It gets more sunshine than any other Aussie capital, it has some of the most beautiful beaches (and sunsets) and it’s no way near as boring as some Aussies suggest. Sure, it’s a little sleepy on the outskirts, and its city shopping district is about the size of London’s Leicester Square, but if you’re lucky enough to be visiting Australia’s most isolated capital, there’s plenty to do and see. Grab your sunnies, your sunscreen (you WILL need it) and let’s go… PS, you’ll probably need a car to get around – Perth is HUGE and public transport doesn’t make life too easy, except for when you’re in the city centre. Here are the top 10 picks for places to go/see/do in Perth*:
1. Explore Kings Park
Overlooking the city and the Swan River, this is one of the largest inner city parks in the world – it’s spread over 400.6 hectares; London’s Hyde Park is just 142 hectares: do the maths! Do the tree top walk, take a stroll through the botanic gardens and pack a picnic to enjoy on the endless grassy lawns.
2. Get close to Australian animals at Caversham Wildlife Park
In this small, friendly park, stroke the koalas, wombats and kangaroos (kangaroo feed is provided, too), and see dingos, emus, Tasmanian Devils and more.
3. Go on the hunt for cheese and wine in the Swan Valley
Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine region. Drive the length of the signposted Food and Wine Trail in search of vineyards, distilleries and fine food, including chocolate and plump grapes.
4. Admire surfers on Trigg Beach
…And have a go too, by booking in a lesson. This is one of Perth’s most popular surfing beaches, so grab a coffee or an iced chocolate drink from the Yelo café, then find a spot on the sand and watch the surfers do their thing.
5. Grab a towel and head to Moore River
A little way out of Perth is this picturesque, popular family-friendly spot. The river is separated from the Indian Ocean by a sandbank, and the contrasting colours make it a postcard-worthy scene. Hire a paddle boat or a canoe, go fishing, go swimming, or just relax and sunbathe. There’s so much to do here, its easy to while away the hours. Locals often bring their picnic blankets, umbrellas and fold-away chairs and make a day of it.
6. Watch the sun set over Cottesloe Beach
Have dinner by the beach as the sun goes down. Barbecues are available, so just pack some bits and fire one up for a freshly cooked dinner by the sea. Sorrento and Scarborough beaches are just as pretty, too. If you’re going to Scarborough, and you’re hungry, check out The Wild Fig for yummy food.
7. Sail or kayak on the Swan River
If Moore River’s too far away, head to the Swan River for some water-based fun. Mind the jellyfish, though!
8. Explore historic Fremantle
With its famous Cappuccino strip, lively markets, restaurants, bars and harbour, Fremantle (locals call it “Freo”) is buzzing day and night. It’s steeped in history too; take a tour of Fremantle prison, which was built in the 1850s, and closed officially in 1991, or roam the heritage listed buildings and you’ll be transported back in time.
9. Party in Northbridge
You’ll find bars, clubs and tons of restaurants in this area of Perth. But why not start your night in Mr Munchies, a 10-minute drive away in Mount Lawley, where you can devour well-priced, delicious sushi with a range of vegetarian options too – hands down the best sushi I’ve ever tasted. Then head over to Northbridge and dance the night away in one of its many late-night haunts.
10. Pick up some souvenirs
If you’d like to see what the city area and central business district is like, jump on one of the three free Central Area Transit (CAT) buses that connect East and West Perth and Northbridge, and do a little sightseeing and shopping if you like. If you’re into tea, visit T2, a super cool tea shop chain.
*With thanks to my fabulous Perth-based family for creating such an awesome itinerary and helping me discover such amazing spots.