- For other places with the same name, see Perth (disambiguation).
Perth spreads out along on a flat coastal plain, dissected by the Swan River and it spreads over the Darling Scarp to the east and the Indian Ocean coastline to the west is the only real physical boundary.
Perth has a population of over 1.8 million (2012), making it the fourth largest city in Australia.
Perth Metropolitan Area
While the city of Perth sits on the north side of Perth Water on the Swan River, the metropolitan area spreads out in all directions.
Where commerce and culture intermingle
A port of history and food and entertainment
Restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes and Art
The place for a swim and many other activities
A wide range of attractions in the Valley.
The spread out parts of Perth
Wine, trees, hills, parks, and dams
Outside the city
1-2h outside the city are many small townships and a big island
The Perth region has been home to the indigenous Nyoongar people for at least the past 40,000 years.
British settlers established a free settler colony in 1829 as part of the Swan River Colony. The settlement was given the name "Perth" after the city of Perth, Scotland, the hometown of Sir George Murray, the British Colonial Secretary at that time. From 1850, an influx of convicts boosted the size of the colony and their labour helped shape the early architecture of the city.
The discovery of gold in the 1890s triggered a boom which, with subsequent mineral discoveries, has been a major part of the state's economy. Western Australia joined the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Once a small, isolated city, its population overtook that of Adelaide in the 1980s, Perth remains Australia's fastest growing city, and in recent years has transformed from a relatively laid back city to a vibrant one. Perth's population growth was relatively recent, but the development hasn't taken away older aspects of the city, particularly seen in the numerous parks and other green spaces within close proximity of the CBD.
Despite its isolation, Perth is a surprisingly culturally diverse city. Due to the high rate of migration to Perth, slightly less than half of Perth's residents were born outside Australia. Its proximity to Southeast Asia and Africa has led to an influx of migrants from countries such as Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand, and this is reflected in the diversity of cuisine available in Perth. If you wish to experience a cosmopolitan culture without the hustle and bustle of larger cities, perhaps Perth would be your cup of tea.
The City has a temperate Mediterranean type climate. Summers are hot and dry whilst winters are generally wet and mild. Summer temperatures average 30°C (86°F) between November and April. Maximum temperatures during the height of summer can reach and sometimes exceed the 40°C (104°F) mark. Very hot days tend to have very low humidity making conditions more bearable.
In the Perth metropolitan area the summertime temperature rises rapidly during the morning, relived in the afternoon when the "Fremantle Doctor" blows inland from the ocean to cool the city by up to 15°C. The doctor runs out of puff before reaching the areas further inland, leaving the hills and beyond to swelter till after sunset.
Winter (Jun-Aug) temperatures are usually around 15°C. Minimum temperatures sometimes drop below 0°C on clear nights. Though Perth goes through lengthy dry spells, when it does rain, it pours. In the past storms with strong winds occasionally hammer a winter night, but they generally caused no more destruction than a toppled tree or flattened fence. More recently intense storms have created hail and more serious damage.
When to visit
Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-May) are ideal times in which to visit Perth. Spring (particularly October / November periods) is perhaps the very best to see the sights as after a decent winter's rainfall, the famous wild flowers around Kings Park and the Avon Valley bloom splendidly. The metropolitan areas as well as the bushlands have many flowering species which often flower en-masse, so it is wise to purchase over-the-counter hay fever or antihistamines from a local chemist before making a trip to see them with minimal discomfort. Beach-goers from colder climes might find the summer months too harsh, so it is perhaps best to visit during March–April or October–November as well as taking a hat, sun-screen lotion and sunglasses.
The local inhabitants tend to holiday during the height of summer or winter, either to escape the climate, or to celebrate it. In winter Perth inhabitants often travel north to Broome or Bali for the warmth, or oppositely staying in small chalets in the southern country during the winter to enjoy the cool wet climate and seasonal foods.
Although Western Australia has many public holidays they are unlikely to cause much inconvenience to your travels. Shops are still open, public transport still runs and the sky is still blue. The exception may be New Year's Day (Jan 1), Australia Day (26 Jan), Good Friday (2 Apr), Easter Monday (5 Apr), Labour Day (first Monday of March), Queen's Birthday (27 Sep) and Foundation Day (first Monday in June) and Christmas Day (25 Dec). Most larger shops and shopping centres, pubs and restaurants are closed on these days but smaller convenience stores and some fast food chains keep their doors open. This said only some shops open, most shopping centres and large stores will close for public holidays .
Airlines & destinations
All scheduled international and domestic flights arrive and depart from Perth Airport (IATA: PER). Perth Airport has four terminals T1 (international) and T2 (domestic) are to the east of the runway, about 10km by road from T3 (domestic) and T4 (domestic) to the west.
T2 is a new domestic terminal located at what used to be known as the International part of the airport. All street signs and information refer to the terminal numbers. There is an internal road connection between the terminals along Dunreath Drive.
The services that operate from each terminal are:
- Terminal 1 (T1) - Perth International Terminal: Is designated at All international airlines and services from this terminal. The carriers include: AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Qantas, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Tiger Airways Singapore, Virgin Australia, Emirates, Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, China Southern, South African Airlines.
- Terminal 2 (T2) - Alliance Airlines, Tiger Airways, and the former Skywest services (now operated by Virgin Australia) with flight numbers starting with the code XR.
