Perth and the very large state of Western Australia (it’s 10x the size of the UK!) has a lot to offer. From endless days of sunshine, uncrowded alabaster beaches that line the coast, to top quality produce in its restaurants and some of the friendliest locals around. A visit to Perth can add a lot more to your Australian holiday experience!
In the city, head down to the newly built Elizabeth Quay (or as locals call it, Betty’s Jetty), for restaurants, bars and a nice promenade to stroll across. A ferry service nearby sweeps you across the river to South Perth where you can view the above skyline, head to more pubs and restaurants or visit the world-class Perth Zoo. If you’ve ever seen that photo of the mama giraffe kissing the top of her baby giraffe’s head – that was taken here! They also have a newborn giraffe as of 2018.
Just metres from Perth train station is the Arts Precinct with the Art Gallery of WA and the WA Museum (currently being built as a massive glass box and due for completion in November 2020.) From here you can stroll into Northbridge which is well known for its bars, restaurants, pubs and clubs.
While the bars and restaurants in the CBD have a more relaxed vibe, Northbridge is where you’ll find the energy-packed nightlife, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.
The Largest City Park in the World
Kings Park overlooks the city of Perth and at 1003 acres is the largest city park in the world. The gardens here are home to over 3000 native species of flora, including a 750yo, very large boab tree that was brought down from the far-north Kimberley region of WA. If visiting from August to December you’ll find many of WA’s famous wildflowers in bloom which attract quite a crowd. There’s also plenty of activities and room for kids to run around.
Many outdoor concerts are held here so check their events page while you’re in town, especially in summer.
Best Views of Perth
The view from Kings Park draws in many visitors, whether it’s at sunrise, sunset, night or during the day, it is an impressive view. You’ll find many couples enjoying a romantic picnic on the grassed area overlooking the skyline. There’s also a fine-dining restaurant and cafe up there. Don’t forget to head out to the glass-bottomed skywalk for impressive southerly views over Melville Waters.
The next best view is from South Perth foreshore, like the photo right up the top of the page! You can catch a ferry over from Betty’s Jetty or go for a leisurely walk over the bridge.
In East Perth you’ll find the Perth Mint which provides premium gold, silver and platinum products and services to markets throughout the world. But for the visitor, you can learn about WA’s historic love affair with the yellow metal in their Gold Exhibition, watch a traditional gold pour and even see the Guinness World Record-holding Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin!
Perth’s Blue Boat House
Something of an Instagram star, the blue boat house is usually on the bucket list of any photographer. There’s a bus stop nearby or take a relaxed walk (4km) from Betty’s Jetty, up along the river. Get here early unless you want to line up to get your photo!
Some of the Best Beaches in the World
If hitting the beach is at the top of your holiday list, then you’re in for a treat with an entire coastline of white, sandy beaches to choose from. The very popular Cottesloe Beach closest to Perth CBD and reached by public transport via the 102 Bus from Elizabeth Quay Bus Station in Perth CBD, or take the train from Perth Station to Cottesloe Station and walk to the beach (15 mins). Cottesloe is full of pubs, cafe’s and restaurants. Check out the Indiana Teahouse that sits overlooking the beach or grab some fish and chips and sit on the grassed area while watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean.
If visiting in March head down for the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition.
Cottesloe Beach is your best option if you have children. It generally has calmer waters and local lifeguards patrol the beach. Remember to always swim between the flags and if you get caught in a rip, swim to the side, don’t try to swim straight back to shore.
Further down the train track is Leighton Beach, easily reached by train, just get off at the North Fremantle station and walk 200m to the beach. Dine at the fabulous Bib & Tucker restaurant or try the more casual The Orange Box next door.
Scarborough, Trigg and South Beach are also popular, with Scarborough recently completing a massive redevelopment of the area which now includes restaurants, shops, a giant swimming pool and even free wifi!
Visit the Sunset Markets at South Beach in South Fremantle, every Saturday night, 5-9pm, December to March. Free Cat Bus shuttles from Fremantle are available when the markets are on.
A bit further down from South Beach, you’ll find the Omeo shipwreck just offshore at the northern end of Coogee Beach. It’s a great spot to snorkel to see the ship up close, which sunk in 1905. The water is only about 2-4m deep, depending on the tides.
Sports & Music
Perth’s new Optus Stadium has just been awarded the title of ‘most beautiful stadium in the world’, and to be fair, it is quite pretty. If you’re here from late March to August, check out a game of Aussie Rules football (AFL) or go to a mega concert of a big international headline act!
