Whether you’ve got a minute, a month or more, if you’re looking for the best things to do around Perth we’re here to help.
Some of them obvious, some of them a bit cheeky, and some of them a little bit sneaky, here’s our selection for the best things to do around Perth:
Cop an Indian Ocean sunset + seafood combo
Aside from laying around our iconic beaches during the day, one of the must-do’s when you’re in Perth or Western Australia is catching a classic sunset over the Indian Ocean. We’ve got sooo many stunning ones to do so from, although it’s hard to go past Cottesloe Beach if you’re chasing that truly quintessential Perth experience. Real ones will level things up with a side of fish and chips while you do it – here’s where to grab ’em from before you settle in.
Conquer Kings Park
One of the world’s largest inner-city parks, Kings Park is rich in history and overflowing with natural beauty. Larger than New York City’s famous Central Park, Kings Park stretches across a whopping 400 hectares of protected bushland and is a biological home to over 3,000 varieties of the state’s native flora and fauna. Boasting a visitors centre, gallery shop and multiple food options, there is much to explore throughout this monstrous city park including beautiful nature trails, skywalks, DNA Tower and magnificent views of Perth city.
Curate some culture in the Perth Cultural Centre
As well as the spectacular WA Museum Boola Bardip, the Perth Cultural Centre area is home to a number of institutions that have shaped Perth’s cultural landscape. We love PICA (one of our favourite art galleries) not just for its program of boundary-pushing contemporary art, but also its proximity to neighbouring Picabar, while the Blue Room Theatre and the State Theatre Centre of WA are the premier destinations to see some of Perth’s most exciting theatre productions. The Art Gallery of WA‘s late Brutalist architecture is worth a visit in and of itself, but why not add a rooftop drink to your visit and enjoy views of the city at AGWA Rooftop.
Explore Rottnest Island (Wadjemup)
When you think of Rottnest Island, normally you picture world class beaches, quokkas and getting around the island on a bike, but did you know there is an extensive network of walking trails that will give you access to some of the remotest parts of the island? The Wadjemup Bidi walk trail provides walkers some insight into Rottnest Island’s cultural history and its time as an Aboriginal-only prison camp between 1838 and 1931, while paying respects to Rottnest Island’s Traditional Land Owners.
Rottnest Island is also considered an A-Class Reserve, meaning the waters surrounding it are teaming with marine life. It’s home to more than 400 species of fish, fur seals, dolphins, rays, whales and more. Its pristine underwater environment means it’s a breathtaking place to explore by snorkel or SCUBA, with over 20 species of coral and more than 130 species of tropical fish to be found. You can go off the beach at popular spots like The Basin, or explore further out to the 60+ secluded beaches and bays to be found on the island.
Get to a game at Optus Stadium
Our sporting pride-and-joy, Optus Stadium, is a world-class spot to take in a game, no matter the season. The stadium itself is worth the price of admission alone (if it’s not already sold out before the game), but if you want to get a next-level view of the venue, you can even watch a quarter of footy from the best seat in the house – the roof! For another perspective, make sure to book in for an Aboriginal Cultural Tour with Warrang-Bridil, where you’ll walk the shores of the Derbal Yerrigan and learn about life pre-colonisation.
Get spooky on a Fremantle Prison Tour
We’re sure many of us have faded memories of school trips to Fremantle Prison – but don’t let that stop you from revisiting this historical landmark in adulthood. Tours range from convict history, notorious inmates and even punting through subterranean tunnels – plus some spooky torchlight tours, of course. If you’re really feeling the spooky history vibes, the WA Shipwreck Museum is just around the corner, where you can learn all about one of the deadliest mutinies in known history.
Have a browse at the Freo Markets
Established in 1897, Fremantle Markets remains a must-visit destination, whether you’re looking for some tasty treats or to meander through the unique stalls. A perfect Sunday for us would involve eating our way through the market’s varied cuisines, whether it’s Indonesian charcoal barbecue from Fluffy Lamb, authentic Venezuelan from Kachapas, succulent banh mi from Viet Kites, hangover-busting egg sandwiches from Eggspot, or of course, getting a famous Levi’s doughnut.
