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How to Spend 3 Days in Perth: An Itinerary from a Local!

How to Spend 3 Days in Perth: An Itinerary from a Local!

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Looking for the best way to spend three days in Perth? 

As the largest city in Western Australia, there are a lot of sights to see and some epic day trips at your fingertips – so how do you best use your time!?

Look no further, as a Perth native myself, I have crafted the ideal three-day itinerary. This includes some incredible outdoor activities (like swimming with dolphins and exploring the gorgeous Rottnest Island), as well as your classic city activities!

I’ve even thrown in my favorite restaurants, beaches, and some hidden gems for a totally unique three days in Perth.

Day 1

Morning – Explore Kings Park

Bailey walks along the Lotterywest Federation Walkway through the treetops in Kings Park, Perth
Lotterywest Federation Walkway!
View from Kings Park of the city of Perth
Kings Park is gorgeous!

With just 3 days in Perth, we are going to fit as much into this itinerary as possible! Starting with the huge Kings Park – it’s even bigger than Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London. So to try and cover all this ground (literally) we are spending the entire morning exploring. You don’t just have to aimlessly wander through, as a Perth native I have visited this park more times than I can count and put together a few must-see areas.

The Botanic Garden is the perfect place to start, it definitely boasts Western Australia’s beauty. There are an impressive 3,000 varieties of native flora, some of which are only found in this part of Australia. If you’re keen on having an authentic Aussie experience, spend some time wandering through here!

Kings Park is located right next to the Swan River, so you’ll get incredible outdoor sights the whole time. Sometimes I even forget I’m in the city! The Bushland Nature Trail is another good way to enjoy the outdoors and learn about Perth’s history. This 25-minute loop will take you past the State War Memorial, the Flame of Remembrance, the Whispering Wall, and other unique statues and memorials. Don’t worry, there are informational boards around so you can learn the significance of these sites too. 

The DNA Tower is an iconic piece of Kings Park! This spiral staircase takes you above the trees and gives incredible views of the park, river, and the city in the distance. You have to work for these views though, it’s 101 steps to the top! 

If you’re traveling with kids and need a break from all that walking, be sure to stop by the Rio Tinto Naturescape. It’s a natural playground where they encourage kids to jump from boulders and wade through the river (you might want to pack a change of clothes!). Now, we don’t have any kids, but our friends love bringing their kids here – it’s a great way to connect with nature and simply play. 

There is another super unique way to explore Kings Park – taking this segway tour! This will save your steps and help you see a lot of the park … also how fun does riding a segway sound? The tour runs from 10:30 am to 12 pm, so you can spend some time exploring the park on your own before you go, then finish up just in time for lunch. This tour is $129 AUD and can be booked in advance here

Lunch – Fraser’s restaurant Kings Park

I don’t know about you, but spending a morning walking (or segwaying) around a massive park sure makes me hungry! Don’t wander off too far because Fraser’s is an incredible lunch option, right in King’s Park. This isn’t just your average lunch spot either – it’s legendary in Perth!

The best views are from the second-story patio, which overlooks the Swan River, Kings Park, and you can catch views of Perth in the distance. If you fancy a lunch cocktail or wine (they have a huge selection) I can’t think of a better way to unwind!

Their menu is broken up into small, medium, or large plates. We didn’t want to get too full and sleepy so we stuck with the medium plates and had beef carpaccio and soft-shell crab. They were amazing, and I’m certain anything you order will be mind-blowing! Fraser’s opens for lunch at 11:30 am, so once you’re done exploring the park, go treat yourself to a delicious meal!

Afternoon – Visit one of Perth’s best beaches

Cottesloe Beach, Perth at sunset
Cottesloe Beach, Perth is one of my personal favorites!

With 19 beaches accessible from the city, having a beach day is obviously one of our favorite things to do as locals. (You can see our other top things to do in Perth here!) We recommend spending the afternoon at Cottesloe Beach, which is an easy 20-minute Uber ride from Kings Park. 

Cottesloe Beach is among one of the most popular beaches, but it never feels too crowded. People flock here because the water is so blue and clear, making it a great snorkeling spot, and the sand is incredibly soft (like, shockingly soft). So whether you want to be a lazy beach bum and lay in that soft sand, get a little adventurous and snorkel, or just go for a dip – Cottesloe Beach is the place to be! 

The best part of the beach to snorkel is near the surf club, where you can see lots of colorful fish. There are also lifeguards on duty and some spots are safer to swim in than others, so be sure to pay attention before diving in. I highly recommend bringing sunscreen, as Australia has infamously harsh sun, and there are plenty of restaurants around, but I still like to pack some snacks and drinks too.

