In this guest post, Suzy from Suzy Stories recalls 7 of the most beautiful nature spots she discovered during her year living in Perth, Australia!
My name’s Suzy and I share experiences and recommendations from around the world on my blog Suzy Stories. Although I’m from London most of my content is about Australia and New Zealand – my two favourite countries! Both have incredible landscapes and pockets of natural wonders, albeit completely different kinds. When I first visited NZ in 2016 I fell in love with the rugged scenery and imposing mountains that make it such an adventurous destination. I then had the chance to experience the gorgeous coastline of Australia and the vibrant beaches and natural beauty of each magical spot.
My Kiwi partner and I moved to Perth in 2019 which is an extra special treat for two nature-lovers! It was my second time in WA and staying for a year meant we had the chance to see so many more amazing places: from the beaches to the deserts I love it all. I’m excited to share with you my absolute favourite spots of natural beauty to discover right around the city!
A little bit about Perth…
Perth is known as being one of the most remote cities in the world. It’s quicker (and often cheaper!) to visit Bali from the WA capital than it is to visit the East Coast! Western Australia covers around ⅓ of the whole of mainland Australia. With a population of just 2.5 million, 2 million of who live in Perth, it’s a vast and spacious part of the country that has plenty of untouched places to explore.
For a truly unique experience, the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park offers the chance to visit a natural phenomenon unlike any other. Across a 17,000 hectare desert are hundreds of tall pillars made up of sea shell deposits. And it’s just as otherworldly as you’d expect!
For a $15 per vehicle entry fee, you can choose to walk the 1.2km trail through the desert (and be in with a chance to spot the wild emus on the way) or drive the 4km track. Or, you can do both!
Reaching the Pinnacles takes around 2.5 hours drive north of Perth. The location is rather remote with the nearest town being Cervantes on the Coral Coast.
It is almost impossible to choose the best beaches in Perth, BUT Cottesloe takes the top spot for several reasons!
Not only is this one of the most popular beaches with locals, it’s also easily the most iconic. The Indiana Tearooms stands proudly behind the beach, and with a range of bars and cafes dotted along the seafront it’s the perfect place to watch the famous Western Australia sunsets over the ocean.
There are plenty of parking spots around the beach and down the road, but on weekends they are likely to fill up fast with all the surfers flocking to catch the waves! The best time to go is earlier in the day to beat the rush and avoid the rough winds that often pick up in the afternoon.
As mentioned, there are seemingly endlessly beautiful beaches to visit in Perth. From South Beach in Fremantle all the way up to Burns Beach – you could easily spend a day beach-hopping down the Sunset Coast Tourist Drive finding your favourite.
This unassuming little island is bang in the middle of the Swan River. It takes 40 minutes to walk from Elizabeth Quay in the city to reach the island via a beautiful riverside walk.
Once there, you can enjoy a moment of calm away from the busy town, but still enjoy the outstanding city views!
One of the main attractions of Heirisson Island is the wild kangaroos that live here… Yes, you read that right! Kangaroos in the middle of the city sounds insane, but these Australian icons were introduced to the island in 2000 and have since become quite the attraction.
Best of all, it’s free to visit Heirisson Island and enjoy the range of wildlife and perhaps a picnic. Despite being so close to the city, it’s a surprisingly quiet spot too.
Any visitor to Perth cannot leave before they take the 45 minute ferry ride from Fremantle to Rottnest Island.
With a beach at every turn featuring crystal clear waters and the chance to snorkel with a variety of exotic marine life, it’s truly paradise found. The best way to get around is by bicycle, meaning you’ll enjoy plenty of fresh air and gorgeous scenery as you explore the bays and wildlife.
Most visitors to Rotto come for one particularly adorable attraction: the quokkas! Called the happiest animals in the world, these small marsupials are just as cute as they sound. You’ll find them all over the island, however, it’s important to respect the wildlife by not touching or feeding them.
Visitors can also book accommodation on the island, however, it is quite expensive. The ferry costs around $70 return for an adult, but there are often cheaper deals to be found if you’re flexible.
Another beautiful nature spot around Perth is Penguin Island. Less than a 1 hour drive south of the city near Rockingham, you’ll find the Shoalwater Island Marine Park. In this concentrated area of the sea off the mainland are several small islands that are home to an abundance of wildlife.
Take the dolphin cruise for $85 per adult for a 90 minute boat ride around the reserve to see the sea lions on Seal Island (quite the misnomer!), the seabirds of Bird Island, and of course keeping your eyes out for the local pods of dolphins.
Once you’ve finished the cruise, you can spend your time walking the trail of Penguin Island, spotting wild fairy penguins, watching the penguin feed at the sanctuary, or simply soaking up island life vibes on the soft sand beach.
Like all the coastal spots around Perth, you’ll be blown away by the beauty of the beaches and the stunning turquoise waters!
Ellis Brook Valley Reserve
There are plenty of wonderful short hikes to enjoy in Perth that offer stunning views of the city while allowing you the chance to get right up into the bushland. One of my favourites of such walks is in the Ellis Brook Valley Reserve. The walk to 60 Foot Falls is a short but steep one, but once at the top it’s well worth the effort.
Visiting the reserve is free, as is parking. It’s a popular area for dog walkers and picnic-goers, so plan your visit on off-peak times if you can! If Ellis Brook doesn’t quite cut it, consider Lesmurdie Falls or Bells Rapids for another chance to enjoy a short hike with dramatic waterfalls and a slice of rural life.
Yanchep National Park
WA is fortunate to have 60 national parks, several of which are right around Perth. Take a 1 hour drive north of the city and you’ll come to Yanchep National Park.
Yanchep is a lovely park to visit. It’s family-friendly, spacious, and has plenty of natural beauty to enjoy! Visitors can choose to also camp or book hotel accommodation in the park if you’re after a longer stay.
Entry costs $15 per vehicle, and if you visit on the same day as another national park (such as Nambung only 1.5 hour away) you only pay once. Two parks for the price of one? Yes please!
There are a couple of attractions that make Yanchep NP extra special. You can visit the caves that go deep beneath the ground or soar into the trees with the zip lining course for an adventurous experience. For me, I loved visiting the koala boardwalk where a handful of adorable koalas are kept for rehabilitation in the sanctuary. Koalas are not native to WA, so this is one of the few chances to see these creatures around Perth!
If you stick around Yanchep into the later afternoon, you’ll be able to see the wild kangaroos as they spring into life and have their afternoon graze around the lake. Does it get any more Aussie than koalas and kangaroos in one beautiful place?!
As WA is so large, you should expect to drive for a while to really discover all the best bits around the state. You can go further afield to discover the likes of Margaret River, Esperance, Exmouth, and so much more. Perth is a fabulous destination for nature-lovers, and the gateway to so many special and quintessentially Aussie experiences!