See also: Where to Stay in Perth
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane – when it comes to tourism, the eastern part of Australia is what attracts the tourists the most. But if you’re looking for something different this season, then the western part of Australia has more than to offer you. Capital of Western Australia and sitting on the coast of the south-western part of the continent, Perth is a city full of opportunities ranging from sandy beaches along the suburbs to Kings Park and Botanic Garden on Mount Eliza giving you a 360° experience of the beautiful city. To make your job easier, we have come up with the 30 best things to do in Perth.
Visit Kings Park
Situated in the heart of the city, Kings Park is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world with over six million visitors every year. Covering a total of 400.6 hectares, the park overlooks Perth city as well as the Swan Valley. Along with its vast variety of flora, the huge park is the perfect destination for picnics, cultural events or even just a walk. One of the most famous attractions of the park includes a 750-year-old boab tree from the Kimberley area of Western Australia. So, if you’re a fan of flora and fauna, then this should be on the top of your list.
Experience Swan River
Swan River flows through the city of Perth runs for almost 72 kms before pouring down into the Indian Ocean. Its unique path links the city with the suburbs and creates a contrast with the high-rise skyline of Perth city. The river's banks also serve as a spot for picnics or just an evening walk giving you a spectacular scenic view without having to go to the countryside. The Swan River also serves as a host to many water sports so if you’re a sports enthusiast, then kayaking, windsurfing and sailing are the activities that you can look forward to while visiting the first heritage icon of Western Australia.
Watch a Play at His Majesty’s Theatre
Built from 1902 and completed in 1904, His Majesty’s Theatre is an Edwardian Baroque theatre located in Perth. Considered to be the largest theatre at the time of its opening, His Majesty’s Theatre Stage could accommodate over 2,500 people. Over the decades, the theatre has hosted innumerable ballets, Shakespearean plays as well as large-scale musicals with artists from all around the world. Some of the famous names include Katharine Hepburn who acted in three Shakespearean plays in 1955, Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballerina and Angela Lansbury who starred in Driving Miss Daisy in 2013. So, if you are a fan of wide-scale productions and want to experience it live then His Majesty’s Theatre is the perfect destination for you.
Watch a Movie at Rooftop Movies
But if you’re a millennial looking for something which represents the modern space of the city, then Rooftop Movies should do the work for you. Located on the multi-story car park in Northbridge, it is Perth’s first ever Rooftop cinema. Open in the city’s summer months, it screens a wide variety of movies ranging from cult classics to the most recent releases. Apart from the screening of movies, it also holds concerts with various artists and DJs performing for the crowd and is the ultimate place for movie dates or crazy concert nights.
Visit Heirisson Island
Managed by the City of Perth, the once cluster of small islands, Heirisson island is situated in the Swan River. One can cross from one side of the river to the other from this island through a causeway which connects East Perth to Victoria. It is famous for its connection with the tribal Noongar people who played a huge part in the island’s history. Along with that, the island attracts most of its tourists because of its Kangaroo Sanctuary and what’s the fun in visiting Australia if you do not click a selfie or two with the otherwise adorable animals?
Ring a Bell or Two at Bell Tower
Dating back to the 14th century, the Bell Tower or more famously known as the Swan Bell Tower is a perfect example of how the city preserves its heritage but at the same time, doesn’t forget to keep it updated with the modern times. It’s 82.5-meter high copper and glass spiral structure was specially built to support the hanging of a set of 18 bells which are by the world's largest musical instrument. You can experience the ancient art of ringing these bells as well as have a go at them yourself with the help of Bell Tower Chiming Tours.
Shop at Northbridge
Situated in the inner suburbs of Perth and just a five-minute walk from the city, Northbridge is home to the famous Perth Cultural Centre with its museum and an ensemble of art galleries. William Street lines up with several cafes, eateries and bars which are a very favourite local attraction and sees more than hundreds of people each day at its doorsteps. Northbridge is a hub for fashionistas with quirky boutiques and fast forward fashion offering you a wide variety to choose from. So, if you’re a shopaholic, then look no further, this is the place for you.
Discover at the Perth Observatory
A 120 years old and Western Australia’s oldest scientific institution, The Perth Observatory is around 35 kms east of the city in Bickley. Serving both as an educational facility and a tourist attraction, the observatory is an exemplar of how science and history can come together and put forward a national heritage at the disposal of the community. The observatory offers a large number of shows and facilities like those of night sky tours, guided day tours, star adoptions, public lectures (free of cost), astrophotography workshops and many more providing the tourists and locals with an ‘out of world’ experience.
