WA is home to eight operators offering a variety of jumps across the state, including the nation’s largest skydiving centre at York. Newest
to the fold is the landing at Langley Park in the city.
TYPES OF DIVES
Attached securely to an instructor, this is a great way to give skydiving a whirl. Because you’re jumping with a professional, you don’t need to have the in-depth training/preparation that you would when learning to skydive solo. Tandem jumps are also popular gifts for friends and family.
This recognised course – an extensive program that includes
a number of stages – is designed to teach you to skydive solo. You’ll be required to participate in on-the-ground training, and when first cleared to jump, it will be in the company of two instructors available to assist during free-fall.
When jumping static line, it’s generally from a low altitude. You’re attached to the aircraft through a line at one end and your parachute at the other, so your fall pulls the line tight, activating your main chute. Over subsequent jumps, you will gradually increase altitude and free-fall, and learn to release your own chute.
WHERE TO DIVE
- Perth CBD, Rockingham and York Skydive The Beach and Beyond 1300 663 634, skydive.com.au.
- Alfred Cove (between Perth and Fremantle), Pinjarra, Mandurah Beach WA Skydiving Academy 1300 137 855, waskydiving.com.au.
We’ve got the world-famous Freo Doctor blowing throughout Spring, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With twin-tip boards starting at around $700 on actionsportswa.com.au, it’s time to give kiteboarding a try!
Lighthouse to Leighton kite race organiser Tim Turner recommends that newbies to the sport head out to the warm and shallow waters of the Swan River
for their first lessons.
Here are his tips for kiteboarding beginners.
1. PAY FOR LESSONS
Even if you are a great surfer, sailor or windsurfer, there is still a great deal to learn around kiting and the safe setting up of equipment.
2. BODY DRAGGING
You must get good at this before introducing a board to your kiting experience. An instructor can help you perfect this.
3. INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS
Buy a DVD or watch some on YouTube. See what it is going to take.
Buy your own kite and practise, practise, practise.
My number one tip for learning to go up-wind? Just imagine that you have a 50c piece between your butt cheeks and clench. This changes the pressure dynamic on the heel rail of the board and almost magically allows you to
kite into the wind.
This 22km single track, purpose-built, intermediate trail is the crowning glory of the Perth Hills. The best place to park is the Calamunnda Camel Farm (Pauls Valley Road, just off Mundaring Weir Road between Kalamunda and Mundaring) where mountain bikers are always welcome. The trail goes through the farm’s car park – be sure to check out their excellent scones.
Goat Farm, Greenmount
On the outskirts of Perth and near to public transport links, there is a bit of something here for every rider: downhill, cross-country (XC), four cross (4X) and a great skills park. Not the best trails in the state, but the easy-to-reach location and the skills park make it a good one to try out.
Forsyth’s Mill, Sawyers Valley
This 5km trail is speedy, with plenty of jumps, and is great to ride along in spring when the pea-gravel is compacted after the winter rain. The biggest drawcard for parents is the small loop for the kids, about 50m from the end of the trail. The best place to park is the dirt car park off Gorry Road (1km past Lake Leschenaultia).
Langford Park, Jarrahdale
This park off Nettleton Road is a common location for races and events, and was upgraded in late 2013 (the trails are now signposted). The beloved maze of trails has something for everyone, with a beginner loop surrounded by tougher routes, and there’s even a trail that’s been specially designed for riding at night (just follow the reflectors). Toilets, picnic benches, barbecues and campsites mean it’s easy to make a weekend of riding the various trails.
Dwellingup and its surrounds are mountain biking heaven, boasting a huge range of trails. There’s Turner Hill (be sure to ask a local for directions, it’s tricky to find) and Dwellingup DH, which has six downhill trails. The track at the Marrinup campsite (great for beginners) is in riding distance from the town. South Shore (off Dawn Road) has been described as the toughest free-ride course in the country; definitely not for beginners but still seriously impressive for anyone who wants to watch skilled adrenalin-seekers ride it.
Munda Biddi Trail
You can’t go past the Munda Biddi if you don’t mind the distance (1000km to be exact). The world-class track runs from Mundaring to Albany, passing through towns including Jarrahdale and Dwellingup. It’s easily accessible by car and there are campsites along the route. The trail features vast areas of unspoiled bushland and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll spot rarely sighted native wildlife.
