20 BEST WEEKENDERS
ESCAPE & GETTAWAY WEEKENDERS
What a wonderful place here on this planet… the massive coastline of West Australia is full of pristine beaches, natural wonders and great escapes, special spots. What more could you want in a quick weekend trip.
Here are 20 top short break ideas to some of the best of WA.
Just think about soaking up the warn sun with your feet in powder like clean white sand. You can leave Perth early by flight and be in Esperance by mid-morning, sinking your feet into the white sand, or wading in the turquoise waters. An ideal getaway-from-it-all holiday, Esperance offers plenty of opportunities to explore indigenous history, snorkel in Blue Haven Beach, check out art galleries and ancient history, plus a chance to sit down under the stars at Lucky Bay.
MEET A QUOKKA
You’ll be spoilt for choice on the retreat like island of Rottnest. Just a ferry ride away from the mainland, you can choose your slice of paradise from 63 stunning beaches and 20 beautiful bays. Spend a short break exploring the many coral reefs and wrecks on this no-car island or take in some of Australia’s most beautiful swimming and surfing spots. It’s the one place in the world to meet the quokka — a mini marsupial found only in Western Australia. It’s such a beautiful place which takes you back to the basics.
HIKE THE CAPE
Augusta is located right on the tip of Cape Leeuwin, 310km south of Perth, and is the perfect place to watch the waters of the Indian and Southern Ocean meet. Explore long sandy beaches and tall Karri trees or follow the 135km-long Cape to Cape track from Cape Naturalist along the coast and discover one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.
Spend a weekend in the secluded country-style Cape Lodge hotel. Sitting on its own vineyard in the heart of Margaret River wine country and surrounded by stunning forest, Cape Lodge offers 22 rooms and suites only minutes away from the pristine coastline of the Indian Ocean. When it comes to dining, guests are spoilt for choice with classically prepared country fare made with ingredients grown on-site or sourced from local farms and fresh ocean catches. With neighbours like Mosswood, Vasse Felix, Cullen and Pierro, a weekend at Cape Lodge is an experience of the indulgent kind.
Pack up the 4WD for a five-hour road trip to Geraldton. Once there you’ll be spoilt for choice with the coral-fringed Abrolhos Islands, surrounding sand dunes, colourful spring wildflowers, Indigenous and maritime history, and perfect beaches to indulge in water sports. Base yourself in one of the many hotels or self-contained properties, and when evening arrives, explore the foreshore with its lively atmosphere.
Nestled in a scenic forested valley in the Darling Ranges is an adventure playground. Collie is home to white water rafting, water skiing, canoeing, fishing, bushwalking and mountain biking. Two hours from Perth, Collie is a comfortable weekend getaway for the adventure lover. Explore the walking trails and scenic drives that start from Collie and lead through forests of jarrah, marri and blackbutt.
SEA, SAND, FLOWERS
Nature lovers will love spending a weekend in the laid back beachside town of Horrocks on a wildflower country getaway. Just over an hour’s drive north of Geraldton, Horrocks is blessed with sandy beaches, rock pools and reefs, and during spring the town comes alive with a patchwork of colourful flowers making it the quintessential seaside holiday destination for flora and fauna enthusiasts.
STAIRCASE TO THE MOON
Visit Broome between March and October, and you may be treated to a spectacular natural phenomenon. Best seen from Roebuck Bay, this incredible natural event occurs when the full moon rises over exposed mudflats at low tide, creating the illusion of a staircase leading to the moon. Just a two-hour flight from Perth, there is a smorgasbord of accommodation options on offer such as eco retreats, chic resorts and up-market hotels.
Fremantle (or Freo, as it is affectionately called) is considered Perth’s neighbouring Port Town and mixes old with new to create a lively atmosphere with an anything-goes attitude. Spend a weekend in the buzzing markets, sip coffee on Cappucino Strip, visit the lively bars, sample the flavours of casual street cafes and explore the museums and cultural festivals.
MANDURAH SEASIDE MOMENTS
Fifty minutes’ drive south of Perth is the dream destination of Mandurah. With its abundant wildlife, pristine beaches and buzzing foreshore, Mandurah is popular with those who want to leave the big smoke behind and enjoy a seaside holiday. Hire a boat and explore the beautiful waterways or go prawning on the rivers and catch your dinner. Mandurah has waterparks, an adventure playground and a mini train making it an enjoyable destination for families with small children in tow.
