Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and for those lucky enough to live or travel here, it is where you will likely begin your explorations of this amazing state. There are so many things to do in Perth that it’s hard to narrow it down to 20.
There’s something for everyone here, including plenty of things to do in Perth with kids. Make every weekend awesome by going down the list once a week and exploring something new.
I grew up in the south west of Australia and have spent many years living in Perth and constantly exploring this beautiful city and state. I hope you love it just as much as I do and are inspired to get out and enjoy all the wonderful things this city has to offer.
Once you’ve finished exploring these fun things to do in Perth and are looking further afield, check out the best weekend getaways from Perth to plan your next weekend break.
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20 Best Things to do in Perth, Western Australia
A perhaps little-known fact is that this beautiful inner-city park is one of the largest in the world. Bigger than both Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London, it has a huge area of native bushland crisscrossed with walking trails, as well as containing the Western Australian Botanic Garden.
Sitting atop a large hill overlooking the city, you get amazing views of the city centre and the sparkling Swan River as it snakes through the city. There are many beautiful spots to spread a picnic mat or you can enjoy a coffee at the café after exploring the gallery.
The walks through Kings Park are among the best Perth has to offer and there are also guided walks on offer that will teach you about native flora, fauna and history. There are so many places to explore in the park but some top spots are:
- The Lotterywest Federation Walkway
- The State War Memorial
- Kaarta Gar-up Viewpoint
- The DNA tower
- The Rio Tinto Naturescape
- The May Drive Parklands
Hit The Beach
Perth is blessed with some of the best beaches in the country, if not the world. You really are spoiled for choice with most of the coastline being easily accessible from the city. Even on busy days the main beaches closest to the city have plenty of space for everyone.
Perth beaches offer a quiet and tranquil vibe with development being limited for the most part. There are still plenty of shops to get some fish and chips or a drink but you really feel like you’re on holiday when you look around and all you can see is sand, sea and trees.
There are so many beaches it is hard to be specific however many have nearby businesses offering surfing lessons, kite-surfing lessons (Perth is a top kite-surfing destination), stand-up paddle board hire and snorkelling/diving. Check out our list of the best beaches in Perth to help make your selection easier!
There is a different beach that best suits each activity so do some research and you will find that Perth has the perfect beach for you, no matter your choice of oceanic activities.
Hike The Hills
Perth lies on a fairly flat area called the Swan Coastal Plain. The eastern border of this plain rises into the Darling Scarp, which is an ancient geological fault stretching far along the coast north to south. This is what is known locally as the ‘Perth Hills’ and offers a perfect escape from the city for half a day or more.
The best way to explore the hills is on foot and there are plenty of great hikes to choose from. See here for some of the best hikes in Perth, all tried and tested, with details and instructions so you can find the perfect one to suit your timeframe and ability level.
There are plenty of country style pubs, bakeries and forested picnic areas to enjoy after you’ve worked up an appetite. Whilst out in the hills make sure to look up attractions in the area where you are hiking so you can make the most of the drive out there. The article linked about list some of the nearby attractions to each hike.
Escape To Rottnest Island
After taking a ferry from Fremantle, you will feel like you have been transported far from the stress and commotion of city life. The tranquil, turquoise seascapes and perfect white sand beaches of Rottnest are a lovely escape for a day or even a whole week.
You don’t have to stay overnight as there are many ferries running all day and into the early evening. You can pack a backpack, grab a bike on the other side and spend a day cycling around finding stunning little bays to yourself and adorable little quokkas to befriend.
The best thing to do however is to make the most of your trip by booking a couple of nights on the island. Once you’re here you really won’t want to leave and this way you get to take in the stunning island sunset and the chilled evening vibes of the Rottnest Hotel. Check out the hotel Karma Rottnest, this is where we usually stay when we go.
For a detailed guide of all the things to do on the island and the best places to eat, drink and stay, check out our full Rottnest Island day trip itinerary. Ferry costs vary by date and time and there are multiple companies so it is hard to provide accurate information. A quick google search will provide the answers you seek (we always use Rottnest Express).
