This ultimate guide to Perth will help you explore the world's most remote city! For the most part, we considered Perth to be the love child of Melbourne and Sydney. Not only does it have a huge amount of great eateries to enjoy, similarly to Melbourne’s with its incredible food culture. In addition, it also has a riverfront, which hugs the edges of Perth’s CBD and gorgeous white sand beaches. Including one named after Sydney’s famous Coogee Beach! Pretty coincidental, right?
Altogether, we spent three weeks travelling around Perth in our campervan. During this time, we discovered all the best things to do around Perth. Alongside, the best things to do around Perth, we've included two perfect road trips from Perth. As well as the best suburbs to visit. Along with a number of great vegetarian restaurants in Perth and the best cocktail bars in Perth too. Sit back, relax and plan with our ultimate guide to Perth!
Recommended Stay: 7-10 Days
Top Things To Do Around Perth
Shop At The State Buildings
In the heart of Perth’s historic Central Business District (CBD) is a precinct, which has combined three historic buildings into one vibrant cultural precinct. In fact, it's home to one of the grandest H&M's we’ve ever seen!
Go Back in Time at London Court
A small lane of shops enclosed in a lovely 1937 four-storey Elizabethan building. As a result, London Court offers visitors a cute little old town vibe in the middle of the city.
Wander Through Stirling Gardens
These manicured gardens are the oldest in Perth! Additionally, they are home to some beautiful kangaroo statues too. So, if you can't get out of the city to find the real ones, this is the next best thing!
Visit Kings Park
This park has a stunning view of the Perth CBD skyline. In fact, it almost looks like the view of New York’s skyline or London’s from Greenwich Park. However, since it’s so small, you’re barely a few kilometres away, yet have a birdseye view of the whole thing! We undoubtedly loved watching the sunset views from here. Coincidently, it would be the perfect spot for a picnic or some bubbly!
Furthermore, there is the opportunity to climb the DNA tower, which is the highest point in the park. However, it does require climbing 110 steps. Nevertheless, capturing views of the Perth CBD skyline, swan river, and the Indian Ocean all at once, is all worth it!
Visit the Blue Boat House
This is Perth’s most Instagrammed attraction and one of the main things to do around Perth! As a result, there is sometimes a small queue for a picture at this iconic stop. The Blue Boat House is a cute little boathouse at the end of a jetty on the riverside. Beforehand, search #blueboathouse on Instagram for pose inspiration!
The Nostalgia Box
Visit a museum full of throwback video games. Need we say more? Consequently, Nostalgia Box takes you on a timeline journey, starting in the 1970s and travelling through to the early 2000s. Without a doubt, it's a great insight into how the gaming industry evolved. However, most importantly, you also get to play on loads of retro consoles at the end!
Admission: $18.70 for adults, $13.20 for children and $16.50 for WA concessions (Oct 2020). Alternatively, the museum holds a pizza trivia night once a month (around the 20th). For $20, the ticket includes free pizza, trivia, entry to the museum and the games too! Also, it's BYO. What a bargain!
A functioning coin mint manufacturer, which also houses a museum and the world's largest gold coin, which literally weighs a tonne! Whilst visiting the Mint, there is an option to see the making of a gold bar demonstration, which we highly recommend! In addition, you can also find out your body value in gold. Sadly, due to COVID the museum isn't currently showing any of its demonstrations (Oct 2020). We hope you can visit soon!
Spread Your Wings At iFLY
This is especially for the daredevils that fancy trying indoor skydiving! We loved challenging our bodies to the intense G Force here at iFLY. The guys help you understand what you need to do to stay afloat and will whisk you up to the highest part of the tunnel for a little extra cost too! Definitely something a bit different to do during your time in Perth.
Visit Elizabeth Quay
Where Perth’s CBD meets the Swan River. This beautiful stretch of the promenade has a variety of attractions to enjoy, which are all free!
