Things to do in Perth, Western Australia

Things to do in Perth, Western Australia

As a couple who have spent in excess of 30 combined years living in Perth, we are certainly in a comfortable position to help visitors make the most of their time. A lot of people don’t include Perth and Western Australia in their Australian itinerary, and we can somewhat understand that due to the distance and cost of getting there. After all, it is one of the most isolated cities in the world.

For those who can make the time to visit, we can guarantee you won’t regret it. Perth is one of the world’s most liveable cities and boasts an excellent climate. Compared to the experiences on offer in the rest of Australia’s capital cities, Perth is more akin to Brisbane than Melbourne or Sydney. And this certainly isn’t a bad thing. So expect a laid back time, some of the greatest things to do in Perth require time and minimal effort.

Perth lies on the Swan River and has undergone a much needed revitalisation recently. A redeveloped foreshore and an increase in the numbers of cafes and bars means the city is more alive than ever before. And it is continuing to become less of a ‘big country town’ and develop into a vibrant city.

We’ve prepared a list of the best things to do in and around the Perth metropolitan area, a comprehensive list prepared by locals!

1. Look over the skyline from Kings Park

Kings Park has a stunning location overlooking the Swan River and offers sweeping views of the Perth city skyline and back to the Darling Range. The park covers more than 400 hectares and is the largest inner city park in the southern hemisphere, even larger than New York’s Central Park.

Walk amongst the tree tops on the elevated bridge, or wander the pathways through the botanical gardens. Or prepare a picnic with the family on the grassy areas and let the kids enjoy the playgrounds and open space. Overlooking Perth city is the Botanical Cafe and for those looking for a fine dining experience, Fraser’s Restaurant, but be prepared for the bill.

2. South Perth Foreshore & Elizabeth Quay

The waterfront along the Swan River provides some amazing scenery during both the day and night. Enjoy a picnic on the southern foreshore or enjoy a beer in one of the waterfront pubs on the northern side. Whichever side you start on, cross via the ferry which runs every 10-15 minutes or walk across the Narrows Bridge which will take you about half an hour.

Make sure you stay until the evening, when the lights of Perth come on (usually after a picture perfect sunset) it is a spectacular sight. Make sure you wander along both sides to take in the contrasting views.

And while you’re there, get out on the Swan River. Kayaks, Stand Up Paddle Boards and Catamarans can be hired from Funcats Watersports and make for a great few hours of fun. We have done this a number of times over the years and it’s always enjoyable.

3. Day trip to Rottnest Island

Located just under 20km off the Perth coastline, Rottnest Island is an ideal getaway where you’ll have no trouble relaxing. With so many beautiful beachfront locations, you will want to come here for at least a day! Take the short ferry trip over, we recommend departing from the Barrack Street Jetty in the centre of Perth so you get a free Swan River cruise included in the price.

Firstly, the island is best explored by bicycle, as there are no private cars on the island. Having a bike will also make it much easier to get around the island, the more quiet and private beaches are on the far side of the island, which is a little too far to walk. There are also plenty of amazing reefs, so you’ll want to have packed your snorkelling gear.

Rottnest Island is also home to one of Australia’s cutest animals, the Quokka. They’re friendly and very photogenic. There are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied on the island, so please read our in depth article here.

4. Hit the amazing beaches

Western Australia is blessed with some of the best beaches in the world, we’ve travelled everywhere and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better selection anywhere. The beaches in the Perth metropolitan area won’t disappoint with white sand and warm, clear waters. On top of this, Western Australia offers you beautiful sunsets over the ocean every day of the year. What isn’t there to like? Sharks maybe, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll see any

Catch a sunset at Cottesloe Beach

One of Perth’s most popular beaches, about 15 minutes from Perth CBD. The beach attracts huge crowds over the summer months, which is not so great for those who enjoy a bit of privacy but it has all the offerings. A great selection of pubs and cafes are within a short walk too.

In March, the annual Sculpture by the Sea outdoor exhibition turns the beach into an outdoor art gallery. The exhibition is free, so if you’re in town make sure you check it out.

The waves here can get up to 2 metres, great for surfers but not ideal for those with a young family.

Scarborough Beach

Scarborough Beach offers much the same as Cottesloe but is about a 25 minute drive north of Perth. It does have some great facilities nearby and better surfing conditions if that is more your style. There are also surf schools nearby where you can spend a few hours learning the skills to master the waves.

Coogee Beach

This is probably our favourite beach in the Perth metropolitan area. About a 25 minute drive south of the CBD, Coogee has very little surf and is much quieter than many other Perth beaches. It is ideal for families and the surf club has a great cafe and pub where you can watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.

