Self-Drive Perth Holidays: Choose Your Own Perth Adventure

September 21 the-pinnacles-numbung-national-park-h

“When you travel to Australia, you want a taste of sophisticated nightlife as well as the epic outdoors, and Perth satisfies on every level.” This is the verdict of television presenter Julia Bradbury, who visited the Western Australian capital last year.

palm trees on road in perth city

Whatever your travel preferences may be, this versatile city has something for you. From sun-drenched beaches and geological wonders to world-class food, wine, and culture, Perth and its surrounding region has it all. Let the team at Pan Pacific Perth help you to plan a Perth holiday that is perfectly suited to your personality.

Perth City Sights For Urbanites

perth city drone view in daytime.

Begin your adventures by orienting yourself with the city. Download the free resources by Perth’s city council like the i-Walk self-guided audio trails—the “Icons of Influence” trail highlights prominent landmarks in the city centre, while the “Boom or Bust” and “Convicts and Colonials” trails provide an introduction to Perth’s history.

Need to know what’s happening in Perth’s arts and entertainment scene, where the hottest restaurants and bars are, and where you can get your caffeine or retail fix? The city council’s downloadable guides will prove handy.

For a social experience, join the free 90-minute iCity walking tour that runs daily, or one of the themed weekday tours led by volunteer guides (also free). Or you can spend the rest of your day exploring the city with this recommended one-day itinerary. Start off at the picturesque Sir James Mitchell Park, spend time at must-visit attractions such as Perth Zoo and The Old Mill, and end your day at the South Perth Foreshore, which boasts a bustling nightlife, replete with sophisticated dining options.

Don’t miss the tourist favourite in the city centre—the 82.5-metre Bell Tower. The tower houses 18 bells, 12 of which previously belonged to the church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square in London. In the early 1980s, the St Martin church decided it needed new bells, and there were plans to melt down its existing bells to recast them. Fortunately, enterprising Perth bell ringer and businessman Laith Reynolds successfully campaigned to have these historic bells brought to Australia. The Bell Tower has purportedly “brought countless tourists to Perth,” but that’s not the only reason to head there. Visit the tower’s observation deck for a bird’s eye view of Swan River, King’s Park, and the city centre.

Nearby Perth Beaches For Sun-Seekers

cottesloe beach water in perth.

A short 15-minute drive from the city centre, Scarborough Beach is a veritable Perth icon. Shut for 18 months as part of a $100 million makeover, the 1.6km stretch of foreshore reopened in March this year, much to the relief of businesses in the area. Look out for new and revamped attractions such as a whale-themed children’s playground and a 12-foot (3.66m) competition-grade skate bowl.

At Scarborough Beach, you can swim, surf, and watch sporting events while enjoying the perks of city life, thanks to the stream of nearby cafes and restaurants that open late. Refer to The Urban List’s activity and food guide, or follow the Scarborough Beach Association’s Facebook page for updates.

Equally popular is Cottesloe Beach, which The Telegraph’s Perth expert describes as “a glamour puss from every angle.” Affectionately known as “Cott” by locals, this Perth institution is a favourite picnic spot for families. Apart from being unforgettably scenic, this is where you can enjoy the Perth beach vibe at its relaxed best.

Relish seeking out hidden coastal gems? Refer to So Perth’s list of lesser-known locations for taking a dip.

A Great Escape For Food And Wine Lovers

dawn at a winery in margaret river australia

A three-hour drive from Perth, Margaret River welcomes half a million visitors each year. If you are wondering why, here’s a journalist’s theory: “A wine region right next to the beach—is there anything more you could possibly want from a holiday destination?”

Naturally, your options at Margaret River include touring the area’s famous wineries (Howard Park, Vasse Felix, Leewin Estate, Voyager Estate), getting a wine crash course, and savouring a long lunch at a vineyard restaurant, before taking off to the beach for a dreamy sunset view.

You can also visit the Margaret River Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, indulge your inner Willy Wonka at the Margaret River Chocolate Company (free tastings available), or pick up treats at Margaret River Nuts & Cereals and the Margaret River Dairy Company (gourmet yoghurt and artisanal cheeses).

There is one more reason to head to Margaret River—the annual Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival every June. This is the biggest regional literary event in Western Australia, which brings together thought-provoking writers from Australia and abroad to spread the love of literature and the arts.

For more suggestions, refer to Traveller’s checklist of 20 Margaret River activities that should not be missed.

A Desert Adventure For Nature Lovers

emu walking through the pinnacles numbung national park western australia

For an out-of-this-world experience, make the three-hour northwards drive from Perth to the Nambung National Park, where you can set your eyes on the “bizarre, alien-looking” karst rock formations known as The Pinnacles. Visitors have called the place “surreal,” and akin to a “Martian landscape.” These unique limestone structures—some are several metres high—are thought to date back at least thousands of years, and you can find out more about their geological evolution at the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre.

The Nambung National Park is also known for its sand dunes and beaches (Kangaroo Point, Hangover Bay), as well as its wildflowers. These blooms will be especially evident if you visit in September and October.

If you are looking to bring home memorable Perth photos from this day trip, draw inspiration from this stunning night photo on a Nambung sand dune by a hobbyist photographer, or see how The Pinnacles provided an arresting backdrop for a ballerina’s portrait.

Welcome to Perth! For more ways to experience Perth, read our guides to the best Perth desserts and rainy day activities. Or speak to our team at Pan Pacific Perth for travel and accommodation advice.

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