Those interested in colonial history will enjoy taking a south coast adventure to Albany — a charming city that marks the spot where European settlers first set foot in Western Australia. Fifty colonial buildings still stand in Albany, and now house museums, galleries and restaurants. Take the 30-minute long self-guided Amity Trail and explore almost two centuries of settler history. Albany is just a 1.5-hour flight from Perth and is home to the Historic Whaling Station, making it a wonderful place to spot whales from shore.
WHEAT BELT IN BEVERLEY
Two hours east of Perth, and part of the wheat-sheep belt that sits on the banks of the Avon River, lies another of Australia’s colonial settlements. Beverley is surrounded by tranquil rolling hills and pastures and is the perfect weekend away if you’re looking to get in touch with country life. Choose from an array of accommodation options such as farm stays or bed & breakfasts, and spend your days strolling through picturesque farmland and forests or exploring the Avon Valley National Park.
HEAD TO DOWN SOUTH
Pack the car and head south from Perth for a weekend in Busselton, sheltered along the shores of Geographe Bay. Busselton was twice voted WA’s Top Tourism Town, and there are plenty of reasons why visitors return every year. Wade in the calm, turquoise bay or visit the Underwater Observatory. Culture vultures can head back to the 1800s to learn about Busselton’s history as one of Australia’s first settlements, and beachgoers will love sitting on the iconic heritage-listed 148-year-old and 1.8km-long wooden jetty. With an array of accommodation options on offer Busselton’s mix of tranquil waters, retail enclave and old-town feel make it a holiday resort town accessible to all.
TASTE IN MARGARET RIVER
Head to WA’s premium wine region and enjoy a weekend hopping between wineries, restaurants, stunning beaches and ancient caves. Margaret River is blessed with abundant sunshine having evolved from a surfing town to a region where you’ll be spoilt for choice. With over 100 wineries, plus boutique shops selling delicious treats such as chocolate and cheese, this must-see spot is just 3.5 hours’ drive from Perth, along the scenic coast or through picturesque countryside.
Dunsborough, just three hours south of Perth, is the perfect seaside holiday because of its secluded coves and coastal trails that offer a stunning view over the clear waters of Geographe Bay. Your tastebuds aren’t forgotten, because Dunsborough is also home to local award-winning wineries and breweries which are perfect for that lazy weekend lunch.
RIDE HORIZONTAL FALLS
Western Australia has two horizontal falls, and both can be found in Talbot Bay. These incredible natural wonders are considered horizontal falls because of the massive volume of water that is forced through two narrow cliff passages as the tide ebbs and flows, creating a variation in the water of up to four metres. Base yourself in Broome or Derby and take a trip to the falls for a thrilling, adrenaline-filled ride unlike any other.
BACK TO NATURE
If you want to get back to nature, spend a weekend in Pemberton, located just 3 hours and 45 minutes-drive south of Perth in the heart of karri tree country. Climb the world’s tallest fire lookout tree or hike the Bibbulmun track. Go off-road and explore the forests or gaze in awe at the white-sand mountains of Yeagarup Dunes. At the end of the day, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds with Pemberton’s array of gourmet produce stores and cellar doors.
WORLD HERITAGE REEF
An hour and a half by car from Exmouth is World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef offering holiday-makers an exquisite ocean paradise of fringing coral reef, accessible just metres from shore. Wade in the clearest turquoise water imaginable and explore the reef home to hundreds of colourful tropical reef fish species. Whether travelling as a couple or with family, Ningaloo has a good selection of accommodation options to suit your needs.
Yallingup means ‘place of love’ to the Indigenous Noongar people, and with ancient caves, spectacular sunsets, world-class wines and pristine beaches, it’s no wonder nature lovers ‘love’ to frequent this stunning region. Yallingup is filled with tempting accommodation options including luxury retreats and private beach houses, and foodies will find delicious and memorable meals made with produce local to the region.
Fancy a short break in the wilderness? Lane Poole Reserve, just two hours’ drive south of Perth, is a nature lover’s paradise with an extensive network of walking trails and plenty of opportunities for swimming, fishing, canoeing and rafting. Camp in one of the many recreation areas situated in the reserve, and spend your days exploring the 55,000 hectares of waterfalls, woodlands, rock-rimmed pools and forested valleys
ADDITIONAL PLACES TO SEE & DO
STAY TUNED TO SUNSET COAST LIFE