Perth has such a laid-back attitude, good weather, beaches and overall great lifestyle. It’s not a city you visit in a rush, take your time, enjoy the laid-back attitude, explore one of our awesome brunches, get some serious outdoors in, take a lovely beach walk and make sure you watch one of Western Australia’s great sunsets.
Since I left Perth, it there is so much more happening in the city these days. Every time I go back there seems there are more cafes, restaurants, bars and events are popping up. Hopefully inspiring a long list of things to do whilst you are visiting
Perth! Here is an insider’s guide to Perth from someone who grew up there!
Things to do in Perth
Bike or walk along the Swan River
The Swan River is a perfect place to enjoy a walk, rollerblade (old school) or cycle around. Perth has a great climate and even though we complain about the winter there is still a tone of sun!
There will be bike hire places dotted around like About Bike Hire located at 305 Riverside Dr, East Perth WA 6004. For a bit of fun picking up a family quad-cycle (pedal car), plus it provides a little shade from the sun!
Occasionally you will see some black swans (more common) or dolphins! The best time to try and see dolphins is going super early in the morning (i.e. 5am in the morning). I only know this as I used to go rowing at 5.30am in the morning and watch the dolphins swim by the club.
Towards the Swan River is Elizabeth Quay, is a major piece of redevelopment started before I left Perth in 2013, opened the first section in January 2016 and set to finish this year in 2018. Further along, the quay is Perth Bell Tower and was built to hold the bells of London’s St Martin-in-the-Fields which were given to Western Australia by the British Government in 1988.
Wander around Fremantle and Market
Fremantle (Freo as us locals say) is renowned for its eclectic mix of artsy and alternative types, the streets are filled with music and art. The area started to boom after the Americas Yacht Race in 1987 and has been growing ever since.
It is perfect for a day and night out with friends or solo with an abundance of things to do in Fremantle from the cappuccino strip, charming streets, shopping and markets.
The Fremantle Markets. is a must! Only open on the weekend from Friday until Sunday. Trust me the local food doesn’t disappoint with a great source of independent produce.
I’m normally a vegetarian, however, I decided to have fish and chips, I was not let down by my choice. To follow we had what is known as a Muffle, it was pretty much bubble waffle filled with chocolate and other yummy ingredients, wrapped as a cone then filled with again delicious choices, I went with peanut butter.
Crazily bubble waffles where in Perth way before they arrived in London. A rare occasion that we were ahead of the game on a trend.
Fremantle Prison was established in 1850 and held convicts until 1991. It was built as a convict barracks in the 19th century and remained in continual use until 1991.
The Prison was a place of hangings, floggings, dramatic convict escapes and prisoner riots. Inmates included imperial convicts, colonial prisoners, enemy aliens, prisoners of war and maximum-security detainees. It really has some interesting history!
After its closure, the government embarked on a conservation plan to ensure the Prison’s preservation. Fremantle Prison is one of the largest surviving convict prisons in the world today.
It’s now a tourist attraction and holds several attractions including; Doing Time, Great Escapes, Tunnel Tours, Torchlight Tour and Arts.
Try Beer at Little Creatures
Little Creatures is a famous brewery that started in Fremantle, it first opened its doors in 2000 and has become a well know brewery across the country and other parts of the world. It was another stop on our list, it has a great venue both indoors and outdoors, it’s also next to the water.
We decided to start off with a tasting platter and were pleasantly surprised that it was free! There is just over a pint worth of tasters and it helps you to choose which pint you should get. I recommend trying the Pale Ale, Flagship and White Rabbit which is the sister brewery.
Explore Kings Park
Kings Park brings back lots of childhood memories! It’s a 400 hectare bush filled parkland in the city. It showcases amazing views of the city, lots of local plants, a tree top walk and great picnic spots.
The best place to see the spectacular views is the DNA Tower where you’ll be able to see around Kings Park and Botanic Garden and the Swan River. Alternatively, the see the city skyline from the treetops on the Lotterywest Federation Walkway.
Trying to get some fitness into your trip? Then try and tackle Jacob’s Ladder, a local spot for fitness junkies, just short of 300 steps and a steep 43-metre descent from Cliff Street down to Mounts Bay Road.
The park also has a bike rental store, lots of trails, a few playgrounds, botanical gardens, BBQ areas and a few cafes dotted around.
Wander around Leederville
Leederville, also known as Leedy, has always been one of my favourite areas in Perth. Since leaving, it has become even more trendy than it used to be. Full of cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs. I didn’t get to spend as much time in Leederville as I would have liked but I did check out some of the new places on the strip.
My suggestion for a night out in Leedervilles is:
Headed to a place called Kitsch which is Asian-style eats and had a great special Pad Thai and $2 beer to accompany it. The restaurant had a great ambience, good service and is a place you should add to your restaurant list in Perth. It isn’t on the strip so you will need to walk about 10 minutes from the station, keep walking down past Sienna, the cinema and bit further down the street you will eventually get to Kitsch.
