Your Guide to the Top 23 Things to do in Perth, Australia: The City of Light
Updated On: September 01, 2022
Perth is located in the southwestern region of Australia on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Perth’s central business district occupies a prime location on the banks of the Swan River. It is 713 km away from the capital city of Australia, Sydney, 2721 km away from Melbourne, and 2652 km away from Darwin.
Perth is located along the estuary of the Swan River at an altitude of 19 km above the mouth of the river. The suburbs of Perth extend in all directions to the Darling Range in the east and the Indian Ocean in the west.
Perth lies on the Swan River, named after the mother of the black swans by Willem de Vlamingh, the leader of the Dutch expedition. He discovered birds in the river while exploring the area in 1697.
A large part of Perth is built on a series of wetlands and fresh waters which stretch from cattle rancher’s lakes in the west through Claisebrook Kof in the east. The city is also bounded to the east by a low escarpment called the Darling River.
Perth is one of the closest Australian cities to Southeast Asia. It is about 3 hours away from Bali by plane, and 5 to 7 hours away from the cities of Bangkok, Jakarta, Singapore, and other Asian cities.
Perth is one of the most isolated major cities in the world. The nearest city to it, with a population of over 100,000, is Adelaide. It is about 2,104 km away from Perth. Perth is geographically closer to Dili, East Timor (about 2,785 km) and Jakarta, Indonesia (about 3,002 km) than to Sydney (about 3,300 km).
Perth is the capital of Western Australia. It is home to the Parliament and the Supreme Court of the states. It is also the seat of government and the residence of the Governor of Western Australia.
History of Perth City
Perth was founded in 1829 by Captain James Sterling who made it the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony. This raised the city’s importance and in 1856, it officially became a city. The city’s population increased as a result of the influx of gold from Western Australia in the late 19th century. The rise of the population was also a result of immigration from the eastern colonies of Australia during Australia’s participation in World War II. Perth served as the port of Fremantle which used to be the base of submarines operating in the Pacific Theater.
Perth became known globally as the City of Light when the city’s residents lit the lights of their homes and streets for the American astronaut John Glenn to watch when he orbited the Earth.
The Economy of Perth City
Perth is well-known for being an administrative centre for business and government. The Western Australian economy is dominated by Perth and its economic base and population size have also created opportunities for the development of many other companies oriented to local or more diversified markets.
Perth’s economy has changed in favour of service industries, although one of the large groups of services they provide is to nations related to the resource industry.
As a result of Perth’s relative geographic isolation, it does not have the conditions for the development of important manufacturing industries other than those serving the immediate needs of the population such as mining, agriculture, and some specialized fields like specialized shipbuilding and maintenance.
Industrial employment influenced the economic geography of Perth after World War II and Perth experienced suburban expansion which helped lead to high levels of car ownership. It became possible to set up small-scale factories in the suburbs, and many companies took advantage of the relatively cheap land to build spacious bungalows in suburban locations with plenty of parking, easy access, and minimal traffic overcrowding.
The establishment of the Kwinana Industrial District was supported by the unification of the East and West gauge rail linking Perth with eastern Australia, and since 1950, the area has been dominated by heavy industry, including an oil refinery.
Another development was done by linking the railway together. This was developed in 1968 when the Kewdale freight station, adjacent to the Welshpool Industrial District, was developed to replace the former Perth Railyards.
The population growth came in the post-World War II era and employment growth increased not only in manufacturing but in retail and wholesale trade, business services, health, education, community, personal services, and public administration.
More information about Perth
- It includes the oldest coin centre in the country. Accordingly, part of the centre has been turned into a museum, visited by more than 120,000 visitors annually.
- It is the sunniest city in the world, with at least 8 hours of sunshine per day throughout the year.
- It was known as Boorloo, an Aboriginal name given to some of the Moro tribes that inhabited Perth more than 38,000 years ago.
- It is the third most crowded city in the world.
Transportation in Perth
As many people know, Australia is a huge continent, so the best way to travel between cities is by plane. But if the city you want to visit is nearby, you can use buses or trains.
In Perth, there are many means of transportation such as:
- Trains: Perth has six railway lines, four of which start from Perth Train Station, and two of the Perth Underground connect to the main station.
- Taxis: There are a lot of taxis all over Perth. You can easily hail one in the street.
- Buses: It is one of the perfect transportation means in Perth. It runs every 15 minutes but you should check the schedule carefully, as they don’t pass often outside of business hours, and you could wait about two hours on Sundays. Perth also has an excellent network of CAT buses that run in circles around the city. They run every eight minutes between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., and every 15 minutes for an hour or two after that period.
