Residents of Perth will proudly tell you that their city is the most isolated in the world. The journey from Sydney on the Indian Pacific train takes 65 hours. Having worked on that train, after journey’s end in Perth, I’d go and explore the sights. Here is a guide to what you can see and do.
This revamped precinct is the place to go to enjoy newly opened riverside restaurants, while rooftop bars offer sweeping views of the city. It’s also a pleasant place to stroll alongside the Swan River.
The WA Museum that forms part of the Perth Cultural Centre, is a dazzling new structure integrated within heritage buildings. It reflects the stories and cultural traditions of Western Australia from the perspective of its Indigenous communities. The Museum also showcases mineral and crystal collections, and interactive exhibitions that children will enjoy. Close by, the Art Gallery of Western Australia has a splendid indigenous art collection that’s well worth seeing.
Shopping and dining
Trinity Arcade and London Court are beloved by locals, and flash designer boutiques line the southern end of King Street. At the northern end, you’ll find numerous bars and restaurants. The newly refurbished State Buildings are a haven for foodies offering high end dining, as well as bars and boutiques. Many of Perth’s laneways have been reinvigorated with decorative street art. Howard and Wolf Lane are jam packed with cafes, boutiques and bars that buzz night and day.
Beaches, ports and islands
With 19 beaches and long sunny days, Perth is heaven for beach lovers. The most well known are Cottesloe with its terraced lawns and surfy hot spot Scarborough. Linger here to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.
Situated on Perth’s southern fringe, Fremantle is a vibrant port city. Discover the historic waterfront district at Victoria Quay lined with warehouses and learn about its seafaring past at the Maritime Museum. Stroll down High Street, one of Australia’s most beautiful streets lined with 19th century heritage buildings. At South Terrace you’ll find cafes, pubs and restaurants offering al fresco dining. Learn about Australia’s convict past at Fremantle prison and explore the Roundhouse dating back to 1830.
Jump on-board a ferry for a 40-minute ride to Rottnest Island. A postcard perfect car-free getaway, it offers 63 stunning white sand beaches, protected bays, coral reefs and many friendly quokkas, or pint-sized furry wallabies. Hire a bike and cycle around the island to find your own beach, or catch the Bayseeker Bus that stops around the island.
Getting out bush for wildlife encounters
Kings Park is a 400-hectare park in the city centre with stunning views overlooking the city and Swan River. With 3000 native plant species on display, it’s spectacular at any time of year. While there be sure to experience the elevated walkway high above the tree canopy.
If you want to see unspoilt bushland, you won’t have to travel far. On the eastern edge of the city, the Perth Hills are home to several national parks of towering jarrah trees. Among the abundant native shrubs are waratahs, grevilleas and wattles, especially spectacular when flowering.
A 45-minute drive north of Perth, Yanchep National Park features limestone caves, lakes, and woodland forest. Walking trails provide encounters with grey kangaroos and koalas, and there is an abundance of native birds including black swans, pelicans, and parrots. At Karakamia Sanctuary you’ll see native animals in a bush setting.
47kms south of Perth, Rockingham is known for its rugged coastline, and for the pods of dolphins that visit between September and June, best viewed from a boat or by swimming alongside. You can also visit nearby Penguin Island, home to a colony of fairy penguins.
Gourmet cuisine, fine wine and quaint townships
The Swan Valley, a 25-minute drive north east from the city centre, is WA’s oldest winemaking region. Explore the valley’s many historic townships, boutique wineries or sample beer, cider or ginger beer at one of many microbreweries. The district is also renowned for chocolate, cheese and walking trails, including Bells Rapid and Nobel Falls.
The Avon Valley encompasses a vast area that stretches from Beverley in the south to New Norcia in the north. Stroll around quaint historic townships such as York, delve into pioneer history, and drive among rolling hills to enjoy the wildflowers. If you have time, consider driving the Silo Trail, a series of large murals painted on towering grain silos.
The Margaret River is one of my favourite regions of Australia and to enjoy it fully you’ll need more than a day or two. Here you’ll find renowned wineries with cellar doors to sample, a spectacular rugged coastline with some of the best surf conditions in the world, delicious food, and art galleries showcasing the work of local artists.
You can also kayak along the Margaret River or follow one of many walking trails with expansive views of windswept hills and ancient caves.
- Public transport offers ferries, trains, and a free CAT bus service that operates around Perth’s city centre and Fremantle.
- For excursions beyond the city, a hire car is recommended.
- Perth has several top hotels including Como the Treasury and the Ritz-Carlton. More affordable and boutique are the Alex and the Tribe.
- Check the latest government travel restrictions before travelling, with the border unlikely to reopen until 2022.
All photos are supplied by Tourism Western Australia
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