What can you do in winter on those rare chilly, windy, drizzly days?
I grew up on a farm, so the winter rain rarely, if ever, bothers me. The cold weather on the other hand can be an issue in the mornings. Winter can be a time to relax after the months of heat, sunshine and hectically social, spring and summer seasons. However, I’m not very good at relaxing and as soon as it does start to cool down, and slow down, I find the best way to make winter move along a little faster, is to embrace all the experiences that I haven’t had time for in summer.
Winter can be the best time to get out of the city and see more of Western Australia. I’m a massive advocate for seeing and enjoying being home amongst the gum trees, so here’s a few things I’ve tried and tested, survived and now recommend! Plus! Housing isn’t really built to withstand the cold here in WA, so opting for outside activities will help you save on your gas heating too!
Here are six suggestions for what you, your friends and your family can do to help winter flow energetically into spring.
1. Take a hike
Did you know that WA has more than 300 trails you can choose from? Of course, these aren’t all on your doorstep, however Trails WA has all the information you need to learn about where you can find them. Popular trails include the Bibbulmum Track (1000km’s) and the Cape to Cape (125km’s). Both trails can be broken up into shorter day hikes or overnight hikes, and the Bibbulmun Track offers several of these in the Perth Hills.
Head on up to Mundaring or Kalamunda, hike a trail and finish with lunch or dinner in the Perth Hills. Remember to keep your safety in mind when hiking. There are actually several trails in the Perth Hills and even the Perth metro area that you might like to try as well.
Geocaching is similar to a treasure hunt, but without traditional treasure. This sounds a bit odd, but it’s more about finding satisfaction in the find, rather than the treasure. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game that is played throughout the world. It’s guaranteed to get you on your feet, exploring your surroundings with new eyes and having a jolly good time.
It’s a great activity for all ages and is so surprisingly satisfying, it’s addictive! I’ve tried geocaching in a few places, including Kings Park, Kalgoorlie and even my own suburb!
3. Take a drive to the Ferguson Valley
Apart from being a bit chilly, these wintery days are more often than not, sunny and fairly clear. These are ideal driving conditions! Even if the temperatures don’t rise up to t-shirt weather, and even if it does rain it’s still a great opportunity to explore and enjoy a day trip.
Less than two hours from Perth, just inland from Bunbury you will find the Ferguson Valley. I organised a hens party weekend here recently and we enjoyed a fabulous time driving through scenic dairy farmland, indulging in degustation dining at fantastic restaurants and visiting great wineries.
Make sure you stop in Dardanup and Boyanup, two historic little towns on the South West Highway that offer great pitstop opportunities.
There’s also the quirky Gnomesville, where hundreds of well-named gnomes have gathered, because well, there’s no place like gnome! Bring your own gnome, choose a name and add he or she to the community. Have a look at these ten things to do in the Ferguson Valley!
4. Bakery day trips – Bindoon Bakehaus
We tend to judge a regional or rural town based on its bakery standards. One stand out example of fine baking standards is the Bindoon Bakehaus.
Dine in or pick up some takeaway goodies at the Bakehaus and start your day of exploring. Their eggs hollandaise breaky roll is pretty tasty, as are their sausage rolls, freshly made cakes and biccies, and sandwiches, and of course the coffee; an ideal great bakery experience. there are even vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-friendly options!
If you’ve not roamed 80km’s north of Perth into the Chittering Valley recently, the area offers a great day trip.
5. Winter camping
Sometimes you just need to get out of town for a night. Camping can be for everyone – especially if you like starry nights, peaceful evenings and fireside chats. Camping has come a long way since the days of a simple swag rolled out under the stars. Whilst this is my preferred style when I camp, there are plenty of glamping and camping in comfort options catering to all sorts of campers.
WikiCamps offers a detailed and up to date database of camping, caravanning and hostel accommodation as well as attractions and handy road tripper information. Simply download the WikiCamps Australia app, and you’ll have all the info on hand whether you have phone reception or not.
Youcamp offers campers the opportunity to camp on private properties all over Australia. You can search properties by filtering things like powered sites, toilets, distance from Perth and if pets are allowed. Youcamp was thought up by a couple from NSW who realised their private rural property was beautiful and they wanted to share its beauty with visitors who would appreciate it.
6. Observing the stars and Aboriginal Astronomy
Astronomers believe winter is the best time for star-gazing, so pick a cloudless night and enjoy the starry, starry nights. Pop on your winter woollies, pack a thermos and some tasty snacks and join the team at the Gravity Discovery Centre, just over an hour north of Perth between Gingin and Guilderton.
Alternatively mosey up to the Perth Observatory in Bickley, for an evening amongst the stars as you are guided through the galaxy. If you’re interested in learning more about Aboriginal culture, you can also visit Kings Park and join a tour to understand how Aboriginal people have lived for over 40, 000 years.