This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.
Perth is one of our favorite places in the world! This Australian oasis is where I was born and raised, so rest assured I know it inside and out. I lived here for over 20 years and still have family here, so we are back to visit as often as we can.
You may have heard Perth called the most isolated city in the world (or you’ll definitely hear it once you arrive!). This capital city of Western Australia has the Indian Ocean on one side and the vast Australian Outback on the other with the next nearest mjaor city of Adelaide lying 2,100 kms (1,300 miles) away. But while it may be off on its own, there’s definitely no shortage of things to do in Perth!
This city is where you’ll find gorgeous beaches, parks, breathtaking coastline views, and a bustling city center with restaurants, nightclubs, and museums. With beautiful weather, especially in the summer, the outdoor lifestyle reigns supreme here – from surfing to swimming to fishing or golfing, you’ll be spending lots of time in the sun.
Whether you’re watching a sunset while eating fish and chips or taking a selfie with the adorable quokkas while exploring Rottnest Island, the relaxed and fun atmosphere around Perth is a huge draw.
I honestly could make a list of 100 things to do here, but I had to stop at 33. If you do even a few things from this list or get adventurous and try them all, you’ll have an amazing time exploring Perth. Who knows, I might even see you there!
- The BEST Things to do in Perth
- 1. Explore Kings Park
- 2. Take the ferry to Rottnest Island
- 3. Wander around Fremantle
- 4. Penguin Island
- 5. Relax at one (or many) of the incredible beaches
- 6. Go to Elizabeth Quay
- 7. Enjoy the nightlife
- Elizabeth Quay
- Cottesloe Beach
- 8. Go on a wine tour/cruise in the Swan Valley
- 9. Enjoy a meal with an ocean view
- 10. Swim with wild dolphins
- 11. Caversham Wildlife Park
- 12. Go to one of the adventure parks
- 13. Go to the Pinnacles (and stargaze!)
- 14. Go surfing
- 15. Day trip to Wave Rock
- 16. Go camping
- 17. Go fishing
- 18. See the Sea Lions at Carnac Island and snorkel
- 19. Go whale watching
- 20. Watch a football game
- 21. City tour
- 22. Visit AQWA (and snorkel with sharks!)
- 23. Eat at Compton Burgers
- 24. Visit Heirisson Island
- 25. Attend a festival or event
- 26. Off-roading and sandboarding in Lancelin
- 27. Visit Margaret River
- Day trips / tours
- 28. Visit a museum or two
- 29. Go on a food tour
- 30. Drink craft beer
- 31. Jet ski tour
- 32. Go on a sunset dinner cruise
- 33. Golf!
- Where to Stay in Perth, WA
- Thanks for reading!
The BEST Things to do in Perth
1. Explore Kings Park
Kings Park is a huge greenspace to explore and one of the top attractions in Perth. It’s located beside the Swan River and Kings Park is one of the biggest parks in the world; it’s actually larger than New York’s Central Park or Hyde Park in London!
With such a big area to cover, there are a ton of things to check out. Get a bird’s eye view of the park by climbing up all 101 steps on the DNA Tower. It’s the highest point in the park and a great way to enjoy the scenery.
Once you’re back on the ground, one of my favorite stops is taking a walk through the Botanic Garden. There are 3,000 different species of native flora here – many of which can’t be found anywhere else on the globe!
If you want to see more of the incredible wildflowers, trees, and birds in the park, take a walk down the Bushland Nature Trail. It’s an easy 25-minute walk that loops around the park. The park also features the most memorials, statues, and honor avenues than any park in Australia. You can take a walk around the park to visit the State War Memorial, Flame of Remembrance, and Whispering Wall on a self-guided tour.
Because there is so much ground to cover in Kings Park, you can see more on this segway tour. You’ll go along bush trails, visit the botanic gardens and see some great views of the Perth skyline. It’s $129 AUD for 90 minutes and you’ll also have a guide to tell you about the park. It’s a great way to scope out where else in the park you want to explore!
If you have kids, the playgrounds here are awesome. Think pirate ship and castle-themed structures, forts and mazes, and a space net to climb. There are also lots of natural areas for kids to explore including the Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park where kids can climb rocks and rope, build cubbies, and wade through creeks. The park also has great picnic and barbeque spots, so you can stay the whole day.
If you happen to be here from November to April, Kings Park hosts summer events like outdoor concerts, movies, and theatre performances pretty regularly. The Kings Park Festival also happens in September and features workshops, tours, and art displays in the park to celebrate the start of the wildflower season.
2. Take the ferry to Rottnest Island
If you’ve come all the way to Perth, WA, you HAVE to plan a day trip to Rottnest Island. It’s located about 20 kms (12.5 miles) off the coast of Perth and feels like a whole different world. This protected nature reserve has beautiful beaches, great snorkeling, and of course, the adorable quokkas!
Getting here is super simple. There are ferries that leave right from Perth, Fremantle, or Northport as well. I’ve used the ferry company Rottnest Express and had great experiences with them or you can book ferry transport with this tour. You can expect to pay around $60-80 AUD for a round-trip ticket for the 25-minute ride, but it can vary depending on the time of year and day of the week you choose.
Once you’ve arrived, you’ll find secluded and breathtaking beaches – some of the most beautiful in all of Australia. You can rent a bike once you’re on the island for an easy and fun way to get around.
Plus, remember those quokkas I mentioned earlier? They are here too! This is the only place in the world where you can find these super friendly little animals. They come right up to you so you can pose for a selfie, and they always look like they are smiling. You honestly can’t have a bad day when you are with them!
If you want to have everything you need for the best day on Rottnest Island, this full-day tour has you covered. You’ll not only get a ferry ride out to the island, but a bike and snorkel gear to explore once you’re here. You’ll get tons of free time on the island, so you can explore at your pace too. It’s a steal at $109 AUD per person.
For more of an introduction to the island, this sightseeing day trip includes the boat ride over as well as a bus tour once you arrive. We found the bus ride really entertaining, and our guide was excellent telling us all about the island’s history and pointing out landmarks. The tour is $129 AUD and includes an afternoon of free time.
