Perth skyline, Jean-Paul Ferrero / Auscape International

Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world, closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney. Its nearest neighbour, Adelaide, is 2700 kilometres away by road. Yet it is exactly this isolation that has allowed Perth to retain a feeling of space and relaxed charm.

Claimed to be the sunniest state capital in Australia, Perth has a Mediterranean climate: hot and dry in summer, cool and wet in winter. This climate, and the city’s proximity to both river and ocean, fosters a relaxed lifestyle for the population of 1,730,000. One of Perth’s great attributes is that its water frontages are public land, accessible to everyone. Picnicking is a popular pastime, while cafes and bars spill their tables and chairs out onto pavements to make the most of the glorious weather.

Yet for all Perth’s coastal beauty, it is the Swan River that defines the city. North of the river is Kings Park and the old-money riverside suburbs with their grand homes; further on are the beaches and the newer northern beach suburbs stretching up the coast. At the mouth of the Swan is the historic port city of Fremantle, with its rich maritime history, creative community and street-cafe culture. Upstream from Perth – where the river dwindles to a meandering waterway – is the Swan Valley, the state’s oldest wine district.

Visitor information

Western Australian Visitor Centre

55 William St, cnr Hay St; (08) 9483 1111

Getting Around

The city is compact and easy to explore. A free bus service known as CAT (Central Area Transit) operates regular services, every five to ten minutes, around central Perth. The blue CAT runs in a north–south loop, the red CAT operates in an east–west loop, and the yellow CAT travels from East Perth to West Perth. (CAT bus services also operate in Fremantle and Joondalup.) You can also travel free on Transperth buses or trains within the Free Transit Zone in the city centre, but only on trips that start and finish within the zone.

Trains run from the city out to the northern suburbs and down to Fremantle while the Southern Suburbs Railway links Perth to Mandurah. Ferries and cruise boats depart regularly from Barrack Street Jetty to various destinations, including Fremantle, South Perth, Rottnest Island and the Swan Valley wine region. (Transperth runs the ferry to South Perth, while private operators travel further afield.) Perth, with its largely flat landscape, is also excellent for cycling; maps of the city’s 700-kilometre bike network are available at bike shops or online at the Department of Transport website,

Public transport

Transperth Infoline (bus, train and ferry) 13 6213.

Airport shuttle bus

Airport–city shuttle 1300 666 806.

Swan River ferries and cruises

Captain Cook Cruises (08) 9325 3341.

Motoring organisation

RAC of WA 13 1703.

Car rental

Avis 13 6333; Budget 13 2727; Hertz 13 3039; Thrifty 13 6139.


Black and White Taxis 13 1008; Swan Taxis 13 1330.

Bicycle hire

About Bike Hire (08) 9221 2665.


Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Views across the city from Kings Park


Swimming at any of Perth’s beaches

Lake Monger

Seeing black swans at Lake Monger


A cricket match at the WACA

Foreshore suburbs

A picnic on the Matilda Bay foreshore

Western Australian Museum

A visit to the Western Australian Museum

Fremantle Markets

Browsing the eclectic offerings at the Fremantle Markets


A footy match at Subiaco Oval

Fremantle Prison

Touring the forbidding Fremantle Prison

City precincts

Grand Old Buildings

Government House

Gothic arches and turrets reminiscent of the Tower of London. St Georges Tce (opposite Pier St).

His Majesty’s Theatre

The 'Maj’, built in 1904, features an opulent Edwardian exterior. 825 Hay St; foyer tours 10am–4pm Mon–Fri.

Kirkman House

In front of this gracious edifice is an immense Moreton Bay fig tree, planted in the 1890s and now classified by the National Trust. 10 Murray St.

Old Court House

Perth’s oldest surviving building (1836), now home to the Francis Burt Law Museum. Cnr St Georges Tce and Barrack St.

Old Perth Boys’ School

Perth’s first purpose-built school was made from sandstone ferried up the Swan River by convict labour. 139 St Georges Tce.

Perth Town Hall

Built by convict labour (1867–70) in the style of an English Jacobean market hall. Cnr Hay and Barrack sts.

St George’s Cathedral

This 1879 Anglican church features an impressive jarrah ceiling. 38 St Georges Tce.

St Mary’s Cathedral

Grand Gothic-style cathedral, one end of which was built in 1865. Victoria Sq.

The Cloisters

Check out the decorative brickwork of this 1858 building, originally a boys’ school. The old banyan tree adjoining it is something special too. 200 St Georges Tce.