Enjoy the Public Art Walk - Follow the art trail within the main square of Elizabeth Quay, also known as Barrack Street Jetty. While you enjoy the views of the river, you can't miss Spanda, Perth’s most iconic piece on the art trail. Spanda is a 29m tall design, which is meant to represent ripples, linking the Swan River, land and sky. Check out this map for all the pieces to discover in Elizabeth Quay.
The Bell Tower - This modern bell tower is uniquely made of glass and copper. Undoubtedly a sight to see, which you can't miss. Due to it being in the heart of the Elizabeth Quay!
Matagarup Bridge - A unique suspension bridge which looks similar to a roller coaster! It should be noted that is only open to pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, it also lights up at night!
Don't miss all the stunning black swans swimming next to you! Please remember to not feed them bread though as it makes them sick! Instead, give them cut grapes, grains, cooked rice or sweetcorn.
Visit the Beaches
Western Australia beaches get to enjoy the bright blue Indian Ocean, which is arguably better than the cold pacific ocean the East Coast has! There are definitely plenty of great beaches to check out. However, the two main ones are Cottesloe Beach and Scarborough Beach. If you’re heading further south, you could also visit Perth’s very own Coogee Beach too.
Cottesloe Beach is the best beach for a variety of water activities. Subsequently, the beach can be split into three sections. Peters Pool at North Cottesloe is a great snorkelling spot. Whilst the main beach is perfect for swimming and walking along the promenade. Lastly, South Cottesloe is not so much a beach, instead, the surf is great here so you’ll be able to check out the typical Ozzie surfers. As well as wind and kite surfers too. In fact, when the ocean is calm here, it is known to be one of Perth’s better snorkelling spots. Offering the opportunity to see the endangered leafy sea dragon. Let us know if you spot one!
If you still have time on your hands, there is a 25km cycling and walking route. Starting at Cottesloe and winding along the stunning Perth Coastline.
Scarborough Beach is the new hotspot for locals and tourists alike. It has a wide variety of restaurants and bars to enjoy on the seafront, along with a heated pool, which overlooks the ocean. Undoubtedly perfect for those sunny winter days! Entry costs around $8.
Alternatively, if you happen to be in Scarborough on a summery Thursday evening... Scarborough holds a sunset market much like the one found in Darwin! Here you’ll find food trucks, live music and pop-up bars, as well as kids entertainment.
We’ve heard parking can be tricky, so head for the east side of West Coast Highway and take a short walk from there. Additionally, you can find our top vegetarian restaurant in Perth here: Health Freak. Their menu has a bit of everything, including vegan ice cream dessert bowls!
Trigg Beach is just 5 minutes north from Scarborough Beach. It is also a great snorkelling spot on the Perth Coast. From here, you can also take a stroll along the coast, which is apparently Perth’s answer to Sydney’s Bondi-Bronte! We’ll let you be the judge as sadly, we didn’t make it this far!
Also known as "Freo" if you want to talk like a local! Just south of Perth, Freo has a very hippy and laidback vibe with lots of vintage books, record and clothes shops and a historic feel too.
In short, here is a list of our top things to do around Fremantle
Full of arts, crafts, hot food and fresh fruit & veg. There's certainly something for everyone! Open Friday - Sunday until 6 pm. We particularly loved Olivia's Kitchen Sushi. Alternatively, if you don't catch the market, Haru Sushi & Bento is another great little eatery around the corner.
As the convict Brits were shipped over to Perth, there wasn’t anywhere to put them. That was until they were made to build their own prison! Fremantle Prison shares the story of life inside the prison, from the visiting room to the punishments enforced on the convicts inside. Tours start at $20, including a nightly ghost tour. Alternatively, you can 'visit' the visiting room and gift shop for free.
The first permanent building built in the Swan River Colony. Also, the oldest building still standing in Western Australia! It's definitely worth checking out for the unique build and the port views from the back. For more information, you can also enter The Roundhouse for a small fee, where helpful volunteers will tell you more about the history.
