Cruise the Swan River past parks and skyscrapers to 40 vineyards in the Swan Valley or the Perth Zoo. Visit Rottnest Island, where you can explore history, bike ride to secret beaches and kayak to secluded bays. Feast on seafood and soak up the carnival atmosphere in historic Fremantle. Discover the lookouts, landscaped gardens and Aboriginal heritage of huge Kings Park. Swim, surf, fish, windsurf and sail on clean and uncrowded beaches such as Cottlesloe or Scarborough. Then skip between the sunny boardwalks, beaches and marinas of the Sunset Coast.
Five must-have Perth experiences:
1. Cruise the Swan River
Cruise the Swan River past parks and skyscrapers to the beaches and bays of Rottnest Island. Or glide past opulent homes to the lively, historic port of Fremantle. Take a high-speed ferry to the Perth Zoo or head upstream to the vineyards of the picturesque Swan Valley. Experience Perth’s glittering skyline on a dinner cruise. Or float down the river to Matilda Bay and the Mediterranean style buildings of the University of Western Australia. Hire a sleek sailboat and billow across the water. Canoe, kayak, kiteboard and jet ski or just watch the colourful flotilla of boats from the shore. Throw down a picnic rug or bike ride alongside the water on the Perth Waters or Canning River tracks.
2. Get back to nature in Kings Park
One of the largest inner-city parks in the world, you can walk under towering eucalypt canopies and past mirrored lakes, sculpted gardens and picnic areas on the Bushland Nature Trail. Take in spectacular views of the city, Swan River and Darling Ranges from a lookout on the Lotterywest Federation Walkway or from the top of the 49 foot (15 metre) high DNA Tower. Learn about bush survival skills, taste bush tucker and listen to stories of the Rainbow Serpent on a walk with a local Aboriginal guide. Explore the rich diversity of Western Australian wildflowers in the Botanic Garden. These 988 acres (400 hectares) of lush landscaped gardens are just a short stroll from Perth’s city centre. You can explore them going bike riding, bushwalking or rollerblading. Or just enjoy the fresh air, bird song and outdoor summer events.
3. Join the festival in Fremantle
Wander heritage-listed streets buzzing with busking musicians and magicians. Or stroll winding alleys lined with art. Browse the bustling weekend markets or head to High Street for designer fashion and Aboriginal crafts. Enjoy a coffee on the lively ‘Cappuccino Strip’ or taste fresh Indian Ocean seafood at a restaurant on Fishing Boat Harbour. Visit the local micro-breweries or imbibe a pint in a historic pub. Listen to stories of prisoners and murderous mutineers on a torchlight tour of Fremantle Prison, the state’s first jail. Or see the infamous 17th century Dutch Batavia shipwreck in the old Shipwreck Museum in Cliff Street. Cruise on the Leeuwin tall ship or sail to Carnac Island and spot seals, whales, dolphins. Enjoy a free Sunday concert at Fremantle Arts Centre or relax with a sunset picnic on South Beach.
4. Relax on Rottnest Island
Just a short ferry ride from the city, you can bike ride or kayak to secluded bays and swim from 63 beaches on tranquil, car-free Rottnest Island. Snorkel or dive the vibrant coral reefs and historic shipwrecks. Ride the surf at Strickland Bay, Salmon Bay and Stark Bay. Or grab a rod and make the most of the island’s great fishing. Spot quokkas, the cute marsupials that inspired the island’s name. Learn about the island’s history on a guided tour of the Aboriginal prison or in the Rottnest Museum. Visit the old lighthouse and see the underground tunnels, huge guns and sweeping views of Oliver Hill. Take in the sunset from a scenic flight. With its Mediterranean climate, native flora and fauna and relaxed pace, it’s no wonder the locals want to keep Rottnest Island their summer vacation secret.
5. Explore the Sunset Coast
Swim and snorkel on Cottesloe Beach, before exploring the trendy open-air cafes and pubs along the promenade. Relax on the white sands of City Beach. Or join the surfers and bronzed backpackers of Scarborough, then wander salty-skinned and happy through the weekend markets. Meet sea lions, bottlenosed dolphins and humpback whales at Marmion Marine Park on Trigg Beach. Or snorkel the shallow lagoons, reef walls, tiny islands and underwater caves. Relax in the boardwalk bars and restaurants of Sorrento Quay at bustling Hilary’s Boat Harbour. Then immerse yourself in an underwater world at the aquarium or join a whale watching cruise or deep sea fishing charter. Fish from the beach and wander the marina at Mindarie Quays. Scuba dive shipwrecks from the seaside towns of Yanchep or Two Rocks and picnic and swim at picturesque Yanchep Lagoon.