Malaysians, rejoice - long weekends abound in 2018, thanks to the festive holidays falling close to the start and end of many working weeks. Contrary to popular belief, holidays need not be long to truly enjoy a destination, and Western Australia is the perfect place for a brief escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Time to pack your bags and get your traveller’s hat on !
Go out to town
The stunning port town of Fremantle (or ‘Freo’ by the locals) is a unique bohemian destination that brings together the nostalgia of the past and the vibrancy of a contemporary city. At 150 structures, the town is home to the largest collection of heritage-listed buildings classified by the National Trust.
Soak in calming views of the harbour at Cappuccino Strip as you savour a steaming cup of boardwalk coffee, or stop by the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour for a plate of fish and chips. Every weekend, the Fremantle Market is where you can find everything from food and clothing to art products and homeware.
Get pampering treatment
Indulge in the best food luxury can afford, pair it with the lush scenery of the region, and leave your work woes behind at Swan Valley, Australia’s oldest wine-growing region. Spanning 32 kilometres, the Food & Wine Trail takes visitors past more than 150 wineries, eateries and art galleries - minus the hassle of figuring out directions to each location yourself.
Besides fine food and wine, there are many other activities to enjoy, from horse riding, cycling, hiking and golf to wildlife, art, history and Indigenous culture. For a taste of WA’s local produce, make your way to Bickley and Carmel Valleys, where clusters of boutique wineries, vineyards, and open orchards await. Here, you can also explore the forest in style – by riding a camel!
Explore the great outdoors
Caversham Wildlife Park is home to one of WA’s largest collections of native Australian wildlife where close encounters with koalas, wombats, kangaroos and a whole array of farm animals can be found.
Then there is Mundaring, known as the Heart of the Hills. Nestled in the rich region of Perth Hills, it has a majestic forest, bushwalking trails dotted with wildflowers, as well as flora and fauna native to WA. Choose to have a luxurious picnic by the sparkling waters of Lake Leschenaultia, or savour award-winning gourmet wines and meals as you traverse the dazzling greenery.
Sand, surf, and sea
Surf’s up in WA, where the spectacular sun-kissed coastline meets breathtaking views of the sea and sky. Perth alone has 19 beaches that play host to numerous activities – be it surfing and snorkelling, or dining by the beach and watching the sunset.
Anticipate blissful relaxation at Cockburn Sound and Rockingham, or visit Cottesloe Beach for its towering Norfolk pines and sloping grassy banks. Nearby, separated by a small cove, is Floreat - an expanse of pristine white sand that stretches all the way to Scarborough.
Up close and personal
For those looking for an encounter with intelligent creatures of the sea, take Mandurah’s renowned boat cruise through the canals, where adorable bottlenose dolphins often come around to play with their human friends. There, you'll also find some of Australia's most spectacular waterways, including the Peel-Harvey estuary, which is twice the size of Sydney Harbour and blessed with abundant wildlife, pristine beaches, beautiful blue-green waters and a buzzing foreshore area.
Return to nature
One of the most mesmerising, memorable experiences in WA can be found at Northam in Avon Valley, where you can try hot air ballooning over the rolling hills and pastures. Avon River flows through the town, blessing it with scenic countryside and tree-lined grassy banks popular with picnickers.
Meanwhile, nature aficionados will feel right at home in any one of WA’s national parks. Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park is testament to the region’s wonders of nature, where the sands of time have crafted magnificent limestone spires up to five metres high!