- For other places with the same name, see Perth (disambiguation).
Perth is the capital and largest city of Western Australia. It is separated from Adelaide (the nearest city with over one million inhabitants) by a distance of 2,139km, including the vast spaces of the Nullarbor Plain.
Perth spreads out along on a flat coastal plain, dissected by the Swan River, and spreads over the Darling Scarp to the east. The Indian Ocean coastline to the west is its only distinct physical boundary.
Perth has a population of over 1.8 million (2012), making it the fourth largest city in Australia.
The official "City of Perth" is a small area on the north side of the Swan River, consisting of just the city centre. However, the Perth metropolitan area is much larger, spreading in all directions other than the ocean.
|City of Perth |
Where commerce and culture intermingle
Restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes and art
A historic port, now a food and entertainment destination
|The Coast |
The place for a swim and other activities
|Swan Valley |
A wide range of attractions in the Valley.
|The Suburbs |
The low-density residential parts of Perth.
Outside the city
|The Hills |
Wine, trees, hills, parks, and dams
|Outer Perth |
More distant towns and parks in the greater Perth region, generally 1-2 hours outside the city centre.
|Rottnest Island |
Where locals like to relax
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.
Lack of labour hampered its development until 1850, when convicts were brought in, at a time when transportation to other parts of Australia had ceased. This boosted the size of the colony and their labour helped shape the early architecture of the city, as well as other infrastructure. 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 rapid population growth was relatively recent. The development hasn't taken away completely the older parts 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, while 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, relieved 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 in the day, and usually fall to about 8-10°C at night. Minimum temperatures have been known to 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. Intense storms have created hail and more serious damage. Snow has never been known to fall in the Perth city centre, though very light dustings have been known to occur on higher elevations in the Perth Hills.
When to visit
Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-May) are ideal times in which to visit Perth. Spring (particularly October/November) is perhaps the very best time, as after a decent winter's rainfall, the famous wild flowers around Kings Park and the Avon Valley bloom splendidly. The metropolitan areas and 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. 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, and to take 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 else stay in small chalets in the south and south west 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. Most shops are still open, public transport still runs (to a reduced timetable) and the sky is still blue. The exceptions are Good Friday, Anzac Day (25 April) and Christmas Day (25 Dec), when most shops and restaurants are closed. Generally only offices, banks and government services are closed for the other 7 public holidays; New Year's Day (Jan 1), Australia Day (26 Jan), Easter Monday, Labour Day (first Monday of March), Queen's Birthday (last Monday in September), Foundation Day (first Monday in June) and Boxing Day (26 December).
All scheduled international and domestic flights arrive and depart from1 Perth Airport (PER IATA). The airport has four terminals, which for ground transport purposes can be regarded as two precincts. T1 and T2 are side-by-side to the east of the runway, while T3 and T4 are side-by-side to the west. A free bus plies between the two precincts, taking 15 mins. In terms of ground transportation, public buses serve the airport, and taxis and rental cars are available.
Perth is the most important gateway to Australia not located on the east coast. In addition to flights from Asia, there are nonstop flights from Johannesburg, Mauritius, Auckland and London Heathrow, the latter being the first regular nonstop route between Europe and Australia. There are domestic flights to the largest cities in Australia and regional flights to smaller airports in Western Australia.
Once it was the only way to reach Perth and the rest of Australia, often in chains. Nowadays a dwindling number of freight ships have passenger places available to Fremantle from Southeast Asia, Los Angeles and San Diego USA, and very rarely all the way from Europe. Their facilities are pretty basic and mundane, more like a hostel bunkhouse with added sea-sickness than a Conradian salty adventure.
For a luxurious arrival at a splurgy price, come on one of the cruise ships which call regularly at Fremantle, including the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. These often offer one-way cruises to and from Fremantle, usually to other Australian cities, to New Zealand, and to Southeast Asia. They sail most often in summer, seldom in winter. Check the schedule here and you'll need to book many months in advance.