A spectacular way to see Rottnest Island is from the air! Take a seaplane tour from Perth as you soar over Rottnest Island before landing nearby. You’ll have tea and lunch at Hotel Rottnest before having two hours to see the island from the ground. Then you’ll fly back to Perth! The tour is around $650 AUD and also includes transport from your hotel.
3. Wander around Fremantle
Fremantle is a small suburb within Perth, but it feels like a whole new place once you’re here. It’s this little port-city by the water full of amazing things to do and see including beaches, restaurants, cafes, shopping, historical buildings, and amazing views.
I grew up around the corner from Fremantle or “Freo” as we locals call it, and it’s one of my favorite day trips from Perth!
One of the first stops, whenever I’m here, is Little Lefroy’s for brunch – it’s so good! Then, it’s off to the Fremantle Markets. There are more than 150 little stalls filled with food, gifts, handmade trinkets, and did I mention food? I had some of the best fresh ice cream and fruity popsicles here along with amazing burgers from the super popular Eggspot Fremantle stall.
While you’re here, head to one of the beaches if you can. Bathers Beach is one of the nicest in Freo. Rent a lounge chair, swim, and take advantage of its amazing location to watch a sunset. South Fremantle is also a nice area to stop by. Grab fish and chips from Sealanes and head down to South Beach for a picnic!
For a bit of history on Fremantle, stop into the Roundhouse. It’s the oldest public building in WA and was a prison in the 1800s. Or of course, you can see the famous Fremantle Prison which was built by convicts in the 1850s and was used as a maximum-security prison until the 1990s.
If you’re looking for a night out, there are great places to party or grab a drink in town. I love the unique nautical-themed bar Darling, Darling. It’s like stepping inside a 19th Century ship with ropes and knots hanging from the walls and pirate-themed cocktails. Benny’s Bar and Cafe is another fun spot – check out their dancefloor on the weekends and yummy espresso martinis on tap!
Make sure you also wander down High Street to check out great boutique shopping, awesome restaurants, and art galleries. The Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery is among my favorites and showcases art using traditional techniques and styles by Aboriginal Australians.
Finish off your day trip with the best view overlooking the ocean atop Fremantle’s Tourist Wheel. This ferris wheel is especially spectacular at night when it lights up with 25,000 LED lights!
4. Penguin Island
While Australia may seem an unusual location for penguins, the smallest penguins in the world actually live here! You can see the “Blue Penguin” or “Little Penguin” at a neat place called Penguin Island, not far from Perth.
This little island is home to around 1,200 wild penguins along with nature trails, beaches, and places to swim and snorkel. But the main attraction here is the penguins, of course! I’ve been to this island as a kid and returned as an adult and enjoyed it just as much.
Note: Penguin Island closes to all visitors from June until September for nesting season.
Getting here is pretty simple, you’ll need to rent a car or take a taxi to the Penguin Island ferry terminal, about a 45-minute drive from Perth. You’ll need to buy a ticket for the 5-minute ferry ride across. The ferry leaves hourly from 10 am to 4 pm and tickets are $25 AUD or $35 AUD if you want to include a visit to the Penguin Discovery Center, which I highly recommend!
Once you’re on the island, you can see 10 rescued penguins who live in the Discovery Center. The rangers here host a penguin feeding show at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm daily. This is such a great way to see these penguins up close, and you’ll really fall in love with these cute creatures.
If you want to skip the ferry, you can kayak over to the island! This kayak tour takes you to Seal Island and Penguin Island where you can see the penguins and seals, take a guided walk around, have a picnic lunch, and snorkel in the shallow reefs. This is a way to safely get closer to the animals around here, and it is a fun day out on the water for $190 AUD per person.
If you want to explore the waters around Penguin Island for more than a 5-minute ferry ride, this hour-long cruise experience is a great option. You’ll hop aboard a boat to see the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park looking for dolphins, seals, and penguins. They’ll you have the chance to stop at Penguin Island for one of the daily feeding shows. It’s $85 AUD per person and includes admission to the show.
5. Relax at one (or many) of the incredible beaches
While you’re here, you absolutely have to head to the beach. Many of the best places to visit in Perth are beaches and no wonder – there’s clear blue water, soft sand, and days upon days of sunshine to enjoy. But there isn’t just one beach here, so how do you pick where to lay down your beach towel? Let me help!
This beach is located only 20 minutes from the center of Perth, so it’s easy to get to. It’s one of the most popular beaches in Perth and for good reason. The aquamarine water sparkles in the sunlight and the soft sand is just perfect.
The snorkeling is great here too – starting around the surf club. You’ll see lots of fish in the clear water and if you’re lucky, dolphins sometimes hang around here as well. I love coming here in the mornings. You beat the crowds and the wind is typically calmer. There’s also a large seating area for picnics or watching the sunset.
If you happen to be here in March, Cottesloe Beach also transforms into an art gallery with the Sculpture by the Sea festival. Huge works of art are set up on the beach and it makes for incredible photos and a unique way to enjoy some really cool sculptures.
While exploring the Perth coast, Scarborough Beach is a stand-out. I love all the space here – it just doesn’t seem to get crowded like other beaches can. It’s located only a 15–20-minute drive from the city center.
There are regular swells for surfers, a great stretch of white sand, and afternoon breezes for kite and windsurfing. There are also tons of restaurants and cafes, large grassy areas, a playground, skatepark, basketball court, and barbecues. During the summer, you might even catch an event or some entertainment here at the only beach amphitheater in WA!
Right near the beach is the Scarborough Beach Pool. It’s geo-thermally heated and there’s a pool to swim laps or a leisure pool for families to swim in. It’s a huge facility and relatively new as well. Expect to pay around $8 AUD for entry.
Located just down from Scarborough and about 17 minutes from downtown Perth, Trigg is home to one of the most consistent surf breaks in Perth. If you want to surf or boogie board, this is a great spot! You can also swim here – just make sure to stay in the designated area with the lifeguards as the waves can get big.
