I have lived in Perth for over three years now. So I thought it was about time for me to give some travel advice and share my personal experiences. The five activities and places listed below are aimed at people coming to Perth for the first time and spending around 3-5 days here. Hope you enjoy!
1. Hang Out at the Scarborough Beach and Pool
Perth has a multitude of amazing beaches. Especially when you are originally from a European country and used to darker sand etc. they will blow you away! I couldn’t believe how beautiful they were when I first got here. I am sure you will see various beaches during your visit, but make sure you check out Scarborough Beach as well. Definitely put it on your list.
The entertainment area around Scarborough beach has been recently upgraded and is pretty impressive. In addition to the amphitheatre which is great to have a coffee or an ice cream in the shade while watching the waves, there is now a huge grass area, a playground, a skate park, a climbing wall and – of course- a pool right near the ocean. Entry prices for the pool are pretty conservative (around AU$ 7) and the pool is a fantastic option to go for a swim when it is very windy at the beach which happens quite a lot. I love having the option between the two depending on the weather.
Scarborough also has cafes and restaurants along its main walkway to sit, enjoy food and drinks and watch life go by. If you are on a tight budget Peter’s By The Sea will be your friend. Oh and make sure to catch a sunset if you can! Western Australian sunsets are known as some of the best in the world.
2. Go on a Day Trip to Fremantle
Fremantle is a port city which is part of the Perth metropolitan area and it is known for its art, older houses, maritime history and culture. If you have never been to Perth it is definitely worth a visit. Go Freo!
Mainly known for the Fremantle Markets which open every weekend, the harbour restaurants near Esplanade Park are very popular and you can find little privately owned stores all around. Fremantle really has a lot of good food to offer. Two of my favourites are the Freo Pizza Factory and Short Order Burger, both located in James Street. Make sure you check them out.
Cultural highlights are the Fremantle Prison, the Fremantle Arts Centre, the Round House and the WA Maritime Museum. Lot’s to do and pretty easy to spend a full day here. However, a visit to Fremantle can also be combined with a ferry to Rottnest Island (takes around 30 mins) if you have more time on hand.
3. Visit the City Centre and Elizabeth Quay
Although Perth certainly does not have the most exciting city centre you have ever seen, no visit is complete without it. A popular newly established area is Elizabeth Quay, where you can enjoy some good food and go for a walk crossing the bridge above the water. There is also a playground and a water play area there with little fountains coming out of the ground. Yagan Square and Northbridge are busy areas and great for clubbing and late night food.
The city also has two main shopping streets, which are pretty short but give an overview over typical Australian stores and culture. If you are after some sales, jump on the free CAT bus and visit the Watertown Outlet Centre as you will find better deals here than in the city centre.
In case you have some more time, you can keep going to Leederville if you are after some more city life. Otherwise, Kings Park (see number 5) is pretty close by and will give you a great view over the city you have just visited.
4. Take a Scenic River Cruise
In addition to its amazing beaches, Perth also has the Swan River which is more like a huge lake and expands over a big part of the city and a large number of suburbs. Captain Cook Cruises offer short cruises taking you from Fremantle to Perth or the other way around. The cruises are beautiful and usually not too crowded, giving you a fantastic view of Perth and its surroundings. If you like dining while watching suburbs pass by, there is also the option to go on a lunch cruise.
Although not cheap, I would recommend a scenic river cruise to everyone coming to Perth for the first time as you will learn a lot about the city in a very short time frame. Please note that you will have to pre-book you cruise online!
5. Explore Kings Park and/or The Hills
Lastly, your short trip to Perth won’t be complete without seeing some greenery. Perth is good at beaches, but it can do parks and green places, too. Your easiest but also busiest option is Kings Park, which is Perth’s most famous park. Giving you an amazing view over the city (I would recommend going to the viewing platform at night time), it also has walking and hiking paths to offer including a tree top walk.
If you prefer to be more out of the crowds, you will love the Perth Hills. Stunning scenery, hiking trails, little waterfalls. Moreover, you can enjoy a picnic or BBQ, canoe or swim at Lake Leschenaultia or check out the Kalamunda Farmers Markets. Choose a combination of the above and you have your perfect day trip!