All long-distance and regional trains run from East Perth, 1 km NE of downtown. It's part of the Public Transport Centre so many city buses and metro trains serve it, and there are taxis. In summer 2017 / 18 the station is being rebuilt, which may disrupt access and some train services.
The Indian Pacific transcontinental railway runs from Perth to Sydney via Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill. It's 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 (478 km) as it journeys across The Nullarbor.
Consider purchasing a rail pass, good 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 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.
Regional train services are operated by Transwa. Their four routes are:
- The Australind runs twice a day between Perth and Bunbury.
- The Prospector runs daily between Perth and Kalgoorlie, with a second train on Mondays and Fridays.
- The AvonLink runs between Northam and Midland Monday to Friday.
- The MerredinLink runs between Perth and Merredin on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Transwa buses run from the Public Transport Centre in East Perth. They run overnight north up the coast (both by Brand Highway 1, and Coastal Highway 60) to Dongara, Geraldton, and Kalbarri. To go further north, take the Integrity Coach, described below.
Transwa has three SE routes to Esperance, and three SW routes (all via Bunbury) to Pemberton. Their "Great Southern" routes are to Albany, with one service continuing to Katanning.
Integrity Coaches run from Midland Station, 10 km east of downtown, and pick up at Wellington Street Perth opposite the central metro station (on some routes it's vice versa). They run north two or three times a week via Brand Highway 1 to Dongara and Geraldton then Carnarvon, Coral Bay, Exmouth, Port Hedland and Broome. At Broome you can transfer to the Greyhound Australia coach to Darwin, from where coaches run to Alice Springs, Adelaide, and the eastern cities of Australia.
South West Coach Lines run from several SW towns including Busselton, Bunbury, Margaret River, Manjimup, Collie and Dunsborough, to Perth airport and Elizabeth Quay downtown.
There is no regular bus link across the Nullarbor Plain between Perth and Adelaide, but there are adventure-oriented tours that include camping and sightseeing. The only one operating on a regular basis is Nullabor Traveller, which has 9/10 day tours. These depart eastbound from Perth Sundays, westbound from Adelaide Wednesdays, once a week in summer (Nov-Jan) slowing to once a month off-season, and not running mid-winter. Tour price is around $1600 per person.
Driving to Perth from Adelaide (2700 km) or Darwin (4100 km) is possible, as the road quality is good, and there's fuel, food and accommodation along the main highways. But it will take the best part of a week each way - that means a week of solid driving, with little time for sights or activities en route. Locals would consider it a 'once in a lifetime' excursion, which is their typically understated Australian way of saying "Hell, never again, mate!". It may well end the life of your car, if it's elderly.
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 buses serves the city centre, suburbs and outlying townships, with good interconnections between routes and with metro rail services.
Transperth buses are free in central Perth. This applies to all bus services while they are within the CBD Free Transit Zone. You don't need a permit or Smartrider, just get on. In addition, there are CAT buses that are free throughout their route. There are four routes - red, blue, yellow, green - and the buses match the colour. See city centre page for details.
Similar free bus schemes operate in Northbridge, Fremantle and Joondalup - see relevant pages.
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 lines:
- 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 north-western Perth, to Butler (via Joondalup).
- 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 (07:00-09:00 & 16:30-18:30) the Midland (east) and Joondalup (northwest) 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 stations just outside the CBD (City West, McIver, Canning Bridge or Leederville) 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
On Saturday morning, extra services depart Perth at 01:00 and 02:00, with three extra services on Sunday morning (01:00, 02:00) These services cater to people returning 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 is 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, but it does occur at least twice a year on the Fremantle and Midland Lines.
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 Elizabeth Quay, 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, and the Elizabeth Quay (formerly known as Perth Esplanade) Train Station is adjacent to the ferry terminal. Fares are part of the bus and train Transperth system, with a 2-section fare needed to cross the river, or it can be part of a multi-zone bus or train ticket, if it's taken within the time period as shown on the ticket.