There’s a natural bay near here and a reef running along the beach that’s great for snorkeling. In fact, snorkeling here is one of the best things to do in Perth! You can also walk along the beach to Trigg Island – it’s only an island when the tide is in, but you can find lots of seabirds around here.
There are tons of facilities at the beach from showers and changerooms to free parking and lots of nearby restaurants. It’s easy to spend the whole day here!
Located only a 15-minute drive from Perth, this white-sand beach is a little piece of paradise. It’s not too crowded and has a great swimming area for families. There are two barriers built here to block large waves, creating a nice swimming area with calm waters.
The beach is backed by a grassy area with playgrounds and space for picnics and barbeques. There are lots of facilities here and some excellent fish and chips restaurants.
The beach may be a bit smaller than some of Perth’s other beaches, but it has this laid-back charm. You can stroll along the beach, take the boardwalk along the water to Floreat Beach or grab a spot at a beachfront restaurant for a drink and meal looking out onto the water.
This beach is about 30 minutes from Perth and was named one of the top beaches in all of Australia! The sand stretches for almost 4 kms (2.5 miles) with a jetty to walk on, trails to explore, and some incredible snorkeling. I grew up just down the road from this beach (I know, lucky me, right?!)
The big draw here for snorkelers is the shipwreck of Omeo which sank back in 1905. It’s located about 25 meters (82 feet) from shore. There’s actually an underwater trail here (the first in WA!) that starts in shallow water and features the shipwreck, underwater art sculptures, and artificial reef. You’ll see tons of fish as well as seals, dolphins, and stingrays on occasion.
Keep an eye out for the Jervoise Bay Sailing Club races that are hosted from October to May on the south side of the beach. They are really fun to watch!
6. Go to Elizabeth Quay
Heading down to Elizabeth Quay is a great daytime or evening activity in Perth. This development on the water has artwork, restaurants, bars, shopping, and great river and city views.
It’s an excellent spot to grab a bit to eat or walk along the water. Make sure you go across the Elizabeth Quay Pedestrian Bridge. This suspension bridge spans across the inlet and has stunning panoramic views with the Perth skyline on one side and the Swan River and South Perth on the other. It’s one of the best spots to take photos in the city!
Kids will love the Elizabeth Quay Carousel which was built in Italy by the same people who made the carousel by the Eiffel Tower. It definitely has a European feel to it with hand-painted horses and Venetian artwork. Rides are only $6 AUD, so you may end up going more than once!
Also, be sure to visit the Bell Tower. It’s one of the biggest musical instruments in the world with 18 bells hanging in the 82.5-meter (270-foot) tower. You’ll hear it chiming every half hour from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Twelve of the bells here are more than 300 years old and were originally made for St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in London’s Trafalgar Square. Take a tour of the Bell Tower that also includes a chance to try ringing the bells yourself – so cool!
On a hot day, one of the highlights, especially for families, is the BHP Water Park. Bring a towel during the day so kids can splash around in the jets of water or come back at night to see the water set to lights in a kaleidoscope of colors.
7. Enjoy the nightlife
The nightlife is big in Perth, so there are lots of places to have fun once the sun goes down. Some of the most popular areas to party are in Fremantle, near Elizabeth Quay, Northbridge, and at Cottesloe Beach.
You can always find something going on at the Crown Casino since it’s open 24/7. They have a sports bar, rooftop bar, poolside bar, and more – you could visit a different spot every night! Or get personalized recommendations with this Perth bar tour. You’ll get drink discounts wherever you go and find some of the hidden spots you might have otherwise walked by. It’s great to scout out bars to come back to and is only $45 AUD.
One of the most unique bars here and a hidden gem I only discovered thanks to a friend who lives nearby is Darling, Darling. The inside looks like a ship from the 1800s and the pirate-themed cocktails like Dead Man’s Punch (pineapple and rum!) are awesome. For live music, the venue at Freo.Social is huge and they have a great outdoor area for warm summer nights. Benny’s Bar and Cafe has a great dancefloor on the weekends and tasty espresso martinis.
Get right by the water at The Lucky Shag where the riverfront terrace is perfect for a couple drinks. Try a cocktail with a view at Rooftop at QT. This sleek rooftop bar on the 18th floor has incredible views of the city, Swan River, and the Bell Tower. Helvetica is like a modern saloon with worn wood features mixed with urban elements and the selection of whisky is top-notch.
Step back into the 1920s at The Volstead Lounge – a speakeasy bar with live music that is well worth a visit. For a funky little cocktail gin bar, Frisk. Small Bar is the place to go – graffiti art on the walls and 200 types of gin to choose from. The Northbridge Brewing Company is also worth popping by – excellent small-batch craft beer and a rooftop Skydeck with stunning views of the Perth skyline.
If you’re planning to party in Perth, let me help you out … Aussies love to party on Sunday afternoons and we call it a ‘Sunday Sesh’. One of the most popular spots for these Sunday parties is the Cottesloe Beach Hotel. It has a beach bar feel with the sand right across the street and awesome views. The sunset is even more epic with a cold beer in hand.
8. Go on a wine tour/cruise in the Swan Valley
The oldest wine region in WA is just 30 minutes from Perth. The Swan Valley features vineyards and a collection of breweries and wineries that have been making wine for more than 180 years!
The climate in the Swan Valley region is perfect with warm weather and rich soils. It’s now one of the leading producers of top-notch wines, but come taste them for yourself!
You can rent a car and explore this region on your own, popping into wineries, boutique breweries, cider houses, and distilleries at your own pace. Just make sure you have a designated driver!
Or kick back and relax by taking a wine tour where all you need to do is show up and be ready to taste some incredible wines. This ultimate food and wine day trip takes you to top wine producers for tastings aboard a bus. You’ll be greeted at each spot by a host who will guide you through the tastings and teach you about the local wines. You’ll also get to enjoy a gourmet lunch along with chocolate, liqueur, cheese, and beer at a microbrewery.
For a more budget-friendly option, check out this half-day boutique wine tour with our friends at Up Close and Local. We did this exact tour a couple of years ago and seriously had the best time ever. The group is small, and the tour guide will personalize the tour to make sure everybody has the best time. They also visit wineries that most of the larger tours miss.
