Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is unlike any other major city in the world. Located over 25 hours away from any other major city in Australia, Perth is remote, yet cosmopolitan. It strikes a perfect balance between big-city attractions and a small town laid back culture and attitude. Despite its relatively small population, Perth has an abundance of restaurants, bars, and cultural activities that keep the locals and visitors entertained all year round.
Tourism plays a big part of the economy in Perth and Western Australia in general, yet less than 1 million international tourists visit Perth on a yearly basis. The city, just like much of Western Australia is a destination most often visited by long-term backpackers, traveling around Australia long term, or domestic visitors.
Need some convincing that Perth is worth your visit? Consider this:
- Perth is located closer to Bali and Singapore than any Australian city on the East Coast, so if you next or previous destination is South East Asia, then Perth is the perfect layover city for you.
- According to Weekend Notes’ 10 Reasons to Visit Perth, Perth has more sunshine than any other Australian capital, and some say the entire world.
Top Things to Do in Perth
Perth boasts some of the best beaches, so why not start your Perth visit with a little beach time. According to Great About Perth, Leighton Beach, Cottesloe Beach, City Beach, Scarborough Beach, and Swanbourne Beach (nude beach) are the Top 5 Best Beaches in Perth. They are easy to get to by car or by public transport.
To gain a better perspective on the city and for a great spot for a picnic, head to Kings Park and enjoy over 400 hectares of bushland, parks, and gardens. Western Australia Travellers Guide suggests these Top Things to do in Kings Park
Those interested in arts and culture will find a variety of museums, art galleries and public art walks to explore in Perth. Northbridge should be of particular interest as it home to the Perth’s Cultural Centre, which houses the Western Australian Museum, Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. Experience Perth suggests a number of other Arts and cultural experiences worth adding to the to-do list of any culture vulture.
Shopaholics beware, Perth is peppered with unique and funky clothing boutiques, large shopping centre and weekend markets selling everything from hand-made arts and craft to natural and organic produce.
Western Australia has a great guide of Top 10 FREE Things to do in Perth that includes activities like sand dunning in Lancelin, browsing the famous Fremantle Markets, or simply watching a beautiful sunset over the Indian Ocean.
If you have some time to spare when visiting Perth, hop on a ferry and head over to Rottnest Island, to meet the famous quokkas, plan a plan a trip to the Swan Valley or check out Australia Tourism’s suggestions for Top 10 Things to Do in Perth.
Where to Stay in Perth
Be warned, as a result of a mining boom in the area, staying in Perth won’t be cheap. Expect to pay $80-100 for even a basic hotel room, and anywhere from $200+ for a 4-star hotel. Search for hotels on Agoda.
There are over 25 different hostels in Perth, located mostly in Perth City Centre, Northbridge, East Perth, Highgate and Leederville areas. A bed in a hostel will set you back by $30-40/night for a basic dorm with shared facilities. Private rooms with an en-suite start at $80-90/room.
Airbnb is another great option for Perth. There are literally hundreds of properties available in Perth and surroundings, suitable for any type of travelers, like this Serene Timber Cottage Home that was featured in Business Insider’s article 30 of the Most Luxurious Properties Across Australia You Can Rent on Airbnb
P.S. Get USD $35 credit if you sign up using this link
Where to Eat in Perth
Perth boasts a diverse culture which is reflected in the city’s culinary offers. Many of its residents hail from nearby South East Asian countries, so you can expect the Asian cuisine options to be plentiful. A few, like Mama Tran and Good Fortune Roast Duck House in Northbridge have even landed spots on The Guardian’s list of 10 Best Budget Restaurants in Perth. Another good source of budget restaurant options is this list of Top 20 best eats in Perth under $20 on Perth Now.
Aside from the typical Asian fare, there is an extensive variety of other restaurants in Northbridge and the nearby Mount Lawley and Highgate areas. Fremantle is another popular area for foodies, famous for its Cappuccino Strip and great fish and chips options at the Fisherman’s Wharf.
Local’s specialties include Western Rock Lobster (a.k.a. crayfish), which you can try in Perth without breaking the bank, Chili Mussels and of course the abundance of great wines and local produce in the nearby Swan Valley and Margaret River areas.
How Much Time Do You Need in Perth?
The hardest part about building an itinerary for Perth is that once you get over to that side of Australia you realise how much there is to discover in Western Australia. There are dozens of spectacular attractions within a few hours driving distance from Perth, so how long you stay depends largely on what you want to see.
If just want to explore Perth itself, plan to spend 2-3 days to give yourself enough time to check out the beaches, parks, museums and other inner city attractions. Add a day for a visit each one of the following:
- Nearby town of Fremantle, especially if you want to check out the Fremantle weekend markets
- Swan Valley to check out some of the region’s best wineries and micro-breweries
- Sand boarding on sand dunes in Lancelin
- Penguin Island, a nature reserve where you can see dolphins, penguins, and sea lions
- Rottnest Island for the bay and beaches that feature great reefs and caves, for swimming, snorkeling, and diving
- Cervantes Pinnacles, thousands of limestone pillars rising out of the yellow the sand in the Pinnacles Desert
Add at least 2-3 days to your trip if you plan on visiting Margaret River, one of the most renowned wine regions in all of Australia, and another 2-3 days if you want to venture out to the Kalbarri National Park.