For trains, buses and ferries, the Transperth system is divided into 9 concentric zones, and 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, ferries and trains within a zone. Tickets are valid for 2 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 09:00 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 (05:00-09:00 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 05:00. 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 has 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 (01:00-08:00, 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 be pre-confirmed with a driver for an additional $9 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 and 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 Transport Maps. The Department of Transport 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 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 seven locations in Perth, Avis, Hertz and Ace Rent A Car 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. Also consider Perth limo hire as an option.
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).
Top sights in and around the city are
- the Art Gallery of WA and PICA, and the Mint - see city centre page, but note WA Museum is closed until 2020
- Kings Park and Botanic Gardens - see city centre page
- Fremantle Prison, Maritime Museum and Shipwrecks gallery - see Fremantle page
Outside of the metropolitan area are some unspoilt national parks, unpopulated coasts and other interesting locations.
There is a designated area in the zoo for kangaroos where they can wander on visitors' paths. 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 in 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. Kangaroos are also commonly seen on many golf courses, including at The Vines and Joondalup Resorts.
There are also kangaroos that occasionally come close to the Mundaring Weir Hotel 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 Oval (now Domain Stadium) fills to near-capacity with either West Coast Eagles or Fremantle Dockers supporters for Australian Football League (AFL) matches. Why not choose whose colours you like best and join in the fun? All games go on sale two weeks before each game, with the majority of seats having been pre-sold to club members. However, some tickets are always made available for opposing club members and then the general public. Average crowds are between 35,000 and 40,000. For a more intimate and accessible game, West Australian Football League (WAFL) games are held at numerous grounds around Perth during the same period. Crowds number only a few thousand, and you can even go on the field during the breaks to have a kick, or to listen to the coach address the team! 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 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). Home ground is the WACA. The WACA also normally hosts one of the summer Test matches (over five days) and at least one One-Day International game against a touring international side.
- Perth Scorchers - Play cricket the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash (matches last about 3 hours), normally in the last few weeks of December. Matches are played at the WACA, but it is renamed "The Furnace" to tie in with the Scorchers theme.
- 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. The Australian Rugby union team, The Wallabies, also play a game in Perth most years.
- Perth Wildcats – Play in the National Basketball League. Home games are at the Perth Arena. Join the Red Army!
- Perth Lynx – Play in the Women's National Basketball League. Home games are the Bendat Basketball Centre, Floreat.
- Perth Heat - Play in the Australian Baseball League. Home games are at Baseball Park, Thornlie.
- West Coast Fever - Play netball in the ANZ Championship. Home games are at the HBF Stadium, Mount Claremont (formerly the Perth Superdrome, and Challenge Stadium)
- 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's parks range from inner-city parks such as Kings Park, Bold Park, and Lake Monger, to outer city parks such as John Forrest and Whiteman Park.
- Watch a movie. In addition to the multiplexes showing Hollywood blockbusters at most major shopping centres, there are also some 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, international film festivals and documentaries throughout the year. If you visit in summer, check out one of the many open air cinemas, located in Kings Park, Movies by Burswood, Luna Leederville, and Mundaring. There's even a rooftop cinema in Northbridge on top of a multi-storey carpark! Perth has one remaining drive-in, located in Kingsley.
- 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 (Wine tour transport services), Swan Valley. 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 in any place with as low a density as Perth, you will spend a lot of time travelling between the sights. One of the best day trips in Perth is to visit Rottnest Island, a nature reserve off the coast of Fremantle. 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 five minutes off the coast of Rockingham, a 45-minute drive south of Perth.
- Visit Weekend Markets. Sample local produce at Perth's weekend markets. Many weekend markets have appeared in recent years driven by demand by local Perth residents for quality goods. The markets normally consist of 20 to 50 individual stalls run by owners/producers/farmers and often specialize as farmers markets (fresh produce), Hawkers markets (street food), general markets (handcrafted wares, clothes, music, gifts etc), or combinations of these. As opening hours and locations vary regularly, it is best to search online.
