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Best things to do in Perth

From snapping a selfie with a quokka to eating your way through the Fremantle Markets, these are the best things to do in Perth

Written by
Nicolette Barbas

It’s the only capital city in Australia where you can watch the sunset over the ocean, but that’s not the only reason Perth is now one of the coolest places to visit – check out the best things to do in Perth for a dose of awe-inspiring activities.

Once solely known for its pristine beaches and perfect weather, Perth’s booming restaurant and culture scenes and its trendy sister city Fremantle (located just half an hour from Perth) have put WA’s capital city on the international radar. If you're visiting, it's well worth the flight over (which is a little over four hours from Sydney or five hours from Singapore), we promise.

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Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

Best things to do in Perth

Browse the Fremantle Markets
Fremantle Markets

1. Browse the Fremantle Markets

What is it? A buzzing market on Fremantle’s South Terrace that has been operating for over a century.

Why go? With more than 150 stalls, the Fremantle Markets are a weekend must for locals and visitors of Perth. Whether you’re a regular market-goer or a first timer, there is something to eat and marvel at for just about everyone. When you’re done wandering the aisles and checking out all of the weird, wacky and wonderful products on offer, make your way through to the yard and prepare to be seriously overwhelmed with food options. After you’ve eaten your body weight in fried chicken, banh mi, souvlaki and eggy brioche sambos, pick up some fresh local produce and a Levi’s hot donut for the road.

Visit Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island Authority

2. Visit Rottnest Island

What is it? An A-class nature reserve boasting 63 white-as-snow beaches perfect for snorkelling, diving, surfing off the back breaks and snapping selfies with quokkas.

Why go? It’s just an hour’s ferry ride from the mainland to Rotto, where you can spend a day lapping up the sun and meeting the island’s cutest inhabitants: quokkas. The marsupials are native to Rottnest and are heavily protected, yet love to investigate and mingle with new visitors, especially those who have visited Rottnest Bakery – be warned your cinny scroll will not be safe. They are the main patrons of Hotel Rottnest’s beer garden and the recently opened Samphire Rottnest, so if you are lucky, expect to get up close and personal with the furry critters. Remember to always approach with caution when leaning in for a selfie!


3. Picnic in Kings Park

What is it? One of the largest inner-city parks in the world.

Why go? Boasting uninterrupted views of Perth City and showcasing a collection of native WA flora and fauna, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the moment at Kings Park. But there’s more to this 400+ hectare park than meets the eye. With cultivated gardens, untamed bushland, various walking trails and plenty of lush green grass to throw down a picnic rug, it’s no surprise this popular tourist spot is visited by millions of people each year. And in the summer there’s even more reason to visit with the pop-up movies by Moonlight Cinema.

Scare yourself silly on the Fremantle Prison Torchlight Tour
Fremantle Prison

4. Scare yourself silly on the Fremantle Prison Torchlight Tour

What is it? A 90-minute after-dark guided tour of the notorious convict jail that opened in the 1850s.

Why go? A “torchlight” turn about the grounds, which finally closed in 1991 after housing some of WA’s most notorious criminals, is like a Halloween-inspired Groundhog Day. The tour is scary but compelling and pretty much does what it says on the can: “The prison walls echo with stories of loneliness, pain and suffering, of executions gone wrong, of the innocent unjustly punished and the guilty punished.”

Sip your way through the Swan Valley
Frances Andrijich

5. Sip your way through the Swan Valley

What is it? A picturesque landscape of WA’s oldest wine region with plenty to eat, drink and do.

Why go? If you like all things wine, cheese, chocolate and nature, then you’ll love the Swan Valley. In less than 30 minutes you can drive from Perth’s CBD and into one of the Valley's many charming wineries. But if wine isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of nature to explore via foot, bike or horse – for those brave enough. If you’ve got the time, the best way to explore the Swan Valley is on one of the eight themed trails that range from wine to art, seasonal produce and even a bush tucker experience.

Go for a dip at Cottesloe Beach
OMB Photography

6. Go for a dip at Cottesloe Beach

What is it? Perth’s most beautiful, white-sand beach, perfect for sunset dips and romantic strolls.

Why go? When it comes to beaches in Perth, we are definitely spoilt for choice. But for the most photogenic seaside destinations in WA, Cottesloe Beach is easily among the top hot spots. With its shady Norfolk Pines, pristine sand and abundance of watering holes, there’s just something about Cott that makes it the ideal spot for any occasion. Swimming, snorkelling, surfing or sipping the evening away, this picturesque beach is a WA icon.

Get a scoop or two at Chicho Gelato
Chicho Gelato

7. Get a scoop or two at Chicho Gelato

What is it? A quirky gelateria and espresso bar making delicious flavours from scratch, on site, daily.

Why go? Sometimes all you need in life is a good scoop of gelato. And at Chicho Gelato that’s exactly what you’ll get. Having studied at gelato university in Italy (yes, that is a thing), founders Carly and Cesare De Bartolo have perfected the art of a smooth, creamy gelato that bursts with flavour in every lick. The pair did their time lugging around their gelato carts before opening up shop in Northbridge, where they serve their drool-worthy gelato by the scoop, tub and even in a brioche bun. If the colourful interior isn’t enough to suck you in, flavours like lavender honeycomb, malted milk cornflake cookie and salted caramel crack certainly will.   

Party on the river at the Raft Perth
Jarrad Seng

8. Party on the river at the Raft Perth

What is it? A permanent floating events space.

Why go? This 445-square-metre party barge dropped anchor in the Swan River in 2020, five years after the idea was originally floated. After visiting similar concepts on the east coast, siblings Katie and Dan Chrystal combined their skills and decided to launch the Raft in their hometown. Taking in views of Perth’s CBD, Elizabeth Quay and Kings Park, the sleek, spacious and purpose-built venue can only be accessed via the venue’s private tender vessel from the Barrack Street jetty. The Raft is a fully licenced venue available for private bookings of up to 250 people or ticketed events.

Take a gondola ride at Elizabeth Quay
Gondolas on the Swan

9. Take a gondola ride at Elizabeth Quay

What is it? A gondola ride offering a unique way to explore the Swan River.

Why go? Because not everyone can make it over to Italy, Gondolas on the Swan are bringing a bit of Venice to Elizabeth Quay. Sit tight in the hand-crafted wooden gondola, which was designed and built in Perth, while the gondolier gently steers you past Perth City with Italian music gently playing in the background. The cruises range from 15 minutes to half an hour and carry up to eight passengers so you can bring your nonna along, too.

Hungry for the best eats in town?

The 16 best restaurants in Perth
  • Restaurants

For one of the most isolated cities in the world, Perth punches well above its weight with award-winning restaurants, hip bars and casual cafés dotted throughout the city centre and suburbia. Here's your guide to the very best restaurants in Perth.

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