If you want almost permanent good weather, white beaches with turquoise surf, a cosmopolitan city and plenty of activities to keep you occupied then look no further than Perth (except it’s quite far away from anything). I spent two weeks here and fell in love with it, it’s well worth that flight across Australia!
Explore the city
Start in Northbridge and grab lunch at one of the restaurants with outdoor seating that are perfect for people watching, my favorites are Guzman y Gomez for fast and cheap Mexican food, Hans Cafe for any Asian food you can think of, or Nomafia for cheap wine and tapas before 6pm.
Head south into the main shopping area along Hay Street and through London Court wondering if this is what Australians actually think England looks like (It isn’t by the way guys). Grab a drink at the Aviary, a rooftop bar with some great cocktails.
Stroll through the Supreme Court Gardens and along to The Esplanade to admire the very modern Bell Tower and the city skyline along the water. Enjoy the view sat by the river while eating an ice cream that will probably melt faster than you can finish it.
Visit the many free art galleries and museums
Luckily, Perth is one of those cities that allow free entry into a huge number of art galleries such as the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, and museums like the Western Australia Museum. There is something for everyone, and you’ll never know what surprises you’ll find!
Have a picnic in the park
The beautiful King’s Park and Botanic Gardens are perched high above the city with incredible views of Perth and the Swan River. It’s huge so you’ll have no problem finding yourself a secluded, shady spot to spend the afternoon with a picnic.
If you drive towards the Mt Eliza House you’ll find plenty of free parking, and endless paths and trails to walk along to the Aboriginal Art Gallery, the State War Memorial or the Pioneer Woman’s Fountain. There’s also a restaurant and cafe both with great views over the city.
My other favourite (because I only lived a ten-minute walk away) is Hyde Park in Northbridge. It’s much smaller but is still an awesome place to have a BBQ, take a stroll around the lake or admire the vivid purple flowers of the jacaranda trees.
Find the Secret Garden
I got taken here one afternoon and it was a wonderful surprise! Somewhere in the suburbs of Perth is this swampy forest which has become sort of an adventure playground for children and adults alike. Make sure you’re wearing wellies!
Go to the beach
Cottesloe Beach is a small but popular spot close to the city, City Beach is even closer. Scarborough beach is huge and is lined with some great bars and restaurants, The Local Shack has good food, cheap beer, and board games!
North Beach is pretty much deserted all the time and has plenty of free parking. If you have a family or you want a little more entertainment head to Sorrento Beach and Hillary’s Boat Harbour, Sorrento Quay has a ton of shops and restaurants surrounding an enclosed beach park.
Also, WEAR SUNSCREEN. I cannot stress enough how important that is.
Walk along Freshwater Bay
This is a nice, quiet area along the water with many small beaches, kayaks and paddle boards to rent, free BBQ’s and grassy areas for a picnic, and a sandbar you can walk along amongst the swans and jellyfish.
This suburb turned city is a 30 minute ($4.50) train ride away but it couldn’t be more different than Perth. Give yourself a whole day to explore the winding streets and markets.
You can tour the old Fremantle Prison, the Shipwreck Museum and the Roundhouse to learn about the colonial and gold rush past of the city before spending the afternoon on another beautiful beach or drinking Pale Ale at the Little Creatures Brewery.
Spend a day on Penguin Island
Don’t even try and disagree with me when I saw these tiny blue penguins are some of the cutest in the world, and you can simply hop on the metro to Rockingham and either walk across to the island if the tide is out (please be careful, it can sometimes be too dangerous due to riptides) or pay $27 for unlimited ferry rides (the restaurant and facilities are on the mainland, it only takes five minutes).
Head to Adventure World
OK so it’s not free, but it’s $56 well spent when it’s 40° and you’re either melting or on fire. It’s half theme park, half water park, there is even a wildlife sanctuary where you can cuddle a koala. Pack some food, water, and suncream!
Abyss is a short but fun rollercoaster with a completely vertical drop, and it’s got the usual rides that you’d find at any theme park: things that spin you round and round and upside down until you want to puke. When you get too hot there is a huge pool to cool off in, but why waste time on that.
There are 4 water slides in one area that consist of two fast and twisty slides for solo riders, a pitch black and very disorienting slide for two people and a hilarious white water rapid slide that throws you about a bit. They all finish in the same pool and there’s usually a massive queue for at least one of them.
In the other half of the park are the racing slides, they even record your time so there is no argument about who wins. Its a short walk up a steep hill to The Kraken, an epic four-person slide that starts off in a pitch black tunnel before you plummet down up and again into a giant funnel. You can hear the screams across the park.
Getting to and around Perth
You can fly from Sydney to Perth for around $140 if you time it right, and transport around the city makes it easy to explore without a car. Pick up a Smartrider card that gives you slightly cheaper fares across all buses and trains. You can buy a day pass for $9 or single fare rides (Zone 1 for $3 or Zone 2 for $4.50).
There are plenty of hotels and hostels in the downtown area if you want to be in the middle of it all, or you can choose to stay near the endless string of beaches if you want to get away from it all. Try the popular Bambu Backpackers in Northbridge or Ocean Beach Backpackers on Cottesloe Beach.