Put simply, the Cappuccino Strip is a small road, packed with coffee shops. It has a lovely vibe and there are some great little eateries to dine in too if you want more than just coffee. We chose to relax in the Dome Cafe, which we loved!
We also loved Bar Orient for cheap food and drink deals, as well as a free pool table too! Furthermore, if you are keen to try some authentic Italian cuisine, Parlapa is a delicious budget-friendly pasta bar.
Drive or take the ferry. You could opt for the train, although the ferry is cheaper and more scenic!
Day Trip to Rottnest Island
During COVID, both ferry operators are only operating from the Fremantle port. Ensure you plan transfers or accommodation near Fremantle in advance.
An Ultimate Guide to Perth would simply be incomplete without visiting Rottnest Island! A short 30-minute ferry ride away is the home of the super-cute Quokka (of whom, you must get a selfie with!).
Once on the island, the best way to get around is either hiring a bike or taking the hop-on-hop-off bus service. We opted for the bus and took a few strolls through the island wilderness between stops. The island is quite hilly so cyclists will need some stamina to get around the whole island.
The Island also has some excellent snorkelling spots, beaches and sea lions to see too. Another great reason to choose the bus is the driver shares facts and information about the island and the best stops to visit too. Popular beach and snorkelling spots include; The Basin, Parakeet Bay, Parker Point, Little Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay.
How to Get The Ultimate Quokka Selfie!
The best way to get a smiling selfie with these cuties is to grab them a leaf from a tree and they’ll be grinning ear to ear! Admittedly, it may take you a few tries but it’s all part of the experience!
There are two ferry companies which travel to Rottnest Island; Sealink and The Rottnest Express. The Rottnest Express costs $49.50 ($35USD) return, while the SeaLink Ferry costs between $70.50 ($50USD) return. Additionally, if you opt for the bus it’ll cost a further $20, which can be booked from the information kiosk on arrival or from the bus driver. The bike hire is $30 for full-day hire from Pedal & Flipper or $16 after 1 pm.
Be sure to check special offers on both Sealink and The Rottnest Express, as we've seen fab deals for return day trip ferries and bike hire too.
All prices valid for Nov, 2020.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Perth
Northbridge and Mount Lawley are popular places for food, drink and vibrant nightlife! We’ve listed mostly budget-friendly eats in Perth. Although if you fancy treating yourself, these areas would make a good crawl.
Veggie Mama - Our first find for vegetarian restaurants in Perth. We enjoyed a delicious and filling meal here with our friend who lived in the area. The mains are reasonably priced at less than $15. Thus if you add the salad to share you'll be full to the brim!
Get Chunky - Get your cookie fix here and add an injection (literally) of sauce, if you can handle the sugar shakes! Maybe not so much a vegetarian restaurant in Perth, but a delicious pit stop all the same!
Sinamon (& Victoria Park) - Your one-stop shop for all the Cinnamon Rolls your heart could desire. All cooked fresh and served warm. Delish! They also have free WiFi and the Mount Lawley store has a couple of outdoor tables for two if you fancy sticking around for a while.
Health Freak Cafe (Scarborough) - This cafe is bursting with vegan and vegetarian options, on both their breakfast and lunch menu. The main star is their loaded dessert bowls, which are entirely vegan and include cookie dough and vegan ice cream. Need we say more?
The Hidden Jazz Cellar (Mount Hawthorn) - Starting our list of the best bars in Perth... This place is incredible! Firstly, you enter through a telephone box, which then leads you to a room that holds a maximum of 100 people. Although, the best part about this budget-friendly bar... it's BYO food AND drink! Yup. We've heard the nearby pizza joint is popular and can be delivered to your table. Bookings are taken two weeks in advance, so plan ahead and enjoy!
Best Cocktail Bars in Perth
We love treating ourselves to a cocktail in a speakeasy. Although we try to keep things budget-friendly, we also know when to splurge! We’d always choose a sexy cocktail over a pint any day! We’ve scoured Perth and checked all the menus for the best cocktail bars with unique cocktails and delicious vegetarian-friendly food!
