21 Exciting Things to Do in Perth, Western Australia

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I’ve been raving about how much we loved our six-month trip through Western Australia and that anyone visiting Aus needs to head west and not just stick to the east coast of Oz.

And that goes for Perth too, the capital city of WA. Although it’s a relatively young city, it continues to evolve and there are so many things to do in Perth.

Crowds on Cottesloe Beach
Cottesloe Beach

Whether you’re passing through for a few days or looking for a city to take a city break in, there are so many attractions in Perth to keep you busy for at least 2-3 days.

If you’re not sure what to do in Perth, keep reading to see my favourite activities, places to visit and things to do.

Planning your trip to Perth last-minute?

Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Perth! Here are some of the top tours, hotels, and useful items you may need before your trip!

Top Experiences and Tours in Perth

  1. The Pinnacles Desert Sunset and Star-Gazing Tour (perfect for nature lovers)
  2. Rottnest Island Day Trip (one of the best day trips from Perth)
  3. Swan Valley Winery Tour (best thing to do in Perth for couples)

Top Accommodation and Hotels in Perth

  1. Mantra on Hay (where we stayed and always recommend)
  2. Citadines St Georges Terrace (close to the CBD, excellent for families)

Car Rental

If you need to rent a car to explore outside of Perth, we recommend Discover Cars for their ease of booking, full coverage options, and great prices. Click here for rates and availability.

Is Perth Worth Visiting?

man sitting on bench in Kings Park with view of Perth skyline
sunny skies

The Perth city centre has been revitalised over the years adding more cafes, restaurants and especially the small bar scene, and the monster waterfront development, which looks like a mini-version of Darling Harbour in Sydney, is sure to add a lot to the city.

Perth is an attractive setting on the Swan River and nearby to several stunning beaches that are a lot less crowded than its east coast counterparts, which also adds tremendous appeal.

Throw in the mad AFL sporting culture, which I missed out on seeing a game unfortunately, and cricket at the famed WACA and Perth makes for a great short break, or for a base to have extended travel in Western Australia.

Because of its incredibly sunny weather, laid-back atmosphere, and continuous growth as a city, it’s absolutely worth visiting.

Things to Do in Perth, Western Australia

We didn’t have all that long in the city itself, but I’m sure we’ll be back. Below is my top picks for things to do in Perth!

1. See the Skyline from Kings Park and Botanic Garden

view of perth skyline from Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia

Kings Park has a stunning location overlooking the Swan River and offers sweeping views of the Perth city skyline.

The park covers more than 400 hectares and is the largest inner city park in the southern hemisphere, and is even larger than New York’s Central Park.

Walk amongst the treetops on the elevated bridge, wander the pathways, the botanical gardens, the open grassy areas and picnic amongst the gum trees. For eats and drinks there’s also a kiosk, the Botanical Cafe and Fraser’s Restaurant.

Kings Park also has several large playgrounds for the kids to enjoy with cafes attached for that essential takeaway coffee whilst they play. If you’re looking for things to do in Perth with kids, then pack a picnic, a kite or a frisbee and have a play in this park.

It’s also free, which makes it one of the best free things to do in Perth.

If you’re heading to Perth in September, this is the time when the famous wildflowers of Perth are in bloom, and they are particularly beautiful in this park.

2. Catch a Sunset at Cottesloe Beach

people sitting on grass wtching cottesloe beach sunset

Perth’s sunsets are legendary. If you haven’t seen the sun set over the ocean, Western Australia is where it’s at.

Cottesloe is a beach-side suburb about a 15-minute drive from the Perth CBD and is one of the best places to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

Cottesloe crystal clear waters make it a popular place for swimming, snorkeling, and surfing and a great spot for families to have picnics under shady Norfolk Pines. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in Perth with kids.

3. Take a Walking Tour of Perth

park in front of perth skyline
Perth, Western Australia

Perth is a city made for walking. It’s flat, has wide streets and footpaths, and one of the best ways to start a visit to any new destination is with a walking tour to get your bearings and insider tips from a knowledgeable local.

I walked Perth with two feet and a heartbeat as we strolled through the city streets and laneways of the CBD learning about the history, culture, heritage, and colourful past of the city and experienced attractions on and off the tourist trail.

They also do a small bar tour every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

4. Take a Swan River Cruise

perth skyline from swan river

Make the trip from Perth down to Fremantle via a relaxing cruise on the Swan River.

You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline, the many sailing boats, and marvel at some of the most expensive real estate in the country – the mining boom has treated Perth well.

Consider a cruise at night when the glittering city lights are reflected on the river.

5. Take a Day trip to Rottnest Island

people on white sand Pinky Beach on Rottnest Island on eof the best things to do in Perth

Rottnest Island is incredible. Located 18 kilometres off the coast it’s a premier island getaway with over 60 picturesque beaches and bays.

