There was a time when Perth was regarded as a bit of a back-water, a bit boring. The shops closed at 5:30pm and there was nothing much to do on the weekends.
Perth has changed a great deal in the last 20 years. It is now a modern vibrant capital that reflects the aspirations of a booming economy.
It is difficult to put together a list of everything there is to do in Perth and the surrounding suburbs but this page will give you somewhere to start.
Although this list contains some of the better known tourist attractions in W.A., it also contains some less well known but equally interesting places that
are worth getting out to have a look at.
1. Kings Park
This is the number one free tourist destination near the city of Perth.. With sweeping views over the city and the Swan River, Kings
Park is popular with locals and tourists from all over the world.
As one of the largest inner-city parks in the world, Kings Park offers manicured lawns, spectacular gardens, playgrounds and natural bush.
The wildflower festival in spring (August-September) highlights some of the state's amazing variety of flora.
At the opposite end of the CBD is Queens Gardens. These are more formal but are worth visiting especially when the flowers are in bloom during spring.
Get detailed information on our parks at: Kings Park website or click the link under the photo above.
2. Perth Zoo
Located in a lush garden setting in South Perth, the Perth Zoo is a favourite destination for overseas visitors and locals alike.
The zoo is a lovely place to spend the day wandering through the attractive exhibits. You will also be doing 'your bit' towards
the conservation of endangered species as the zoo is involved in a number of breeding programs to help in maintaining populations
both in captivity and re-introducing various species to the wild.
3. Cultural Attractions
The Museum of Western Australia, State Library and Art Gallery are located in separate buildings but they are located close together so we have included
them together here.
The museum has been undergoing some renovations so there will be some different exhibits to see for those who have visited in the past. The museum has 'feature' exhibits that
may require a set entry fee but generally entry to the main museum is by donation. The museum is currently undergoing extensive renovations.
The Art gallery is just a short walk from the museum and features different collections of art work. For those who are interested in art it is worth a visit.
A stone's throw away from the Art Gallery is the State Library. Here you can browse the collections and even purchase some books.
For more information on these attractions please visit the following websites:
See the Museum of Western Australia website.
Art Gallery of Western Australia
State Libraray of Western Australia
4. Old Perth Fire Station
The old fire station on Murray St. has been refurbished and is now open to the public. It was the first purpose built fire station in W.A. and dates back to 1899.
To find out more about opening times please visit the Old Perth Fire Station website
or check out our review in Feature Pages.
Araluen is a favourite spot nestled on the lower reaches of the scarp near Armadale. There is a fee for entry to Araluen but if you are visiting in early spring,
the amazing display for flowers will make the visit very worth while.
The gardens are set on a hillside so to see all of the park you need a reasonable level of fitness or you can catch a ride on the special Araluen Train during peak times.
For even more information visit the Araluen website.
6. Airport Viewing Platform
Ok so this one is probably just for the 'plane spotters' out there but it is free and gives a good view of aircraft taking off and landing at Perth Airport.
It is located on Dunrerath Drive. Even though it is free there are opening times, so follow the link below to get the latest details:
Parking is free and there are usually ample spaces available. A wheelchair friendly ramp leads up to the viewing platform where there are some seats and a shelter.
Perth Airport website.
7. Pioneer World and Elizabethan Village
There are two separate places but they are located near each other in Armadale at the foot of the Darling Scarp where the Albany Highway heads
up off the coastal plain into the hills.
Both used to be far more popular than they are today but they continue to exist and it is free to walk around and have a look.
Accommodation is available at both as are restaurants and in the case of Pinoeer World, some old world shops. The Elizabethan Pub serves beer from The Last Drop Brewery.
We have to be honest and say that the reviews we have seen of the restaurant are not encouraging but the area is still nice to walk around and take a few tourist snaps.
Pioneer World is really just a former shadow of what it was when you had to pay an entrance fee. The old tavern has been converted into a chapel of all things and some of the
shops are closed. The school has taken over part of the site but if you want to see something a bit unusual and are in the Armadale area then it is worth while to drop by and have
a walk round.
The so called Elizabethan Village is now no more than just the pub. Other buildings are private property and to be honest the signs advertising it as 'Elizabethan Village' on the main
roads should be removed as they are false advertising. If you do want to find the 'village' then follow the signs from Albany Highway and then follow the sign pointing to Churchman
Brook Dam (there is no sign to the 'village' at this turn off for some reason.)
See Armadale for more information.
8. Swan Valley Wines
There are a number of quality wine makers scattered around the Swan Valley only 20 minutes drive from the Perth CBD. If you enjoy drinking wine then going on a wine tasting
tour is a good option as you do not need to drive.
