Are you going to Western Australia and looking for the best things to do in Perth? Are you looking for places to visit in Western Australia or best things to do in Western Australia and wondering what to see in Perth? Then you’re in luck, because these are the 14 best things to do in Perth, WA.
In this blog post, I’m going to highlight the best things to do in Perth, WA, the best places to visit in Perth and the best adventures to go on.
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and it is home to 2.6 million people (roughly 77% of the state’s population – crazy!), yet it still holds to that feeling of small town friendliness. When looking for places to visit in Western Australia, city breaks are not often high on the list, but it’s worth it, with its beautiful sandy beaches on one side, ranges for mountain biking on the other, and a whole host of foodie delights, waterfalls, markets, cultural adventures and more best things to do in Perth. Perth is one of the best places to visit in Western Australia, along with Exmouth, and definitely somewhere that should be on your Australia bucket list!
Western Australia takes up over one third of the landmass of Australia, and if it were its own country it would be in the top 10 largest in the world. When planning places to visit in Western Australia, the south west corner of Western Australia is usually high on the list as it offers a unique climate for natural attractions. Nestled in this South West corner, Perth is best known for its sunsets over the ocean (an awesome thing to do in Perth if you’ve never seen an ocean sunset!), the iconic rainbow sea container art installation, and ‘freo’ markets, but there are so many other awesome things to do in Perth, Australia.
Some of the best things to do in Perth, WA, include visiting the world’s largest inner city park (60 hectares larger than Central park in NYC), seeing the smiling quokkas in their only habitat in the world, and experiencing the beauty of the iconic Western Australian Wildflowers to name a few.
Best time to visit Perth, Western Australia…
If you’re looking for places to visit in Western Australia for a sunny escape, Perth gets more sunshine per capita than any other capital in Australia. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t rain! In fact, when you visit, you may notice for yourself that nature works by its own calendar here. Whatever the weather, there are lots of fun things to do in Perth.
The Noongar people, the traditional landowners of the southwest, believe that there are six seasons in this region: Birak (dry and hot), Bunuru (the hottest part of the year), Djeran (cooler weather), Makuru (coldest and wettest), Djilba (mix of wet days, pleasantly warm days and clear cold nights), and Kambarang (longer dry periods).
Western Australia also boasts spectacular natural events and attractions but these are often for a short window of time. Along with the weather, the natural wonders of the Southwest of Australia also follow their own calendar. So definitely keep both weather and seasonal events in mind when planning places to visit in Western Australia.
The best things to do in Perth definitely change depending on the time of the year that you are visiting. if you are planning a visit between September- November Wildflower season is one of the bucket list things to do in Western Australia, whereas if you’re in Western Australia between March-April then be sure to go whale watching for the iconic Blue Whales. For more on the different seasons and the different things to see including dolphin swimming, humpback whales, tulip season and more, check out Destination Perth’s guide to Natures Calendar.
While some of the best things to do in Perth are seasonal, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a whole lot of fun things to do in Perth all year round! Let’s dive into some of the most awesome things to do in Perth, rain, hail or shine…
Top things to do in Perth, Western Australia…
Fremantle, or locally named ‘Freo’, is a hub for cuisine, coffee, nightlife and the iconic Fremantle Markets. These markets have been in operation since 1897 and have crowned themselves ‘western Australia’s ultimate market experience’ (and I have to say I agree that this is one of the best places to visit in Western Australia when it comes to markets!). One of the best things to do in Perth is to wander your way through an array of artisan crafts, jewellery, homeware, fashion and of course the best of Western Australia’s seasonal produce and food stalls, losing yourself in the smells and the sights.
It’s a great place to soak up the market atmosphere, grab a bite to eat and pick up that souvenir you have been looking for! The markets are open Friday-Sunday 9 am-6 pm.
2. Take a day trip to Rottnest Island to see the quokkas
Rottnest island, or ‘rotto’ as it has become known (Perth loves adding an ‘o’ to things!), was actually once connected to Perth. Seven thousand years later it is now separated by 19 km of ocean and has gained notoriety as a nature reserve with its abundance of unique flora and fauna, marine life, and pristine beaches. Boasting 63 beaches and 20 bays, this is one of the perfect places to visit in Western Australia to come snorkel, relax and recharge and see the friendly neighbourhood marsupial: the quokka.