- Ferries: Ferries make a round trip down the river every half hour on weekdays and more on weekends from Barrack Street on the city side to Mendes Street in South Perth.
The Best Time to Visit Perth
Perth is known for its wonderful weather, with hot dry summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Perth is in September, October, or November when the city is glowing with the colours and embalms of spring and sunny days.
The months of December, January, and February are summer months there and the temperature is high in these months. Besides these months, the time from March to May is the second-best time to visit Perth. Its warm days are perfect for the beach and other outdoor activities.
Weather in Perth
Perth’s climate is considered temperate despite high monsoon rainfall, making it the fourth rainiest city in the Australian capital after Darwin, Sydney, and Brisbane. The summer is usually very hot and dry, lasting from December to late March and winter is mild and wet, making Perth a classic example of a Mediterranean climate.
Perth is a particularly sunny city for this type of climate. It has an average of 8.8 hours of sunlight per day, which equates to about 3,200 hours of sunlight per year. This makes it the sunniest capital in Australia. Its summer is not complete without rain and humidity, as it rains intermittently in the form of short-lived thunderstorms.
Things to do in Perth
Perth is one of the distinctive Australian cities that have a major role in tourism in Australia due to its multiculturalism. Its diversity of tourist places and religion distinguishes it, as well as its leadership in the field of science and technology. It is located on both sides of the Swan River, which makes it a wonderful landscape because of its beaches of charm and beauty.
Perth also abounds with parks, museums, recreational activities, and festivals. But the most important thing that distinguishes it is the high level of education and its possession of the University of Western Australia.
As a result of the diversity of cultures and the high level of its education, it is known as one of the most expensive cities in Australia in terms of living and residence.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Kings Park covers a large area of land right in the middle of the city. It is a natural wonderland with plenty of cycling trails running around the park. There are plenty of playgrounds and picnic areas scattered around, and you will find the poignant State War Memorial and the impressive Aboriginal Art Gallery. You can also enjoy stunning views of Perth’s central business district and the Swan River.
The park is located on 1,000-acre and has more than 2,000 different species of native plants on display. Kings Park and the Private Botanic Garden are not to be missed when in Perth. The park also includes plants from Western Australia and other Mediterranean climates, such as South Africa and California.
Rottnest Island is located in the Indian Ocean, about an hour’s ferry ride from Perth. It is a popular one-day trip destination among locals and tourists alike due to its stunning scenery and the abundance of recreational activities it offers.
It is a car-free nature reserve and a popular place to escape from the city. Dutch navigator Willem de Vlamingh landed on the island in 1696 and declared it an earthly paradise. Wonderful coca species still live on the island and they are found only in Western Australia.
The island is dotted with many salt lakes and forests. Its beaches, coves, and secluded reefs attract sunbathers, swimmers, snorkelers, and surfers.
There are many attractions on the island that you can visit, such as the Rottnest Museum, housed in an 1857-era thresher barn and mill with collections of historical materials, shipwreck artefacts, and the Parker Point marine path.
Swan River is the most famous place in Perth, and there you can do many things for fun. You can go on a nice cruise between Perth and the historic port of Fremantle, or take a tour upriver to the fertile shores of the Swan Valley which is the oldest grape-growing region in Western Australia.
On both sides of the river, you can find many restaurants where you can sample fresh local foods. You can enjoy a picnic with your family and friends in the riverside parks, bike, or hike along the trails located there.
Ningaloo Reef Marine Park
Ningaloo Reef Marine Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the largest reef in the world. It extends over 260 km, and there you could find many kinds of marine creatures, such as whalefish, humpback whales, turtles, and over 500 species of fish and 300 species of coral.
Also, you can go to one of the best beaches for snorkelling with white sand and crystal-clear water. It is also one of the few places in the world where swimming with whalefish is an amazing experience for animal lovers.
Coral Bay is also a great base with long white sand beaches and ideal conditions for swimming, snorkelling, fishing, and boating. Off the coast, there are ample opportunities for divers with many wrecks around Point Cloates.
One of the best things that you can do in Perth is to watch the horizontal waterfalls from a jet boat. It features a powerful tidal flow up to 11 meters high through two narrow gorges to form this strange natural phenomenon.
It is also one of the best outdoor adventures in Australia and the only way to experience this remote attraction is to take an organized tour by seaplane or jet boat.