London Court, City

Mock-Tudor arcade with souvenir, jewellery and antique stores.

Hay Street Mall, Murray Street Mall and Forrest Place, City

The CBD’s main shopping precinct with brand-name fashion outlets and major department stores Myer and David Jones.

King Street, City

High fashion, galleries and cafes with style.

Claremont Quarter, Claremont

Perth’s up-market fashion hot spot.

Napoleon Street, Cottesloe

Cafes, boutiques and designer homewares.

Walks & Tours

Perth Walking Tours

Take a free city orientation tour at 11am Monday to Saturday and noon on Sunday, or learn about Perth’s history and culture on a free guided tour at 2pm weekdays. City of Perth Information Kiosk, Murray St Mall (near Forrest Place).

Two Feet & A Heartbeat Walking Tours

Combining Perth's history with quirky tales and emerging culture – plus a spot of exercise – these walks include the Perth Urban Adventure and Eat/Drink/Walk Perth.

Swan River Cruises

Choose from full- or half-day cruises up the Swan River to the Swan Valley, with wine tastings included. Captain Cook Cruises, bookings on (08) 9325 3341.

Kings Park Walks

Free guided walks, including the Botanic Garden Discovery, Bushland Nature Trail and the Memorials Walk. (08) 9480 3600; 10am, noon and 2pm Mon–Sun, plus additional walks during September's Kings Park Festival.

Kings Park Indigenous Heritage Tour

Learn about bush medicines, bush tucker and Indigenous history in this 1.5-hour tour. 0405 630 606; 1.30pm, Mon–Fri.

Fremantle Prison Tours

Choose from a range of tours including the fascinating 'Doing Time Tour', every 30 minutes between 10am and 5pm, and the spooky 'Torchlight Tour' on Wednesdays and Fridays at 6.30pm (7pm in summer). 1 The Terrace, Fremantle; (08) 9336 9200.

His Majesty's Theatre Tour

Discover the colourful show-business history of 'The Maj' on the two-hour Grand Historical tour with theatre historian Ivan King, Tues–Thurs 10.30am. Behind the scenes and technical tours are also offered. (08) 9265 0900.

The Rock 'n' Roll Mountain Biking Tours

Enjoy a scenic tour of the bushlands of Western Australia on a safe, controlled mountain-biking experience. 0410 949 182 or 0428 263 668;


AFL (Australian Football League) is the most popular spectator sport in Perth, with crowds flocking to Patersons Stadium in Subiaco from April through September to support their local teams, the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers. The cricket season takes up where the footy leaves off, with the famous WACA grounds in East Perth hosting both interstate and international fixtures over the summer months.

Perth’s soccer club, the Perth Glory, and WA’s Rugby Union team, the Western Force, are both based at NIB Stadium in East Perth.

Basketball fans can catch the popular Perth Wildcats from October to March at the team's new home at the Perth Arena in Wellingston Street. The Wildcats' female counterparts, the West Coast Waves, play at the WA Basketball Centre in Mount Claremont.

After years of being held at the Burswood Dome every Jan, the Hopman Cup, a prestigious international tennis event, moved in Jan 2013 to Perth Arena.

Horseracing is a year-round event, split between 2 venues: Ascot racecourse in summer and Belmont Park in winter. Events such as the Perth Cup (held on New Year’s Day), the Easter Racing Carnival and the Opening Day at Ascot draw huge crowds. Night harness racing can be seen at Gloucester Park every Friday night.


To catch a movie in the city, go to the Piccadilly Cinema in Piccadilly Arcade in the Hay Street Mall, or Cinema Paradiso, just across the railway line in Northbridge. The most easily accessible Hoyts cinemas are in Fremantle at the Queensgate on William Street and the Millennium on Collie Street. The closest Event cinema to the city is in Innaloo. Subiaco has an independent cinema, the Ace at 500 Hay St on the corner of Alvan. There’s also the Luna Palace in Leederville, the Windsor in Nedlands, the Cygnet in Como and the Luna on SX (Essex Street) in Fremantle. In summer, there are a number of outdoor cinemas that operate; favourites are the Moonlight Cinema in Kings Park, Movies By Burswood, the City of Perth's Rooftop Movies and the Somerville Auditorium at the University of Western Australia. The latter, which screens films for the Perth International Arts Festival from Nov through Apr, is defined by a cathedral of Norfolk pine trees and patrons sit on deckchair style seats under the stars. Programs and session times, including those for the open-air cinemas over summer, are listed daily in The West Australian.