- Terminal 3 (T3) - Virgin Australia with flight numbers starting with VA
- Terminal 4 (T4) - Qantas Terminal: Qantas domestic flights QF400 and above, QantasLink (which services numerous regional centres in WA), Airnorth and Jetstar.
Major domestic airlines servicing Perth Airport are Qantas (full-service), Virgin Australia (full-service), Jetstar (low-cost, owned by Qantas and from Perth, only flies to a few cities), Tiger Airways (low-cost, only flies to a few cities), QantasLink (a regional subsidiary of Qantas) and the former Skywest (regional full-service, although does fly to Melbourne via Kalgoorlie).
You can fly to/from : Mauritius, Denpasar(Bali), Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Beijing, Dubai, Jakarta, Singapore, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Kota Kinabalu, Doha, Phuket, Christmas Island
International Terminal - Terminal 1
The city and major hotels can be easily accessed by taxi or commercial shuttle buses from all terminals. Courtesy phones are located inside the terminals (for the domestic terminal, the courtesy phone is surrounded by a large board advertising accommodation past the baggage conveyor belt as you leave the arrivals area).
For more than two people it is often cheaper and faster to take a taxi into the city (waiting time and drop off other passengers can make a shuttle bus service to the city very long). A taxi by meter to the city will cost approximately $40 from the international airport; the shuttle costs about $16 per person.
There is no public transport to the international terminal - Terminal 1. However, visitors can catch public transport to the Domestic Terminal (Terminal 3 and Terminal 4) precinct and catch a free inter-terminal shuttle bus to the Terminal 1 - International Terminal (and vice versa).
Be aware that the International terminal arrivals can be very limited in its ability to handle more than two international flights arriving at the same time. During peak hours being generally mid afternoon and also from 10pm until 2am may see 3-4 flights arriving at the same time. If a flight is late and arrives while others are arriving there can be chaos in the arrivals hall and baggage claim. Passengers can some times wait up to 45 minutes for bags to arrive on the belt and then have to queue for customs and quarantine checks before leaving the terminal. Best to prepare for a worst case scenario and hope that your flight is either first in or plan your international flight to arrive at non peak hours. Arriving between 7-9pm is ideal.
Domestic Terminals - Terminal 3 and Terminal 4
Transperth buses serve the domestic terminals. Useful services are:
- Bus 37 runs from Kings Park via Perth city along St Georges and Adelaide Terraces and connects with the Victoria Park Transfer Station and Belmont Forum Shopping Centre for connections with other Transperth bus/rail services. (every 30mins, 06:19–23:56, $3.60)
- Bus 40 runs from the Esplanade Busport runs the same route as 37 as far as Rivervale, however runs more directly along Great Eastern Highway. (Perth to Airport - every 30mins, Monday to Friday 05:55–11:30; Saturday 07:00–11:40; Sunday 8:40–7:15. Airport to Perth - every 30 mins, Monday to Friday 5:31–12:09; Saturday 6:15–11:20; Sunday 8:00–7:00)Timetable
T3 and T4 are connected both sides of security, and the gates are numbered consecutively through both terminals. So for all intents and purposes, you could consider them a single terminal.
There are a couple of coffee shops and food outlets both before and after security, as well as basic shopping, books and souvenirs. T3 has a few fast-food chains post-security with high-street prices if you're looking for the best value option. There are a couple of bars with a reasonable selection of local beers and wines on offer, together with a bit of space to spread out.
You can pay for Wi-Fi access in T3, or just walk the short distance to T4 to get free Wi-Fi. However, if you don't have a device, then T3 has free Internet terminals, and T4 does not.
A free transfer bus Connect bus operates between the extensive system of car parks and terminals.
The service runs every 50 minutes and the journey takes 10 minutes. During the night the service is still free but requires pre-booking by phone ☎ +61 4 1063 6418).
A taxi between the terminals will still cost at least $20.
Once the only way to get into Perth, a limited number of passenger ships now dock at Fremantle. A number of round the world cruise ships including the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria call into the Fremantle Passenger Terminal on their own schedule. While sailing into Perth from over the Indian Ocean might sound romantic, its hardly the cheapest way in.
The Indian Pacific transcontinental railway runs from Perth to Sydney via Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill. It is generally not cheap, but this journey, which takes four days and three nights, is one of the world's great train journeys. The train traverses the longest stretch of straight track of any railway in the world (478km) as it journeys across The Nullarbor.
The Indian Pacific leaves from and arrives at the East Perth terminal, which connects with Perth's suburban rail network as well as the regional bus depot. The city centre is just a 5min train ride away from the terminal. If you are carrying baggage, it is probably best to jump into a taxi as many of the city's hotels and hostels are located up to a few kilometres away from either of the stations.
International visitors intent on train travel might want to consider purchasing a rail pass for unlimited travel on any of Great Southern Railways' services including the Indian Pacific (Sydney to Perth), The Ghan (Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs) and The Overland (Adelaide-Melbourne). The rail pass entitles you to just a sitting seat on any train for 6 months for $700 ($100 less for students/backpackers). Taking your car with you is also possible between the capital cities and Alice Springs, for an additional fee.
Regular train services (one or two per day, depending upon whether you are travelling during the week or on Saturday/Sunday) are available to and from the regional cites of Kalgoorlie (departing from East Perth) and Bunbury (departing from the central station). The Go next section features more information regarding these regional services...
