Not only is Perth a great city, the surrounding area is full of other opportunities to explore. We chose to spend our Easter Sunday hiking in John Forrest National Park, just 15 minutes drive from our campsite.
The park is the second oldest national park in Australia, and oldest in Western Australia. We decided to get there early to avoid the midday heat, and were almost the first people there.
We were feeling adventurous and chose to take the 15km Eagle Trail. The park looked worrying like the safari park we recently went to in Sri Lanka, but thankfully there were no leopards in sight.
We were rewarded for choosing the longest trail by impressive views of the surrounding area, including the distant Perth skyline. Well done if you can spot it! We followed this up with the parks scenic drive, which was considerably less impressive.
Probably our favourite place we visited around Perth was Swan Valley, where we spent an afternoon driving around the 32km food and wine trail, sampling all sorts of local produce for free! While most people visit as part of arranged tours we decided it would be more fun (and cheaper!) to just do it ourselves.
First up was the Yahava koffeworks, where we tried three of their speciality coffees, as well as chocolate coated coffee beans. The winner here was definitely the Kahava blend from southern India.
The main attraction of the valley is the wine, with those produced here well renowned across Australia. We managed to sample a variety of red and whites, and didn’t seem to annoy anyone by not actually buying anything. In fact the most difficult part was being asked what we thought with neither of us managing anything better than ‘that’s really nice’ after each one.
Of course there was also time to visit several of the valleys brewery’s, where we sampled a selection of locally produced beer and cider. The highlight was definitely the taster board at Feral Brewing, with the best of these the Hop Hog IPA.
We also managed to sample some local honey, chocolate and jams, with only time stopping us from visiting more of the valleys 150 producers. We finished the afternoon watching the sunset behind one of the many vineyards.
By far the weirdest place we have been so far in Australia, and maybe ever, was Gnomesville, just a short drive from Bunbury. Apparently started with several gnomes as a protest against the installation of a new roundabout, this has now turned into a tourist attraction in its own right.
The collection of gnomes has been added to by visitors from all over the world and has to be seen to be believed. It was all very strange and a little bit creepy, but always good to find something a little out of the ordinary.