If a cruise sounds more your style, there’s an option for that too! This Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Cruise takes you out on the water to enjoy views of Perth and the riverfront. You’ll enjoy wine tastings on board before getting off at Sandalford Winery for lunch and a behind-the-scenes tour. Tickets are $185 AUD and include all your food and drinks.
9. Enjoy a meal with an ocean view
Okay, is there any better view than looking out onto the ocean? Even though I grew up here, I’m still not tired of catching a sunset over the water while chowing down on some great food. While it sounds simple, this just might turn into your favorite vacation activity!
I recommend grabbing fish and chips and heading to whatever beach you find yourself closest to. Many beaches like Coogee, Scarborough, and South Beach in Fremantle have fish and chips shops nearby, so it’s easy to pick up lunch or supper.
There are also lots of restaurants right on the water at Elizabeth Quay. If you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner, I recommend checking out Amano Restaurant. The food blends Italian flavors with modern Australian dishes, and the view out onto the water can’t be beat. Grab the $180 AUD tasting menu for two people so you can try some of what makes this place so special – from the oysters and octopus to the gnocchi and chocolate fondant.
Hilarys Boat Harbor is another awesome spot with tons of restaurants right on the water. You can get gelato, Thai, coffee, pizza, whatever your heart desires here. Grab drinks (including awesome frozen cocktails) at The Breakwater or book one of their afternoon teas with freshly baked scones to enjoy the outdoor terrace overlooking the water.
Related read: There are some great spots to eat including a French bistro and delicious fish and chips shops in Busselton, WA!
10. Swim with wild dolphins
Dolphins are pretty amazing creatures and getting to swim with wild dolphins is one of those bucket list Perth activities!
This swimming with dolphins day trip is led by a passionate crew who love these animals and are very respectful of them and their habitat. Over the years, they’ve befriended 200 local dolphins and can tell you about individual dolphins. I love that – it makes the experience so much more special.
The tour goes around the small islands and bays around Rockingham searching for a pod of dolphins. Then after gearing up with the included wetsuit, mask, and snorkel, it’s time to jump in! The dolphins here are so friendly and playful, it’s honestly incredible to be part of.
The experience is $150 AUD and you can either drive yourself to the meeting spot in Rockingham (about 40 minutes from Perth) or upgrade your experience to include transportation from Perth. Lunch and photos of your experience are included, so you’ll have some great pictures to look back at once you’re home. You should book the tour in advance to avoid it getting fully booked – it is one of the most popular things to do in Perth, after all.
11. Caversham Wildlife Park
If you’re hoping to see some of the amazing animals that call Australia home, Caversham Wildlife Park is the place to go. This is one of the best places to visit in Perth, especially for families since all the shows, experiences, and photo ops are included in the admission price!
You’ll be handed a map when you walk in and my first stop is always the kangaroo enclosure. You can hand-feed the kangaroos here which is just so cool! You’ll also see koalas, possums, wombats, lizards, and penguins. It’s the largest private collection of wildlife in WA.
Admission is $32 AUD per adult and $15 AUD for kids under 14. The park is open daily from 9:30 am to 4 pm, but make sure you arrive by 2 pm at the latest. You’ll want to spend at least 2-3 hours here!
12. Go to one of the adventure parks
One of the best attractions in Perth for adrenaline junkies like me is an adventure park! Not only do you get to try something new, but you’ll have a blast doing it.
For the only cable wakeboard park in WA, head to Perth Wake Park. It’s about 30 minutes south of the city and you can easily drop in as bookings aren’t required. There are cables for beginners as well as a full-size cable for experienced riders. You can choose beginner lessons or hourly drop-in rates. Plus, there’s a bar and a café along with a veranda to watch the action while you aren’t riding.
If more of an amusement park is what you’re looking for, Adventure World has you covered. Whether you want to go upside-down with Perth’s only roller coaster or ride the giant waterslide known as the Tidal Wave, this park has options on land and in the water. It’s open from the end of September to the end of April.
For the ultimate water-themed park, Outback Splash is basically a waterslide playground. There are six waterslides including one where you’ll reach 75 km/h (46 mph) and a shallow area just for toddlers and little ones. While the slides are only available in warmer weather, there are some great year-round attractions including mazes, mini-golf, and koalas and kangaroos to visit.
13. Go to the Pinnacles (and stargaze!)
Get out of Perth for the day (and night!) for an incredible change of scenery. The Pinnacles Desert is where thousands of giant limestone pillars rise up from the constantly shifting sand dunes. It’s amazing at sunset with the shadows reflected on the sand and then once the sun goes down, get ready to look up and marvel at the stars.
This Pinnacles Desert Sunset Stargazing tour takes care of all the transportation and planning, so you can show up and enjoy. You’ll get a sunset barbeque dinner in the desert and then the telescopes and astro binoculars come out to look at the stars. Your guide will also share Aboriginal Australian stories of the night sky with you.
If that’s not enough, the tour also includes some other fun experiences like sandboarding on the Lancelin Sand Dunes and a walk along the banks of the Moore River to see plants traditionally used for food and medicine. Hotel pick-up and drop-off and all the experiences are included for $175 AUD.
You can also drive yourself to the Pinnacles – it’s about two hours from Perth. There’s a Discovery Center where you can pop in and of course, you can see the incredible desert while you’re here. You will need to pay admission as it’s within Nambung National Park, so it’s $15 AUD per vehicle.
14. Go surfing
Riding a wave at one of the beautiful beaches is hands down one of the best Perth activities. If you’re a beginner surfer or hoping to learn while you’re here, Perth’s waves are perfect for you because they rarely get very big.
Rottnest Island lies off the coast and the island and the reefs surrounding it block a huge part of the swell coming in from the Indian Ocean. This means there are tons of days with wave height that is great for beginners – easy to catch and ride, but not great for experienced surfers hoping for a challenge.
If you don’t mind small waves and hope to take a lesson here, check out Go Surf Perth. They have one-hour lessons for around $65 AUD or 3 to 5-day courses if you can stick around for longer to brush up on your surfing skills. The beach they offer lessons at changes depending on the season and swells, so make sure you double-check what beach you’re booked for before you go.
