Last Updated on October 26, 2021 by Cody Livingston
Think Australia and the images that come to our mind are of the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney and Melbourne, all of which are on the east coast. Most travellers tend to flock to the east coast but the west coast also has its charm. Perth, the largest city on the west coast is where nature and modern life coexist together. The fourth-most populous city in Australia has no shortage of tourist attractions and if you give it a chance, you’ll be surprised by the variety it offers. From gorgeous beaches to a lively nightlife, you’ll be amazed by the list of what to do in Perth. The city has restored over the years with a series of cafes, restaurants, a waterfront development that looks like the Darling Harbour in Sydney and a great bar scene. With an attractive setting by the Swan River, you’ll find several stunning beaches with tremendous appeal and a lot less crowd than its east coast counterparts. The best time to visit Perth is during the shoulder seasons, spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May).
Here are the top 10 things to do in Perth that should not be missed during your trip to this part of Australia.
1. Enjoy a Cruise on the Swan River
Often called the sunniest capital, Perth is situated along the Swan River linking the suburbs, hills and the ocean. With cultural and environmental significance, the city has been awarded Western Australia’s first heritage icon. On a sunny day, jump on a cruise down the Swan River to see a different side of Perth. You’ll be mesmerised by the magnificent views as you cruise between Perth and the Port of Freemantle. It is also a chance to see the significant attractions of the city such as the soaring glass spire of the Bell Tower, the restored Swan Brewery, Kings Park and many more. Most of the cruises include a wine tasting, a complimentary lunch and some even pay a visit to the winery. A river cruise definitely should be on your list of things to do in Perth when planning a visit.
2. Meet Baby Kangaroos at Heirisson Island
Located right in the centre of the city in the middle of the Swan River, Heirisson Island is an unexpected treasure and offers a much-needed escape from city life. It is a spot filled with solitude, an array of birds and its population of kangaroos. You’ll have to go through a gate on the western side of the island to get to the roos where you’ll find a fence to stop them wandering to the nearby road. These kangaroos can be difficult to find during the day when they’re usually sleeping, especially when it’s hot outside. When the weather is cool, you can often find them grazing and hopping around. It strange that most people have never heard of this hidden treasure just minutes away from the city. Situated on the Swan River, between East Perth and Victoria Park, this is the place where you can witness kangaroos in their natural habitat. While at this tourist attraction in Perth, don’t forget to take lots of photographs!
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3. Evening Out in Northbridge
Five minutes’ walk away from central Perth, Northbridge is a kaleidoscope of food, arts and vibrant nightlife. It has an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, restaurants and some of the best bars in Western Australia. Home to Perth’s Chinatown, it offers great coffee and brunch options, vintage stores, homewares and small bars, and is a great place to spend time out drinking, dining or simply wandering around. A popular tourist attraction in Perth, Northbridge is also home to Perth’s Cultural Centre which houses the new WA Museum, the State Theatre of Western Australia and the Art Gallery of Western Australia showcasing over 1,000 pieces of national and international art pieces. Spend your days exploring the museums and your evenings eating out and enjoying the lively nightlife.
4. Shopping at Downtown
When it comes to shopping, Perth has a lot of things to offer. It is home to numerous shopping outlets, from extensive markets to stylish malls. Murray and Hay Street malls are the two main shopping malls in the city which are pedestrian malls and closed to traffic, with a wide range of speciality stores. Myer and David Jones are two main department stores you’ll see in downtown and the suburbs. With several shopping avenues, the question of what to do in Perth does not even exist. Whether you are looking to buy something particular or just want to wander around the clean city, there are plenty of options for everyone and paths to walk along.
Read Also: Top Things to Do In Melbourne, Australia
5. See the Bell Tower (Swan Bells)
One of Perth’s most stunning tourist attractions, the Bell Tower overlooks the Swan River and is an important landmark in the city. This is a set of 18 bells hanging in a specially built 271 ft. high copper and glass campanile. It is the second-largest set of ringing bells in the world, the largest being Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, with 19 bells. Dating back to 14th century, it’s worth noting that the bells are not rung by machine but instead by the volunteer members of the St. Martin’s Society of Change Ringers Inc. The bell tower is located at Barrack Square, just a short five-minute walk from the city centre.
