Perth averages 3000 hours of sunshine each year, which means you don’t have to spend up big on indoor entertainment – or spend anything at all – to enjoy a visit to this nature playground.
Western Australia’s capital city is filled with 19 beautiful metropolitan beaches, botanical gardens, bush walking trails, wine regions, marine parks and the allure of a vibrant city life.
Thanks to the abundance of activities on offer, you don’t need to spend a dollar to take in the highlights. Here are our picks of the best free things to do in Perth.
At a scale of 4.06 km², the world’s largest inner-city park not only boasts expansive views over the Swan and Canning rivers, but also provides the opportunity to marvel at Perth’s city skyline. (Central Park in the US, with its meagre 3.41kms2, doesn’t even come close, by the way.)
The surrounding flora and fauna is equally spectacular, which you can learn about on one of the volunteer-guided tours that depart three times a day. You’ll snake through The Botanical Gardens display of a whopping 2000 of WA’s local plant species, including wildflowers found nowhere else on Earth. You’ll also find Indigenous Australian art throughout the park and sold in the gallery, as well as a war memorial and educational parkland for the kids. Another hidden gem, Central Lake is where you’ll find an island ringed with replicas of some of the world’s first trees, the Lycopods.
Pack your picnic basket and enjoy a day out, or book tickets for some of the concerts, movies or plays performed in the park right under the stars. This is inner-city living at its best.
The seaside town of Fremantle is about a 30-minute drive from the CBD. Grab a free bike from Little Creatures Brewery and take your time exploring the area on two wheels. There are great restaurants, open air bars and shops to explore, right on the water. They often have music on a Sunday in summer at the Fremantle Arts Centre.
Explore Fremantle by Little Creatures bike.
We doubt we need to remind you that Perth lays claim to some of the best coastline in the country.
But the city has gone a step further and paved walking paths alongside the most picturesque beaches to ensure easy access and a non-stop dose of those views. Ticking off at least one these walks is a must on every visit to Perth.
Beginning in the beautiful Bold Park, this city beach walk weaves through both city skyline and coastal trails.
Leighton Beach to Cottesloe
Starting in Fremantle and ending in Cottesloe, this is a picturesque, 5.5km walk for all fitness abilities.
Tucked between river and ocean, this walk will see you navigate the best bits of this cute little suburb.
West Coast sunsets are hard to beat – and you’ll be rewarded with plenty on this trail. The 3km track starts from the Powell Road Carpark.
There are coastal walks aplenty in Perth.
4. Watch the sunset
Speaking of those famous, jaw-dropping West Coast sunsets, be one of the last humans on the continent to see the sun before it sinks into the Indian Ocean.
There are a few places where Perthies get their sunset fix – all of which are equal in relaxing and breathtaking measure.
Zig Zag Scenic Drive
Arguably home to the best views over the Swan Coastal Plain and the panoramic CBD, Zig zag Scenic Drive in Gooseberry Hill is a must for a dose of those yellow-orange hues.
A picnic-lovers hotspot, the often boasted about King’s Park provides views over the bustling city centre, Elizabeth Quay and Swan River.
Scarborough Sunset Hill
The expansive foreshore of Scarborough’s beachfront is practically begging you to revel in a sunset. Take a seat on the grassy area overlooking the ocean below.
Located a mere stones throw from the CBD, this viewing point at the top of Red Hill gives you the chance to watch the sunset over Rottnest Island.
Sunset at Scarborough.
If green pastures and vast vineyard landscapes are your thing (as well as bottomless food and wine) then this is the day out for you. Just 25 minutes from Perth, Swan Valley is home to some great breweries and producers.
Drop into the visitors at Guilford and allow the helpful staff to plan a free itinerary for you. Whether that means visiting some famous estates, tiny cellar doors or perhaps just a spot for a picnic, they shall find something for you there that is free or next to nothing – if you can resist purchasing the food and wine that is.
Swan Valley is home to some greener pastures.
Located at Barrack Square, The Bell Tower is one of the largest musical instruments on Earth.
Dating back to the 14th century, this historically significant site was custom built to house the historically significant bells of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields Church, the parish church of Buckingham Palace in Trafalgar Square, London.
A visit here grants tourists the opportunity to marvel at fascinating exhibitions of these famous bells and the ancient art of bell ringing, as well as stunning views of the Swan River from the sixth floor open air observation deck.
The Bell Tower is the only place in the world where you can view bell ringing in action – and you can even have a go yourself.
Visit The Bell Tower.
In any other list, this would normally be the time where I would convince you of the prowess of the city’s plentiful market scene – however, I think the Fremantle Markets deserve a bullet point all on their own.
Built in 1897, the Fremantle Markets serve as the cultural fabric of the city and a visit here is a rite of passage for anyone who calls this city home. You can find over 150 stalls – both pop-up and permanent – hocking homewares, pottery, jewellery and vintage goods.
Foodies, convene at The Yard. Here you’ll find everything from paella to fresh fruit, cupcakes and homemade jams. And while it certainly does cost money to support local, it’s worth the trip here for the people watching alone.
The Fremantle markets are a staple of the city.
8. And all the other markets, too
While Fremantle Markets command a lot of the attention, Perth is lucky enough to hold an abundance of markets, free for your perusing pleasure.
Housed in Subiaco, one of Perth’s popular urban villages, these Farmers Markets are filled with friends, community and plenty of fresh food.
Sustainable shoppers unite at the Perth City Farm, a purveyor of all things organic, biodynamic and ethical.
Held four times a year, this market showcases about 180 independent and handmade artists, craftspeople and food specialists.
Subiaco is filled with community and plenty of fresh food.