Places to see in Western Australia

Perth

This page has been accessed times since 15 December 1996.

The City of Perth is located in a bend in the Swan River 12 miles (19 KM) upstream from the Indian Ocean. Perth offers many attractions within close proximity to the city, including the magnificent Swan and Canning Rivers, Kings Park, Burswood Resort Casino, and some of the best beaches in the world.

The city overlooks Perth Water, a wide section of the Swan River bounded by the Causeway and Narrows bridges popular for the surf cat hire services which operate for about eight months of the year from the South Perth foreshore opposite. Regular ferry services operate from the Barrack Street Jetty to South Perth, the Perth Zoo, and Rottnest Island. River cruises visiting the Swan Valley wine region upstream are very popular.

Perth is one of few cities in the world which have a free City Clipper bus service, and in addition all travel on all Transperth buses between the Causeway and Kings Park is free, which makes moving around in the Perth City area very easy.

Downstream of the Narrows Bridge lies Melville Water, the major venue for river sailing, events. The Canning River joins the Swan at this point. There are a number of yacht clubs on Melville Water, the most famous being Royal Perth Yacht Club, which won the coveted America's Cup from the New York Yacht Club.

Parasailing operates from the foreshore near the Old Mill for the more adventurous. The Swan River offers excellent fishing over much of it's length, with black bream, cobbler, tailor and mulloway the prominent species. Prawns and crabs are also found in large numbers in season.

To the west and overlooking the city centre lies Kings Park, 950 acres (403 hectares) of botanic garden and natural bushland with spectacular views of the city and the Swan River. Features of the park include the State War Memorial, Floral Clock, miles of walking trails through the natural bush, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There are many picnic and barbecue sites located throughout the park, as well as a restaurant and several food kiosks. A number of ornamental lakes in the park are very popular as venues for wedding photographs.

Ornamental Lake in Kings Park
Perth has some of the best beaches in the world for swimming, surfing and fishing, the most popular close to the city probably being Leighton, Cottesloe, City, Swanbourne, Swanny (the nude beach north of Swanbourne), Scarborough and Triggs. Note that these are ranked South to North, not in preference order, as I love them all. Some are better for one thing than another, particular fishing favourites include the Cottesloe groyne, the Floreat drain (north of Swanbourne), and the Blue Holes at Triggs

Places of Interest near Perth

The places described here are all within an easy "day trip" of the city centre.

To the North

Guilderton

The mouth of the Moore River, closed by sandbar.
Guilderton is situated at the mouth of the Moore River just 59 miles(94 KM) from Perth. This is one of our favourite destinations for long weekends.

The Guilderton Caravan Park is the main accommodation available, with powered and unpowered caravan and tent sites, and four chalets sleeping up to 6.

The Caravan Park is located directly opposite the river mouth and adjacent to a large parking area, picnic/barbecue area, shop and licenced restaurant, and a concrete boat launching ramp into the river.

Please Note that dogs are not permitted on the beach, river foreshore, picnic area or caravan park.

Guilderton is a quiet spot popular with families, many having a tradition over several generations of spending their holidays here.

Popular activities are fishing, both ocean and river, swimming, surfing, sailboarding, boating, canoeing, and sand-boarding on the large sandhill known as the desert. Until recently a sandhill opposite the boat-ramp was popular for sand-boarding, but this has been closed off as part of a dune restoration program.

The river is navigable for many miles upstream, offering a variety of fishing spots. The mouth of the river is closed for much of the time by a sandbar, providing a safe swimming area for small children.

There is also a service station/roadhouse, golf course and country club, trampolines and mini-golf not far from the caravan park.

Lancelin

Lancelin is a commercial crayfishing centre located 80 miles (127 KM) north of Perth and about 20 miles north of Guilderton. The town offers a range of accommodation including 2 caravan parks, a hotel, a holiday village and various cottages and flats.

Sheltered by offshore reefs and two islands, Lancelin has become the mecca for windsurfing, attracting visitors from all over the world because of it's strong winds on calm waters.

Sandhills extending from the edge of town for many miles to the north and east are the venue for dune buggy racing an sandboarding. Off-road enthusiasts (me too) also enjoy pitting their machines against the elements here. A popular run for 4WD enthusiasts is over the sandhills and along the beach to Cervantes, about 74 miles (118 KM) north of Lancelin.

