Perth is an increasingly popular travel destination for Muslim travelers because it is relatively the “nearest” part of Australia to Southeast Asia. The flight to Perth will last about 5 hours which is pretty bearable according to my young parent sisters and cousins.
There are numerous flights to Perth via international airlines such as Scoot, Singapore Airlines and of course, Qantas. This was my first time flying with Scoot for a longer duration. Personally, it was not ideal because the flight was very chaotic due to multiple young families present and the lack of an entertainment system. But nothing some pre-downloaded Netflix movies and Ted Talks couldn’t solve.
All international flights will arrive at Terminal 1 of Perth International Airport. The glaring difference between arriving in any Australian airport and other airports is its strict customs and immigration food declaration. You would have to fill in an immigration form and of course, remember to apply for your Australian visa weeks before your expected travel. The visa applications are very simple and convenient because you could do it online and it will be electronically tagged to your passports. So, no extra need to print pesky documents!
From the airport, I took the public transport bus 380 to get to Perth city center. When you exit the arrival hall, you’ll see plenty of bus stops for various buses that will take you to long term parking and more. Look out for the airport bus 380 that will take you to the Perth CBD area. Be sure to have some small change for you to purchase your bus ticket from the bus driver. The bus runs every 30 minutes or so.
The best way to see all Western Australia has to offer is by car. To get to most attractions in various towns, you would have to drive for 2 hours or more. A car is really a convenient mode of transport here. Plus, drivers here abide by the law (which means you don’t have reckless spontaneous lane changers). I would say Perth and Western Australia is a great place for you to start if you’re driving abroad for the first time.
Halal food in Western Australia
Most Muslim travelers would associate halal food with kebabs or even seafood. There are plenty of those here, especially in Perth city. You could easily walk a couple of blocks to find a halal kebab store.
But if you’re on the outskirts such as Cervantes or Margaret River, Muslim travelers might want to opt for seafood restaurants as an alternative. Seafood in Western Australia is amazingly fresh and delicious. You could literally taste the ocean! Furthermore, Fremantle Market or Fremantle, in general, has rather “wide selection” of halal food with various Indonesian stalls available at the markets.
Day 1: Arriving in Perth
Due to some last-minute planning snafu with my parents, I arrived a day earlier. By the time I cleared immigration and arrived at my accommodation, it was close to 7pm. This meant that many shops were closed for the day. For first-timers to Australia, do take note of opening hours as many stores close early and open late, especially on weekends.
I stayed at Mercure Perth which was in a quiet neighborhood despite being a quick 7-minute walk from the main city center. Luckily, many eateries were still open.
Day 2: Driving to Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park
I spent my morning waiting for my parents to fly in and then we had breakfast in Perth city. We then drove 2 hours out of the city to the Pinnacles Desert at Nambung National Park. I have to say among all the places we’ve been, Perth or Western Australia has to be one of the most relaxing places to drive. Traffic was easy and drivers are nice. Though it isn’t uncommon for you to see some kangaroos and wombats, do look out for any roadkill when driving. If you have more time, stop by the Lancelin Sand Dunes.
Address: Pinnacles Dr, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia
Opening hours: Daily, 09.30 – 16:30
Entry Fees: AUD$15 (per car with less than 12 people)
You’ll pay the entry fee at the gantry of the entrance. You might want to drive through the desert via the designated road, marked by clear signs. There are several parking spaces around the desert for you to park your car and make your way through on foot. Alternatively, you could park at the Desert Discovery Centre and walk around on foot. Watch out for those pesky flies when you walk around. If you’re looking to escape the flies, check out the exhibition at the Desert Discover Centre.
After spending about 2 hours there, we drove up to Cervantes Pinnacles Motel for the night since everything closes early here. Honestly, there aren’t many choices for accommodation here. I know motels are no hotels but this motel was great. Highly recommended for a good night’s sleep!
Day 3: Lobster galore at Cervantes Lobster Shack and back to Fremantle
We had a late start to the day because I wanted to visit the famed Lobster Shack at Cervantes. After checking out of our motel, we killed some time at the nearby Catalonia Park. There’s also the Seashells Cafe if you want to grab a quick bite. But get your stomach ready for some delicious and fresh lobsters.
