Weekend Getaways - Our top day trips from Perth
Image courtesy Tourism Australia / Hiromichi Kataoka
The 'wild' west is often lauded as its own country - and with a landscape as diverse as it is large, Western Australians can't be blamed for wanting to keep a slice of the magic for themselves.
We've put together our favourite get-there-and-back-in-a-day destinations in Western Australia. These are the best spots as chosen by the Anaconda teams.
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Venture about 45 minutes north of Perth and you'll reach Yanchep Lagoon. The lagoon itself is formed due to the reef sitting in an ideal location around 20 metres from the shoreline. During low-tide this ensures that the water level remains relatively low making it a perfect spot for swimming and snorkelling. Be extra careful during high tide and toward the end of the lagoon as the strong ocean current flows into much deeper waters. As always, take precautions and swim between the flags.
Move away from the hordes of swimmers and try to catch some whiting or herring whilst fishing around the lagoon. If you find it a little too crowded, you can always look for a safe reef shelf in the nearby areas to cast from.
The surrounding foreshore has parks and playgrounds to entertain the little ones and if you're wanting to bring the four-legged family members along for the day there's Yanchep Dog Beach just a little further south of the lagoon.
Don't forget: Rapeedo Adult's Snorkel Set
Whiteman Park is a 4,000-hectare conservation reserve forming part of the Swan Valley region north of Perth's CBD. The vibrant metropolitan reserve is jampacked with things to do and see on a day away from the big smoke.
Home to an array of endangered animals within the parklands you will find the fascinating Woodland Reserve. The conservation project breeds locally endangered animal species to ensure their continual existence, one of which is the critically endangered Woylie. Take a guided nocturnal tour by torchlight through the reserve and get an up-close view of these adorable little creatures.
For a small fee you can ride an old tram through the reserve and try to spot some wildlife along the way or visit some of the unique museums housed within the park including a Tractor Museum and Motor Museum.
There are playgrounds and picnic areas all over the park as well as a water playground to cool off on those warmer days. The walking and cycling paths entangled throughout the woodlands are waiting to be explored, and there's even a dog park for your furry friends.
Don't forget: Fluid Comfort Bike
Serpentine National Park
Surround yourself with natural beauty and verdant forestry in the open spaces of the Serpentine National Park south of Perth. Native birds can be seen chirping from the tall trees that project over the Serpentine River while orchids, kangaroo paws and grevilleas spring from the neighbouring grasslands.
The jewel in the crown of the national park is undoubtedly the cascading Serpentine Falls. Situated at the bottom of the Darling Scarp it's easily accessible by following the river a short distance from the nearby carpark and picnic area.
Stacey's Track is a relaxed 2-kilometre bushwalk through the dense greenery of the parkland whilst the Kitty's Gorge Walk is a moderate trail over 7-kilometres presenting multiple waterfall viewings as well as some magnificent views over the valley.
Enjoy an outdoor lunch as there are plenty of wooden tables and electric barbeques in the picnic area by the falls. You may even be treated to some local grey kangaroos grazing nearby.
Don't forget: Coleman 42L Wheeled Cooler
Ellis Brook Valley
Just over half an hour south east of Perth is the alluring Ellis Brook Valley. Spend a day hiking the scenic trails amongst the colours of the sprawling wildflowers and clamber your way over rocky paths toward picturesque viewpoints and stunning waterfalls.
There are four walking trails that cater to all experience and fitness levels from the aptly named "Easy Walk Trail" to the harder "Sixty Foot Falls" loop which unsurprisingly takes you to the top of a quarry overlooking the falls. It's best to take on the short but steep climb to the falls after winter as they may resemble more of a trickle during the warmer times of year.
Marvel at the stunning foliage of the local plant life or gaze up at the native birds flying overhead as you rest up for lunch at one of the numerous picnic grounds within the valley.
Don't forget: Merrell 'Moab' Low Hikers
Head 45 minutes north-east of Perth to Brigadoon and you'll find the cascading white-water of Bells Rapids. The raging torrent of the popular inland waterway is the perfect backdrop for a memorable family picnic in the nearby grasslands.
The 2.5-kilometre looping river walk is a fantastic hike through the grassy plains bordering the Darling Range. Start by traversing the foot bridge across the Swan River and make your way up the steep ascent for a glorious view over the valley. The descent is just as breathtaking offering a sweeping panorama of the rocky West Australian landscape.
In August, the area around Bells Rapids is an ideal vantage point to watch the competitors of the famous 124km Avon Descent river race.
Don't forget: Spinifex Deluxe Wicker Picnic Basket
Travel half an hour south across the Swan River and head to the coastal oasis that is South Fremantle's South Beach. Enjoy a day of activities on the sand and water or just adore at the unspoilt views out across the Indian Ocean.
The calm waters of the sheltered beach make for ideal swimming conditions or an afternoon of stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking along the coastline.
The shining white sand and crystal blue waters are accompanied by the soaring pine trees of the nearby parklands and the promenade provides plenty of activity for kids with a playground and basketball court.to enjoy.
There's also a brilliant bike path that accompanies the water if you'd prefer to cycle your way north or south along of the coast.
Don't forget: Aqua Marina Monster SUP with Paddle
The Ferguson Valley is an enchanting bushland area full of walking trails, mountain biking tracks, picnic areas and lookouts all set amongst the towering King Jarrah trees around 2-hours south of Perth, just outside of Bunbury.
Within the Wellington National Park, you'll find the Mount Lennard Mountain Bike Network known locally as the "Pile Road Trails", a series of bike tracks consisting of moderate climbs and gentle descents. The famous mountain biking trails total around 40-kilometres in length so there's a trail to enjoy for riders of all skill and experience levels.
The valley is also home to an abundance of hiking paths. The trails in the neighbouring Crooked Brook Forest are frequented by bushwalking fanatics and casual hikers the whole year round. The moderately difficult and winding 10-kilometre loop that is the Marri Trail delivers far-reaching views across the valley as well as an opportunity to spot some native wildlife that call the area home. There's a delightful picnic area by the billabong to rest and take in the stunning surrounds.
If you're looking for something a little more peculiar to see, you can't miss Gnomesville. As the name suggests, it's a community of over 10,000 gnomes set amongst the leafy bushland of the valley. Nobody knows exactly how the mini community officially began but the best part is you can take your own gnome and add it to the collection.
Don't forget: CamelBak Chute Mag 1.5L Water Bottle
Mundaring Powerlines 4x4 Track
The Mundaring Powerlines Track is just 40 minutes east of Perth and is a favourite of the local 4WD community. The track is not for the timid and suited to more experienced 4WDers. Negotiating the entire course can take anywhere from three to six hours but there are a few intersecting roads that cross the powerlines track if you need to exit early and head home.
It's best to travel to Mundaring with another vehicle in the event you need some assistance with a recovery effort. Take note of the weather too as the landscape is principally rock and clay so a wet track can be quite dangerous and extremely difficult to navigate.
Don't forget: Dune 4WD Recovery Tracks