MOUNTAIN BIKE HIRE
- About Bike Hire (delivery available) (08) 9221 2665, aboutbikehire.com.au.
- Perth Mountain Bike Hire (delivery available) 0429 924 691, perthmountainbikehire.com.au.
- Rock and Roll Mountain Biking (hire also available) 0410 949 182, rockandrollmountainbiking.com.au.
You can find trail maps at trailswa.com.au, or grab a copy of the WA Mountain Bike Guide. We suggest joining local mountain biking Facebook groups – they often hold rides for beginners and teach you how to tackle the terrain.
There are ample equestrian opportunities for beginner, intermediate and professional riders at WA’s nine accredited riding centres. Check out the horse riding groups on Facebook to find like-minded riders in your area.
- Foxwood Farm Equestrian Centre 56 Brook Road, Wattle Grove, Perth Hills 0438 100 362.
- Showgrounds Equestrian Centre 1 Graylands Road, Claremont (08) 9383 4800.
- Excelsior Equestrian Riding School and Training Establishment 99 Eleventh Road, Wungong 0400 059 032.
- Avonlea Farm Riding 425 Victor Road, Darlington (08) 9299 7552.
- 1300 Trail Rides Lot 504 Telephone Road, Neergabby 1800 872 457.
- Zia Park Equestrian Centre 8410 Stoneville Road, Gidgegannup (08) 9574 6010.
MULTI-USE HORSE RIDING TRAILS
- Railway Reserves Heritage Trail 41km, Perth Hills
- The Kep Track 75km, Mundaring to Northam
If you’ve decided to take your own horse on a trek, remember that it’s almost inevitable you’ll come across elements the animal may not be used to. If the sudden appearance of strangers or the sound of trail bikes is particularly upsetting to your horse, do some research first to ensure you’ve chosen the most suitable route.
At twice the size of Western Europe, WA is huge, so it’s little wonder the vast landscape is packed with trails – more than 700 of them. The immense number of hiking options offers an experience for every fitness level.
The Bibbulmun Track starts in the Shire of Kalamunda, and continues down the coast for almost 1000km to Albany. It’s suitable for walkers of all fitness levels, and there are numerous access points (the northern end is on the northeast side of the roundabout at Mead Street, Railway Road and Mundaring Weir Road). The track’s entire length takes six to eight weeks to complete, and some of the most challenging terrain can be found early on in the Perth Hills.
This 14km loop in Jarrahdale is incredibly scenic and best walked in spring so you can admire the wildflowers and running water (check out the waterfall). TIP The Jarrahdale Heritage Society runs guided walks throughout spring (0429 810 617).
Railway Reserves Heritage Trail
Add a cheeky drink to your wildflower wanderings along this 41km track by visiting the pubs that you’ll pass along the way. There’s the Mundaring Hotel, Sawyers Valley Tavern, Inn Mahogany Creek, Parkerville Tavern, Chidlow Inn Tavern, John Forrest Tavern and the Mt Helena Tavern.
Eagle View Walk
The Eagle View Walk is a very popular 15km loop around John Forrest National Park, offering spectacular views
across the plain to the city skyline and ocean in the distance. The walk, which is of moderate difficulty, takes five to six hours to complete.
Lesmurdie Falls, Perth Hills
The Lesmurdie Falls Bush Walk can be a bit difficult in parts, but is fairly short at just 2km, and hikers are also rewarded with pretty views of the falls. The two-hour walk is located in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park. It follows Lesmurdie Brook to a bridge at the top of the falls, where a lookout provides a wonderful vista over the waterway and to the city on clear days.
Oak Park Reserve, Goomalling
The Oak Park Reserve in Goomalling has a natural and cultural-heritage 3km walking trail. During wildflower season you’ll be able to spot the rare blood red spider orchid.
Many bushwalking trails weave past the Forest Heritage Centre, which sits in Dwellingup’s native jarrah forest. Dwellingup is the first ‘track town’ along the Bibbulmun, taking 12 days to get to from the route’s starting point in the Perth Hills. This portion takes walkers through the Murray Valley, following the river, with views of farmland
and undulating hills.
