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How to Spend 2 Days in Perth, Australia – By A Local

How to Spend 2 Days in Perth, Australia – By A Local

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Taking a quick 2-day trip to Perth as you explore Western Australia? While I hope you have more time in this gorgeous city (it’s my hometown so I might be biased), 48 hours is just enough to hit the highlights. 

You might be struggling to figure out exactly how to use your limited time! Don’t worry, I’ve crafted the perfect 2-day itinerary to hit the highlights. 

This will give you a taste of the best corners of Perth – Kings Park, Fremantle, and Rottnest Island. I’ll also let you know about the best restaurants, beaches, and tips for visiting to make your trip seamless!

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!

Kings Park is one of the most famous locations in Perth. It’s actually bigger than Central Park in New York and receives over 6 million visitors annually, so it’s a can’t-miss spot if I’ve ever heard of one.

I personally love roaming through Kings Park because it has a ton of native plant life, is steeped in history, and has a gorgeous design. The park is located along the Swan River (another beautiful sight) so you nearly forget you’re in the city!

Since this park is so massive, plan on spending the entire morning here. You’re going to need it to see everything! While you can simply wander around and find some unique sights, I want to share some of my favorite parts of Kings Park so you don’t get too lost.

First, start by exploring the Botanic Garden, conveniently located right in the park. Here you’ll find a collection of over 3,000 types of flora and fauna. It is seriously impressive, and I love that a lot of this collection can only be found in Western Australia – it’s a fantastic way to start learning about what makes Perth so unique! 

Take a stroll along the Bushland Nature Trail, which shows you more than the park’s natural beauty! This 25-minute loop is full of historic monuments, statues, and memorials. Best of all, they have informational boards along the trail so you can learn all about Perth’s history as you see the State War Memorial, the Flame of Remembrance, the Whispering Wall, and more. I love learning some of the history of the area I’m exploring, it makes it that more immersive.

As you explore Kings Park, you’ll probably run into the DNA Tower (not literally I hope – that would hurt!). This massive spiral tower will give the highest views in the park, so you can see above the trees and overlook the Swan River and Perth. These views don’t come easy though, it is 101 steps to the top!

If you’re traveling with kids, they will be happy to hear that Kings Park has six play areas! The most unique (and loved by locals) is the Rio Tinto Naturescape. This playground looks like you’re in the bush, and it’s all about nature play. Kids love it!

If you’re tired of walking for hours upon hours in the park, this segway tour is a fantastic way to see it all! Over 1.5 hours, you’ll cruise around Kings Park in style and get to learn a lot as you go, thanks to your local guide. I haven’t done this tour, but I’ve seen the segways and am always a bit jealous – it looks so fun! It is $129 AUD and departs at 10:30 am, giving you time to explore on your own in the morning and end just in time for lunch.

Lunch – Fraser’s restaurant Kings Park 

We love treating ourselves to a yummy lunch after a morning of exploring – you really work up an appetite! You don’t have to go far to find a bite to eat either, Fraser’s restaurant is located in Kings Park. It’s been open for over 30 years and has built up quite a legendary reputation, and I understand why – it’s pretty fancy!

For lunchtime, we love to sit on the second-story patio because it gives views of the Swan River and the park. They serve small, medium, and large plates, and while we usually go for the delicious large plate mains, we stuck to the medium offerings for lunch! But, it was just as tasty, we tried beef carpaccio and soft-shell crab. They also have a huge wine selection of local WA wines, so of course we had to pair it with our meal!

Fraser’s opens at 11:30 am daily, just in time to wrap up your park exploring and enjoy a luxurious lunch with a view!

Afternoon – Wander around Fremantle

Fremantle is too cute!

We are going to change up the vibe for this afternoon and head to my favorite greater Perth neighborhood – Fremantle! Freo (what we locals call it) is located about 30 minutes from Perth CBD and is a quaint port city. I love its historic charm, old buildings, and all of the unique things to do here. While I put together this entire guide to visiting Fremantle, I’ll list some of the highlights below – you only have one day here!

First on my list is stopping by the Fremantle Markets. This historic market (built in the late 1890s) has over 150 vendors selling all kinds of things. Find fresh produce, handmade goods, and tons of food. I love the international cuisines offered, so you can get some amazing food from Brazil, Bali, Greece, Italy, and more!

Next, we love wandering around High Street. This is the main street in Fremantle and is about a 3-minute drive from the market. There are a ton of locally-owned shops, art galleries, vintage stores, and restaurants. I always recommend newcomers visit the Japingka Aboriginal Art Gallery which displays pieces done by Aboriginal artists using traditional techniques – it’s really impressive!

You can find more history by exploring The Roundhouse, Western Australia’s oldest building. It was a prison from 1831 to 1886, but then the government had the convicts build the Fremantle Prison, which is more fascinating to explore in my opinion. It’s a little weird that convicts built the new prison, but it’s a unique part of Fremantle’s history!

A trip to Perth isn’t complete without visiting one of its 19 beaches, luckily Fremantle has two of the best. Bathers Beach is a 6-minute drive from High Street and has lounge chairs to rent – perfect for a lazy beach day. We also love South Beach for a sunset fish and chips picnic. This is a classic Perth tradition, so grab a platter of fish and chips from Sealanes and have dinner with a view, right on the beach!

Dinner – Dinner in Fremantle

The National Hotel in Fremantle, WA
I love getting dinner and drinks on the rooftop of The National Hotel in Fremantle!

While fish and chips by the sea is a lovely tradition, there are too many good restaurants in Fremantle to pass up. This area is known for its food and drink scene! 

