While I love to travel for myself, there is also something to be said for sharing your local region with guests. After living in one place for a while as we start to do as we enter the Thirty Fraternity, we begin to receive guests. Receiving guests is fantastic for all manner of reasons, but one of the best bits is sharing your intimate knowledge of the adventures on offer in your corner of the world. This is the only time I’ve ever been eager to travel the same ground more than once or twice, in fact I’ll admit that a large part of the reason that I look forward to guests is to give them the grand tour!
Having lived in Perth for a few years now, I’ve come up with a few options for guest tours depending on the time available and the adventure tolerance of the current visitori (as they are known in our clan). There’s the trip north including Lancelin, Kalbarri, Geraldton and Carnarvon (the subject of future blogs no doubt). Then there is the obligatory coastal investigation including Penguin Island, Mandurah and the Northern Beaches. Rottnest is a great opportunity to send guests off on their own (not my favorite for regular return voyages, but magical in its own right). My top pick however is a trip south.
I’ve devised two main routes for a guest trip south depending on time and travel endurance. Firstly there is the day trip from Perth through Bussellton to Yallingup and then along the Caves Road to Augusta before a trip past the Dave Evans Bicentennial tree and home. This is an ambitious trip for a single day, but as someone who doesn’t mind spending a fair bit of time behind the wheel; it affords the opportunity to show off a lot of country to a short term guest. There are plenty of opportunities to tailor the trip too, from surfing stops to wineries, cave exploration to the opportunity to watch the sun go down over two oceans simultaneously at Augusta while sipping a beer next to your choice of an old water wheel or the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse. Alternatively you could divert to Gnomesville (another future blog) or spend some time jumping over and off rocks at Canal Rocks (a personal favorite of mine) near Yallingup. In order to make this 800Km+ journey, you’ll need to set off well before 6am and expect to return not much shy of 10pm, but the ride down and up the Kwinana freeway is always more pleasant in the traffic free half light of dawn or dusk (however always be wary of kangaroos).
Given a little more time and a captivated audience, you can add to this day trip by extending east along the south coast. Given a weekend it is possible to add the Valley of the Giants tree top walk near Denmark as well as any number of spectacular Southern Ocean beach stops including Green’s Pool and Elephant Rocks. This second day is easily fuelled by top restaurants, boutique Chocolate chateaus, cellar doors, ice cream shops and enough pastry to keep you full for days. Add a few more days and Albany becomes a possibility with more fantastic sights and experiences. I recommend 1849 Backpackers as a friendly and pleasant stop while you tour the brilliant beaches, wander the Whaling museum and sample a drop at The Great Southern Distillery (which is both southern and great)!
From Albany it is possible to tackle Bluff Knoll, Western Australia’s highest peak and the only snow you’ll find on the West Coast. Allow half a day to climb, although it can be done by the super keen (and fairly fit) in under an hour. Don’t miss Castle Hill midway between Bluff Knoll and Albany either – It’s an excellent scramble to the skywalk at the top.
If you’re taking five days to travel, why not extend to eight or nine and add Esperance to your overland adventure where you can show your guests a full sized replica of Stonehenge situated among the cows in a paddock near Lucky Bay and (arguably) the most epic beach in the country.
Finally, having come so far, why not smash out a 1400km day of driving (so long as you share the driving load) and take a detour through Kalgoorlie to Hyden and Wave rock? It’s a massive haul, but it will allow you to link up with the single day trip and return to Perth via the Bicentennial tree and Gnomesville.
Obviously this is a very brief outline of what is possible and I will endeavor to flesh out elements of these trips in future blogs, but it serves to illustrate that there is a hell of a lot to see not far from home and perhaps we shouldn’t rely on having the visitori swing by before making sure we see it.