If you’re here around March, you can see the famous Sculpture by the Sea event, which has lots of local artists creating sculptures right on the beach! It’s pretty unique and people love coming out, so it’s quite lively too.

Now, we personally love Cottesloe, but there are a handful of other great beach options not far from Perth CBD. Scarborough Beach is great for swimming and there are a lot of fun attractions around the beach too. Trigg Beach is one of the best for surfing and Coogee Beach is a nice quiet option a little further out of the city.

Sunset/dinner – Get fish and chips

Bailey enjoys fish and chips at Coogee Beach, Perth
Fish and chips at the beach are something Australians love!

You don’t have to go far for dinner tonight, we are staying right on the beach with a sunset picnic! Having fish and chips by the beach is a classic Aussie tradition, so I’m giving you the local scoop here. Any beach you go to, you’ll be able to find a fish and chips stand, so grab a platter to share and head to the beach to watch the sunset. 

Amberjacks is located right behind Cottesloe Beach, making this a convenient (and tasty) place to grab dinner. They have combo platters for 1, 2, or 4 people, making it really easy to feed a group and they are open until 8:30 pm. There is even a great grassy patch next to the restaurant, so you don’t have to worry about getting sand in your food!

Fish and chips aren’t the only way to enjoy dinner at Cottesloe! One of our other go-to spots is Indigo Oscar for Latin-inspired dishes that will blow you away. Everything here is super fresh and they put a unique spin on their food, like swordfish ceviche, crab arepa, and wood-fired lamb with salsa. They have huge windows, making it easy to enjoy the sunset from the comfort of your table, with a cocktail and air-conditioning for those hot Perth days!

Day 2

Morning – Swim with wild dolphins

Bailey climbs out of the water during the dolphin swim in Perth, WA
It was so cool!
Three dolphins swim in the water in front of us on the dolphin swim in Perth
They get so close!

Has swimming with wild dolphins been on your bucket list? Even if it hasn’t I’m sure you perked up when you read this title, because this activity is one for the books! We had a wonderful time on this full-day tour to swim with dolphins – the crew, the experience, and the beautiful blue waters made for a memorable day!

This tour takes off from Rockingham, which is about 40 minutes outside of Perth. You can choose to drive yourself, but honestly having them pick you up is much easier. Plan on having this tour take the entire morning and go through lunch (which is also provided). We got back around 2:30 pm, which included our drive time back to our Perth hotel. 

Logistics aside, swimming with dolphins was surreal! What was even more immersive was that the crew made friends with the pod of about 200 dolphins, so they knew their behaviors and personalities, and it was amazing to see the dolphins recognize the crew. As we swam, we got to know these amazing creatures. And as frequent travelers, we absolutely love seeing this positive tourism, where the company keeps the animals and environment as the most important part of their work!

The tour provided all snorkel equipment, a wetsuit, and a big yummy seafood lunch onboard. With transportation, this tour is $339 AUD per person and we thought the price was definitely worth it – we still talk about this experience today!

Related Read: Want to get out on the water more? Check out our whale-watching in Perth guide here!

Afternoon – Wander around Fremantle

Exploring High Street in Fremantle

After your busy (but epic) morning swimming with dolphins, we are going to have a nice relaxing afternoon and evening in Fremantle! Fremantle is a popular port city near Perth, about 25 minutes outside of the CBD. It is full of historic buildings, unique history, cute shops, and lots of amazing restaurants. Before you go, check out our full list of things to do in Freo (as we locals like to call it!). 

While you could easily spend a whole weekend in Freo, an afternoon and evening will have to suffice. Start by visiting the Fremantle Markets where you’ll find over 150 vendors selling everything under the sun. There are jewelry and fashion sellers, fresh produce and flowers, handmade goods, and tons of food vendors – my personal favorite part! As far as food goes, you’ll find international cuisines such as Brazilian, Bali, Greek food, and more, 

After the markets, spend some time wandering along High Street, home to boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. I highly recommend checking out Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery, which is a collection of Aboriginal artists using traditional techniques, so I think it gives you a unique look at Australia’s native history.

Fremantle is home to another gorgeous beach, Bathers Beach! We love renting a lounge chair here and enjoying the relaxed beach vibes. South Fremantle is yet another good beach – a perfect sunset and fish and chips spot. After exploring all of Fremantle, you can grab dinner at Sealanes and head to the beach for a gorgeous sunset picnic!

There is also some unique history that you don’t want to miss out on. The Roundhouse was used as a prison from 1831 to 1886, it is actually Western Australia’s oldest public building! The Fremantle Prison was even more fascinating, as it was built by convicts. Makes me wonder if anyone built some secret tunnels…

These are just the highlights of Fremantle, but I’m sure you’ll find interesting sights as you wander around. I never get bored here!

