Why you should add the often overlooked Perth to your Australia adventure!

Being all the way over the other side of the country in the huge expanse that is Western Australia you could be forgiven for skipping the state capital of Perth and heading straight for the East coast! But hold up for a moment there. Before diving into the busy streets of Sydney, the packed bars of Melbourne and the overflowing beaches of Queensland. Take a few days to explore the unique atmosphere of Perth, a city that is quiet, spread out and peaceful! Here’s our things to do in Perth guide!

Things to do in Perth

Take in the views from the beautiful Kings Park

This 1,003-acre park is the that sits above the centre of Perth is the largest city centre park in the world!! It is a perfect place to take in panoramic views of the city and the beautiful swan river below. It is also full of history having been opened as a park in 1895. It contains many different aspects, from several war memorials, statues of Queen Victoria to rows of trees planted by troops back in the 1920s. The park is also a great place to relax under the shade of the many hundreds of native plants and trees as well as providing many great walking and running routes. 

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Head down to the waterfront for the beautiful Perth Skyline

Down at the recently redeveloped Elizabeth Quay you can take in the grand skyline of Perth in all its glory. Here you will be able to fully appreciate that despite how quiet and isolated the city is it still has an impressive downtown area right on the waterfront. The development includes a park, restaurants and cafes and is a nice area in which to take in the city from a great vantage point. This is one of our favourite things to do in Perth just because of the views!

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Perth isn’t just a modern city: Discover the history of WA embedded in the city streets

From a distance Perth might appear as a super modern city that is full of high rise glass buildings and fancy new waterside developments in the hope of attracting an influx of residents! However the history of Perth and WA shouldn’t be overlooked and as with many Australian cities it is a patchwork of different eras of change and development. Of all the things to do in Perth searching for the beautiful historic buildings was a highlight!

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Wandering around the CBD you will come across some beautiful examples of early WA architecture embedded within the modern city that is developing around it. Some of the most historic and interesting examples include the Perth Mint, Trinity Church, Government house, Perth town hall, The Palace Hotel, St Georges House and many more. Exploring the streets of Perth you are sure to find some wonderful examples of the history of WA!

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Stroll along the Swan River 

Running right through the centre of the city the Swan River offers wonderful views of the CBD as well as beautiful walks just minutes from this highly developed area. The river offers vast and varied views on the surrounding area from wetlands and countryside to the capital of the state and the historic town of Fremantle. You can take river cruises from Perth or just take a short stroll along its banks just outside the city!

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Visiting the trendy and historic nearby town of Fremantle

Just 30 minutes on the train from Perth is the small port town of Fremantle. This historic and rather trendy town is home to some of the state’s most important historic buildings, sports teams and events! Exploring Fremantle might just reflect more accurately what it might have been in a pre high rise Perth. Settled in 1829 most of it’s architecture dates back to the mid 19th and early 20th century which gives it a very traditional feel and local atmosphere.

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Fremantle was a boom town during the Western Australia gold rush and was a major port for sometime. The prison here is also one of the countries most important being at the time one of the most notorious in the British Empire but also housing many of the convicts that this state needed to succeed as a colony at a time when it was failing. 

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Fremantle is a lovely town to explore, full of important heritage buildings such as the markets, town hall and railway station. The harbour area is now a peaceful place to get some fish and chips, chill out and take in the refreshing sea breeze! Fremantle should be a priority when planning your things to do in Perth!

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Head for the beach and the Indian Ocean!

Of course, being your typical Aussie city there are no shortage of amazing beaches to head to within a short distance of the CBD and it should be high on your things to do in Perth list! Whether it is surfing, sun bathing or a barbie and a few stubbies there is always a pristine beach along the wonderful Indian Ocean on which to do it! Some of the most popular and beautiful include Scarborough, Cottesloe Beach, Trigg Beach, Port Beach, Swanbourne Beach and South Beach… but be sure to go when a lifeguard is on duty and pay attention to the warnings for sharks and rips! 

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Explore the bush and native wildlife just half an hour outside of the city!

Perth is a relatively small and spaced out city and as a result it is quiet easy to experience the Aussie countryside and bush just a short drive outside of its limits. We were lucky enough to have a friend who lives in the area who took us out to Mundaring Weir, just 25 miles from the city centre to explore some of the bush and yet more fascinating WA history.

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Out here don’t be surprised to bump into a few of the locals, wildlife that is, with kangaroos, parrots and spiders being abundant!! For us this was our first taste of the Australian Bush and it was cool to see just how different the landscape down under was with huge gum trees and the scorched red earth!

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Mundaring Weir is also a place of huge historical significance to the state and country. The C.Y. O’Connor lake that the dam up here creates is an important source of water in this bone dry state. The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme, a pipeline that runs from here to Perth and other cities in the state was built way back in 1903 and is still in use today. It was devised by C.Y. O’Connor  to provide water to those in this dry state and was a key reason for the success of WA. This is one of the more off the beaten track things to do in Perth but well worth it if you can get out here.

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The unique vibe of Perth! 

Perth is a unique city, somewhat isolated and often feeling over developed for the amount of people who actually live here. It really does have a small town feel with a modern city exterior. It never seems to get busy or feel crowded, often even on weekends it can feel eerily quiet on main city streets and often restaurants and shops do close pretty early. But that’s not to say this is a bad thing. There is non of the crowds of places like Sydney and Melbourne where it is often hard to get a table or a seat in a cafe or bar! Perth certainly has a different vibe for a state capital but that is also part of the charm! Hopefully our things to do in Perth guide will have convinced you to visit!

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Have you taken the time in your Australian itinerary to include Perth?

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.