Bars in Perth CBD
Goody Twos - This Japanese themed cocktail bar serves delicious veggie snacks including bao buns, crispy tofu and mushroom tacos! Hit them up on a Thursday for the Dollar Dumplings Deal. Consequently, $29 will get you 10 dumplings and a cocktail, wine or beer. Furthermore, it's a nightclub too so dance the night away! Open Thursday - Saturday until 2 am.
Bobeche - This cocktail bar in Perth wins for their unique 'No Booze' menu, which includes Cos-no-politan, No-jito and Pi-no Colada! They also offer mozzarella sticks, hand-cut chips and hash browns for the vegetarians on their bar menu.
Caballitos - Mexican themed bar with an $8 cocktail special between 5-6 pm. Also, the first Thursday of every month is Nacho Typical Thursday! Bursting with food and drink deals all night, plus a free tattoo raffle every hour and piñatas too! Sounds like a wild night!
Best Cocktail Bars in Northbridge
Mechanics Institute - Secretive on their menu offerings, this rooftop bar with award-winning bartenders is sure to mix some great cocktails! Looking at their IG, this bar seems like it’ll give you that welcome to the family vibe! Perfect for a sunny arvo in Perth!
Other Bars in Perth...
The Hidden Jazz Cellar (Mount Hawthorn) - Gets a mention twice because where else in the world can you enjoy a BYO takeaway and drinks in a bar, which you enter through a TELEPHONE BOX? Remember though, bookings must be made two weeks in advance!
Where To Stay
Budget-Friendly: Koala Perth City Backpackers
Medium: Seasons of Perth
Budget-Friendly: Sundance Backpackers Hostel
Medium: Fremantle Bed & Breakfast
Travelling Around Perth
Perth has a great public transport system run by Transperth, which includes trains, buses and ferries. To use it, you’ll need to buy a Smartrider card for $10 AUD and then load it with a $10 AUD minimum. It should be noted that the Smartrider card also caps at $13.10 AUD, meaning you’ll basically have unlimited travel for $10 USD per day.
Where can I get a Smartrider card?
You can pick one of these up from most convenience stores, newsagents, and some bus and train stations. Importantly, fares increase the further you travel from the city centre. Although, it is unlikely you'll travel further than zone 2, which includes Fremantle and Scarborough. In this case, this should cost between $2-$5 per journey.
To start your ride, tap your card on the reader when you board your selected mode of transport and be sure to also tap off when you disembark.
Ferries – With your Smartrider card you can take the public ferry across the Swan River from Elizabeth Quay Jetty. It should be noted that it leaves every 15-30 minutes daily between 6:30 am-11:30 pm.
Free CBD and Fremantle Travel
There’s a free bus service (the CAT bus) in the Perth CBD and Fremantle, with multiple bus loops leaving every 5-15 minutes between 6 am-7 pm. They stop at many of the city’s attractions. Therefore, they are handy for getting between Perth or Fremantle’s hotels and sights! In addition, trains in the area between City West, Elizabeth Quay, and Claisebrook stations are also free! Importantly, you’ll still need a Smartrider card to ride, however.
Hire a Bike – Renting a bicycle is a great way to get around if you want some freedom and flexibility. However, rentals aren’t cheap. Most start at about $25 AUD ($18 USD) for 24 hours. Check out:
- Cycle Centre Perth
- About Bike Hire - They also rent kayak and SUP boards too!
- VeloCity Rides - Bikes are expensive but e-scooters are $45 AUD ($32USD) a day.
Car Rental – If you want to do some exploring, including the road trips mentioned below, a car rental is essential. You can rent a small vehicle for about $80 AUD ($56 USD) per day. Alternatively, you could hire an overnight camper for around $200 ($140 USD).
Taxi – Taxis are expensive so if you aren’t going to walk, bus, ferry, or train it, use Uber. It’s much cheaper. An Uber to the airport from Perth CBD is $30 AUD ($21 USD). Use code: l56os9 for a promotional first ride discount.
