AQWA is right next to Hillarys Boat Harbour. You pay a couple of bucks to get in and then you can walk through the place and look at all the marine life. Most of the exhibits are fish tanks with fish found along the coast of WA. The best part for me is the underwater tunnel. This tunnel has a motorized floor and while you stand on it, it takes you through the tunnel underneath the aquarium from where you can see the sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and other fish, some one also mentioned to me that you can dive with the sharks in this tank. They also have a gift shop there where you can buy a souvenir or you can sit in the cafe next door and enjoy a snack.
Rockingham is a small town just South of Perth. Its situated next to the ocean and it forms a big bay which makes it a popular place for swimming, boating and fishing. Most people visit Rockingham over the weekends and spend their time along the strip of beach where they’ve created a park with lots of trees and grass and a couple of shops on the other side.
We would normally just spend the day swimming and lounging around in the shade while we’re enjoying an ice-cream. They have a couple of barbecues out there as well, but you should go early as its very popular.
A bit further south there’s also the famous Point Peron. This is a rocky point that is formed out towards the sea. And is a really good snorkeling and fishing spot . I’ve walked the trails amongst the sand dunes which was quite a challenge with all the up and downhills. I don’t think that this side of the beach is a dog friendly area, so if you want to take your pets for a walk I would recommend the dog beach just as you come into Rockingham. I like this little town…and who knows, maybe one day I will retire there.
If you like going on a road trip then the Swan Valley is the perfect place to go and just 25 minutes from the city.
Along the 40km stretch of Swan Valley you will find a lot off wineries, breweries, restaurants, accommodation and other little shops and so on. So make sure that you have a designated driver because with all the wine tasting along the road, things might get a bit out of hand!
There’s also plenty of tours that you can take to explore the valley, but the best one would probably be the Captain Cook Wine Cruise. They have a big ferry which travels up the Swan river and stops at a couple of wineries, so you don’t need to drive, just sit back enjoy the scenery while they serve you lunch.
Here is a few other places that you might want to visit while you are there:
- Margret River Chocolate Company
- Mondo Nougat Factory
- The Maze
- Elmar’s in the Valley
- Feral Brewing Company
Adventure world is about 3km from the kwinana freeway in Bibra lake. Its not open whole year round, only during the summer times (September to April) and this is probably because no one likes to swim in the winter when its cold.
Its basically a theme park with lots of rides and swimming pools and slides and so on. There’s also a couple of places to buy food from. It can get really busy and sometimes you have to wait in a line to get onto a ride or slide.
Just be careful not to leave any valuables in your car while you are there. They broke into my friends UTE and stole his toolboxes outside in the parking area, but I guess this can happen anywhere. They have lockers inside that you can rent to put all your belongings in while you’re swimming. A good thing is that you can catch the train down to Cockburn station and they will pick you up with a shuttle bus from there.
Rottnest Island must be my favorite place to go. If you don’t have your own boat then you will have to make a booking with one of the ferries, I think there’s a couple to choose from like the one at Hillarys Boat Harbour, Fremantle and I think there might be one departing from the Bell tower near the Esplanade. I prefer the Fremantle one because its the closest to Rottnest and saves you about 15min traveling with the boat. I would also recommend that you hire a bicycle from the same company so that you can travel around the Island. We normally don’t sleep over, but I have seen the accommodation on the Island, its not bad. There’s also a small shop on the Island and a couple of restaurants.
The Island is quite big, they have a bus that comes around every now and then so you can hop on the bus and travel to the different beaches on the Island. If you have a bicycle, be prepared to cycle at least 15km and even though the place looks flat, there’s a lot of hills and dips. I haven’t fished there before, but I snorkeled a bit and there’s plenty of fish to see. I can recommend one of the beaches called little salmon bay. When we were there I saw a school of Salmon there, perhaps 30 or more. I even saw some crayfish there while snorkeling.
Remember to get a map of the island before you go. They normally indicate on the maps where the fishing, surfing, snorkeling, picnic spots and so on are.
Hillarys boat harbour is located in the North, about 20km from the Perth CBD. This place has a bit of everything like shops, restaurants, boating pens and even a small beach to swim. There’s lots of stuff to do for kids, they have a huge obstacle course with trampolines and water slides and there’s also some mini rides. Right next door is the AQWA (Aquarium of Western Australia) which I will also cover in another post. You will have to check it out, there’s to much stuff to mention.
