Whether you're after a relaxed escape among the vines or a wild weekend with sea lions we've got the perfect break for you...
For Wine... Swan Valley
Drive north-east from Perth and you can be ambling amid Swan Valley’s vineyards just 30 minutes later. Though libations are the focus here – there are more than 40 wineries, plus a few breweries and distilleries – the cuisine and coffee are stars, too. Stop for a big brekkie at Oakover Grounds, done either “paddock” style (with spicy beans and avocado) or “farmhouse” (featuring cheesy chipolatas) and a three-coffee tasting paddle, brewed with beans from local roaster Fiori. Pedal past cellar doors and pretty picnic spots by following one of the four routes of the Swan Valley Cycling Trail, which range from a family-friendly three kilometres to a robust 32-kilometre loop. Stay amid the grapevines –or as close as you can get – at The Colony at Caversham winery Mandoon Estate, where the 32 rooms overlook the verdelho vines and the valley’s namesake river. Luxuriate in a long lunch at the winery’s fine-dining restaurant, Wild Swan, or the more casual Homestead Brewery (where breakfast is served on weekends, too). Should you want to head out for dinner, The Guildford Hotel is an institution and serves hearty meals like barbecue brisket with rosemary potatoes and ’slaw.
For Wildlife... Jurien Bay
Ningaloo Reef isn’t the only WA wildlife hotspot. Jurien Bay, on the lower Coral Coast, is beloved by sea lions as well as snorkellers. A boat tour with Turquoise Safaris increases your chances of seeing the oceanic acrobats up close, as well as other abundant marine life and seabirds. Airbnbs abound; one sleek and spacious house in the Beachridge Estate (7 Bettong Avenue, Jurien Bay; +61 421 153 557) has four bedrooms and a large alfresco area for sunset dinners.
For a Road Trip... Katanning
Gaze out the window at passing woodlands and wheat belts on the drive to this little town in the Great Southern region, just over Gantheaume Point, near Broome; three hours from Perth. From July to October it’s worth taking a detour to wonder at the state’s famous wildflowers. The pay-off for the drive time? The Premier Mill Hotel, a former flour mill that’s now an impressively renovated boutique hotel, with a design that combines heritage elements, such as pulley wheels and grain chutes, with modern amenities and styling. Arrive in time for a tipple at The Cordial Bar, the hotel’s subterranean space open from 3pm.
The Premier Mill Hotel
For a Coastal Getaway... Broome
Sometimes the joy isn’t in finding local secrets, it’s in having the bucket-list experiences you find so easily in regional Australia. Tick off a host of them in Broome, a two-and-a-half-hour flight north-east of Perth. Stay at the Mangrove Hotel, overlooking Roebuck Bay, where visitors flock from March to October and sometimes in November to witness the mudflats light up after dark in the phenomenon known as the Staircase to the Moon. Join a sunset camel ride on Cable Beach. And head to Gantheaume Point at low tide to see the dinosaur tracks imprinted in the rocks along this iconic coastline.
Dinosaur tracks can be seen on Gantheaume Point at low tide
Pictured at top: Gantheaume Point, near Broome