Commercial ferry operators are all based at Barrack St Jetty and offer cruises up and down the Swan River – to Fremantle in one direction and the Swan Valley in the other. Bus and 4WD tours also leave daily in all directions from Perth, with popular destinations including the peculiar Pinnacles, near Cervantes, the wineries of the Upper Swan Valley, New Norcia, Wave Rock and even the Tree Top Walk near Walpole – the last two entailing a long day on a bus.
For the Southwest, overnight tours are better: a three-night trip will typically pack in all the highlights in a loop via Albany. North of Perth the west-coast hotspots after the Pinnacles are Kalbarri, Shark Bay and then Coral Bay on Ningaloo Reef, with four days or more being a good relaxed pace for the trip up. From here some tours shoot back down to Perth; others head inland to Karijini National Park in the Pilbara, something that’s well worth the effort if you’ve come this far north, though not generally accessible during the wet season (Nov–May). In the Northwest, there are many companies specializing in tours of the Kimberley.
Boat trips and Cruises
A number of tour operators also specialize in Rottnest Island and the Swan Valley.
Captain Cook Cruises
08 9325 3341, captaincookcruises.com.au. A whole range of tours on the Swan River including wine cruises up the Swan Valley ($99–165), trips to Fremantle (from $27 one way and $37 return), twilight sightseeing cruises ($29) and Perth’s only dinner cruise (from $120).
Golden Sun Cruises
08 9325 9916, goldensuncruises.com.au. Cruises upriver to visit the National Trust property at Tranby House, historic Guildford, and the Swan Valley wineries ($45–70). Also downriver cruises to Fremantle ($25 return, $18 one way) and bus tours of Freo ($10).
Jet Boat Adventures
1300 554 026, swanjet.com. Take to the water on a jet boat to travel at up to 80km/hr with a continuous mix of 360-degree turns, fish tail spins and power brake stops (25min, $55). You can also add a 15-minute helicopter flight over the city and Fremantle ($255) or a spin along the riverside on a Harley ($149).
08 9325 1191, oceaniccruises.com.au. Two-hour whale-watching adventures on which sightings are practically guaranteed (mid-Sept to early Dec), leaving from Fremantle ($67) and Perth ($77). Boats have large viewing decks and an interpretive DVD.
Red Earth Safaris
08 9279 9011 or t 1800 501 968, redearthsafaris.com.au. One-way and return tours to Exmouth. The northbound journey takes six days and includes the Pinnacles, Kalbarri, Monkey Mia and Coral Bay; the southbound return is a speedy hop done over just two days. One-way $200 southbound, $745 northbound; return $945.
Western Travel Bug
08 9486 4222, travelbug.com.au. Packed full-day tours to the Pinnacles, Wave Rock, Margaret River, the Swan Valley or Mandurah ($175) plus multi-day trips around the Southwest or up the coast (from $465).
08 9414 8423, westernxposure.com.au. Numerous itineraries including tours up the coast to Exmouth, Broome and Darwin and a loop around the Southwest taking in Esperance, Albany and the Valley of the Giants. Four days to Monkey Mia, Kalbarri and the Pinnacles costs $645; the six-day loop around the Southwest $770; and the 10-day one-way tour to Broome $1645.