Other popular activities include fishing, swimming, sailing, golf, tennis and lawn bowls.

Cervantes

Cervantes is a small fishing town located 153 miles (245KM) north of Perth and 10 miles north of the Nambung National Park, which boasts as it's prime attraction "The Pinnacles", an extraordinary desert area of about 950 acres (404 hectares) dotted with strange limestone formations carved by wind and rain over a period of 20 or 30 thousand years.

The Pinnacles Desert
The Pinnacles Desert
The Pinnacles Desert as seen by Jack Tempel of Holland on a visit in 1993. Jack must have taken his photo from the exact same spot as I did, but on a sunnier day. To see the similarity between our two photos, take a look at The Double Take.
153 miles may seem a long way for a "day trip", but a number of companies offer day tours to this area using 4 wheel drive vehicles, particularly favouring the locally made "OKA" which carries 13 or more passengers, as well as luxury coaches.

Pinnacle Travel Centre, phone 61 9 221 5411, is one company which runs these tours daily using 13 seat OKAs, departing Perth at 8 AM and visiting Yanchep before going off-road at Lancelin for the bush-bash to the Pinnacles via Wedge Island and Hangover Bay (the lunch stop). A guided tour of the Pinnacles Desert follows lunch, and passengers are then transferred to a luxury coach for the return trip to Perth, with stops enroute to view wildflowers and for afternoon tea.

13 Seater OKA 4 Wheel Drive Tour Bus
Other companies offering similar tours include:
Travelabout 4WD Fun Email travel@crystal.com.au 61 9 244 1200
Redback Tours 61 9 371 1183
4WD Getaway Safari Tours 61 9 359 1100

All offer variations on the above tour, the common ingredients being the beach/dune element from Lancelin to Cervantes in one direction or the other, and the tour of the Pinnacles Desert. Tour operators offer pick up from many locations in the city and Northbridge including hotels and backpackers accommodation (I see them outside Airways Hotel in East Perth most mornings on my way to work).

To the South

The Peel Region

The Peel Region is possibly Perth's most popular day-trip destination, with 47 miles (75 KM) of easily accessible coastline, the Murray and Serpentine Rivers, the Peel Inlet and the Harvey Estuary, extensive forest areas to the East, farmland to the South, and the Perth Metropolitan Area to the North. It is also a very popular holiday destination for Perth residents, particularly in summer.

The Peel Region covers over 2,200 square miles (5,700 square kilometres) between the Darling Scarp and the Indian Ocean and comprises the City of Mandurah and the Shires of Boddington, Murray, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Waroona.

Mandurah

Mandurah, just an hours drive south of Perth, is both an aquatic playground and the gateway to the Peel Region. The nearby Indian Ocean, Peel Inlet and Harvey Estuary, and Murray and Serpentine Rivers make Mandurah the mecca for fishing, crabbing, prawning, boating, sailing and windsurfing.

Accommodation in Mandurah includes top class resorts and motels, holiday flats and units, bed and breakfast, and about a dozen caravan parks. Motorised houseboats of various sizes are also available for hire for those wanting something really different.

Ravenswood

Ravenswood is a small settlement 55 miles (88 KM) South of Perth on the banks of the Murray River between Pinjarra and Mandurah. The Ravenswood Caravan Park and Murray River Resort are located adjacent to the historic Ravenswood Hotel, a popular lunch spot for boating people and the Mandurah Murray River Cruises. Boats can tie up to the jetties within 50 feet of the hotel, and launching ramps are provided also.

Ravenswood is an ideal base from which to explore the Peel Region either by boat or car. The Murrray River is navigable upstream as far as Pinjarra, and downstream all the way to the Indian Ocean via the Peel Inlet.

Crabs can be caught from the shore beside the Caravan Park and Hotel from about January through until May, and recently the fishing has improved also, probably as a result of the flushing of the river through the Dawesville Channel.

Another attraction of the area is the nearby Ravenswood Raceway, the home of Drag Racing in Western Australia.

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For more information on this wonderful state visit the Western Australian Tourism Commission

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