EAT & DRINK
Go for a late night feed in Chinatown
Is there a longer running, deeper rivalry than the one between Billy Lees and Uncle Billy’s diners? We’ll try to avoid any contentious statements, but one thing we know for sure: a late night feed in Chinatown is an iconic Perth tradition. Open til the wee hours of the morning, what was once a necessity (just about nothing else is open, after all) has become a destination in and of itself. Make sure to sit in the laneway to take in the maximum ambience or grab a drink at Perth’s first proper listening bar, Astral Weeks.
Get a continental roll (or two) from The Re Store
If you’re talking about the iconic sandwich, you gotta go straight to the source – and that’s the Re Store, baby! If you’re a newbie, be prepared for a pretty hectic lunchtime rush – stay strong, it’s worth it. Here’s a bunch of other great options too.
Line up for a cinny scroll from North Street Store
Our love for North Street Store has been well documented, and we’re not about to start reigning it in any time soon. Not sorry! And as they say, love is patient, et cetera. Obviously the cinny scroll is the crowd-pleaser, but no matter our mood, NSS have something to hit the spot. Don’t wanna wait in line? Try this list of our fave cinny scrolls around the rest of the city!
Soak up the sunshine in South Fremantle
We can’t help but wax lyrical when it comes to most things about South Freo – from Madalena’s seafood delights to Percy Flint’s perfect courtyard, La Cabaña‘s luscious tacos, The Local Hotel’s laidback attitude and the South Beach seabreeze… You’ve really got to set aside at least a day to let the full-blown South Freo vibe wash over you properly.
Or create your own Scarborough Beach pub crawl
Following an extensive redevelopment a few years ago, Scarborough Beach has become one of Perth’s most popular, with an array of amenities perfect for a fun day out with the family, including massive kids playground, skate parks, rock climbing, picnic areas, swimming pool and loads more. If you’re looking for more adults-only fun, you’ve got no shortage of options, from Sandbar up to The Peach Pit, El Grotto, The Galway Hooker, The Lookout, Scarborough Beach Bar and Oceans 6019… There’s plenty to keep you well-hydrated along the way (responsibly, of course)!
The Scarborough Sunset Markets are also a wonderful opportunity to experience Scarbs in all of its glory – every Thursday night during summer or Saturday evening in winter. And if you’re keen for more sunset drinks overlooking the ocean elsewhere around town, Perth has no shortage of beachside bars to choose from.
Rock on up to a rooftop bar
Keen to take your drinking vertical instead of horizontal? Perth realised pretty quickly that we’re a great city for rooftop bars, and went about establishing heaps of ’em to enjoy a sky high sip or two. As far as our faves go, may we point you upwards towards Hello Rooftop at The Rechabite, The Aviary, Mechanic’s Institute and The Standard.
Pack a picnic and head to Hyde Park
There’s nothing that makes us feel like a real, proper city like an inner-city park – and Hyde Park will do the trick quite nicely. We’ve spent many long afternoons lounging under the shade of the plane trees, whether it’s been nursing a hangover or at a family-friendly barbecue (por que no los dos?). Accompanied by a coffee and loaded toast from Chu Bakery, making friends with passing pooches – there are worse ways to spend an afternoon, that’s for sure.
Swan Valley wine tour
It’s practically a Perth rite of passage, piling into a party bus and heading towards the Swan Valley wineries… For a visitor it’s an absolute must though – while Margaret River is world famous for its wine region, the Swan Valley ain’t too far behind, with a delicious array wineries, breweries, cideries and more to choose from.