Day Tours

Rottnest Island

Just off the coast of Perth, in Thomson Bay, the low-key island resort of Rottnest makes for a perfect day tour. Access is via ferry from Fremantle, Perth or Hillarys Boat Harbour. No private cars are permitted: island transport is by foot, bicycle or bus. Visitors to Rottnest can divide their time between the beach and the scenic and historic attractions of the island.

Darling Range

Follow the Great Eastern Highway for a tour of the Darling Range and its 80,000 hectares of escarpment and jarrah forest in the Perth Hills. Highlights include a scenic drive through John Forrest National Park and a visit to the huge, forest-fringed Mundaring Weir.

Swan Valley

A premier wine-growing district, with vineyards along the scenic Swan River. Other attractions include the historic town of Guildford; Walyunga National Park; and Whiteman Park, a 2500-hectare area that includes Caversham Wildlife Park.

Yanchep National Park

On the coast north of Perth, Yanchep has long been one of the city’s favourite recreation areas. Have your photo taken with a koala; see didgeridoo and dance performances; or take a guided tour of Crystal Cave, where stalactites hang above the inky waters of an underground pool.

Eco-friendly activities

Cycling around Perth

Perth is a great city to cycle around, with more than 400 kilometres of linked, flat bike paths, including along the Swan River and the 25 kilometres to Fremantle, as well as through Kings Park and Botanic Garden. One of the most popular shorter rides goes around the river and crosses the Narrows and Causeway bridges. There are plenty of places to hire bikes. About Bike Hire at Point Fraser Reserve also hires caboose child trailers and inline skates. You can download maps and guides from the Department for Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) website.

Diving around Perth

There are some shore dives in and around Fremantle and Perth, and plenty of great boat dives to Rottnest Island and further afield. Dolphin Dive Fremantle is an eco-accredited dive shop with a large boat, and will rent gear and give you more information.

Kayaking in Perth

The Swan River may not be the most interesting place to kayak in terms of natural beauty, but a pod of dolphins often interacts with kayakers around Heirisson Island, and there are plenty of little bays with great birdlife. You can hire kayaks from About Bike Hire (see Cycling above).

Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Arguably the most scenic botanic gardens in the country, Kings Park and Botanic Garden, with its hilltop location, offers great views over the city and beyond, and has plenty of space for picnicking, cycling and walking. The park extends over 400 hectares, of which 267 hectares is natural bushland. The garden primarily focuses on Western Australian plants, with about 3000 on display. There is a tree canopy walk, some really interesting playgrounds, free guided walks and free electric barbecues.

Perth Zoo

You can certainly while away a few hours at this excellent zoo, which is involved in conservation and has a breeding program for native endangered species, including the western swamp tortoise, Shark Bay mouse and chuditch (western quoll).

Swimming around Perth

Locals know that beaches near Perth are some of the most underrated in the country, and rarely have crowds. Scarborough is one of the most popular patrolled beaches, and, when calm, Cottesloe can be perfect for a dip with a mask and snorkel. Floreat and City beaches are also recommended.

Whale-watching around Perth

Although there are probably more whales and a greater variety of species further south, whalewatchers on trips leaving from Perth get the bonus of a cruise down the Swan River during the short September–November humpback season. Alternatively, you can leave from Fremantle. Operators include Oceanic Cruises and Rottnest Fast Ferries.

Cafes & restaurants around town

No. 44 King Street

Situated in a historic inner city Victorian warehouse on one of Perth’s most fashionable streetscapes, this all-day brasserie is a Perth institution. In its 21 years of service, it’s had its ups and downs but... Find out more


Despite the flurry of activity happening throughout the CBD, this long-player continues to command a loyal following. Then again, what's not to like about Balthazar's proven combination of fine food and fine... Find out more

El Publico

Perpetually fun and happening, El Publico is Perth's highwater mark for Mexican eating and drinking. The tequila, mescal and cocktail selection is a win for both quantity and quality while Sam Ward's cooking... Find out more

Fraser’s Restaurant 2 km

In addition to postcard-perfect views of the city, Fraser's also showcases exemplary West Australian produce cooked with smarts. Just as chef Chris Taylor draws on Asian and European influences for his menu,... Find out more


Environmentally conscious design and food are the hallmarks of this buzzy CBD favourite. Chefs Matt Stone and Courtney Gibb search high and low for outstanding local ingredients and adopt an organic, hands-off approach... Find out more