There's currently no regular scheduled bus service across the Nullarbor Plain between Perth and Adelaide. Those wishing to travel by road may wish to consider one of the adventure oriented tours that include camping and sightseeing. The only one currently operating on a regular schedule is Nullabor Traveller.
Driving a car from Darwin and Adelaide is also an option and the road and accommodation infrastructure makes it achievable without too much stress. However, be warned that it is still a 2,700km drive and is considered a 'once in a lifetime' activity by locals.
The main operator of regional bus services in south west Western Australia is the government run Transwa. The Australind train departs Perth Train Station at 09:30 and 17:55 daily for Bunbury in the south west with various coach connections, and The Prospector departs from the Public Transport Centre (East Perth) at various time to the inland city of Kalgoorlie. Buses also depart from the Public Transport centre to various locations around the state.
Bus services are available from Transwa or South West Coach Lines (enquire at their office in Esplanade Busport).
By public transport
The Perth metropolitan area has a fairly reliable and inexpensive public transport system operated by Transperth. Information about timetables, disruptions or service alterations can be found on their website, by calling 13 62 13 or at 'Transperth Infocentres' at the central train station and a couple of branches in the City
A reasonably reliable network of public bus services run around the suburbs between bus and train stations.
Transperth also operates a free CAT bus service in Perth CBD, Northbridge, Fremantle and Joondalup. The large air-conditioned buses of different colours with the distinctive CAT logo run about every 10 min on various routes around major facilities and attractions. They are a great way of getting from one place to another.
The buses are free leaving and entering the city within the Free Transit Zone- it runs from Newcastle Street down and from the end of Kings Park when going towards Subiaco. This does not require a Smartrider, just get on.
The suburban railway network is great for quickly getting to outlying suburban areas. All services stop at the central Perth station in the City on their way to or from the outlying terminating stations. The network consists of five rail lines, some reaching further into the outer metropolitan area:
- Fremantle Line, servicing western Perth, to Fremantle.
- Midland Line, servicing eastern Perth to Midland, and offering transfers to regional and interstate rail services.
- Armadale/Thornlie Line, servicing south-eastern Perth to Armadale, with a spur line to Thornlie.
- Joondalup Line, servicing northern Perth, to Clarkson.
- Mandurah Line, servicing southern Perth, to Mandurah
All rail lines converge at Perth Station. Joondalup and Mandurah Line services utilise underground platforms at Perth Underground Station, which is directly connected to Perth Station, allowing transfers by foot to the other lines.
All lines connect to various bus services. The Wellington Street Bus Station, located in the CBD, is where many bus services can be boarded, and is directly connected to Perth Station. The Esplanade Bus Port is another prime bus service location in the CBD, and is directly connected to Esplanade Station on the Mandurah and Joondalup Lines. Most train stations across Perth have bus transfers that service the more local area of the station.
Train services run every 5–10 minutes (this depends on the line and station) during peak hours, with many trains running express. Off peak and most of the day on weekends, trains run every 15min and 30min after 19:00 and weekends. The Armadale Line runs express at all times except late nights.
During peak hours (07:00-21:00.00 & 16:30-18:30) the Midland and Clarkson lines can become extremely overcrowded. Avoid these lines during peak if possible. Bicycles are not allowed on trains heading toward the city in the morning, or away from the city in the evening; they are also not allowed to enter or pass through Perth, Perth Underground or Esplanade stations. Passengers with bikes should use City West, McIver, Canning Bridge or Leedervile stations during this time and then ride to the final destination from there.
Services commence around 05:00 and cease around midnight.
Remember to purchase a valid ticket or use your SmartRider card when travelling on the rail network; failing to have a proper ticket can cost you $100, and the fine doubles for every month it is overdue. Fail to pay a fine at all, and you could end up paying up to $20,000 in fines and court costs. A good tip to remember is, if you have a SmartRider, to use one of the red fare gates to enter the station, so you can also be sure you have "tagged on". Do the same when leaving. Not all stations have these gates. If your station does not, look for a green pole with a SmartRider reader instead.
Late night service guide
On Saturday morning, extra services depart Perth at 1.00 AM and 2.00 AM, with three extra services on Sunday morning (1.00 AM, 2.00 AM) These services cater to people travelling home from night clubs in Northbridge. These services operate in one direction only, heading away from the city. The Armadale services run all stops during this time; there is no late night service to Thornlie.
Weekend service frequency 15 minutes on all routes. Trackwork can cause partial line closures on weekends, with buses replacing trains. It is rare for a whole line to be closed due to track work, bit it does occur at least twice a year on the Fremantle and Midland Lines.
Also note that during special events, some extra train services may operate, such as the Perth to West Leederville shuttle, or the Mandurah to West Leederville special. It is best to avoid these trains if you can, as they are often overcrowded.
Transperth operates a ferry shuttle service between the city, departing from the Esplanade foreshore, and Mends Street Jetty in South Perth. Services are frequent throughout the day, and it is rare for a service to be cancelled. From Mends Street, it is a seven minute walk to Perth Zoo. The Blue CAT connects to the ferry at Barrack Square.
For trains, buses and ferries, the Transperth system is divided into 9 concentric zones, as well as the Free Transit Zone (city centre and surrounds). The Free Transit Zone on the trains is only available to SmartRider (transport card) holders, passengers without a card have to buy a ticket. Tickets and passes are valid on all buses and trains within a zone. Tickets are valid for two hours and can be used on your return trip.
