Restrictions disrupted Christmas plans for many, who had to isolate and test, or didn’t want to leave Perth and Peel and wear a mask. They chose to stay home.
So here are some isolated outdoor spots to blow away the cobwebs, still within the broader metro and Mandurah region.
Load up the esky, think shade, and get away from the everyday — even if just for a few hours.
Grab a gelato or mango sorbet, and Happy new year …
- Lets start with the obvious. All of us are near a local park. Find a spot under a tree and chill out on a rug there. In the southern suburbs, it might be the North Lake, Bibra Lake and Yangebup Lake system; in the northern suburbs, Gwelup Reserve. Also, keep in mind that great outdoor spots in new industrial areas are quiet at this time of year, like the Herdsman Lake park off Jon Sanders Drive in Osborne Park.
- Go bigger at Whiteman Park. Its big advantage is that it’s, well, big. There’s 4000ha of it, so finding a spot away from everyone else is easy. There are lots of public barbecues to use for a few dollars (bring $1 coins). Observe the rules, but drop in for supplies at the Village Cafe, Guerrilla Hub kiosk or The Lolly Stop. If restrictions permit, magical fairies are the latest addition to The Children’s Forest, and the newest attraction is Pia’s Place, a nature-based playground with a 13m-high lighthouse. whitemanpark.com.au
- Walyunga Pool, Syd’s Rapids, Boongarup Pool and Bells Rapid and the Avon River are the attention-getters in Walyunga National Park, but its bigger than that. There are lots of cooler spots in tree-filled valleys by the water — for this is where the Avon River joins the Brockman to form the Swan River. It’s perfect for a big bush day trip from Perth, with 1800ha to lose yourself in. Walyunga has one of the biggest known Aboriginal camp sites around Perth — it has been a Nyoongar meeting place for more than 6000 years.
- The family-friendly Bells Rapids River Walk is 2.75 km and takes less than an hour. Start from Bells Rapids Park, Cathedral Avenue, Brigadoon.
- Lets start with Swan River beaches. While Matilda Bay and Point Walter get busy, there are all sorts of other nooks and crannies, like the Dalkeith beach between Bishops Road Reserve (off Victoria Avenue) and Point Resolution Reserve.
- Just a few steps away from the really popular ocean beaches, you can still find a big, isolated spot for yourself. Perth and Peel are amazing for that. In southern beaches, I’ll bet you find some space on Coogee (head for Omeo Park). Or, at the bottom of CY O’Connor beach south of Fremantle, head for Chelydra Park.
- It’s incredible to have an 8.5km long beach with such a remote feel within cooee of so many of us. And Warnbro Beach is protected in a lot of different wind conditions, as it curves north-east, then north, then north-west, its tip protected by a sand shoal. It’s a bright sandy beach — take good sunnies and protection from those rays. Park at St Ives Beach carpark and lookout, or Capella Pass carpark, walk south, and walk off Christmas. You will find a spot on your own. Or start at Port Kennedy boat ramp, at the end of Port Kennedy Drive.
- Yanchep Lagoon feels like a real adventure. The main Yanchep Lagoon beach extends north from the northern bluff for 300m, with reef attached to the southern end. Get your jellies or neoprene shoes or booties on, and get out for an offshore wander. The beach is backed by 15m-high, vegetated bluffs. The protected waters are great for swimming and snorkelling.
- If you want to shake it up, go for a jump off Rockingham Jetty (near the corner of Esplanade and Val Street, Rockingham). It’s exhilarating.
Our food writer, Rob Broadfield, has some suggestions for picnics …
- Take the best glasses you have. Drinking from plastic cups is for footy matches and children’s parties. Similarly, take your best linen napkins and best cutlery.
- Go easy on the charcuterie. One good, thick slice of a country-style terrine or pate en croute, with cornichons, a crusty baguette, perhaps mustard fruits and good butter should do the trick.
- Buy pate in jars — very handy.
- Try poached chicken thighs, chilled and pulled apart, a tiny dice of celery, lemon juice, toasted, crumbled walnuts, bound with a light mayonnaise and topped with cress or wild rocket on smooshy white bread with the crusts cut off.
- Build a crunchy composed salad of finely shaved fennel, radishes and shallots tossed with vinegar, sugar and a little water to gently pickle for 30 minutes (then drained) and dressed with a well-seasoned olive oil, buttermilk, lemon juice dressing.
- Pre-cook Frenched lamb chops at home until pink in the middle, wrap in foil and serve, still warm, with pesto.
- Pack a small chopping board, a bread knife, a picnic rug, squashy cushions, a cooler, insect repellent, a good (and stylish) hat to protect you from the sun, ziplock bags for leftovers or rubbish, sanitised hand wipes, and a tea towel to wipe up spills and messy hands.