Looking for things to do in Perth? The city might be one of the world’s most isolated, but it’s certainly not short on outdoor and indoor adventures. The sun soaked capital of Western Australia is a mix of rapidly sprouting skyscrapers and pearly beaches, where you can just as easily sail, swim, and fish as you can take in the panoramic views from the beautiful Kings Park, or checkout some of the state’s most unique architecture.
We took a detailed look at some of the city’s top attractions and activities, to put together our top 10 list of things to do in Perth. Whether you’re eager to get in touch with nature, browse through art galleries and museums, dine at fine restaurants, shop at stylish boutiques, see some of Australia’s top talent in action at one of the city’s lively entertainment venues, or take a day trip out to Rottnest Island, there’s something for everyone in Perth.
Where to Start?
If you’re interested in learning more about Perth’s local culture, take a wander through Fremantle’s winding streets, then checkout the museum and gallery precinct in the city centre. If you start to grow tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, you can visit the Botanic Gardens and Kings Park, plan a day trip to Rottnest Island, enjoy a guided tour of Perth’s best BBQ kitchens and bars, or escape to the scenic Swan Valley vineyards.
Scroll down to read out top ten list, which is brimming with great ideas and suggestions for how you can get to know this vibrant city.
10. Explore the Seaside City of Fremantle
Fremantle is located just 30 minutes away from downtown Perth, and is dotted with cafes, bars, and some of the city’s best seafood restaurants. ‘Freo’ is also known as the world’s best-preserved example of a 19th-century port streetscape, due to its fascinating collection of heritage buildings, and interesting blend of convict and maritime history. You can grab a coffee along the aptly named Cappuccino Strip, wander around the markets, visit the old prison, and checkout the Little Creatures Brewery along the water's edge. Don’t miss the decisions wood-fired pizzas and the great craft beer.
The seaside city was named in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2016’, and ranked as the 7th-best city in the world, ahead of more well-known tourist destinations such as Rome. You can read more about Fremantle's listing on Lonely Planet to find out why this city has become a must-see destination, and find plenty of travel ideas and things to do while you’re there.
9. Museums and Galleries
Perth’s museum and gallery precinct is a melting pot of art, history, and culture. Whether you’ve got a couple of hours to kill, or want to enjoy the peace and serenity of an art gallery, you’ll find a plethora of delightful experiences to be had in the city. For those that want to make a day out of exploring Perth's museums and galleries, you can see the latest exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, discover Indigenous culture at the Aboriginal Art Gallery, or take in a photography exhibition at the Perth Centre for Photography, before joining the queues for the famous WA Museum or the slightly more retro Nostalgia Box.
If you’re travelling with children, why not take them to Scitech? It’s an interactive science museum which includes a planetarium, alongside a number of fantastic science, technology, and engineering exhibitions tailored towards the little ones. Scitech is spread out over several different areas, including Discoverland (which is ideal for kids up to 7 years old), the CSIRO Lab, Planetarium, Foyer, Taste Bud, and Puppet Theater. Exhibitions curated by Scitech have toured across the globe, from Finland to the United Kingdom, and all the way to countries such as Singapore and Kuwait.
8. Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Kings Park and Botanic Gardens are close to the heart of Perth, and filled with native plants, wildlife, and birds of all kinds. The thousand acre space is dedicated to conservation, while the Botanic Garden itself is home to plants from Western Australia, and as far afield as South Africa and California. Highlights include the peaceful Place of Reflection, an acacia garden, and a water garden that recreates a Darling Range creek.
From Mount Eliza, you can enjoy stunning views over Perth, and visit the Kings Park War Memorial. A poignant tribute to fallen servicemen from Western Australia, the iconic State War Memorial is visited by more than 40,000 people annually for the Anzac Day Dawn Service, and for numerous wreath-laying ceremonies held throughout the year. Close to the Memorial you’ll find a variety of ponds, play areas, and panoramic viewpoints, as well as the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, where you can wander through a suspended canopy of eucalyptus trees. When you’re done exploring the park, you can head into Aspect of Kings Park, a retail precinct of gift shops and galleries which feature the work of local artists.
Tip! Catch the best views of the city from the Fraser Avenue Lookout, which at night, is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll against the backdrop of twinkling city light views.
7. Wander Around Leederville
Leederville is a little north of Perth, but well worth visiting for its thriving cafe and nightlife scene. Vincent Street and Oxford Street in particular are known for their retro yet modern ambience, filled with boutique stores and cute cafes. If you’re short on time, head to Greens & Co right off of Oxford Street, for a creamy latte and something sweet to nibble on. You’ll find a jumble of retro furnishings, with couches, tables and chairs intermixed with pool tables, old arcade games, and board games you may not have seen since childhood. There are posters littered across the walls, and lights strewn across the ceiling like stars hanging in the night sky.
At the moment there’s no EFTPOS available at Greens & Co, only cash, but you’ll forgive and forget once you’ve seen the cake display, which is as appealing as it is impressive.
6. Visit the Koalas at Caversham Wildlife Park
Located in Whiteman Park, the Caversham Wildlife Park is home to kangaroos, koalas, possums, wallabies, wombats, and the odd Tasmanian devil. The Park is family-owned and run, and showcases the largest private collection of native wildlife in Western Australia. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about a variety of unique plants, birds, reptiles, and mammals, and the chance to get up close and personal with Aussie wildlife. Under careful supervision, guests at Caversham Wildlife Park have the ability to feed the kangaroos, stroke a koala, and take their picture with a wombat. No trip to Caversham is complete without visiting the Molly’s Farm, which is an interactive farm yard where you can feed the animals, see a sheep shearing, watch the sheepdogs muster the sheep, and meet a stockman on his horse.