Since the opening hours here are short, I do advise you to get to the Lobster Shack early. This would mean you get to avoid any large tour groups. Anyway, the restaurant is plenty big with a choice of indoor or outdoor patio seats. Take your time to look through their crazy extensive menu because you’ll want to try all the fresh seafood. This restaurant is not halal-certified but they do mostly serve seafood.
Address: 37 Catalonia St, Cervantes WA 6511, Australia
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00 – 15:00
After lunch, we drove towards Perth. We made a quick pit stop at the Blue Boat House which was kinda disappointing (not gonna lie). It’s just a random house at the side of the road. Yes, you might get pretty pictures here but sadly, I don’t think it’s worth the detour.
Then, we continued our way to Fremantle. I decided to spend the night at Fremantle on our way to Margaret River because I didn’t want my dad to drive for too long. Since it was a weekday, Fremantle was relatively quiet. So, we just did a short walk around before having an early dinner at Kaili’s Fish Market Cafe.
Kaili’s Fish Market Cafe is located near the Esplanade Park and the Ferris wheel. It’s also a short 5-7 minutes walk to Fremantle Market. Everything around here is more or less accessible on foot so you can just park your car before exploring the area.
Address: 46 Mews Rd, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia
Opening hours: Daily, 11:00 – 20:00
The menu is filled with tons of seafood dishes from the classic fish and chips to fresh seafood choices like mussels. You can choose to sit outside overlooking the pier or indoors where’s it’s warm and away from any hungry seagulls. The portions here are very generous so between my parents and me, we split a plate of fish and chips and a seafood soup bowl. Day 4: Driving to Margaret River via Lake Clifton and Busselton.
Day 4: Driving to Margaret River via Lake Clifton and Busselton
We had 3 hours of driving ahead of us from Fremantle to Margaret River so we decided to have an early head start. I decided to break our drive into 2 parts (besides some random stops along the expressway at petrol stations) with our first stop at Lake Clifton at Yalgorup National Park.
Address: Lake Clifton Jetty, Yalgorup National Park, Western Australia 6215 Australia
From the small parking space, take a quiet stroll along the pier and spot the thrombolites along with the breathtaking view. Thrombolites are those round-like shape rocks. Lake Clifton is one of the few places where you can see these thrombolites. After stretching our legs, we got back in the car and drove about an hour towards Busselton.
We made our way to the beachfront Busselton Jetty which is popular among visitors for whale watching. There are many sheltered picnic areas with playgrounds so it’s ideal for families.
After our nice quiet picnic lunch, we took a walk along the Busselton Jetty. The pier is about 2km long with a quaint gift shop and an underwater observatory at the end. Before you enter the pier, you’ll have to pay an entrance fee. Do look out for oncoming train and train tracks if you’re planning on taking a stroll. You could also take a small train down that runs every hour.
Address: 3L Queen St, Busselton WA 6280, Australia
Opening hours: Daily, 07:30 – 18:00
Entrance fees: AUD$4 (adults, age 17 and above), free entrance for children till age 16, Jetty train(return) — $14 (adults), $8.50 (children)
We then continued our drive all the way to Margaret River where we checked into our stunning Airbnb and rest for the night. It is not uncommon to have early nights here since everything closes at 4 pm or so. Margaret River’s main town is relatively small but there is a Coles here if you’d want to do any grocery runs. But most restaurants and eateries close rather early so it’s better to have an early night and have an early start the next day.
Day 5: Explore Lake Cave, Margaret River Chocolate Factory and Cowaramup Bay
Our morning here was greeted by dark clouds and light rain. The weather here is so different from Cervantes where it was mostly sunshine. We had a slow start but soon made our way to the Lake Cave which was a 15-minute drive from our Airbnb.
As you drive around Margaret River, you’ll notice vast empty lands but underneath are these caves that are so majestic in its own unique way. Lake Cave is one of those caves. You can only enter the caves with a tour guide. You can purchase entrance tickets at the visitors’ center or online (which is what I did). There are allocated timings for you to select your chosen tour.
