Welcome to Perth

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Kings Park is the perfect place to hang out. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Welcome to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Perth city became an international sensation when Australia won the America’s Cup yacht race in 1985. This fun and funky city is blessed with great restaurants, bars and nightlife, plus fabulous beaches and parklands. If you need a break from the pristine and uncrowded beaches, take a hike in the nearby national parks, or sample the world-class local wineries.


Getting to Perth

I recommend booking flights to Perth so you can make the most of your holiday. Perth is on the West Coast of Australia, so if you’re coming from Sydney, Melbourne or Queensland (which are all on the East Coast of Australia), you’ve got days of driving ahead of you. If you’re after a different type of travel experience, why not catch the Indian Pacific railway which is Australia’s version of the orient express.

Public transport in and around Perth and Freemantle is pretty good, but consider hiring a car so you can explore further afield. 


Get to know Perth by doing a tour

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Take a guided tour and get in touch with Perth's Indigenous culture. Photo: Tourism Australia 
 

I recommend booking a tour so you can explore all that Perth has to offer. Sightseeing options range from walking tours, free self-guided tours, buses,  bike, kayak, and cruises. 

  • Book a tour with a local knowledgeable tour guide. Explore Perth’s laneways, landmarks, history and foodie culture. There are plenty of great guides including Up Close and Local Tours which specialise in local experiences and getting you off the beat path. 

  • Take a free 90-minute tour with one of the Perth city local volunteers. Otherwise set off on your own self-guided walking tour and uncover Perth’s convict history and Indigenous roots.

  • Tour Perth on the back of a camel along the Swan River. 

  • Hop on the free city bus and visit the various museums, art galleries and the Perth Mint (which is also home to the largest coin in the world weighing one tonne of pure gold.)Take a lazy lunch by the river or beach and enjoy fresh fusion flavours of Perth's many cafes, restaurants and new small bars.


Popular Perth activities & attractions

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Meet the local Quokkas at Perth Zoo. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

  • Ride the Elizabeth Quay Carousel. As you go up and down and around on this carousel, you’ll be treated to panoramic views over Elizabeth Quay and the Swan River.

  • Take a walk around the Barrack square in the city and see the iconic 14th century Swan Belltower. The bells ring every day and is a musical performance all on its own. You can buy a ticket and go inside the tower where there are three viewing platforms. 

  • Take a cruise up the Swan River or jump on a ferry to South Perth and enjoy the sensational city skyline and Elizabeth Quay. 

  • Choose from one of the many cafes, restaurants for a lazy lunch by the Swan River.

  • Visit Adventure World for a full day of family fun. This is Perth’s theme park and water park all in one. Choose from rollercoasters, water slides, and plenty of other crazy rides. 

  • Go up-up-and-away in a helicopter for unforgettable views of the city and beaches. Looking for an adrenalin hit, go on a skydiving adventure.

  • Spend a day at Perth Zoo. There’s over 1,000 animals from around the world. Local favourites include koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, tortoises, Australian birdlife. International guests include African lions, cheetahs and giraffes.

  • The Aquarium of Western Australia is a zoo for marine life. Jump on the conveyor belt for an underwater adventure. Travel past seadragons, loggerhead turtles, starfish, eels, giant clams, clownfish, sharks, Jellyfish and the dangerous Blue Ringed Octopus from Australia’s Far North Queensland.


Beaches & water activities in Perth

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Take a dip in the beautiful beaches around Perth. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Perth has 19 beautiful and uncrowded beaches that stretch for 80 kilometres. Swim, surf, bodysurf, or snorkel in the clear blue water. When you’re done swimming, why not enjoy a picnic or bbq in the beachside parks, or take a walk or bike ride along the paths that stretch over 35 kilometres along the coast.

  • The iconic Cottesloe Beach which is one of the best swimming beaches in the world. Cottesloe beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean so grab a bottle of wine and some fish and chips and watch the sun disappear into the waves. Don’t miss the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition which is a free exhibition on Cottesloe beach every March. This is public art at its best where local artists showing off their talents.

  • Best beaches for surfing and bodyboarding are Scarborough beach, Trigg beach, and Watermans Bay.