Cottesloe Beach

Scarborough Beach

Coogee Beach

5. Explore the historic Fremantle port

Fremantle is one of the original settlements in Perth and is almost a city of it’s own. Located about a 20 minute drive from Perth city, it is easily accessible by public transport too.

Fremantle is a great mix of everything, from white sand beaches to bars and nightclubs, it has something for everyone. There are a handful of things to head to Fremantle for but you can easily spend a few days here!

For a meal, we would recommend trying Little Creatures Brewery or Cicerello’s located on the boardwalk overlooking the water. Little Creatures offer local produce and beers, while Ciccerello’s is home to some excellent seafood. Both are somewhat expensive, so be prepared.


For those interested in local history, the Fremantle Prison is still standing today and sits on some prime real estate not too far from the centre. There are a variety of tours exploring the prison but the Prison Tunnel Tour would be our recommendation, although you have to be reasonably fit to complete it.

Wander around Fremantle and I’m sure you will find something that takes your fancy. Try to find the markets hidden along the main street to find locals selling everything from handmade goods to fruit & veg to massages.

6. AQWA & Hillary’s Boat Harbour

Hillary’s is a more recent addition to Perth’s metropolitan area, about a 25 minute drive north of Perth. It is loaded with entertaining ways to enjoy yourself whether you are travelling alone or with your family.

First and foremost, Hillary’s features AQWA, the aquarium of Western Australia. Explore the animals that call Australia home and they have a touch pool that the kids love. For those a little braver, we absolutely recommend that you go swimming with the sharks and rays. You’ll appreciate how huge they are up close and it’s a great adrenalin rush. It is a little expensive at $195pp but we loved the experience! And if you do go that way, make sure you take a waterproof camera. Details here:

The nearby marina has an overwater boardwalk with an excellent selection of cafes and bars where you can enjoy the view and sound of the waves. We love to enjoy a mid afternoon ice cream here and then head to the Breakwater for a drink and an early dinner while watching the waves and sunset.

7. Catch a game at one of WA’s great stadiums

Australians in general love our sport. Western Australia is no exception and have teams in a variety of national sports that play year round. And the teams are passionately supported, making game day a great day out. Most popular, and unique to Australia is the AFL, best described as a hybrid between rugby and football.. WA is home to two teams (Fremantle and West Coast) who play out of Burswood (a 5 minute drive from Perth) and have  about 35,000 fans at home games.

If the sport of AFL is too foreign to you, Perth is home to the Western Force (rugby) and Perth Glory (football). Both teams draw a decent crowd and have a great atmosphere, whilst playing close to the centre of Perth. The Perth Wildcats (basketball) are one of Western Australia’s most successful sporting teams and their games are always entertaining.

Perth also plays host to the Hopman Cup (tennis) in January each year. 8 mixed teams from around the world come to Perth to play in the tournament.

8. Visit the Swan Valley for lunch and wine tasting

If you don’t have the time to visit Margaret River in WA’s south west (it is highly recommended) then heading out to the Swan Valley is the next best alternative. Whilst Margaret River is a 3hr drive from the city, the Swan Valley is only a half hour trip, or alternatively, there are daily wine tours so no one has to miss out and drive. There are plenty of great wineries here where you can sample wines, craft beers and even cheese or chocolate at the various businesses in the area.

There are some excellent tours that will take you through the valley, starting from $120pp including lunch. We have previously tried the 5 hour afternoon tour with Swan Valley Tours ($140pp) and we stopped at a few wineries, a craft brewery and a visit to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (in the Swan Valley fyi) which wasn’t bad value.

Of course, nothing will beat picking the best options for you, there are some excellent options depending on your interests. We’ve listed some of our favourites here for you:

Margaret River Chocolate Factory

Lancaster Winery, conveniently opposite the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.

Canefire Distillery, rum specialists.

Mash Brewery

Of course, there are many more options in the area, in particular a few German breweries if that interests you. Just be prepared that once the samples are gone, additional drinks are Australian prices.

Rimini – The tourist hot spot

Rimini – The tourist hot spot

We visited the beach resort town of Rimini in mid September, just after the peak season had finished. With the best of the beautiful summer weather gone, the waterfront areas of the town resembled a ghost town. There were more street vendors than tourists and many of the cafes had closed their doors for the year.

But the sudden departure of the swathes of tourists doesn’t mean the end of the good weather. We experienced a mix during our time here, from sunny mornings to afternoon thunderstorms. So if you do visit outside of the summer months, anticipate losing some time to poor weather. So perhaps book a hotel with good facilities – we found the Hotel Sunset on the waterfront to be excellent value out of season, from 25€ per night including buffet breakfast – how can you go wrong!?

Read our review of Hotel Sunset here:

But aside from Hotel Sunset, there were an abundance of hotels with great facilities for bargain prices.