Quokkas are predominantly nocturnal animals and have only started becoming more active in the daylight due to availability of food from tourists. This is all a bit sad (not to mention not very good for our furry friends!), so if you’re heading to the island to capture the Western Australia bucket list selfie, just be mindful to not perpetuate this by feeding them. They are only found in this one corner of the world, we want to keep them safe!
Quokkas can be found very densely in the main township on the island. However, they can also be found in more wild and beautiful places throughout the island. There is a bus that goes around but one of the best things to do in Perth is to cycle the 22km circuit, which can take anywhere between 2-5 hours depending on how many stops you make!
You can catch a ferry from Fremantle across to Rottnest island for the day for around $73 per person return, and you can opt to add bike hire for an additional $22.
3. Visit Fremantle prison
Fremantle prison was in commission as a high-security gaol for over 140 years and was only decommissioned in 1991. As the largest convict built structure in Western Australia, in 2010 it became the first building in WA to be included on the World Heritage list.
Since 1992 it has been a hub for tourists looking for things to do in Western Australia to come to learn about life behind bars, take a step into the lives of some of the prison’s past tenants and immerse themselves in the history of this site. The tours are often rated as one of the best things to do in Perth (for only $22 per adult!) and if you’re feeling brave, you can also book a night at the fremantle prison YHA hostel for a west coast Australia bucket list night in one of the original prison cells!
4. Find your next summer read at Perth’s oldest bookshop
If you’re a book lover or just looking for a great deal on a summer read, Elizabeth’s Secondhand bookstore has a little something for everyone and is definitely a fun thing to do in Perth. With three locations over the city, this second-hand bookstore is overflowing (literally) with classics and modern titles alike. It’s definitely a sight to see and an awesome thing to do in Perth for any book lover!
5. Sit back and smell the Wildflowers at the world’s largest inner-city park
Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 wildflower species and there are so many places in Western Australia to enjoy these beautiful vibrant flowers. Kings Park is the largest inner city park in the world and is one of the best places in Western Australia to see them first hand. This 17-hectare botanic garden is home to over 3,000 species of flowering plants and can be explored on foot through self-guided walking trails, all while enjoying the sweeping views overlooking the city.
If you find yourself in Perth for September, be sure to check out the annual Kings park festival that showcases the world’s biggest display of Western Australian Wildflowers that kicks off spring in Perth. This festival with its range of guided walks, native gardening workshops, flower photography workshops, photography competitions and exhibitions, is definitely high on the list of things to do in Western Australia during September.
6. Hike Lesmurdie Falls
Lesmurdie falls national park is a 45 minute drive from Perth, and home to one of the many beautiful hikes and waterfalls in the region. While there are a few different short walks to choose from, the most popular is the Lesmudie brooke loop. This short 1.5 km trail starts at the top of the falls, and features a series of metal platforms that you can view the falls from above, all while taking in a beautiful view looking back at the city.
The trail continues down a moderately easy dirt track and winds its way down to the base. The trail is a little rough in places but the view from the bottom is beautiful. While this is best enjoyed in winter and spring for the wildflower season, if it’s a warm day, or you want to cool off after your hike, be sure to make the scramble across the rocks where you can cool off in a small pool at the end.
7. Go mountain biking
Mountain biking is a growing sport and definitely a contender for the best things to do in Western Australia. Just 40 minutes drive from Perth are some of the most popular mountain bike trails in the state. With over 40 km of fully signed single track trails ranging from green to black, whether you’re a mountain bike fanatic or curious to give it a go, Kalamunda has a great network of trails for everyone.
The trails are free to use, and you can rent a bike for $85 for one day from one of the local shops in Kalamunda. This is definitely high on my list of fun things to do in Perth!
8. Learn about Perth’s history and culture at WA museum Boola Bardip
Boola Bardip means ‘many stories’ in Whadjuk Nyoongar; the country where the museum sits. This Western Australia museum opened in November 2020 and was designed as a space for exhibitions to explore and celebrate Western Australia ‘our people, our places and our role in the world’. At the museum you can explore exhibits on the formation of the universe, WA inventions, extinct species as well as the state’s diverse communities.