Explore The River – Sail, Kayak, SUP
The meandering Swan River cuts right through the heart of the city and offers many opportunities for fun and adventures. Being on the water gives you a new perspective on the surrounding scenery and the tranquillity of bobbing down the river at sunrise or sunset is unbeatable.
Funcats Watersports in South Perth offers hire of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, but best of all are the hobby-cats. These small 2 person sailing boats allow you and a couple friends to harness the power of the wind to fly around the river with the city rising as a perfect backdrop on the opposite bank.
If slow travel and relaxation are more your thing then check out Nauti Picnics. This company rents out electric boats, with a picnic table in the middle surrounded by comfy cushions, which allow you and a group of friends to slowly explore the river while you feast. No skippers’ ticket is required.
Explore The Swan Valley
You really can’t beat Perth for having everything you need to live a great life, not least of which is an historic wine region right on its doorstep! The Swan Valley has been growing grapes since the early colonial days and today is filled with family run businesses producing both wine and table grapes.
There is still loads to do here for those less interested in wine, with artisan food producers, breweries, cider producers and art galleries all over. The valley is surrounded by a beautiful landscape with some lovely parks to visit for a hike or picnic.
To properly explore this region, we would highly recommend a winery tour, this way you can make the most of your day and not have to worry about driving. Tours can be arranged via road but for a unique and wonderfully relaxing experience you should consider a boat trip up the Swan!
Caversham Wildlife Park
Australia has some of the most unique and beautiful wildlife in the world and it’s always so much fun to get up close and personal with the various creatures. When looking for an experience interacting with native wildlife, you want to make sure that your money is going to the right place and you are supporting a park with high standards of animal welfare.
Caversham Wildlife Park in Perth’s northern suburbs is one of these places. The ticket price might be a little more that other parks but the place is huge and the layout is beautiful. On top of this the animals are all very well looked after by the passionate staff and the enclosures are large and well decorated. This is one of the best kids activities in Perth.
The park is open from 9:30am to 4pm every day. Entry is $30 for adults and $14 for children. This includes photos with koalas, feeding kangaroos, getting up close with snakes, birds and wombats and farm shows. Expect to spend at least a few hours here to get the full experience.
With some great parks, a huge stretch of riverfront, many beaches and a wine valley to boot; there’s no shortage of great picnic spots in Perth. Invest in a picnic basket that has everything you need conveniently packed away then all you have to do is buy some goodies and pick a spot.
We’ve written an article showing some of the best picnic spots in Perth, but you will never run out of new places even if you have a couple of picnics a week like us! It sometimes seems like an effort to get outside and organise it all, but it’s always worth it when you’re watching a beautiful sunset and sipping a delicious local wine.
If the picnic mat and basket really aren’t your thing then during summer head down to the South Perth StrEATS. Right on the foreshore surrounded by beautiful parkland and with the best views of the city skyline, a range of delicious food trucks are set up and there are tables all ready for you. It’s like the location and vibe of a picnic but none of the effort!
The port city of Fremantle was once independent from Perth but has long since been absorbed into the ever-expanding metropolitan area. Fremantle has maintained many of it’s heritage buildings from the Victorian era and is a great place to explore the maritime and colonial history of Australia.
There are loads of amazing bars and restaurants here so you might want to take the train. One of Perth’s best bars is situated right on the waterfront here, called Bathers Beach House, it allows you to have a drink while lazing on a beach chair. Right next door are some of Perth’s best fish and chip shops, check out the classic Cicerello’s Fremantle.
Fremantle has real character which distinguishes it from the rest of Perth, you will want to plan for a full day to explore this beautiful area. Some of the top sights which you shouldn’t miss include:
- The W.A. Maritime Museum – A very well laid out and interesting museum, you can even explore the inside of an old submarine!
- Fremantle Prison – Dating from the colonial era and a UNESCO world heritage site, you can now take tours and if you want an extra special experience there is a super spooky night tour.
- Fremantle Markets – Housed in a building dating from the late 1800s, there are many beautiful artisan food and goods stands to explore. A great place to grab lunch during your explorations.
