Perth is one of the most isolated capitals on the planet, but this sunny capital of Western Australia defies its remote location by boldly displaying its riches – and there are many, both natural and material.
A beautiful setting straddling the winding Swan River, with a chain of pearly beaches nearby, provides the perfect playground for outdoor adventures. Sailing, swimming, fishing, and boating are all popular things to do, and in the center of town, the beautiful Kings Park is teeming with natural bush and scenic views.
Like Melbourne, Perth frequently ranks among the most pleasant cities to live in the world, and despite its high-rise skyscrapers, fueled by a mining boom, the city exudes a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere. But you will still find many tourist attractions and activities in major cities. You can dine at fine restaurants, shop in elegant boutiques, browse art galleries and museums, or see some of the country’s best talent at its lively entertainment venues. Not far from town, the idyllic Rottnest Island is a popular day trip destination, as is Fremantle, at the mouth of the Swan River. This historic port is the namesake of the famous doctor Fremantle, a cool sea breeze that blows the summer heat of this effervescent, easy and gregarious city.
1. Kings Park and Botanic Garden
With magnificent views of the Swan River and the Darling Range, the Kings Park and Botanic Garden is an oasis of peace near the heart of the city and one of the largest downtown parks in the world. Almost two-thirds of this 1,000-acre park are natural shrubs, with a diversity of native plants and birds. Dedicated to conservation, the botanical garden highlights plants from Western Australia and other Mediterranean climates such as South Africa and California. Highlights include an acacia garden, peaceful retreat and a water garden that recreates a Darling Range stream. At the top of Mount Eliza, with breathtaking views of the city, the Kings Park War Memorial is a poignant tribute to the soldiers of Western Australia. Walking paths crisscross the park and you can even stroll through the treetops on the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, suspended in a canopy of eucalyptus trees. Other features of the park include ponds, play areas and scenic lookouts. After a walk in the park, enter Aspect of Kings Park, a retail area of gift shops and galleries featuring local artists. The Fraser Avenue lookout offers delightful views of the city, and at night the park is the perfect place for a romantic stroll with a sparkling view of the city lights.
2. Swan River
Local natives believe that the rainbow snake, “Waugal”, created this winding river. For Perth residents and tourists alike, this is the perfect setting for outdoor fun. You can picnic in waterfront parks, cycle or hike along the many trails, launch a fishing line, sail, swim or kayak. To see some of the posh homes in the riverside suburbs, board a relaxing river cruise between Perth and the historic harbor of Fremantle. Another popular day trip is a cruise up the fertile shores of Swan Valley, the oldest wine region in Western Australia. Here, gourmets can taste fresh local products and delicious artisanal dishes in very famous restaurants. Most ferries and river cruises leave from the pier in Barrack Square.
Sun lovers can choose from a multitude of beautiful beaches in and around Perth. Less than a 15-minute drive from the city center, Cottesloe lined with pine trees is one of Perth’s most popular beaches, with clear waters and a thriving coffee culture. Port Beach is also a favorite, and City Beach has a children’s play area and many picnic spots.
For families, sheltered coves on the meandering Swan River, such as Como, Crawley and Point Walter are the best choices, as well as Rockingham Beach and the sheltered shore at Hillarys Boat Harbor. Trigg Point has one of the most reliable and reliable surf spots in Perth, and Scarborough is another great place to surf the waves. Further afield, the shores of Rottnest Island and Penguin Island offer excellent snorkeling and are ideal for fun family day trips.
4. The Perth Mint
Popular with adults and children, the Perth Mint offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of gold in Western Australia. The Gold Exhibition displays the world’s largest coin, weighing a whopping one-tonne, as well as gold nuggets and bullion. In the 1899 melting house, you can watch pure gold being poured to form a solid bar, and you can also ogle the largest collection of gold nuggets in the Southern Hemisphere. Hourly guided talks provide fascinating insight into the discovery of gold in the state and the history of the Perth mint, and the tours include a short film. You can even find out your weight’s worth in gold. After your visit, stop by the gift shop for unusual souvenirs or enjoy a Devonshire Tea at the cafe.
5. Perth Zoo
About three kilometers from the city center, the Perth Zoo has been delighting animal lovers since 1898. International visitors can discover some of the country’s unique wildlife in the Australian exhibitions Bushwalk and Wetlands. All the favorites are here: kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, wombats and Tasmanian devils. Other exhibitions take you around the world in different ecosystems: feed African savannah giraffes, ogle orangutans in the Asian tropical forest, watch an elephant show or watch a pygmy marmoset in the exhibition of primates from South America. The zoo is easily accessible by bus, car, train, and bicycle, and you can also board a ferry from Barrack Street Pier.
6. Hillarys Boat Harbour
About 20 kilometers northwest of central Perth, Hillarys Boat Harbor is a large marina with restaurants, shops and family attractions. The Western Australian Aquarium is a major tourist attraction here.
You can walk through an underwater glass tunnel and observe more than 200 species of marine animals, including stingrays, manta rays, dolphins and sharks. Bike paths, walkways, parks and sheltered beaches make it a favorite spot for a fun family day out. Ferries to Rottnest Island also depart from here.
7. Art Gallery of Western Australia
In the Perth Cultural Center, a minute’s walk from the nearest train station, the Art Gallery of Western Australia houses a collection of international and Australian art from 1829 to the present day. Particular emphasis is placed on works from Australia and the Indian Ocean coast. In addition to an extensive collection of traditional and contemporary Indigenous art, the gallery presents works by prominent artists such as Hans Heysen and Frederick McCubbin.
8. The Bell Tower
Looking a bit like a foreign spaceship or rocket, the bell tower in Barrack Square is one of the greatest musical instruments in the world. Despite its appearance from the space age, there are the original 14th century bells of Saint Martin in the Fields Church, the parish church of Buckingham Palace in London. Entrance tickets include an interactive demonstration on the ancient art of ringing, as well as interesting exhibits on the history of bells. While you’re here, be sure to take the time to enjoy the 360-degree view of the city and the Swan River from the outdoor observation deck on the 6th floor. For a supplement, couples in love can purchase a personalized “love padlock” to add to a chain-link fence. It is easy to visit the bell tower. You can walk here in about five minutes from the CBD.
If you have wavy kids, Scitech makes a great addition to your tourist itinerary. This attractive and family-friendly museum encourages children to explore science and technology, engineering and math through imaginative and interactive exhibits. Discoverland is specially designed for children aged three to seven, with displays on air, water, gravity, electricity and magnets. The construction area here is great for aspiring builders, and kids can even dress up as sea creatures and crawl through a tunnel at the small aquarium exhibit or spy on mom and dad through a periscope. Waterlandia explores the water cycle and older children will enjoy movies and science shows from the planetarium. A puppet theater and special thematic exhibitions complete the fun.
10. Aviation Heritage Museum
Even if you are not interested in airplanes, you might be surprised by the fascinating exhibits at the Aviation Heritage Museum, about 15 kilometers south of Perth. Exhibitions of more than 30 planes and thousands of artifacts cover civil and military aviation and trace the evolution of planes, from WWII two-wing aircraft to current passenger aircraft. For an additional fee, you can also book a personal tour of a Lancaster bomber or a Dakota C-47 and Spitfire Mark XXII.