Things to do in Perth
Perth, such a glorious city, a thriving cosmopolitan city with great dining, nightlife, and shopping. Perth is the the capital of Western Australia. Did you know that Western Australia amounts to a third of the area of Australia? It is large!
Perth is absolutely worth a visit. For you to understand the distance Perth is from the east coast of Australia I have included some interesting facts. Perth is 4110 kilometres from Sydney, to put that into perspective, Sydney is only 2,430 kilometres from Cairns. Melbourne is 3,387 from Cairns. Once you get to Perth make sure you do it all!
Perth sits on the magnificent Swan River, named after the beautiful black swans found on the river. Perth is only 12 kilometres from the sea. The Swan River runs through the city on its way to the Port of Fremantle on the coast. There is such a lot of activity on and along the river. The locals and visitors alike make great use of it. You can walk, bike or skate along the riverbank and make use of the green space to picnic, rest or whatever you feel like doing. On the water why not try your hand at sailing (remember Perth hosted the America’s Cup between October 1986 and February 1987), kayaking or windsurfing.
There is so much to do and see outside of Perth as well. You have the Swan Valley Region, Margaret River, Wave Rock, The Pinnacles and close to home, Fremantle and Rottnest Island. Some of the trips are a long day but well worth it. Close your eyes and point to anywhere (North, South, East or West) around Perth and you will find something or somewhere wonderful to see or visit.
Where is Perth?
Our Perth Articles
Pinnacles Desert, Wildlife & Sandboarding 4WD Day Tour from Perth
Rottnest Island Travel Guide
Weather in Perth
What's the Perth Weather like?
Summer (Dec - Feb): Min 16°C Max 31°C
Avg monthly rainfall 11mm Avg rain days per month 3
Autumn (Mar - May): Min 11°C Max 29°C
Avg monthly rainfall 49mm Avg rain days per month 7
Winter (Jun - Aug): Min 8°C Max 19°C
Avg monthly rainfall 131mm Avg rain days per month 16
Spring (Sep - Nov): Min 9°C Max 23°C
Avg monthly rainfall 50mm Avg rain days per month 10
Activities to do in Perth
- Boating and Water Activities
- Bridge Climb
- Bungy Jumping
- Bush Walking
- Cave Tours
- Chocolate Tasting
- City Tours
- Cooking Classes
- Dolphin & Whale Watching
- Farm Visits
- Food & Wine
- Four Wheel Driving
- Gardens and Wildflower
- Hiking & Bushwalking
- Hop-on Hop-off
- Horse Riding
- Hot Air Balloon
- Jet Boating
- Motorbiking and Trikes
- Mountain Biking
- National Parks
- Sand Boarding / Sand Surfing
- Scenic cruise
- Sea Kayaking
- Shopping and Fashion
- Sightseeing Flights
- Snorkelling and Diving
- Steam Trains
- Theme Parks
- Traditional Owners
- Tree Top Canopy Walk
- Water Parks
- Whale Watching
- Wind Surfing
- Zoos and Animal Parks
Perth Public Transport
The Perth Public transport network is managed by Transperth and consists of Trains, Buses, and Ferries. As with any large city, peak hour congestion can occur. The Transperth website provides a Journey Planner to help you get quickly to your destination. (Transperth)
Two types of tickets can be used on Transperth services, A SmartRider Card or a Cash ticket (Ticket Types).
Cash tickets are available from ticket machines at train stations and ferry jetties and from on board buses.
SmartRider cards are reusable and must be tagged on and off for most services. SmartRider cards can be purchased from Transperth info centres or selected retail outlets including Newsagents and Station kiosks. (SmartRider)
There are DayRider Tickets and fares for unlimited all day travel.