Savour a bougie night at the State Buildings
The State Buildings are home to a stunning assortment of luxurious wining, dining, retail and more – whether it’s browsing the wares of Edicole or Lessons, lunch at Post or Petition, an evening drink at Beer Corner or Poole’s Temple or a six course tasting menu at Wildflower. Obviously, the only way to round out this day is with a stay at COMO The Treasury (and a visit to the Shambhala Urban Escape, of course).
Venture into the ‘burbs for the best Bánh Mì
If you’re into bánh mì, you know that the ‘burbs are where it’s at. Bibra Lake Lunch Bar has become the stuff of legends, but northsiders are in luck with the lion’s share of Perth’s best Vietnamese and bánh mì in Girrawheen. Don’t worry, though – if you’re locked into the inner-city, you can still get some next-level rolls at Le Vietnam, Sunshine Cafe, or Bunn Mee.
Put away a cheap pint at a local Bowlo
The pillar of any great neighbourhood, a good local bowls club is worth its weight in lawn bowls. And the criteria for what makes a great bowls club is pretty simple: Are the greens in good nick? Are the pints cheap as chips? Are there old fellas at the bar up for a yarn? We’ve rounded up some of our favourites over here, so you can work your way through them one by one.
Learn about Perth (Boorloo)’s Aboriginal history on a cultural tour
Outside of putting in some serious time at WA Boola Bardip museum, there are a variety of excellent cultural tours you can jump on to gain more insight into the Nyoongar people. Go Cultural and Nyungar Tours are a couple of excellent options closer to home, and there are plenty of others operating around the state you can look into as well. Another excellent resource is WAITOC.
Find your own slice of heaven at Perth’s best beaches
We mentioned a classic Cott sunset above, but we’ll let you in on a little secret – we’ve got dozens of awesome beaches to hit up in the warmer months. From South Beach to City Beach, Trigg, Mulalloo, Pinaroo Point and beyond, get up early and beat the seabreeze for a day on white sands dipping in azure blue waters…
SUP the Swan in South Perth
We can’t resist an alliterative activity, but stand up paddle boarding has become such a phenomenon in the last few years, can you blame us? A great low-impact activity for building strength, it’s the perfect way to unwind – whether chatting with friends or having a solo meditative moment taking in the magic of the Derbal Yerrigan. Plus, from the South Perth foreshore it’s yet another amazing way to take in a spectacular view of the city. Hit up Funcats if you need a rental – they’ve been around since 1975!
Zipline down Matagarup Bridge – if you dare!
Zip+Climb is a family adventure zone for the brave of heart amongst you, offering a thrilling experience climbing Matagarup Bridge and zip-lining your way down. Take a 300+ step trek up to the main arch and its skyview platform for some stunning views of the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River), Perth city and Optus Stadium.
Set an alarm and catch the sunrise from Lion’s Lookout
There are plenty of spots in Perth to catch a spectacular sunrise, but Lion’s Lookout might be our favourite. Set amongst the hills, it’s a stunning view across to the city skyline, whether you’re there at dusk or dawn. If it’s a misty morning, you’ll practically feel like you’re amongst the clouds.
Hit a hiking trails
For those of you more hiking-inclined, Perth has dozens and dozens of wonderful walking trails to hit no matter the conditions (just make sure to pack sunscreen and water)! You’ve got Bold Park only 15 minutes north of the city, John Forrest National Park, Whistlepipe Gully, Rocky Pool Walk Trial, Numbat Trail… the list goes on. And that’s before you add water to the mix…
Chase some winter waterfalls
Perth’s beaches are some of the best in the world, but we’ve also got some pretty darn speccy in-land water features to visit as well. Spots like Serpentine, Lesmurdie and Bells Falls are all relatively short drives from the city and make for some very fun day hikes and picnics. We’ve done a bit of the leg work for you, all you need to do is be ready to pounce from mid-winter to late-spring to get the best of the best.
Watch a movie on the big screen, outdoors!