Address: Caves Rd &, Conto Rd, Forest Grove WA 6286, Australia
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00 – 17:00
Your tour guide will take you beyond the sunken forest and Karri tress into the cave itself. You’ll see many delicate crystal formations and of course, the massive “Suspended table” which hangs from the cave’s ceiling. You aren’t allowed to touch any of the formations but photography is allowed. Tours usually last for about an hour or so.
It was actually drizzling and there aren’t many sheltered spaces besides inside the visitor’s center and the cave itself. Be sure to bring an umbrella or poncho for the walk down. Moreover, some considerable level of fitness is expected since the climb back up can be a little tough but manageable. Just take your time and take it easy on the steps.
Since the rain was still pouring, we had to find a place that was indoors (which is rare here) so we drove to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. Despite its name, please don’t expect the Charlie Chocolate Factory tour. This outlet is more of a chocolate store and cafe. There’s a window for you to observe the process of making chocolate. You could also have a seat and enjoy their delicious waffles. Before you go, be sure to sample some of their many chocolates! Besides your regular chocolate bars, you can find honey, caramel sauce and many more.
Address: 415 Harman’s Mill Rd, Metricup WA 6280
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00 – 17:00
There are many wineries and On our way back, we also drove through the town of Cowaramup (which is decorated with cows and milk-themed eateries). Cowaramup town is extremely charming. But we decided to drive to Cowaramup Bay and we were greeted by the stunning sun and crazy winds. There are many viewpoints you can stop for a view that will take your breath away.
Day 6: Discover Margaret River’s Mouth and Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
The weather kept shifting between rain and shine that we decided to stay in the Margaret River region. The day started with a drive to the mouth of the Margaret River. Don’t let the sun fool you. The winds were very crazy that day. We took a walk around but left soon after. If you wait long enough, you’ll be able to see the tides get higher and observe how the river meets the ocean.
Address: Wallcliffe Rd, Margaret River WA 6285, Australia
To chase the sun, we drove up to Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse for more views of the Indian Ocean. We didn’t opt for the guided tour so we couldn’t go up the lighthouse. But the view from below was just as stunning. Again, it was very windy so be sure to bring a jacket along and try not to get blown away.
Address: Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, 1267 Cape Naturaliste Rd, Naturaliste WA 6281, Australia
Opening hours: Daily, 09:00 – 17:00
The rest of the day was spent back at the Margaret River town. We stopped by Kappadokia Kebabs, the only halal restaurant in Margaret River. Nothing more comforting than a warm kebab on a very chilly day.
Day 7: Back to Perth and Fremantle Market
The drive back to Perth was relatively easy with fewer stops along the way. We made way to Fremantle which was particularly busy this Friday compared to our previous visit. We parked the car and walked over on foot to Fremantle Market.
There are many entrances to Fremantle Market so you won’t know what to expect. I would say that it’s much smaller than Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne but still a wide variety of stalls. You can find everything and anything here from soap to spices. There are a number of halal food stalls selling Asian cuisine so be sure to bring along your appetite!
Address: South Terrace &, Henderson St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia
Opening hours: Friday 09:00 – 20:00, Weekends 09:00 – 18:00
Later, we spent the rest of the day shopping and roaming Perth city. There wasn’t much going on here but there’s a fair share of popular stores like Target, West Elm and Colette.
Day 8: Pit stop at Kings Park and a shopping spree at DFO Perth
Last day! The last day started with a visit to Kings Park and Botanical Gardens. This park boasts one of the best views of Perth city and the most gorgeous flora and fauna in Perth. You could easily spend a couple of hours here. There are many walking trails you could choose from. We had a quick walkthrough and even visited the War Memorial.
Before heading to the airport, we had one last shopping hurrah at DFO Perth. This shopping mall is relatively new. They have a whole dining section with one halal Mediterranean eatery with a play area for children. We easily spent 2 hours there because there were just that many shops. I can say that you won’t be disappointed with the variety of shops.
The great thing about DFO Perth is that it’s really close to the airport. The bad news is that you might need to buy a new suitcase to fit all your shopping (haha).
All in all, I think Perth is a great city and definitely worth a visit. My parents really enjoyed it due to its calm and stress-free driving atmosphere. I would highly recommend leaving Perth and driving around the rest of Western Australia like Albany. There really is so much more to see besides the few I listed here.