Tours depart from Broome or Derby and include a scenic ride over the stunningly beautiful Bukaner Peninsula, with a wild stretch of red coast dotted with turquoise-washed cliffs and dotted with hundreds of uninhabited islets.
St. Mary’s Cathedral was built over three centuries. It is a grand neo-Gothic church and was renovated extensively over the years. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The site for the cathedral was included in the first plan of Perth in 1838.
The city of Broome is one of the most popular destinations in Western Australia and the gateway to the wonderful Kimberley region. It has a beautiful beach called Cable Beach. It is one of the city’s main attractions as this stunning coastline is backed by stunning red cliffs that stretch for 22 kilometres with broad white sand and turquoise waters.
It is also known as the pearl capital of Australia and you can learn about its fascinating history at the Broome Historical Museum which includes many interesting finds as well.
Broome is also famous for a natural phenomenon called the Stairway to the Moon. It occurs when the full moon rises over the bay and locals and tourists gather to enjoy the rays of light shimmering on the water, creating an optical illusion of steps leading to the moon.
Perth Zoo is located about 3 km away from the city centre. It was opened in 1898 and there, you can experience some of the country’s unique wildlife in the Australian Bushwalk and Wetlands exhibits.
The zoo hosts many animals, such as kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats, and Tasmanian devils. The exhibits there can take you around the world to different ecosystems where you will be able to feed the giraffes at the African Savannah, enjoy an elephant show, or take a look at a pygmy marmoset in the South American primate exhibit.
The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower is located in Barrack Square. It is considered one of the world’s largest musical instruments. It includes the original 14th-century bells from Saint Martin in the Fields Church and the parish church of London’s Buckingham Palace.
The construction of the tower was completed in 2001. It reaches a height of 82.5 metres and includes 12 bells.
While you are there, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the city and the Swan River from the open-air observation deck on the 6th floor. Also, you can see a show on the ancient art of bell ringing and enjoy exhibits on the history of the bells.
The Mint Facility is one of the most famous and oldest attractions in Perth. It was opened in 1899 and it is based on filling the need during the period of gold prospecting. This house contains a large number of gold bars from all over the world.
Art Gallery of Western Australia
The Art Gallery of Western Australia is located in the Perth Cultural Centre. It is also near the train station so it’s easy to get there. It includes collections of both international and Australian art from 1829 till today.
The museum was opened in 1891 and includes within it a large number of departments related to human and animal sciences, and it is possible to enjoy many different types of living creatures from several eras.
Also, you will be able to find a large number of different mummified wild animals from the Victorian era and enjoy a gallery that displays works by eminent artists such as Hans Heysen and Frederick McCubbin.
Penguin Island is located just 30 minutes south of Perth. There, you can find many different types of birds, especially penguins, and there is a centre called Penguin Experiment Island that allows its visitors to see many of the initiatives launched by the workers to carry out the conservation of penguins.
There are also many corridors that the island provides and these corridors are located along the edges of the island to help preserve the places where penguins breed.
Avon Valley National Park
It is one of the quietest parks to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Perth. It is located 47 km northeast of Perth, and it is a perfect place to do a lot of activities including biking, boats, and canoeing.
When you reach the park, you will find a large number of exciting country trails and there is the Avon River flowing through the surrounding area, while the forest is home to more than 90 different species of birds and rare trees.
Lake Bibra is a freshwater lake in the suburb of Perth located south of Perth’s Central Business District which is 20 minutes away from the city. It has a large number of birds, including swans, waterfowl, and other types of birds.
The lake includes a centre for introducing the wetlands. This lake allows its visitors to participate in the rehabilitation of wounded or sick birds and mammals before they are released into the wild.
It is located just beside the city centre and the Swan River. It is considered a hot spot for Perth nightlife and there, you can dine on everything from gourmet burgers and pizza to succulent seafood specialities.
It is also a perfect place for kids where they can ride the antique carousel, devour tangy gelato, and frolic around the fountains at the BHP Water Park. There are outdoor sculptures and art installations adorning the Public Art Walk and the Bell Tower. It is a nice place for a romantic dinner with a view of the city and the ferry boats on the Swan River.
Margaret River is a great place for hanging out where you can find famous galleries and restaurants. It is located in the southwest about three and a half hours’ drive south of Perth.
There, you can do many activities such as rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, whale watching tours, and surfing. Besides that, you can find more than 40 spots for surfing along the coast. The place is famous for its limestone caves, such as Lake Cave, Jewel Cave, and Mammoth Cave, all with shimmering stalactites and prehistoric fossils.