Zone 2 extends as far as Fremantle and for most visitors a two zone ticket will suffice. Single trip, cash tickets can be purchased from bus drivers or coin-operated ticket machines located at train stations. The more convenient SmartRider cards automatically calculate your fare and deduct it from your card when you tag on and off upon boarding and alighting bus and train services. SmartRiders can be bought or recharged at Transperth Information Centres, major train and bus stations and/or from most Newsagents. Bus drivers can also charge your SmartCard for you, however they will not provide change. SmartRider cards carry a 15% discount over cash fares.
There are $9.30 Single Rider passes available after 9am most days. Family Rider passes also cost $9.30 and allow two standard fare passengers plus up to (five?) concession passengers unlimited travel- these are only available Monday to Thursday after 18:00 (15:00 on Fridays), and all day on weekends and school or public holidays. This is an excellent value for couples and couples with children, as a standard one-way fare alone runs from $2.70 for one zone, $4.00 for two zones, and $4.70 for three zones.
Those passengers not holding SmartRider cards will need to present their paper ticket to the transit guard upon entering and leaving Perth Station and selected suburban stations.
Taxi experiences in Perth can range from hassle-free to problematic. Extended waits during peak periods (5AM-9AM Weekdays and Weekend Evenings) are common, but outside these times, taxis are plentiful. Booking a taxi is possible but only recommended if your journey is likely to be upwards of $25 or you are travelling to the airport. This is due to the convoluted way in which the dispatch services handle timed bookings. If your journey is likely to be short, it is better to simply call for a taxi once you are ready to leave, or hail a taxi if you are in a busy area.
Two major taxi companies are Swan Taxis (13 13 30), who dispatch Swan, TriColor, 13CABS, Yellow and Coastal taxis, and Black and White Taxis (131 008). There are numerous smaller companies that operate mainly out of the Central Business District. Fares are regulated by the state government and all dispatch companies charge the same rate. Flagfall is $3.90 during weekdays, increasing to $5.70 on week nights and weekends. The kilometre rate is $1.59/km charged in $0.10 increments. Surcharges apply on designated holiday periods (New Year's Eve and Christmas Day) and on weekend nights between midnight and 5AM. Tipping taxi drivers in Perth is not customary, but adding a small gratuity ($1 or $2) on top of the fare is common for exceptional service.
Catching a taxi from an entertainment precinct late on a Friday or Saturday night sees clubbers waiting at taxi stands up to 2 hours for a ride home. Drivers are known to avoid picking up drunken patrons from outside of pubs, clubs or from the entrance to Perth central station. There have been a recent spate of sexual assaults on female passengers so it is advisable to travel in groups. There are specially designated 'secure ranks' operating at these times where patrons can queue in (relative) safety. Another option is the late night Transperth trains and buses run specially for revellers after their night out.
Services at Perth Airport are generally reliable, but at offpeak times (1am - 8am), be prepare for a potential wait at the taxi-stand as the line of waiting taxis crawl in one by one. The frequency at night drops off but there should still be a few cars waiting to meet incoming planes. A typical taxi ride from the Domestic Airport to the City is around $30 ($35 from the International). There is a $2 airport tax payable on top of the fare.
For bookings made more than 24 hours in advance, you can request that your booking is pre-confirmed with a driver for an additional $9.00 fee. If the taxi arrives later than ten minutes, the fee will be waived. Normal bookings can still be placed 24 hours in advance at no additional cost.
Perth can be comfortably explored on foot or by bicycle as Perth has some of the best cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in Australia.
The Perth bicycle network features an ever growing, metro-wide system of bicycle/pedestrian paths. The system features;
- Principal Shared Paths (high standard shared paths that run adjacent to each railway lines and along major motorways).
- Local Bicycle Routes (a series of on-road routes as well as some suburban off-road sections that run through parks - these paths provide a connection to such destinations as schools, shopping centres and other recreational facilities.
- Generic minor works (projects include general improvements to the cycling environment in local areas, such as on-road bike lanes and sealed shoulders).
- End of trip facilities (including U-Rails, Cora bike racks and bike lockers and change-rooms).
Cycle maps are available from most bike shops, and at Planners Map . The Department for Planning and Infrastructure provides a range of guides, maps and brochures for bike riders. If you have a scenic route in mind, these brochures can take you to the coast, Kings Park, Armadale and the Hills or around the Swan River.
A favourite among seasoned local cyclists is the ride along the North side of the Swan River between the City and Nedlands. Allow 60 min for a round trip along this route, as you might encounter a strong headwind.
Bicycles are allowed on board Transperth trains but not during peak hour unless they can be folded up.
Perth city has at times had books and pamphlets for self guided walking tours.
Two Feet and a Heartbeat currently has guided walking tours.
Driving into Perth's CBD and Northbridge will mean paying to park, which can cost up to $40 a day on a weekday. There is also congestion on roads leading to the CBD during peak hours. The other option is to park at a railway station and catch a train. Some stations charge a small fee for parking, and all-day parking can fill up. Once parked in the CBD, you can reach most destinations by foot or by a free bus.
Renting a car is the ideal means of transportation for travelling through the suburbs and to outlying attractions. Most major car hire companies have locations in or near Perth. Budget Rent a Car has 7 location in Perth, Avis, Hertz and others have more than one location, as well. Perth's major freeways and highways are free from any tolls, and it is possible to be surrounded by beautiful countryside within minutes.