Typically, the beaches between Fremantle and City Beach have the Rottnest Island effect for calmer waves. One of the best is Cottesloe. It has nice gentle waves that are perfect for less experienced riders.
For a bit more of a challenge, one of the most reliable surf breaks is Trigg Beach. Less of the swell here is blocked by Rottnest and it’s only 15 minutes up the coast from Cottesloe. There’s a nice variety of breaks for all levels of surfers here. It does tend to get busy though.
For world-class surfing, you’ll need to hit the road. Surfing is one of the top things to do in Margaret River and there’s no doubt why. There are big swells that bring in the best surfers from across WA and even the world. There are right tubes similar to Hawaii and watching the pros work their magic here is amazing. Margaret River also has beaches suited for beginners too, but if you’re an experienced surfer, it’s worth the trip.
15. Day trip to Wave Rock
Take a trip away from the coast to the outback with a visit to Wave Rock. It’s located about four hours from Perth, WA.
You can rent a car and drive yourself and maybe consider staying the night so you can really explore the area. Or book this day trip to Wave Rock to have all the travel details taken care of including stops in York and Wave Rock and some of the best sights in the area.
This is a nice change of scenery from Perth, and of course, you have to see the actual Wave Rock. This granite rock is 49 feet (15 meters) high and stretches for 320 feet (100 meters). It looks like a giant ocean wave with stripes of brown and gold. A photo of this rock won an international photo contest in the 1960s, which is what caused tourism to explode in this area.
To get to the iconic rock, you’ll head to the Wave Rock Caravan Park. You can pay to park your car here or if you’re staying in the caravan park for the night, everything is included with your stay. There are trails near here and you’ll be able to get maps if you need one. Make sure you walk the trail to see Hippo’s Yawn – another cool rock that looks like a giant hippo’s mouth!
This area has beautiful wildflowers in September and October and is great for stargazing year-round with clear night skies. Or take a dip in a lake you’ll naturally float in at Lake Magic. The naturally occurring salt level is extremely high in this lake, so you’ll float easily. Plus, the lake changes colors throughout the day, and depending on the light, it’s really spectacular.
Other attractions here include the Wave Rock Wildlife Park. This natural bushland park lets you see animals native to this area including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, golden possums, and more. There are also little shops and museums to explore including the Miniature Soldier Museum with 10,000 handmade items including toy trains.
If you go on your own, I’ve found everything pretty affordable here too – you can buy a pass that includes multiple attractions for around $20 AUD, or typically the attractions are $5-$15 AUD on their own. It’s just a long drive from Perth, so I’f plan to make it an overnight trip (or stay a couple of nights.)
16. Go camping
You may not know this about us Perth locals, but we love to camp. Give me a night under the Aussie sky any day! The nice thing is you don’t have to go far from Perth to find some excellent camping spots.
Dwellingup Discovery Forest is just over an hour away. It has a caravan park for camping or a chalet with rooms and cabins if you prefer not to sleep outside. Every site comes with a private firepit (perfect for those late-night marshmallow roasts!) and it’s peaceful with campsites along the river. The individual campsites are pretty cheap at $35 AUD a night.
About 1.5 hours from Perth, is Logue Brook Dam. There are lots of campsites here that overlook the dam. For facilities, you’ll find fire pits, gas BBQs, and lots of picnic tables and shelters. You can buy firewood onsite and there’s lots of parking. It’s budget-friendly too at $15 AUD per person.
17. Go fishing
Perth is lucky to have a huge coastline that offers tons of great fishing spots to cast a line. I like getting out on the water to do more of the deep-sea style of fishing. I have friends with boats that often take us out to see what we can catch.
While you’re fishing here, some of the most common fish are pink snapper, mulloway, Australian salmon, bream, rainbow trout, flathead, dhufish, and giant herring.
While we haven’t done a trip with Blue Juice Charters yet, their deep-sea fishing tours sound awesome. The charters are offered from mid-December to mid-March and leave bright and early at 5:30 a.m. from Hillarys Boat Harbour. You don’t need any fishing experience and they provide all the equipment you’ll need. It’s $270 AUD per person and $100 AUD if you have someone who wants to tag along as an observer and take photos of your best catch.
18. See the Sea Lions at Carnac Island and snorkel
Set sail for Carnac Island to see picture-perfect blue water and the friendly sea lions! This protected nature reserve is home to rare Australian sea lions and we ALWAYS see them lying on the beach here.
I enjoyed the catamaran half-day tour that departs from nearby Fremantle at the Sardine Jetty. The crew was great, always checking in on us to see if we needed anything. The wind was strong, so we were able to glide along and didn’t need the ship’s engines.
One of the highlights for me was the pod of dolphins that followed the boat! We had so much fun and the 4 hours just flew by. One of the best parts is getting to choose how to explore the water by snorkeling, kayaking, or getting out on one of the SUP boards.
This was a fun way to spend part of a day for under $150 AUD.
19. Go whale watching
If you happen to be here in peak whale watching season, one of the most incredible things to do in Perth is see these gentle giants up close.
From September to early December, whales are in Australian water during their yearly migration. Make sure you check your dates, as most tours around Perth only take place during this time of year.
This whale-watching cruise from Perth is aboard a luxurious 25-meter (82-foot) boat. It has five viewing decks where you’ll hopefully spot humpback whales, southern right whales, and on rare occasions, blue whales. You’re also likely to see seals, dolphins, and lots of seabirds while cruising through the waters.
The boat is equipped with an underwater camera and hydrophone so you can hopefully see and hear the whales as they swim nearby. The tour is $94 AUD or you can upgrade to a seat in the VIP Captain’s Lounge for an additional $67 AUD. That gets you exclusive seating with access to the fore-deck viewing platforms, a private TV screen, and complimentary refreshments.
20. Watch a football game
Whenever I’m back home, it’s always fun to catch a game of Footy at the new Optus Stadium in Perth. Footy or Australian Rules Football, aka AFL, is the most popular sport in Australia and catching a game here is one of the best Perth activities for sports fans!
