If you only had four days to spend in Perth, what would you do? Here are some ideas to get you started on the ‘must-see’ destinations, but at the same time getting a real local’s view of Perth.
Whether you’re visiting Perth from the east coast of Australia, or from overseas, take some time to explore all the corners of Perth to see what makes it so great. Don’t forget, if you’re tight on time – or don’t have time to do your research – you can always enlist the help of a local guide to do all the work for you.
(Pictured above: Perth’s insta-worthy Blue Boathouse)
1. Head to the coast
Sun, sand and surf – that’s what the Australian lifestyle is all about, right? Western Australia is synonymous with kilometres of endless coastline, pristine white sand and the clear, warm waters of the Indian Ocean, so it makes sense to kick off your visit with a tour of our iconic seafront destinations.
Some firm local favourites are:
- Cottesloe Beach
- Scarborough Beach (with newly revamped foreshore)
- Bather’s Beach in Fremantle
- Mettam’s Pool for snorkelling (pictured)
- Hillary’s Boat Harbour
- Trigg Beach
If the weather’s good (which it’s likely to be given the city’s fab Mediterranean climate), you can easily spend the better part of a day basking in beachside bliss or lunching at an oceanfront cafe. Odyssea, Bib & Tucker, the Shorehouse and Island Market Trigg are just a couple of hot favourites where the locals like to be seen.
For an even more dramatic coastline, adventurous travellers could even head south to the Margaret River coast for the day.
2. Take in a bit of Perth’s history
You could spend another day uncovering the city’s past and visiting places of interest that tell the story of its growth and development into a thriving modern capital. Perth City is compact, easy to navigate and very walkable, plus there’s free public transport within the CBD on the CAT bus service so getting around is a breeze.
Depending on what you’re into, plan the day to include notable attractions like the Perth Mint (their Heritage Tour is a must), get your culture on at the Art Gallery of WA and take a look inside one of our favourites, the magnificent newly renovated State Buildings precinct in the city’s historic heart. Beyond the heritage facade are some of Perth’s best food, wine and beer venues.
A short stroll from the CBD on the banks of the Swan River is the Bell Tower – one of the world’s largest musical instruments and home to giant bells from St Martin’s in the Field in Trafalgar Square. It is well worth a visit and from there, you can check out all that Elizabeth Quay has to offer as well as follow a fascinating street art trail and stop in at a craft brewery inside the heritage-listed Florence Hummerston kiosk.
You shouldn’t miss the 400 hectare Kings Park, which is one of Perth’s most famous attractions and also one of the largest and most beautiful inner city parks in the world. It is rich in Aboriginal and European history and home to the spectacular Western Australian Botanic Gardens where over 3,000 species of native wildflowers and plants are on display.
Local Tip: Many tourists visit the State War Memorial and the gallery shop, Aspects of Kings’ Park which has a vast choice of contemporary art, jewellery, accessories, homewares and collectibles – but there are plenty of lookout points and scenic trails if you venture a bit further beyond the crowds.
3. Check out Fremantle (Freo)
Another whole day could be spent discovering Fremantle – a separate port city adjacent to Perth which boasts an impressive collection of well-preserved 19th century buildings and other heritage features. Yes, it’s much newer than most cities around the world – but it’s still a pretty interesting story of how Perth and Fremantle came to be.
Places to Visit in Fremantle:
- Fremantle Prison
- The Round House
- Western Australian Maritime Museum
- Fishing Boat Harbour
Fun fact: Fremantle Prison, which is fascinating to visit, is Western Australia’s only World Heritage Listed building!
‘Freo’ offers an eclectic mix of artisanal food, craft beers, lively markets, quirky boutiques, an eclectic music, arts and festival scene and it’s easy to spend a day walking the historic streets and enjoying the area’s warm – and often eccentric – hospitality. Don’t just stick to the usual tourist path though. Head off to some of the local beaches outside of the main area and spoil yourself with some great coffee and sweet treats at the many trendy cafes hidden down the laneways. Plus there’s plenty of shopping!
Freo is known for its unique character which is reflected in the city’s art galleries and studios, plus you’ll find a huge range of exquisite jewellery, accessories, hand-crafted gifts and souvenirs in the popular shopping arcades and markets.
4. Get a taste of Perth
Sometimes, it’s the lesser known attractions in a city – the hidden gems that only a select few know about – that make a trip really special. That’s why at least a day of your itinerary should be spent discovering more of Perth’s artisan producers in our local regions such as the Swan Valley and what is quite possibly the city’s best-kept secret of all – the Bickley Valley.
The scenic Bickley Valley is characterised by winding roads, sweeping vistas of natural forest, orchards and vines – plus for wine lovers there is a host of boutique wineries, charming cellar doors, cideries and restaurants cooking up fresh, local produce.
In fact, orchard tours are particularly popular in this area not only because they provide amazing photographic opportunities among the beautiful blossoms in spring and rainbow-coloured leaves in autumn but they offer a variety of options for picking fruit direct from the farms. Fruit-picking season in the Perth Hills runs from around the middle of November through to early June, and you can choose from a range of delicious options including pears, apples, cherries, persimmons and even chillies (and yes, they are a fruit!). There are also plenty of farmgates and local markets selling pre-picked fruit for those who don’t want to go to the effort!
And then of course, there’s the Swan Valley. Western Australia’s oldest wine region (and the second oldest in Australia). Wine is what they do best here and Up Close and Local Tours offer both full day wine tours and half day wine tours – depending on how indepth you want to go, but there’s also plenty of local produce to enjoy – chocolate, cheese, coffee, gin, whiskey, honey – you name it, somewhere in the Swan Valley you will find it (if you know where to look).
All of this is before we even consider all the amazing things there are to eat, drink and see in the Margaret River region!
With so many fascinating places to visit and delicious treats to sample, you’ll probably want someone else to take care of all the hard work. Like choosing the best places to go. Planning the best route. Making bookings. Driving. And organising everything. Book a private tour if this appeals to you, and enjoy the luxury of your own private (and very local) guide.
Perth has a lot to offer and ideally you need more than a few days to experience it all. But however long you have, we urge you to get out and explore like a local.
If you’re still stuck, you can also use the Inspirock Trip Planner if this is more your style, and of course if you are flying into Perth from interstate you’ll want to take advantage of Flyparks – a super handy service that will find you the best airport parking deals (all across Australia) so you can spend less money getting to your destination and instead spend it on creating unforgettable experiences!