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Welcome to Perth
Western Australia (WA) is closer than you think! Fly into Perth and from here the possibilities are endless. The capital of Western Australia, this is Australia's sunniest capital city, making it the perfect place to enjoy the coastal lifestyle. Discover pristine, uncrowded beaches from the iconic Cottesloe to the surfing hotspot Scarborough and relax with a beautiful Indian Ocean sunset. But it’s not just about beaches! Explore the diverse national parks, including 34 biodiversity hotspots, raise a toast with world-class local wines and savour delicious local produce. Make memories to last a lifetime and swim with dolphins in Rockingham, travel north to the otherworldly Pinnacles Desert, or take a dip in the crystal clear Ningaloo Reef where you can take a jaw-dropping swim with gentle whale sharks.
Featured holidays in PerthAdventure Awaits in Western Australia. Explore Rottnest Island with its stunning seascape and friendly quokkas. Don't miss the Pinnacles, Yanchep National Park, Lobster Shack & Sandboarding, Margaret River, Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and Busselton Jetty to name but a few.
Perth travel guidePerth holidays… what to expect
When is the best time to visit Perth?
Perth has a Mediterranean climate, making it ideal for visiting all year around, with warm days, mild evenings and sunny weather. Perth’s brief winter runs from June to August, when the city experiences the most rainfall, occasional storms and cooler nights. Summer starts in December and is warm to hot, with temperatures occasionally hitting 30°C or higher.
Take a look at our climate a chart below.
Perth airport guide
All scheduled international and domestic flights arrive and depart from Perth Airport (PER). Terminal 1 – the International Terminal – is about ten kilometres away from the domestic terminal but doesn’t have any public transport links to the city. However, connections to the domestic terminal make public transport an option.
A taxi to the city will cost approximately $35 from the international airport. Covered taxi ranks are located on the ground floor of the International Terminal. Your journey will take about twenty minutes.
The Perth Airport Connect shuttle costs about $15 per person - return $25 - and takes passengers from the International Terminal to the city's hotels. There's a Freemantle Airport Shuttle, offering a similar service - door to door.
The Aquarium of Western Australia
The Aquarium of Western Australia, Hilary’s Boat Harbour, offers a fun way to spend half a day. This multi-million dollar attraction is your one-stop introduction to the colourful inhabitants off Western Australia's coastline. Kids will love entering The Dangerzone, home to some of the ocean’s deadliest and strangest marine creatures. The 98m glass tunnel is the largest in Australia.
Perth Mint, Hay Street is where the heady days of Australia's gold rush come to life at this light-hearted historical attraction, a 100 year-old mint where pure gold ingots are still made. And you can, should you have the funds, even buy one!
Parks and gardens
Perth is a city in love with lawns, manicured borders, ornamental beds and specimen trees: you’ll never be far from a city park, wherever your travels take you. Harold Boas' Gardens even feature ornamental lakes and a waterfall. Other lovely spots to spend a sunny afternoon of wandering include: the Supreme Court Gardens - home to Opera in the Park and Carols by Candlelight in the summer months; The Esplanade Reserve - with its hothouse home to rare palms; the water lily-filled lakes of Queens Gardens.
For less ordered formality, the huge expanse of Kings Park features 400 hectares of mature trees, lakes, bushland and fabulous views back to the city. Here, Mount Eliza’s tracks and footpaths offer great hiking and cycling opportunities close to the city.
This state-of-the-art science and discovery centre on Sutherland Street is a lively museum, featuring over 160 hands-on, interactive attractions and a high-tech Planetarium with a regularly-changing programme of shows and talks.
Saint George's Terrace
The main street in Perth, Saint George's Terrace is a handsome thoroughfare, complete with a sprinkling of attractive buildings - look out for the stucco splendour of the Treasury Building and – set in the pavement – 150 bronze tablets commemorating notable figures from 150 years of Western Australian history.
Perth’s compact city centre makes shopping a pleasure - and its selection of markets, malls and shop-lined, pedestrianised streets only add to the enjoyment.
For big-name brands, Australian department stores and fashionable boutiques, the city’s core – between Hay and Murray Street – is the place to head. The Murray and Hay Street Malls come complete with the usual suspects, including large fashion, jewellery, home furnishings, electrical and sportswear stalls.
The city’s delightful shopping arcades have tonnes more character - each specialising in a different type of shopping experience, from fashion to accessories, art to antiques. The London Court’s Tudor architecture (fake, of course) is particularly effective.
King Street is the centre of Perth's sophisticated West End, and it’s here you’ll find up-and-coming designers, world-famous fashion houses and watches with price tags of $20,000 - if that’s your thing.
At the other end of the scale, the town’s markets offer great fun and plenty of bargains - head to the Subiaco Pavilion Markets, or the Galleria Art and Craft Markets - at the Museum - for crafts, bric-a-brac, pottery and art.
