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Joondalup: The Peaceful North Of Perth
joondalupWestern Australian is home to some of the country's most uniquely charming towns and none display this better than Joondalup. This charming town is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Perth and is ideal for a weekend getaway or extended family trip. The great thing is that Joondalup is close to everything: it is just a short drive north of Perth and is also close to some of the state's most precious National Parks, where large stretches of natural bushland surround a chain of impressive inland lakes. This is essentially what makes it a great destination for a self drive holiday, as there is so much to see and do here, all within a day's drive!

While staying in Joondalup, you will need to plan where you want to go and when you want to visit it. A great place to start if with a tour that heads north for three hours up to the Nambung National Park. This stunning example of nature is home to the limestone formations known as the Pinnacles which will no doubt take your breath away. These are resistant mounds and pillars of limestone rock rising out of the desert floor in a way that makes them appear from another world. In the sunrise or sunset the play of light and the lengthy shadows accentuates the features of these strange formations, and at these times you are more likely to see the local wildlife out and about.

If you visit between the months of August to October you will be blessed with the famous Australian wildflowers that come to life here then. This adds to the brilliant yet somewhat alienating atmosphere of the area and brings colour in so many ways. Unfortunately there is no accommodation available within the park, but nearby at Cervantes there is beachside accommodation that will be perfect to experience this amazing place.

Another geological feature of this area that will blow you away is Wave Rock. Although it is a four hour drive to get here, it will be well worth it, simply to marvel at the sight of the rock. Stretching to the sky for a whopping fifteen metres and spanning for over 110 metres in length, geological forces over the centuries have shaped this formation exactly like a large wave just about to break. Standing below it gives you the feeling that its peak is going to come crashing down at any second! This is a truly unique example of the true power of nature and is further evident all throughout the park. Hippo's Yawn and the Humps are other popular sites, while the walls of Mulka's Cave are covered with Aboriginal art that dates back so far it will leave you awe stricken. The park is also home to a museum and a kiiosk, with a caravan park offering a great place to stay overnight before heading back to Joondalup.

If Nambung and the Wave Rock Reserve has made u thirsty for more of the Western Australian desert, quench your thirst at the lush and fertile lands of the Swan Valley. Situated just thirty five minutes away, this is the perfect day trip getaway, although the amount of activities on offer here will probably entice you to stay a bit longer. Swan Valley is most famous for its world class wines, whose cellar doors are ideal to visit and their produce, perfect to sample. Many of the wineries here also have a restaurant or eatery on site, which will make for a delightful culinary experience. Swan Valley is a dream destination for any lover of culture and the arts. Art galleries, antiques stores and crafts fairs line the streets and enjoy a beautiful bushland backdrop that the region is famous for. The river itself is wide and smooth flowing, which makes evening cruises or canoeing and kayaking an absolute pleasure. This will undoubtedly be one of the unforgettable highlights of your trip.

If you dont feel like driving anywhere, there is plenty in Joondalup to keep you entertained. The most famous beach here would have to be Burns Beach, which is characterised by pristine blue waters and clear white sands. This beach is extremely popular with surfers, swimmers and fisherman, offering something for everyone. This beach also marks one end of a coastal nature walk that spans all the way down to Fremantle, so if you are feeling energetic why not give this walk a go. Remember, you don't have to do the whole thing!

Just twenty minutes from the beach you will come across Yanchep National Park. This is a heavenly home to tuart and banksia woodlands and is extremely rich in Aboriginal and European history. Alive with local flora and fauna, this park is home to pristine wetlands and limestone caves that are simply begging to be explored.

If you are looking for a friendly and homely place to stay near Joondalup then why not check out the Kookaburra Apartment. This remarkable accommodations if idyllically set among a serene and green rural atmosphere. It is a great place to relax in privacy and enjoy the homely environment that has all the facilities you would expect in your own home. So have a look at their site, and definitely have a look at Joondalup as an option for your next holiday.

Christine Barton

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