If you’ve watched a football game in the US or Canada, this is different – more like rugby, soccer, and football combined. If I have you curious about what a game is like, hopefully, I’ll see you in the stands! Tickets are pretty reasonable at around $30 AUD and there are often family packages and cheaper tickets for kids.
For a real behind-the-scenes look at Optus Stadium, take this in-depth stadium tour before you watch a game. You’ll see why it’s known as the World’s Most Beautiful Sporting Facility as you tour the locker rooms, see the field from the Victory Lounge and Coaches Room and sit at ground level on the benches typically reserved for star players. There are multiple tours daily for $28 AUD.
21. City tour
One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground in Perth, WA is to take a tour of the city. I recommend doing a tour like this early on in your trip as you’ll see lots of local landmarks and scout out places you want to re-visit.
Hop aboard a segway tour to see Perth’s beautiful riverfront area. Choose one of three different routes to explore, depending on what you want to see. You’ll follow the Swan River while learning about Perth’s history and seeing attractions like the Bell Tower, Optus Stadium, the Perth Mint, and Kings Park. You’ll cover a lot more ground than if you were walking and you’ll get to enjoy time outside.
Design your own tour so you can see exactly what you want to while exploring Perth. You’ll move at your own pace on this private tour and can enjoy seeing the places you want to check off your itinerary. This is a full-day tour, so you’ll have access to a guide and driver for a full 8 hours. You can tour Kings Park, wineries, and chocolate factories or pick some beaches to see, it’s all up to you!
This tour is a more expensive option, but if you have a larger group and can split the cost, it could make it totally worthwhile. Expect to pay $900 AUD for a group of 6 or $700 AUD for 2 people.
Hop-On – Hop-Off
Board a double-decker bus with either a 24-hour or 48-hour pass on a hop-on hop-off tour of Perth. This is an easy way to get affordable transportation to all the best Perth attractions while enjoying some commentary on the area. Just hop off the bus when you arrive at a place you want to see.
From the Bell Tower to the Swan River waterfront, shopping on Hay Street, or the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the stops are totally up to you. If you don’t hop off, the full tour loop is about two hours. The 24-hour ticket is $40 AUD.
Small Group Tour
With a maximum of 10 people, this city highlights tour helps you avoid the crowds, while also enjoying the best sights. You’ll spend a full day exploring as you stroll through the gardens at King’s Park, take a private Wildlife Park tour to see the animals up close, enjoy a gourmet lunch and private wine tasting and drive along the coast to visit some of the best beaches.
The tour offers pick-up from all hotels in Perth and is $180 AUD per person.
If cycling is more your speed, this guided bike tour of Perth is a leisurely way to explore some of the best spots. You’ll start on the banks of the Swan River before biking over the Matagarup Bridge to see Claisebrook Cove (where you’ll stop for a coffee break) and Elizabeth Quay. There are plenty of spots to stop to take in the scenery along here as well. This tour is only $85 AUD.
22. Visit AQWA (and snorkel with sharks!)
If you’re looking for a fun indoor activity that takes you under the sea, the aquarium is one of the best places to visit in Perth. The Aquarium of Western Australia, or AQWA as it’s known, is fantastic for visitors of all ages. Grab your admission ticket online before you go for $30 AUD, so you’re all set.
The big hits here are the Touch Pools, where you can interact with creatures like sea stars and sea cucumbers and the incredible 100-meter (320-foot) underwater tunnel you can walk through with stingrays and sharks swimming overhead.
Get up close (if you dare!) with the sharks here as you get to jump right into their tank! You can try the snorkeling with sharks tour or if you’re a qualified scuba diver, choose the diving with sharks option. Both experiences get you in the water with seven different types of sharks along with turtles, stingrays, and fish. You get a full safety briefing, a divemaster to guide you, and a small group of 4 people. The $195 AUD fee is the same for both tours and includes your general admission so you can wander around the aquarium after.
If swimming with sharks sounds a little out of your comfort zone, but you still want something extra at AQWA, try the glass bottom boat experience. You’ll see marine life from above as you float on the surface of a huge 3-million-liter (1-million-gallon) tank inside the aquarium. It’s only $40 AUD ($10 more than general admission) and includes admission, so an affordable add-on for your visit.
AQWA is open every day from 9 am to 4 pm.
23. Eat at Compton Burgers
Hands down the best burger in Perth is at Compton Burgers. The classic Compton Burger on a potato bun is divine or the Cheezy-E (make it a double if you’re really hungry!) is great too. Add on a couple of chicken tenders if you can.
The portions are huge … the ‘small’ fries easily feeds two people! The ingredients are local from WA butchers including fresh ground beef. Burgers here start around $14 AUD.
Plan ahead to visit here as they are only open Monday-Friday from 7 am to 3 pm. You won’t want to miss out and be disappointed!
24. Visit Heirisson Island
Seeing kangaroos is something you shouldn’t miss out on while visiting Perth, WA. One of the best spots to see them is an urban island known as Heirisson Island.
There’s a kangaroo sanctuary here – basically, a large fenced-in area – that you can wander around – just make sure to close the gate behind you!
The western grey kangaroos were introduced here in 1998 and now there’s a handful of them that call the island home. While the kangaroos tend to be a bit sleepy during the day, you can often spot five or six around the island. It’s pretty neat to see them so close to the city center but in a natural environment.
Related read: See some more (dangerous!) wildlife with the thrill of a jumping croc cruise in Darwin!
25. Attend a festival or event
What’s great about Perth is that there’s always something going on. While you don’t need to attend a big event, there are some great ones if they happen to line up with your time here.
One of my favorites is Sculpture by the Sea at Cottesloe Beach. Every March, the beach transforms into an outdoor art gallery with amazing sculptures and art pieces. Some of the pieces are real showstoppers and it’s always neat to wander by.
The annual Fringe World Festival happens every year in January and February. There are literally hundreds of shows to check out from fire acts, comedy, cabaret, or drag. One year I actually got hypnotized on stage here!