The National Hotel is an iconic spot in Freo – even if you don’t get dinner here you should still stop by for rooftop drinks! This historic hotel is gorgeous, and I can’t get over the views from the rooftop bar – the whole vibe is amazing. The food here is quite good, I always get the chicken parmigiana, but they also have big burgers. Add in the cocktail and wine offering and you have a lovely dinner spot!

Another one of our go-to’s is Tonic + Ginger, serving up Asian fusion dishes that are truly unique. They have trendy and modern decor and all of their plates are made to be shared, which I always love so I can try a lot. And if you’re having trouble deciding, get the “Feed Me Feast” where they create the menu for you. We did this last time we were in and it was the best meal I’ve ever had there!

Last but not least, Lions and Tigers make amazing modern Indian food. They put unique spins on old classics, like dal, chutney, and masala. I was so impressed my first time here, and it was so good I’ve been back countless times. Plus, the Alice and Wonderland theme makes the ambiance super fun.

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

Now that you’ve discovered Fremantle’s great restaurant scene, it’s time to explore its lively bar scene! If you only have two days in Perth, you have to make the most of it, and I personally love grabbing drinks in one of Fremantle’s unique bars!

If you like live music, Freo.Social always has something going on. Whether you can catch a band, DJ, local comedian, or a fun event like trivia or bingo, this is a great place to get the party started. They also have a fantastic patio area, so go check it out!

There are also some themed bars, one of my favorites is Jungle Bird. This is a tiki bar with amazing rum cocktails, it’s so fun! Darling, Darling keeps with the Caribbean vibes and is decorated as if you’re in a pirate ship. It’s definitely a popular spot amongst locals, but you can usually find a table even on a busy Friday or Saturday night. 

If you only have the time or stamina to hit one bar in Fremantle, be sure to check out the Flight Club! This 1920s-themed bar is actually a dart bar, so be careful where you walk! Just kidding, they have special areas for darts, but I was shocked at how into it I got … maybe that’s just my competitive side, or maybe darts are really fun! You’ll have to try it for yourself and let me know.

The bar itself is lively, welcoming, and in good spirits. They serve cocktails, beer, and wine, and have a full kitchen. I recommend reserving your dart game in advance, especially on the weekends, but even if you don’t play it’s still fun to check out. Flight Club is open every day of the week until 1 am Friday and Saturday and midnight the rest of the week. 

Related Read: Have a bit more time? Check out our favorite day trips from Perth!

Day 2

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 on Rottnest Island!

Visiting Rottnest Island is such an essential part of a Perth trip that I even included it in this 2-day itinerary! This island is stunning with 63 beaches, clear blue water, and adorable quokkas (see the photo above!). It is also located just 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) from Perth CBD, making it really easy to visit in one day.

You can get to Rottnest on your own or by booking an organized tour. I recommend taking a tour, especially if you’re in a time crunch. If you’d rather go on your own though, you can purchase ferry tickets here for $119 AUD, which includes your port fees. Rottnest is a car-free island, except for the tour shuttles that drive around, so you’ll either need to reserve a spot on one of these or rent a bike to get around.

This is why we like taking an organized tour, they take care of everything for you! We loved this full-day tour to Rottnest Island because it was a good balance of guided tour time and free time to explore on our own. The tour put together our ferry tickets and guided coach tour, so all we had to do was show up at the Barrett Street Jetty and hop on the boat. The views from the ferry were the perfect start to the day, first of the Swan River, and then of the Indian Ocean as we got closer to the island!

Bailey stands on a set of stairs down to a beach on Rottnest Island
Some of the best beaches in Perth are on Rottnest!

Our time on Rottnest started with a 1.5-hour guided coach tour, which we thought was really helpful for getting the lay of the land and learning about its unique history. Our guides took us to the historic Wadjemup Lighthouse, and we learned how the island was first inhabited by the Noongar people, then became an Aboriginal prison, and also a WWII military base. But the best part of the coach tour was finding a huge quokka colony! 

Quokkas are protected animals native to the island, and they are adorable. You can’t touch or feed them, but they are great at taking selfies because it always looks like they are smiling! 

After our coach tour, we stopped for lunch (provided by the tour if you choose that option) and then were off to explore on our own! We had the afternoon to use as we’d like, so we rented bikes and explored for a bit, before cooling off in the water. You’ll find multiple spots to rent snorkel gear, SUPs, and bikes, as well as other restaurants and swimming holes.

There’s actually so much to do on Rottnest Island – read our full guide to visiting here!

We finished the tour by ferrying back to Perth and were wiped from a full day of being out in the sun! But, Rotto (our nickname for the island) is so beautiful and unique to Perth that I can’t think of a better way to wrap up 2 days in the city. 

You can book this tour for $223 AUD, which includes departure from Perth and lunch. There are other options for this tour, so check them out before you book. We thought this was a great deal for a full-day tour, and we aren’t the only ones since this exact tour has over 500 glowing reviews – read them here

Related Read: After visiting Perth, head south to Margaret River. While most people go for wine tasting (including us) check out our full list of the top things to do in Margaret River!

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.

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 Bardipis 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 2-day itinerary, it’s time to find a place to stay in Perth. The Central Business District (CBD) is close to many top Perth city sights, and there is a range of options no matter what your budget is. 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!

Even if you only have two days to explore Perth, I know you’ll enjoy your time! This city is full of gems, from its history, outdoor beauty, and so much to do – I personally never get bored here. This itinerary is short and sweet but hits what I consider to be “can’t miss” Perth sights. Who knows, maybe I’ll even see you when you visit!

Thanks so much for reading, if you found this article helpful be sure to check out our other Australia blogs! We have lived and traveled all over this beautiful country and have lots of tools to help you plan the perfect trip. Here are a few blogs to get your planning started!

25 BEST Things to do in Busselton, Australia

5 BEST Pinnacles Tours from Perth – By a Local!

35 FUN Things to do in Perth, WA