You can easily experience all of Perth’s ‘must sees’ and ‘must dos’ in as little as five days, including Sightseeing, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and more.
At a glance:
Begin your day the way many Perth locals love to start theirs, by taking in the iconic cityscape on a morning walk, run, drive or cycle along the Swan River foreshore. For another nature-based experience, walk, cycle or catch a bus to Kings Park and Botanic Garden – one of the world’s largest inner city parks. Head to the Information Centre to pick up maps and find out about regular guided walks and cultural tours.
Perth's iconic Cottesloe Beach is as pretty as a picture; and can be enroute on the way to Fremantle, which is a 30-minute drive or train ride from Perth; however, if you’d prefer to take the scenic route, hop on a Swan River cruise from Barrack Street Jetty. On arrival, grab a sidewalk table and a coffee on Fremantle's bustling ‘Cappuccino Strip’, or go in search of artisanal baked goods for a delectable breakfast or brunch. Take a wander through Fremantle’s maze of streets, filled with Georgian and Victorian-era architecture, where local independent fashion designers flaunt their eclectic styles.
In the evening, head to Perth’s award winning restaurants where chefs plate up the finest fresh local produce with premium wines. Book an early table and catch a show at the Perth Concert Hall, State Theatre, Heath Ledger Theatre or His Majesty’s Theatre.
Cruise down the Swan River to the charming port of Fremantle. Have an al fresco brunch along South Terrace, then wander the buzzing heritage-listed streets. On weekends the carnival atmosphere is amplified with colourful markets and roving magicians and musicians. Buy hand-made jewellery and local artworks, get your tarot cards read, or sit for your portrait.
Learn about Fremantle’s history in the Western Australian Maritime Museum or the Fremantle Prison. See the whipping post, gallows, solitary cells and chapel and learn about the daring escapes on a tour. Wander from here into Henderson Street, where Fremantle’s original market is held Friday to Monday and on public holidays. Shop for Aboriginal artworks and local produce, then browse the bookshops and boutiques along nearby South Terrace and Market Street.
In the evening, soak up the maritime flavour of Fishing Boat Harbour. Visit a boutique brewery and enjoy fish and chips on the wharf or in a waterside restaurant.
Setting off early from Perth, allow at least 45 minutes for the journey to Rockingham, where you can decide if you would like to experience a wild dolphin swim or watch the tour from the jetty.
Tours depart daily from September to early June, and run for three to six hours, depending on dolphin activity and sightings on the day.
For more marine encounters, take the short drive south to Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Ferries and wildlife cruises to Penguin Island run from September to June, and introduce you to Western Australia’s largest colony of little penguins, as well as rare Australian sea lions and a variety of seabirds.
Or, make the 20-minute drive south to Mandurah and dine out at a waterfront cafe or restaurant. Or in true local style, tuck in to a fresh feast of fish and chips on the manicured lawns of Mandurah’s foreshore, and don’t forget to keep your eye out for more dolphins in the bay.
Head north on the Kwinana Freeway from Mandurah and you’ll be back in Perth within an hour.
Head to Perth’s idyllic island playground – a car-free Class A reserve known as Rottnest Island, or ‘Rotto’ for short. A morning ferry from Fremantle will get you there in just 25-30 minutes. Regular ferries also run from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty and Hillarys Boat Harbour. At only 11 by 4.5 kilometres, Rottnest is easy to explore in a day. Pick up maps and guides from the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre and choose your preferred method of transport – the Bayseeker Bus, bike hire or walking. Before leaving Thomson Bay Settlement, stock up on water and picnic supplies at the island’s bakery, cafes or general store.
Head up to Oliver Hill to discover some of Rottnest’s military history, or follow the coast to Little Salmon Bay. Take your pick from the island’s 63 white-sand beaches and 20 clear bays for a lazy picnic lunch. Little Parakeet Bay is a picturesque spot for a swim and snorkel. Keep a look out for Western Australia’s cutest marsupial, the quokka, seeking shade under the trees and shrubs.
Return to Thomson Bay and head to the cafes or bars for an afternoon drink, taking in the view of Perth’s city skyline from across the Indian Ocean. Head back to the jetty to catch the afternoon ferry back to Perth, Fremantle or Hillarys.
The lunar-like Pinnacles are one of Australia's most unique and fascinating natural landscapes. Formed over millions of years, thousands of tall limestone spires rise eerily out of the yellow desert sands of Nambung National Park, just outside the coastal town of Cervantes.
In just over two hours from Perth, following the Indian Ocean Drive, you can transport yourself to another world, venturing into the Pinnacles along the scenic drive or walk trail. Or, you can let someone else take the wheel and join a coach or four wheel drive tour from Perth or Cervantes. While in Cervantes enjoy a Lobster (Freshwater Crayfish) for lunch.
Stand at the lookout and ponder the natural forces of water and wind that shaped the Pinnacles from seashells over millions of years.
Better still, visit the Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre and see the Pinnacles' story revealed in interpretive displays, as well as some insights into the plants and animals that have made their home here.