Find more awesome things to see and do in Fremantle by checking out our guide. See the link below for a fully guided tour of Fremantle’s highlights.
Take a Day Trip
Lancelin and Yanchep
Lancelin is a small beachside town about 1.5 hours north of Perth. The town has a beautiful coastline, but the highlight here is the huge sand dunes and all the fun stuff you can do on them. The dunes are made up of beautiful white beach sand and tower up over the town and surrounding scrubland.
The best thing to do in Lancelin is rent a sandboard at one of the local shops and drag it up to the top before flying down and trying not to eat a face-full of sand! You can also arrange quad bike and buggy tours around the dunes, which is a super fun experience. Quad tours also often include sandboarding in the price.
If getting sand everywhere really puts you off then you can also hire stand up paddle boards and surfboards and explore the beautiful beaches instead.
On the way back to Perth you will pass through Yanchep National Park. There are many beautiful walks here, including a koala boardwalk where you can spot koalas in the trees. You can also see a whole bunch of other wildlife around the park.
There are many caves in the park, with Crystal Cave and Yonderup Cave being the most accessible. You can take guided tours into the caves and there is also a high ropes treetop experience for the kids. If caves aren’t you thing then relax at the beautiful pub right there in the park whilst the kids zip through the treetops.
Pinnacles Desert and Cervantes
The strange limestone pillars of the Pinnacles Desert are an iconic landmark of Western Australia. Situated 2 hours’ drive north of Perth and just off the highway you will find the entrance to the self-guided drive.
The cool thing about this attraction is that they’ve build a winding road through the landscape, so you can slowly drive through and stop whenever you want to have a closer look. There is also plenty of parking at the main entrance so you can just leave the car and complete the easy 1.5km walk if you prefer to get some exercise.
After exploring the landscape, you can visit the Pinnacles Discovery Centre to learn about the geology and history of the area. There is a café on site to re-fuel before moving on. The beachside town of Cervantes is just 15 minutes further up the road. Here you can visit the Lobster Shack and learn about the fishing industry before eating some delicious fresh lobster.
A visit to the town of Mandurah makes an easy day trip from Perth. It’s only an hour south of the city and has a whole host of things to do to keep you occupied for a day. The town sits along a river and is centred upon an attractive marina and a canal system lined with many beautiful homes.
You can kayak or cruise around the canals and estuary for a relaxing start to the day, or if you want a little more adrenaline then hire a jet ski and fly around the estuary instead! Another great experience on the water is a dolphin tour, the waters around Mandurah have a large population of dolphins and is one of the best places to spot these beautiful creatures.
Also check out Ranger Red’s Zoo and Conservation Park to get up close and personal with more Aussie wildlife. Whilst there you can explore some of the beautiful surrounding forests. Once you’ve tired yourself out then head to the marina to explore the many great restaurants and bars where you can relax and unwind before heading back to the city.
Have a Drink at a Unique Bar
Perth’s bar scene has exploded in the last 5 years or so, with small bars and micro-breweries opening up all over the city. There are many places with a great atmosphere and who have amazing menus and make amazing beer. Here however I am focussing on those bars that are unique or offer something really special.
My favourite pub in Perth has to be Clancy’s City Beach. There are a few places where you can get ocean views with your drink but this has to be the best. Sitting right above the sand of probably the best beach in Perth, the views mixed with the ice-cold craft beer are heavenly.
For a unique experience in the Perth Hills, check out the Last Drop Elizabethan Pub and Village. As the name suggests it is styled like an old half-timbered English country pub and looks great both inside and out. The beer garden is also extensive and actually in amongst a garden!
If you’re more into the inner-city bar scene then check out Wolf Lane. This is a small bar right in the city and down a laneway bearing the same name. There are actually several bars around here and all are nice, but the antique furniture and beautiful murals decorating the walls give this place a special ambiance.
Catch a Flick at an Outdoor Cinema
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Perth is blessed with amazing weather most of the year but especially during summer when the evenings are almost always warm and dry. Given this fact, there are a number of venues where you can watch a movie in the fresh evening air. Many are byo so you can enjoy whatever snacks and drinks you wish to bring and combine the evening with a nice picnic.