If dancing under the stars to great music sounds like fun, there are some awesome music festivals in Perth to check out. St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is a February event with a strong indie rock feel. Or warm up with the Fremantle Winter Music Festival in June where live music can be found at five different venues.
Another local favorite is the Winter Lights Festival where the Brookfield Place area of Perth is transformed into a neon wonderland. There are interactive displays, performances, and lots of light and color!
Of course, you’re in WA, so if you’re here on WA Day, take in the celebrations in Perth. On the first Monday in June, you’ll find Burswood Park overrun with music, carnival rides, food trucks, and tons of activities for families.
26. Off-roading and sandboarding in Lancelin
You’ve heard about skateboarding or wakeboarding, but head to Lancelin to try sandboarding! This is a blast for the whole family as you race down hills made completely of sand. It’s a good workout too, since you need to climb alllllll the way to the top to slide down.
The best time to go sandboarding is in the later morning when there isn’t much wind. It’s best to book your sandboard online here so you’re set to go once you arrive. Rentals are affordable at around $12.50 AUD.
You can also step up the adventure level with this sandboard and off-roading tour at the dunes. You’ll get to slide down the white sand on a sandboard as well as do some epic off-road driving with your choice of vehicle. It’s a pretty thrilling ride, and luckily pictures are included, so you’ll have some great memories to take home. The tour is $119 AUD and includes all the gear and safety instructions you’ll need. You just need to meet at the Lancelin dunes.
27. Visit Margaret River
While a bit far for a day trip, it’s worth planning to stay the night or the weekend in Margaret River. It’s full of cool things to do and see from the amazing wine tours to some of the best surfing in the country. I’ve been coming to Margaret River on family holidays since I was 2 feet tall, and I love the welcoming atmosphere here. It keeps me coming back again and again.
As I mentioned, the wine in this region is basically legendary. It’s truly the best wine in Australia and one of the main reasons people come here. Even if you’re not a huge wine person, this is probably the place where you’ll fall in love with it.
If you’re looking for a wine tour to join, I liked this full-day guided tour that included both wine and food tastings. It was $135 AUD and included lunch, chocolate tastings, cheese tastings, and lots of different wines and ales. The view of the river across the vineyards was beautiful and the tranquil pace of the tour felt just right.
Another top reason to visit Margaret River is for the surfing. This is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world! You can head to Boranup Beach and Redgate Beach, which are good for beginners. Board rentals are about $35 AUD or you can book a two-hour surfing lesson with a surfing coach so you’ll be riding the waves in no time. If you happen to be here in during the famous competition, the Margaret River Pro, you’ll have a front-row seat to see some of the best surfers on the planet.
Some of the other must-dos here are getting out on the actual Margaret River (the river the town is named after) on a canoe or kayak. And I highly recommend exploring one of the four underground caves nearby. They are dripping in limestone crystal formations that are pretty amazing up close. If you can, try the olive oil here too – it’s so good. I recommend visiting Olio Bello, where they have 8,000 olive trees and make the oil on-site.
Day trips / tours
If your heart is set on a day trip to this beautiful area, take all the worry about planning away by booking this private tour to Margaret River. You’ll get transportation from Perth and spend a full day (11 hours) seeing some of its incredible highlights. You can visit wineries, Ngilgi Limestone Cave, hiking trails, or do some chocolate and cheese tastings. It’s a private tour, so you set the agenda. Great for groups, the tour is around $1,000 AUD for 4 people.
Where to Stay in Margaret River
If you’re planning your own weekend away, there are some great options for a range of prices. For a nice mid-range hotel, our pick is the Margaret River Resort. It’s close to the heart of town and has a range of rooms from stand hotel rooms to private villas starting at $189 AUD. The location makes it great for exploring and the pool and pub on-site are nice bonuses.
Budget travelers will like the Margaret River Tourist Park where you can rent entire cabins on the edge of the forest for $150 nightly. There’s a pool, BBQ area, and playground. It’s nice for families looking for more space, but still want to be only a couple of minutes from the center of town.
28. Visit a museum or two
When you’re thinking about visiting some of the top attractions in Perth, don’t rule out a museum or two. I promise you there are some pretty unique spots here from the Mint to a museum just for classic video games. These are some of the best!
WA Museum Boola Bardip
The name of the WA Museum Boola Bardip translates to ‘many stories’ in the Whadjuk Noongar language. The museum showcases the stories of Australia throughout 8 permanent galleries as well as visiting exhibits. Some of the highlights here include the giant blue whale skeleton, dinosaur bones, models of the unique plants, animals, and land formations of WA, and minerals and meteorites.
The Perth Mint is such a neat place to visit to learn all about gold. The Mint exports and manufactures more than $26 billion worth of gold, silver, and platinum bullion bars and coins to 130 countries around the world.
You can join a tour of the mint to see the largest coin ever made (worth $50 million!), watch as molten gold is poured into a solid gold bar in front of you, see real gold nuggets and get to hold more than $700,000 worth of gold bullion!
Art Gallery of WA
Founded back in 1895, the historic Art Gallery of WA occupies heritage buildings in the heart of Perth. Inside you’ll find the State Art Collection with pieces by local and international artists. It’s free to enter and explore.
The Nostalgia Box Museum
Calling all gamers, Australia’s only video game museum is a must-see in Perth. Get ready to challenge your friends in Mario Kart, chase ghosts in Pac-man, or re-play old favorites like Space Invaders at The Nostalgia Box Museum. There are more than 100 video game consoles on display where you can learn about the history of video games. Then step into the interactive gaming area to have a go! Admission is $18.70 AUD.
Perth Cultural Center
Located between the Perth train station and Northbridge, the Perth Cultural Center is a hub of activity with nearby museums, theatres, and the State Library. There are various programs, festivals, and events that use this space or you can explore the public artwork nearby. Kids will love the little play space here that’s focused on sensory play with wood carvings, spinning wheels, and natural colors.
Related read: Some of the best cheap things to do in Sydney, Australia are also musuems!
29. Go on a food tour
There are SO many places to eat in Perth, that it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where you want to go. Avoid the trap of visiting a chain restaurant you may have back home with a low and slow BBQ food tour.
