Perth and southwest Western Australia

Old Oct 1st, 2006, 04:09 PM
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Perth and southwest Western Australia

Well be arriving by plane and departing by train from Perth. Wed like to spend about two weeks or so in this western state. Were thinking of a week split between Perth and Fremantle, to visit city sites and museums in both cities, day trip to Rottnest Island, and maybe a day trip or overnight to New Norcia. Then, spend a second week in the south western region with day trips to wineries, to towns of Brusselton, Dunsborough, and Pemberton, to Cape Leeuwin Nat. Natl Park, and Walpole for a treetop walk.

Our questions are:

1. We are planning on renting a car for a week starting in Bunbury. We checked on-line and there were at least three car rental agencies in that town. Bunbury seems to be one of the last train stops south of Perth and until this point we wont need a car. Comments on this decision?

2. Albany and the Margaret River region are the two locations that were planning to use as bases to explore the area. Anyone have any favorite places to stay in these areas?

3. Wave Rock. Someone told us this was a great place to go and even though it is very far from anywhere else, we will have a car, so it is possible. Comments?

We look forward to any suggestions for this section of our trip.
Thanks, Kathy
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 07:10 AM
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Firstly, when do you plan to be in Perth? The time you come may make a difference especially in terms of accommodation and the sightseeing you might want to do.

In terms of renting a car you might consider renting the car from Perth and driving down through Bunbury on your way down south.Bunbury is approximately 2hours drive from Perth and towns like Dunsborough another hour or so.

Personally, I would leave Wave Rock out of your itinerary- it is an attraction which is a long way from anything else and for me just an interesting looking rock. Others may differ.

If you base yourself at Dunsborough or Margaret River you will be able to visit the large number of wineries and other attractions which are close by. However, these places become very popular especially during the Christmas and school holidays.

From Dunsborough/Margaret River you could then wind your way down through Pemberton to Albany and then make your way back to Perth along the inland road which is quicker. You need to remember however, that you are covering quite long distances. The trip back from Albany is between four to four and a half hours drive(depending on the speed you drive).
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 07:27 AM
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I'm assuming you realise that Perth and fremantle are effectively one city- you won't need separate accommodations.

You may want to consider an overnight trip to Rottnest. You can easily do a day trip and many do, but the attractions of Rottnest are not immediately discernible to the daytrippers, who often wonder what all the fuss is about.

You don't say what time you will be visiting but Wave Rock is a very long drive though nothing much interesting. It's possible but probabaly not worth the time considering all the other things you want to do.

Busselton seems like a good place to base yourself and there is a wide range of accommodation available in all price categories. Dunsborough and Margaret River are more pleasant and up-market.

I'd consider staying overnight at least one night in Pemberton/ Donnelly River area for a different experience to the Margaret River area. You'll definitely need a car. You may find it just as easy to hire it in Perth, check the cost differential.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 07:52 AM
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albaaust and eigasuki, We'll be in the western area around the last two weeks of January (your school holiday season). I should've mentioned this in my initial post.

The reason we want to wait until Bunbury to get the car is that we won't be using it if we're walking around town and visiting Rottnest or New Norcia (the latter by bus). I hate to waste car days and not use the car.

We may consider an overnight at Rottnest and/or lessen the nights in Perth/ Fremantle. I didn't realize the two cities are one and the same. So which of the two would make a better base? Perth?

We'll look into the Brusselton area for accommodation, then maybe Pemberton and/or Albany for other nights. We don't want to be changing rooms too often, but we also don't want to be driving long distances just to get back to the room each night.

You both suggest leaving Wave Rock out, so we'll re-think this destination too.