Ha-Lu 4 km

Ha-Lu was a finalist in the Restaurant & Catering Australia awards within its first year of trading. Offering Japanese cuisine in the Izakaya style, where unstructured meals are served on an ‘as they... Find out more

Lalla Rookh Wine Store

The dedicated wine arm of CBD tavern Lalla Rookh, this cosy space is home to the city's most interesting wines. Just as sommelier Jeremy Prus has a soft spot for Italian varieties and styles, nourishment by way of... Find out more

Must Winebar 2 km

With a suspended wine rack separating the bar from the bistro, owner Russell Blaikie serves food to rival any French Provincial kitchen. Wooden floors, white tablecloths and red walls set the scene, and the bistro-style... Find out more

Nahm Thai 2 km

Self-taught chef Kevin Pham creates high-end Thai food that’s a culinary delight and serves it in a serenely stylish dining room. Pham’s finesse with the Asian sweet-hot-sour-salty quartet of flavour balance... Find out more

New Norcia Bakeries 4 km

Working with the Benedictine community in New Norcia, this Mount Hawthorn bakery produces natural sourdough breads and yeasted breads baked in a wood-fired oven. The aroma of baked goods wafting out to the pavement is... Find out more

Pata Negra 5 km

While the atmosphere rings true with the Spanish tapas bar ideal, it's the kitchen's Moorish-inspired brilliance that keeps Pata Negra ahead of the pack. The menu changes with the seasons but expect bold flavours... Find out more

Print Hall

From gourmet hot dogs and Asian street food to wonderful baked goods and a rooftop bar, the multi-storey Print Hall is the CBD's finest food and wine precinct. While the ground-floor bar and dining room observe a... Find out more

Restaurant Amuse 1 km

Obsessed with both technique and local produce, Hadleigh Troy is the force behind Perth's most progressive food. Sweeten the deal with a champion stellar and nigh-on telepathic service and it's easy to see why... Find out more

Rockpool Bar & Grill 3 km

Big and beautiful, Neil Perry’s western outpost is a study in special occasion dining. Steak might be the restaurant’s calling card but the breadth of both the menu and cellar ensure across-the-board diner... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Billabong Brewing 11 km

Owner Alan Proctor started Billabong Brewing as Western Australia’s first brew-on-premise operation, where homebrewers come to make their own beer and bottle it, using professional equipment. In 2006 Proctor... Find out more

Gage Roads Brewing Company 12 km

Established in 2002 by former Sail & Anchor brewing team Peter Nolin and Bill Hoedemaker, Gage Roads Brewing started producing beer from the Palmyra site in mid-2005. The US-born pair was apparently frustrated that... Find out more

Swan Brewery 13 km

The Swan Brewery was established in 1857 by early Western Australian settler Frank Sherwood, who had emigrated from England with his family in 1842. Interestingly, he originally set up a school of classics and languages... Find out more

Sail & Anchor Hotel 15 km

The Australian craft beer movement was kick-started at the Sail & Anchor Hotel in 1984 when the first house-brewed ale flowed there. Phil Sexton and his partners in the Matilda Bay Brewing Company were building the... Find out more

Little Creatures Brewing 16 km

After dabbling in wine and working as a brewing consultant in the US, craftbeer pioneer Phil Sexton re-surfaced in the local beer scene, along with a couple of other former Matilda Bay Brewing heavyweights, with the... Find out more

Elmar's In the Valley 20 km

Having established a successful smallgoods business, German-born couple Elmar and Anette Dieren branched out to establish this sizeable bar, restaurant and beer garden complex, which also includes a microbrewery. While... Find out more

Duckstein Brewery 21 km

Duckstein Brewery actually has two separate breweries and outlets located in both the Swan Valley and Margaret River wine regions. The original 60-litre microbrewery (or should that be microscopic brewery) is one of the... Find out more

Mash Brewing Company 21 km

The simply named Mash Brewing Company debuted in April 2006, adding to the significant cluster of craft breweries operating out of the Swan Valley. Inspired by the Little Creatures model, the brewery is positioned... Find out more

Feral Brewing Company 24 km

Based in the Swan Valley, Feral Brewing produces a range of sometimes challenging beers that are served on tap at their bar/restaurant (and a handful of other outlets), plus their flagship bottled product Feral White,... Find out more

Bootleg Brewery 213 km

Established in 1994 in the Margaret River wine region, this long-running craft brewery bills itself as ‘an oasis of beer in a desert of wine’. The metaphor never quite rang true and even less so in recent... Find out more