The Lakes Walk
Sure there are a lot of beaches at Rottnest but there are lakes, too. This 9.2km trail makes the most of them (keep your eyes peeled for seasonal birds). The walk also encompasses Little Parakeet Bay and Bathurst Lighthouse.
Dryandra Woodland Woylie Walk
This short 5.5km stroll is good for the kids (if they don’t mind a long walk). Look out for numbats, echidnas and woylies.
Tip #1 Wear comfortable shoes (without sacrificing style, of course!). Opt for wedges over stilettos. Sinking heel-deep into the grass is not a good look.
Tip #2 Decide beforehand how much you’re going to bet and stick to it. It’s amazing how easy it is to throw away money after a champers or two.
Tip #3 Speaking of champagne, keep it classy. It’s the Best Dressed photo gallery you’re aiming to make it into – not the Biggest Mess.
Tip #4 If you can afford it, and have a large group, book a marquee on the Front Lawn. You’ll have a front-row seat to the action.
Tip #5 Be smart about transport. Get in early to nab free parking (doors open at 9am), or catch the Armadale/Thornlie train from Perth to Burswood Station, where free shuttle buses take you to Ascot.
Perth is home to nine epic paintball fields, with the closest less than half an hour from the city. Battle your mates around obstacles such as waterfalls, castles, tunnels or even an airplane.
- World Series Paintball Gidgegannup and Baldivis 1300 661 650, worldseriespaintball.com.au.
- Delta Force Paintball Baldivis and Muchea 1300 795 336, perthpaintballing.com.au.
- WASP Paintball & Laser Tag Joondalup, Wanneroo, Mandurah, Clackline 0418 912 795, wasppaintball.com.au.
- Paintball Skirmish Swan Valley (08) 9248 1693, paintballskirmish.com.au.
If you’ve been stung by a paintball, ice it as soon as you get home. Follow up with a light massage a day or two later.
Paddle by dolphins in Rockingham, drop a line off your canoe in the Swan, or brave the rapids down the Avon River… there are abundant resources to help you make the most of the local waterways.
Lake Leschenaultia, with its sandy beaches, shaded lawns, barbecue shelters, playgrounds and cycle paths, is especially popular with families. Nineteen canoes are available for hire on weekends, public holidays and school holidays. There are also great campsites, so you can easily make a weekend of it!
Sea kayaking is one way to take in Penguin and Seal islands, off Shoalwater Bay and Rockingham. Aside from sea lions and colonies of pelicans, you might catch sight of a dolphin.
Lane Pool Reserve
Less than 90 minutes’ drive from the city, this offers an opportunity to hit the Murray River and take in the beautiful forest (lucky travellers might even spot a quokka).
The waterways near the city are popular for daytime kayaking, courtesy of the Swan River, which can take you all the way down to the south of WA. Kayaks can be hired from About Bike Hire at Point Fraser Reserve on the foreshore.
Dolphins regularly pop up in the estuary, and a kayak provides a great chance to get up close. Paddling through the canals alongside the waterside mansions is also plenty of fun, and guaranteed to be calm. TIP The houses use owl statues to keep the seagulls away – have a competition with the kids and see how many owls they can count!
The Avon River is a popular whitewater experience for advanced paddlers. Even if you’ve missed the annual Avon Descent – worth watching if you’re not quite ready to tackle it yourself – it’s a pretty spot for a picnic, and there’s a good chance you’ll see some weekend paddlers.
WHERE TO HIRE
- Kayaks-4-U, Mandurah 0419 885 710, canoeandkayak.net.au.
- About Bike Hire (Point Fraser Reserve, East Perth) (08) 9221 2665, aboutbikehire.com.au.
- Rivergods (Willetton) (08) 9259 0749, rivergods.com.au.
- Funcats Watersports (Coode Street Jetty, South Perth) 0408 926 003, funcats.com.au.
- Water Wanderers (East Perth, the Swan Valley or Ascot Waters) 0412 101 949, waterwanderers.com.au.
- Penguin Island Sea Kayak Tour (08) 9591 1333 penguinisland.com.au.
- Rivergods Seal and Penguin Islands (and further afield Monkey Mia, Ningaloo Reef, Broke Inlet) (08) 9259 0749, rivergods.com.au.
ROCKCLIMBING & ABSEILING
Just because our mountains are molehills compared to the rest of the world, it doesn’t mean the climbs are any less fun. You can scramble up boulders among the wildflowers in the Perth Hills, or abseil down man-made rock walls in the safety of an indoor climbing centre.
