In all honesty, when I found out my boyfriend had to go to Perth for 3 weeks over New Year I wasn’t super excited to be joining him. I hadn’t really seen much of Australia and I would have much rather spent the time driving up the East Coast, taking in the sights of Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, but who can say no to free accommodation? Not this girl!
After a bit of digging (and the stark realisation of just how HUGE Western Australia is), I was actually pleasantly surprised to find a huge range of things to do in the Perth region. The often overlooked destination has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen as well as amazing restaurants and even a speakeasy that serves cocktails so big they come with a ladle. What more could you want from a city?! If that hasn’t convinced you, here are my top 10 things to do in Perth.
I’m just going to dive right in to the deep here and start with easily the best thing you can do in Perth. Rottnest is a small island about 45 minutes away from central Perth. Catch the ferry out there, hire some bikes and pick your favourite beach (which is harder than it sounds considering the numerous options). It’s also the only place in the world where you can find wild quokkas. These adorable little creatures are everywhere on the island, and with no predators in sight, they’re extremely friendly and take a damn good selfie!
Just a 5 minute ferry from Rockingham (45 mins south of Perth), Penguin Island is a haven for wildlife lovers. While you are actually more likely to see dolphins and sea lions than the namesake wild penguins, it’s still a worthwhile day out. If you are desperate for the adorable birds though, take a tour of the sanctuary located on the island for guaranteed sightings, especially at feeding time.
Swan Valley Wine Tour
This tour had me at “unlimited wine” if I’m honest but it was actually so much more than just getting drunk on a boat. The cruise (with Captain Cook’s Cruises) out to the vineyard features a wine tasting lesson (which I largely just pretended to understand) and a meat and cheese platter before docking up at Sandalford Vineyard for a two course lunch, 6 wine tasting and a behind the scenes tour. Dessert is served on the return journey along with an open bar and entertainment from the crew when you’re tipsy enough to find them amusing rather than cringey. All-in-all, a pretty perfect day.
Located on a hill just to the side of the CBD, King’s Parks is a great place to relax and enjoy the Perth sun. Featuring glass walk ways with amazing views and the beautiful Botanic Gardens, it’s easy to feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, while only being round the corner.
If you’d rather wear some hiking boots than a bikini, head east to the Lesmurdie Falls National Park. There are several trails for different hiking abilities, all offering great views of the falls and surrounding areas, all less than an hour from Perth city centre!
The quirky town of Fremantle (or Freo to the locals) acts as Perth’s cooler sibling, full of great cafes, bars and shops. There’s also a beach (of course) and an old, abandoned prison but the real jewel in its crown is the Little Creatures Brewery. With a huge, warehouse style restaurant and bar on the waterfront, it’s the perfect place to grab some seriously good food and relax with a pint of some locally brewed beer.
Perth Zoo is the perfect place to get up close and personal with some fluffy locals. It has a big Australian Bushwalk with kangaroos, quokkas, wallabys and emus roaming freely, as well as (captive) koalas, soooo many different kinds of monkeys and the cutest tree kangaroos.
Perth is famous for its beaches and Cottesloe is one of the best (that isn’t on Rottnest Island of course). Grab a towel, a bikini and BBQ food for a stereotypical Aussie afternoon on the sand.
I wasn’t exactly keen to visit the Perth Mint on my last day in the city but a storm and a very persuasive friend managed to get me through the doors. I was pleasantly surprised, however, and even found myself ooing and ahhing along with the crowd as we watched a live demonstration of how gold bars are made. There’s even the chance to find out how much you would be worth in gold which made me feel a whole lot better about those extra few holiday pounds I’d piled on!
The desert is several hours north of Perth, making it perfect for a full day trip. It’s home to thousands of natural, limestone pinnacles, some up to 5 metres high. The coastline up there famous for its lobster fishing so treat yourself to a fancy post-desert dinner, safe in the knowledge that the lobster you’re eating is some of the best in the world.
What are your favourite things to do in Perth? Let me know in the comments!