The best of Perth 30 minute drive guide
“Embrace the best of both worlds in Perth, where soft-sand beaches and scenic parks meet a thriving metropolis of small bars, creative restaurants and curated street art.”~ Australia Tourism
Should you “Do-it-Yourself”, or book a reputable tour? Actually either way should be a win/win as long as you are comfortable with how you journey through this city and surrounds. There is however no shortage of fun ways for you to consider! Orientate yourself in this vibrant world-class city of Australia from hopping on a sedgway, to relaxing on the hop-on-hop-off / cruise. Or perhaps a more active approach better suits you like cycling or walking.
Any which way catch a glimpse of Perth’s history, and of course its many secrets…
Highlights within the city include the Victorian Gothic architecture of Perth’s Town Hall, Australia’s only convict-built capital city town hall. Nearby you’ll find the shopping malls on Hay and Murray streets. Continue on for a glimpse of Australia’s cultural riches at the Perth Cultural Centre, the Museum of Western Australia, the Art Gallery and the Heath Ledger Theatre – named after the late actor who was from Perth.
Be sure to save time for a visit to Kings Park, where you get excellent views of the Perth skyline and Swan River. The enormous park is one of Perth’s jewels, with picnic areas, walking trails, and an impressive botanic garden. More than 3,000 species of indigenous plants, including many of Western Australia’s famous wildflowers, are growing in the extensive Kings Park and Botanic Gardens.
- Perth City
- Rottnest Island
- Swan Valley
- Caversham Wildlife Park
- Beaches: Scarborough Beach / City Beach /Port Beach /Sandtrax Beach / Bailey Beach
Plan activities within Perth and its 30 minute radius:
From eclectic markets to stylish malls, Perth offers a host of shopping options. Venture off the main malls, and you’ll also discover the eclectic offerings of Perth’s inner city villages, weekend markets and summer night markets. Mix all that with a buzzing café, small bar and arts scene and you have one value-packed time in Perth.
Wildlife, beaches & marine parks
In the capital city of Perth, you’re spoilt with a choice of 19 stunning beaches, including the iconic Cottesloe Beach. Discover some stunning scenery on offer in the national, nature and marine parks of Perth and surrounds. Explore these parks by foot, bike, or snorkel. From September – December humpback whales pass close to the Perth coast allowing a unique opportunity to see these amazing creatures up close on a whale watching adventure. Otherwise meet and greet the famous kangaroos or koala bears!
- Marmion Marine Park
- Swan Estuary Marine Park
- Matilda Bay Reserve
- Carnac Island Nature Reserve.
Arts & Culture
Music lovers are in for a treat, with plenty of live music on offer especially in cultural hotspots. You’ll find music ranging from rock bands at trendy pubs to chilled-out jazz floating from wine bars and restaurants. Perth is also emerging as a comedy capital, with hilarious local and international acts regularly on offer at special comedy clubs or pubs, especially in Northbridge.
Hotspots: Perth / Northbridge / Fremantle / Swan Valley / Perth Hills / Avon Valley
Golfers are spoilt for choice, from world-renowned resort courses to lush public layouts available for very reasonable rates. Check out some of Perth’s stand out golf courses you might like to try:
City: Canning Vale Country Club / Wembley Golf Complex
Coastal: Joondalup Country Club / Rottnest Island Golf Course / Secret Harbour Golf Links / The Vines Resort & Country Club
In Perth there are more restaurants per capita than any other capital city in Australia, many of which have been awarded for their commitment to food excellence. The bar scene is equally as impressive, whether you seek the grand heritage of an iconic colonial hotel, the character of a country pub, or the European elegance of the small bar scene that’s tucked away in the city’s charming lanes and alleyways. Check out the Australian Good Food & Travel Guide – Perth.
The scope of action and adventure activities in the Perth region is outstanding from jetboating and sailing on the Swan River to skydiving on the beach.