- Fremantle Markets are a "Fremantle institution" popular with tourists and locals for local crafts, fresh produce, food, and entertainment. Opens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is an easy 8 minute walk from Fremantle train station.
- Manning Farmers Markets are popular with locals for fresh local produce, breakfast and coffee. It has more than 50 stalls and is very busy before 10:00. Open Saturday 07:30-12:30. Regular public transport to Curtin University bus station (followed by a 15-minute walk through the uni grounds).
- Perth City Farmers Market focuses on fresh organic and biodynamic produce. Open Saturday 08:00-12:00. 3-minute walk from Claisbrook train station.
- Twilight Hawkers Markets have more than 50 food stalls in the centre of the city. Open Friday night 16:30-21:30 from October to April.
Perth boasts some of the Australia's best beaches along the coast, 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. Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth's most famous, and a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Scarborough beach is also quite popular and accessible.
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 was 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 universities have opportunities 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, Murdoch 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.
Most of the top end luxury brands like Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are located on or around King Street in the CBD.
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:
- 08:00-21:00 Monday to Friday
- 09:00-17:00 Saturday
- 11:00-17:00 Sunday
Even at the larger shopping centres, many smaller stores do not open until 21:00 each night, but only on Thursdays, the traditional, and still busiest, night for "late night shopping" in Perth.
Small supermarkets such as IGA and 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. WaterTown (formerly Harbour Town) is where manufacturers have their factory outlets; some good deals are to be had there. It's walking distance from the centre of Perth, or catch the free Yellow CAT bus.
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 and 27 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 have 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 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 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. 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 it is visited by many hundreds of tourists and 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, 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-hour 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, 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 17:00 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 11:00 and close midnight (22:00 on Sundays), a few bars do have special extended liquor trading hours to 01:00, 02:00, or 03:00. 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 02:00 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 03:00, 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 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 (between the city centre and the Swan River), and the seaside suburb of Fremantle. Slightly further away, 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. A few hostels in Perth are in terrible condition, so 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. In the warmer months, beware of dehydration in the hot weather, and keep a bottle of water with you. 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 and 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.
The bus network is generally safe, but after hours can be a little more dangerous than the train network. Some bus routes have limited security patrols available, and some routes have had more than their share of 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 pedestrian 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 pedestrian crossings, 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.
Similarly if you are driving a car, you can often encounter people crossing the road at traffic lights who make no allowances for waiting for the lights to be to their advantage, and who will walk across the road when it seems the most inappropriate time. Look out for pedestrians who walk in front of you when you have a green light.
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 (07:00-09:00 and 16:00-18:00), particularly in summer or hot days. Many of Perth's major roads were not designed for the volume of traffic it now faces with rewith 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 railway 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.
- United States, 16 St. Georges Terrace, ☎ , fax: .
- India, 12 St Georges Terrace, ☎ .
- United Kingdom, 251 Adelaide Terrace, ☎ .
Heading east from Perth:
- Toodyay is a historical town on the Avon river, with regular festivals. It's a favourite place for day trips and overnight getaways from Perth, and once the home of Bushranger Moondyne Joe.
- Hyden is the closest town to Wave Rock, a granite rock formation that looks like a large breaking wave.
Heading south, Margaret River (three hours from Perth) has some of the world's best wines. Good food and pristine beaches make the South West region a favourite destination. It's an ideal weekend getaway.
Heading north, follow Coastal Highway 60 to Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park. Other places of interest are Jurien Bay, Cervantes with its odd stromatalites, and (poorly signposted just past Cervantes) Lesueur National Park for wildflowers.
Cervantes is about the northern limit of a day-trip from Perth. From here on it becomes a road trip, and there's an awful lot of Australia ahead of you. Places within a day or so's drive are Dongara, Geraldton, Kalbarri National Park, Shark Bay / Monkey Mia, Carnarvon, and Exmouth & Coral Bay for Ningaloo Reef. And still the road stretches on ahead across this vast red continent . . .
|Routes through Perth|
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