Surprising experiences in and around Perth that you should UnDiscover

Western Australia’s capital and its surrounds are set to take your breath away with unusual and unreal landscapes and activities

Day or night, the Pinnacles Desert is a photographer’s dream destination. PHOTOS: TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Day or night, the Pinnacles Desert is a photographer’s dream destination. PHOTOS: TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

According to a survey conducted by Tourism Australia started in 2016, the majority of Singaporeans think that Australia is a daytime destination with little to offer foodies. Many believe that the only attractions in the country are its amazing beaches, koalas and kangaroos.

They’re not entirely wrong. From ridiculously clear waters to furry kangaroos, Australia is not short of world-class beaches and unique wildlife. However, to think of Australia as a destination solely with these experiences is a disservice to a land rich in strange and beautiful landscapes, food and nature.

In the Western Australian capital of Perth alone, there is plenty to see and do beyond marsupials and surfing.

The UnDiscover Australia: 8D6N Perth, Coral Coast + Pink Lake package from Dynasty Travel will open your eyes to the wonders that Perth and its surrounds hold, and will likely debunk common misconceptions that Singaporeans have about the country.

Misconception: Australia is all about amazing beaches and little else.

Reality: The notion that Western Australia (WA) has some beautiful beaches still holds true, but there are many more of nature’s wonders to be found here. The moonscapes of the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park are a prime example.

Imagine a 175 sq km span of desert land, specked with thousands upon thousands of limestone pillars. These pillars, collectively called The Pinnacles, are believed to have been formed underground, possibly up to 30,000 years ago. Ranging in height, from a few centimetres to as high as 5m, The Pinnacles are found in Nambung National Park located about a two-hour drive north of Perth.

Not to be outdone, Kalbarri National Park boasts scenic gorges, red-and-white banded sandstone and coastal cliffs. It is a four and a half hours’ drive from Namburg National Park.

Nature’s Window is a wind-eroded opening in the layered sandstone that frames a view of the Murchison River.

The park is home to a rock arch known as Nature’s Window, which frames the rugged upstream view of the Murchison River. Formed from layers of Tumblagooda Sandstone, Nature’s Window is one of WA’s most iconic natural attractions.

If you are travelling from Kalbarri, then the Hutt Lagoon or Pink Lake at Port Gregory is a must-visit. Just over a half hour’s drive from Kalbarri National Park, the salt lake is dyed a vibrant shade of pink by carotenoid-producing algae. Depending on the time of day, season and cloud cover, the lake reflects a spectrum of reds, pinks and lilacs.

The contrasting colours of the ocean and the Pink Lake at Port Gregory can only be viewed via a scenic flight.

To bring you closer to this mesmerising body of water, Dynasty Travel’s package offers a scenic flight over the lake. The hour-long flight takes you above the coastal line, providing Instagram-worthy views of the massive lake and the contrasting colours of the ocean.

Then, embark on a four-hour drive from Port Gregory to the Lancelin Sands Dunes, where kids and adults alike will have a ball sandboarding down pure white sand dunes. From the peaks of the sand dunes, some of which reach three storeys high, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Lancelin, and the surrounding farmland, sand hills and coastline.

Kings Park is also home to the Western Australia Botanic Garden where a collection of 3,000 native flora thrives.

No visit to Perth is complete without a visit to Kings Park, one of the world’s largest inner city parks. Overlooking the city and the silken blue waters of the Swan River, the park is a great stop for relaxation, inspiration and recreation.

Misconception: Australia is not a foodies’ destination.

Reality: Perth’s location along a vast coastline makes it a seafood lover’s paradise. One of the culinary attractions en route to The Pinnacles is Lobster Shack, where you can enjoy snap-fresh lobsters caught during fishing trips in the same day.

There is even a stop at Illegal Tender Rum Co, a boutique distillery in Dongara, four hours’ north of Perth. While here, take the opportunity to sample and stock up on world-class spirits. The distillery offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, which will take you through the rum distilling process.

For a taste of heritage, visit the iconic Fremantle Markets. Established in 1897, the public market is a food haven just under a 40-minute drive from Perth. Pick and choose from an array of unique wares, fresh local produce and handicrafts from more than 150 stalls. The market opens from Friday to Sunday.

Misconception: Australia is a daytime destination.

Reality: Malls and retail outlets in Australia tend to close before sunset, making it easy to assume that there’s little to do at night. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

One of the highlights of Dynasty Travel’s package is The Pinnacles Sunset Experience, which takes you to the site at dusk where you pick your spot to view the sunset. As the sun goes down, be mesmerised by limestone structures awash in shifting red and pink hues.

With amazing views of the Milky Way, as well as Aboriginal stories shared by your guide, there’s no doubt that you’ll be thanking your lucky stars for this surreal experience.

Misconception: Australia is all about koalas and kangaroos.

Reality: Koalas and kangaroos are native to Australia and most first-time tourists to the country make it a point to see these animals when they are there. However, there is another furry animal that you should consider adding to the mix – the quokkas.

Score a selfie with a quokka, which has been described as the world’s happiest animal, at Rottnest Island.

Found only on Rottnest Island, a 90-minute ferry ride from Perth city, these endearingly cute critters have permanently cheeky grins on their faces, earning them the name of “the happiest animal on earth”.

As you search for this popular photo subject — look up #quokkaselfie on Instagram — don’t miss the island’s diverse flora and fauna, and dedicate some time to exploring Thomson Bay, the village centre of the island. The popular sightseeing spot in Rottnest Island has many historical buildings, a roped-off swimming area popular with young families and plenty of food and beverage options for you to fuel up with.

Dynasty Travel’s 8D6N Perth, Coral Coast + Pink Lake package is open for bookings, with departure months from October 2019 till March 2020. Prices start from $2,988 per person and taxes from $155.