Your full travel guide to Perth, Western Australia

With wildlife-filled national parks and islands, museums bursting with culture, art-stuffed streets and a bustling waterfront lined with eclectic eateries, there is so much to see and do in Perth…

Jennifer Morton
26 January 2022
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Discover Western Australia

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, has more days of sunshine than any other city in Australia. And with a surprising amount of easy-access nature woven through the city, it’s easy to get outdoors and make the most of the weather and adventures. Our full guide will help you get the most out of Australia’s nature capital…

How to get there and around

Getting there: Perth is the closest Australian city to the UK and you can fly direct with Qantas from London Heathrow. If you fancy a pitstop along the way, consider Dubai, Doha, Singapore or Hong Kong. Trailfinders can book any of the leading airlines to Perth.

Getting around by car: Hire a car or take a taxi or rideshare (Uber, Ola, Didi) into the CBD. The 16-kilometre journey takes about 20 minutes. Rideshares are the most affordable option and will cost about AUD $35 (£19).

Getting around by public transport: Transperth runs bus 935 from Perth International Airport into the city regularly. The easiest way to travel on the city’s network of buses, trains, and ferry is to purchase a Smartrider card, a tap-on-tap-off system that allows you to load currency. Otherwise, correct fare (varies depending on zones) is required.

Getting around by bike: Perth is a bike-friendly city with flat paths along the Swan River. Most roads have bike lanes.

Three ways to soak up Australia’s alfresco lifestyle in Perth

1. A table with a view

Perth is all about an outdoor lifestyle that encourages you to embrace nature, even at mealtimes. With 19 city beaches, many with eateries overlooking the water, al fresco dining is the norm. Scarborough Beach Sunset Markets is a bustling hive of food trucks with a crimson backdrop.

2. Explore on two wheels

Ride like the sea breeze (aka the Fremantle Doctor for its daily dose of refresh) along the city’s favourite bike trails: City Cycle, Cottesloe Beach, and Fremantle to Walter Point. Free bike hire is a perk when you’re a guest at Alex Hotel in Northbridge or The Hougoumont in Fremantle.

3. Cruise the swan river

Cruising the Swan River with Captain Cook Cruises allows you to blend sightseeing, food, and wine with transportation to the Swan Valley or Fremantle. Want to mix biking with cruising? Pedal your way down the river on a tour with Perth Water Bike Co.

Three places to immerse yourself in nature

1. Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is adored by both locals and travellers alike. Although there are 63 beaches and 20 bays to choose from, there’s more to Rotto (local lingo) than its sandy coastline. Deep dive into indigenous culture with Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences, exhaust your legs with a bike rental from Pedal & Flipper, grab a selfie with the world-famous quokkas, or take to the skies with Skydive Geronimo.

2. Shoalwater Marine Park

Animal lovers flock to Shoalwater Marine Park for its natural encounters with Perth fauna. Perth Wildlife Encounters are the experts of the region, and they will know exactly where to take you so you can experience swimming with dolphins, feeding tiny penguins, and meeting frolicking sea lions.

3. Nambung National Park

When the sun softens into the Indian Ocean, let the stargazing in the desert begin. Adams Pinnacle Tours takes you to Nambung National Park, home to the weird and wonderful Pinnacle Desert, a very sci-fi looking park full of limestone formations.

Trailfinders can help you to organise your adventure in Western Australia’s nature with their itinerary ideas and expert help.

Three cultural experiences

1. See Kings Park through Indigenous eyes

Walk through Karrgatup (Kings Park) with a Noongar elder and traditional landowner, Walter McGuire as he shares his peoples’ history, ancient customs, dreamtime stories, songs, and the Noongar language. You’ll also get to see some of the 3,000 different species of native flora such as the kangaroo paw and banksia.

2. Study street art on a walking tour

Award-winning tour operator, Two Feet and a Heartbeat excel at themed walking tours that intrigues interest with juicy tales of yesteryear. Not only will you discover Perth’s past and street art as you’re led down alleys and laneways, but you’ll also be privy to coffee haunts, and hidden cocktail bars.