6. Explore Kings Park
Kings Park is another place to visit in Perth, where the city meets the nature, offering unique opportunities to its residents and tourists to connect with nature in the heart of Perth, overlooking the Swan River. It is also popular for being home to the Western Australian Botanic Garden. From lovely gardens and walking trails to kid’s playgrounds and picnic spots, you’ll find here something for everyone. Climb the 202 steps of the spiralling DNA Tower to enjoy the spectacular views from the top. You’ll be able to enjoy the views of Kings Park, Botanic Garden and the Swan River and over to Rottnest Island. DNA tower that resembles the DNA molecule was inspired by a staircase in a Chateau at Blois in France. To see the park in full bloom, plan your visit in spring or summer. Kings Park played a great role in preserving not only European but also Aboriginal heritage. It is extremely significant in the fields of horticulture and quite renowned for its conservation efforts.
7. Explore The Historic Fremantle
The historic seaside port of Fremantle is a suburb of Perth located just 30 minutes from downtown and dotted with numerous cool cafes, bars and seafood restaurants. Renowned for its street buzz and an eclectic mix of art and culture, it is one of the world’s best-preserved examples of a 19th-century port streetscape complete with its heritage buildings and fascinating maritime history. Experience the wonderful nightlife by visiting its clubs and bars that play live music until the early hours. If you still have energy left dancing through the night, drop at one of the cafés for morning coffee.
8. Caversham Wildlife Park
Situated just 25 minutes East of Perth, Caversham Wildlife Park is easily accessible by car and offers a chance to get up close to some of the extraordinary Aussie Wildlife. One of the top places to visit in Perth, this park is home to over 2,000 distinctive animals and over 200 species of fauna. Here, you can feed kangaroos, stroke a koala and click photos with a wombat. You get to see the animals that you probably haven’t even heard of such as flying foxes, kookaburras, cassowaries, quokkas, echidnas and more. A visit to Caversham is incomplete without a visit to Molly’s Farm, which is an interactive farmyard where one can feed the animals. Also watch the farm show where you get to witness sheep shearing, sheepdogs mustering the sheep and also get to meet a stockman on a horse.
9. Hit the Gorgeous Beaches
Beaches are one of the best perks of living in Perth. One not only gets to enjoy the crystal-clear blue waters and white sands but do it without the huge crowds that you see elsewhere. Perth is one of the world’s most isolated cities and a great place to enjoy the laidback lifestyle. Cottesloe Beach, Mullaloo Beach, Scarborough and City Beach are some of the popular beaches in the city.
Cottesloe Beach or as the locals refer to it ‘Cott’, is only 20 minutes away from the city and extremely popular because of its laid-back surf culture and crystal-clear waters. The beach is ideal for swimming, dolphin-spotting and snorkelling. Mullaloo Beach and Scarborough are favourites amongst families. With barbeques and sheltered benches for a picnic, it is ideal for families and kids. There is even a kid’s playground. City Beach is fantastic for surfers with constant strong waves. There are plenty of open-air cafes and seafood restaurants overlooking the ocean.
10. Day trip to Rottnest Island
Located 18 kilometres off the coast of Perth City, Rottnest Island is an incredible beach getaway with over 60 picturesque beaches and bays. Also called Root by the locals, it is best explored on a bicycle as there are no cars on the island. The island earned its name in 1696 from the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh, who visited the island and mistook its strange marsupial population for common rats and named it Rottnest meaning ‘rat’s nest’. Today, one of the main attractions for visitors to this island is having a photo taken alongside the ‘rats’, known as Quokkas. Other activities on the island include tennis and golf as well as fishing, snorkelling, kayaking and diving.