So you’ve found yourself in the coastal city of Perth, with no clue what to do. Well, you’re in luck because the capital of Western Australia is a booming, vibrant city!
With the businesses and mining industry attracting workers from other regions of the country and overseas, Perth has flourished into a beautiful, lively metropolis, combining amazing natural attractions with historical sights and amazing nightlife.
So, store your luggage with Stasher, and get a move on!
The Swan River
The wide Swan River runs along with the city, making for a beautiful scenery. And built right on the shore, Elizabeth Quay is a welcoming destination for all ages ―in case you have little ones with you―, with restaurants and markets as well as playgrounds. The Quay is beautiful for a walk, especially after the sun goes down, with the 20-meter high suspension bridge lighting up. Plus, many festivals take place in this scenic location, so check out if anything is happening beforehand.
Right in the middle of Swan River lies the hidden gem that is Heirisson Island, located between East Perth and Victoria Park, accessible via the Causeway Bridge. Heirisson is an interesting attraction that locals are rarely aware of, making for the perfect hideaway: in the middle of the river, in the middle of a city, you can hang out with kangaroos in their natural habitat!
Visit Fremantle Prison
Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Australian Convict Sites consist of the penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries, in Sydney, Norfolk Island, Tasmania, and Fremantle, which is Perth’s port. Apart from the roundhouse, the oldest building in Western Australia ―definitely worth a visit―, one of the most interesting sights to see in Perth is Fremantle Prison or Fremantle Gaol.
The famous prison was built by convicts in 1855 and was used as a maximum-security jail until 1991 when the government decommissioned it. You can book a guided tour of the allegedly “haunted” premises and explore the grounds underneath the prison ―but be careful and don’t get lost in the scary labyrinths during the Tunnel Tour.
And hey, to prove to your friends that you did spend time in jail, you can bring them souvenirs from the Prison Gallery and the Interpretative Visitor Centre.
And it gets better; if a good scare leaves you feeling hungry, you can try local products at the historical Fremantle Markets, which has been serving locals and tourists since 1897. The 123-year old market has a stall for everything you need, along with a bunch of great restaurants to chill in and grab a bite after your shopping spree.
Take a Stroll Underwater
Located on Hillary’s Boat Harbour, The Aquarium of Western Australia is one of Perth attractions’ most popular. AQWA dates back to 1988, and it’s Australia’s largest aquarium (and the world’s tenth-largest), featuring an underwater walk-through tunnel. There are two main exhibits: the Coral Reef ―the world’s largest living coral reef!― and the Danger Zone, where you can see some of the country’s most dangerous marine life.
You can observe dolphins, sharks, stingrays, and other creatures while walking through the underwater tunnel. If you’re feeling extra bold and happen to be a qualified diver, you can get even closer to the creatures, for a fee and with the guidance of the aquarium’s divemasters.
Nature and the City
It goes without saying that Australia is known for its wild wildlife, and you’re going to want to see some more than the loveable Heirisson Island kangaroos. Perth Zoo is a favorite of visitors, but if you prefer to see relaxed koalas in their natural habitat and chill with the wombats, Caversham Wildlife Park is a must.
All you nature enthusiasts, don’t forget to visit Kings Park, the largest city park in the world, occupying over a thousand acres on the edges of Perth’s business district. The park features the impressive Botanic Garden, the State War Memorial, and the Avenues of Honour, honoring those who died in the World Wars. You can walk around the park, have a picnic, or take the Lotterywest Federation Walkwaythrough the trees and onto the arched bridge, which suspends over tall eucalyptus treetops!
Speaking of views, you may also be interested in the DNA Tower, from where you can enjoy the city’s impressive skyline. You’ll look over to the Rottnest Island, an amazing reserve you definitely want to visit if you’re interested in local species like the quokka and endemic trees like the Rottnest Island Pine.
If you love beaches, there’s Port Beach and Bathers Beach where you can enjoy some kite-surfing, and there’s no way you want to skip the most beautiful beaches in Australia: the 40 kilometers of white sand that is the Sunset Coast. You can have lunch on Scarborough Beach, and afternoon coffee at Cottesloe Beach, before visiting Australia’s largest marina, theMindarie Marina.
Located in the lively neighborhood of Northbridge just outside the city center, the Perth Cultural Centre includes the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum, the State Library of Western Australia and State Records Office, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Blue Room Theatre and the State Theatre Centre of WA, as well as the Central Institute of Technology.
The area surrounding the center is hip and interesting: there are so many attractive restaurants, cafes, and bars lined up on William Street, while boutiques and fashion stores abound in this part of the city ―so if you’re the fashionable type, don’t miss the cultural hub that is Northbridge!
And if you’re a theatre buff, make sure to get a chance to visitHis Majesty’s Theatre ―the Edwardian Baroque theatre that was the largest in the country at the time of its opening, as it could accommodate nearly three thousand people!
In the 1970s, the State Government purchased His Majesty’s Theatre and performed a restoration, modernizing the grounds. Over its course of life, the theatre has accommodated large-scale ballets and musical productions, operas, Shakespearean plays, etc. It has been the home of theWest Australian Ballet andWest Australian Opera companies.
But Perth is not all about theaters and galleries. If you’re in for an alternative museum visit, The Nostalgia Box is the place to go. It’s Australia’s first videogame museum, boasting games dating all the way back to the 1970s! There are vintage arcade games and consoles and an interactive gaming area to try new games and replay your childhood favorites; if you’ve got kids with you, play them some rounds of Sonic the Hedgehog ―but don’t be too bitter if you’re beaten.
Perth at Night
The city’s nightlife scene has flourished during the latest years, and downtown Perth has many bars and restaurants we recommend you visit. Nightlife is best experienced when you’re exploring with a sense of adventure, but if you want some suggestions, try a cocktail at the popular Helvetica (four hundred varieties of whiskey!) or the Henry Summer in Northbridge; and if you’re hungry, try the Percy Flint at Fremantle. However, if you’re in the city alone and hesitate to hit the bars solo, there’s the Eat Drink Walk Perth tour option for you.
You’ve seen historical buildings, amazing plants, and animals in their natural habitat; you’ve walked underwater and had super cocktails with great food. Now, how about a movie? Located on top of a car park in Northbridge, Rooftop Movies offers a refreshing open-air cinema experience, screening cult favorites and the newest releases.
Open during the summer months, this place also hosts numerous events and parties, so if you’re in town for the summer, make sure to climb up!