Dinner – Dinner in Fremantle

The National Hotel in Fremantle, WA
Imagine having dinner and drinks on the rooftop at the National Hotel!

Fremantle is known for its amazing restaurant and bar scene, so let’s indulge with our one-night stay here! 

You’ll likely pass by The National Hotel as you explore, it’s a gorgeous historic building and quite large. It is an icon in Fremantle, so heading to the rooftop for drinks and dinner is a must! The views from the roof are some of the best, and we love the old historic charm. If you’re staying for dinner be sure to try the chicken parmigiana and grab a cocktail – they are both amazing!

Tonic + Ginger is another local favorite – the food is incredible but the ambiance is also noteworthy! I love the tall ceilings and the long lights that hang down. The menu is full of Asian fusion dishes that are all made to share. If you’re with a group, the Feed Me Feast is a fun offering, where they choose the menu for the table, so you really get something unique!

Last but not least, Lions and Tigers is an Indian-fusion concept and they truly knock it out of the park. They put a new spin on old classics – dal, masala, chutney dishes like you’ve never tried before. The staff are super welcoming and the Alice in Wonderland-inspired design is quite cheeky. We love coming here before hitting the town!

Night – Go for drinks in Fremantle

A cocktail at Darling Darling
Photo credit: Darling Darling
A cocktail at Darling Darling bar in Fremantle
Photo credit: Darling Darling

Just like the plethora of amazing restaurants, Freo has an overflow of fun bars! To start it off, you can visit old classics like Darling, Darling, which is pirate ship themed and the decor is quite impressive. Although, I must say that the cocktails are even more impressive – which is what you want in a bar, right? 

Sticking with our Caribbean theme, Jungle Bird is a lively tiki bar with some amazing rum drinks! Throw on your Hawaiian shirt and join the fun here. Freo.Social is a live music venue in the area that always has some event going on, whether it’s music, comedy, or trivia. I also love their outdoor patio!

However, if you’re only going to hit one bar in Freo, it should be the Flight Club, which is Fremantle’s dart bar. I know, I know, you’re probably surprised to hear of a dart bar – I certainly was! But this is actually a super fun bar, decorated in a 1920s flapper theme. You can use specific dart areas (almost like bowling, but classier), and your group can play a game, relax on the couches, and enjoy the bar!

Even if you don’t fancy a game of darts, it’s still a fun vibe (even though you’d be missing out if you didn’t throw at least one dart!). Flight Club is open Sunday through Thursday until midnight, and 1 am on Friday and Saturday nights. I recommend making a reservation if you’re planning on playing a game of darts or two – it can get busy!

Day 3

Day trip to Rottnest Island

Bailey with a Quokka on Rottnest Island
Our first-ever selfie with a Quokka!
Daniel and Bailey at one of the beautiful bays on Rottnest Island
Another beautiful beach!

Three days in Perth go by quickly! But, we saved an incredible activity for your last day to send you off with a bang. Rottnest Island is such a fun day trip, and in my opinion, a necessary thing to do even if you only have three days in Perth.

This island is a protected nature reserve, just 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) from Perth’s CBD. While people visit for its iconic blue water and white sand beaches, the big draw is the adorable quokkas! They are all over the island and easy to spot, so if you don’t get a selfie with a quokka, did you even go to Perth!?

You can get to Rottnest by taking a ferry and exploring the island on your own, or by booking an organized tour (the easier option). Ferry tickets are $119 AUD roundtrip, and when you book them in advance with Viator, they offer free cancellation 24 hours before you go and also include port fees. 

We personally prefer to take a tour because it makes the day so much simpler. The island is car-free, so to get around you either need to rent a bike or book a coach shuttle. If you take this same full-day tour we went on, it takes care of all those logistics for you! 

We met the tour at Barrett Street Jetty in Perth and hopped on the Swan River cruise, which meets the ferry in Fremantle. So it’s a two-for-one cruise as we made our way to Rottnest Island! Once we got there, our tour group shuffled onto a shuttle bus and we went on a 1.5-hour guided tour of the island.

This island tour was super interesting and helped us understand the island’s long history. The Noongar people initially inhabited it, then it was used as an Aboriginal prison, and then a WWII military base. Despite its controversial history, it is now open to visitors and can be enjoyed for its natural beauty. 

Our guide also took us to the famous Wadjemup Lighthouse and to see the quokkas! They are all over the island, but this specific beach has hundreds of them. Quokkas are marsupials, somewhat like mini kangaroos. They are protected animals, so you can’t feed or touch them, but you can take as many photos as you’d like. They look like they are always smiling so it’s hard not to! 