The perfect day trip for children, the wider Whiteman Park area also offers some great entertainment ideas that the entire family will enjoy, from vintage train rides, the transport museum, small shops, trendy cafes, and local art galleries.
5. Take a Day Trip to Rottnest Island
A few miles away from the Perth CBD, Rottnest Island is a well-preserved jewel with a stunning coastline. It’s known as an island paradise at the doorstep of the city, filled with smiling quokkas. In fact, Rottnest Island is one of the very few places where it’s still possible to see quokkas in the wild. With their friendly attitude and cute smiling faces, they’ve become famous for posing in selfies. About 10,000 quokkas are said to live on the island, safely sheltered from predators and traffic.
True, the ferry price can be a sting to the wallet for budget-conscious travellers, as you’re looking at $130 per person return, however Rottnest Island is worth visiting for its beaches, attractions, and one of a kind cafes and pubs. You’ll get the most out of a day trip to Rottnest Island if you’re game to rent a bike and snorkel gear, to explore the many pristine beaches and clear waters off the eastern and western coasts. Our favourites include The Basin, Pinky Beach, Parakeet Bay, and Armstrong Bay, while the best underwater snorkelling trails can be found at Parker Point and Little Salmon Bay.
If you’re in luck, you might just be able to catch the seals at Cathedral Rock. Head there at the right time of day, and you’ll find them playing in the waters below.
4. The Low & Slow Barbeque Tour Perth
See a different side to Perth with Up Close & Local Tours’ Low & Slow Barbeque Tour. Over four and half hours you’ll eat and drink your way around three of Perth's best American style Barbecue smokehouses, tasting delicious pit smoked BBQ meats and sides, as well as discovering hidden gems from Perth’s bar scene. You’ll be picked up from your hotel, or an agreed upon central meeting point, and joined by a friendly, local, and knowledgeable guide, who will take you to all the food tastings.
Your lunch will include traditional American barbeque favourites from ribs smothered in sauce, to 16-hour smoked brisket, and sides such as mac n cheese and hearty smoked baked beans, all served with a generous side of southern hospitality. Find out more by watching the short clip below:
You can book the Low & Slow Barbeque Tour of Perth at Up Close & Local Tours website, for $95.00 per person. If you’re travelling with a group, or interested in seeing more of what Perth can offer, you can ask to customise this experience. As well as food tours, Up Close & Local Tours also specialise in Swan Valley & Bickley Valley Wine Tours, Whiskey & Cider Tours and Margaret River Wine Tours. Just get in touch with the team at Up Close & Local Tours and they’ll see what they can do.
3. Check Out the Small Bar Scene
Perth's laneways and rooftops are buzzing with small bars and pubs, with lively entertainment and local favourites to be found in the surrounding suburbs of Northbridge, Mount Lawley & Highgate, Leederville, Subiaco, South Perth, Fremantle, and Victoria Park. The city has experienced dramatic economic and social growth in recent years, due in part to the mining boom, which has led to many new developments and cultural precincts emerging in unexpected places. In particular, there’s a great small bar scene and more than a handful of new restaurants just waiting to be experienced, serving everything from tapas matched with on-trend interiors, to east-meets-west fusions in rooftop noodle houses.
Head to dining precincts like Elizabeth Quay, The State Buildings, and Brookfield Place, to enjoy some of Perth's amazing organic produce, locally crafted beer, and award-winning wines. Or, if you’re staying nearer to the CBD, consider a visit to Helvetica or the laneway gem Andaluz. For the brave of heart, there’s the hip 399 Bar and The Aviary, and for the adventurous, the vintage-feeling Hula Bula. If you don’t mind the Uber ride or the walk, there’s also the Ezra Pound Bar and The Bird Wine Bar, both in the trendy, up and coming Northbridge neighbourhood.
2. Take a Fremantle Prison Tour
Now one of Western Australia's most popular tourist attractions, Fremantle Prison was originally built by convicts in the 1850s, and was used as a place of incarceration for almost 140 years. The structure was the first built heritage site in Western Australia to be World Heritage Listed, and stands as a monument to an older system of punishment, which played a large and sometimes uncomfortable role in Australia’s history.
Built from limestone which was sourced from a ridge overlooking Fremantle and the Indian Ocean, the Prison is the most intact convict gaol in the country, and has been altered little since its construction. Visitors can step inside and do time with friendly and experienced guides, who will take them on a fascinating Prison Day Tour. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the labyrinth of tunnels that run 20 metres beneath the Prison by foot, and then travel by boat on a Tunnels Tour adventure. For a more unusual experience, consider delving into the darker side of the Prison's history with the spooky Torchlight Tour.
1. Head to the Perth Observatory
Located 35 km east of Perth in Bickley, the Perth Observatory is a unique educational facility and tourist attraction, where science and history come to life within beautiful State forest grounds. If you head out towards the hills from the city, you’ll discover a whole new perspective on the sky at the Perth Observatory; the only state-owned facility in Australia to remain fully operational. The Observatory offers tourists and locals alike experiences not available elsewhere in Perth, with guided sky-tours, using telescopes of at least 6 objects, on either a Dark-Sky (no moon), Moonlit (half-moon) or Full-Moon period.
You’ll be taken on a grand tour of the Southern Hemisphere's sky, with a wide range of targets, from Nebulas, planets, and dying stars, to huge star clusters. Run by the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group, which comprises of almost 120 volunteers of all ages, the Observatory hosts over 200 events every year, from telescope viewing nights, heritage tours, school programs, star adoptions, public lectures, community events, plus Aboriginal-led tours.
Have we missed something? If you know of any fun and free things to do in Perth that escaped our list, get in touch with us at The Travelling Souk!
We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.