If you are doing a self-drive tour then it is a good idea for your driver to refrain from doing any tasting as laws in W.A about drink driving are very strict.
Generally no fees are charged for wine tasting and if you are driving yourself then the only cost is for fuel. Now if you end up purchasing a bottle or two (or three) then of course,
the amount you spend will depend on what you buy.
Some wineries have restaurants where you can relax and enjoy a meal and some have special events during the year such as concerts, wine appreciation and wine-maker for a day.
Please remember that the legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years of age. Young looking visitors may be asked to provide proof of age prior to wine tasting or purchase.
The following links are just a few examples of the wine makers you will find in the Swan Valley.
Sandalford Wines |
Jane Brook Estate |
Oakover Wines |
Olive Farm Wines |
9. Heirisson Island and the Bridges Walk
In the middle of the Swan River at the east end of the city is an island that features attractive gardens. Paths lead from here along both sides of the river and if you are fit enough
you can walk through parklands on the Bridge to Bridge walk.
The total walk is just under 10.5 kilometres and can be done on foot or by bicycle.
10. Perth hills and dams
If you have a hire car then a trip out to the Darling Scarp is a great way to spend a day. Of course the best time to go there is in spring when the wildflowers are at their most impressive
but there is plenty to see and do during the rest of the year too.
Pack a picnic or a barbecue lunch and just go exploring.
Araluen is a favourite spot nestled on the lower reaches of the scarp near Armadale (see above) and further up into the hills is Canning Dam, Mundaring Weir and
Wungong Dam. Each has its own BBQ and picnic areas.
11. Perth Beaches
Perth and the west coast are blessed with some of the best beaches you will find anywhere. You can catch a bus to the closest beaches from the city but if you hire a car you can
spend a whole day touring the beaches from Mullaloo to Warnbro.
If the weather is nice an warm then take a towel and your bathers because it will be hard to resist taking a dip at one or more of the beaches.
Information on free, clothing optional or nudist beaches can be found at Nudist Beaches.
12. Whiteman Park
Whiteman Park is a 4000 ha conservation reserve that features many attractions. Entry to the park is free but some of the attractions do charge an entry fee.
The park is north east of Perth and can be reached by bus or taxi if you do not have your own car. A restored vintage bus runs inside the park and will take you on a free tour.
Visit the Whiteman Park website to find out more.
13. Wireless Hill - Ardross
Located near Booragoon shopping complex this historic park incorporates a Telecommunications Museum, picnic area, BBQs, toilets and a couple of easy walks that are wheelchair
friendly. Please note that the museum is currently undergoing an upgrade and is not currently open to the public.
According to information at the park some of the buildings date from 1912 when a wireless station was established on the site. Some of the original cable supports for the original
radio tower remain and have been converted into lookouts.
There are excellent views of Perth City and of the Swan and Canning Rivers from here.
The park is very popular in spring when the wildflower walk is at its best.
There are a number of different markets around the Perth area. The following list is just a sample of what is available. Most are free to enter but then it is up to you how much you spend. A few, like Rotary markets, will ask for a gold coin donation for entry.
Bathers Beach Sunset Markets - Fremantle - 30 November to April - Saturday 5pm-9pm.
Canning Vale Markets - Bannister Rd. Canning Vale - Sunday - 7am-2pm.
E-Shed Markets - Victoria Quay Fremantle - Friday to Sunday - 9am - 5pm.
Farmers Markets Claremont - Mt Claremont Primary School Alfred Road, Mt Claremont. - April to September - Saturday - 8am-12pm, October to March 7.30am-11.30am.
Farmers Markets Kalamunda - Chamber of Commerce Central Court - Sunday - 8am-12pm.
Farmers Markets Leederville - 663 Newcastle Street Leederville - Sunday - 8am-12.30pm.
Farmers Markets Mandurah - Mandjar Sqaure Mandjar Bay - Sunday - 8am-12pm.
Farmers Markets on Manning - Clontarf Campus 295 Manning Road Waterford - Saturday - 7.30am-12.30pm.
Farmers Markets Midland - Behind the town hall - Sunday & Public Holidays - 7am-3pm.
Farmers Markets Perth City - 1 City Farm Place East Perth - Saturday - 8am-12 noon.
Farmers Markets Subiaco - Subiaco Primary School 271 Bagot Road - Saturday - 8am-12.30pm.
Fremantle Markets - South and Henderson Sts. Fremantle - Friday to Sunday - 9am-6pm (some areas open 8am and close 8pm).