Rotto, as the locals call it, is best explored by bicycle, there are no cars on the island making it a relaxing and enjoyable experience for people of all ages. Other activities on the island include tennis, golf, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and diving.

Take the short ferry trip over. Our favourite white-sand beaches are the Basin and Pinky Beach. And get up close to the cute little marsupial the quokka, found only in Western Australia.

6. Hit the Beaches – in the MORNING!

peopel on Scarborough Beach, Perth, Western Australia
Scarborough Beach

Perth has some excellent city beaches such as Scarborough, Cottesloe, City Beach, Trigg, Sorento, and Leighton, but Perth does get a little windy in the afternoons.

By 2pm, the famous Fremantle Doctor breeze has rolled in off the Indian Ocean making your beach day somewhat less pleasant.

So if you’re heading to one of Perth’s beautiful beaches, make it a morning event, unless you’re going late in the afternoon to take in one of the magical sunsets.

Grab your snorkel mask before you go, as you may spot some colourful fish swimming along the white sand shores here.

7. Explore The Historic Fremantle

Sign saying Fremantle on historick buidling

I’m still trying to figure out if the historic seaside port of Fremantle is a suburb of Perth or its own city? Help me out! But I do know it makes for a great day trip.

Fremantle is located just 30 minutes from downtown Perth and is dotted with cafes, bars, seafood restaurants and is known as the ‘world’s best-preserved example of a 19th-century port streetscape’ with heritage buildings, incredible architecture, and a fascinating convict and maritime history.

The Fremantle Markets are the perfect place to hang out and soak up the atmosphere.

Grab a coffee on Cappuccino Strip, wander the markets, visit the old prison, and don’t miss the Little Creatures Brewery on the water for delicious wood-fired pizzas and great craft beer.

8. See a Performance at Perth Concert Hall

I haven’t been to a performance at the Perth Concert Hall myself, but I’ve been told several times, and have read, that the acoustics are incredible – even better than at the Sydney Opera House.

It also hosts a variety of well known artists and performances here. You can see an orchestra or a stand up comic, there’s all kinds of things happening here, which is why it’s one of the best things to do in Perth at night.

Past performers are Michael Buble, BB King and of course, the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra who perform regularly.

9. Eat at the Greenhouse

Greenhouse Restaurant covered in living plants

The Greenhouse, located on St George’s Terrace is one of Perth’s hot restaurants. First of all, it’s a very interesting building architecturally and the concept is about operating better places for people and the whole place is geared toward sustainability.

The exterior of the building is clad in corrugated iron covered by a vertical garden with about 4,000 terracotta pots filled with ivy and strawberry plants.

It has 420 straw bales in its walls and ceiling, a rooftop garden that provides produce for the kitchen and bar, and recycled furniture throughout.

The quality of the food is amazing and varied, especially loved the wood fired pizza.

10. Soak Up The Sunshine in South Perth Foreshore Park

Craig throwing kayra into air as savannah watches on perth foreshore park

Perth is the sunny city and enjoys more hours of sunshine than any other city in Australia: 3,000 hours a year and 8.8 hours a day.

Average summer temperatures hover around the 30 degree celsius mark.

To make the best of this sunshine city, head to one of the city’s top parks for a picnic or play on the lawns. Aside from Kings Park, another great spot to play and bask in the sun is South Perth Foreshore Park, which sits on the other side of the Swan River and has sweeping views of the city, plus a huge green lawn to play on.

The sunshine is one reason you’ll see the locals living active lifestyles walking, biking, and enjoying the many parks and beaches. Soak it up while you can!

11. Enjoy the pace of life

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia
Cottesloe Beach

Perth offers a relaxing and easy going lifestyle surrounded by the Swan River, Kings Park, and endless stretches of gorgeous beaches.

Compared to Australia’s other major cities of Sydney and Melbourne, Perth has a lot less people and a slower pace of life.

Although peak hour traffic can be heavy and starts earlier than normal, around 2pm which coincides with the 5pm knock off work time on the east coast of Australia. Something to be aware of.

12. Explore the Small Bar Scene

exterior of Kitsch small bar, Leederville
Kitsch small bar, Leederville | Credit: Tourism WA

Perth has experienced economic and social growth with many new developments and cultural precincts emerging. In particular, the small bar scene and new restaurants.

If you enjoy small and cozy bars with an intimate vibe, then head to the CBD Bars. Some bars I like that are worth considering are Helvetica and the laneway gem Andaluz.

For a cool crowd, head over to The Aviary or enjoy the vintage feel at Hula Bula.

Also in the city is 399 Bar which has a decadent vibe. In the hip neighbourhood of Northbridge there’s Ezra Pound Bar and The Bird Wine Bar, which also have a classy atmosphere.

13. Visit Hillarys Boat Harbour

peopel on beach at Hillarys Boat Harbour, Perth, Western Australia

Hillarys is an impressive Boat Harbour development with a lot going on. There’s numerous attractions to keep the kids happy with the swimming beach, water slides, playgrounds, trampolines and mini-golf.