For the byo picnic and drinks options, the not-for-profit Telethon organisation has cinemas in Burswood, Murdoch, Bassendean and Joondalup. Another option located right in the beautiful Kings Park is the Moonlight Cinema.
There are several other options which are licenced venues so no byo. Luna Palace Cinemas have an outdoor cinema in both Leederville and Mosman Park which often show arthouse or older films. For a unique experience check out Rooftop Movies in the city, where you can relax back on a comfy beanbag and watch cult flicks while surrounded by the Perth cityscape.
Just off the coast of Rockingham is a small island that is teeming with wildlife. As the name suggests you can see wild penguins, which are the world’s smallest and the only species to live in Australian waters year-round. There are regular feedings by wildlife rangers so you can get up close and personal.
This isn’t the only attraction on the island either, you can swim with wild dolphins and sea lions, as well as hire kayaks and snorkelling gear to explore the ocean. There are coastal boardwalks in the area with some of the best walks in Perth and at the right time of year you can even spot whales.
You can book a ferry across to the island as well as guided wildlife tours here. There’s a café on the island to re-fuel or you can byo picnic. The island is open every day from 15th September to early June. Ferries depart hourly from 9am until 3pm and it is just a 5 minute ride.
AQWA and Hillary’s Boat Harbour
Hillary’s Boat Harbour is a marina about 25 minutes from the centre of Perth, featuring large boardwalks lined with restaurants and shops. There are many great places to eat and drink and loads of activities for the kids, including a beach, aqua park and fun fair.
The coastline around the marina is stunning and great for snorkelling or swimming. The highlight of the area however is the Aquarium of Western Australia, or AQWA. Inside here you will see all sorts of beautiful coral and sea life. The defining feature is a conveyor belt that you can stand on and which takes you through an underwater tunnel made entirely of glass!
There are all sorts of large sea creatures swimming around above you like sharks, sting rays and big fish. If you are really brave then you can arrange to scuba dive in the tank and meet some sharks up close!
Adult entry is $30 and children are $18, with discounted packages for families. The aquarium is open Mon-Fri 9am to 3pm and Weekends from 9am to 4pm.
Visit the Perth Cultural Centre (WA Museum and WA Art Gallery)
The Perth Cultural Centre is an open space that sits just at the eastern edge of the CBD. It is easily accessible by public transport and a short walk from the city centre. This space often hosts events and temporary exhibitions and details of what is currently on can be found on the official website.
The space is also home to the W.A Museum which has had a very recent expansion into a large and attractive new space. They have a permanent collection of displays about the history and culture of Western Australia as well as hosting occasional visiting exhibitions.
You can also visit the W.A. Art Gallery whilst here, which hosts a fantastic collection of Australian and Indigenous artwork. Looking at the historical paintings of the Australian landscape is so interesting and if you are a visitor to Australia then you should take the time to see the unique and fascinating indigenous artwork and visual stories.
Entrance to both the museum and art gallery are free although they appreciate donations. The museum is open 9am to 5pm. The art gallery is open 10am to 5pm. There are many bars, cafes and other food options in and around the cultural centre.
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For the kids and those of us who are young at heart, Perth’s premiere science education centre is a place of wonder and fantastic memories. I have always remembered my first trip here as a child and the sense of wonder and love of science has always stayed with me.
There are a large number of both permanent and temporary exhibitions and the entire place is hugely interactive and fun. There are also frequently special workshops and shows for the kids. There are also the hugely popular live science shows which use physical science to make all sorts of amazing visual effects right in front of the crowd.
Located on site is also the largest planetarium in the southern hemisphere. A huge 180-degree dome shaped theatre which displays amazing videos of the universe and other subjects. Find out what’s currently happening at Scitech here.
Scitech is open from 9:30am to 4pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on weekends. Tickets are $19 for adults and $12 for children.
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Hidden away up in the hills about 40 minutes east of Perth is the oldest observatory in W.A.
This facility has been operating for over 120 years and continues to take part in international research and observations.