There are also free Central Area Transit (CAT) buses that service central areas of Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup. (Central Area Transit)
The Perth Train network operates four lines with most stations acting as interchanges for other public transport options. (Trains)
In additional to services throughout Perth, the train network extends to regional Western Australia. (Transwa)
Buses run throughout Perth with major connection hubs at train stations and near most shopping areas. In addition there are the free Central Area Transit (CAT) Buses. (Buses)
Taxis are a convenient method for point to point travel in Perth. Throughout Australia dialling 13CABS (132227) will put you in touch with the nearest Taxi service. Taxis can also be pre-booked.
The Swan river running through the city provides a way to avoid the traffic and quickly get to your desired destination. (Ferry)
Perth is serviced by many car rental companies, remember that parking in the CBD can be expensive and that peak hour congestion is common (Vroom Vroom Vroom)
Travellers Autobarn Campervans Australia
Hire a campervan, campers or station wagons or buy one with a guaranteed buyback from 6 Australia wide locations: Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne. Travellers Autobarn (est. 1993) is a ‘one stop shop’ for the backpackers and budget travellers planning their self drive trip around Australia or simply up the coast in a campervan. (Travellers Autobarn)
Western Australian rules require all cyclists to wear a helmet, the bikes to have reflectors on the bike, pedals and wheels and as a minimum an operating rear bake (WA Cycle Rules). The WA department of transport provides comprehensive metropolitan cycling maps (Cycle Map)
What's on in Perth
V8 Supercars Perth Supersprint
5th to 7th May, 2017
With two 100 kilometre races on the Saturday, a 200 klm event on the Sunday, qualifying and support races this is a top weekend of motorsport at the Barbagallo Raceway, situated approximately 50 kilometres north of Perth.
More information: V8 Supercars
Nigaloo Whale Shark Festival
26th to 28th May, 2017
The festival celebrates the Whaleshark’s yearly visit to Ningaloo reef near Exmouth. There are markets, concerts a fun run and a Gala Ball. Something for all the family on and off the water
More information: Whale Shark
Rugby Union - Wallabies vs Springboks
9th September, 2017
The 2017 International Rugby Union match features the Australian Wallabies taking on the South African Springboks at the NIB Stadium, Perth.
More information: Rugby Union
Royal Perth Show
23rd to 30rd September, 2017
The show celebrates WA’s agricultural achievements, including wine and dairy. Amateur wine makers and local artists have their own competitions. Avoid the parking and catch public transport to the show.
More information: Perth Royal Show
Tennis - Hopman Cup
30th December to 6th January, 2018
An international teams event played at the Perth Arena. The best male and female player from eight countries team up to play singles and a mixed doubles round robin event, with the leading team from each pool playing off in the final.
More information: Hopman Cup
Perth international Arts Festival
February to March, 2018 - To be confirmed
Founded in 1953 this is Australia's longest running international arts festival. Featuring music, film, dance and circus as well as a selection of guest international authors. There are even family oriented events.
More information: PIAF
Rottnest Island Triathlon Festival
April, 2018 - To be confirmed
The 2017 Rottnest 'Sufferfest' Multisport Festival features both a Sprint course (500m Swim, 20km Ride and 5km Run) and a long course (2km Swim, 80 km Ride and 20 km Run)
More information: Rottnest Multisports Festival
Fremantle Street Arts Festival
April, 2018 - to be confirmed
Come to Fremantle over the Easter long weekend and see some of the best buskers and street performers in action.
