Perth Travel Info: Before Getting to Perth
Getting Around Perth and Where to Stay in Perth.
Perth Itinerary Day 1: Perth City
Perth Itinerary Day 2: Rottnest Island
Perth Itinerary Day 3: Fremantle
Suggested Day Trips from Perth City
Both Swan Valley are Margaret River are famed for wineries. If you have only one day, go to Swan Valley (see Option A). But if you can spare 2 or 3 days, Margaret River is way more fun. You need a car for today. Check out the car rental information in our introduction.
Option B: Cohunu Koala Park & Margaret River
There are a lot more things you can do if you spend 2 or 3 more days as there are many attractions on the way to Margaret River.
For instance, you can swim with wild dolphins for a price either with Rockingham Wild Encounters (takes a full day, see Day Trips from Perth) or with Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre (about 2 hours drive from Perth, en route to Margaret River, a 3-hour swim guided by a marine biologist, usually at 7.30am).
With our aged parents, we couldn’t do the swim but we also didn’t have to wake up at 5am to drive. This is our itinerary:
8am: Set off from Perth City (2 hours 40 min drive)
10.40-11am: take a 20-min ice cream break at Simmo’s Ice Cream (161 Commonage Rd, Quindalup WA 6281, Australia). Simmo’s is a local creamery, voted best 15 ice creams in the world, with a playground for kids. I didn’t fancy the ice cream, overly sweet for my liking, but ChioBu liked it a lot, saying it was very rich and fat. A$14 for a small waffle with 2 scoops of ice creams.
11.15am-12.15pm: A 15-min drive from Simmo’s to Ngilgi Cave (Yallingup Caves Rd, Yallingup Western Australia 6282, Australia; A$22 adult). Half-hourly semi-guided tours from 9.30am-4pm. The cave was formed 500, 000 years ago. In the 19th century, honeymoon couples used to come here. Can you imagine women in corsets and crinolines, rappelling down the caves? Now there are steps to walk down. It was a so-so experience for us. The cave is rather tiny, and took only 20 minutes to go up and down.
On the way from Ngilgi Cave to Margaret River, there are other places of interest that we didn’t go. Just too many of them, but you may try. In order of location nearest to Ngilgi Cave:
– Yallingup Shearing Shed (1442 Wildwood Road, Yallingup, WA 6282; +61 8 9755 2309) live shows of shearing sheep at 11am daily except Th & F and the entire month of Aug. A$10 (adult), A$5 (child).
– Wardan Aboriginal Centre (Injidup Spring Road, Yallingup, Western Australia) where you can learn how to make tools, throw spears and boomerangs, and hike a 1km bush trail.
– Moss Wood Wines (926 Metricup Road, Wilyabrup WA 6280)
– Ashbrook Wine Estate (379 Tom Cullity Drive, Wilyabrup)
– Cullen Wines (4323 Caves Road, Wilyabrup WA 6280)
– Vasse Felix Wine (Caves Road, Cnr Tom Cullity Drive, WA 6284)
The Gorgeous Watershed Wines
Watershed Restaurant and Cafe, Overlooking Vineyard
1pm – 5pm: My advice is to skip all the wineries listed above and go to the blockbusters. Drive 40 minutes from Ngilgi Cave straight to Margaret River and lunch in style at a winery. Watershed Winery, Leeuwin Estate and Voyager Estate, the major wineries at Margaret River, are beside each other and they each have award-winning fine-dining restaurants. So I’d suggest you lunch at one winery and tour another so that you can visit two wineries.
Watershed Winery doesn’t have tours and has an affordable and quick dining option, a cafe, so it makes sense to lunch here. We opted for the cafe, instead of the fine-dining restaurant because we only had 20 minutes for lunch. OMG the estate was gorgeous!! It was like a dream!!! You know those movies with tycoons, when the gate opens, there is a long driveway into a huge beautiful glass house, overlooking a vineyard. This is it! The cafe’s food was good too. Chiobu’s caesar salad was tasty as hell, especially with the high quality bacon. And my wagyu beef burger (pictured above) was juicy. Dad’s vegan linguine wasn’t very good, but it was vegan after all. We spent A$86 for 4 persons.
It’s a tough fight for touring: Leeuwin Estate is the most prestigious and reputable winery in the region, providing a 40-minute tour of how wine is produced, without going to the vineyards (11am, 12pm, 3pm daily, A$15). But Voyager Estate‘s tour is more elaborate and exciting, bringing you to the vineyards (T, Th, Sat, Sun 11am, see pricing options).
Leeuwin Estate, where they ferment the wine. My mom said, “That’s a lot of wine.” I replied, “There are a lot of alcoholics in the world.”
Our timing chose the tour for us. The guide, Steve, at Leeuwin was awesome, very knowledgeable. But coming from the extremely stunning Watershed Wines, I can’t help but to think that Leeuwin is a dowdy elder stepsister of Watershed: old, and stolid, but boring. And I felt robbed of an experience of not going down to the vineyard, plucking a ripe grape, warm in the sun, and putting it in my mouth, juice bursting. So perhaps you can go to Voyager Estate and tell me how the experience is. We bought Leeuwin’s best wine, a Chardonnay, at A$89.
5-7pm: Check into hotel and rest. Theoretically, any place will do since you’re driving. But it is best to stay in Margaret River town area (within the red circle) so that you can explore it (although the shops close at 5pm).
We family of four stayed at Darby Park Serviced Residences. It was nice, with a kitchenette, a hall, two rooms, and a toilet. Great location and inexpensive at about A$270 a night. Some photos of the loft apartment:
7pm: Dinner. I strongly recommend Morries Anytime. The service was FANTASTIC, the food was exceptional, and the vibe was hopping. My cocktail, duck duck melon (A$18), had duck fat! And all the tapas tasted delicious. If this tapas joint were in Singapore, it would have been one of best.
“Duck Duck Melon”: the duck fat tasted like bak kwa!
Made from octopus, not squid.
My second wagyu burger for the day. The Watershed burger and this burger were equally fantastic.
Also see Day 5: Margaret River Continued
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.