Even in the heart of Perth city action is on the doorstep, from positive energy billowing in the sails of pleasure craft sailing the Swan River, to office workers pounding the pavement on their daily jog around the river’s foreshore.
Grab your mates and hire a sail boat, soar through the skies on a scenic helicopter flight or explore the river waters in a catamaran, kayak or jetski. Whether it’s action along the coast, hiking in the great outdoors or soaring through the sky in a hot air balloon, in the Perth region, you’re sure to find an activity that caters to your sense of adventure all within a very short distance of the city.
+ Suggested Best of Perth 5 day itinerary
- DAY 1 / Morning: Perth to Kings Park
Begin your day the way many Perth locals love to start theirs, by taking in the iconic cityscape on a morning walk, run, drive or cycle along the Swan River foreshore. From here, it’s just a short hop up to the best views in the city from Kings Park and Botanic Garden – one of the largest inner city parks in the world. Catch the free CAT bus, make the ten-minute drive, or take the 25-minute walk from the centre of Perth. Head for the information centre, at the end of Fraser Avenue, to pick up maps and find out about regular guided walks and cultural tours. A visit between August and September brings the added bonus of spring blooms, when the park is filled with Western Australian wildflowers.
- Day 1 / Afternoon: Kings Park to Perth
Lunch in Kings Park, or head back to Perth and discover the hidden gems of the West End, laneways and arcades – from chic fashion boutiques and quirky cafes, to cool small bars.
- Day 1 / Evening: Perth
Perth’s award winning chefs plate up the finest fresh local produce with premium wines. Check out the Australian Good Food Guide for restaurant options. Book an early table and catch a show at Perth Concert Hall, State Theatre, Heath Ledger Theatre or His Majesty’s Theatre.
- Day 2 / Morning: Perth to Fremantle
Fremantle and its beautifully preserved 19th century port streetscape, is just a 30-minute drive or train ride from central Perth. Or you can take the scenic route via the Swan River, on a cruise from Barrack Street Jetty. Head for the Cappuccino Strip to ponder the impossibly long list of morning coffee options before hitting the history trail to World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison. On an insightful guided tour of this maximum security gaol you’ll learn of the conditions endured by convicts and the daring escapes during its 136-years of operation. In striking contrast, a visit to the modern architecturally designed Western Australian Maritime Museum gives unique views of some of the most awe-inspiring vessels in maritime history. If you’re visiting on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday, experience the aromas, produce and crafts of Fremantle Markets – shoppers and visitors have been drawn here for more than a century.
- Day 2 / Afternoon: Fremantle
Feast on fresh fish and chips at Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour for lunch. It’s been the best place to grab the catch of the day since the early 1900s. Or sample some local handcrafted beers at one of the city’s brew houses, alongside a tasty small bites menu and a lively family-friendly atmosphere. Spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up Freo’s free-spirited attitude – it’s a mecca for artists from the worlds of fashion, music, performing arts, painting, Aboriginal art and sculpture. Explore the boutiques and galleries and check out the calendar of events for arts festivals.
- Day 2 / Evening: Fremantle or Cottesloe to Perth
- Select from Fremantle’s eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, or take the 15-minute drive to Perth’s iconic Cottesloe Beach for drinks and dinner beside an Indian Ocean sunset.
- DAY 3 / Morning: Perth to Rottnest Island
Head out to Perth’s idyllic island playground – a car-free Class A reserve known as Rottnest Island, or ‘Rotto’ for short. A morning ferry from Fremantle will get you there in just 25-30 minutes. Regular ferries also run from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty and Hillarys Boat Harbour. At only 11 by 4.5 kilometres, Rottnest is easy to explore in a day. Pick up maps and guides from theRottnest Island Visitor Centre and choose your preferred method of transport – the Bayseeker Bus, bike hire or walking. Before leaving Thomson Bay Settlement, stock up on water and picnic supplies at the island’s bakery, cafes or general store. Head up to Oliver Hill to discover some of Rottnest’s military history, or follow the coast to prettyLittle Salmon Bay.