Home to some of the best climbing in the metro area, Mountain Quarry is ideal for first-time abseiling attempts. Located off Coulston Road in the Greenmount National Park, it offers a range of climbs for beginners to advanced grades. Most of the routes have been bolted and a number of anchors have been set.
Located in the Gooseberry Hill National Park, this site offers a number of walls with good climbing on clean and solid rock. The quarry is packed with bolted routes and offers options for every level. For lovers of slab climbing, Statham’s also offers a number of opportunities to get over the ‘fear to smear’.
A natural playground in Wungong Regional Park, this offers sport, traditional and top-rope climbing, as well as abseiling. A number of top-rope anchors have been set, and the crag can be accessed via a short hike in. Be aware, however, that the uphill hike at the end of the day is a struggle at times.
The Hangout Indoor Climbing Centre
Perth’s largest indoor climbing centre offers all skill levels and ages the chance to scale its walls. For newbies, it provides a full safety induction and there’s free entry and harness hire for belayers. 12 White Street, Bayswater (08) 9371 9939.
Rockface Indoor Rock Climbing Centre
Learn the ropes with a range of climbs from top roping to advanced lead climbing. They are even two indoor bouldering caves. 63b John Street, Northbridge (08) 9328 5998.
New climbers are offered a free introductory course before they head to the walls. Skill and technique courses are available, as well as group ClimbFIT classes with intense training for those seriously addicted to the sport. 2/26 Harris Road, Malaga (08) 9248 7035.
The Climbers’ Association of Western Australia (CAWA) is a great resource for the best locations, climbing trips, guides and safety information, as well as creating a forum for climbers around the state. Check out the CAWA site at climberswa.asn.au.
SCUBA DIVING & SNORKELLING
From plane wrecks to colourful reefs, there’s a huge array of underwater attractions from Perth to Rockingham, and further out at beloved Rottnest. There’s plenty for snorkellers, but if you’re keen to grab your dive ticket, head to padi.com to find a dive centre nearby.
The remoteness, weather and water quality of WA’s islands and archipelagos mean astounding diversity above and below the water. Rottnest is 11km long and 4.5km at its widest, with 63 bays and beaches, squeaky white sands and deep blue waters. Expect world-class diving with brilliantly coloured corals, countless fish, rock lobster, and dozens of wrecks. Less than an hour’s drive south of Perth are the Shoalwater Islands (Bird, Seal and Penguin islands). A colourful coral reef, shipwrecks, and the chance to snorkel and dive with dolphins provide the drawcards.
Rockingham has six submerged wrecks including boats, planes and a tyre reef. Unreliable water clarity and conditions make it hit and miss but it’s generally fun for a scuba dive. If you’re eager to explore wrecks but aren’t a scuba diver, you can snorkel many of the wrecks at Rottnest – each has its own plaque describing the wreck and its history, and there are onshore markers indicating locations. The swell can be a bit temperamental but there are a number of easy-to-reach sites (for snorkellers, too), including the Shark at Henrietta Rocks, the Uribes at Thomson Bay, and the Kiryo Maru I near Cathedral Rocks (50m offshore and more challenging to reach).
At Rottnest, try the Basin, Parker Point and Little Salmon Bay. Boy in a Boat Reef (near Hillarys Boat Harbour) is a fantastic dive that’s close to Perth, and Mettams Pool, north of Trigg Beach, is a protected pool ideal for young kids… there’s plenty of fish to see in the shallows, plus a ramp to the water that’s handy for wheelchairs or anyone with mobility issues.
The Navy Pier dive in Exmouth is one of the world’s best jetty dives. Ammunition Jetty at Woodmans Point is a good option for novice divers, while Bulk Jetty in Kwinana is another option from late Spring through to Autumn.
LEARNING TO DIVE
If you’re planning on getting your dive certificate, it’s best to book through a dive centre. They meet very strict guidelines on equipment used, training materials offered, air quality and medical supplies (such as oxygen and first aid kits) to be able to offer these dive courses. They also have different ratings, from regular dive centres right through to career development specialists.
HOT AIR BALLOONING
The Avon Valley is the only place in WA to offer hot air ballooning, and Spring is the prime time to plan a ride.
