Home' Caravanning Australia : Autumn 2012 Contents 106 • Caravanning Australia • Autumn 2012
By Megan McGay
You’re in Perth, Western Australia. Your caravan’s loaded
with equipment and passengers hungry for adventure.
You’re in the right place. But now you’ve got some
decisions to make. Do you head north to the coral coast or
inland to the golden wheatbelt? What about south for the locally
made cheese, wine and beer, not to mention unbelievable surf?
Whatever the plan, allow enough time to explore greater Perth
before you move on.
Within the CBD itself, trek through Kings Park and follow
this with lunch at The Old Brewery on Mounts Bay Road. The
views at both these venues will help you digest the beauty of the
north and south sides of the river. If you’ve got children, skip the
brewery and stay in Kings Park for lunch at Stickybeaks Café
while the kids play in the Ivey Watson Playground. Located off
Kings Park Road, this playground is easily one of the best in
the country. Beneath its fenced perimeter are four different play
areas for children. This author has yet to find a playground that
surpasses it for space, activities, adventure and imaginative play.
Allocate another day in Perth for its southern suburb,
Fremantle. With the Maritime Museum, market hall, prison tours,
wall-to-wall cafés and the original Little Creatures Brewery on the
wharf, your day will be full. Basking on the deck of the brewery
with a fresh ale and a bowl of steaming chilli mussels, you’ll
probably be working out a way to retire here. But wait, there’s
more – so much more – to discover in Perth.
Rottnest Island is another ‘must-see’ destination. You can
either make a day trip or stay overnight. From cabins to tent
sites, every budget is catered for. ‘Rotto’, as it’s locally known,
is the place to see quokkas. These lesser-known Australian
marsupials are mainly found hopping on the island, unperturbed
by visitors. Take a ferry to Rotto from Barrack Street in the CBD
or the Fremantle wharf. Use the ferry time to stretch your legs,
as they’ll need to be limber; bike is the mode of transport on this
car-free island. On a bike, you’ll find it much easier to cover the
whole landscape than if you were to walk. Bikes are available
for hire (either on the ferry or from the island shop) once you
disembark from your ferry journey. With 24 kilometres of paths
skirting around the island, you’ll need close to three hours to
cover it. If your bike skills are a little rusty, allow yourself the day
and cycle slowly. It is worth the effort to cover as much distance
as you can, because the best locations to rest, paddle and bask
are the secret coves that you stumble across on your travels.
Following your Rotto adventure, reward yourself at the Rottnest
Hotel with a cool beverage and then grab the next afternoon
ferry back to the mainland.
Swan Valley is just 20 minutes east of Perth and en route to
historic Guildford. You can choose to join one of 20 organised
tours, or drive yourself around the region. It’s worth a look (and
a taste!) – the Swan Valley is the oldest viticulture area in the
state, with vines originally planted there 178 years ago. There
is a great variety of cellar doors to visit, from the flashier popular
brands, to the backyard variety. You will need at least a day to
visit this area and enjoy some Western Australian hospitality.
If you’re looking for more water adventures, but are not ready
to move right up the coast, enter Ledge Point and Lancelin into
your GPS. These coastal towns (a 10-minute drive apart) are
known equally for their fishing hotspots and brilliant windsurfing
conditions. The Lancelin Open Classic is an annual windsurfing
event, and the longest of its kind in the world. If you’re not
an angler or windsurfer, then plant yourself in a deck chair on
the powder-soft, iridescent sand and sink your toes in. Bring
a snorkel and have a swim. If you’ve got restless legs, grab
a board and scale up the sand dunes for an exhilarating ride.
It doesn’t get easier than that! Ledge Point has a variety of
accommodation on offer, from the local caravan park to modern
chalets. Stay overnight and dine on fresh Western Australian
rock lobster or a buttery dhufish for dinner.
Now that you’re on the go, you can leave Perth with a
camera full of images and a belly full of some of the best local
offerings. If you’ve enjoyed the ambling pace, take an easy trip
further north to Jurien Bay – the beginning of Western Australia’s
Coral Coast. The white sand and endless coastline continue.
Hurry up, what are you waiting for? ●
A sand boarder on the
dunes of Lancelin
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