In June, I spent three weeks on a remote-working vacation in Australia, visiting my former San Francisco roommate and one of my best friends in the world. Each of the posts from my time in Australia can be viewed here.
As a freelancer, taking time off has implications for my income, so while in Australia, continuing to work part-time and opting for budget-friendly adventures were a must. My time in Western Australia was incredible, and it's hard for me to pick a favorite place or activity. That being said, below are a few of my favorite adventures from the Perth area (and beyond!) that won't break the bank.
TAKE A BIKE ADVENTURE ON ROTTNEST ISLAND
Kal, Jessie (our friend whose visit overlapped a few days with mine) and I spent a day on Rottnest Island (above) and it did not disappoint. Touring by (rented) bikes, there were plenty of gorgeous ocean views, bright blue water, and beachside relaxing - plus fluffy little creatures called quokkas running amok. You can reach the island via a short ferry and easily spend a day exploring (overnight accommodations are available on the island as well). We went in the off-season of winter, which meant we had the place to ourselves, however summer is a great (albeit more crowded) time to visit, and will allow for some solid beach time.
SHOP SMALL WITH LOCAL BOUTIQUES (AND, FOR NOW, AN AWESOME EXCHANGE RATE)
There's no shortage of shopping opportunities in the greater Perth area - boho boutiques, awesome surf shops, and everything in between. To keep it budget friendly, I spent most of my time window shopping and admiring, but I did leave town with some awesome face oil, yoga gear, and a perfect crewneck sweatshirt. I still sometimes think about the beautiful orange sweaterblanket I left behind at an "op-shop" (the Australian version of the American thrift shop) which are great ways to score some deals. I loved the corner at Ginger Owl in Scarborough shown above, with a print that reads "Long Live the Reckless and the Brave" and a candle that says "A passionate woman is worth the chaos." Indeed.
GO FOR A WALK IN KINGS PARK & BOTANIC GARDENS
A scenic destination with great views of the downtown Perth skyline, Kings Park is a great spot to walk or picnic. There's plenty of uniquely Australian plants and trees, and a glass lined aerial walkway provides a cool perspective as well. The park is also gorgeous spot to run, and Jacob's Ladder (a popular walking/running destination comprised of just under 300 stairs) is located along the boundary of the park.
TAKE A ROAD TRIP TO WINE COUNTRY
As with similar regions in the U.S., a trip to wine country is as expensive as you want to make it. At a minimum, you'll need to pay for pours, transportation, lodging, and food. We went as a group, and found an awesome airbnb rental for the weekend (which meant significant savings on our lodging costs). With a vehicle already at our disposal, we were free to roam around the region, hitting up wineries, breweries, nearby parks, and checking out early morning surf. We also cooked family-style dinners, which saved majorly on the overall price tag and created a great ending to each day. (A full post with details on our Margaret River roadtrip is available here.)
VISIT BORANUP KARRI FOREST
Also near the wineries of Margaret River is the incredible Boranup Karri Tree Forest. If you're already taking a trek to the Margaret River region, definitely add a drive through this magical forest to your list. (Check out the full post on my trek through the forest here.) If you're in the area and on the hunt for gorgeous natural sites, Cape Naturaliste is full of beauty as well.
BEACH WALKS & SURF SPOT SPECTATING
While I haven't yet learned to surf (definitely still on my life to-do list), there's still something totally transfixing about watching riders catch waves. Situated right on the Indian Ocean, Perth has plenty of public beach areas, perfect for a walk in the sand. The surf isn't always ideal, but every once in a while, you can grab a spot on the beach and watch riders catch waves 'til the sun goes down.
GET YOUR FITNESS ON
One of my favorite ways to see a city is by running. Perth has some great options - sandy beaches, paved routes overlooking the Indian Ocean, paths with views of the Swan River, not to mention city running. During my visit, I had the chance to run the Perth Marathon and participate in a three-hour yoga marathon fundraiser - both were great for the body and soul, while providing opportunities get a feel for the Perth community. While rates may vary, there's something to be said about breaking a sweat to get a feel for a new location. (Read the full post on my Perth Marathon experience here.)
FEASTING IN FREO
Fremantle (aka Freo) has a ton of delicious restaurants and cafes (seriously - our list of food spot possibilities was a mile long), plus street art, plenty of shops, and a historic downtown. While there are plenty of high-end destinations that aren't so budget-friendly, there's an equal amount of food spots and coffee shops that won't break the bank. (And everyone's gotta eat - right?) It's definitely worth a visit, even just to wander throughout the historic port town - for a list of how I spent a few days in Freo, click here.
FOOD SPOTS & COFFEE SHOPS
While I LOVED the road trips and multi-day adventures in Western Australia, the times spent in coffee shops, holed up at happy hours, and chatting over meals were just as fun and meaningful. There's no shortage of cute coffee and food spots - and treating yourself to a taro or matcha latte every once in a while (like those pictured above) is worth the $5 dollars here and there.
Western Australia is HUGE - so there's definitely some destinations that remain on my future travel list (which, I must admit, is mostly inspired by Pinterest at this point). I'm already scheming a return visit (perhaps during Australia's summer next time) - below are some additional sights in WA that I'd love to see the next go 'round:
On of the "pink lakes" taking Pinterest travel boards by storm, Hutt Lagoon is a salt lake located in Port Gregory, and it looks pretty cool to me. [Image via Amusing Planet]
Located in Broome, the Horizontal Falls (apparently nicknamed the "Horries"?) are actually fast-moving tides that flow through two narrow gorges; the direction of the flow changes with each change of the tide. [Image via Horizontal Falls Adventures]
KALBARRI NATIONAL PARK
Kalbarri features gorgeous rock formations and unreal wildflowers in the spring. Located well North of Perth, the park would make a great destination for a weekend trip. [Image via Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife]
Been to Western Australia? Share some of your favorite spots I've missed in the comments below!