hours of Perth.
No annual leave to book, no long distances to travel, no need to plan weeks in advance. Grab your mates and get going!
Beers, BBQs, boating and infinity pools in Mandurah
If you’ve ever been torn between wanting to relax on a boat or have a barbie, now you can do both. Start your day by hiring a sweet, bright orange donut boat at ECO BBQ Boats. Choose a six- or ten-seater, byo food and booze, and one designated driver, er, captain, to sail you around safely. Your skipper doesn’t need a boat licence, but mustn’t consume alcohol. Cruise around the canals and nearby parklands, fire up the barbie, pipe in your own music through the Bluetooth sound system, kick back and enjoy the views.
To give your captain a break – and a chance for an adult beverage – stop in to Catch 22 for post-boating drinks, and lunch if you’re still peckish. There’s a range of cafes and restaurants to choose from along Dolphin Quay.
Before you hit the road back to Perth, pop into the awesome hole-in-the-wall DPM café for your caffeine fix, breakky bagel or raw treat. If you’re feeling naughty, grab one of their ridiculous Golden Gaytime donuts while you’re there (calories consumed on roadtrips don’t count!).
Adventure with the Penguins @ Penguin Island
If you want to head ‘overseas’ without spending the time or dollars, get up close and personal with some marine critters on and around stunning Penguin Island.
Forty-five minutes from Perth – and a five-minute ferry ride – you’ll find the rocky, rugged island surrounded by sparkling turquoise and soft, biscuit-coloured sand. Get up close and personal with some of the 1,200 penguins that call the island home.
You can wander around the island via boardwalk trails, stop for a swim or a snorkel, then enjoy a late afternoon picnic with killer views as the red sun sinks into blue.
Feeling adventurous and wanna learn yourself a few things? Because it’s part of the surrounding Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, you can book a wildlife cruise where you’ll see wild dolphins and rare (giant) sea lions. You can also take a sea kayaking tour, get SUPing or go kiteboarding.
For the photographers and adventurers, there’s plenty of talent to explore and snap – rugged cliffs, sea caves, natural bridges and wave-cut platforms.
Make sure you grab some supplies from the ‘mainland’ or pack a picnic as there are no food/bev facilities on the island – it’s pristine and chilled like that. And of course, leave it how you found it and take your rubbish with you as there are no bins on the island. Oh, and don’t forget to check the ferry times, so you can get back home.
Swim, camp and relax @ LakeLeschenaultia
Also just 45 minutes’ drive from Perth, you’ll find Lake Leschenaultia, a gorgeous former dam, now a recreational lake.
Pack the mother of all picnics, some robust walking shoes (if you’re into serious bushwalking), your mountain bike, the dodgy cricket set you forgot you had and your bathers. Oh, and for the closet ornithologists among you, there’s some serious birdwatching to be done.
Swim, picnic, challenge your mates to a canoe race, kick the footy, hit the trails or just crack open some coldies and chill.
If you can’t be bothered packing a picnic, you can pre-order a platter or grab a bite at Reflections café.
And, if one day is not quite enough and you really want to soak up that great outdoors feeling, camp for the night – or weekend.
*Unfortunately, you can’t take your four-legged friends on this adventure.
Underground and underwater at Yanchep National Park and Lagoon
If you like your terrain diverse, prepare to be wowed just fifty kms north of Perth’s CBD at Yanchep. Think sand dunes, walking trails, lakes, (more than 600) caves and a gorgeous blue lagoon and reef.
For a bit of home-grown paradise, Yanchep Lagoon has your classic, white-sand beach and crystal clear water – and a reef for snorkeling. For the fisherfolk, there’s plenty of places to drop your line, and, when permitted, abalone fishing.
Take a casual stroll or a more serious bushwalk at Yanchep National Park, choosing from its healthy menu of the nine bushwalks, or prove you know your stalactites from your stalagmites at the Crystal Cave. If that gets you thirsty, take a break in the beer garden.
If you prefer your meal pre-cooked, you can grab a bite at Full Flava Café, or head a little further north (10k) for a late lunch or early dinner, while you watch the sun go down at Pickled Herring. Fish and chips from their take-away menu might just be the perfect end to a cracking day.
Can’t you just smell the salty air, feel the sand between your toes and the crunch of twigs in the bush?
So there you have it. The next time you find yourself on a Saturday morning, hangover-free – w’hoo! – grab a coffee, hit the road, and head off on an adventure
Check out other experiences and events coming up in Perth here.
Did you know you can sign up to get Perth Uncommon member benefits for free? Click here to become a member.