What are the best things to see and do in Perth?

Hannah Vickers

Perth has many engaging attractions, from beaches and parks to wineries and island oases. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best things to do in Perth:
 
1. Visit Rottnest Island. A short ferry ride from Perth, Rottnest is famous for its world-class beaches and native wildlife. With 63 different beaches to choose from, finding the perfect uncrowded snorkeling or diving spot is easy. Rotto, as the locals call it, is also a car-free zone, adding to the relaxed feel. Hire a bike, grab a map and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you keep an eye out for quokkas: small kangaroo-like marsupials that are unique to this special island.
 
2. Explore Kings Park. Situated less than two kilometers from the Central Business District, Kings Park and Botanic Garden is the place to go for the best views of the Perth skyline. Make a day of exploring the different hiking paths, playgrounds and the treetop walk, or go pay your respects at the State War Memorial. Head over to Fraser’s Restaurant for fine dining and exquisite city views.
 
3. Swim at Cottesloe Beach. Sheltered and situated just a 10-minute walk from a train line, it’s no surprise Cottesloe is Perth’s most popular swimming beach. Grab your towel and sunscreen and head down early to get a spot on the sand, or lounge on the grassy hills bordering the beach. Afterwards, head to the Indiana Tea House or Ocean Beach Hotel to get out of the sun and enjoy some pub grub.
 
4. Tour Fremantle. A stroll through “Freo” is a must on a trip to Perth. Located at the mouth of the Swan River, this bustling port city has an old-world charm that’s hard to resist. For history buffs, the Fremantle Prison and Western Australia Maritime Museum shouldn’t be missed while foodies will be thrilled with the café strip and microbreweries on offer. Wander the streets filled with heritage-listed buildings and enjoy this cultural gem.
 
5. Sip in Swan Valley. Whether you grab a bus tour or prefer a cruise up the Swan River, the Swan Valley is an easy day trip from Perth. The oldest wine region in Western Australia boasts charming vineyards and top-notch produce, as well as breweries and distilleries. Stop for lunch at one of the 70 cafes and restaurants in the valley before heading back to the city.

  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    What is the best side trip to take from Perth?

    Plan to take a weekend — or better yet, a week — and head down to the Margaret River region. Just three hours south of Perth, Margaret River offers luxury resorts, adventure and high-end wine tasting and cuisine. If you’d like to relax at a world-class beach resort, stay at Quay West Resort on Bunker Bay. The resort makes a great base from which to explore the wine region on your own or with one of the many outstanding tour companies in the area. Want some adventure in your trip? Book lessons with the Margaret River Surf School and see why the area is a surf mecca in Western Australia. If food is your passion, make a reservation at Voyager Estate for lunch or Leeuwin Estate for dinner and enjoy the best the region has to offer. Whether you’re seeking beautiful beaches, world-renowned wineries, or outdoor concerts in the summertime, Margaret River has them all.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    What is the best thing to bring home from Perth?

    If you’re looking for a Perth souvenir that won’t cost a dime or take up room in your suitcase, you might consider an awesome tan. With so many beaches, parks and outdoor activities to choose from, you’ll be hard pressed to go home without getting some color. To experience Perth culture at it’s finest, spend one of your days lounging on the beach with a good book, or learning how to surf. Remember that the sun is especially powerful in Australia, so be sure to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.
     
    If you are looking for something more tangible, consider purchasing a piece of Aboriginal artwork. There are a number of galleries in and around Perth, including in Kings Park, Rokeby Road in Subiaco, and High Street Fremantle. Check out a few different galleries, and make sure to purchase certified art from galleries so the actual artists benefit from your purchase.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    What are the five best Perth food experiences?

    Food lovers will enjoy seeking out the best foods in Perth since there’s such culinary diversity here. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best food experiences in Perth:
     
    1. Little Creatures Brewery. What started off as a little microbrewery in Fremantle has grown into one of Australia's favorite brands, headed by the original hoppy Pale Ale. Sample the beer and tour the brewery in Fremantle (40 Mews Road), then enjoy your brew with water views in the Loft, or if you’re hungry, order creative pizzas Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend the one with the local spice called dukkah), seafood and Mediterranean fare in the gastropub. Diners enjoy views of Fishing Boat Harbour and the brewers as they work, with craft beers on tap straight from the conditioning tanks. It’s a perfect place for a lazy afternoon.
     