In January, you’ll find international tennis tournaments at Burswood and in December head to the cricket. The A-League season (soccer) runs from Oct-May, with Perth Glory being the 2019 winners.
Perth is quite spread out, its suburbs north to south cover nearly 80kms, so while you can visit a lot of the main attractions with public transport or tours, hiring a car can allow you the freedom to explore further. While it’s generally common in most cities to stay in the middle of town, in Perth the attractions are spread out so you can stay in a number of areas outside of the city like Fremantle, Cottesloe, Scarborough and South Perth, although you might like to hire a car if staying outside of Perth or Fremantle.
Perth’s Wine Valley of Gourmet Delights
If wine is your thing but you don’t have time to visit the world-famous Margaret River Wine region, take a trip out to the Swan Valley! Just 20 minutes from Perth and home to a number of well known wineries like Sandalford and Houghton’s along with breweries like Mash, Feral (my fave) and Ironbark Breweries. You’ll also find cheese, nougat and chocolate factories!
If you’re unable or don’t want to drive (cos wine), there are wine cruises that leave the Perth CBD and stop for lunch at a winery on the banks of the river or include a coach tour around the valley.
The Margaret River Chocolate Company (the sister site of the one actually down in Margaret River), has a huge assortment of different chocolates including 3 big bowls of sample drops. (My fave is the salted caramel bar – ermagherd!)
The cafe on-site serves food and icecream, also check out Providore next door for gourmet condiments and oils (the apple balsamic vinegar and orange olive oil combo pack is awesome) and the Coward & Black winery out the back.
If you’ve hired a car you might like to visit Caversham Wildlife Park, Whiteman Park, the All Saints Church in Henley Brook (WA’s oldest church still in use) and don’t forget to visit nearby historical Guildford for quaint antique shops and a great bakery.
The Port City of Fremantle
One of the most popular day trips in Perth is to Fremantle, the historic port city that is home to the largest amount of Georgian & Victorian architecture in the southern hemisphere. Many festivals are held here during the year, especially in the warmer months, but taking a stroll through the Fremantle Markets and the historic West End makes a great day out, especially accompanied with a long lunch at one of the alfresco tables along the Cappuccino Strip or head down to the Fishing Boat Harbour for all the best seafood and the ever popular Little Creatures Brewery.
There’s a lot to see in Fremantle so check out its own guide written by a local, (me!)
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Quokka Selfie. If you haven’t, oh boy you’re missing out on some mass squees of cuteness! Rottnest Island lies just off the coast from Perth and is only a 40-minute ferry ride to the picturesque island full of stunning beaches and the adorable fur-ball quokka. Ferries leave frequently from Perth, Fremantle and Hillary’s, it’s easily visited with a day trip but there are a range of accommodations available on the island (although hard to book during school holidays!)
Perth is also your gateway to the expansive state of Western Australia. Whether you’re heading down south to the Margaret River wine region and Southern Forests, visiting the dolphins of Monkey Mia or the whale sharks off Ningaloo Reef, exploring Karijini National Park or heading north to the majestic frontier of the Kimberley region, there is a lot of land to cover. If you have the time, hire a car for a day trip or explore further with a week or more. The south-west offers a lot to see in a smaller area and the Coral Coast isn’t too far from Perth. For longer trips, head further up the coast to Exmouth, Broome and beyond or explore the quintessential Outback lifestyle in the interior.
From August to November, check out Western Australia’s wildflowers. There are over 12,000 wildflower species in WA, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Head to WA’s mid-west to see the spectacular fields of everlasting daisies.
Here’s a couple of places to drop by for a feed around Perth.
Best Perth Breakfasts
- May Street Larder, East Fremantle – try the Soul Sandwich (fried chicken with waffles.)
- Moore & Moore, Fremantle – Cute & cosy courtyard with gallery attached. Good assortment of meals. Iced chai latte is delicious.
- Van’s, Cottesloe – Popular cafe near Cottesloe train station. Good vegan options, try the sambal eggs. Also good for lunch and dinner.
- Odyssea, City Beach – beach views for breakfast from a kitchen that focuses on seasonal produce
- Mary Street Bakery, Highgate – excellent breakfast but many come here for the insane donuts – try the PB & J!
- Epicurean, Crown Towers – Best breakfast buffet in Perth with multiple cuisines.
