Perth lies on the west coast of Australia where the Swan River enters the Indian Ocean.
The relaxed Perth lifestyle is bound to its mild climate and natural setting and many of the best nature experiences in the Perth area can be found in national parks and other conservation reserves.
Explore the river, the coastal woodlands and lakes, the beaches or the hills and enjoy the nature of Perth.
The Swan and Canning rivers
No visit to Perth is complete without spending time on or near the river. The entire waterway, as well as many adjoining reserves along the river foreshore, make up the Swan Canning Riverpark.
The river is the city’s visual and cultural heart. Known as the Derbarl Yerrigan to the Whadjuk people, whose connection to the river spans some 40,000 years, it is today a focus of activity for walkers and joggers, cyclists and sightseers, paddlers, sailors and other recreational boat users.
- Explore the network of shared-use trails, enjoy water activities or find a vantage point to relax and take in the river’s natural beauty.
- Relax at Matilda Bay Reserve or check out the black swans, pelicans, migratory waders and a multitude of other birdlife at Pelican Point or Alfred Cove in the Swan Estuary Marine Park or in the Canning River Regional Park.
- Take a river cruise from Elizabeth Quay across to South Perth, down to Fremantle or upstream to the Swan Valley.
Lakes and Woodlands
- To the north and south of the river Yellagonga, Herdsman Lake and Beeliar regional parks feature a series of shallow freshwater lakes which are important wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife and have picnic areas and trails.
- North of the city, Yanchep National Park has kangaroos, koalas and abundant birdlife. There are also extensive lawns with shaded picnic facilities, walk trails through natural bushland, cave and cultural tours, a golf course, visitor centre, tearooms, a campground and the Yanchep Inn.
- South of the city and close to the coast, Yalgorup National Park features thrombolites and the Yalgorup lakes. The lakes are Ramsar-listed wetlands which attract migratory birds from around the world. Explore walk trails throughout the park or book a campsite at Martins Tank campground and share an overnight stay with kangaroos, possums and other wildlife.
Several parks in the hills near Perth are within easy reach for scenic drives, picnics and short walks.
May to November are the best months of the year to explore natural woodlands with moderate temperatures and streams and waterfalls running freely following rains. Wildflowers appear in the hills and throughout the Perth area in spring and are at their brilliant best from September to November.
- Walk or cycle the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail above the waterfalls in John Forrest National Park.
- Walk the river trails and enjoy a picnic while kayakers tackle rapids on the Swan River in Walyunga National Park.
- Beelu National Park as well as Mundy, Banyowla and Wungong regional parks are also excellent walking and sightseeing options.
- Take a day trip about 100km south of Perth to Lane Poole Reserve near Dwellingup. There are picnic areas and river access for canoeing and kayaking. You can also book to stay overnight in one of the campgrounds.
Perth is blessed with almost 100km of fabulous Indian Ocean coastline with limestone reefs offshore, shallow seagrass-filled basins and plentiful white-sand beaches.
- Marmion Marine Park has excellent opportunities for all forms of water-based activities. Swim in the beach enclosure at Sorrento, snorkel the lagoon at Mettams Pool or surf at Mullaloo. Diving, fishing and whale watching charters are available at Hillarys Boat Harbour.
- Shoalwater Islands Marine Park has protected beaches and great conditions for water activities. Book a tour to see dolphins and sealions. From September to June take the ferry to Penguin Island, explore the boardwalks and beaches and see the penguins at the Discovery Centre. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day on the island.
Perth faces west and watching a sunset over the water can be a perfect way to finish a day.
Tips on the weather
Perth’s climate enables outdoor activities year-round.
- April to November favour longer walks and cycle rides and the mild climate permits beach and on-water activities in good weather.
- Even on cool days be prepared for plenty of sunshine, carry drinking water, apply sunscreen and always wear a hat.
- Most rain falls between May and August so pack rain protection and be prepared to take shelter if rain is likely.
- Keep an eye on the weather using your favourite weather app or bom.gov.au and plan your activities for the most suitable times.
- Plan where to go and what to do at Explore Parks WA.
- Find details about WA’s most popular trails at TrailsWA.
- Follow @ExploreParksWA on Instagram or Facebook and share your experiences, photos and clips using #parkexplorers.
- Download Park Finder WA from the App Store to find parks near you with the activities and facilities you like.
- To save time and money, purchase either a four-week Holiday Pass or an Annual All Parks Pass and save on park entry fees at shop.dpaw.wa.gov.au
- For details about campgrounds, camping tips and booking online visit parkstay.dbca.wa.gov.au.
- The best place to start for accommodation, tours and things to do on a Western Australian holiday is westernaustralia.com, Destination Perth and Trust the Tick.