  • More protected beaches are City beach, Sorrento beach, North beach, Burns beach, and Hillarys Boat Harbour. 

  • If you’re looking for the ideal snorkelling and diving beaches, head to Marmion Marine Park or explore the historic shipwrecks at Two Rocks beach.


Parks & gardens in Perth

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Don't be surprised if you see koalas watching over you while you play in the parks. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Perth is like a living postcard with its many beautiful national parks and gardens. If you’re looking for green space in the city centre, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Kings Park and Botanic Gardens are one of the world’s largest inner-city parks. It has many different gardens to explore, walking trails, an Indigenous cultural tour, a treetop walk, and plenty of picnic spots to enjoy. Kings Park is also the perfect place for kids to run around and let off steam. Kids play areas include the Rio Tinto Naturescape and the Synergy Parkland with its dinosaur-themed playground. If you’re in Perth between September to November, you can catch a glimpse of the local wildflowers on display (there are 1200 different species!) Some of the walking trails are:

    • Memorials Walk – a 1.7km that takes around 1 hour. This walk includes views of the Swan River, Perth's CBD,  and takes you past the State War Memorial and the Lord John Forrest statue.

    • Botanic Garden Discovery Walk - a 20-minute walk through the Western Australian Botanic Garden. 

    • Lotterywest Federation Walkway is a glass and steel arched bridge where you walk high among the treetops for stunning views over Perth city. This walk takes around 40 minutes. 

    • Bushland Nature Trail is a 25 minutes loop where you’ll see native wildflowers, trees and birds. 

    • Boodja Gnarning Walk pays tribute to the Aboriginal Nyoongar people who are the traditional owners of Kings Park. This 3km walk takes over an hour and includes information and artworks by Nyoongar people.

  • Queens Gardens is another green space right in the heart of the city. Stroll around the beautiful gardens and past the lakes filled with waterlilies. The lakes used to be clay pits when this space was a brickworks. 

  • Other parks and gardens dotted around the city include Harold Boas Gardens which features waterfalls and rock cascade gardens, Stirling Gardens with its sculptures of kangaroos and characters from Mary Gibbs children’s books.

  • For a relaxing afternoon head to Araluen Botanic Park. There’s plenty of beautiful blooms to see all year round but don’t miss the tulip festival each spring. 


Museums & galleries in Perth

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A gallery with a twist. See the artwork by convicts adorning the walls at Fremantle Prison.
Photo: Tourism Australia

  • Get your culture on at the Perth Cultural Centre and indulge your love of art, history, music, theatre and dance. In this one space you’ll find the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, the Western Australia Museum, the Blue Room Theatre and the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. 

  • Head to The Perth Mint and watch a gold pour. There’s lots of exhibitions including the impressive one-tonne-gold-coin that’s worth $50 million! For something a little different, book a Mine to Mint day tour. You'll visit a working gold mine, get kitted out in all the high visibility safety gear to see all the action of mining for gold and other precious metals, 'pan for gold', and then head back to the Perth Mint.

  • Looking for something a bit out of the box? Check out The Nostalgia Box which is Australia's first interactive video gaming console museum. This is your chance to go back to the 1970s and play the popular Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers.


Things to do in Fremantle

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Fremantle wharf. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Fremantle is 30 minutes south of Perth. Catch a bus, train or drive from Perth to Fremantle. If you want to cycle to Fremantle, there’s great bike routes and paths and it will take over an hour.

  • Take a cruise from Perth to Fremantle, or Freo as the locals call it. 

  • Visit the convict-built Fremantle Prison. Before it was decommissioned in 1991, it was a maximum-security prison. These days, you can explore the underground tunnels, prison cells and hear stories of life behind bars and the many daring escapes.

  • Browse through the Fremantle Markets which are open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There’s plenty of stalls selling delicious food, fashion, art and all kinds of homemade quirky items. 

  • Enjoy a beer and a free tour of Little Creatures brewery. Tours run in the afternoon and you get to sample their delicious beers along the way.

  • Take the Fremantle hop-on hop-off tram tour that goes past all the main sites including the prison, markets and the docks.