Car rental providers are located at the airport and in the city. There are some providers also in the suburbs.
The speed limit within built-up areas is 50 km/h unless otherwise directed by traffic signs.
Police are rarely seen out on the roads but speed cameras are very prevalent. Driving even 5 km/hr above the speed limit can incur a fine. Driving 40 km/hr above the speed limit means the car is impounded for 28 days even if it is not your car (hire cars excepted).
There is plenty to see in the city centre within wandering distance or on a free CAT bus. Hidden among the sprawl of the surrounding and metropolitan area are a few worthwhile attractions usually less than an hour away by car, or a bit longer on public transport.
Outside of the metropolitan area are some unspoilt national parks, unpopulated coastline and other interesting locations.
There is a designated area in the zoo for kangaroos where they can wander on visitors' paths and the animals are used to people so you can see them very close.
To see semi-wild kangaroos visit the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park (a cemetery, but not European style)  - it's a walking distance from Whitfords Transperth Train/Metro Station - just cross the highway, the highway exit and look for the entrance on the left. As there is plenty of space for them you may see them not only eating but also hopping.
In Whiteman Park kangaroos come close to the parking areas in the main visitor areas of the Park.
There are also kangaroos that occasionally come close to the Mundaring Weir Hotel in , and the car park above Mundaring Weir/Lake C Y O'Connor.
Australian Rules Football. Perth, like Melbourne, is mad for its footy. Every weekend between (roughly) March and August, Subiaco fills to near-capacity with either West Coast Eagles or Fremantle Dockers supporters. Why not choose whose colours you like best and join in the fun? As the Eagles are the more popular and successful side in the Australian Football League, many of their games are already sold to capacity, so it is best to buy your tickets a couple of weeks before the scheduled fixture (Ticketek offer a pick-up service at the venue). Aussie rules football might be hard to understand at first, but it is quite exciting.
- Other sports Other professional sports have a presence in Perth:
- Perth Glory – If you prefer association football (generally known by Australians as "soccer") and find Australian Rules football too confusing, Perth Glory Football Club compete in the A-League, Australia's top level of football. The season runs over summer from October to March, with the possibility of qualification to the finals series (playoffs) running into April. They have a sister club, Perth Glory W-League, that competes in the women's W-League. Both teams play at Perth Oval, also known as NIB Stadium due to a sponsorship deal. The stadium is a 10 min walk from Northbridge, or a 3 min walk from Claisebrook Train Station.
- Western Warriors – Play cricket in all three of Australia's main domestic competitions—the Sheffield Shield ("first-class"; matches run for four days), the Ford Ranger Cup (one-day cricket; matches last about 8 hours), and the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash (matches last about 3 hours). Home ground is the WACA. The WACA also hosts one of the summer Test matches against England in January.
- Western Force – Rugby union team in the Super 15, involving teams from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Season runs from February to late May. Western Force play at NIB Stadium.
- Perth Wildcats – Play in the National Basketball League.
- Perth Lynx – Play in the Women's National Basketball League.
- Perth Heat - Play in the Australian Baseball League
Cycle. Perth has excellent bike paths and fantastic weather almost all year round which makes it perfect for cycling. The paths that follow the Swan River are very scenic and mostly flat. You can take your own bike, hire a bicycle from one of the bike hire providers located near the Swan River or take a tour with Bluetongue Bike Tours  or Pedal OZ .
- Perth has a number of parks, ranging from inner-city parks such as Kings Park, Bold Park, and Lake Monger, to outer city parks such as John Forrest and Whiteman Park
Catch a flick. At one of the many independent or European cinemas, including Paradiso in Northbridge and The Luna cinemas in either Leederville or Fremantle. These cinemas showcase a range of local, Bollywood, French and Italian productions as well as International film festivals and documentaries throughout the year. Also check out the open air cinemas in summer, located in Kings Park, Movies by Burswood, Luna Leederville, and Mundaring.
Get out. For a day in Fremantle; great for a walk around without a specific goal in mind or for some light shopping or why not enjoy a meal or coffee and cake whilst soaking in the atmosphere? Don't miss Fremantle Markets. Fremantle Prison, the Maritime Museum, the Round House and the Statue of AC/DC's Bon Scott are popular attractions.
Go Wine Tasting. Well renowned among locals and tourists alike, the Swan Valley in the hills boasts some of the country's best wineries and micro-breweries. Although the wine is perhaps not as highly regarded by seasoned wine buffs as that produced in regions such as Margaret River, the Swan Valley features the advantage of being close to the city.
Take a Day Trip. As with any travelling in a country with as low a density as Perth, you will become accustomed to spending a lot of time travelling between the sights. One of the best day trips in Perth is to visit the nature reserve off the coast of Fremantle, Rottnest Island. You can access Rottnest Island by a ferry, 30 min from Fremantle or a longer from Barrack Street Jetty in Perth. The trip can be expensive, but Rottnest Express has a “Telethon Tuesday” deal with half price tickets ($35 instead of $70) every week for most of the year. Rottnest is a car free island, but plenty of bikes available for hire from the island or directly from the ferry company. There is a huge variety of wildlife to see (including the famous Quokka) and opportunities to see whales, dolphins and fur seals off the coast, but this will always depend on the season. Another (closer, cheaper but smaller) option is to visit Penguin Island, home of the "Little Penguins" or "Fairy Penguins", located 5 min off the coast of Rockingham, a 45 min drive south of Perth.