- Day 3 / Afternoon: Rottnest to Perth
Take your pick from the island’s 63 white-sand beaches and 20 clear bays for a lazy picnic lunch. Little Parakeet Bay is a picturesque spot for a swim and snorkel. Keep a look out for Western Australia’s cutest marsupial, the quokka, seeking shade under the trees and shrubs. Return to Thomson Bay and head for the cafes or bars for an afternoon drink, taking in the view of Perth’s city skyline from across the Indian Ocean. Head back to the jetty to catch the afternoon ferry back to Perth, Fremantle or Hillarys.
- DAY 4 / Morning: Perth to Swan Valley
Just a 25-minute drive from the city brings you to the wineries and microbreweries, gourmet treats, fresh produce, arts, crafts and beautiful bushlands of the Swan Valley – Western Australia’s oldest wine region. Your day of indulgence begins in Perth’s oldest inland town, Guildford, where you can pick up a free map of the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail at the Swan Valley Visitor Centre. If you have a designated driver for the day, let them take you cellar door hopping. Verdelho, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet and fortifieds are among the specialties of the region. Some of the wineries offer alfresco dining beside the vineyards, pairing their wines with fine fresh local produce. Appreciators of hand-crafted beers will also find plenty to tempt their palate at the region’s boutique breweries, many serving light bites and hearty fare for a lazy lunch in the beer garden.
- Day 4 / Afternoon: Swan Valley to Perth
Follow lunch with a sugar hit from the Swan Valley’s makers of fine sweet treats, including chocolate, nougat, nuts, ice creams and sorbets. The region is a hotspot for arts and crafts too. Browse the galleries and workshops for unique pieces by local sculptors, painters, potters, printmakers and woodworkers. If you’re travelling with children, there are lots of fun ways to keep them entertained, includingCaversham Wildlife Park, Outback Splash Family Fun Park (home of The Maze), Swan Valley Heritage Cycle Trail and many more. To return to Perth, head to Guildford and retrace your tracks west along Guildford Road.
- Day 5 / Afternoon: Rockingham to Mandurah
For more marine encounters, take the short drive south to Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Ferries and wildlife cruises to Penguin Island operate daily between 10am and 3pm (September to June), introducing you to Western Australia’s largest colony of little penguins, as well as rare Australian sea lions and a variety of seabirds. Or, make the 20-minute drive south to Mandurah, where wild dolphins are frequently spotted year-round in the calm blue-green waters of Mandurah’s bay and connecting waterways. You can also encounter them on a short dolphin cruise. Spend the rest of your afternoon browsing the shops, galleries and cultural centres that line the city’s shoreline, or enjoy some of the many other water-based activities on offer – crabbing, fishing, swimming, kayaking, boating, bird watching... the list goes on.
- Day 5 / Evening: Mandurah to Perth
Dine out at a waterfront cafe or restaurant, or in true local style, tuck in to a fresh feast of fish and chips on the manicured lawns of Mandurah’s foreshore and don’t forget to keep your eye out for more dolphins in the bay. Join the Kwinana Freeway heading north from Mandurah and you’ll be back in Perth within an hour.
*If you doing it yourself don’t forget to download your Western Australia Travel Planning app. It will assist you in planning the perfect experience.
You can easily experience all of Perth’s ‘must sees’ and ‘must dos’ in as little as five days, including the panoramic views from Kings Park, Fremantle history, Rottnest’s beautiful beaches, Western Australia’s oldest wine region, and the dolphin playgrounds of Rockingham and Mandurah. Go discover what makes it one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Perth is the only capital city with a wine region, conservation areas and 19 beautiful beaches all close enough to be enjoyed in a day, along with plenty of nightlife, shopping, outdoor dining and amazing marine adventures. Perth transport gets you wherever you want to be by land, sea and air.