The Top 10 Things to do in Perth

Numbers One to Five

Looking for things to do in Perth, Western Australia?

Perth, the beautiful, thriving capital city of Western Australia, is blessed with sunny days throughout the year, a long coastline of perfect white-sand beaches, lots of parks and large areas of natural bushland, and the wide, meandering Swan River flowing right down the middle of the city.

Most of the best things to do in Perth involve getting outdoors, into the sunshine and onto the water.

Let this list of things to do in Perth inspire you to enjoy your time in Perth and to make the most of it - whether you're only in town for two days or have lived there all your life!

We start here with the Top 5 Things to do in Perth. If you like the top 5, stay tuned for the other half of the list, numbers 6 - 10. It will be published on the site next week.

The Top 5 Things to Do in Perth:

1. Pack a picnic and take a walk through Kings Park

Kings Park occupies the edge of a steep escarpment, right above the Swan River and Perth city centre. From this perspective you can really see what a beautiful city Perth is...

Kings Park - number one on the list of things to do in Perth

Not only is the park incredibly peaceful and scenic with lots to see and do, but you get spectacular, sweeping views out across the city, taking in the Perth skyline, the river and suburbs all the way east to the Darling Range.

Within Kings Park are a number of interesting Perth attractions, including:

  • The Western Australian Botanic Garden - full of weird and wonderful plants, and fields of colourful WA wild flowers in bloom during the months of spring
  • The state war memorial, plus a proliferation of other statues, monuments and memorials scattered throughout the park
  • A network of walk trails and cycle paths criss-crossing the gardens, lawns and natural bushland
A field of wild flowers native to Western Australia on display in Kings Park, Perth
The Old Swan Brewery viewed from Kings Park

A wander around Kings Park is the perfect way to spend half a day, and should definitely be a high priority on your list of things to do in Perth.

2. Summer swimming at one of Perth's glorious beaches

Perth beaches are simple and beautiful, and on a hot day in summer they're absolute heaven! Beaches of pure white sand stretch up and down the coast for kilometres, and the cool, clear ocean water shines turquoise-green and dark blue in the bright sunlight.

Perth Beaches

Most of the beaches in Perth either have smallish waves, or big waves that break close to shore. An exception is Trigg Beach, which can be pretty good for surfing and boogie boarding when the waves get big. Beaches to the north of Trigg are smaller and rocky, with reefs that are good for snorkelling around. Here's a page with detailing all the beaches from Fremantle in the south to Hillarys in the north...

3. Rottnest Island

Pinky Beach, Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island - Salmon Bay with Wadjemup Lighthouse in the background

Go to Rottnest Island to:

  • swim at paradise beaches protected by reefs;
  • snorkel in lagoons thriving with fish and coral;
  • relax and unwind by the water, on the soft white sand of a secluded cove sand or with a glass of wine in hand at the island's pub that has a beer garden right on the main beach;
  • explore the coastline and windswept salt lakes and dunes of the island by bicycle;
  • and tour the lighthouse and the heritage buildings of the island's small settlement.
Swimming at Rottnest Island - Salmon Bay

Rottnest is by far the best getaway close to Perth, and being only a half hour ferry ride from Fremantle Harbour, you can easily visit the island as a day trip from Perth. Beyond the settlement in Thompson Bay with its jetties, shops and holiday cottages, the island is wild and natural.

Despite being close to the big city, it's one of the best places in WA to see Australian native wildlife, both in the water and on land. The cute little marsupial in the photo below is a quokka, over 10000 of which live on Rottnest. They thrive on the island because it's more or less free of introduced predators such as foxes, which have almost wiped out the mainland populations.

The quokkas show very little fear of humans, and can be seen hopping around everywhere, including main settlement area.

Quokka with joey

Unfortunately, a day trip or holiday on Rottnest is not cheap - if it were it would easily be number one on this list - and takes up a full day at the very least. But it really is the very best thing about Perth.

For most people (basically anyone who likes beautiful beaches and/or cute furry marsupials), a trip over to Rottnest ends up being more than worth the cost - definitely one of the best things to do in Perth.

Continue through to the Rottnest Island section of the site for more beautiful pictures and detailed information about getting to Rottnest and what to see and do when you're there.

4. The Fremantle Prison Tour

A prison is not something you'd think of as a tourist attraction, but as anyone who's done the Fremantle Prison tour will tell you, it's so worth doing...

You'll find it to be creepy, chilling, sometimes horrifying - and absolutely fascinating. It is not an experience you'll forget in a hurry!

Fremantle Prison Gates

Fremantle Prison gates

Between 1851 and 1991 when it was closed down, Fremantle Prison was the setting of a great many terrifying stories from Western Australia's history - from the harsh early days of the convict settlement, to the tale of Moondyne Joe the bush ranger, the hanging of notorious serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke and the prison riots of 1988.

There are several tours to choose from, each with a different focus and visiting different parts of the prison. The tour guides really know their stuff and are excellent story tellers!

5. Sailing on the Swan River

Getting out on the water and feeling the wind in your sails is the perfect way to experience Perth's fun outdoors lifestyle and to see the city from a different perspective.

Click here to learn more - you may be surprised to find out you don't necessarily need to know someone with a yacht or spend any money to try sailing on the Swan River.

Twilight sailing, Perth Western Australia

Twilight sailing on the Swan River

If you're a local or living in Perth for a while, joining a club or signing up for a sailing course could be the start of a fantastic life-long hobby - and you'll find it's a great way to meet people and socialise, too.

When the weather or time of year is no good for sailing - or if you would just prefer a simple and comfortable tour - there are river cruises that leave from Barrack Street Jetty. But you don't get quite the same fun and freedom on these cruises as you do when sailing.

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