Throughout the museum you can also find stories and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people, recognising their cultural heritage. This is one of the budget friendly things to do in Western Australia as this museum is free to enter, with costs only for certain exhibits. These are just a few reasons why Boola Bardip should be on your list of things to do in Perth!
9. Eat to your heart’s content
Whether it’s a scoop of gelato from the legends at Gusto in Elizabeth Quay or a full six course Vegan menu at Mother Freemantle, some of the best things to do in Perth, WA are best served on a plate (or cone)! If you’re looking for cheap eats be sure to check out toast face grillah who claim theirs to be the best toastie you’ll ever have for $5 a pop.
If you’re looking for a meal to remember, check out Wildflower. The 4-6 course tasting menu honours the Noongar people and their six seasons by using the local south west resources on a seasonal calendar. This of all the unique and fun things to do in Perth, this contemporary Australian tasting menu is quite pricey and starts at $135 pp for 4 courses, but if you can spare the change, there is really no other place like it and is definitely one of the best things to do in Perth when it comes to foodie delight!
10. Marvel at the iconic Fremantle crate rainbow
This ‘rainbow’ of recycled sea containers was designed by prominent perth artist Marcus Canning and installed in 2016. Standing at 9 metres high, 19 metres long and weighing roughly 66 tonnes, this hard to miss art installation serves to acknowledge the artistic and maritime history of Fremantle, and is often on the list of things to do in Western Australia.
While it is placed next to a highway, grabbing a camera for a quick photo with the rainbow is still on my list of fun things to do in Perth regardless. The best way to get there is to either catch a bus or train to Fremantle and walk the 1.6 km to the art installation, or if you’re driving, park on beach street and walk up the ramp behind the cafe and public toilets.
11. Go wine tasting in Swan Valley
Swan Valley, just a short 25 minute drive from Perth, is a hilly paradise steeped in Indigenous and Mediterranean migration history, bathed in sunshine for most of the year. While this region is best known for its wineries and classic ‘Chenin Blanc’ wine, the swan valley is also home to fine artists, chocolatiers, as well as honey and nougat makers.
If one of your bucket list things to do in Western Australia is to check out a few wineries, then Swan Valley should definitely be on your list of best things to do in Perth. Touring the wineries you can either book in for a tour or hire a bike to make your way around the heritage cycle trail. Choose from three routes of 4km, 30 km or 32km winds its way through the wineries, galleries and cafes on offer in the beautiful swan valley.
12. Go for a cold dip with Cold Nips!
Familiar with Wim Hoff and the benefits of cold plunges? Then be sure to add Cold Nips to your list of best things to do in Perth! This local group event gathers like minded diehards every week to one of the many beautiful Perth beaches to enjoy a cold ocean dip and soak up the benefits of plunging.
This usually happens on a weekday and the location and time are announced online the week prior, so be sure to check out their Facebook or Instagram for the latest meetup details.
13. Enjoy Perth’s growing small batch coffee roasters scene
If you are a coffee lover, then Perth’s coffee scene will not disappoint. While Australia is known for their coffee, and Melbourne holds the title of best in Australia, Perth is coming in hot behind them with their ever growing collection of small batch coffee roasters.
Heading to one of these local roasters to try their own unique blends was a highlight of my trip and definitely an awesome thing to do in Perth if you are a coffee fan. Some of the best places to visit in Perth were Grouch and Co. who do a tasting flight of their three main roasts for $12 and Twin Peaks Roasters who offer tastings on Saturdays at their headquarters.
14. Enjoy Perth’s beautiful coastline
Enjoying a scenic bike ride or walk along Perth’s incredibly scenic coastline is high on the list of the most fun things to do in Perth. Cottesloe Beach is a great place to go for a ride and a wander to experience one of the city’s most famous beaches.
If you’re after a more relaxed atmosphere, try going for the Burns beach coastal walking track. This 9km Track runs from Burns beach to Mullaloo beach, with plenty of toilets and water stops along the way, it’s a great place to take a morning walk or to bike along while soaking up the panoramic views.