Investigate the Fremantle Prison
Perth's only world heritage-listed building, the Fremantle Prison or the Fremantle Gaol was built by convicts in 1855 and was used to execute criminals up to 1991 when it was decommissioned by the government. Known as one of the most notorious prisons in the world to punish criminals, the six-hectare site serves as an attraction for the locals as well as tourists from around the world. It offers guided tours like ‘Convict Prison’, ‘Behind Bars’ and ‘True Crimes’ which are the most fascinating tours of the lot. One of the highlights of the tour is the 20 metres descend beneath the prison to explore the one km labyrinth of tunnels on a 'Tunnel Tour' and is recommended for the ones with an adventurous side. Along with the tours, the prison facility also consists of a Prison Gallery, Interpretative Visitor Centre as well as a gift centre.
Experience Your Childhood Yet Again at Perth Zoo
Established in 1861, the Perth Zoo is a zoological park in south Perth and inhabits around 164 species totalling the number of animals to 1258. Along with a home to a wide range of animals, it also has an extensive botanical collection for those who have an interest in flora. The zoo three main exhibitions namely the Australian Walkabout which includes both land and water animals, the African Savannah recreating the indigenous native African animals and the Asian Rainforest which serves to protect the endangered Asian species. Other attractions include fashion parades, live music, car shows as well as scout jamborees making it a perfect location for a day outing.
Go Skinny Dipping at Leighton Beach
Situated in Fremantle, the Leighton Beach is a popular beach for those living south to the river. The beach’s coastline stretches for 1.5 kms. With its average wave tide of 1 metre, the beach has calmer waves and thus is famous for kite surfing as well snorkelling. The northern part of the beach serves as a dog beach which is a bonus to the serenity of the beach. Leighton Beach also serves as a home to the famous Fremantle Surf Life Saving Club and one of the best options if you're looking at a beach with lesser crowd.
Meet White Sharks at AQWA
Opened in 1988 as Underwater World in Perth, the Aquarium of Western Australia or AQWA is Australia's largest sole aquarium and underwater walk-through tunnel. AQWA has more than 40 exhibits and is the world's tenth-largest aquarium. The aquarium features two premium exhibits namely The Coral Reef which includes the world's largest living coral reef and The Danger Zone featuring some of Western Australia's most dangerous marine life. Qualified snorkelers and scuba divers, with a fee, can get close to the sharks, fish and turtles with the help of aquarium's divemasters.
Take a Careful Step at Carnac Island
South-west to Fremantle, the Carnac Island is around 10 kms away and provides shelter as well as a sanctuary to the Australian sea-lions, the rarest species of sea-lions in the world. Apart from these, the island also inhabits tiger snakes, one of the deadliest snakes in the world and if this island is on your list, then you must be careful of these. The fauna of the island also includes some seabirds such as little penguins and oystercatchers. The island can be only accessed by boats but is worth the visit for the adventurer in you.
Experience Serenity at Saint Mary’s Cathedral
If you're a person of belief, then the beautiful churches of Australia wouldn't disappoint you. Saint Mary's Cathedral, the church of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth is situated on the top of a hill in East Perth. The cathedral possesses a state of tranquillity and is the perfect getaway for some quiet time away from the busy city life.
Explore the Fauna of Western Australia at Penguin Island
Penguin Island is a 31-acre island south off the coast of Perth and about 45 minutes away from the WA capital. The island gets its name from the largest bird population of little penguins inhabiting it with the number totalling to 1200. The beautiful island with its white sandy beaches can be reached by local ferries which takes the tourists to and fro the island on an hourly schedule. It can also be reached by private boats, swimming or kayaking if one's up for an adventurous trip. Other than the penguins, the beach is also home to nesting seabirds as well as a colony of 500 strong pelicans. The island also includes other attractions like sea caves and natural bridges. The most important parts of the islands are Pelican Bluff, Surfers Beach, North Rock and North Beach.
Have a Road Trip With the Indian Ocean Drive
Australia’s landscape is perfect for a road trip along the Australian coastal belt and the Indian Ocean Drive offers a quick but scenic journey to some of the coastal towns of Cervantes, Green Head, Leeman and Port Denison. The world-famous Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park is a tourist favourite in the Cervantes. Green Head serves a perfect location for natural scenes and picnics. Leeman offers a great experience for camping and caravans with Port Denison marking the end of the road trip.
Pick a Flower or Two at Wildflower Country
The Wildflower Way and Midlands Route to the north of Perth, offer a huge amount of flora along the entire route, especially in the wildflower blooming season. The Lesueur National Park and the Coalseam Conservation Park are the prime locations for wildflower scouting and are amongst world heritage sites. Late July and early October are the times when these wildflowers are in full bloom and can be stretched along the entire western coastal belt of Australia.
Explore the Water Life at Ningaloo
Established in 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Area, the Ningaloo Coast is considered to be one of the greatest ocean paradises. The Ningaloo Reef is the longest near-shore reefs in the world and is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna on earth. You can go for a swim with manta rays, whale sharks and humpback whales and snorkel at the Coral Bay of the coast. Common activities include diving and snorkelling in the reef with more than 500 species of fishes and various types of turtles ready to take you on a journey below water which can prove to be better than the land ones.