Cowaramup Brewing Company 219 km

This family-owned microbrewery, based in the Margaret River wine-producing belt, first fired up in December 2006. Cowaramup can be tricky to pronounce for some visitors (correctly: Ca-rara-mup) and the locals often refer... Find out more

The Old Brewery 2 km

The original Swan Brewery riverside site was re-opened as the Old Swan Brewery in 2001, featuring a microbrewery operated by former Swan head brewer Hugh Dunn. Brewing ceased for a period but the venue has been... Find out more

Ironbark Brewery 13 km

One of the Swan Valley’s longest-running craft breweries, Ironbark Brewing is located within the grounds of the former Valencia Winery where customers can enjoy the beers in an Aussie bush-themed setting. The... Find out more

Last Drop Brewery 14 km

This Tudor-style pub (or ‘brewery restaurant’, as it calls itself) is located close to the Swan Brewery and specialises in European-style beers produced by Czech-born brewmaster Jan Bruckner. Brewhouse... Find out more

The Monk Brewery & Kitchen 15 km

Re-branded in recent times, The Monk Brewery & Kitchen features a 12-hectolitre microbrewery and busy bar/restaurant, located on Freo's famous 'cappuccino strip'. The house beer range includes Pale Ale, Porter,... Find out more

Indian Ocean Brewing Company 33 km

Situated adjacent to a marina north of Perth, this Canadian-built microbrewery came on-line in mid 2006 as part of a new bar/restaurant development. The house beers steer on the safe side of drinkability and Indi Green... Find out more

Old Coast Road Brewery 124 km

Kicking off in March 2007, this 3-hectolitre microbrewery is part of a restaurant/beer garden complex south-west of Perth; the venture is set on a 24-hectare rural property that encompasses a 1000-tree olive grove.... Find out more

Occy's Brewery 198 km

The original partners behind this venture were surfing mates who named it after Aussie surf legend Mark Occhilupo. The brewery’s emblem picks up on the name with a cartoonish octopus. Basically it’s a... Find out more

Bushshack Brewery 201 km

Danial and Coralie Wind are behind this family-based craft brewery operating in the Margaret River region. It started life in the late 1990s as the Wicked Ale Brewery but changed its name after some gentle pressure from... Find out more

Blackwood Valley Brewing Company 223 km

Though predominantly a cidery, located in the heart of the Bridgetown apple-growing region of WA, Blackwood Valley produces a range of beers which are available on tap in the venue’s restaurant and to takeaway in... Find out more

Colonial Brewing Company 227 km

Colonial Brewing won Champion Small Brewery at the 2006 Australian International Beer Awards, less than 18 months after firing up from the familyfriendly bar/restaurant complex, 10 kilometres outside the Margaret River... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Medina Apartments 1 km

The Medina Apartments are situated in two locations in the Perth CBD. The Medina Grand and Medina Executive Barrack Plaza both offer studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, which are self-contained and have internet... Find out more

Pension of Perth 2 km

Built in 1897, the Pension of Perth is a B&B in a historic home overlooking lovely Hyde Park. All four of the guest rooms have ensuites and feature polished floorboards, high ceilings and open fireplaces. Every room... Find out more

The Old Swan Barracks 1 km

The Swan Barracks were built in 1896 and are one of the oldest buildings in Northbridge, one of Perth’s premier entertainment districts. In January 2008 they were converted into budget accommodation and are close... Find out more

The Outram 2 km

Known as one of Perth’s most stylish places to stay, The Outram is situated in the city’s elite West Perth district, close to eateries and boutiques. There are a range of rooms and apartments to choose from,... Find out more

Popular events around town

Hopman Cup

Prestigious international tennis event. January.... Find out more

Perth Cup

Western Australia’s premier horseracing event. January.... Find out more

Australia Day Skyworks

A day-long party of events, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display. January.... Find out more

Perth International Arts Festival

Music, theatre, opera, dance, visual arts and film. February.... Find out more

City of Perth Winter Arts Festival

A three-month program of locally created arts and culture. June-August.... Find out more

Avon Descent

An annual two-day whitewater event where competitors challenge the might of the Avon and Swan rivers. August.... Find out more

Kings Park Wildflower Festival

Australia’s premier native plant and wildflower exhibition. September.... Find out more

Perth Royal Show

Showcases the state’s primary and secondary resources. September–October.... Find out more

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