3. Explore the WA Museum Boola Bardip

As the state’s crown jewel of culture, history, and art, the WA Museum Boola Bardip invites you to an afternoon of immersion. The museum is enjoying an architectural renaissance since its 2020 make-over integrated heritage buildings with a new contemporary building to create an inclusive space that celebrates indigenous stories and Western Australia history. Entry is free.

Where to stay in Perth

Rebecca Buttall, Trailfinders’ Destination Manager for Australia, has picked her top three great stays…

The Hougoumont

All aboard The Hougoumont, a contemporary, chic four-star hotel in the heart of Fremantle named after the last ship to bring convicts to the port city. Rates include wine and cheese, tea and toast, and unlimited fruit in the Lobby Lounge.

Pan Pacific Perth

Ideally located on the free bus route to Perth’s CBD, the Pan Pacific Perth offers comfortable guest rooms and suites, fitness centre, swimming pool, and five dining options, including the vegan-focussed, Ten Acre Block.

COMO the Treasury

A stay at COMO The Treasury, located in Perth’s fashionable State Buildings, offers absolute opulence. All 48 rooms are unique and feature city, courtyard or garden views. Its highly-regarded restaurant serves dishes revolving around the indigenous six seasons and its boutiques sells some of WA’s finest products from wine to chocolates.

Trailfinders can organise your Perth hotel and all the components to ensure an exceptional holiday to Perth and Western Australia.

Where to eat in Perth

For breakfast

Head to Odyssea City Beach for some wake-up favourites like Bircher with poached fruits or avocado on flatbread as the sprawling beach beckons you to a post-breakfast walk.

For lunch

Quench your thirst with a pint at Australia’s birthplace of craft beer, Little Creatures as you wash down wood-fired pizzas and share plates of Fremantle octopus and frites.

For dinner

On the verge of Elizabeth Quay, Hearth is known for its luxurious surrounds and skill for creating fire-grilled dishes showcasing fresh, seasonal Western Australian produce.

How to spend two days in Perth

Day one

Morning

Rise and shine with the sun for an early morning stroll around Kings Park with a coffee from the Botanical Cafe. Be sure to visit the Botanic Gardens and the Lotterywest Federation walk for city and river views. Keep exploring and learning with a free visit to the WA Museum Boola Bardip to get a sense of place as you browse through WA’s history and culture.

Afternoon

Hop on the train to Fremantle for fish and chips at Fishing Boat Harbour and a cold craft beer at Little Creatures. Every visit to Fremantle must include a guided tour of the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison where you’ll hear tales of escape and hardship as you walk the haunted halls of this convict-built goal. When you’re feeling peckish, head directly to the historical Fremantle Markets for herbal iced tea or ice cream.

Evening

As the sun sets over the Indian Ocean, the sky becomes a canvas of colour. Choose to stay in Fremantle for cocktails on Bathers Beach or take the train to Cottesloe for pasta and wine at il Lido.

Day two

Morning

Board the Rottnest Express bound for Rottnest Island (ferry and bike packages are available) at Barrack Street Jetty for a 90 minute cruise down the Swan River and over the ocean. Upon arrival, grab a pastry or pie from Rottnest Bakery before heading to award-winning Skydive Geronimo for a next-level adventure.

Afternoon

Refuel your body with made-to-order pizza at Frankie’s on Rotto, located in the Thomson Bay Settlement. Cycling is the favourite mode of transportation on this mostly car-free island but be warned, you’re legs will get a workout. Hire snorkel gear from Pedal & Flipper to make the most of your beach stops. Quokkas, mini marsuipals with a big smile found only in WA, are a drawcard. Do not touch or feed the animals. Save time for a refreshing local ale or Margaret River Chardonnay at the Rottnest Hotel, a five-minute walk from the main jetty where the ferry takes you back to Perth.

Evening

Back on the mainland, start planning the rest of your time in Perth over dinner at Elizabeth Quay. Maybe a Swan Valley wine tour or swimming with the dolphins in Rockingham?

Feeling inspired?

Trailfinders has a 14 day holiday combining Western Australia with Sydney and the epic transcontinental rail journey onboard Indian Pacific from £2,376. Turn waiting into planning with the help of the experts from Trailfinders, the number one tour operator for Australia.

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