Pack in the sights to your Perth holiday, known for its sunshine, natural beauty and relaxed pace. Sail down the shimmering, blue Swan River or look over the city and its waterways from Kings Park. Swim, surf or just watch the sunset from Cottesloe Beach, then hit Northbridge's cheap eateries and trendy bars. Dine out on Indian Ocean seafood and explore Australia's best-preserved 19th century streetscapes in colourful Fremantle. Dedicate a day to discovering Rottnest Island by bike, boat or foot. Swim and surf from perfect white beaches, snorkel with tropical fish and coral and get up close to diverse wildlife.
At a glance:
- Two nights Perth
- Swan River
- Kings Park
- Cottesloe Beach
- Rottnest Island
City, gardens and river
Take a free city bus, jumping off at attractions like the Perth Cultural Centre, Perth Art Gallery and Swan Bell Tower. Have lunch on the Swan River, watching boats sail past the city skyline. Or pack a picnic and head to the elevated green expanse of Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Wander past the bushland, gardens and lakes and stare over the city, river and Darling Range from scenic vantage points such as the State War Memorial. Take the bus to Cottesloe Beach, where you can swim, snorkel or surf in the clear waters or relax on the terraced lawns beneath the Norfolk Pines. Watch the sun sink into the Indian Ocean from a pub or café along the boulevard. Then head to Northbridge, where you can dine out on an international kaleidoscope of cuisines and explore the many pubs, hotels and nightclubs. Alternatively, see a musical performance at the Perth Concert Hall or a play in the Perth 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 the boutique brewery and enjoy fish and chips on the wharf or in a waterside restaurant.
Take the ferry to Rottnest Island, where there are 63 beaches, 20 bays and no cars to spoil the tranquillity. Hire a bike and ride through the island’s centre to Oliver Hill, where huge guns and underground tunnels were installed last century. Take in the sweeping views and walk to the salt lakes or old lighthouse. Spot diverse birdlife and quokkas, the island’s native marsupial. Cycle north to Little Parakeet Bay for a swim in the clear, protected waters. Stop for lunch in a café at Geordie Bay, a little further along. If you’d prefer to explore underwater, follow a snorkel trail at Parker Point or over various shipwreck sites. Scuba dive in Fish Hook Bay, where coral reefs make the water a patchwork of different blues. Surf at Strickland, Salmon and Stark Bays, where the waves can be two to three feet taller than those off Perth beaches. Finish the day with a sunset meal in the island’s historic beachside pub.