When to Go
September to the end of November are ideal months to travel to Perth. Due to it being the time winter is transitioning into spring. Therefore, the weather is comfortable with temperatures averaging 11-23°C. Additionally, during this time, the famous WA wildflowers are in bloom, and the skies are always clear with very little rainfall.
December to February is Perth’s summer. During this time, the temperature can soar as high as 38°C! Subsequently, June until August is Perth’s winter, which is the low season with chillier temperatures (as low as 8°C). With this in mind, it’s also the cheapest time to visit, as tourists tend to avoid the city this time of year. However, we visited at the beginning of July and enjoyed our time regardless of the cooler temperatures.
In March the annual Sculpture by the Sea outdoor exhibition turns Cottesloe Beach into an outdoor art gallery! Definitely worth a see! In fact, this event also exhibits between Tamarama and Bondi Beach on Sydney's famous Coogee - Bondi walk during months October - November.
The Fringe World Festival comes to Perth from mid-January to mid-February. Entertainment is abundant with hundreds of amazing shows, concerts, and performances happening across the city. Pick up tickets on the festival website or at the box offices set up around the city. Events range from free to over $100, featuring international music acts, comedy, performance art and exhibitions.
Day Trips From Perth
We travelled the South West region of Australia and all the way up to Darwin on a mammoth 3-month road trip. Consequently, we've planned out two epic day trips from Perth, which add in some unique stops to enjoy!
Each route is approximately 6-7 hours of driving in total. Therefore, ensure you start early and drive carefully in the dark. Alternatively, make it an overnight stay!
Day Trip From Perth #1
The Margaret River Wine Region
Margaret River is one of the most famous wine regions in Australia, specialising in Chardonnay & Cab Sav. Given that it’s only a few hours drive away, you could easily add in a day trip to Margaret River from Perth! Just ensure you have a designated driver...
Things to See South of Perth...
The Dolphin Discovery Centre is a cool little hub where over the years dolphins regularly stop to visit the bay. It is also free to watch these beautiful dolphins playing in the morning when they are most active. It is 2 hours from Perth, so if you've left early enough, you'll be sure to get here just in time!
The interpretive centre provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about the marine life in WA and watch the volunteers feed the various marine life from octopus to pufferfish, eel, a turtle and even a baby shark! It was a lot of fun, although it may be a little rushed to enjoy on this day trip. Entry fee is $18 ($12.50 USD) for adults (Nov, 2020).
The Busselton Jetty is the largest accessible jetty in the South Hemisphere, which is an impressive 1.8km long. There are two options to travel to the end of the jetty, walking it or taking a (very slow) small train. We opted to walk it, costing just $4 to enter the Jetty and it takes around 20 minutes to walk to the end.
There are four caves in the Margaret River Region, which you can venture through for $22.50 each ($16 USD). We’ve heard that Mammoth Cave is the most adventurous with the use of helmets and headlamps to get you through from one end to the other!
Alternatively, for a smaller and more inexpensive adventure, you’ll find plenty of mazes on your way through the region. We tried the Boranup Forest Maze and admittedly, we had to cheat our way into the middle! However, we forced ourselves to find our way out the honest way!
The Margaret River Wineries
We visited 3 wineries during our visit; Cape Mentalle, The Voyager Estate and Bettaneys. These three wineries were a great mix! Firstly, Cape Mentalle is one of the beautiful founding wineries of the region. Next, the Voyager Estate is a gorgeous estate building with stunning manicured grounds. Finally, Bettaneys gave us a unique family-owned winery experience with both wine and nougat tasting too. We honestly loved all three! If you have a designated driver (and a liver of steel!), we’ve heard Vasse Felix also offers free tastings. Furthermore, Cheeky Monkey Brewery is great for those preferring beer and ciders.
A Little Extra Stop...