Swim. Perth boasts some of the country's best beaches, which are ideal for swimming during the warmer months. Sunscreen is essential and insect repellent may come in handy during the evening. As the beaches are on the open ocean it is strongly advised that you only 'swim between the flags' at patrolled beaches. Probably the easiest beach to get to by public transport is Scarborough beach, which can be accessed by catching the Clarkson line from platform 1 at either Perth Underground or Esplanade stations, getting off at Glendalough station before catching the 400 bus. Alternatively, you can catch the 400 from the Wellington St bus station which is located down the far end of the central station - from any of its platforms, head west to the concourse, turn left and then head down the ramp. Cottesloe Beach, one of Perth's most famous, and a favourite among locals and tourists alike, it even easier to access by public transport. Take the Fremantle line to Cottesloe Station, exit the platform at the Perth end, and head west down Forrest Street for about 10 min. Or you can take bus 102 from Williams street or Esplanade station and it has a stop right by the Cottesloe beach. There is a shady grassed area as well as sand, and the beach is patrolled.
Swim Naked. There is only one beach in Perth that permits nude bathing: Swanbourne. Males sunbathing topless at other beaches is the norm, however females will not usually get a police fine but will get stared at. The atmosphere at Swanbourne Clothing Optional Beach (about 500 m north of Swanbourne Beach) is friendly and relaxing. It is more of a sunbathing beach than a swimming beach, with a steep sandy descent into water which gets deep quickly. There are no lifeguards or red-and-yellow flags at this beach and so it is essential to keep a close eye on children near the water. The nude beach is frequented by a variety of sun-seekers of all ages; couples, families, groups. The easiest way to get there is by car, however there is a train station about 1km away. Alternatively, you can catch the bus 102, which is heading to Cottesloe. The bus will go through some residential area before reaching Cottesloe coast. As soon as you can see the ocean, get off the bus and Swanbourne beach is right cross the road. Heading north down the beach, you can reach the nude beach.
Perth is well known for its indie music scene at established venues such as Amplifier Bar, Rosemount, Fly By Night, The Rocket Room and Mojos. The Big Day Out festival is held in early February every year. Visit YourGigs  for upcoming gigs or Perth Indie Bands  for a selection of good Perth bands.
Raves and Festivals. If dance music is your thing, many top DJ and electronic music artists will make the trip out to Perth between October and March. Visit  for upcoming dates. Perth is known as the Drum 'n' Bass capital of the southern hemisphere. There is generally a big name artist (or at least a big name local artist) to perform at least once a week.
Perth is home to several universities, of which the University of Western Australia is part of the prestigious "Group of Eight". All these unversities have opportunites for international students to enroll in either as part of their degree programmes, or as part of exchange agreements with foreign universities. Other universities located in the Perth metropolitan area are Curtin University, Mudoch University, Edith Cowan University and Notre Dame University.
The largest concentration of boutique shops is in the City centre while adjacent Northbridge is the place for niche independent stores. Trendier suburbs such as Mount Lawley, Leederville and Subiaco have a number of offbeat designer fashion stores.
Large shopping complexes located in the outer suburbs, such as in Morley (Galleria), Cannington (Carousel), Midland (Midland Gate), Joondalup, Booragoon (Garden City), Innaloo and Karrinyup have the usual department and chain stores.
Fremantle Markets offers an experience on its own with its over 150 independent stalls.
Shopping hours in the Perth metropolitan area for medium size shops to large supermarket/department stores are:
- 8am-9pm Monday to Friday
- 8am-5pm Saturday
- 11am-5pm Sunday
Small supermarkets such as IGA as well as other small shops can have more flexible shopping hours (some Petrol stations and small corner stores are open 24 hours).
A 10% Goods and Services Tax is included in listed prices. Harbour Town (Yellow CAT from any stop) is where manufacturers have their factory outlets; some good deals are to be had there.
After Christmas (and around July as well for many stores) is the best time to come to Perth for bargain shopping. Some Perth stores are open Boxing Day as well as the 27th December. Customers have been known to form a line across the street to even enter stores such as 'Guess' and Myer store entry and escalator movement is monitored by security guards to prevent floor crowding.
One of Perth's drawbacks is that its people have not embraced late night dining. Very few places will serve food after 22:00, even on Friday or Saturday nights. Most restaurants in Perth do not cater for vegetarians or vegans, and if they do - the range is extremely limited. If you are looking for a place that embraces vegetarian food, Fremantle is great.
There is an extensive array of restaurants in Northbridge. You will find a great selection of Southern European and Asian restaurants. Northbridge gets very busy on Friday and Saturday nights as Perth goes into party mode. Neighbouring Mount Lawley and Highgate also has some good options. Victoria Park has a stretch of restaurants along Albany Hwy which is a fairly steady location with the locals and has a few high quality restaurants, although is lower key and more casual.