The Forrest Chase complex and the two major department stores, Myer and David Jones, are good places to hunt out Australian precious gemstones such as the famous pink Argyle diamonds, Broome pearls and Kalgoorlie gold.
Nearby Fremantle enjoys a hip collection of funky boutiques, bookshops, craft shops and bustling weekend markets.
Perth food and drink
Despite its relative isolation, Perth is no slouch when it comes to fine dining and cosmopolitan cuisine. Taking much of its cue from the countries which border the Indian Ocean, Perth is one of Australia’s hottest propositions when it comes to curries, spicy stews and Southeast Asian-fusion dishes. Indonesian, Malay and Thai dishes; rice, noodles, fresh spices and delicious Chinese food are all popular dining options in Perth.
The city is also home to many, many excellent coffee shops - you could say Perth runs on the stuff! The further out to Freemantle (Perth's port town) the more the bean seems to take over proceedings. There's even - at South Terrace - the ‘Cappuccino Strip’. Freemantle is also home to some excellent fish and chip restaurants.
Subiaco (a trendy Perth suburb), is home to a slew of excellent Asian, fusion and trendy bar/grill establishments, while along the Swan River you'll find hearty fare such as steak houses, Aussie-themed family-friendly eateries and Italian restaurants.
Other specialities you’ll find on town menus include Western Australia’s excellent seafood - especially king prawns, rock lobster, barracuda and wonderfully meaty oysters (containing ‘pearl meat’).
You may notice with pleasure that the wines of Western Australia are uniformly good, and served - relatively cheaply - with the region’s inventive and pretension-free cooking.
From Thursday evening to Sunday, Perth’s nightlife transforms the city from a laid-back, open-air city into a clubbing epicentre with neon-bathed bars, dance clubs, Irish bars and smart cocktail bars.
In the city centre, Aberdeen Street, Northbridge is the place to head. The Deen has nine bars under one roof, while The Shed is Perth’s biggest nightspot - an ‘Australian-themed’ restaurant, party venue and late-night club. Nearby Eurobar plays house and party tunes to a friendly, mixed crowd, and Black Betty’s offers more of the same, with occasional live bands and public appearances from Aussie celebrities. Leederville is another cool haunt, just minutes from the city centre, with a selection of bars, live music venues, good value restaurants and coffee shops. For jazz, try the Ellington Jazz Club in Beaufort Street.
The inner western suburb of Subiaco is a good spot to seek out lively nightlife, with its sprinkling of bars and clubs and, at the Subiaco Arts Centre, a great venue popular with touring and local bands.
Further out, the beach resort of Freemantle has a thriving nightlife scene, with clubs and bars centred on the roads around South Terrace, Riverside Road and High Street: expect loud music, excitable young things and an unrefined but fun-loving party scene!
Lifestyle and culture in Perth
Perth, in recent years, has developed into a thriving cultural centre, with a brace of exciting museums and galleries. Add to this a forward-thinking programme of events, festivals and exhibitions celebrating Western Australia’s distinct and captivating history, crafts and traditions.
Perth Tourist Board has created a free Arts and Culture Map, should you wish to explore further - you can pick one up online or at the Tourist Information Centre - ideal for families looking to explore the city.
The Western Australian Museum (Perth Cultural Centre, James Street) specialises in the region’s natural history, with everything from dinosaurs to butterflies on display. The Aboriginal Gallery is outstanding, as is the museum's collection of meteorites - collected from the dusty plains which stretch for thousands of miles inland.
Australia’s leading Aboriginal theatre company, Yirra Yaakin (‘Stand Tall’) offers vibrant performances throughout their summer season, on Murray Street. The striking, modernist-designed Perth Concert Hall is home to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and the splendid His Majesty’s Theatre stages performances by the West Australian Ballet, Opera and touring ‘West End’-style musicals.
The Art Gallery of Western Australia is a well-respected institution, part of the Perth Cultural Centre, James Street which houses the State Art Collection (strong on indigenous art) and regularly changing exhibits of Australian and Indian Ocean art, photography and design. Here, you’ll also find the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (the city’s visual and performing arts centre), the Perth Gaol (now a visitor attraction), and the city library.
Perth events - what's on when?
January - City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks
The country's largest Australia Day community event with an air show, regatta, music festival, family entertainment and more before fireworks at 8pm.
February - Perth International Arts Festival
Over 200 events with more than 1000 performers takes place during three weeks, showcasing film, literature, music, theatre and more to 300000+ patrons.
March - Future Music Festival
Future Music festivals have a glittering line-up of dance luminaries and emerging talent. Takes place at the Arena Joondalup, just north of Perth city.
April - Polo in the Valley
Watch six polo teams compete in three games across different skill levels, plus a fashion show, activities and more at Duncraig Stud, Houghton's Winery.