For us parents there’s a range of cafes, shops, restaurants, cycle paths plus all the boating and water activities. Spend an hour or a whole day and watch the sun go down over the ocean.

14. Eat at Duende

Duende is a tapas-style restaurant occupying a corner block in the suburb of Leederville that left a lasting memory in my mouth. And the modern decor brings with it a good vibe along with the nice range of Mediterranean influenced dishes.

Their motto is “everyday for everyone” and they feature an all day breakfast/brunch option till 4pm. Some of Duende’s classics include grilled tapas, bar bites, deli sliced meats, cheeses and desserts, and lots of vegetarian choices.

15. Bike or Walk Along the Swan River

People riding bikes along Elizabeth Quay, Perth
Elizabeth Quay | Credit: Tourism WA

You’ll see lots of bikers and walkers in Perth, and why not with the climate and scenery on offer year round. The communities of Bassendean, Bayswater and Belmont boasts over 28 kilometres of river foreshore.

Walkers can stroll along the Swan River foreshore and cyclists you can even take your bike on a train as a number of bike rides connect from train stations along the Midland Rail Line.

16. Check out The Bell Tower

the bell tower

Perhaps one of the most iconic landmarks in Perth is the Bell Tower, which sits on Riverside Drive overlooking the river and Elizabeth Quay.

The bell tower was built as a result of a major architecture competition, and has a distinctive, contemporary style.

The bell tower has a total of 19 bells, each with their own story and history to tell. You can hear the bells ringing every Thursday and Sunday at midday.

17. Visit Perth Cultural Centre

For art lovers, a trip to the Perth Cultural Centre is a must. This artsy precinct is where you will find the Art Gallery of Western Australia, State Library of Western Australia, State Theatre, PICA, Blue Room Theatre and WA Museum Boola Bardip.

It’s the ideal place to spend a day exploring the art galleries, learn about the traditional owners of the region, or catch a performance.

18. Spend the day at Perth Zoo

kangaroos in perth zoo
Kangaroos in Perth, Western Australia

If you’re looking for some fun things to do in Perth with kids, then a trip to the zoo is a must.

Not only can you meet some native Aussie animals such as koalas, kangaroos and dingos, but you can also see international animals who are in need of conservation help.

From Zebras to Asian Elephants, Perth Zoo is dedicated to preserving, educating and conserving our global wildlife.

19. Explore Caversham Wildlife Park

Ranger holding a koala Caversham Wildlife Park, Swan Valley
Credit: Tourism WA

Caversham Wildlife Park is a family-owned wildlife park dedicated to conserving Australia’s native wildlife.

It’s home to 200 species of animals, birds and reptiles, and has more than 2,000 animals in its care. This makes it the largest privately owned wildlife park with native wildlife in Western Australia.

Visitors can learn about the animals, interact with them, and get information about the animals from the knowledgeable rangers.

It’s one of the best places to get up close and learn about Aussie’s native wildlife.

20. Visit the Perth Wineries

GRAPEVINES at Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley
Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley | Credit: Tourism WA

The Swan Valley region is home to some of the best Western Australian wines. Spend a day touring around the valley, which is Australia’s second oldest wine region.

As well as passing by wineries and sampling a few wines, you can also find a microbrewery in the Swan Valley, and a chocolate factory.

21. Take a Day Trip to Penguin Island

Penguins in the wildlife park in Perth Australia.

Located just 660 meters off the coast of Shoalwater, a 45-minute drive South of Perth, is a small island called Penguin Island.

The island is so named because it’s home to a little penguin colony of around 250 penguins, which is the largest population of the birds in WA.

If that’s not enough, nearby, you can also visit Seal Islands, named because, you guessed it, it’s home to a seal colony.

If you time your visit right (June to November), you might also be able to do a spot of whale watching whilst you head to Penguin Island too!

Where to Stay in Perth

Mantra Hotels in Perth, Western Australia

We stayed in a two bedroom apartment at the Mantra on Hay Street which was conveniently located to the CBD, and the WACA if you’re in town for a cricket match.

Just a 10-minute walk and we were at the Hay Street Mall and everything the Perth city centre has to offer.

As a family we prefer to stay in apartments in city centres to have access to a full-kitchen, laundry facilities and separate bedrooms for the kids.

And I must say the Mantra was a lovely upgrade from our camper trailer we occupied on our road trip around Australia at the time, just quietly!

The Mantra on Hay has one, two, and three bed apartments plus hotel rooms.

Use the handy map below to find more accommodation options for Perth

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Perth

Whether you’re travelling as a family or a couple, you will find there is something to do in Perth to suit any traveller’s taste or needs.

It’s a city that offers relaxation and chill, something that’s quite hard to find in a city these days.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure to make the most of this sunshine city, it’s truly a special gem.

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