For many, a trip to Australia is incomplete without seeing the vibrant city of Perth. Home to more than 2 million people, this destination offers an incredible mix of nature and culture that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Perth is a city in Western Australia that’s located on the Swan River. It has a population of over 1,000,000 people and is known for its beautiful coastline. Tourists come to Perth from all around the world because it offers everything you could ever want in one location: beaches, forests, and deserts!
From beautiful beaches with white sand and crystal blue water to traditional Aboriginal art on display in galleries, there are plenty of things for visitors to do when staying at one of our hotels near Perth’s attractions.
The Swan River winds through the heart of the city, offering visitors a chance to take part in activities including kayaking or paddleboarding on its serene waters while enjoying magnificent views from Northbridge Hill just outside downtown.
Perth is one of the planet’s most isolated capital cities, yet this sun-soaked capital of Western Australia defies its remote location by boldly flaunting its riches – and there are many, both natural and material.
A gorgeous setting astride the winding Swan River, with a string of pearly beaches nearby, provides the perfect playground for outdoor adventures. Sailing, swimming, fishing, and boating are all popular things to do, and in the centre of the city, beautiful Kings Park brims with natural bushland and panoramic views.
Like Melbourne, Perth frequently ranks as one of the world’s most liveable cities, and despite its sprouting skyscrapers, fueled by a mining boom, the city exudes a refreshingly relaxed vibe. But you’ll still find plenty of big-city tourist attractions and activities.
You can dine at fine restaurants, shop at stylish boutiques, browse art galleries and museums, or see some of the country’s top talent at its lively entertainment venues.
Not far from the city, idyllic Rottnest Island is a popular day-trip destination, as is Fremantle, at the mouth of the Swan River. This historic port is the namesake of the famous Fremantle Doctor, a cool sea breeze that blasts the summertime heat from this effervescent, affluent, and gregarious city.
It may be located way out west on the coast of the Indian Ocean, but that doesn’t make Perth any less exciting than its eastern counterparts.
Perth officially holds the title as the sunniest city in Australia, and it regularly tops global roundups as one of the most liveable cities, comfortably bringing together the benefits of modern sophistication with a laid-back lifestyle.
Under a near-permanent canopy of blue sky, life here unfolds at a good pace. You have superb beaches, global eats, and a booming small-bar and street-art scene at your fingertips, and that’s just in the city.
Surrounding Perth, you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, a spectacular array of wildlife, some pretty epic wineries, and even a paradise island.
When to visit
Perth is a dream destination enjoying hot, dry summers and mild winters if you love the sun. With an average of 32,000 hours of sun per year, there really isn’t a ‘bad season to travel here.
The summer sees the beachside suburbs come alive, with restaurants and pop-up bars aplenty. Take a day trip to Rottnest Island, snorkel or dive the surrounding reef, or take a whale-watching cruise (September – November) to see the annual humpback whale migration.
There’s no less active during the winter months, as Perth’s cultural season really ramps up. The Perth CinefestOz Film Festival (August – September) and the Western Australia Gourmet Escape (early November). And don’t miss the blooming fields of wildflowers (June – November).
How to get there
Qantas now offers a non-stop flight from London to Perth, which takes approximately 17 hours. In addition, Qantas and Virgin Australia each provide direct flights to Perth from all major cities in Australia, which take between five and six hours, depending on your city of origin.
Or suppose you’d instead savour the journey. In that case, the legendary Indian Pacific train ride is a trip of a lifetime, departing from Sydney and journeying through vineyards, Riverlands and the expansive Nullarbor Plain over three days.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
With beautiful views of the Swan River and Darling Range, Kings Park and Botanic Garden is an oasis of peace near the city’s heart and one of the largest inner-city parks in the world. Almost two-thirds of this 1,000-acre park is natural bush, with a diversity of native plants and birds.
The botanic garden is dedicated to conservation and spotlights plants from Western Australia and other Mediterranean climates such as South Africa and California. Highlights include an acacia garden, the peaceful Place of Reflection, and a water garden that recreates a Darling Range creek.
With stunning views over the city atop Mount Eliza, the Kings Park War Memorial is a poignant tribute to service members from Western Australia. Walking trails weave through the park, and you can even wander through the treetops at the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, suspended in a canopy of eucalyptus trees.
Other park features include ponds, play areas, and panoramic viewpoints. After a stroll through the park, pop into Aspect of Kings Park, a retail precinct of gift shops and galleries highlighting local artists. Fraser Avenue Lookout dishes up delicious views of the city, and, at night, the park is the perfect spot for a romantic stroll with twinkling views of the city lights.
Perth’s Finest Park Is Fit For A King
Finding an immense native park studded with trees that live for 2000 years, a suspended bridge, and dense wildflower carpets in the heart of a capital city is as unexpected as it is engaging. Welcome to Kings Park in Perth!
