I’ve been asked this a couple of times now, especially from friends who are planning trips down in the near future or who might have had their sights on Perth for a while. But more so from people who think that Perth is quite possibly one of the most boring cities to visit ever.
While far from being a tour guide, I have certainly done my fair share of exploring the twists and turns of this wonderful sunny city in my spare time. Perth is never short of fabulous adventures to fill up your days. Most of all, it is a city in which you can just kick back while enjoying the crisp air and sunny weather for most of the year!
Here are my top 10 absolutely amazing things to do in Perth at no cost if you are planning to head over soon.
1. Scenic Picnics at Kings Park
A sprawling scenic park in the middle of the city, Kings Park is the perfect location to take in the city skyline views while appreciating the West Australian flora and fauna within the park grounds. From memorials to natural architecture, let the rolling footpaths guide you through the perfectly trimmed grass in the urban park. Getting lost is close to impossible with the ubiquitous signs that give you the directions you need. And if a guided tour is something you are particularly interested in, there are free guided walks with park guides which can be arranged at the information center. Alternatively, at a paid price you can arrange for a heritage tour to discover the rich culture of Kings Park. Go here for more information.
From outdoor cinemas in the summer to wildflower walks later in the year, I would definitely head to the information center conveniently located close to the entrance of the park to find out about events and get a self–guided park map to help you navigate yourself around.
While there are a couple of restaurants and cafes scattered along Kings Park, you would be better off equipping yourself with a picnic basket or some take away and amp up the Aussie way by bringing along an eski (cooler) with some beers for a chilled day out. There is nothing that beats a scenic picnic at Kings Park while in Perth.
2. Sunset / Sunrise Walks along the Swan River (South Perth Foreshore)
I used to adore walking along the swan river even before I moved to Perth while visiting as a tourist. Now that I live in Perth, it has become my happy place from which I draw inspiration and relaxation simultaneously. There is something about it that borders on breathtaking and calming altogether . While some of the other tourist picks can be quite overrated, if you like to take in the peaceful yet stunning side of Perth, the Swan River walk will not disappoint.
If your legs don’t fatigue you can easily find yourself discovering something new as you cover more ground. On good weather days, it tends to get quite hot in the mid afternoon so try and fit in either a morning or evening walk so you can catch the sunrise or sunset while at it.
Alternatively, you can rent a bike for an allocated fee from here.. which will allow you to go a little further in your exploration.
Cycling or walking by foot far enough will take you to the highly photographed Crawley Edge Boat Shed and hopefully you will find some other beautiful surprises along the way that catch your eye. Below are some of my favorite captures from endless Swan River walks at different times of the day:
3. PICA & The Perth Art Gallery
Both the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) and the Perth Art Gallery have no fee on entrance for most of the exhibitions or displays that they house throughout the year. They are located opposite to one another in the Perth CBD and have the ability to challenge your creative perspective. While most of the displays are purely visual, some of the exhibitions give its audience tangible and interactive stimulation as well. Great stops if you are even mildly appreciative of art and culture.
Hop on to the art gallery website to find out about the different collections and displays that may be up during your visit. Similarly to find out what’s going on at PICA this PICA website is your guide for the rest of the year.
4. Elizabeth Quay
A gorgeous new addition to Perth, Elizabeth Quay seems to always be a bustle of activities in the current warm state of summer. Whether it is just to stroll around while taking pictures, grab an ice cream or perhaps to ride on a carousel? It’s all acessible in Elizabeth Quay. You can either catch a ferry to the quay from South Perth or just walk towards it from the city.
5. Markets & Architecture at Freemantle
Freemantle or better known as Freo is a paradise for beautiful architecture and is teeming with street performers and a variety of outdoor and indoor markets on weekends. Spend an entire day (preferably between Friday to Sunday) in Freo, exploring the Maritime museum, Freemantle Prison (entree fee applies) and a wonderful array of markets selling fresh produce and souvenirs. Freo is also pretty well known for it’s hipster cafes and good food. If you are foodie, then this is your Perth mecca! This article from The Urban List Perth has some really awesome recommendations. Beer and pizza more of your thing? Head to Little Creatures! And if it is fish and chips that you crave for, then Kailis Fish Market or Cicerello’s is a sure fire way to get that craving sorted.
Fresh produce at the Freo Market.Image Credit : https://goo.gl/images/yAvOnU
It is super easy to get to Freemantle via train from within the city train station. Highly recommended to save you time and effort of looking for a parking space especially during weekends. Parking does tend to get expensive as well if you intend on spending the day exploring the sights in Freo. Don’t forget to bring your camera along with you! You won’t regret it.
6. Beach Bum it Out at Cottesloe / Scarborough Beach.
Perth is fortunate to be blessed with numerous white sandy beaches which you can visit throughout the year. Personal favorites include Cottesloe beach which you can easily drop by while on the way to Freo via the train. Scarborough on the other hand is a little further away and accessible via bus if you don’t intend on renting a car.
Stunning view of Cottesloe Beach. Image credit : https://goo.gl/images/8bhXDF
If you are really lucky, you might drop by when the beach is covered from end to end with sculptures by local artists. This yearly event is a free public art exhibition called Sculptures by the Sea which usually happens over summer in Perth. Head on to this website for more information on Cottesloe and its events. Otherwise, visiting the beach on a regular day is just as good for the soul. Make sure to take a casual dip in its crystal clear waters.