May - Stretch Festival
This community arts and culture festival brings live music, a circus, a parade, exhibitions and art to Mandurah, just south of Perth.
June - WAMED Festival
A festival of Middle Eastern dance with a cocktail party, fashion parade, workshops, gala events and a bazaar across various venues.
July - Revelation Perth International Film Festival
A wide spectrum of films, especially more independent, underground and alternative works, are screened at The Astor theatre, Mount Lawley.
August - The Perth Show
This agricultural show has expanded to include entertainment, sheep shearing, wood cutting and sideshows among the judging and awards.
September - Parklife
This cutting-edge music party in Wellington Square park is a regular fixture in the nation's early spring schedule and a hot ticket for the region's youth.
October - Fright Nights at Adventure World
A Halloween special held at this theme park with rides that are adapted and dressed for the occasion, with a discount to customers in spooky dress.
November - Heritage Perth Heritage Days
Garden tours, guided walks, performances, exhibitions and more free activities are held to educate visitors and give everyone a chance to explore the city.
December - City of Perth Christmas Funfair
This festive funfair includes live music, special children's rides and Santa, with an ideal city centre location at Forrest Place.
Perth - getting around
A reasonably reliable network of public transport serves Perth and its environs, with free services operating on many city centre routes (known as the Free Transit Zone), and an easy to master network of nine concentric zones circling outwards from the centre.
The free CAT (Central Area Transport) bus service in Perth CBD and Fremantle offers 10 minute services in the centre of the city and Fremantle. The route takes in Newcastle Street, Kings Pier and on to Subiaco. Just hop on and off wherever you see the CAT bus stops. Buses are, generally, larger than their suburban counterparts. Look for the distinctive panther logo sprayed along the buses' sides.
Taxis can be problematic in Perth. They're not as frequent as you'd hope and are as rare as gold dust during peak times. The city's ranks are one way to wait for a ride - you'll find them outside the main entertainment precincts, hotels and transport interchanges. But if you really have to be somewhere, it's probably best to phone ahead and confirm a booking. Flagfall is usually around $3.50, with additional kilometres charged at around £1.50.
Most trains stop at the city's central station and head out to Fremantle, the suburbs and beyond. A new SmartRider system uses electronic passes, allowing for fast and convenient boarding. But you can buy a paper ticket at stations.
Tickets are valid for two hours, and can be used on buses or trains. A one day ticket costs around $8. It's probably wise to invest in a SmartRider (which work similar to a London Transport Oyster card: you simply charge it up with a set amount to be redeemed against future travel, at a 15% discount over cash fare prices).
If you're heading to the Esplanade area of town, you'll need the Mandurah line, which whisks you to the coast and the south of the city. Train services run every quarter of an hour or so during the day and cease around midnight.
Perth - further afield
Just a short ferry ride from Perth, leave the city behind and discover the idyllic Rottnest Island. This tiny little island is car-free and carefree with so much to see. With 63 spectacular beaches, 20 picturesque bays and coral reefs, it’s the perfect spot for swimming, snorkelling and surfing. Back on land, meet the world famous quokka – this cute little guy can only be found in Western Australia so grab and camera and say hello!
Freemantle is a lovely beachfront community - with a string of colourful cafes along its historic promenade. The WA Maritime Museum is worth a look, as are the town’s craft markets and stalls, and lively pubs. There are also art galleries and heritage buildings, such as the Roundhouse and the old Prison. A laid-back enclave of converted dockworker’s cottages, trendy boutiques and bistros, Freemantle is a must visit.
Mundaring is a pleasant tiny town, deep in the verdant foothills of the Darling mountain range. Mundaring has a selection of tourist attractions worth visiting. The Neerabup National Park contains ancient dune systems with stately Tuart gum trees, breezy coastal walks and heath vegetation.
Swan Valley is located to the northeast of Perth the Swan River meanders gracefully through gorgeous countryside. You can catch a ferry from Barrack Square Jetty for a day trip. The Walyunga National Park has a series of river-carved granite ponds, perfect for a summer's afternoon swim, surrounded by thick eucalyptus forest. Here, too, is the largest Aboriginal settlement area around Perth, occupied up until the late 19th century.
The Wave on Hyden Rock is one of Australia's most famous geological formations - looking exactly like a giant roller, but actually a sculptured hunk of granite over 2,700 million years old. You can enjoy swimming and canoeing at nearby Lake Magic. It's a hefty day's drive from Perth though, at around 340 kilometres.
The wineries along the banks of Margaret River (known as the Margaret River Wine Region) are tremendous – visit for wine tours with tastings galore. The forests here contain some of the Earth’s tallest trees and incredibly deep caves. Margaret River town is a charming place, with good restaurants, and easy access to the smashing beaches of Gracetown, Yallingup and Dunsborough.
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Key facts about Perth
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