More information: Fremantle Festival
Perth Airport (PER) Domestic and International terminals are approximately 11 km apart and 12km and 17 km from the CBD respectively. The airport is Western Australia’s (WA) primary airport with domestic flights throughout Australia and within WA. As an international destination the airport is an important hub to Singapore and Johannesburg. (Perth Airport)
Perth Airport Connect
Perth Airport Connect runs from the Domestic Terminal (T3) to five inner Perth locations, East Perth Train Station. Beaufort St, Wellington St, Kings Perth Hotel and the Ambassador Hotel. A one-way ticket is $15 and can be purchased on the day, although it is not required, pre-bookings can be taken up to 48 hours prior to travel. See the website for more information and timetable. (Airport Connect)
A free terminal transfer bus operates 24 hours a day connecting T1, T2, T3 and T4 (International). There are three services an hour between 6.00am and midnight and two services per hour outside of those times. (Terminal Transfers)
Bus services to and from Perth Airport are operated by Transperth. Services stop at different terminals, so use the free shuttle bus service to connect to the required Transperth service. (Public Bus)
This is a convenient way to get to and from the airport directly connecting with your destination. Taxi ranks are located at each terminal. For taxis to the airport you can call 131008 (Black and White Taxis), 131330 (Swan taxis) or 0406 553 313 (Maxi Taxi)
As an alternate to a taxi a pre-booked limousine service is available and will normal meet passengers in the baggage collection area.
Most of the major car rental companies have outlets located at Perth Airport, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty. (Vroom Vroom Vroom) There are rental car counters on the ground floor of all terminals.
There are various parking options available for each terminal.
Short Term Parking – less than 5 minutes walk from the terminals and offers both short and longer term parking. (Short Term Parking)
Long Term Parking – A cheaper alternative for longer parking stays with a free bus to the terminals departing every ten minutes. (Long Term Parking)
Fast Track Parking – A premium, undercover park for terminals 3 and 4, featuring wider bays and the closest parking to these terminals. (Fast Track Parking)
Park & Wait – If you are picking someone up from Perth Airport, either take advantage of the 10 minute free parking at the Short Term Car Park, or make a gold coin donation and wait in you vehicle, for up to 90 minutes, in the dedicated car park. (Park & Wait)
There is so much to see and do in Perth. The city centre has 2 main malls, Murray and Hay Streets, stroll along these without the hassle of traffic. The city centre is being revitalised and the restoration of the Old Treasury Buildings in Cathedral Square is amazing. They are now known as the State Buildings.
Be sure to visit Kings Park, over 400 hectares of bush giving you a great view of the city and Swan River. It has a great restaurant or take your own picnic, which ever you choose , be sure to sit, relax and enjoy it.
A cruise on the Swan River is a must, you may choose to go to Fremantle this way. Like all major cities in the world, you will find amazing homes along the river, belonging to the rich and famous or perhaps infamous in some cases! It is a relaxing way (a great WA wine in hand should you desire it) to see and hear all about Perth’s early days.
The river cruises to Fremantle, Swan Valley and Rottnest Island all depart from the jetties at Barrack Square as do the ferries to Perth Zoo and South Perth. Even if you are not going on the river it is still a great place to visit. Cafes, restaurants and public art are all found here.
Elizabeth Quay development aims to let people live, relax and be entertained by the Swan River. It also has offices and retail space for businesses. Some people will be lucky enough not to have to go anywhere else each day!
Perth has some great suburbs with their own character and charm so be sure to leave the city centre and explore some of these. Leafy suburbs along the river are Matilda Bay, Dalkeith, Claremont, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park. Two other great suburbs not on the river are Mount Lawley and Subiaco.
Now for one of my favourite things to do when I visit Perth, head to The Sunset Coast ( 19 beaches) and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. It will leave you transfixed, the image will stay with you forever.
I am going to mention the Whale Watching Season here. Along the coast of Western Australia, you have the migration of the Humpback Whale (similar to the east coast migration) during the months of April to November. It has been christened the Humpback Highway! They leave Antarctica to give birth and raise their young in the warm waters of the Kimberley before returning to Antarctica. The number is around 35,000 including 3,000 carves on the return journey. It is the largest migration in the southern hemisphere. There are numerous operators during the season waiting to take you out to see these majestic creatures.
Quokkas are small marsupials which gave the island its name, early settlers thought they were giant rats and called the island 'Rats Nest.' I love a good story!