Thanks for your input. Kathy

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Old Oct 2nd, 2006, 05:31 PM
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I used to live in WA. As you have now discovered, Fremantle is the port city for Perth - about a 30 minute drive. I would prefer to stay in Fremantle - a great coastal atmosphere, and with a vibrant cafe society. It is a very well preserved Victorian town. I don't want to 'rub it in' but that is where we raced for and retained The America's Cup back in 1986/87. If you should ever run into Dennis Connor in your travels - for goodenss sake don't mention 'The Cup' or Fremantle!!. Anyway, by not staying in Perth itself, you will be getting away from the madding crowd and the travel time between the two places is negligible. For accommodation - check out www.wotif.com - they sell 28 days out and you can usually get some great specials. This also applies to your travels in the S.W.of W.A. One place I can highly recommend, especailly if you are into great wines is Denmark. This beautiful town lies between Pemeberton and Albany and is a truly wonderful coastal town (My late husband and I used to live there and had a cellar door/restaurant and vineyard). Once again - check out Wotif for accommodation, but I can recommend Chimes at Mt Shadfroth, if you are looking for somethimg that extra bit special.
I hope you have a fabulous holiday and I agree with a previous correspondent about Wave Rock you have to go thru MAMBA country to get there - miles and miles of bloody Austrlaia!!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:18 AM
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Firstly, because you are going to be in WA during the school holidays you will need to start researching and booking accommodation pretty soon as places in the SW and Rottnest are in demand.

Are you beach people? Is there just the two of you or are you a family visiting? The reason I ask is that you might consider staying at somewhere like Cottesloe which is midway along the railway track between Perth and Fremantle.

January temperatures in the past average around 30C(I say in the past because the climate here has been pretty funny like elsewhere in the world!!)and you may want to combine having a swim in the morning before you go for your jaunts around the city and elsewhere.
As you can see people have their favourites in terms of places to stay in the SW.Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River are "midway" between Perth and Albany wheras Denmark is closer to Albany (about 50km 40 mins). In fact you could do a trip out of Albany to Denmark or stop there on your way to Albany. I would argue better for you to spend some time at the Busselton,Dunsborough or Margaret River.

Another alternative you might consider is renting a house at one of these places. I'll have to check the site and post it to you later.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:32 AM
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Calkin, Thanks for the info. We have used Wotif before and really like that company so we plan to use them again. In fact we have even booked US cities through them here in the US. Fremantle does seem more appealing, and what we might do is -- spend the first night on arrival in Perth if our flight arrives late, then book the next couple of nights in Fremantle, then head to Bunbury for a day or two, pick up the car and begin to explore the southwest.

We are definitely into wines! On our first (and only previous trip to Australia), we traveled to the Barossa Valley--just for the wines. On this trip, among many other things, we plan on including the Margaret river wine region as well as other wine regions in the east.

I like the sound of that coastal town--Denmark. Maybe that instead of Albany? We'll look into it. So bases are now likely to be Brusselton and Denmark.

Are we likely to run into Dennis Conner?

Albaaust, The idea behind using wotif appeals to us because we don't want to book ahead. I know that can be risky, and we may not get our first choice, but somebody has to book all those last minute places on wotif. We're hoping that it's us, 28 days out.

There are two of us --husband and I. Husband is a swimmer--laps daily. A morning swim when possible would suit him just fine. We both love walking on the beach, and I'm reading that your coastline is spectacular, so we are really looking forward to many walks. A house would be too much, we just need something small and minimal, since we primarily want to be out exploring.

Thanks so much. We appreciate all the advice. Kathy
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 03:12 PM
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Kathy - just a quickie. As an Australian I would much prefer to stay in Margaret River itself rather than Bunbury or Busselton (the distances are really negligible). Margaret River is on the coast and has great surfing (so that should make your husband happy). Margaret River, is of course also famous for its wines and also has some simply fabulous places to eat. Your plan to spend your first night in Perth is a wise one - especially with a late arrival..
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:24 PM
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I'd like to stand up for Wave Rock. Definitely worth seeing if you are at all interested in geological oddities (such as the Devil's Marbles, recently discussed here). From Albany back to Perth, you either have to go west and then north or north and then west: the latter route will take you through the Simpson range and on to Wave Rock.