    2. Burgers at Alfred’s Kitchen. With more than 40 different burgers – and most for under $10 – Alfred’s Kitchen is open every night and is a must. Located a short drive from the city in Guildford in the Swan Valley, this Perth-area classic has been serving up great food in humble setting since 1946. Burgers are served in brown paper bags; grab a seat by the fire and enjoy your meal while people watching.
     
    3. Local seafood. Amazing fresh seafood abounds in Australia and Perth is no exception. You’ll find mussels prepared 100 different ways, the small flaky white fish known as whitebait, and lots of fish’n’chips shops. Kailis’ Fish Market Café, which has been operating on the waterfront at Fishing Boat Harbour in Fremantle since 1928, is a popular choice. Also on the water in Freo, the Mussel Bar offers a more upscale experience and a wide variety of local catches including oysters, barramundi and Tasmanian ocean trout, a meaty pink fish that resembles salmon.
     
    4. High tea. There are a striking number of teahouses in Perth that recreate the lovely English tradition with all the trimmings: warm scones, clotted cream and pots of jam. Forbes Travel Guide editors especially loved having tea overlooking the Swan River at Peninsula Tea Gardens. 
     
    5. Azzura Gelato. Though gelato is Italian in origin, Azzura is a local Perth brand that makes award winning gelato, sorbet and frozen confections. Look for the roving Miss Tartufo truck that appears outside Town Hall in Fremantle. Their newest flavors include Buttered Peanut, Blossom Nougat and Chocolate Truffle.
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  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    Where is the best nightlife in Perth?

    Northbridge, the neighborhood just north of Perth Station, is home to some of the city’s best nightclubs and ethnic food. Start your night out with some dinner before dancing the night away at one of the dozens of area clubs including Geisha Bar and The Deen, which has three dance floors. Head down to James Street or Lake Street for a great selection of clubs. If you want a truly over-the-top night, check out Devilles Pad: a Las Vegas style, hell-themed bar on Aberdeen Street. Catering to over 25s, Devilles has a cabaret Friday and Saturday nights, along with caged go-go dancers with DJs playing a mix of 60s, Latin, soul, disco and 80s music.
     
    The pubs and bars in Subiaco, Mount Lawley and Highgate all cater to a more mature crowd. The Subiaco Hotel, built in 1896, is still one of the more popular nightspots. In Highgate, Must Winebar offers dozens of wines by the glass, making it the perfect place for red and white lovers alike.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    What is the best way to see Perth in one day?

    If you have just one day to experience Perth, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors have created two itineraries that explore either the city or the great outdoors.  If your perfect day involves lots of sun and sand, hop on an early ferry to Rottnest Island. Rent a bike and head out for a day of snorkeling at some of the best beaches in Perth and keep an eye out for quokkas — marsupials unique to Rottnest. Head back to Perth in the afternoon to join a Two Feet & A Heartbeat walking tour at 6 p.m. Your tour ends in Northbridge, home to the best Asian food in the city. Check out Nahm Thai on Bulwer Street, whose contemporary dishes have made it a local favorite.
     
    For those who would rather focus on the city, start your day with coffee and breakfast on London Court. Enjoy a free walking tour of the city, leaving from the City of Perth Information Kiosk on Murray Street Mall. From there, grab the train to Fremantle and explore Fremantle Prison or the Maritime Museum before enjoying the harbor views and an afternoon beer from Little Creatures Brewery. Take a leisurely boat ride back to Perth for dinner at Fraser’s Restaurant in Kings Park and soak up the incredible views.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    Where is the best shopping in Perth?

    If you’re looking for some retail therapy in Perth, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you start on King Street. While only three blocks long — extending from St. Georges Terrace to Wellington Street — King Street is the place to go for high-end shopping. From Gucci and Tiffany & Co. to local designers like Ruth Tarvydas and Melanie Greensmith, shopaholics will have their fill on King Street in Perth. Turn onto Hay Street or Murray Street to find department stores and cute boutiques. For those looking for bargains, head over to Harbour Town where shoppers can enjoy discounts of up to 60 percent off brands like French Connection or Oakley. Visit the nearby suburb of Subiaco for even more shops, with the best located in the Colonnade and along Rokeby Road and Hay Street.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    What are the best things to do with kids in Perth?