Penguin Island is just off the Rockingham beach. The great thing about his Island is that its so close to the main land that you can walk through the water. There’s a shallow sandbank that stretches all the way to the island, so most people just walk over there. If you don’t want to risk the chance of being stranded with high tide then you can take the ferry across. There’s also a couple of boat cruises/tours that you can book from the shop near the jetty. Once you’re on the Island there are plenty of fun stuff to do like swimming, snorkeling, fishing, surfing or having a picnic, but choose a good day, it can get a bit windy out there.
When I just arrived in Perth we went to the Fremantle prison. Walking through the prison and hearing all the stories was really scary. We went on the last tour of the evening, about 10pm. They gave each of us a small torch. I think the tour guide made us extra nervous because the place was already deserted by then. They take you through the whole prison and tell you stories about what happened there. They also have a tour where you row in a boat in the channels under the prison, but I haven’t done that one yet.
The Maritime Museum in Fremantle is a big tourist attraction in Perth. People flock there to see the submarine, which is really good, they have excellent guides that take you through the sub. You can also spend a hour or two in the museum itself where they have plenty exhibitions/galleries about the Indian ocean, Fremantle and the Swan river, hooked on fishing, cargoes and Naval defense. They also have a couple of small boats and yachts hanging from the roof. If you are interested in more maritime history be sure to check out the shipwreck galleries around the corner in Cliff street, Fremantle.
The Perth Motorplex is a racing venue about 30km south of the Perth CBD, just off the Kwinana freeway. And its a great place to go, not only on weekends, but also during week nights. I have been there for numerous events among them where car sound competitions, drag racing, burnouts, monster trucks and the sprint cars racing at the speedway. Make sure to check out their website for times and prices.
Marmion Marine Park is a 4km stretch of sea between Trig Island and Burns Beach, about 30km from the Perth CBD. Marmion Marine park is famous for its great snorkeling spots along the beach. There are several reefs for diving as well. There are heaps of different fish species to see and even the odd bottlenose dolphin, Sea Lion and sea turtles have made their appearance.
Humpback whales have also been seen migrating past here, usually between September and November.
There are a couple of small sandy beaches among the rocks which are perfect for cooling off. I’ve also caught a couple of fish from the rocks before and seen a big school of salmon there while snorkeling.
Kings Park is on the hill, next to the Perth CBD. Its a huge park with lots of grass and trees. Its a great picnic spot and a good place to sit when there’s fireworks down at the esplanade, I don’t know if there’s any place in Perth with a better view that this.
I’ve seen a restaurant there as well, but you can also make use of their barbecue facilities. I should also mention that they have this bridge where you can walk over, I think its called the Federation Walkway. The bridge is really high and takes you above the tree canopy.
Caversham Wildlife Park is located about 15km from Perth in Whiteman Park near the Swan Valley. After we went to the Perth Zoo, we went to Caversham Wildlife Park and I must say that its very impressing.
You can put a whole day aside to go to Caversham and Whiteman park and I suggest to go early because its quite popular and on a good day you might have to circle a couple of times before you find a parking bay. There is a big park with grass just outside the entrance to Caversham where most people sit down to have a picnic and let the kids play on the JungleJim. There’s also a small kids pool and a train that drives through Whitman Park.
Caversham is made up of a number of enclosures where you can walk through and look at the animals, but the highlight would be the kangaroo enclosure. This is a big enclosure where you can touch and feed the kangaroos and there are plenty of them in there, perhaps a 100 or so. You can also touch the koalas in another enclosure next door or take your photo with a wombat.
Yanchep National park, located 55km North of Perth is a pretty good place to go for a picnic with the family. Or even if you just want to get away and have a walk through the bush trails. I went there with my family and we spent a whole day there. They have a big lake in the middle of the park with nice green grass and plenty of trees to sit under. They also have a rather big enclosure with a couple of koalas in. The most exciting part for me would probably be the caves. We took a drive trough the park and came across a cave, its not like a normal cave where you can just walk in. It had a small opening in the ground through which you go with a flight of stairs. The cave was much bigger than I thought and I was really impressed with it. They even had a pathway inside with some lights. Just remember to make a booking for this at the tourist center, it cost a few of dollars per person because there’s a tour guide who goes with you. I also saw a couple of small row boats on the lake and a golf course…which we did not try out.