It is an amazing destination, located just 19 kilometres off the coast of Perth, not just the idyllic getaway, but also a destination for the adventurous. There are so many things to do both in the ocean and on land.
There are wonderful bays with shipwrecks for swimming and snorkelling. In fact, there are 63 beaches and 20 bays, perhaps you will have one to yourself. The Shark (shipwreck) is great for kids, clear waters and only 50 metres from the beach! The Uribes wreck is also very good and for the more experienced, Kiryo Maru is resting in deeper waters. Rottnest is also a brilliant place for diving. There is another world down below in the limestone caverns just waiting for you. You can also go on cruises around the island to learn more about how nature works. Oh, perhaps a flight over the island might be more your thing!
Time for more facts, over 135 species of tropical fish and 20 species of coral, you will be mad not to pop your head down to have a look! These corals are the worlds most southerly and are housed in more than 13 wreaks!
Back on land, there is still lots to see and do. A great way to get around the island is to cycle as basically there are no cars on the island. The island is 11 kilometres long, 4.5 wide and to go around the whole island is 25 kilometres. The island has great trails you can follow on your bikes. For those who cannot cycle there is a bus that goes around the island and allows you to hop on and off as you please. It has 18 wonderful stops. Guess what? If you buy a bike and bus combination ticket, when you feel tired just leave the bike at a bus stop and jump on the bus! Where else in the world I ask?
There is so much to see on the island. Head to the Rottnest Island Museum where you will learn all about the island’s history. Take the guided tour of the underground tunnels and learn about the role Rottnest Island played in the war. There are historical buildings and lighthouses to explore as well. Don’t forget to visit the pink salt lakes.
There are many free guided walking tours you can do or follow the Wadjemup Trail and do your own walk.
There countless activities to enjoy on this island paradise. There is an aqua park, mini golf, trampolines, an arcade with games (like the old days), a picture hall showing all the latest movies, lawn bowls, real golf and loads more! I forgot to mention the great surf and whale watching in season.
Yes, you do need to stay more than a day! On the island you will find great accommodation for all budgets and great dining experiences for everyone.
Our Staff Rottnest Island Tour Picks
As well as wonderful natural attributes Rottnest Island is steeped in military history. With your personal host explore everything the island has to offer, ride the heritage train past the landmarks & landscapes and visit the Oliver Hill Military Installation.
- Return Island Transfers
- Train and tunnel tour
- See the Pristine Salt lakes
- Buffet lunch
Departing from Fremantle this tour includes a guided coach tour as well as an interpretive walking tour. Learn about the unique flora a fauna including the Quokka and visit historic sites including the Rottnest Museum, Oliver Hill and Lomas Cottage.
- Return transfers
- 1.5 hour coach tour
- Free time on island
- Amazing wildlife
With almost no traffic exploring Rottnest Island by bike is an excellent way to see the island. Go where you want, spend as much time as you like, there are over 60 beaches to choose from, Quokkas and birds to spot and lots of historic buildings.
- Return ferry transfers
- Accommodation pick ups
- All day bike hire
- 63 beaches
Explore the beautiful sights of Rottnest Island in air conditioned comfort! Take in the historical, cultural and natural interest points of Rottnest Island on this 90 minute fully guided coach tour, complete with a delicious lunch at Rottnest Lodge.
- Morning tea and lunch
- Return ferry transfers
- 90 minute bus tour
- Free time on Island
Swan Valley is only 25 minutes from Perth but you feel that you have steeped back in time when you visit the area. Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine region.
Guildford, one of the gateways to the Swan Valley was founded in 1829 along with Fremantle, the port, Perth, the administrative centre and Guildford, the market town, together they formed the Swan River Colony. When visiting Guildford, you get the feeling that time has passed it by. Be sure to have a Devonshire Tea and think about how life must have been back then.
James Street is an antique strip but also has lots of other interesting shops selling everything you need for your house and for that matter things you didn’t know you needed!
