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Perth Travel Guide
Perth Travel Guide

Perth travel guide — best free things to do, what to see

Perth is fringed by the outback making the journey to Perth, from the eastern seaboard (Melbourne or Sydney) seem infinite.  Perth is worth the journey.  A vibrant multicultural city with the outback as its neighbour is the gateway to the Margaret River wine trail,  Western Australia Southern Forests, Broome and the Kimberleys.

TIP: If you have limited time I suggest you fly from your previous Australian destination.

The Central Business District of Perth straddles the banks of the Swan River, its skyscrapers shimmering in the glare of the sun. This is the commercial and economic heart of the city with shopping opportunities.  The centre is home to some of its major cultural attractions like the Bell Tower, Perth Mint, His Majesty’s Theatre and Kings Park, an oasis of serenity after a hard day’s sightseeing.

Perth districts

Northbridge, which is located just outside the central district, is Perth’s entertainment and cultural mecca. 

Decidedly lower-key than Northbridge, Subiaco is a thriving cosmopolitan district with numerous cafés, restaurants, boutiques, theatres.  It is home to the Subiaco Oval, the birthplace of Australian Rules football.

Or why not take a cruise down the Swan River to heritage Fremantle?

Photo by Josh Spires

What is the best time to visit?

Spring (September  November )with its cooler temperatures. 

Summer (Dec – March) is scorching.

Autumn and winter are comfortable due to the mild climate.  

Winter, from June to August, is mild, the average of the coldest months, July and August, is about 12/13 °C (54/55 °F).   Layers are recommended due to appearance of sea breezes during the cooler months. 

During your visit remember to carry sunscreen and insect repellent

 

Weather

http://www.bom.gov.au/wa/forecasts/perth.shtml

Highlights:

  • Take a dip in the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean at Cottesloe Beach
  • Meet the world’s cutest marsupial and selfie sensation, the quokka, on Rottnest Island
  • Discover laneway bars in multicultural Northbridge
  • Explore Perth’s art scene
  • Swan River cruise
  • Swan Valley wine trail
  • Escape to heritage Fremantle

Awesome journeys and day trips from Perth

Culture & Arts

Perth is isolated, yet its regional museums are world-class, often with an array of volunteers supporting their exhibitions.  Western Australia has an extraordinary depth in the visual arts scene, as illustrated by over 250+ galleries and artists studios located in Perth and Western Australia. The Outback and the  varied coastal and inland landscapes, the isolation and the light. While the Pilbara and the Kimberley are home to aboriginal art.   Margaret River has become a regional mecca for art and multimedia expression.

Museums

Western Australia Museum

Is the doyen of museum collections.  Under its wing are the following museums, WA Martime Museum, Museum of Geraldton, Museum of the Great Souther and Pop Up Museum locations. Currently under refurbishment check the WA Museum website for up to date information. No entry fee applies.

WA Shipwrecks Museum

45 Cliff St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Museum of the Goldfields

17 Hannan St, Kalgoorlie WA 6430, Australia

Motor Museum of Western Australia

Whiteman Park 223a Drumpellier (Entry also from, Beechboro Rd N, Whiteman WA 6068, Australia

Army Museum of WA

Artillery Barracks Burt St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Museum of Performing Arts

825 Hay St, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Scitech

City West centre, Sutherland St, West Perth WA 6005, Australia

Aviation Heritage Museum

Air Force Memorial Estate, 2 Bull Creek Dr, Bull Creek WA 6149, Australia

Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle

Victoria Quay, Peter Hughes Dr, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Fremantle Prison

1 The Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Museum of Perth

8-10 The Esplanade, Perth WA 6000, Australia

WACA Museum

Gate 2 Nelson Cres, East Perth WA 6004, Australia

Western Australian Medical Museum, a former maternity hospital is located in  the heritage-listed Harvey House in Subiaco. Traditional Aboriginal medical practices,  the original X-ray Department at King Edward Memorial Hospital, early pharmaceuticals or the Royal Flying Doctor, the Medical Museum offers an integrating assortment of instruments and ethnographic exhibits.  The Museum recommends 

Galleries

Kidogo Arthouse

Bathers Beach, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

John Curtin Gallery

Curtin University, Building 200A, Kent St, Bentley WA 6102, Australia

Heathcote Museum and Gallery

58 Duncraig Rd, Applecross WA 6153, Australia

Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery

46 Henry St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

PS Art Space

22 Pakenham St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Japingka

47 High St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Art Gallery of WA

Perth Cultural Centre Roe St, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts

51 James St, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Art Collective

565 Hay St, Perth WA 6000, Australia

GARDENS & PARKS

Kings Park and Botanical Garden

Fraser Ave, Perth WA 6005, Australia

Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences

Cloisters Square, Box 7689, Perth WA 6850, Australia

Beaches

The city’s top coastal hang-out is Cottesloe beach, a kilometre-long ribbon of white sand backed by dunes and Norfolk pines. It’s around 20 minutes from the centre by rail or bus, and features a striking art deco teahouse above the beach.   The shallow waters are turquoise, with white sands reaching from sea to sky.   In March Sculpture by the Sea transforms Cottesloe’s foreshore into an outdoor gallery.

