If you live in Sydney, Melbourne or one of the other eastern Australia cities or towns, there is definitely plenty to do to fill your time. In fact, you could probably live there your whole life and still not experience all of the diverse activities and attractions that the region has to offer.
But sometimes you just want to get away, even for just a few days. And while a beach getaway to the Gold Coast or Port Douglas area is always a viable option, it’s just as easy to get to Western Australia for a few days. From sparkling waters and white sands to beautiful vineyards to historical landmarks, there is plenty to do and see in Western Australia to fill a weekend and then some – and domestic flights
are inexpensive and easy to find.
With a mild climate, friendly people and a wide range of shops, restaurants, museums and luxury hotels, the city of Perth itself is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway. On any given weekend you can find the city alive with festivals and celebrations; from June to August, example, you can explore the Perth Winter Arts Festival that includes art exhibitions, theatre, dance, concerts, lectures and more that will appeal to the whole family. Or plan your visit during Wildflower Season, usually August through November, when the hills around the city come alive with colorful blooms; a hike in the John Forrest National Park is the best way to see the beauty of Western Australia up close and personal.
If the kids are along on the trip, carve out some time to visit the Perth Zoo, or head over to Herrison Island to check out the native kangaroo population. The whole family will also enjoy a cruise along the Swan River aboard a comfortable yacht; these cruises offer simply stunning views of the city.
History buffs will appreciate a visit to Fremantle, the center of Australia’s convict settlement history. Fremantle was first settled by the British in 1829 and construction of the first convict settlement began in 1850. For 18 years, the British sent ships full of convicts to Fremantle, where they built many of the public buildings – including the jail and courthouse – that still stand today. During your visit, you can explore many of these historic buildings, including the Round House and Fremantle Prison, as well as other attractions in the area, such as the Maritime Museum, which chronicles the often tragic history of the waters off the coast of Western Australia.
During the warmer months, plan to bask on the beaches of Fremantle and Perth; the crystal clear waters are also ideal for kayaking, diving or snorkeling. Another can’t-miss attraction? Take a ride on the Fremantle Ferris Wheel. Only available in the summer months, the 10-minute ride provides an unparalleled view of the city below.
The Margaret River region of Western Australia, not far from Perth, is well known for producing quality wines. Whether you prefer red or white, cabernet or Shiraz, this area is full of wineries that welcome visitors for tours, tastings and meals. Pick up a guide to the wineries at a visitor center and take yourself on a tour of the region, or purchase a guided tour from one of the tour operators in the area. Tours generally last around six to eight hours and include stops at multiple wineries where you can taste the wine, explore the vineyards and facilities and even pick up a bottle or two (or more!) to bring home. The region is also home to a number of inns, as well as gourmet restaurants; it’s possible to spend the whole weekend in the Western Australia wine country.
There is so much to see and do in Western Australia that it’s nearly impossible to fit it all into one weekend. And there is plenty to do outside of the cities, as well. The mountains, bush, waterways and ocean offer ample sites for exploration – in fact, you might find that when you return home from a few days in WA, you’re already aching for a return trip.A native of California who now lives in Perth, Sandra Smith has hosted friends visiting from all over the world and loves showing off her home away from home.