The tour provided a generous lunch after the coach tour, then we had the afternoon to explore on our own! With 63 beaches and gorgeous bays to swim, snorkel, and SUP on, you won’t run out of things to do, but be sure to read our tips about visiting Rottnest before you go. We spent some time biking around the island, then stopped to swim in Thompson Bay until the ferry took us back to the mainland, it was the perfect afternoon!

We loved this full-day tour to Rottnest Island! You can choose whether you want to depart from Perth or Fremantle, and if you want lunch included or not. We decided to include lunch and depart from Perth, for the most convenience possible, and that option is $223 AUD. This day was busy and well-organized, so we thought the tour was well worth the price!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Related Read: Another can’t-miss Perth activity is visiting Margret River wine country! Here are our favorite Margaret River Tours from Perth to make your trip seamless.

Other Things to do While You’re in Perth

Bailey stands by a pinnacle in Australia
Look how tall the Pinnacles are!
Bailey with a beer and pizza at The Island Brew House in Elizabeth Quay, Perth
The Island Brew House in Elizabeth Quay!

If you find yourself with extra time in your itinerary, we have a few more epic Perth sights you can check out. Some of these are full-day activities and others are easy to squeeze in, but all are guaranteed to be a good time!

  • Day trip to the Pinnacles – The Pinnacles is one of WA’s most unique geological features, with thousands of limestone pillars standing in the desert! We visited the Pinnacles on this day trip from Perth, which let us learn all about this crazy desert and also stop at other cool spots along the way. The best part though, they take you stargazing surrounded by Pinnacles, and the night sky is breathtaking in the desert!
  • Visit some museums – Learn more about Perth by visiting some museums! The WA Museum Boola Bardip is a great natural history museum to learn about the native inhabitants of WA, and even see a massive blue whale skeleton. Or stop by the Perth Mint to learn about the history and production of gold in Perth!
  • Sunset dinner cruise – Enjoy a luxurious evening on the Swan River with this sunset dinner cruise! With gorgeous sunset views, a gourmet dinner, and complimentary Aussie wine, it’s hard not to love this experience. It is available every Saturday and some Fridays and is known to sell out, so be sure to reserve it in advance.
  • Check out Elizabeth Quay – This is one of Perth’s most popular areas, so spend an afternoon here! Walk across the pedestrian bridge for impressive river and city views, have lunch at the Lucky Shag, and explore the historic Bell Tower! We took this tour of the Bell Tower to learn more about its history and ring those iconic bells for ourselves – it was really cool!

Where to Stay in Perth

The Westin Perth hotel room with a view
Photo credit: The Westin Perth

Now that you have a full 3-day itinerary, it’s time to find a place to stay in Perth. Because many of our activities are within Perth’s 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. Check availability on Booking.com.

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 the rooms are super comfortable.

Rooms are reasonably priced under $150 AUD per night. Book this stay here on Booking.com.

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.  

We really like hostels because they are affordable so you can travel longer and you might even meet some new friends to hang out with! Grab a room using Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.  

Renting a Car in Australia

Driving through the outback in a rental car in Australia
Outback Australia!

With many must-see destinations in Australia outside city limits, one of the best ways to get around is in a rental car.

Australia is a huge country and traveling between cities or getting to some of the most scenic spots requires driving. While public transit is sometimes an option, it often adds a lot of time and planning. Plus, we love the freedom of a rental car to stop wherever we want and not have to stick to a set schedule.

Car rental in Australia is super affordable, especially if you choose a smaller vehicle. We use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine that compares multiple car rental companies for you – saving you from visiting each website individually.

If you plan to be based in a main city like Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth and do a few day trips while returning your car to the same location, we’ve booked rentals for as cheap as $25 AUD a day! Full coverage insurance can be added for around an extra $12 AUD a day too. The price will vary depending on the time of year, type of car, and if you’re able to pick up and drop off at the same location.

Discover Cars also offers handy filters so you can search for cars that offer features like child seats, GPS, or let you have an additional driver. There are also free cancellation options if your trip changes. Read our honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Check out the selection and book your car rental online here!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in Fremantle, Australia
Thanks for reading!

While I hope you can spend more than three days in Perth, that is just enough time to scratch the surface. It’s a gorgeous city, from Kings Park, all the beaches, and Rottnest Island just off its shores, Perth is pretty fun to explore (okay, maybe I’m a bit biased). But, I’m sure after three days here, you’ll agree with me!

Thanks for reading our blog! If you found this article helpful, be sure to read our other Australia blogs before you go. We love sharing our travel tips, and having lived in multiple cities and traveled all over the country – we are Aussie experts! Here are a few blogs to get you started:

Ideas for Fun Day Trips from Perth

How to Spend 3 Days in Sydney: An Ideal 3-Day Itinerary

25 Things to do in Melbourne for First-Time Visitors