Gosnells Railway Markets - Cnr. Fremantle Rd. and Albany Hwy. - Thurday to Sunday - 9am-4pm.
Hillarys Boat Harbour Markets - October to June - Saturday - 9am-8pm.
Kalamunda Village Markets - First Saturday each month - 8.30am-3pm.
Lynwood Community Markets - Lynwood Senior High School High and Metcalfe Rds. Parkwood - Sunday - 8am-12 noon.
Mad Hatter Markets - King's Square Fremantle - Wednesday to Sunday - 10am-4pm.
Mardi Gras Markets - Beach Road Malaga - Friday to Sunday - 9am-6pm.
Mundaring Markets - Nichol St. - Second Sunday of each month - 9am-2pm.
Station St. Markets - 52 Station Street Subiaco - Friday to Sunday - 9am-5.30pm.
Stock Road Markets - Cnr. Stock Rd. and Spearwood Ave. Bibra Lake. - Friday to Sunday - 7:00am-5:00pm.
Wanneroo Markets - 33 Prindiville Drive Wangara - Friday to Sunday & Monday Public Holidays - 9am-5pm.
15. London Court and Hay Street Mall
London Court is one of the most photographed parts of central Perth.
Claude de Bernales, a successful gold miner, was the man responsible for the construction of London Court. Completed in 1937 the collection of shops and dwellings were
modelled on English Tudor designs.
The court is basically an open arcade running between Hay Street and St. George's Tce. Decorative clocks at each end of London Court are fun to watch as knights come out
to joust and St. George does battle with a dragon.
For more detailed information you can visit: London Court website.
16. Lake Leschenaultia
A lovely picturesque lake and camp ground close to Chidlow in the Perth hills.
Swimming, canoeing, walking, BBQS and just relaxing are some of the attractions here. There used to be an entry fee but last time we went up to have a look, entry was free.
You can find out more on our Lake Leschenaultia page.
17. Army Museum of Western Australia
Located at the Artillery Barracks on Burt Street, Fremantle is the Army Museum.
Originally housed in a building in East Perth, the museum was re-located to Fremantle in 1995. The museum was almost forced to re-locate again in 2000 when the
Federal Government (most unwisely) decided to sell off the heritage listed site.
This decision was vigorously opposed and the museum stayed put.
There are a number of different galleries and outside are some vehicles and other military hardware. For information of opening times and entry fees follow the link
below to the official website.
See the Army Museum website and our feature page.
18. Wildlife Parks
Apart from Perth Zoo (see above) there are a number of private wildlife parks around Perth. They are all worth visiting but we would specifically recommend Caversham Wildlife Park,
Armadale Reptile Centre, Peel Zoo and AQWA.
19. Fremantle Prison
The basic tours at Fremantle Prison currently just scrape in to the under $20 category but other tours are more expensive.
The prison is a fascinating place as it gives a glimpse into W.A.'s convict past. There are a number of different tours including the tunnels under the prison and a night time 'spooky' tour.
For more information visit: Fremantle Prison website or check out our review in Feature Pages.
20. Aviation Heritage Museum
We just love this place. It is located a bit out of central Perth in the suburb of Bull Creek but it is easy to get to by bus.
The staff and volunteers here are all passionate about our aviation history and the aircraft on display are spectacular. Our favourite is the Catalina but a close second is the
huge (and very impressive) Lancaster bomber.
Find out more at: Aviation Heritage Museum website or check out our review in Feature Pages.
Fremantle is a great place to visit and is only a quick train ride from Perth city.
A stroll around the centre of Fremantle will reward you with great cafes and restaurants, heritage buildings, old hotels and all sorts of places to shop.
The Maritime Museum, Army Museum, Fremantle Prison, and Leighton Battery are all
wonderful attractions either in or close to Fremantle.
Other places of interest are the Fremantle Markets and the E-Shed Markets.
22. Perth Mint
Perth Mint is the oldest mint still in the original buildings in the world. It is a popular tourist destination and tours are conducted daily. One of the demonstrations that interests a
lot of people is the gold pouring.
The mint also sells collectable coins and medallions. There is an admission fee so please check the link below for current details:
Perth Mint website.
23. Penguin Island
Located about 40km south of Perth is the seaside town of Rockingham. One of the many attractions in this area is Penguin Island.
Penguin Island is home to a colony of 'little penguins'. These are the smallest of all the species of penguin in the world. A ferry ride to and from the island costs less than $20 but there are other options available including kayaking the Shoalwater Islands and a glass bottom boat tour that cost more.