Geraldton is the only city along the Australian coastal belt and with its exquisite cafes, galleries, shops and street art becomes a contemporary coastal hub for tourists travelling along the coastal hub. One can visit the Abrolhos Islands to experience it’s incredible and rare flora and fauna including the endangered sea lions or go snorkelling to the reef for some beautiful coral trouts.
Meet Wild Dolphins at Shark Bay
The Shark Bay is Western Australia's first location to receive the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Area in 1991 and is home to some of the most world-class natural tourist attractions. The area consists of numerous rare flora and fauna which gained its special status. You can treat yourself with a visit to an exhibition of the world's oldest fossils or meet the world's smartest wild dolphins at Monkey Mia.
Go Hiking in Kalbarri
A family holiday favourite, the Kalbarri region is popular for its adventurous sports both in water and on land. One of the most striking places of the Kalbarri National Park is the Tumblagooda Sandstone with its coloured rock beds, fossil traces and footprints of ancient insects making it a remarkable experience. Another iconic place that the park has to offer is Nature’s Window, a natural rock facing the water body and offering opportunities for a great hike and quad-biking.
Taking a Round of the Round House
The oldest standing building of Australia, the Round House was established in 1831. Initially built to hold convicted criminals, the building was later used as a storage facility for Fremantle ports. So now you know where to visit if you want to see the oldest standing proof of Australia’s history.
Visit the Whiteman Park
Stretched across an area of 9,900 acres, the Whiteman Park is one of the last bushland area available to the public. The park is situated in the suburbs of Whiteman in the Swan Valley. The park contains a wide variety of both plants and animals making it known for its biodiversity. More than 17% of Western Australia's bird species have proudly protected the Park and thus, it becomes one of the most visited parks in Perth.
Explore the Yanchep National Park
42 kms north of Perth, the Yanchep National Park is famous for its Koala colonies, native bush and caves. The area has been home to several indigenous Australians and also has a cultural programme in collaboration with the tribal Nyoongar aboriginal people. The park offers a variety of activities for the people such as it’s walking trails, Koala Broadwalk, exploring few of the caves from the 400 that the national park has and the Wangi Mia Aboriginal Experience which gives the tourists a chance to know more about the native tribal people.
Wine Drinking at Sandalford Wines
If you’re a fan of wine and countryside, then look no further because the Sandalford Wines are a perfect mixture of both. The privately-owned Australian winery business is situated in the Swan Valley and deals in both wineries as well as vineyards. So if you want to have a go at it, do not miss to visit one of the most renowned wineries of Western Australia.
Taking Up a Challenge at the Bibbulmun Track
With one of the most diverse landscapes in the world, Western Australia also has the world’s longest walk-trail, the Bibbulmun Track. The track stretches for more than 1000 kms, starting from the east of Perth to Albany in the south coast. Highlights of the track include Murray River Valley, Mundaring Weir, Karring Forests and the wildflowers along the tracks, especially in the blooming season.
Going for a Swim at the Cottesloe Beach
Pretty as a picture, the iconic Cottesloe Beach is one of the most popular spots of Perth City. The white sandy beach is perfect for swimming, diving, and snorkelling or to just watch the sunset on the horizon with a beautiful view. It is one of the 19 most spectacular beaches mostly because of its pristine sands and a boulevard of restaurants and cafes bustling with the tourists.
Pay Respect at the State War Memorial
Situated on top of Mount Aliza overlooking the city of Perth, the State War Memorial honours all the Australian servicemen and women who served and sacrificed their lives in all the wars that Australia was involved in. The historical site serves as a memorial for all the fallen soldiers who were the real heroes of Australia. So, if you want to know more about the brave lives lost and pay respects to them when you’re in the city, do not forget to visit the memorial.
Shopping at the Fremantle Markets
Established in 1897, the Fremantle Markets are Western Australia's leading destination for both the locals and the tourists. With over 150 stalls, the 122-year-old market is a hub for local products. Whether it’s food or clothes, you will find it in this market space. So get your shopping bags ready because you're in for a lifetime shopping extravaganza. And if you're hungry, then the market has the most amazing and authentic restaurants with mouth-watering delicacies to satisfy your hunger.
Vist John Forrest National Park
Western Australia's first national park, John Forrest National Park is at a distance of 24 kms east of Perth. The park is a sanctuary to many wild animals and birds. Everyone now and then, Kangaroos can be spotted and seen approaching for food from the tourists. The park offers many walking trails for those who are interested such as 'Christmas Tree Creek Walk' or the 'Wildflower Walk' and are an important part of the national park.