12 best things to do in Perth

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  • Post last modified:June 2, 2024
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Start with the best activities of Perth’s busy CBD. Then work your way out and discover everything that Australia’s sunniest capital city has to offer, from fascinating history to beaches making you believe that you hallucinate (they are just that pretty). But beware: These best things to do in Perth may require you to extend your visit.

1. Smell flowers in Kings Park

The scale of Western Australia (five times bigger than France) is jaw-dropping, so it comes as no surprise that its capital’s proudest city park is extensive. Yet Kings Park, spreading out across 400 hectares, manages to make your jaw drop.

Smell the flowers in Kings Park’s botanic garden, displaying over 3,000 species of Western Australian flora. While spring may be the best time to visit, the array of plants is impressive year round.

As appreciated is the bushland section of Kings Park. Lace up your shoes and explore winding inner-city trails making you feel like you’re far out in the Australian bush.

Then it’s the views. Kings Park overlooks Perth CBD, offering unrivaled cityscape perspectives. In the first row, honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice at the towering State War Memorial.

State War Memorial in Kings Park overlooking Swan River and Perth CBD, WA
The iconic State War Memorial in Kings Park.

2. Hold a gold bullion at The Perth Mint

The government of Western Australia welcomes you to The Perth Mint, a moneymaking institution since 1899. While you can get a glimpse of the stately grounds and visit its on-site mint shop for free, join the Gold Tour to get the full experience.

Capturing your complete attention, the Australian Kangaroo is the mint’s shiniest attraction. Admire the world-record, one-tonne coin consisting of 99,99% gold.

To see how such a masterpiece can be created, witness a traditional gold pour demonstrated in the facility’s original melting house. This is both educational and entertaining.

Top it all off by holding a large gold bullion in your own two hands.

3. Ring the bells of the rising Bell Tower

Futuristically rising towards the Perth sky, the 82.5-metre Bell Tower is a modern landmark holding ancient treasures. Come here for historic bellringing and awe-inspiring views.

Above all, the Bell Tower houses the 18 Swan Bells. Among these, 12 come from London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields church and can be traced back to before the 1300s.

A general entry pass warrants access to the Bell Tower’s five public areas, allowing you to see the famous bells, learn its history and gaze out over Perth from an observation deck.

Want to give bellringing a go? Visitors who opt for the Bell Tower Experience get to try the art of chiming bells; do well and receive a fancy bell chiming certificate proving your newly acquired skill.

4. Trace Swan River to the Blue Boat House

Opinions are highly mixed about Perth’s Blue Boat House (officially the Crawley Edge Boatshed). Some call the 1930s Swan River structure the ultimate Instagram spot, while others seem underwhelmed by its humble appearance.

Luckily, you don’t have to pick sides this time around; the sparkling views of Swan River alone motivate checking the dividing Perth landmark out.

And who knows, maybe the Blue Boat House will make your social media profiles explode too?

Jetty leading out to the Blue Boat House on Swan River in Perth, WA
The Blue Boat House — worth the hype or not?

This is just one of many helpful guides by Strayaguide.com. Use our guides to make the most of your Straya trips.

5. Get the Premier treatment at COMO The Treasury

COMO The Treasury is one of those rare hotels drawing visitors for the experience, rather than for the good night’s sleep. This luxurious 5-star hotel is set in the State Buildings dating back to the 1870s.

Nowadays, with two excellent restaurants, the Post and the Wildflower, wellness facilities, including a bright 20-m pool and rooftop fitness center, and immaculate, carefully refined suites — it’s even better than when the Premier of Western Australia once was housed here.

6. Learn the Western Australian story at Perth Cultural Centre

What’s the magical place of Western Australia really about? Make your way over to Perth Cultural Centre and its WA Museum Boola Bardip to find out.

Aptly meaning “many stories”, Boola Bardip shares fascinating chapters about Western Australia. Immerse yourself in highly engaging displays covering the landscape, people and bigger picture — WA’s place on planet Earth.

Full of inspiration, discover more of Perth Cultural Centre; Boola Bardip is just one slice. Other gems include the Art Gallery of WA, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) and State Theatre Centre of WA.

7. Embrace the iconic Cottesloe Beach

With several beaches within a 20-minute drive of the CBD, the beach culture is strong in Perth. A local favorite, the sugar-white Cottesloe Beach (or just “Cott”) offers a bucket list experience.

Thanks to a fringing reef, Cottesloe Beach boasts exciting snorkelling conditions. Plunge into the crystal-clear water and look for local marine wildlife, such as the buffalo bream, weedy sea dragon and (if you’re lucky) the extraordinary leafy sea dragon.

Surfers thrive beyond the 100 m long groyne, which marks the southern end of the sand beach area. Walk the breakwater to watch the surfers perform, or just for a stunning perspective of iconic Cottesloe Beach.

Need a break from the scorching sun? Sample the eateries and watering holes lining the adjacent, coastline-tracing Marine Parade. Or, go for a picnic on the grass by the landmark Cottesloe Beach pavilion, framed by commanding, shading Norfolk Pine trees.