There is a sand bar between the mainland and the island and some people choose to walk across rather than taking the ferry. We do not believe this is safe and some people have drowned when attempting it at the wrong time. To find out more about the island and other tours visit the link below:
Penguin Island website or see our Penguin Island page.
24. Rail Heritage Museum
The Rail Museum in Bassendean is an interesting place to visit but as it only opens on Wednesdays from 1-4pm and on Sundays from 1pm-5pm, you need to arrange your schedule accordingly.
The museum has been operating since 1974 and showcases much of Western Australia's rail history. Many of the exhibits are under cover and the restored engines and carriages are a real credit to all the volunteers who keep the museum going.
See the Rail Heritage website website or check out our Railway Museum page.
25. Buckland Hill WWII tunnel tour
Buckland Hill contains some well preserved WWII tunnels and gun emplacements that once were part of the Leighton 6 inch Battery.
The tunnels are only open on Sundays from 10am to 3pm but the entry fee is reasonable and for anyone interested in war memorabilia, the old battery site is an interesting place to spend and hour or two.
Guided tours of the tunnels are conducted every half hour.
See the Buckland Hill website or check out our Leighton Battery page.
26. Maritime Museum
Located at the entrance to the Port of Fremantle, the museum could hardly have had a better location.
The main museum is interesting enough but the real show piece is HMAS Ovens, a retired Australian Navy submarine. You need to have the ability to climb ladders and cope with enclosed spaces to go aboard the Ovens but it is a fascinating glimpse into the sub-mariner's world.
For full details on the museum visit the Maritime Museum website or check out our Maritime Museum page.
27. Shipwreck Galleries
Housed in the Commissariat building on Cliff Street in Fremantle, the museum is the 'foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere'.
The museum has a number of permanent exhibitions as well as occasional feature exhibitions.
There are artefacts from early Duch shipwrecks including items from the Batavia, Zuytdorp, Zeewijk and Vergulde Draeck.
To find out more visit the Shipwreck Galleries website.
28. Bell Tower and Elizabeth Quay
Now that the initial work at Elizabeth Quay (at the south end of Barrack Street in the city) is more or less complete, the area is once again
a pleasant place to visit.
The new development is meant to re-engage the city with the river and it is certainly worth having a look at if you are in the city.
It is possible to catch a ferry across to South Perth where you can walk to the Perth Zoo.
29. Caversham Wildlife Park
Caversham Wildlife Park is probably the largest privately owned park of its type in the Perth area.
It is located in Whiteman Park and is a short bus ride from the city centre.
In order to really experience all the exhibits you need to set aside a few hours as there is a lot to see and do.
For more information visit Caversham Wildlife Park website or our Caversham Wildlife Park page.
30. Lesmurdie Falls
Lesmurdie Falls is located in the Lesmurdie National Park on the Darling Scarp.
The falls flow all year round but are at their best during late winter and early spring. This is also the time when you will see a number
of wildflowers in the park.
There are two access points to the falls, one at the top of the scarp and the other at the bottom. Entry to the park is free.
31. Swan View Tunnel and John Forrest
John Forrest National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Australia.
A railway ran through the park and the Swan View Tunnel is a reminder of the limitations of early standards when it came to train crew safety.
The tunnel was long and not well ventilated and crews sometime passed out due to smoke from the early steam trains.
Today the tunnel is an interesting (and quite safe) walk. There are picnic facilities located in the national park and an entry fee is charged.
32. Hyde Park
Hyde Park (located on the corner of Vincent and William Streets in Highgate) is an oasis of calm and tranquillity amid the hustle and bustle of the city.
Large lakes are surrounded by shaded walk paths and facilities in the park include public toilets, playground equipment, a pavilion, drinking fountains,
a stage area, fitness equipment plus picnic tables, benches, shelters and BBQs.
A community fair is held at the park and for more information you can visit the Hyde Park Community Fair website.
AQWA, which stands for, the Aquarrium of Western Australia, is located at Hillarys Boat Harbour on West Coast Drive.
The displays of marine life are extensive and it takes at least a couple of hours to wander through and see everything.
To find out more you can visit the AQWA website.
34. History Village - Kalamunda
There are a number of history villages scattered around various town in W.A. but the one in Kalamunda is the best we have seen so far.
The attention to detail and the scope of the exhibits is unrivalled and the Kalamunda and Districts Historical Society has really done a remarkable job in
re-creating the buildings and their time-capsule contents.
Kalamunda is only a short drive from Perth and it is possible to catch a bus from the city to this town in the hills.