I think part of the reason why I loved living in Perth for a couple of months was because I had a refreshing take of city; the Perth Hills. I was lucky enough to have some family living there who showed me around the area (and we all know locals advice is always the best way to explore a country!) and I loved the refreshing atmosphere of the vicinity. There’s so many different things to do in the Perth Hills that will satisfy all travellers; from great coffee to multi-day hikes to some of Perth’s most intriguing history – there’s no doubt that you’ll love exploring the Perth Hills.
How to travel around the Perth Hills
The Perth Hills are best explored by car and they are located about half an hour east of the city centre. If you don’t have a car, train or bus to various destinations are an option (but getting from place to place may be a problem!). While the weather in the Perth Hills is obviously similar to that of the city centre, the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ does not reach the area; meaning it can get very hot during the summer. It’s a great area to explore in Spring and Autumn – I was there in late April and the weather was still beautiful!
One of the main things to do in the Perth Hills is just drive around and admire the natural scenery, enjoy the tranquillity of the rolling slopes and admire some of the huge houses! But if you’re after a caffine, cider or kangaroo fix, you’ll definitely find your bliss in the Perth Hills. Here’s just some of the very best things to do in the Perth Hills…
Bolt Coffee Yard
Some of the best coffee I’ve ever had is at Bolt café. It’s a coffee shop with a difference; instead of one building, it consists of a shack and lots of outside mish mash seating. To be honest, the outside looks a bit like a junkyard, with all sorts of different chairs and tables – but it really works. The owner loves coffee and will happily discuss caffine with you for hours!
If you’re after something a bit stronger than coffee, head down to Core. Set amongst a beautifully tranquil orchard, Core serves some of the very best cider in Perth. The cider bar has been a family business for three generations and has evolved from an Italian apple-tree growing enterprise to a recognised company with own branded ciders. Choose a sample tray with different flavours, or settle on a pint or half pint of the drink. They also do fantastic food and the setting is unmatchable – especially during Perth’s seemingly endless summer.
Kangaroos and more at Mundaring
Mundaring is one of the only places to spot kangaroos that’s within the city centre, making it one of the most unique things to do in the Perth Hills. Visit during the afternoon and you’ll be graced with dozens of them. They’re fairly friendly, but be sure not to startle or scare them and remember not to feed them!
But spotting Australia’s most famous animal isn’t all that there is to do in Mundaring. It’s known as ‘The Heart of the Perth Hills’ and is home to art centers, galleries, walking trails and cultural exhibits.
The John Forrest National Park is the oldest gazetted national park in Western Australia which makes for a gorgeous drive. There’s also a range of pubs and quirky cafes that are perfect to grab a pint or a coffee and watching the world go by.
The Historic Town of Guildford
The Guildford Hotel; which is located in the historic town of Guildford in the Perth Hills, was the location of a tragedy a few years ago. It’s not sure whether it was an accident or arson attempt, but the entire hotel burnt down. But instead of refurbishing the building, the owners embraced this and reopened it as a pub and restaurant with a very different theme. At the Guildford Hotel, you’ll see burnt out floorboards and old fireplaces in the middle of walls; because they’ve half refurbished it, changed some of the ceiling sizes and left random pieces of the old hotel in place. It’s a really interesting building to explore, and they serve pretty good beer too.
The Zig Zag
The Zig Zag is a winding road cutting into one of Perth’s steepest hills. Its turns are so sharp cars have to back on themselves to get around corners, and of course it offers one of the best views of the city; making it one of the most unique things to do in the Perth Hills. Zig zaggers can marvel as they see the airport surrounded by bushland, the medium rises of south Perth and skyline of Perth proper, and eventually the gorgeous coastline of the city.
Tour Around the Vineyards
Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, the Perth Hills is home to an abundance of vineyards and wineries that make for a fantastic thirsty tourist’s afternoons exploration. There’s lots of places to visit, many of which will offer free samples and all in a wonderfully picturesque setting. As long as someone doesn’t mind being the designated driver, touring around the Perth Hills visiting vineyard after vineyard is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon in the area! Here’s some Perth Hills Wine Routes.
The Bibbulmun Track spans through some of Western Australia’s densest woodland from the Perth Hills all the way down to Albany. If you want to walk the entire track, you’ll need six weeks and a support plan – or you can just walk the wonderfully scenic first part from Kalumunda to Mundaring and enjoy a night of solitude staying at a hut in the middle of nowhere. Definitely not the urban Perth experience you were thinking of, right?
You don’t know local until you’ve seen Kalumunda Markets. With authentic products straight from the farmer, the markets offer an array of products such as chutneys, oils, breads and heaps more. There’s also lots of street food stalls and a busy fruit and veg market. The markets have a wonderful atmosphere and early on a Sunday morning the markets are teeming with life, often with live music and entertainment acts.
The Perth Hills are a wonderful break from the city and help travellers to Perth see a completely different side of the city. It’s a wonderful part of Western Australia; so definitely schedule a few days in the Perth Hills when you visit the state!