Your ultimate guide to

Perth

It’s the most isolated capital city in the world, in a state that’s exceptionally sparsely populated but Perth most definitely makes up for the fact that it’s so far away with loads of adventures and things to see. From some of the most beautiful beaches in the world to the marsupials and quokkas on Rottnest Island, there’s culture and entertainment galore with a thriving metropolis of bars, restaurants and art.

Top Things to Do in Perth

Whether you’re wandering around the Australian bush while in the heart of the CBD or cruising the Swan River, there’s something for everyone in the Western Australian capital. The coast is dotted with beaches where white sand meets gorgeous turquoise water to enjoy during the summer. Fremantle offers historic colonial remnants including Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum and the Shipwreck Gallery. The urban villages, including Leederville and Mount Lawley, just minutes from the centre of the city, buzz with eclectic boutiques and cafes. The city certainly blends urban cool with natural beauty. Of course, you cannot miss the sunset from Cottesloe Beach – it’s a wonderful way to end a day of frolicking in the sand and sea.

Swim with Dolphins

It’s known as Perth’s marine playground and for good reason. Located 45 minutes south of Perth, Rockingham is the place to go to enjoy water sports, beaches, scuba diving and of course, dolphins. The Swim with Wild Dolphins cruise has been around since 1989, taking passengers to the sheltered waters of Rockingham’s bays and islands where more than 200 local bottlenose dolphins live. The great thing is that the dolphins are not there to play tricks or entertain, they’re simply there. You’re simply visiting to spend some time with them.

Walks and Hikes

Perth is the perfect destination for getting out and about on foot, whether you want to stay in the city or go a little further out. Right in the centre of the CBD is Kings Park, one of the biggest city parks in the world. Yes, it’s even bigger than Central Park in New York City. It’s home to lush lawns, native plants and wildflowers as well as sweeping views across the city, Aboriginal bush secrets and even a 750-year-old tree. Once inside the park, you can wander through the wildflower gardens, take a stroll over the suspended treetop bridge, enjoy one of the many walking trails. You can even join a guided tour so you can learn about everything as you’re wandering around. If you want to get out of the city, a good place to start is Rottnest Island. The Wadjemup Bidi is a series of walking trails taking you all around the island, from the coastal headlands through to the inland lakes. It’s 45 kilometres long and made up of five sections and as you walk, you’ll learn about the environmental and cultural values of Rottenest Island. While you’re on the Island, snap a selfie with a quokka. They tend to smile for the camera. Alternatively, head to the hills. Perth Hills are about 45 minutes east of Perth city. There you’ll find more than 40 bike and walking tracks, including the Araluen Botanic Garden Walks and the Syd’s Rapids Trail which takes you straight to the rapids – fantastic for rafting and canoeing.

Experience Wineries

Just a short drive away from Perth lies Swan Valley, Western Australia’s oldest wine region. Sample fruit, award-winning local produce and of course, the delectable wines. While you can reach the Swan Valley by road, it’s a nice idea to hop on board a Swan River cruise. What’s interesting about the region is that many of the wineries are still owned by the descendants of the early European settlers. Of course, there are some pretty big players too such as Sandalford Winery and Mandoon Estate. There are also a myriad of cafes and restaurants to enjoy a leisurely lunch at or you can even pack your own picnic. Just remember though, there are plenty of options for afternoon tea including olives, cheeses, preserves and even chocolate and nougat so leave room.

Best Places to Stay in Perth

There’s a huge range of accommodation options in Perth to suit all budgets and styles. Regardless of whether you want to stay in the heart of the CBD or in the regions surrounding the city, there are plenty of choices.

Luxury Accommodation

Of course, there are the usual chains of hotels that scream luxury, especially in the CBD, including The Westin, The Hyatt Regency and QT, but there are also some boutique hotels that offer that little bit of extra indulgence. COMO The Treasury is a luxury and contemporary hotel in the heart of Perth’s historical centre, with St George’s Cathedral, Government House and the Supreme Court of Western Australia surrounding it. The unique thing about the hotel is that it occupies state buildings that date back to the mid 19th century. There are restaurants, a bar and a renowned spa on site as well. If you’re keen to stay in Fremantle, you can’t go passed Tradewinds Hotel. It’s situated on the Swan River and is an iconic venue in East Fremantle. It’s one of the original hotels in the area and has been given a modern, luxurious refurbishment with stylish and spacious rooms and apartments. Head up to the rooftop terrace for beautiful views of Fremantle and the Swan River. It’s also a great place to base yourself if you want to enjoy the Fremantle Markets (Friday to Sunday). For those looking for accommodation in the Swan Valley, check in to The Colony at Mandoon Estate. Use the luxury accommodation as your base to explore the region. With 32 gorgeous rooms, all overlooking the Verdelho vines, which were planted back in 1895, and the banks of the Swan River, it’s the perfect place to stop and unwind.