    Just like the rest of Australia, Perth is all about outdoors, nature and adventure. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ suggestions for five activities your kids will love.
     
    1. Visit Caversham Wildlife Park. Caversham is a must-see for children and animal lovers of all ages. The park 45-minutes out of Perth in Whiteman Park lets visitors get up close and personal with native wildlife. Between petting koalas and feeding kangaroos, it will be hard to tear the kids away!
     
    2. Explore Scitech. Located in West Perth, Scitech Discovery Centre is the perfect place for young scientists to explore and learn. This science center delivers on its mission to increase interest and participation in science and technology with more than 100 engaging, hands-on exhibits, as well as Australasia’s largest planetarium.
     
    3. See Perth Zoo. With a serious focus on conservation and education, and more than a dozen activities throughout the day, Perth Zoo in South Perth has something for everyone. Whether you want to see elephants paint or learn more about crocodiles, the Zoo has a wide variety of animals. For added fun, take a ferry from Barrack Street Jetty in Perth to get across the river — the Zoo is just a short walk from the ferry landing.
     
    4. Tour the Rail Transport Museum. Little ones who love trains will want to explore the Rail Transport Museum in Bassendean. The collection of locomotives and historical railway memorabilia show the history of train travel in Western Australia. Admission includes access to The West Australian Model Railway Club. Of course you can take a train to the museum: Get on the Midland Line out of Perth Train Station and hop off at Ashfield Station — the museum is just a five-minute walk down the street.
     
    5. Discover AQWA. The Aquarium of Western Australia gives visitors a look at the diverse marine life along its 12,000 km coastline. AQWA’s shipwreck coast is Australia’s largest walk-through aquarium, holding 3 million liters of Indian Ocean water! Visitors over age 12 can enjoy a guided underwater walk through one of the world’s largest living coral reef exhibits, while those over 15 can dive into the shipwreck coast aquarium to swim with sharks, turtles, stingrays and hundreds of fish.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hannah Vickers answered the question: Hannah Vickers

    What are the best things to see and do in Perth?

    Perth has many engaging attractions, from beaches and parks to wineries and island oases. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best things to do in Perth:
     
    1. Visit Rottnest Island. A short ferry ride from Perth, Rottnest is famous for its world-class beaches and native wildlife. With 63 different beaches to choose from, finding the perfect uncrowded snorkeling or diving spot is easy. Rotto, as the locals call it, is also a car-free zone, adding to the relaxed feel. Hire a bike, grab a map and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you keep an eye out for quokkas: small kangaroo-like marsupials that are unique to this special island.
     
    2. Explore Kings Park. Situated less than two kilometers from the Central Business District, Kings Park and Botanic Garden is the place to go for the best views of the Perth skyline. Make a day of exploring the different hiking paths, playgrounds and the treetop walk, or go pay your respects at the State War Memorial. Head over to Fraser’s Restaurant for fine dining and exquisite city views.
     
    3. Swim at Cottesloe Beach. Sheltered and situated just a 10-minute walk from a train line, it’s no surprise Cottesloe is Perth’s most popular swimming beach. Grab your towel and sunscreen and head down early to get a spot on the sand, or lounge on the grassy hills bordering the beach. Afterwards, head to the Indiana Tea House or Ocean Beach Hotel to get out of the sun and enjoy some pub grub.
     
    4. Tour Fremantle. A stroll through “Freo” is a must on a trip to Perth. Located at the mouth of the Swan River, this bustling port city has an old-world charm that’s hard to resist. For history buffs, the Fremantle Prison and Western Australia Maritime Museum shouldn’t be missed while foodies will be thrilled with the café strip and microbreweries on offer. Wander the streets filled with heritage-listed buildings and enjoy this cultural gem.
     