Given Perth’s penchant for warm weather and balmy summer evenings, you won’t be surprised to learn that we’ve got plenty of outdoor cinemas to choose from when things start heating up. Rooftop Movies in Northbridge is one of the originals and the best, along with Somerville Auditorium, which fires up every year alongside Perth Festival with an exciting new program every time. And that’s not even the half of ’em!
Get ya flippers out and snorkel Omeo Wreck
If you saw a photo of Omeo Wreck on the internet, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was photoshopped. The iron steam ship came adrift from Fremantle port way back in 1905, getting bogged in the sand at Coogee. Only 25 metres from the shore (and those picture-perfect stairs into the ocean!), the wreck is the centrepiece of the Coogee Maritime Trail; a recently completed initiative by the City Of Cockburn to create an epic snorkelling trail along Coogee Beach. If Omeo is too busy when you visit, try one of Perth’s many epic snorkelling locations, including Mettams Pool, Yanchep Lagoon and Hamersley Pool.
Cruise down Zig Zag Scenic Drive
We admit, we must be pretty in love with our city, given how obsessed we are with getting a good view of its skyline – and Gooseberry Hill’s scenic Zig Zag Drive offers some views of the Swan Coastal Plain that are unparalleled. It’s a steep, almost-3km one-way drive that winds down a very narrow road, with plenty of hairpin turns and dynamic changes of scenery around every corner.
Enjoy some Sunday arvo tunes at the Freo Arts Centre
One of our favourite, low-key ways to take in the local music talent is at Fremantle Arts Centre’s Sunday Music series. Running between October and March, pack a picnic and set up camp under the plane trees and enjoy some of our state’s best musicians. We’d call it underrated, except the weekly crowds speak for themselves. Make sure you pop into the gallery and check out the latest exhibition too!
Stop and smell the wildflowers at Araluen Botanical Park
Nestled amongst the hills of Roleystone, Araluen Botanical Park is one of the most picturesque manicured gardens in the state, if not the country. Open just about every day of the year, the park features an incredible array of exotic plants, landscaped to peaceful perfection and is a must-visit during wildflower season.
Befriend a Black Cockatoo at Kaarakin
Australia is home to five species of black cockatoos, all of which are endangered due to a combination of land clearing, illegal shooting and competition with other species. The folks at Kaarakin are committed to saving as many of these iconic birds as possible – rescuing and rehabilitating them from countless threats, including being struck by vehicles, shot, or attacked by cats. Get involved by visiting one of their tour weekends, or even booking in for a close encounter.
Make more furry friends at Caversham Wildlife Park
Speaking of native animals, a visit to Caversham is something you just can’t pass up. Owned by a WA family since 1988, the park has the largest private collection of native wildlife in the state. Get the whole family on board for some interactive fun with the animals – you can hand-feed the kangaroos, touch a possum or lizard, or say hello to a wombat. Plus, watch the cheeky penguins at feeding time or get a photo with a koala.
Get amongst Rockingham’s water-based wildlife
Rockingham is also home to plenty of impressive wildlife, especially around Shoalwater Island Marine Park. The park includes some great snorkelling sites, as well as the nearby Churchill Park Dive Trail and Saxon Ranger dive wreck if you’ve got the appropriate permit. Just off the coast you’ll find the Shoalwater Islands themselves – Seal, Shag and Penguin, each named for their local residents. Penguin Island, while only around 800 metres in length, is the largest of the islands; home to Little Penguins, dolphins, sea lions and heap of other aquatic life.
Dig for vintage gold in Guildford
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to incredible antiques shops out in Guildford like Retrofind – imagine furniture store meets 70s fondue party. Xavier’s store of handpicked mid-century European furniture, antiques and bric-a-brac is a highlight for anyone perusing the Guildford vintage strip. Get transported back to a time where the music was funky, bras were burned and keys were in the bowl. Plus, no visit to Guildford is complete without a stop into the Museum of Natural History: with over 2,000 stuffed creatures to peruse, it’s every bit as bizarre as it is wonderful.
Header Image: Cottesloe Beach