Mettams Pool has its snorkelling reef, Leighton Beach has blindingly white sand and rip-free water.  Trigg Beach is family friendly with a large grass area and playground.  North Beach has rock pools to explore.

Getting around

Hop on and Hop off Bus As always an excellent introduction to a city’s major attractions complete with a city map of where to go.

Within the city centre there is a free CAT bus service. The CAT buses run on four circular routes around the city. These services are also available within the city of Fremantle.

You can also utilise free travel with Perth City’s ‘Free Travel Zone’. This allows you to travel on a Transperth bus or train within the limits of the free zone. For travel outside the free zone you can buy a ticket from the bus driver or the Transperth InfoCentre.

The free travel zones on the trains are City West on the Fremantle line and Claisebrook on the Midland and Armadale line. Tickets can be purchased from machines at each station or you can use your SmartRider to tag on and off. DayRiders and FamilyRider tickets are also available.

Perth transport options, together with where tickets can be purchased, route maps for cyclists are at your fingertips.  Perth city guide describes, “Bike hire Kings Park

See Kings Park on two wheels thanks to Spinway WA who have a bike hire vending machine business facility located behind Frasers Restaurant. Cycling is permitted on all roads in Kings Park, but restricted to designated pedestrian / cycle paths only.   River Loop Cycle Route

Jumping on a bike and riding the Swan River bridges is one of the most scenic and iconic Perth activities. Stop at beautiful parklands, restaurants and cafes along the way as you take in the beautiful Perth climate and the spectacular Swan River.  

This 45min to 1 hour ride will take you along the South Perth and Victoria Park foreshores, the Burswood Peninsula to Optus Stadium, into Claisebrook Cove, Point Fraser and Elizabeth Quay. There are multiple crossing points at any of the Swan River bridges: the Narrows, the Causeway, Matagarup Bridge and Windan Bridge.”

Ferries to Fremantle or across the river to South Perth depart from Barrack Street Jetty located on the river foreshore. The ferry from Rottnest Island leaves from Fremantle, Hilary’s and Barrack Street Jerry.

Perth day trips: Fremantle

“Freo” is Perth’s free-spirited little sibling, reachable via a half-hour train journey along the coast. It’s an integral part of the Perth experience, with streets of warm, stuck-in-time facades and a  good choice of food and drink establishments.  Check out Fremantle weekend guide for tips on what to see and do.

  • Wildflower (Spring) Avon Valley covers the area from Beverley, in the south to New Norcia in the north.  Pioneer history is reflected in towns such as York.  
  • Arrive hungry in the benedictine community of New Norcia and sample artisan treats such as nut cake and breads baked in the monastery’s century-old wood-fired oven. Quench your thirst with Abbey Ale, aged in the cellars beneath the monastery. 
  • If you have extra time, consider driving the PUBLIC Silo Trail to see intricate large-scale murals painted on towering grain silos.  An overnight stay should be considered to fully immerse yourself in rural Western Australia heritage towns. 
  • Busselton jetty.  The focal point is the world’s longest wooden pier.  Stroll along the jetty or take the cute, red, 50-seat train to the end, where there’s an underwater observatory, accessed via a spiral stairway. You’ll even find an Australian first here: a dining experience eight metres (26 feet) below the ocean’s surface. As you wander along the jetty, keep an eye out for dolphins in Geographe Bay. From September to early December, migrating whales also use the bay to rest and nurse their young.  Busselton is over 2 hours one way from Perth.  Check out top family beaches for inspiration
  • Swan Valley wine trail is a 30 minute drive from Perth.  The food and wine trail is approximately 40km of vineyards, boutique farms, local galleries, craft breweries and cafes.  Check out the article on Swan Valley wine trail for ideas.
  • Rottnest Island.  A 30 minute ferry ride to the former penal reserve is quokka central, tiny cute marsupials perfect selfie animals.
  • Eyre Peninsula known for its seafood foodie culture is a must visit destination for lovers of all things oyster.  Check out extended weekend itinerary for ideas about your food & feast trip.   

Walking 

Walking self-guided tours is another way to explore the city.  Check out the link to decide whether a route map of gardens, historic focus or shops and galleries is going to be part of Perth experience. 

 

Safety & Snacks

Western Australia government guidelines

Dangerously venomous dugites and tiger snakes are common in the metropolitan area. Both species hunt small mammals, frogs and lizards, and are active during the day and at night in warm weather.

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