Despite the sometimes inclement weather, the water was still quite warm at all times during our visit. So swimming isn’t entirely out the question! The waterfront is dominated by private beaches, meaning that, in season, you will have to pay to use the facilities. However, most hotels have a private beach or at least an agreement with one for their guests. Visiting out of season has no such issues, even during our visit, all the sun chairs were empty!

Dining along the waterfront can be tricky, there is a huge amount to choose from during the peak season and prices are competitive. Outside of the summer months a lot of the eateries are closed which makes choosing a destination much easier. For those who are interested, we found that Poker Pizzeria offered great food at bargain prices. The staff spoke great English & were excellent company, making the experience all the more memorable. We normally try different eateries to get a taste of what’s on offer but we found ourselves returning here for most meals!

Outside of the expansive beach & waterfront areas, Rimini does offer visitors something other than surf and sand. About 1km inland from the beach is the historic town centre. Rimini has been populated for over 2,000 years and still features remnants from the Roman Empire scattered throughout. If you are in town, it is well worth looking around and exploring. The town centre offers better shopping and dining experiences than you will find along the waterfront.

Ultimately, Rimini is primarily a beach resort, so it is best to visit during the peak summer season. Whilst there is a great deal of history associated with the town, it isn’t well preserved – we found the town centre to be quite dull and uninspiring. Prices are much inflated during the peak season, especially during the school holidays, so if possible try to schedule around the Italian & German school breaks.

Rimini is also an excellent base for visiting other cities nearby. Which is why visiting early to mid September isn’t a bad idea. You will still get warm summer days to enjoy the vacated beach and on those wet/cloudy days you can make a break and head to nearby Bologna, Ravenna or Ferrara, all of which offer a different Italian experience to Rimini.

Alternatively, you can visit the Republic of San Marino. Buses run regularly between Rimini & San Marino and it takes about 45 minutes each way. Although it is younger than Rimini, San Marino offers a much richer history experience for those seeking a break from the beach.

Positano – The Popular Holiday Destination On Italy’s Beautiful Amalfi Coast

Positano – The Popular Holiday Destination On Italy’s Beautiful Amalfi Coast

If you know anyone who has travelled around Europe then chances are you have heard of Positano. And like us, heard tales of amazement & awe. Well we are here to offer you an exaggeration free, more realistic version so you can make a properly informed decision.

We visited Positano during mid-September, when the peak season is supposedly waning. If possible, we would advise leaving a two day space to visit – hopefully ensuring you get at least one day of perfect mediterranean summer weather.

The town of Positano, despite being one of the larger towns along the Amalfi Coast, was surprisingly small. First up, there is almost no parking in the town, so whether you came by coach or drove yourself, expect a long walk along the side of the road. Hopefully the coach drivers can drop you off closer to the town. Like everywhere else, the earlier you can get up, the closer you can park close to the town. Our late rise on our first attempt to visit Positano beach meant we were a 3 kilometre walk from the beach… On a 35 degree day!

Once you actually reach the town of Positano you quickly realise a few things. Firstly, it seems there are 100,000 tourists in a town for 3,000. And where there are tourists there are overpriced restaurants & vendors.

The second, and most disappointing realisation, is that the beaches are very average. Coming from Australia where we have an abundance of pristine white sand beaches really made us wonder what all the fuss was about here. The beaches are wholly pebble and private beaches dominate the waterfront. You’ll see hundreds of metres of umbrellas with deckchairs sitting empty whilst the minimum public beach is filled with beachgoers.


If you are interested in the private beaches, you can use the umbrellas and deckchairs for 10€ per person per half day.

We really were astounded at how little of the waterfront was designated as public beach. And if you stray across the designated boundaries you will be shouted at by one of the many 60 year old walruses that guard their territory like a wild animal… Whilst there are a few more secluded beaches further from the town you’re looking at more walking or even hiking to get to them.

But despite all the negatives described above it was still difficult to not enjoy ourselves in Positano. The weather was amazing & the beach was clean. The water was warm, about 25 degrees for the time we spent here. We managed to find a reasonably priced cafe close to the waterfront to enjoy some food & a few beers.

It really is a postcard perfect town. Everywhere you look are amazing photo opportunities, even as you walk along the side of the road. Whether you’re looking back up the cliffs from the beach front or out to sea. Make sure you take your good camera along regardless of how far you have to carry it – you will certainly regret it if you don’t.

Whilst accommodation is very expensive in the area, we found that staying in nearby Sorrento was much cheaper and only a 20-30 minute drive to Positano. Ultimately, all to see & do in Positano can easily be done in a day and for us, the overwhelming numbers of tourists certainly diminish the experience. We had planned to come back for a second day but opted not to, and frankly, I don’t think we missed out on much at all.

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