Perth is a relaxed city with residents who love nothing better than lazing on its world-class beaches or being pampered at fine dining restaurants. But step outside the city limits and there are plenty of activities to get your blood pumping, including these five awesome adventures:
1. Tandem Skydive in Mandurah
Follow the new Forest Highway south for a little less than an hour, and you'll hit Mandurah, a seaside town that's not quite as laidback as it appears. The West Australian Skydiving Academy offers tandem beach jumps seven days a week. You'll enjoy stunning aerial views of the Western Australian coastline on your descent before landing in areas overlooking the gorgeous Halls Head Beach.
The academy will even give you a free fall DVD of your experience to help you relive the rush over and over again. It's the only company offering metropolitan beach jumps in the state.
2. Cave Diving on Rottnest Island
Image credit: Teddy Foitou via Flickr
Enjoy SCUBA diving with a twist at Rottnest Island, off the Western Australian coast. The island has a range of watery caves that present a challenge for seasoned divers. Keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles, leafy sea dragons, massive crayfish in Porpoise Bay Caves, and the friendly marine life in the large domed cave dubbed The Cathedral.
Take a 20-minute drive north in your rental car on the Mitchell Freeway to Hillary’s Boat Harbour. Then park your car for free and catch the Rottnest Ferries to the island.
3. Ride the Munda Biddi Bike Trail
There are few places in the world where a 1,000 kilometre bike trail could be built, but the unspoiled forests outside Perth fit the bill. The Munda Biddi Bike Trail, the world's longest continuous off-road cycle track, starts in Mundaring -- about 35 minutes from the Perth CBD -- and stretches all the way south to Albany.
It'll take serious stamina to complete the trail, but even inexperienced cyclists can enjoy its gentle terrain and picturesque location through eucalypt forests. Munda-Biddi campsites are conveniently located along the track for anyone up to the challenge of riding its length.
4. Hang Ten at Mettams Pool
Surf enthusiasts should take the 20-minute drive along the Mitchell Freeway to Mettams Pool. It's not as well-known as Cottesloe or Scarborough Beaches, but that means you don't need to fight through the crowds to ride your dream wave. Online authority Surfing Waves gave the reef break a rare five-star rating, classifying it as one of the area's best. It is unpatrolled, though, so you'll want to have some surfing skills up your sleeves before hitting the waves.
5. Ride a Hot Air Balloon in the Avon Valley
Get a bird's eye view of the Western Australian countryside in the Avon Valley, a one-hour scenic drive east of Perth. Windward Balloon Adventures, a dual recipient of the WA Tourism Awards for adventure tourism, offers romantic hot air balloon rides from early April to late November. Rides leave at dawn so guests can see the rising sun cast a patchwork of colour over the rolling hills of the Avon Valley. After your flight, celebrate your return to terra firma with a champagne breakfast.
These are just a few of the many electrifying experiences waiting for you a short drive away, just outside of Perth.