Aviation Heritage Museum
The Aviation Heritage Museum is located 15 kilometres south of Perth. There, you will find exhibits that host more than 30 aircraft and thousands of artefacts covering civilian and military aviation from World War I planes to present-day passenger jets.
Adventure World Theme Park
This park is one of the most important tourist attractions for children and adults in Perth as it includes a large number of unique games within it. It includes adventure games and thrills for older visitors and an area called Fire Factor 5, with several exciting games including Power Surge, Terror Tunnel, Bounter Revenge, and The Ramping.
Hillarys Boat Harbour
The Hillarys Boat Harbour is located 20 km northwest of central Perth. It is a vast marina with restaurants, shops, and kids’ attractions. One of the famous attractions there is the Aquarium of Western Australia where you can walk through a glass underwater tunnel and observe more than 200 species of marine animals.
Also, you will find bike paths, walkways, parks, and sheltered beaches, making this a favourite spot for a fun family day out. Besides that, you can go on fishing trips, whale watching cruises, yacht charters, and dive excursions depart from here as well. You can also catch a ferry to Rottnest Island.
Fremantle Markets is the most popular weekend market in Western Australia and one of the best in the entire country. One of the best things to do in Perth City is to visit Fremantle Markets where you can buy fresh and local products, handmade souvenirs, clothes, and foods.
The Fremantle Markets are open on Fridays from 9 am to 8 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm.
Caversham Wildlife Park
Caversham Wildlife Park is another great attraction that you can visit in Perth, as it is home to around 200 animal species and over 2,000 unique animals. Some of the animals that live there you may not have heard of before such as Kookaburra, Cocos, Echidna, and many more.
Some guides could help you to know more about the animals, show you how to hand-feed the kangaroo, or have you pictured posing with your favourite Australian animal.
If you want to spend a fun weekend while touring Perth with kids, take them to SciTech. The museum encourages kids to explore science and technology, engineering, and math through interactive exhibits.
There is Discover Land which is designed for three to seven-year-old kids. There, you can find displays on air, water, gravity, electricity, and magnets. Also, there is the construction zone where kids can dress up as sea creatures and crawl into a tunnel at the small aquarium exhibit.
It is located in West Perth, and it is open from Friday to Monday from 9:30 am to 4 pm, and from Saturday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. The entrance fee to the museum costs 19 dollars.
State War Memorial
The State War Memorial is located in Kings Park. It commemorates all the Australian soldiers and women from the state who lost their lives serving their country. The memorial overlooks the Swan River.
The monument was first revealed after the First World War. Its quiet location makes it a serene and poignant place to visit.
Hotels in Perth
Here are some of the hotels that you can stay in during your visit to the city of Perth.
- Crown towers Perth Hotel
- Taj Metropol Perth
- Aloft Perth Hotel
- Great Southern Perth Hotel
- Crown Promenade Perth
- Duxton Hotel Perth
- The Ritz Carlton, Perth
- Quest Mounts Bay Road
- Sage Hotel West Perth
- Comfort Hotel Perth City
Beaches that you can visit while you are in Perth
The city of Perth has many wonderful beaches to visit and spend a great time with your family and friends. Here are some of the famous beaches that you can visit.
Cottesloe Beach, or as the locals call it Cote, is one of the most popular beaches in Australia. It is located about 20 minutes away from Perth City and it is bounded by a beautiful ocean road that separates its fine sands from the Perth suburb of Cottesloe behind it.
It is a very popular place due to its surf culture and clear waters, with plenty of cafes and restaurants lining the beach. There is plenty to do if you get bored of lying on the sand and staring at the ocean.
Cottesloe Beach is also blessed with one of the most stunning sunsets imaginable, so it’s worth waiting until the evening before heading back to the city centre.
Mullaloo Beach is a favourite place for families. The waves are not too high, so it is safe even for beginners to swim in. The beach has a grassy area at the top with barbecue areas and sheltered picnic benches.
Mullaloo Beach is one of the most important beaches in Perth. It extends over a spacious area and includes a range of tourist and recreational facilities, such as restaurants, clubs, and wooden huts for overnighting, relaxation, and a playground for children to play.
It is a great beach for surfers because of the strong waves that continue all year round. There, you will find plenty of outdoor cafes and fine seafood restaurants overlooking the Indian Ocean, so this is the perfect place for a post-swim meal.
Scarborough is a perfect gem. It is one of my favourite places to visit in Perth and locals call it Scabs. The reconstruction of the beach sector began in 2017 with an investment of $100 million. It recently reopened. New additions to the beach include a large play area for families, a beach pool, and a skateboard area.