These days Perth is a far cry from the sleepy town it sometimes gets confused for. On any given day there’s a new bar, restaurant, cafe or experience launching onto the scene—to the point where deciding what to do can become all-consuming.
As per usual, that’s where we come in. We’ve already covered off the best free things to do and the best things you didn’t know you could do here, but when you just want a solid day out, here are 15 of the best things to do in Perth.
#1 Spend A Day In Fremantle
The laid-back vibes of Fremantle can’t be beaten, so spending a day meandering through the heritage streets is a must. Hit up the markets on the weekend for delicious local produce, the best egg sandwiches and quirky handmade goods, then cross the road to The Old Synagogue for a long and lazy lunch. Walk it off along the Cappucino Strip (South Terrace) and through Esplanade Park before a beer and some frites at Little Creatures or an all-out feast at The Sunshine Harvester Works. Once the sun has gone down you can cap off the day’s adventures with a gig at Freo.Social.
#2 Soak Up The Sun At Cottesloe
While Perth is home to some incredible beaches, Cottesloe is hands down the most iconic of the bunch. She’s got grass, she’s got shade, she’s got sand, she’s got surf and she’s got some killer restaurants and cafes right across the road. Walk all the way to Swanbourne along Marine Parade, take a dip among the rolling waves and grab a coffee at Il Lido. Nothing beats some paper-wrapped fish and chips on the grassy hill overlooking the water as you watch the sun go down, though.
#3 Hop On A Ferry Bound For Rottnest
You’ll definitely want to avoid it during school holidays, but any other time Rottnest is an island paradise, and it’s only a 25-minute ferry ride off the coast of Fremantle (90 minutes from Perth). Unless you’re super short on time, a day trip won’t quite cut the mustard in our books. A weekend spent among its sandy shores will see you returning to the mainland relaxed and ready to take on whatever life throws at you. There are loads of things to do, our top picks include staying in an eco tent at Discovery, snorkelling the bays, trying to nail the quokka selfie and relaxing at Karma Spa.
#4 Eat, Eat, Eat
Over the last decade, Perth has gone through a restaurant revolution. From speccy degustations at Wildflower to incredible homemade pasta at Lulu La Delizia, there’s no shortage of incredible eats to uncover. Add to that the plethora of new openings shaking things up on the regular and you’re never too far from your next feast.
#5 Pretend You’re A Kid For A Day
There’s no denying it, Perth has a penchant for kidulting. From 3D glow in the dark mini golf and spooky escape rooms to bouldering and even a drive-in cinema, you can get your nostalgia on every day of the week. One of the best ways to embrace your inner kid is at Strike Carousel. With bowling, Holey Moley mini golf, karaoke and escape rooms all under one roof, with some killer burgers, fries and boozy libations it’s like a grown-up version of your favourite childhood birthday party.
#6 Explore The Beautiful Swan Valley
Packed with vineyards, orchards and providores, the Swan Valley is Perth’s answer to Margaret River, only it’s 30 minutes out of the city. Hop your way around the best Swan Valley wineries or set out on a trail that takes your fancy. Easily one of the best things to do in Perth, you can’t miss a visit to Mason Saint-Honoré when you’re in this neck of the woods. Get the macaron ice cream sandwich, trust us.
#7 Go Bar Hopping In The City
Along with the Perth restaurant revolution came some incredible bars, and now the CBD is swarming with them, be they hidden, on a rooftop or exceedingly beautiful. Kick things off in the west end with poolside drinks at Hyde Perth Kitchen + Cocktails, then hit The Flour Factory, Fleur and Foxtrot Unicorn in that order. If you’re looking for a little more character on your bar hop, stroll through Yagan Square to Northbridge and you’ll uncover plenty more gems (we’re looking at you Mechanics Institute, Panama Social, Henry Summer and Frisk. Small Bar).
#8 Uncover Kings Park’s Best Walks And Hikes
If you can tear yourself away from the sweeping views of Perth and the Swan River, you’ll uncover some of the best walks and hikes at Kings Park. Law Walk gives you more incredible water views and pays you back in sweat, the Kokoda Track promises a killer glute workout, the Federation Walkway takes you over a suspension bridge and the DNA tower shows off the park, river and Rotto from 15 metres above the ground.
#9 Check Into A Luxe Hotel
Believe it or not, one of the best things to do in Perth is absolutely nothing; granted you’re doing nothing in a lavish hotel that is. At this point, there’s too many to pick a favourite, but you can’t go wrong with one of these boutique hotels. If you're just there for the pool, check into one of these.
#10 Drive Up The Hill
Perth’s Hills offer up a slice of a quieter life, and they’re less than a 30-minute drive from the city. Hop in your car and drive up the escarpment until your ears have popped to uncover beautiful bush walks, cute cafes and scenic drives. Don’t miss your chance to watch the sun go down and the twinkly lights of the city turn on from Lions Lookout.
#11 Test Your Balance On A SUP
SUPing (stand up paddleboarding) has fast become a favourite Perth past time, and it’s no surprise given how many lovely waterways the city is flooded with. Whether it’s the river or the beach (or indoors at a pool) there are loads of places to learn how to balance on one of these beastly boards. It’s actually a lot easier than it looks, which is why you can even find people doing SUP yoga these days.
#12 Take It To The Rooftops
It’s a fact, Perth loves a rooftop. With the amount of clear sunny days we get on the west coast, it’s no surprise. From rooftop bars to rooftop workouts, getting closer to the sun’s rays is now easier than ever. For a little slice of William Street’s charm, we can’t get enough of The Rechabite.
#13 Watch The Sunset
Watching the sunset over the ocean never gets old, and Perth offers up some pretty incredible vantage points to experience those sorbet skies. Pack a picnic and your sunglasses and head out to one of these spots to catch day turn into night. You can leave your phone in your pocket for this one because let’s face it, sunsets always look more beautiful in person.
#14 Grab A Scoop At Elizabeth Quay
There are a lot of water-based activities on this list, but what’s one more when we’ve got so many beautiful gallons on display? We’ll admit that we weren’t too sure about Elizabeth Quay when the plans were first released, but now that they’ve actualised, we’re in love with the place. Grab a scoop (or two) from gelato legends Gusto, wander the walkways in the sunshine and bask in that Perth glory.
#15 Frolic In Festival Fun
Fringe World Festival is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Perth, but if it’s not that glorious month between January and February you can be assured there’s a fun festival around the corner. From wine, chilli, cider and pork and beer and beef festivals to film, comedy and music festivals, there’s one on almost every weekend at this point. Go out and get among it.
Once you've ticked those off, find more fun things to do in Perth.
Image credit: Kat Wray, Nancy Hanna, Louise Coghill, Elle Borgward, Anna Franklyn, Sandalford