Afterwards, try out the Garden or Bill’s Bar & Bites. Bill’s used to be a part of a club called the Leederville Hotel, I am sure lots of us Perthians thought they would never step foot in again after our teens! It has since been repurposed into a few different venues, ending the student scene. Exposed brick walls, dim lighting and eclectic furniture, has definitely given it a different tone! A recommendation for a great bar.
The Garden is an open-air bar. During the summer it is a fantastic bar, thriving and has a great food and drink range as well. The restaurant section is indoors, so if you do want to head there for dinner it is a great choice.
Make friends at Caversham Wildlife Park (CWP)
The park offers you the chance to get close to Australia’s nature with acres of flora and of course get close with Australia’s unique native animals including koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, birds, reptiles and wombats.
You can interact with some of the animals like kangaroos, get close with the koalas and even get an iconic photo and last of all meet the wombats and friends.
It’s about half a day to go around and see all the sections, there are also areas where you can bring your own food and have a picnic at the park as well as cafes around the place.
Walk across the wall at Mundaring Weir
Enjoy a leisurely walk or cycle around Mundaring surrounded by forest, waterfalls and an abundance of wild life. The walking and cycle routes are marked around the Weir so that you won’t damage any of the surrounding native bush :).
At the Weir, there will be signage showing the different routes you can take. One of the most popular walks in the Weir View Walk. It’s a 1.2km loop trail that starts and ends at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre and will take about 20-30 minute to complete the walk.
If you are visiting during the months July to November it’s wildflower season and enjoy the striking array of native flowers. And… Don’t forget to bring a packed lunch to enjoy the beautiful picnic spots. In Aussie style there are also free gas barbecues are provided.
See a sunset over the Indian Ocean
In Western Australia, we are really proud of our sunsets and this is a must see when you are in Perth. The best place to watch our sunset is over the water so make sure you head to the beach to see the sky light up with vibrant colours from blue, purple, orange to pink.
Hit the Beaches! Or Just Enjoy One of Perth’s Beach Areas
In Perth, there are so many beach spots to choose from! Don’t forget that we are big into BBQ’s too so lots of our beach parks and areas will have BBQ facilities (p.s. you’ll have to hide alcohol as we don’t allow drinking in public spaces).
So here are a few suggestions to consider when you are here:
Cottesloe Beach (known as the Cott) is one of our most iconic beach areas and is a common spot for swimming, snorkelling, surfing and catching one our beautiful sunsets over a glass of wine or a refreshing beer.
Cott is a popular spot for what the local call Sunday Sessions. Basically, it’s just afternoon drinks at a pub or bar with DJs.
In March, you’ll also see Sculpture by the Sea which is an outdoor gallery open to the public for free. One year there was a giant goon bag which still makes me laugh today! For those who do not know what a goon bag is, it’s box wine and inside you will find in a silver bag with a nozzle.
Hillarys Boat Harbour
Known as Hillarys to the locals, it’s a bustling area with restaurants, beaches and a place I used to frequently go to with my friends. During summer it’s a great place to grab dinner, go for ice-cream and take a nice walk along the harbour or beach.
Bellisimo Gelato has my favourite ice-cream, pavlova flavour! What’s not to love about pavlova.
Scarborough is another popular beach area for residences that live north of the river. Over the past couple of years, it has had a bit of a revamp with new cafes, restaurants and it’s a popular spot for windsurfing and kite surfing. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried many of the places around here apart from the Wild Fig Café and it serves a worthy brunch, breakfast lover’s dream!
Explore Northbridge and the Museums
Northbridge has changed a lot since over the years. During the day it now has lovely cafes, restaurants, little boutique shops and general city vibe. During the night it turns into the main clubbing & bar area which it’s always been known for.
Like London, Perth’s museums are free! There is the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts which is located just next to the central station on the Northbridge side.
Recommendations for a night out in Northbridge:
Start the night off at Ezra Pound. It’s a place more suited to sitting around chatting and drinking in a very chilled atmosphere rather than those looking for a loud bar/club. A good location to catch up with friends before heading out to the other bars.
Head to Alabama Song next. It’s located near the state library and is American themed with taxidermy hanging on the wall and honky tonk music playing in the background. The owner of this place also owns Sneaky Tony’s which is a speakeasy bar and has been on my list to visit for a while, although I still didn’t manage to get to Sneaky Tony’s whilst I was there.
There is this great place that has been open for as long as I have been going out in Perth. I loved it so much I even had my 18th birthday there! This place is The Moon. Set up like a diner and open until about 3-4 am in the morning, you can always head there on your way home for some food or continue the night with more drinks! Back in the days when I couldn’t drink, I would go for late night ice-cream Sundays. It also has nights where they have musicians playing or movie screenings. It also always has board games available to play.
More coming soon!