Fremantle is a good eating option. Famous for its cappuccino strip lined with cafes next door to one another popular with the yuppie crowd. On weekends, a local tradition is to visit the Fisherman's Wharf on warm, sunny weekend evenings for fish and chips. There are a couple of options to choose from close to the beach. Just follow your nose or the seagulls. Further exploring in Fremantle, or "Freo" as it is locally known, can reveal lots of trendy, alternative restaurants that cater for the "careful" eaters. If you care about knowing what it is you are eating, (vegan, preservative free, fair trade, organic), try exploring the Freo markets area, or just ask around, they are often not in the "touristy areas". Little Creatures is a decent brewery, but is also a yuppie pub. If you are looking for a decent fish and chip or seafood dinner, it is typically far more expensive by the coast (where the tourists are), excellent seafood at a better price can be sourced in the central and eastern suburbs.
Subiaco is located just a couple of kilometres from the city centre. It is a trendy but fun suburb which features some great food and entertainment, although it can be quite expensive.
Claremont is a suburb on the Fremantle railway line where you will find some good restaurants as well (including authentic Italian), although, again, it can be quite expensive and there is a limited range.
The Swan Valley, especially along West Swan Road contains various wineries, food producers and restaurants with stunning views over the vineyards. Particularly good are The Black Swan Cafe, Duckstein Brewery, Elmar's and The Mallard Duck Cafe.
Kalamunda and other Eastern hills suburbs offer hidden gems of cafes, small shops and food producers in beautiful countryside with stunning city views. Traditionally Perth locals used to go for picnics and produce festivals in these areas back in the 19th and early 20th century, however as the practice waned with fashions leading towards the coast, it is an excellent place to visit away from the touristy areas for a relaxing or peaceful trip to the bush with fine views and decent food not too far from the city. People often do DIY food tours to local orchards, vineyards, cheesemakers, bakeries and other cottage industries, arts and cafes as its not really organised. Its usually best to visit during Spring or soon after the rains when the forest is at its best.
Guildford has many antique stores (although like all Australian antique markets are visited by many hundreds of tourists as well as locals, so real bargains can be rare), but you can get decent cafe morning teas and lunches in some fine old architecture. This area has some of Perths oldest residential houses and grand building museums & cafes. The old theatre now houses a large Asian textile and artworks store worth a visit and a quirky taxidermy museum a few doors down. Alfreds Kitchen is a tiny but legendary burger bar to the locals, who amass in large crowds that opens at night.
A large Western Rock Lobster (known locally by its former name of crayfish) industry. Most of the crayfish is exported to Asia and USA for vast sums of money. However, crayfish prices in Perth can be relatively cheap, especially during summer in a good season. A chance to give it a try without breaking the bank.
Chilli Mussels are a popular local speciality, consisting of mussels cooked in tomato and chilli jus, available in various restaurants.
Truffles are grown around Mundaring and Manjimup, and hosts an individual truffle festivals at different times in the year.
The nearest wine region to Perth is the Swan Valley which has many wineries as well as distilleries and breweries. In addition to cellars where you can sample the wines many wineries also have restaurants or cafés for meals. The second most recognized region is the Margaret River region (about a three hours drive away) which is extremely popular for wine tasting, delicious chocolate and fresh, locally made food and produce. Lesser publicized regions include the Porongurup region which is recognized internationally for its Rieslings, Mount Barker region also produces fine Rieslings and Shiraz
Perth has an abundance of Gloria Jeans, Miss Mauds and Dome stores mainly in the city centre and suburban shopping areas. Clusters of independent European style cafes line the trendy streets of suburbs around the city centre. The most well known place for a decent espresso is the Cafe Strip in Fremantle closely followed by the districts of Subiaco, Leederville and South Perth. Although Perth culture has a high quality taste for coffee and demands very high standards in product, in recent times Perth has the dubious honour of having some of the most expensive average coffee prices in the country. A normal sized coffee is often close to $4.
Pubs and bars
Perth has bars scattered throughout the city but most bars are in the CBD, Northbridge, Subiaco, Leederville, Victoria Park, Mount Lawley & Fremantle areas. Bars usually become busy after 5pm with the afterwork crowd, but most locals tend to go to bars on Friday & Saturday nights. The CBD bars in particular get very busy on Friday nights with many of the popular bars forming long entry lines. Most bars open from around 11AM and close midnight (10PM on Sundays), a few bars do have special extended liquor trading hours to either 1, 2 or 3AM. There has been an increase in small bars and bistro dining in niche areas of the CBD. However despite good quality, these are typically expensive, so browse around for a good value evening.
Perth has a small but strong dance music scene which revolves heavily around drum & bass. Club nights and international gigs are held at a variety of venues across the city centre, Northbridge and outer suburbs (check out local street press magazines such as Xpress for gig guides and further info) for a comprehensive gig guide).
Almost all clubs in Western Australia have very strict ID policies and it is highly unlikely that you will get in if you do not have your passport or an ID issued in Australia by a government agency (either an Australian driver's license or proof of age card) with you, even if you definitely look over the legal age. Also most dance music bars/clubs close at 2AM following Friday and Saturday nights and are subjected to Police enforced lockdowns and lockouts (as is the case in Brisbane), so you will find yourself stuck in one place after 3AM, and be stranded should you be short on money for a cab.
Drive Through Liquor Stores. These are usually open until quite late. It is considered polite to park your car outside and walk through if you are intending to browse and take your time. Many Australians enjoy to drink in the comfort of their own home or backyard as much as they enjoy drinking in their favourite pub.
