Things to do and see in Perth: Western Australias biggest city
January 1, 1970
by Joline Lyttinen
Perth – the “capital” of Western Australia, the city that rises in the horizon with skyscrapers and building with barely anything around it. Actually, Perth is said to be the most isolated bigger city on the mainland because the closest big city from Perth is 2000 km away. Still, Perth is well worth a visit because there is a lot to do and see in and around Perth. Here I will guide you in 5 places you have to visit in Perth.
Actually, Freemantle is not really a part of Perth because it is considered its own town. But still, with about 20 minutes on the train from Perth CBD, it is easily accessed so I will just have it as one of the top things to do and see in Perth.
You can easily spend a whole day in Freemantle, strolling around the small town having a look at the cozy shops and have lunch at one of the restaurants in town. When you got tired of that you should take a visit to the Fremantle Prison that has a lot of history. There are different tours to choose from depending on what you feel like. I chose the night tour which was in the evening and you were guided in the prison with only torches as a light. I can tell you this was really spooky, I came out of the prison with goosebumps all over my skin.
If that is not your thing Fremantle has a lot of beautiful beaches to choose from. In the afternoon it is also really good for kitesurfing if you are up for that. What I did after a day in Fremantle was to go to the supermarket, buy a six-pack of beers and a bag of chips and go to the Bathers Beach and watch the sunset. Because you are on the west coast you will have a perfectly amazing view of the sun getting down. Trust me, I saw some amazing sunsets on my time of Australias West Coast. So just sit enjoy your cold beer and watch the sunset.
2: Kings Park
Kings Park is an extremely big city park in the CBD of Perth right at the Swan River. It has a big diversity of plants and flowers in its botanical garden where you can just walk around and enjoy. When you are tired of walking around in the park (it is big so it can take you some time to walk around it) you can bring a blanket some food and some friends and have a picnic in the park with really good views over the city and the river. It should also be seen in the dark when the lights from the buildings are lighting up the city and give a great view.
3: Cottesloe Beach
I did not visit Cottesloe beach too many times during my stay in Perth but I did really like this place. What made it feel so different was that the beach was covered with pine trees, not really what you are expecting of a tropical beach right? For me, pine trees belong in the north part of the world where there are no tropical beaches. This gave me a special feeling of this beach. And then not to say the crystal blue water and the white sand beach. So what I suggest you to mostly do in Cottesloe is to relax at the beach and swim in the water.
You also have to visit the Indiana Teahouse building that is placed right on the beach and is a typical symbol of the beach. A beautiful building that fits great in together with the beach and the pine trees. You can go out on the port on the left side of the building to take some good pictures of the beach and the building.
I only had a coffee at the tea house but they also have a restaurant if you want to go for a dinner. On the other side of the road along the beach, there is some small shops and cafes you can visit. Even if you are in the city it doesn’t really feel like it because it is a really laid back area with cozy shops and cafes and no larger buildings.
4: Swan River
Swan River is the river that runs through the whole city that is busy with boats, jetskis and ferries. Something that makes the river unique, or maybe it is the area, is the black swans. I have seen a lot of white swans in my life, but black swans never. That was pretty cool.
But this is not what makes it as one of my top activities in Perth. The thing that makes the river worth a place on this list is the cliff jumping!
A perfect spot for this is Blackwall Reach on the southern part of the river not too far from Fremantle. You have cliffs going straight down to the water 15-18 m below. I can tell you the first time you jump is a bit terrifying. I had promised my friends that I went there with to be the first one jumping. And so I had to keep my word. Don’t give to much time to overthink it, the risk is it will get even scarier to jump. My suggestion is to just jump, watch out for the jellyfishes before you jump though, you don’t want to get stung.
The adventure is not over after the jump though. Now you still have to get up to the cliffs again. That means 15 m of rock climbing, here at some parts you really have to focus. I did scratch some knees and hands on my climbing but it is fully possible. There were locals that were maximum 10 years old doing pirouettes into the water and then climbing up and jumping straight down again. So if they can do it then you can do it!
It was a real adrenalin and funny experience to do this and it is thanks to a local friend that I came to this place. You should really consider going here if you have a half day left when you are in Perth. The sun doesn’t need to shine for doing cliff jumping so it is the perfect activity to do if it is a cloudy day!
5: The CBD
You can not visit a big city without spending the day in the city center. Perth city center doesn’t really feel like a big city of nearly 2 million people even though the skyscrapers rise high up over the ground where you walking. It still has a kind of relaxed vibe and not the typical “big city life stress”. It is also very easy getting around, you can reach most places by foot because everything is quite close. If you would get tired to walk you can always take the free CAT buses – a really good feature that Perth has. Free buses in the city center for everyone! This should be a thing in more cities!! I can tell you this was really well used by me, a backpacker with a tight budget.
Except walking around in all the stores, where you hopefully find some really nice clothes for a good price, you should take a visit to Elisabeth Quay that lays right at the river. It is a pretty new built-up area to basically just have a walk at or buy an ice-cream and have a look at the river.
When I was there it was still a lot of building in the area but from what I saw it looked like a nice place to hang out and just not do so much. Actually, I bought my first car at Elisabeth Quay so it has some special meaning to me!
6: Scarborough Beach
This was where I spent most of my days when I was in Perth. Partly because the bus connections from my hostel were best to this beach but mostly because I really liked the vibe here. The beach is super long and also really wide. So you can easily have some private place and don’t have to worry about others. You can also surf here if you would like because there are some decent waves.
There is also some really nice cafés and restaurants right at the beachside where it always was busy of people sitting having some beers or just having some lunch. I was never here on a Sunday session but I bet it would be nice going here for a Sunday session. For you who don’t know, Sundays in Australia is the day when you go out with friends and drinking the whole day long. You have to try it at least once!
So this was six of my tips what to do and see while visiting Perth. Of course, there is a lot of more to do but some of it you will have to discover on your own!
I hope this will be a good start to it at least on your adventure in Perth, Western Australia!