Hotels

No matter which area of Perth you want to stay, there is a hotel option for you. Situated in West Perth and centrally located on trendy Hay Street, the Sage Hotel combines modern convenience with heritage charm. The area is scattered with a unique mix of shopping and dining options and Kings Park is just nearby. The hotel prides itself on providing a hassle-free and comfortable experience, including Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a gym and complimentary use of bicycles to get around.

 

For those who like to eat and drink, the Alex Hotel may be the perfect option for you. The rooms provide a little sanctuary from the hustle and bustle outside, but there are also shared communal spaces to enjoy if you want to be a bit social. In all communal spaces, including lounge rooms, outdoor terraces and a rooftop garden, you can enjoy wine, craft beer, artisan spirits and locally roasted coffee while you kick back with a good book. The rooms are comfortable and chic and there are even family rooms available so you can be close to the kids. Finally, there’s The Nest on Newcastle, a boutique hotel on Newcastle Street, surrounded with restaurant and café options. It’s modern and unique with 20 individually-style rooms, each with some added extras to make your stay more comfortable, including a Google Chrome Cast, docking station, Nespresso coffee machine, and free Wi-Fi and bottled water. There’s also a lovely rooftop garden and a book swap on offer.

Motels

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, there are plenty of motels and apartments around Perth. Of course, there are apartment options such as Ibis, Mantra and Quest. These are perfect if you need a little bit more space than a hotel room and amenities such as kitchen and laundry facilities. Another option is the Murray Hotel, a 30-room budget hotel located centrally in West Perth. It’s just a short walk to Kings Park, Subiaco and Leederville and it is newly renovated with continental breakfast thrown in. On the other side of town, Baileys Motel provides high quality, comfortable and affordable motel rooms with the option of a stove and oven if you’re keen to eat in a bit. There’s a pool that’s open from September through to May and a secure car park if you’ve hired a car.

Where to Eat in Perth

From white linen dining to quirky neighbourhood dining, there are a lot of options for where to eat in Perth.

 

Of course, it largely depends what you’re in the mood for but there’s truly something for everyone. For something high-end, head to Wildflower, a contemporary rooftop space with a native concept led menu. Every time you come, there’ll be something different to sample with ingredients inspired by the traditional Noongar seasons. You’ll also be able to enjoy some of the best views of the city skyline. Co-Op Dining is another favoured choice where the head chef and owner, Kieran Mainwaring only uses impeccable local and in-season produce. It’s a masterful menu and dishes are plated creatively and despite seaming pretentious, it’s most definitely not. Choose from a five or ten-course degustation menu.

 

In the mid-range area, Propeller is an excellent option. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Middle-Eastern inspired menu and interestingly, is located in an old bus garage. As an added bonus, it’s an excellent spot for vegetarians. For pasta lovers, you can’t go passed Lulu La Delizia. It’s known as THE pasta place in Perth and enjoying a meal there is almost like going on an Italian road trip through the regions. As an added bonus, there’s a robust wine list which includes local and Northern Italian varieties.

 

Don’t worry, there are options for cheap eats too. For Instagram-worthy dishes, head to Gusto Food in South Perth. Just be aware though, the line snakes out the door most weekends so arrive early and come hungry as the servings are generous. In Northbridge, it’s all about Sayers Sister, a relaxed café with scrumptious cakes and a menu that is full of interesting dishes. Plus, the coffee is excellent.

Packages and Tours

There are so many ways to explore Perth, there’s honestly something for everyone. The good news is, Perth is the sunniest capital city in Australia and boasts an enviable outdoor lifestyle so no matter what time of year you visit, you’re bound to have glorious days. Perth is also a great city to explore for days on end, but if you only have a weekend, there are highlights to enjoy too. There are day-tours around the city, including some on Segways and bicycles, and day-trips you can take to the various activities such as Rottnest Island and the Swan Valley.

 

The great news is that there’s a free city bus known as the Central Area Transit (CAT). It generally goes to most major areas and most hotels are close to at least one stop. You can then ride the bus throughout the day, jumping off at major attractions such as the Perth Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Perth Mint. It’s also a lovely idea to take a cruise down the Swan River. And for the foodies among us, there are even tours you can do based on your stomach, including an Ultimate Swan Valley Food and Wine day trip.

 

However you choose to explore Western Australia’s capital, Perth is bound to delight. Enjoy the city and the surrounds as you take in everything Perth has to offer.