8. Spread out a towel on activity-filled Scarborough Beach

Life’s not fair; Perth has more than its fair share of gorgeous beaches. Spread out a towel on the glistening Scarborough Beach, providing the perfect setting for relaxing, fun-filled days of sandcastle building, swimming and riding waves.

Beachside, impressive amenities allure too. Highlights include a whale-themed playground, cool skateboard park, inviting swimming pool (available at a fee), laid-back restaurants and plenty of bars for those well-needed thirst quenchers.

Want more than just a taste of Scarborough Beach? You can stay at the dreamlike Rendezvous Hotel, offering rooms overlooking the endless sand dunes and undulating Indian Ocean.

The turquoise Indian Ocean lapping Scarborough Beach, Perth, WA
Succumb to the charm of Scarborough Beach.

9. Crawl through Fremantle Prison

Perched on a hill, Fremantle Prison was built by convicts during the 1850s. Today, it’s Western Australia’s only building recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where there’s something for every thrill-seeking level to enjoy.

The daytime tours on foot are exceptional. Learn about life inside the prison, from the early convict era to the later maximum-security days, through the stories of thieves, murderers, bank robbers and serial killers.

Those who want something (even) more pulsating should consider the Tunnels Tour, taking place in the tunnels under the prison. Another hit, the after-dark Torchlight Tour through echoing hallways is downright spooky; you have been warned.

10. Feel for Batavia at WA Shipwreck Museum

Bringing secrets hidden deep on the ocean floor to the surface and to you, WA Shipwreck Museum showcases an array of historic treasures.

Examine artefacts from Australia’s oldest known shipwreck, the Tryall (Trial), wrecked north of the Ningaloo Reef in 1622. Feel for the innocent passengers of the Batavia, marooned on the Houtman Abrolhos in 1629 and exposed to one of the deadliest mutinies of all time.

There’s no entry fee, but the top-notch quality of the engaging shipwreck displays easily warrants the recommended $5 donation, at least.

Brick facade of the heritage-style WA Shipwreck Museum in Perth
Learn about victims of the treacherous WA coast.

11. Celebrate an underdog story at the WA Maritime Museum

Who doesn’t like a great underdog story? The WA Maritime Museum tells maybe the greatest of them all.

The United States had been ruling America’s Cup champions for a remarkable length of time — 132 years. It seemed like a streak that couldn’t be broken, like no other country ever could grab that prestigious trophy.

But, it finally happened. In 1983, the 12-metre Australia II yacht skippered by John Bertrand ended the unmatched dominance, winning the world’s oldest sporting trophy for the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

Be mesmerized by the tale of Australia II and see the yacht with your own two eyes at the WA Maritime Museum. Then indulge in other well-presented exhibitions, all celebrating WA’s rich maritime history.

12. Snap a quokka on Rottnest Island

Floating a 30-minute ferry ride west of Fremantle, Rottnest Island is the ultimate Perth escape. Set foot on a heavenly isle of 20+ sparkling bays, 60+ powdery beaches and unique creatures.

Rottnest Island is one of few places in WA (and the world) where you find the quokka — a small wallaby species with adorable, fluffy ears. Happily posing for pictures, quokkas often greet arriving visitors in the island’s main settlement, only steps from the ferry landing.

Say cheese!

To tour Rottnest Island, you can take the hop-on-hop-off Quokka Coaches from bay to bay. However, nothing quite beats the freedom of exploring the island by bike, with a gentle breeze in your hair.

What about a few nights here? The beachfront Samphire Rottnest provides your very own slice of the paradisiacal Rottnest Island.

Quokka posing for picture on Rottnest Island, WA
Snap an adorable quokka on Rottnest Island.

Best things to do in Perth FAQ

What’s Perth famous for?

Perth and isolation are synonymous. Picture that the closest sizable city neighbor, Adelaide, is more than 2,100 km away, and that although Jakarta, Indonesia, is 3,000 km away, that’s still closer than Sydney.

Which are the best free things to do in Perth?

Some of the best things to do in Perth are — drumroll — FREE. You can smell flowers in Kings Park, trace Swan River to the Blue Boat House, visit the WA Shipwreck Museum and enjoy the sun-kissed Cottesloe Beach and Scarborough Beach all without spending a single dollar.

What are fun things to do in Perth for adults?

With everything from fascinating history to sugar-white beaches, Perth sets an appealing scene for visiting adults. If you look for nightlife, Northbridge and Fremantle are the top places to be.

Which are the best things to do in Perth for families?

Perth is a destination for every member of the family. Many families have a blast at the iconic Cottesloe Beach, but an even more protected option (ideal for the very youngest visitors) is Hillarys Boat Harbor, a short drive north of Scarborough Beach.

Which are the most unique things to do in Perth?

The most unique things to do in Perth include exploring Fremantle Prison, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Rottnest Island, one of few places in the world (of which all are in WA) where quokkas live.

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