Especially for the non-alcoholics reading this guide, we haven’t forgotten you! A visit to Hamelin Bay is a must! This beautiful coastal stop just 25 minutes south of Margaret River is home to an abundance of Manta Rays. All of which you can see and stroke right from the bay! Although they can be spotted year-round, they are mostly seen in the warmer months.
Along with this stunning bay is the cape to cape track, it’s a 135km track running along the coast. As it takes 4 days to complete, you’ll be short on time on a day trip from Perth! However, you can enjoy a taster of the track straight from Hamelin Bay, just follow the signs to the left of the bay.
Where To Stay
unlikely event that you’ve decided to extend your day trip from Perth, accommodation isn’t cheap around the Margaret River region. However, Margaret River Tourist Park offers reasonably priced cabins which sleep up to 6 people and cost between $100-130 per night (Nov 2020). Also, caravan sites are as little as $30 a night if you opt to hire a camper!
Day Trips From Perth #2
The Adventurous Trip
Yanchep Koala Boardwalk
Yanchep National Park is a special place, especially for one particular reason. Namely, this is the only place in the whole of Western Australia that you can see koalas! To summarise, there has been a small colony of koalas here since the 1930s. Following this, the rangers at Yanchep National Park have then helped to preserve their land and provide tourists with a great way of playing spot the koala! This is undoubtedly a really fun quick stop, which will take no more than 30mins.
Lancelin is the most popular spot to sandboard in Western Australia. Hire your boards from the 'Have a Chat' general store in town and have fun racing each other down the dunes! Board hire is actually pretty cheap, around $5-$10 for two hours.
A sight so beautiful, it could cure a hangover! This is a stunning white sand beach with perfectly turquoise waters. Worth the stop, even just for a picture with the sign!
The pinnacles are a set of thousands of limestone towers sticking out of the desert. There are many theories for how they formed in this way but no definitive answer. A driving path has been made so you are able to wind around the Pinnacles in your car. There are also small parking bays along the way to park up, hop out, get closer and make up your own theories for how they ended up like this! It is slightly off-road on dirt tracks, so we still felt immersed in the 4WD life, even in our 2WD campervan!
Lake Thetis is a pretty lake which takes around 30 mins to walk around fully. The main attraction here though, are the Stromatolites. These are fossils that show the earliest life on Earth! So this makes for a pretty cool pit stop on a day trip from Perth.
This area of Western Australia is full of beautiful beaches, towering sand dunes and unforgettable experiences.
One of the main attractions in Jurien Bay is swimming with sea lions! We had an absolutely unforgettable time sharing moments with these playful creatures. Jurien Bay Oceanic took us out for the afternoon to the protected sea lions island and we waited in the waters for them to interact with us.
Alternatively, if you can't get onto a tour, there is a snorkel trail located by the pillars of the old wooden jetty. This is accessible straight from the beach. Furthermore, Lesueur National Park is a beautiful national park just 15 mins inland from Jurien Bay.
Western Australia is home to the largest collection of wildflowers in the world, many of which you will find in Lesueur National Park. Spend some time enjoying bush walks and the picnic areas or take the Lesueur Scenic Drive around the park.
An Extra Stop...
This small detour from the main highway may be a little harder to do on a day trip from Perth, as it closes at 4:30 pm. However, it would make a good breakfast stop if you return the next morning. Alternatively, you could choose to head this way first and then return taking the stops above in the opposite order.
So what's it all about?
New Norcia is essentially the closest thing you’ll see to a post-apocalyptic town. It was originally created as a mission camp to convert local aboriginals to monastic living. Today, it is home to around 10 monks and a team who service the grounds and assist with agriculture work in the area.
The main attraction at New Norcia is the bakery and it is fab! The bread and cakes are made in the original 150-year-old fire oven! Even the Queen knows about it, as she loves the nut cake made here. We chose to get the Boston Bun and was not disappointed. Join the many chefs that have visited and get yourself some New Norcia baked goods from the information centre. Open 9:30 - 4:30 pm daily.
Check out the 'Gram