The Avon Valley looks spectacular in Spring when it is lush and green, the fields of canola making a pretty patchwork when viewed from above. Chilly mornings see the mist gather in low-lying areas. Flying low over rivers and streams, you can catch a reflection of the colourful balloon shimmering on the water, or pick leaves from the tops of nearby trees. Flights from Northam start early in the morning (wear warm clothes). Windward Balloon Adventures, (08) 9621 2000.
Whether you hire one, buy one or borrow one, a 4WD is invaluable for travelling around WA. You can explore the colossal dunes in Lancelin, manoeuvre along powerline tracks through the Hills, or find a deserted beach where you can camp beneath the stars. Best part? Escaping the crowds.
North Coast & Valleys
The town of Gingin, 25km inland, is a starting point for a trek along the edge of the Moore River National Park, utilising forgotten stock tracks, bush terrain and dune formations. Beachside 4WDing begins at the vast sand dunes on the edge of Lancelin – ideal for recreational fun. The adventure continues north along beaches and dunes to locations such as Dide Bay, and Wedge and Grey islands, before re-joining the Indian Ocean Drive to Cervantes and the Pinnacles. Regulations, no-go zones and seasonal and environmental restrictions apply. Contact DEC Moora office on (08) 9652 1911 for everything you need to know.
Drive your own vehicle along the gorgeous Whitehills Beach, just 15 minutes from Mandurah and the closest place south of Perth to 4WD along a beach. Keep driving south and stop to see the thrombolites, living fossils easily viewable from
a purpose-built boardwalk: these babies are among the earliest known lifeforms on earth! If you’re headed to Preston Beach, there are miles of beach driving options leading north to Tim’s Thicket. This stretch of coastline is an undiscovered gem, with terrific fishing, and beach 4WD tracks. Camp at Martins Tank within the Yalgorup National Park amid the peppermint woodland and tuart forest. Dune preservation is important, so check with the City of Mandurah ranger for access and condition reports. There are various inland forest tracks around Dwellingup, Waroona and Lane Poole, perfect for 4WDing. The Nanga Heritage Circuit winds through jarrah forest and river valley along a network of timber tramways, steam train tracks and trestle bridges. The Captain Fawcett Commemorative 4×4 Track is an easy to medium-grade track starting in the Lane Poole Reserve and showcasing more than 100km of jarrah forests, views, historic farmhouses and early settlers’ bridges. There are also mountain bike and bridle trails.
The beauty of 4WDing in the Perth Hills is that you get some great, rocky terrain (it’s a nice change from sand and beaches!). There are a fair few rocky outcrops that can be reached with a 4WD along tracks that aren’t too daunting (check the coordinates on a 4WDing website). If you’ve got some guts about you (and some experience), try the Mundaring Power Line Track (entry is near Sawyers Valley Tavern), which is ideal in Spring because fewer showers allow for the track to dry out so it won’t be as slippery.
There are more than 200 courses spread across WA – the Perth
and surrounds area has some fantastic courses open to the public, many of them offering lessons and training. Here are some of the best…
- Araluen Golf Resort (08) 9397 9033, araluenresort.com.au.
- Carramar Golf Course (08) 9306 1133, carramargolf.com.au.
- Collier Park Golf Course (08) 9484 1666, collierparkgolf.com.au.
- The Cut Golf Course (08) 9582 4444, the-cut.com.au.
- Joondalup Golf Resort (08) 9400 8811, joondalupresort.com.au.
- Rottnest Island Country Club (newly licensed) (08) 9292 5144, rottnestislandcountryclub.com.au.
- Wembley Golf Complex (08) 9484 2500, wembleygolf.com.au.
- Sun City Country Club (08) 9561 1148, suncitycountryclub.com.au.
- The Vines Resort (08) 9297 3000, thevines.com.au.
- Meadow Springs Golf and Country Club (08) 9581 6360, msgcc.com.au.
- Point Walter Golf Course (08) 9330 3262, pointwaltergolf.com.au.
- Secret Harbour Golf Links (08) 9524 7133, secretsgolf.com.au.
- The Links Kennedy Bay (08) 9524 5991, kennedybay.com.au.
- Whaleback Public Golf Course (08) 9457 8999, whalebackgolf.com.au.