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Daintree Discovery Centre or join a gentle wildlife cruise down the Daintree River to spot estuarine crocodiles, birds, frogs, snakes and lizards. Beyond the trees, the Daintree also offers beautiful beaches with shallow, warm, tropical waters. You’ll find them clustered in the north near Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the only place in the world where two World Heritage sites connect.


 

Day 5: CROSS THE COUNTRY TO PERTH

Kings Park, Perth,
Western Australia

From Cairns it generally takes just over five hours to fly to Perth, the capital of Western Australia – don’t forget to set your watch back. In the afternoon head to Kings Park, one of the world’s largest inner city parks offering splendid views over the Swan River and city skyline. Here you’ll find the Western Australian Botanic Garden which features more than 3000 species of native flora. During spring (September-November) the park is transformed with a wonderful display of wildflowers. For dinner head to Brookfield Place located off St Georges Terrace, which offers an innovative blend of heritage and high-rise buildings. Eat at Print Hall, a multi-level, brasserie-style restaurant, or The Trustee Bar and Bistro, where you can find a range of delicacies such as oysters, lobster and aged black Angus sirloin. Its wine list is epic. Afterwards visit Helvetica, a hidden bar with a great selection of whisky and cocktails.

 

DAY 6: SEE FREMANTLE AND ROTTNEST ISLAND

Rottnest Island,
Western Australia

Leave Perth early for the nearby port city of Fremantle, which boasts one of the best preserved 19th century port streetscapes in the world. It is just 30 minutes by car or train from Perth. There’s also a ferry option from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty. Visit the Round House, built as a jail in 1831 and the oldest public building in Western Australia, Fremantle Prison and the impressive Western Australian Maritime Museum. Foodies and craft lovers will be right at home at Fremantle Markets, while shoppers can find a range of local design shops and art galleries along Market and High streets. Beer aficionados will love the guided tours of Little Creatures and small batch brewer The Monk Brewery. Hop on a ferry for the 25 minute ride to Rottnest Island. Located 19 kilometres (12 miles) off the coast, the island is surrounded by aquamarine waters. As there are no cars on the island, Rottnest’s 63 beaches and 20 secluded bays are best explored on bicycle. Keep your eyes peeled for the resident quokkas, cute marsupials with brown-grey fur. Enjoy snorkelling at Parker Point and Little Salmon Bay and go birdwatching for wedge-tailed shearwaters and osprey. Spend the night at one of the many accommodation options on Rottnest Island, or catch the late afternoon ferry back to Fremantle.

 

DAY 7-8: SPEND TWO DAYS EXPLORING EXMOUTH

Exmouth, Ningaloo Marine Park,
Western Australia

From Perth fly just under two hours north to Exmouth, which will be your base for the next two days while you explore the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. A 260 klilometre (162 mile) coral reef fringes this glorious coastline and its waters are rich with tropical fish, manta rays and the harmless whale shark. Turquoise Bay is a great place to try snorkelling for the first time, with its clear, shallow water brimming with colourful corals. For more snorkelling head around two hours south of Exmouth to Coral Bay, where you can swim to the reef directly off the beach. Want to try scuba diving? There are a number of half and full day diving tours to experience this breathtaking underworld.

Further south where the red earth meets the white sand, dolphins and dugongs can be hand fed at Monkey Mia and Shark Bay. Friendly, bottlenose dolphins regularly swim to Monkey Mia’s shore in the mornings, and feeding times occur between 7.30am and noon. At Monkey Mia you can also join a wildlife cruise to see dugongs and turtles. You’ll find a number of resorts and holiday cottages in Exmouth and Shark Bay, but for a luxury experience look no further than Sal Salis, which offers 16 safari tents tucked into the sand dunes beside the Ningaloo coast.

 

DAY 9: BACK IN PERTH

Alex Hotel, Perth,
Western Australia

Fly back to Perth from Exmouth and spend your afternoon visiting Northbridge, a short 10 minute walk from the city centre. The area is known for its delicious global flavours, including Indian street food at Sauma and waffles at Superstar Waffles. William Street is great for one-off shops and eclectic gifts, including Ruck RoverMerge and William Topp. Northbridge is also home to one of Perth’s hottest boutique hotels, Alex Hotel, which is located in among a batch of great restaurants and bars. For a culture fix spend the afternoon exploring the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum or the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), or alternatively, you may prefer to just kick back on Cottesloe Beach and watch the sun set over the ocean. In the evening, discover Perth’s booming small bar scene, hitting Ezra Pound or live music joint The Bird.

 

DAY 10: SIP WINE IN THE SWAN VALLEY

Lancaster Wines, Swan Valley,
Western Australia

For your final day, head out to the Swan Valley, less than a 30 minute drive east from Perth and the closest wine region to any capital city in Australia. Explore the National Trust town of Guilford, established in 1829 as the market town of the Swan River Colony. Enjoy self-guided walks around town to see Stirling Square shaded by ancient sugar gums as well as historic buildings including the Rose & Crown Pub, still a popular with the locals. Pick up a food and wine trail map from the Swan Valley Visitor Centre to explore Western Australia’s oldest wine region, largely developed by Croatian farmers that migrated to Australia after World War I. Visit Swan Valley pioneers Sandalford Wines and Houghton, which are now large estates, as well as boutique wineries such as Ugly Duckling Wines. Visit Lancaster’s renowned tasting shed for a selection of wines paired with local cheeses, then pick up gourmet treats from The House of Honey and Mondo Nougat and Chocolate. Return to Perth for your final night.

MAKE YOUR TRIP HAPPEN

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