By the way, your itinerary omits The Pinnacles (north of Perth, near Cervantes), which in my opinion is the most interesting sight in these parts.

If you type any of these destinations into the search box, you'll get lots of hits on earlier threads that cover similar topics (try Albany to start).
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Old Oct 4th, 2006, 03:41 AM
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Hope you don't mind I did a bit of a search of various sites that you might want to have a look at in terms of your research: In general terms what is on offer in the Dunsborough/Margaret River region:

http://www.totaltravel.com.au/travel...ry/attractions

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel...ret_River.html

Dunsborough - I really like the look of Bunker Bay Quay West. We usually stay in a holiday house down there but we have been to the restaurant connected with the hotel. It is very close to the beach but also has a swimming pool.See:
http://www.ozhorizons.com.au/wa/mr/quay_west/rooms.html
You can book them through the wotif.

http://www.wotif.com/hotels/australi...gh-hotels.html

In terms of hotels Perth/Fremantle other areas you have not mentioned your budget. Also what are some of the things you are hoping to do?
You may want to base yourself in the Perth CBD or Fremantle CBD or near a beach.
This is one hotel in Cottesloe you might consider but I have a feeling it gets very noisy on the weekend.The beauty of it is that you are 30secs from one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!

http://www.obh.com.au/accomm.html


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Old Oct 4th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Calkin, Thanks. Husband is not a surfer, but staying near the water is always nice for both of us. We'll look into the places you noted, and probably try to stay near enough to the wineries too.

someotherguy, I think we've decided to skip the Wave Rock, and hadn't thought much about going north of Perth. I did notice that there are day trips to the Pinnacles from Perth, so that might work into our plans. We really would like to see them. Thanks for that suggestion.

albaaust, Thank you for that research. I spent a good, long while this morning going through it and several accommodation possibilities opened up (and through wotif). Also took note of some tour companies who offer day trips at reasonable prices.

We will be in Australia for three months or so, and are trying to keep costs for accommodations at a reasonable rate, with occasional splurges. What you provided covers all price ranges so it was very helpful. Kathy
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Old Oct 6th, 2006, 07:32 PM
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Kathleen -

I have two fairly recent trip reports posted here on Fodor's for trips we've taken to WA, covering most of the areas you've mentioned. You can find them by using the search function if you're interested.

We liked the Waterfall Cottages in MR, but suggest you avoid the studios, as they're pretty small. We really enjoyed "Vermeer" at The Foreshore Apartments in Albany and suggest you spend several days down there as there's alot to see and do.

We loved the town of Denmark, which would make a good base for exploring the SW area as well (not far from the treetop walk, etc).

Have a great trip - WA is a wonderful place!
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Old Oct 8th, 2006, 05:07 PM
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Melnq8,
Actually, I read your trip report when you first posted it and planned on coming back to it. Then I got started with the eastern section of our itinerary and promptly forgot it. Now after reviewing it in detail, I realize how specific it is in some of the items in which we're most interested. Namely the Albany and Denmark area, and the wineries. Thanks for reminding me of it.

I took note of the places you stayed. Lately, we decided that we'd kind of like to stay in Denmark, first, but if we can't find anything there, then Albany (our previous first choice). Then to the Margaret River area for a few nights. Kind of similar to your trip--like minds??

Also the restaurants sounded great as well the cape to cape coastal walk (sections of it). I'll ask for specific directions for it, since you say you had a time locating one part. The willsdomain restaurant with sampler and wines sounded perfect.

Thanks for the information. Kathy
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Old Oct 9th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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Glad to help - you can't go wrong with either Denmark or Albany. Lots to see and do as both are surrounded by national parks. Wills Domain was a highlight for us, definitely worth the time and $. The MR visitor's center can probably set you on the right path for the Cape to Cape walk.

Have fun.
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