What to do in Perth Without Wheels (and on a budget): 5 Self guided day trips without wheels
If you Google ‘things to do in Perth’ there will be a million tour operators trying to sell you car hire or a trip to somewhere nearby for $200. Don’t let them fool you. With the Transperth App on your phone, a packed lunch and a bit of research you can have a fabulous day trip using neither car nor stacks of money. Try out your adventurous spirit with any of these five ideas, and you’re guaranteed to have a magical day.
See the Smallest Penguins in the World on Penguin Island: by train and ferry
Yep. You read correctly. THE SMALLEST penguins in the whole WORLD. Cute. And, they all just happen to live happily together on ‘Penguin Island’, a nature reserve just near Perth. The island is home to all kinds of birds and creatures, not just the penguins. At certain times of the year, you can see dolphins, whales and nesting pelicans. There are places to picnic, swim and snorkel and you can see the cute, tiny penguins up close at the Discovery Centre.
Take the Mandurah Line train from Perth Central and get off at Rockingham Station. Walk down to the Discovery Centre and get on one of the hourly ferries from there. The boat trip itself only takes 5 minutes. See here for pricing and timetables.
Wine Tasting in the Swan Valley and Historical Guildford: by train and bike
The Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail is easily accessible by train and can be done by bicycle or by car. This delightful trail features more than 150 different destinations including wineries, breweries, distilleries, galleries, cafes and restaurants. You can cycle and sip for hours, popping off at whatever takes your fancy. See here for a comprehensive map of the trail.
If you decide to do the Food and Wine Trail, then this is your chance to explore historic Guildford too, which is where the trail begins. The town was first established in 1829 and features some beautiful 19th-century architecture including the Gothic Revival St Matthews church and Taylor’s Cottage. For those of you who like to stumble across strange sights or stuffed animals, you can also visit the local Academy of Taxidermy.
To get on to the trail, you need to take your bicycle on the Midland Line train from Perth Central and get out at Guildford Station.
Beachside Getaway on Rottnest Island: by ferry
The beautiful Rottnest Island presents a chance to escape the city without having to go too far. The ferry ride is short and a beautiful way to travel. Best of all, with the accommodation options available you can easily decide to stay a night or two if you want to extend your day trip into a weekend.
And, why not? With 63 stunning beaches, great snorkelling and walking trails, the island is a paradise of natural beauty for you to enjoy. If you like a fancy meal or just have to have your morning coffee or you’ll kill someone, you can pop into Ristos Waterfront Restaurant, The Lane Café, or any of the other eateries around.
For some more unusual entertainments, there’s the Aqua Park and all its inflatable things to play with or sky-diving. Or, if you’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones and need to channel your inner mediaeval warrior, maybe it’s time to try ‘Archery-tag’. It’s located right next to the ‘newly renovated burial ground’, which we hope doesn’t contain any Archery-tag victims.
You can get there via the ferry from Perth City. Two operators are running daily services. Contact details for timetables and tickets can be found here, on the Rottnest Island website.
Explore Contemporary Art, Culture and History in Fremantle: by train
For those of you who feel like wearing all black and discussing the Bauhaus, a lot is going on in Fremantle, and it’s only one train ride away. Located in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building is the Fremantle Arts Centre, constructed by convicts in 1860 and set in extensive gardens. The Centre has a busy program of exhibitions, residencies, events and music.
The Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery is in Fremantle’s historic west end. This gallery is subsidised by the council and is intended to provide a space for experimental art and emerging artists. The gallery has six different exhibition spaces with shows on rotation, so you can come back regularly to see what’s on. Or, if you want to learn more about local aboriginal cultures, why not visit the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre nearby. Just be sure to check their program schedule before you arrive.
You can get to Fremantle simply by jumping on a train from Perth Central to Fremantle Station, which is the last stop on the Fremantle line.
Ride the Sunset Coast: by train and bike
If you’re a keen cyclist or you’ve hired a bike and want to go somewhere nice, why not get a train a little way out of the city and ride along the coast? You can have a beautiful day stopping for a swim, some lunch or a beer along the way. The whole Sunset Coast Bicycle Trail runs along the coastline from the suburb of Munster to Burns Beach and is accessible at different points by train. The section from Marmion to Burns Beach is an easy 14km; you can take a leisurely day to explore it. See the map and details here, on the TrailsWA website.
To get on the trail, take your bike on the Clarkson Line train to Warwick station, and cycle to the coast from there. When you reach the end of the trail at Burns Beach, you can cycle to nearby Currambine Station to get back to Perth by train.
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