An unfortunate effect of the current mining boom is that the price of accommodation in Perth has skyrocketed in recent years, with average room rates currently higher than those in Sydney, Melbourne or even Rome. Figure on paying over $100 per night for even the most basic room, and over $200 for a 3 to 4-star hotel. In general, room rates tend to be most expensive in mid-week, when many business travellers visit, while (relative) bargains can often be found on the weekends.
Hotels and Motels
Most of Perth's hotels are concentrated in the city centre, the neighbouring suburb of East Perth, as well as the seaside suburb of Fremantle. Though slightly further, the coastal town of Mandurah, which is easily accessible by Perth's suburban railway system, is a popular weekend getaway for Perth's residents, and has several hotels and beach resorts to cater to that crowd.
Hostels and backpackers
Perth is very popular with backpackers and there are a large number of backpackers' hostels located in the city, particularly in the Northbridge area. Be warned: a few hostels in Perth are in terrible condition make sure to see your room or check the ratings online.
Caravan parks are a cost effective and often good value family way to stay in Perth. Caravan parks are usually some distance from the city, but some have bus stops right out the front door. Caravan parks are generally clean and offer a variety of accommodation types.
The main dangers that an overseas visitor to Perth faces are sunburn and dehydration. Make sure you cover yourself with SPF 30+ sunscreen and a hat, and preferably a shirt and keep a bottle of water with you, especially in the warmer months. Also be wary of dehydration in the hot weather. An insect repellent such as 'Aeroguard' will be useful on summer evenings if you are outdoors.
Perth is relatively safe, though it's best not to walk alone at night. Some areas such as Northbridge are also known to be 'trouble spots' on weekend nights and tourists should be careful. Perth citizens (as with most Australians) almost never carry firearms or other weaponry, therefore it is logical to avoid people and places whenever such things are observed and advise the local police service when safe to do so. Overall Perth is becoming safer, due to small alleyways and other niche problem zones being refurbished and unsuitable for loiterers.
Police are generally friendly and approachable. To contact the police, ambulance or fire brigade emergency service is "000" on the phone for emergencies. "131 444" is the recommended number for 24/7 Police assistance and general enquiries.
Trains are generally safe with transit guards travelling in pairs, patrolling most scheduled trains after peak hour. All train stations have a time to next train as well as an emergency button which can be used to call transit guards should the need arise. All stations have live monitored cameras and these can be activated by the simple push of the emergency button. In the train, there are "talk to driver" buttons in every carriage, but some older trains do not have them on every door. From 2011 the Armadale Train line especially in the areas of Burswood and Carlisle has had some high profile assaults from gangs travelling on the train system . The gangs usually comprise disaffected Indigenous youth and although weapons are not usually involved attacks have become more vicious in their nature.
The bus network while generally safe, but after hours can be a little more dangerous than the train network, with extremely limited security patrols, and buses coming under increasing attacks by people throwing rocks and other anti social behaviour. Some bus stations (like Mirrabooka bus station and the associated buses) should be avoided where possible due to gangs of youths and other anti-social behaviour. If you have to travel by bus at night, sit as close to the driver as possible and if a problem develops, tell the driver. Often incidents on buses continue for much longer than they should because no one asks the bus driver for assistance.
Exercise caution when crossing the road at zebra crossings, walking along the footpath at the entry/exit point of parking lots or when crossing the street at a T-intersection. Though pedestrians have the legal right of way, some motorists choose to ignore this rule. In the case of a zebra crossing, cars should slow down for you though caution is advisable. If you do not notice a car slowing down, do not begin to cross. It is usually best to follow the lead of the locals and to move as a group.
Driving in Perth can be straightforward as its highways tend to connect at various nodes making navigation easy. However, avoid travelling during business rush hour (between 7-9AM and 4-6PM), particularly in summer or hot days. Many of Perth's major roads were not designed for the volume of traffic currently experienced with recent high population growth. Perth drivers are increasingly known for being inconsiderate to other drivers on the roads during these times, which has also caused increased delays due to accidents.
There are a few rules to take care of while driving in Western Australia. When stopped at a train crossing, do not proceed until the flashing lights have stopped even if the boom gate has fully lifted as fines are issued. There is a lower tolerance towards speeding so even a small excess over the road limit may warrant in an infringement and or fine. It is not mandatory or always observed, however it is polite to keep a gap at an unmarked road crossing when stuck in traffic to allow access for turning vehicles. If you have noticed the lane next to you leave a gap in these places, it is polite do the same. It is always wise to take great care during merging traffic lanes, especially during rush hour (as per the above paragraph). Buses do have right of way when entering traffic and occasionally often pull out with little warning. Australians are allowed to overtake on the inside lane, so drivers should be aware of this to avoid any potential alarm.
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- Toodyay – a historical town on the Avon river to the east of Perth, with regular festivals. Its favourite place for day trips and overnight getaways from Perth once the home of Bushranger Moondyne Joe.
- Margaret River – has some of the world's best wines. Good food and pristine beaches make the South West region a favourite destination. It's about three hours south, making it an ideal weekend get away.
- Hyden – east of Perth is the closest town to Wave Rock. A granite rock formation that looks like a large breaking wave.
- Cervantes – north of Perth in the Wheatbelt, features thousands of limestone pillars rising out of the yellow the sand in the Pinnacles Desert. A nearby lake has stromatalites closely related to those found in rocks billions of years old.
|Routes through Perth|
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