Being busy all week often means weekends can be flat out as well. I find after a hectic week at work, the weekend can be sucked away catching up on chores and other commitments. It also means we don’t get away camping as often as we like.
Day trips are perfect for times when you need to getaway from, you know, “life” but don’t have the time for an extended break. And there are plenty of great places and experiences available within a short drive from the city.
These options are great for a long weekend or just any weekend to get away for a day and enjoy time out. We find day trips are a great way to not only have a day off, but to explore new locations we may potentially return to for a weekend camping trip.
Being from Mandurah, I’m a little biased. Growing up, I disliked being stuck in the sleepy town but we’ve both grown up and now I’ve come to enjoy the holiday vibe of the town whenever I visit. Mandurah offers a range of different experiences, depending on your day trip plans.
For 4wding, I recommend Whitehills Beach, a short drive south. Tim’s Thicket is popular for fishing and the estuary also offers plenty to do such as crabbing, boating and fishing. The beaches are great on a hot day and if you are feeling social, the marina and foreshore have plenty of places to eat and relax. They are also your starting point if you want to hire boats or bikes or a floating BBQ. If not, pack a picnic and there are quiet places along the estuary to enjoy the outdoors (try Dawesville).
Mandurah is great for a day trip, but with so much to do, you will likely want to stay longer to get the most out of the area.
Dwellingup is a dream for a weekend escape to the country. It’s hard to believe you’re only an hour and a half away from the city. It’s a beautiful drive and if you turn off South West Highway and take Del Park Road, you’ll be transported through stunning forest, which looks great anytime of year but winter is especially lush.
There is so much to do that you will likely be back for a longer stay, but Dwellingup makes a pleasant day trip adventure. Explore the town, go to the Visitors Centre and learn about the town’s history (and see the awesome orange fire truck), eat at the Blue Wren Cafe or pub or drive out to Lane Poole Reserve or Marrinup for bushwalking, mountain biking, kayaking and 4wding. Nearby North Dandalup and South Dandalup dams are also great spots for a picnic.
Toodyay is one of our favourite destinations in the cooler months. There are opportunities for great drives in the area. Head to the Julimar Forest for 4wding or bushwalking or turn off before you get to town and follow one of the meandering roads through the hills. We’ve had a couple of picnic lunches in the bush in this area, just by pulling over off the road and finding a shaded patch with a stunning view. I can see why the town and surrounding area is a popular destination for bike riders.
During the Avon Descent, the town comes alive with the event and the accompanying International Food Festival. However, a sunny winter’s Sunday can see plenty happening in town and the Avon Valley National Park is a scenic stop along the way for more bushwalking, BBQ or camping if you want to make it more than just a day trip and explore the area further.
GinGin is a good option for a low-key kind of day. There are plenty of backroads to explore in this area and it is picturesque countryside, making it a great destination for photography. Easy walks and country drives are a main feature around the town. Take a short walk through the dense wetlands in the town centre and find out more about the historic town and surrounding area. There’s also the Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory.
On our last visit, we spent a long time simply wandering the town, admiring the parks, gardens and old homes and churches. The unassuming town is a wonderful place to relax and simply wander and take in a little history and country life.
Easy to get to, we have made the trip to Moore River (Guilderton) several times over the years when we’ve had a lazy weekend free. Summer time is great for swimming in the river or the ocean or hiring a kayak. At certain times of the year, the river pushes through into the ocean and the lookout provides a great view over the river mouth.
Moore River is another low-key, easy day trip where you can choose to simply wander and enjoy the laidback holiday vibe of the town or take on something more active for the day. 4wding and beach fishing is popular and you can get access to the beach from the beach carpark at the end of Mortimer Road. Otherwise, you can fish in the river, and there are some four wheel drive track entrances from the main road before the Moore River turn off.