Swan Valley has a great Wine & Food Trail, it is a scenic 32-kilometre loop. Make sure you are hungry when you start as it has 150 places where you can eat and drink along with many roadside stalls selling their very fresh local produce. Cycling is a very popular way of doing this trail. The popular wine types of this region are chenin blanc, chardonnay, Verdelho, shiraz and cabernet and of course their great fortified wines. Guarantee there will be a wine there to suit your palate.
Swan Valley is easy to get to from Perth, travel by car, train, bus, cruise or go on a tour then you won't have to keep track on how many wines you have had.
Fremantle, Freo to the locals, is at the mouth of the Swan River just 30 minutes from Perth. It is steeped in history and has protected its history at the same time embracing the future and alternative types. The result is a great city full of art, artists in many forms and very trendy bars and cafes. Freo’s vibe is wonderful. Streets are home to buskers, artists and a great range of bars and cafes. Whether you are on a backpacker’s budget or wanting something in the luxurious end of things Fremantle has something to suit everyone.
This city is so easy to explore, mainly be foot or bike. There are many trails to be explored and the information about them is freely available. There is also a free Fremantle Cat bus doing the circuit and stopping at all the points of interests so if you are getting tired just jump on when you see it!
The architecture is wonderful with a lot of the old buildings made from limestone, mined from the hills and constructed by convicts in the 1800’s. One of the buildings, the Fremantle Arts Centre was built using convict labour between 1861 and 1868 and was used as a psychiatric hospital, initially called the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum. Another building is The Round House, the first permanent building built in late 1830. It is the oldest building still standing in all of Western Australia. Over 150 of Fremantle's buildings, described as 'charming heritage sandstone buildings', have been classified by the National Trust. Be sure to pause in front of them and have a look. If only the walls could talk!
Be sure to have a walk around the West End. It is where you will find the Fremantle Prison, Notre Dame University, Bathers Beach, Esplanade Park and lots of historic and heritage listed buildings. Pick up a trail map to make sure you don’t miss anything. Like Perth, Fremantle has great beaches, giving you the perfect backdrop for sunsets over the Indian Ocean.
Who doesn’t love a market? Make sure you visit The Fremantle Markets, they are housed in an old Victorian building located on the corner of South Terrace and Henderson Streets and have not moved in over a hundred years!
Dining is great experience with such a wide variety of places specialising in different food and drink. You have Fremantle, North Fremantle, South Fremantle and East Fremantle and of course we cannot forget the popular Cappuccino Strip!
The locals call it “Down South”. Margaret River is around a 3.5 hours drive south from Perth. It is a scenic trip as you can venture into the little beach towns along the way. Margaret River has more than 200 vineyards which produce 15% of Australia’s premier wine, some of the best surfing beaches in the country, Karri (eucalyptus ) forests and chambered caves. All this is a 55 square kilometre area.
Margaret River is also the name of the town in this region. It is situated on the Margaret River. Confusing perhaps! The region is the Margaret River, the town is Margaret River and the river is Margaret River, at least it is easy to remember it all! The town of Margaret River is only 10 klms from the Indian Ocean. Down this way you find an eclectic mix of people, the surfers, wine growers, food producers and artists all mingle with each other. It is a small local community of 5,000 people.
I’m not going to go into detail about the wineries and cellar doors, that is a story in itself. What I will say is how beautiful the region is with all the vines and wonderful wineries dotted along the country lanes. Make sure you pick up a “wine map” before you start! The hardest part of visiting this area for the day from Perth is deciding which few wineries to visit. Trust me you can’t do more than 4-5. Once you head from one to the next you will pass wineries you recognise and like and then you start to doubt your first choices!
Under the Margaret River Region, you will find over 150 highly decorated limestone caves. Could this be the secret to their great wines? As with what wineries to visit, it is also a hard decision to choose which caves to visit. They range from completely easy, self guided, to very adventurous wearing hard hats and having to abseil to get inside them!