- Left Bank, East Fremantle – Pub right on the river with lots of al fresco tables.
Best Perth Lunches
- Bib & Tucker, North Fremantle – located right on the beach with ocean views. Good for breakfast and dinner too!
- Hadiqi, Perth CBD – Trendy Moroccan bar that sells a good selection of Moroccan food. Try the halloumi with orange.
- Il Lido, Cottesloe – sunset views over the ocean with great Italian food and a healthy wine list.
- Young George, East Fremantle – Offers seasonal produce and plates straight from the Aussie coat of arms (roo and emu). Excellent charcuterie and cheese boards.
- Feral Brewery, Baskerville (Swan Valley) – beautiful location next to a vineyard. The the pate and fried chicken are my faves!
- Fraser’s, Kings Park – Fancy pants restaurant overlooking the city.
- Gino’s, Fremantle – One of the first alfresco cafes in WA, excellent coffee, cannoli and risotto. Great for people watching.
- Norfolk Hotel, Fremantle – Top spot for a relaxing afternoon having lunch outdoors, pretty good food and beer list too.
- Rose & Crown, Guildford – Historic pub with a lovely courtyard to enjoy lunch in.
- The Boatshed Restaurant, South Perth – Modern Australian cuisine with panoramic views across the river, of the city.
- The Windsor, South Perth – Historic pub offering great food. A good stop after a day at Perth Zoo.
- Core Cider House, Pickering Brook – Lovely cidery situated on 40 acres of apple orchards in the Perth Hills.
Best Perth Dinners
- Uncle Billy’s, Northbridge – amazingly good Chinese food, cheap too!
- Side Door BBQ, Highgate – American BBQ. Slabs of meat, can’t go wrong!
- Little Creatures, Fremantle – views over the harbour, on-site brewed beer and cider. Try the frites with aioli and beef brisket, so good!
- Wildflower, Perth CBD – one of the fanciest places in Perth. Top quality produce that reflects the Indigenous Noongar seasons and is considered one of the best restaurants in Australia.
- Bread in Common, Fremantle – warm communal space with a focus on fresh produce. Lots of vegie plates but the lamb ribs are amazing.
- C Restaurant, Perth CBD – Perth’s only revolving restaurant with views over the river.
- Sienas, Leederville – Popular Italian restaurant with uncomplicated dishes.
- Long Chim, Perth CBD – Fantastic Thai food, check out the laksa and the banana roti dessert.
- Nobu, Crown Casino – Fancy Japanese with some seriously good sashimi. Try the pork belly!
- Alfred’s Burgers, Guildford – Bit of an institution for a late-night meal! Open till 2am.
Where To Stay
Budget Perth Accommodation
- Ibis Hotel, Perth CBD – 3* hotel with central location.
- Old Swan Barracks Backpackers Hostel, Perth CBD – Airy dorms & private rooms offering free breakfast, plus a bar.
- Akara Hotel, Perth CBD – Central location with cheap rooms.
- Season of Perth, Perth CBD – Simple rooms, great location, has a pool.
- Fremantle Prison YHA, Fremantle – Hostel in a former historic prison!
- Sundancer Backpackers, Fremantle – Located in the historic West End. Hostel with a pool!
Mid-Priced Perth Accommodation
- Art Series The Adnate, Perth CBD – One of Perth’s newest hotels. Features the world’s largest, 25-storey, mega-mural going up the entire side of the building.
- Hougoumont Hotel, Fremantle – Right in the middle of Freo with rooms made from sea containers. Is lovelier than it sounds.
- Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle – Set in a beautiful, historic building. Has a great breakfast buffet.
- Cottesloe Beach Hotel – 3* hotel, right across from the beach.
- Crown Promenade, Burswood – 4* hotel with access to the casino, theatre and top restaurants. Across the river from the CBD.
- Holiday Inn, Perth CBD – Central location right on the Hay St Mall.
Fancy Pants Perth Accommodation
- COMO The Treasury, Perth CBD – Central location in recently renovated Treasury Building. One of Perth’s best luxury hotels.
- Crown Towers, Burswood – Just out of the city, located right next to a casino, theatre and restaurant precinct. Has great views of the river and city.
- Crown Metropol, Burswood – 5* but with cheaper rooms than the Towers and has same access to all the food and entertainment.
- QT Perth Hotel, Perth CBD – 5* hotel at a 3* price. Great location in the CBD.
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