Scarborough beach, on the other hand, stretches from end to end and is one in which you can choose to sit down and read a book or go all out for a swim and play beach volleyball with a group of friends. There are cafes, restaurants and ice creameries along the stretch if you ever get hungry. Try and stay for the sunset before you leave, it is truly a magical spectacle!
7. Take a Slow Hike through Bold Park & Chill at City Beach
I learned about Bold Park from a good friend. We went early enough to catch the sunrise and since it was a fairly easy hike, we did not have to go through a huge amount of effort before catching it. Bold Park will give you a good dose of urban wilderness before you wander off onto yet another beach and my top most favorite beach in Perth too – City Beach! There are also nicely paved out biking tracks for the cycling enthusiasts.
Image credit : https://goo.gl/images/4FV9Wy
It is impossible not to feel safe and completely at ease altogether at City Beach which are the reasons for which I fell deeply in love with it from the get go. Lifeguards are always on watch and you have nothing to worry about if you swim between the safe zone flags. There is also a natural recline and inclination of the sea bed that seem to lock you within safe zones when the tide gets high. This is one beach in which I can never seem to pass up a swim in. I don’t think you will either, unless it is freezing when you happen to visit.
8. Sample Free Wine, Honey & Chocolates in the Swan Valley
Approximately 25 minutes from the Perth CBD, Swan Valley is the perfect place to visit if you enjoy sampling wine and love walking through the multiple vineyards that are scattered around the valley. My husband and I love Sandalford Winery in particular for its wonderful chilled out vibe and food to accompany. We even had our pre–wedding photo shoot done at this location. Definitely drop by here for a fancy lunch and if you appreciate some good ol’ wine.
Photo Credit : Margaret River Chocolate Company’s Facebook Page
If glorious chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate floats your boat, then the Margaret River Chocolate Company has free samples and a good display of drool–worthy chocolate that will send your tastebuds to heaven and back. From ice cream to chocolate milkshakes and coffee, you can find almost any chocolate item to suit your fancy.
Image Credit : The House of Honey Gallery
The House of Honey is also a great place to drop by if you are in the valley. Not only for the free honey samples but also for an educational experience about West Australian honey, both with medicinal value and purely for taste. The best sort of honey ice cream is also made here! For opening times and more information about House of Honey go here
These are some of my recommendations but there is a whole side to veer off into and explore depending on your own taste and time. For instance, if you have come to Perth hoping to see kangaroos and koalas, then the Caversham Wildlife Park (entrance fee applies) situated in The Valley will be your ideal stop. This website is your guide to the Swan Valley, arrange tours, book accommodation, go crazy! Not everything in the Valley is free but it is worth paying for the experiences that you are interested in.
9. Enjoy a Nice Steep Hike and Waterfall Excursion at Lesmurdie Falls
Lesmurdie Falls situated in the Perth Hills region is a short drive away from the Perth metro area and really worth the effort if you are an avid naturist. We usually do the trail and hike in winter and it is recommended to do it in the cooler seasons because it does tend to get quite hot when the temperature soars. While the view from the lookout point is stunning, If you are feeling energetic keep walking down the trail until you reach the waterfall. That is the real highlight of the experience. The terrain is steep and tends to get quite rocky in certain areas so wear proper shoes and you will be fine. However tired or sweaty you are, once you get to the falls the relaxing vibe and sound of the crashing stream of water will take the edge right off.
10. Enjoy Free Tours in the City & the Summer Night Life in Northbridge
Visit the information center at the Murray Street Mall for advise on free day tours by local volunteers that will introduce you to the art and culture in Perth city. Most of the tours are walking tours that take you to the city sights and can give you an introduction on what you may actually be interested to further delve into later on on your own. The Perth city CAT is also a free bus service that will take you around the city, for more information on routes go here
If you happen to be heading to Perth very soon (meaning in the next week or so during summer), there is so much going on within the city that will pique your interest. The Perth Fringe World Festival where you can watch selected shows based on your preference is ongoing. Pop up bars are common in Northbridge and within the city area. And food markets that dish out some mouthwatering delights are everywhere!
Here are some cool ideas for you to wrap your head around and indulge in while making the most of your time in Perth during Summer:
Pop up Bars
Fuel up at the Twilight Hawkers Market, a pop up market that appears at Forrest Chase smack in the middle of the city on Friday nights during summer. Image Credit : https://goo.gl/images/Ao4JJJ
Rooftop Movies! Image Credit : Eventfinda
Catch a burlesque or circus or magic show at the Fringe World Festival. Go here for event details and to get rush tickets online. The Fringe World Festival is only on up to the 19th of February 2017 but the city is a wonderful bustle of light in conjunction with it.
Dance like a maniac with music transmitted to your ears only for free! Only on during the Fringe World Festival.
Party the night away at the Brass Monkey or the tonne of other bars and night clubs in Northbridge and within the city area.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope you enjoy the vibrancy of Perth to the fullest and realize that you don’t really have to spend a lot to do so! Let me know if this was helpful!