    5. Sip in Swan Valley. Whether you grab a bus tour or prefer a cruise up the Swan River, the Swan Valley is an easy day trip from Perth. The oldest wine region in Western Australia boasts charming vineyards and top-notch produce, as well as breweries and distilleries. Stop for lunch at one of the 70 cafes and restaurants in the valley before heading back to the city.
  • On July 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to eat in Perth?

    You’ll find that Perth has a lively dining scene with a variety of restaurants featuring European cooking techniques and local Australian ingredients and wines. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the five top restaurants in Perth.  
     
    1. Fraser’s. Located in King’s Park, the view from Fraser’s is the best in the city. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you request a table on the terrace to enjoy the best views. Attentive, friendly service makes this a great introduction to everything Perth has to offer. Executive chef Chris Taylor offers uncomplicated ingredient-driven Australian cuisine and changes the menu daily to focus on the freshest produce and seafood, making the nightly specials a treat.
     
    2. Must Winebar. Oenophiles will enjoy exploring the many world-class wines crafted in Australia at this hip wine bar and bistro. Chef Russell Blalkie and his team create ideal wine pairing dishes, such as a baked goat cheese and organic tomato coulis that sings with sauvignon blanc or roast duck breast with a warm potato salad and mizuna, which complements pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon.
     
    3. Opus Restaurant. Opus in the Richardson Hotel offers guests a truly fine-dining experience guided by executive chef Pascal Pietri. Whether you select the degustation menu or prefer à la carte, the French-inspired food will leave you wanting more.
     Be advised that Opus does have a dress code that requires a collared shirt and trousers for men.
     
    4. The Loose Box. Although located about 40 minutes east of Perth, The Loose Box is worth the trip. The French cuisine is aimed at the adventurous foodie, with the option of a regular or vegetarian degustation menu. The location gives the restaurant another unique edge: All fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown on site, giving a new meaning to the word “fresh.” Keep an eye out for the truffle-based menu June through August. Even after 30 years, The Loose Box is still delighting Perth diners.
     
    5. Blackbird Restaurant. This restaurant in East Perth is internationally acclaimed, though it’s still considered a hidden gem set on Claisebrook Lake. You’ll find seasonal dishes like braised pork cheeks with polenta and prunes, mushroom tortellini with pickled beets and fresh local barramundi.
  • On July 25, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to stay in Perth?

    Perth is still developing as a luxury travel destination, so the number of high-end hotels is limited. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the five best to stay in Perth.
     
    1. The Richardson Hotel & Spa. For travelers seeking for a luxury experience, the Richardson is the place to be. With a range of rooms and suites with welcome fruit baskets, as well as complimentary Internet access, the Richardson has a boutique feel. The hotel staff go above and beyond to make you comfortable, offering six different types of pillows for guests to choose from. Enjoy being pampered at the ESPA Spa or treat yourself to dinner at the Opus Restaurant, one of the best in the city.
     
    2. InterContinental Burswood Resort. If you’re seeking a full entertainment experience,  look no further than the InterContinental. Located in the Burswood Entertainment Complex across the river from Perth, the facility boasts a golf course, 24-hour casino, a number of restaurants and bars, plus a spa and fitness facility. With so much to do on site, it may be hard to make yourself leave and enjoy the city!
     
    3. Duxton Hotel. With complimentary morning chauffeur transfers in the CBD, the Duxton is a great for business travelers. The outdoor heated pool and location just one block from Barrack Street Jetty also makes it ideal for tourists who want to be in the middle of everything. All rooms were refurbished in 2011, but pay the extra to ensure you have a room with a view of the Swan River.
     
    4. Parmelia Hilton. The Parmelia Hilton is in the center of the action, just around the corner from King Street shopping and across the street from the convention center. Whether you’re visiting Perth for business or pleasure, this hotel makes a great home base. The three restaurants on site offer a variety of options from burgers to fresh seafood, so it’s easy to stay in after a busy day.  
     
    5. Hyatt Regency Perth. Its east Perth location makes the Hyatt Regency a quieter hotel, while keeping you near the central business district. The free CAT bus service stops just outside your door, giving you access to the rest of the city. Guests looking to get their workout in will be thrilled with the 25-meter heated outdoor pool.