Right on Perth’s doorstep you can have a really unique and wonderful astrological experience with one of the several tours offered by the observatory. Nothing ignites a sense of wonder like seeing amazing nebulae and galaxies with your own eyes (and the aid of a super powerful telescope of course!)
This is a great experience to combine with a late afternoon hike in the hills. Around the observatory are also a number of wineries and a cidery, as well as an excellent Italian restaurant named La Fattoria.
Tour times vary with the time of year, however there are tours available year-round. See the website for details and bookings.
Aviation Heritage Museum
This is a little-known gem and I wouldn’t be surprised if many locals haven’t even heard of it. The museum is located in the suburb of Bull Creek and is easily accessible just off the freeway or via the Bull Creek train station.
As soon as you walk in to the museum you are greeted by the prime attraction, a huge Lancaster Bomber smack bang in the middle of the floor! You are able to access parts of the interior and they also offer virtual reality experiences inside the plane.
There are many other planes and components to look at as well as many informative historical displays. This is a great place to visit to see some of the history of aviation and thoroughly enjoyable even if you aren’t necessarily a plane enthusiast.
The museum entrance fee is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children. They are open from 10am to 4pm daily.
River Promenade and Elizabeth Quay
Take a stroll down Perth’s beautiful palm lined promenade, which runs along the river side of the city, for amazing views of the city on one side and river views on the other. You can complete an amazing miniature bar crawl by starting on Heirisson Island, heading to The Point Bar and Grill before following the promenade to Elizabeth Quay.
Heirisson Island is like a mini nature reserve located on an island in the middle of the river. There is a local population of kangaroos that you can spot hopping around the bushland.
The Point Bar and Grill is tucked away in a little corner of bushland just after you cross the bridge from the island and has super comfy lounges where you can enjoy a drink with great river views.
From here it’s about a 2.2km walk along the gorgeous Swan River to reach Elizabeth Quay, the beautifully designed marina, surrounded by things to see. Nearby are the supreme court gardens and the iconic Perth bell tower, whilst within the marina you can many attractive sights and places to eat and drink.
The small artificial island and the bridge have great views back onto the cityscape and there is a really nice pub on the island where you can refresh after the walk. There is a water park and carousel for the kids, so dress them in some swimmers if they are the type to love getting wet.
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Perth does indeed have its very own theme park, with some 25 different rides and landscaped gardens/themed areas. Located in the southern suburb of Bibra Lake, about 25 minutes’ drive from Perth. It might not be the biggest park in the world, but I still have some great memories from visits here and there are rides to suit all ages.
The entrance fee includes all the rides and the food and drink on site is not badly priced, however you are welcome to bring your own picnic to enjoy on one of the many nice grassy areas. For the adults there is a licenced café where you can relax whilst the kids run themselves ragged.
Where to Stay in Perth
Perth offers plenty of great locations to base yourself for the duration of your stay. Depending on what you plan do while you’re in town, there’s something to suit everyone. Find some of the best locations and highly rated accommodation options in Perth below.
City Centre – Stay central for easy access to all of Perth’s main attractions. Here are some popular options in the heart of the CBD:
Beachfront – If you’re seeking a perfect oceanfront view, or perhaps you’d like to hit the beach every day, here are some beautifully located beachfront accommodations:
- Ocean Beach Hotel
- Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough
- Seashells Scarborough
- Quality Resort Sorrento Beach
Fremantle – Stay in the trendy port city of Fremantle if you’d like to be surrounded by a vibrant cafe, restaurant and bar scene. You can’t go wrong with any of these options:
- Esplanade Hotel Fremantle
- Fremantle Bed & Breakfast
- Hougoumont Hotel Fremantle
- National Hotel Fremantle
South Perth – Stay south of the river for some peace and quiet away from the bustle of the city but still close enough to access it easily. Here are some great options in and around the South Perth area:
See More Of WA On a Road Trip
- 11-day Perth to Esperance road trip
- 10-day Perth to Exmouth road trip
- 5-day Perth to Kalbarri road trip
- 2-day Perth to Wave Rock road trip
- 5-day Perth to Albany road trip
- 1-3 Day Perth to Busselton Road Trip
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