The ‘tasting route’ on this tour will take you around Perth to some of the best BBQ restaurants and bars. It’s like a really long and tasty lunch! You’ll taste some classics like ribs, pulled pork, and brisket paired with sides like mac and cheese and slow-cooked beans. Wash it all down with local beer, cider, or cocktails.
What’s nice about this tour is that while you’re in each different neighborhood, your guide points out some of the local sights and other hidden gems you can come back and visit on your own.
This is an adults-only tour and you’ll be in a small group with a max of 12 people. It’s $115 AUD which includes all your food, some drinks, and transportation to all the different restaurants.
30. Drink craft beer
For a cold drink on a hot day (or any day really!), Perth has you covered with some excellent local breweries. Each one has something unique to offer, so we always like popping into a couple while visiting Perth.
Our favorite is Gage Roads in Freo. The Sleeping Giant IPA is excellent along with the seafood and pizzas. We love grabbing a spot on the HUGE outdoor patio that’s right by the water. It’s a chill way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Tucked away in East Perth’s industrial area, you’ll find Bright Tank Brewing Co. The décor is cool and there’s a fantastic selection of craft beers from lagers to pale ales. The beers feature some pretty creative ingredients from spiced chai to toffee malt or pine. The food here is delicious too, so you can plan to have a full meal with a drink or two.
Northbridge Brewing Company is a great spot for a bevie – try one of the beers produced on-site or small batch seasonal beers released monthly. The brewery is over three levels with an amazing rooftop Skydeck to see Perth’s skyline while you sip on a pale ale, lager, wheat beer, kolsch, or IPA. They’ve won accolades at the Australian International Beer Awards and offer take-away beer cans if you want some to-go.
If you want to try more of what this area has to offer, get a taste of the best microbreweries and brewpubs in the Swan Valley region with this small group brewery tour. You’ll head 30 minutes from Perth’s CBD to try out 4 fantastic breweries. You’ll get a wide range of beers with tasting paddles and freshly-prepared gourmet meals. It’s an all-inclusive tour so you have a built-in designated driver with transportation taken care of. Plus, your guide will give you some insight into the area and make sure you’re having a great time.
31. Jet ski tour
Combine speed, fun, and sightseeing aboard a jet ski. This Perth jet ski tour will have you zipping around Cockburn Sound and Garden Island.
You can choose to drive solo or share a jet ski with a partner and take turns driving. Keep an eye out for wildlife like dolphins, sea lions, and birds as you zoom around the waters for either an hour or 1.5 hours, depending on the tour you choose.
The shorter tour focuses on finding marine wildlife nearby, while the longer tour takes you around Garden Island and gives you a chance to try some advanced jet-ski maneuvers in the freestyle area.
The tours start at $210 AUD and you’ll need to drive yourself to Rockingham for the experience.
32. Go on a sunset dinner cruise
While Perth has lots of adventurous activities, make sure you plan for some relaxation too. One of our favorite ways to slow down and enjoy the scenery is on a dinner cruise down the Swan River.
You’ll spend 2.5 hours gliding past downtown Perth with live music on board and a yummy buffet to enjoy. I love seeing the lights reflecting on the water and one of the best viewpoints is from a boat.
The cruise will take you from central Perth, along the riverfront and upscale suburbs while you enjoy a glass of beer or wine and a buffet with everything from roast beef to king prawns. If you do the cruise during the week, there’s live piano music, or go on a Saturday night for a DJ onboard.
The cruise is $139 AUD and includes food and some drinks. It leaves from the Barrack Street Jetty at 7:30 p.m.
If you’re looking to hit the greens in Perth, there’s a wide variety of golf courses here with spectacular landscapes to take in while you’re golfing. It’s also relatively affordable too, so you can try out multiple courses while you’re here.
Just 10 minutes away from the city center, Collier Park Golf Course is uniquely designed to have 3 different 9-hole courses. Each one offers a different challenge as you explore this picturesque location. Or hit the driving range and practice facility to brush up on your skills. Play 9 holes here for $26-30 AUD or come in the evenings for the twilight rate of $18 AUD.
For a golf game along the Swan River, head to Point Walter Golf Course. The sweeping views and high-quality fairways at this 9-hole course have made it a favorite. There’s also a mini-golf course here if that’s more your style! Tee times can be booked for under $30 AUD or $20 AUD for mini-golf.
Where to Stay in Perth, WA
Now that your agenda is full, it’s time to find a place to stay in Perth. Because there are so many activities in Perth within the CBD (Central Business District), I recommend staying in the heart of the city if you can. There are places to stay in the city center for a range of budgets. If you need some help narrowing it down, these are our top picks!
The Westin Perth – $$$
A mix of classy and contemporary, The Westin Perth is the place to stay when you’re looking for a touch of luxury. The prime location in the heart of Perth puts you within walking distance of the trendy Elizabeth Quay area as well as lots of restaurants and cafes. You can also use the hotel’s infinity pool or its signature restaurant run by iconic Australian Chef Guy Grossi. Rooms here start around $400 AUD per night.
Pensione Hotel Perth – $$
A nice mid-range option, the Pensione Hotel Perth is a refurbished boutique hotel with 98 rooms. It’s close to Elizabeth Quay, major shopping centers, the Swan River, and Northbridge. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into the 1960s with restored furniture and décor from the time filling the lobby. The staff members are really friendly and rooms are reasonable at under $150 AUD a night.
Hostel G Perth – $
You don’t need to pay big bucks to stay in Perth’s CBD, Hostel G Perth has dorm rooms for around $40 AUD or private rooms for around $100 AUD. You’ll have a huge common area with movies on TV, a kitchen, and a great atmosphere with travelers of all ages.
Thanks for reading!
Well, there you have it, the top 33 things to do in Perth. Once you’re here, I think you’ll see why I love this place and come back as often as I can. Even though I grew up here, I’m always finding new things to try.
If Perth is on your travel itinerary, make sure to check out our other Australia blogs for more ideas and inspiration. We also have other in-depth guides to help you find those hidden gems you might not discover on your own. Leave us a comment with any questions you have and we’ll be happy to help.