A line of smooth, pale tree trunks stretching their leafy fingers into Perth’s blue sky marks the first of many breathtaking moments you’ll have in Kings Park. No matter how often I go, the largest inner-city park in the world dazzles me every time – I can’t help but stare.
From horizon-bending views to a 750-year-old boab that travelled 3200km to be there, free walking tours, Indigenous insights and stretches of native bush only five minutes from the city centre, it’s an oasis that delivers me sweet escapism from everyday life, all forgotten as I wander through its wildflowers.
It’s telling that as a tourist attraction, Kings Park lures locals like me as successfully as it does its six million annual visitors. Drawn to that beguiling main entrance of tall, lemon-scented gums along Fraser Avenue, people spread picnic rugs on the grass around the State War Memorial or stroll to the lookouts.
There, you can gaze down at the city’s urban heart, its rows of skyscrapers edging the Swan River. This is one of few places you can spy the waterway blending into the Canning River, which snakes towards the blue haze of the Darling Range that forms the Perth Hills. That’s astonishing moment number two.
Ready for a few more? In a “mine’s bigger than yours” play-off, Perth’s massive natural asset trumps that of New York City’s. At 400 hectares, Kings Park is 60 hectares larger than Central Park and, for locals, equally as iconic.
Statistically, it’s no slouch either. The Western Australian Botanic Garden, which sits neatly within Kings Park, harbours 3000 species of Western Australia’s native flora. Two-thirds of the rest of the park is natural scrub, ribboned with sandy or paved trails.
As a walker, you get a keen sense of being out of a bush, alone with nature, when actually you’re in the heart of the city. The trill of some 80 bird species makes it easy to forget the encircling metropolis.
It also has more wartime memorials, statues of historical figures and honour avenues remembering fallen soldiers than any other park in Australia.
Kings Park is a cinch on the practical front: most public buses leaving from the city centre along St Georges Terrace will take you up the hill for free (just ask the driver). For those with a car, free parking is clustered throughout the park.
Once there, free walking tours run by passionate Kings Park Volunteer Guides mean you don’t have to spend a cent to enjoy this green zone. The free walks run for between one and three hours and depart daily at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm.
You can target what you’re interested in: survivalist plants, exotic trees, bushland trails, historical and cultural monuments, or the diversity of plant species existing within WA’s coastal and inland zones. Entry to the park is also free, and while lazy picnics are the best, there are also cafés and a restaurant to keep you sated.
One of the park’s most treasured attractions is a giant tree that can live for 2000 years. Kings Park’s huge boab, weighing in at 36 tonnes and trucked south from the Kimberley to save it from significant roadworks, has an otherworldly aura that is curiously magnetic.
Wide and rounded like a bottle, sprouting green tufts and tangled branches from its top, it’s almost comical in appearance.
The tree acts as a signpost to the plants and flowerbeds of the Botanic Garden, each representing the environment of different parts of the vast state. This section is particularly arresting during wildflower season and the park’s all-September-long, free, annual Kings Park Festival.
Pastel carpets of papery everlastings, fringe tufts of velvety kangaroo paw blooms, purple sprays of Geraldton wax and scarlet grevilleas, plus thousands more textural and intricate wildflower species. If you can’t make it at festival time, the wildflowers generally last throughout October.
From there, stroll along the paved, 620m Lotterywest Federation Walkway, and you’ll soon arrive at the suspended treetop bridge. The curving piece of architecture made from WA iron and glass hovers at 52m above the forest floor. Beyond is the moody and romantic Marri woodland and a calming series of pools that flow from the Pioneer Women’s Memorial.
This spot hosts some of the city’s most prominent music concerts, the natural setting offering a mature and atmospheric destination to see the likes of Blondie, Cyndi Lauper, Tim Minchin and Lorde. Meanwhile, the open-air Moonlight Cinema draws crowds to May Drive Parkland over the summer on the park’s western side.
That such a space has been retained in the heart of a capital city can be attributed to the efforts of John Septimus Roe, the first surveyor-general of the Swan River colony.
After European settlement in 1829, he protected the wooded area, noting its value, but by 1835 its use as a timber mill was more attractive to Perth’s early inhabitants. Logging continued for 36 years until a large tract was successfully preserved.
By 1890, the parkland was extended, and soon after, it officially opened. Kings Park’s name was bestowed in 1901 to mark King Edward VII’s ascension to the throne.
For thousands of years prior, local Aboriginal people had used the area for ceremonies, dreaming, cultural activities and hunting grounds. The self-led Boodja Gnarning Walk is dotted with interpretive signage telling of the ways trees and land were used by the Nyoongar people and men’s and women’s roles. Visiting the Aboriginal Art Gallery, below the Kaarta Gar-up lookout on Fraser Avenue, is another way to gain valuable insights.
While you might plan to explore for an hour or two, Kings Park’s charms hold you there for far longer.