Things to do on Rottnest Island

Cycle around Rottnest Island. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

 
Rottnest Island is 25 minutes on the ferry from Freemantle, or 90 minutes from Perth's Barrack Street Jetty. Rottnest Island is a car-free area so I recommend hiring a bike from the ferry terminals. 

  • Rottnest Island has beautiful beaches, bays and coral reefs so you can go swimming, surfing, snorkelling or fishing. There’s also boat hire and boat tours available. When you’re not in the water, explore the island and the hidden bays by foot or riding a bike. 

  • Look out for the resident Quokkas that are unique to Rottnest Island. They’re part of the kangaroo and wallaby family and are about the size of a domestic cat. Quokkas are happy little animals and they’ll let you take a selfie but you need to let them come to you. 

  • Go diving and snorkelling around the coral reefs and shipwrecks. There’s around 135 species of tropical fish and green turtles living around Rottnest Island. Popular snorkelling spots include The Basin, Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay. 

  • Feed and surf with bottle-nose dolphins at Salmon Bay. See the colony of New Zealand Fur Seals flipping and playing from the viewing platform at Cathedral Rocks.

  • Walk one of the five Wadjemup Bidi tracks. There’s signage and landmarks along the way explaining the local Aboriginal history. Each walking track takes around 3-4 hours to complete.


Things to do in Rockingham

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Swim with dolphins in Rockingham. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Rockingham is 45-minute drive from Perth, or a catch the train (line 555) from Perth.

Rockingham is home to little penguins, bottle-nosed dolphins, sea lions and all kinds of birdlife. Swim with wild dolphins, or kayak snorkel or scuba dive among the dolphins, penguins and sea lions. There’s gorgeous beaches including Cockburn Sound and Secret Harbour. Fancy a top-drop? Tour around the local vineyards including the award-winning Peel Estate and the family-owned Stakehill Estate.


Things to do in Swan Valley

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Fancy a tipple. Swan Valley is a short drive and has 50 vineyards to try out. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Swan Valley is 25-minute drive from Perth. You can catch the train (line 311) or bus from Perth, but it’s a 2-hour journey.

  • The Swan Valley has over 50 wineries, breweries and distilleries including the vintage Sandalford, John Kosovich, Pinelli Estate, and Talijancich. Newcomers include the Edgecombe Brothers which is renowned for its fortified wines and liqueurs, and Harris Organic Wines which make incredible Shiraz dessert wines, dry whites and sparkling wines. The Swan Valley is the perfect place to indulge in wine tasting.

  • Enjoy the abundant locally-grown produce, cheese and chocolates. You can take a food trail or head to the growers markets where you’ll also find local preserves, dried fruit, chocolate and nuts.

  • Visit Caversham Wildlife Park. This is a wildlife sanctuary that provides shelter and care for injured or abandoned Australian wildlife. You and the kids can feed the kangaroos, lambs or even milk a cow. Caversham Wildlife Park is nestled within Whiteman Park, which has a water playground and tram rides for little kids. Bigger kids will love Motor Museum of WA where you’ll also find Daniel Riccardo’s F1 Redbull Race Car.


Dining & nightlife in Perth

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You're spoilt for choice with restaurants and cafes in Perth. Photo: Tourism Australia
 

Perth’s many laneways are home to chic small bars, cafes, restaurants and microbreweries. If you love live music and entertainment, Perth and Fremantle pubs and clubs are renowned for their jazz, blues, and comedy sessions. 

  • Perth is buzzing with laneway and rooftop bars. Wolf Lane and Grand Lane is home to a secret world of bars and food. A few of our recommendations include Bar Lafayette, Bobeche, Choo Choo's, Door 49, and Grand Bar & Bistro.

  • If you need inspiration, take one of the small bar tours or guided food and wine tours to some of the best restaurants and hidden laneway bars.

  • For one of the most memorable nights out in Perth, head to the Jazz Cellar on a Friday night. This is one of Perth’s best-kept secrets and is an adventure from the very start. Walk into an old red telephone box that leads you down the stairs for the best vintage jazz music. The Jazz Cellar isn’t licenced so pack food and drinks so you can have an indoor picnic. Make sure you book – this place is a sell-out every week.

 
 
 

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