The coastline is famous. For some breathtaking views head to Prevelly, near where the Margaret River meets the Indian Ocean. There are more than 40 surfing beaches ranging in degrees of difficulty. Surfers Point is the home of one of the most prestigious surfing competitions in the world, the annual Margaret River Pro. Of course there are wonderful swimming beaches as well!
The Karri Forest is spectacular, it is made from a species of Eucalyptus, one of the tallest hardwoods in the world. It is only found in this region.
I bet I know what you are thinking, I can’t do all this in a day trip from Perth, I need to go to the Margaret River for a 2 week holiday, right? I went for a week but needed another week at least!
The Pinnacles are truly an amazing site. The ancient limestone pillars range in height with some up to 5 metres tall. The pillars were formed some 25,00-35,000 years ago after the sea receded. They are located in an area of rippled sand dunes and are coloured yellow. They are like nothing else you have seen before. Would you believe they have remained a secret from most Australians until 1967!
This dessert landscape is in Nambung National Park about 3 hours drive north of Perth. The park sits on the Indian Ocean adding to its magical appearance. The best way to see and feel this park is drive through it on the Pinnacles Drive (one way 4 kilometre drive) and then do the 1.2 kilometre walk which takes you through the centre.
If you can choose your time to visit the park do so early morning or late afternoon when the light is just perfect (photographer’s golden hour). This light intensifies the colour. If you happen to be there between August and October, you will have the bonus of the wildflowers.
If time permits you can stay at the quaint fishing village called Cervantes. It has white beaches, reefs and a salt lake with living fossils (Lake Thetis).
Most tours to the Pinnacles from Perth take around 11 hours, well worth it I would say.
Wave Rock, located just outside Hyden, is another wonderful land formation that we need to thank nature for. Wave Rock is an ancient granite formation over 60 million years old, and was shaped by being eroded by wind and rain.
Western Australia certainly has its fair share of these. Wave Rock is 27 million years old, 15 metres high and 110 metres long. The colours are the result of water running down the rocks dissolving minerals.
Make sure you stand at the base of the rock to understand the enormity of it. By standing here you will understand how big the surf waves are that need to be conquered to become a world champion! Remember surf has a mind of its’ own. Also take in the other view of Wave Rock from standing on top of it. It certainly gives a different perspective.
There is a great walk you can do around the area so leave enough time for this. On the walk you will see other interesting rock formations, a favorite would have to be” Hippos Yawn”.
Tours around Perth
Best tour of the Swan Valley taking in all the region has to offer. You will experience small family run vineyards and wineries where the owners are often the winemakers and will happily share their wine making techniques, includes a visit to a boutique brewery.
- Visit 5 wineries and taste 45 wines
- Chocolate & Truffle tasting
- Beer tasting at a boutique brewery
- Lunch included
Have three wonderful days exploring the Margaret River, it is more than just food, wine and chocolate also see the Busselton Jetty, Boranup Gallery, Mammoth Cave and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. In spring you will also get to see the Wildflowers
- 3 Day - 2 Nights
- 4 Star Accommodation
- Bunbury Dolphin centre
- Cowaramup Brewery
Enjoy an day exploring the ancient Pinnacles in the Nambung National Park. With ample opportunity to enjoy native flora and fauna and guided tour at Caversham Wildlife Park before the Pinnacles and starting your thrilling 4WD and sand boarding adventure.
- Nambung National Park
- Caversham Wildlife Park
- Picnic Lunch
Enjoy this full day tour travelling from the WA wheat belt to historic York, Hippo's Yawn and Wave Rock. A buffet lunch and a guided cultural tour of Aboriginal sacred sites and cave paintings in Hyden, is followed up with an afternoon stop in Babakin.
- Cultural tour of Hippo's Yawn and Wave Rock
- Mulka's Cave
- Darling Ranges
- View the Wildflowers (seasonal)