Local Aboriginals believe the rainbow serpent, “Waugal,” created this winding river. To Perth locals and tourists alike, it’s the perfect setting for outdoor fun.
You can picnic in the riverside parks, bike or hike along the many trails, cast a fishing line, sail, swim, or kayak. To see some of the posh houses of the riverfront suburbs, hop aboard a relaxing river cruise between Perth and the historic port of Fremantle.
Another popular day trip is a cruise upriver to the fertile shores of the Swan Valley, Western Australia’s oldest grape-growing region. Here, foodies can sample fresh local produce and scrumptious artisan foods at highly acclaimed restaurants. Most ferries and river cruises depart from Barrack Square Jetty.
Sun lovers can choose from a bevy of beautiful beaches in and around Perth. Less than a 15-minute drive from the city centre, pine-fringed Cottesloe is one of Perth’s most popular beaches, with its clear waters and thriving café culture. Port Beach is also a favourite, and City Beach has a children’s playground and plenty of picnic nooks.
For families, the sheltered inlets on the snaking Swan River, such as Como, Crawley, and Point Walter, are top choices and Rockingham Beach and the sheltered shore at Hillarys Boat Harbour. Trigg Point has one of Perth’s best and most reliable surf breaks, and Scarborough is another top spot to ride the waves. Farther afield, the shores of Rottnest Island and Penguin Island offer excellent snorkelling and are great for fun family day trips.
The Perth Mint
Popular with adults and children, the Perth Mint offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of gold in Western Australia. The Gold Exhibition displays the world’s largest coin, weighing a whopping one-tonne, as well as gold nuggets and bullion.
In the 1899 melting house, you can watch pure gold being poured to form a solid bar, and you can also ogle the most extensive collection of gold nuggets in the Southern Hemisphere. Hourly guided talks provide a fascinating insight into the discovery of gold in the state and the history of the Perth Mint, and the tours include a short film.
You can even find out your weight’s worth in gold. After your visit, stop by the gift shop for unusual souvenirs or enjoy a Devonshire Tea at the cafe.
About three kilometres from the city centre, Perth Zoo has been delighting animal lovers since 1898. International visitors can experience some of the country’s unique wildlife in the Australian Bushwalk and Wetlands exhibits.
All the favourites are here: kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats, and Tasmanian devils. Other exhibits take you worldwide to different ecosystems – feed giraffes at the African Savannah, ogle orangutans in the Asian Rainforest, enjoy an elephant show, or peer at a pygmy marmoset in the South American primate exhibit. The zoo is easily accessible by bus, car, train, and bike, and you can also hop aboard a ferry from Barrack Street jetty.
Hillarys Boat Harbour
About 20 kilometres northwest of central Perth, Hillarys Boat Harbour is an expansive marina with restaurants, shops, and family-friendly attractions. The Aquarium of Western Australia is a top tourist draw here.
You can stroll through an underwater glass tunnel and observe more than 200 species of marine animals, including stingrays, manta rays, dolphins, and sharks. Bike paths, walkways, parks, and sheltered beaches make this a favourite spot for a fun family day out. Ferries to Rottnest Island also depart from here.
Art Gallery of Western Australia
In the Perth Cultural Centre, a one-minute walk from the nearest train station, the Art Gallery of Western Australia houses a collection of both international and Australian art from 1829 to the present day. Particular emphasis lies on works from Australia and the Indian Ocean Rim. As well as an extensive collection of traditional and contemporary indigenous art, the gallery displays work by eminent artists such as Hans Heysen and Frederick McCubbin.
The Bell Tower
Looking a little like an alien spaceship or rocket, the Bell Tower in Barrack Square is one of the world’s largest musical instruments. But, despite its space-age appearance, housed within are the original 14th-century bells from Saint Martin in the Fields Church, the parish church of London’s Buckingham Palace.
Entry tickets include an interactive demonstration of the ancient art of bell ringing and exciting exhibits on the history of the bells. While you’re here, make sure you take time to enjoy the 360-degree views of the city and Swan River from the open-air observation deck on the 6th floor.
Lovestruck couples can purchase a personalised “love lock” to add to a chain-link fence for an extra fee. It’s easy to visit the Bell Tower. You can walk here in about five minutes from the CBD.
If you have wiggly kids in tow, Scitech makes a great addition to your sightseeing itinerary. This engaging, family-friendly museum encourages kids to explore science and technology, engineering, and math through imaginative and interactive exhibits. Discoverland is specially designed for three to seven-year-olds, displaying air, water, gravity, electricity, and magnets.
The construction zone here is excellent for budding builders, and kids can even dress up as sea creatures and crawl into a tunnel at the small aquarium exhibit or spy on mom and dad through a periscope. Waterlandia explores the water cycle, and older kids will enjoy the planetarium movies and science shows. A puppet theatre of and special themed exhibitions round out all the fun.