Only 4.5 hours by plane from Singapore, it’s no wonder Perth (Boorloo, in local Nyoongar language) is a popular holiday destination. This adventurous city nestled in nature has something for everyone, whether you’re a family with kids, a couple, or single friends travelling in a group. Enjoy its laid-back vibe and cosmopolitan glitter – its lively parks and bushland, chic cafes, rich art and cultural experiences, and pristine beaches – and take in its renaissance as the city continues to reinvent itself with brand new attractions, hotels and restaurants, offering up shiny stadium experiences and a jazzed-up culinary scene.
Even if you’re well acquainted with it, Perth and the places around it are worth repeat visits. There is much to explore and discover, whether you want to revisit familiar favourites or try new things. Marvel at the latest developments in Fremantle (Walyalup), snap a selfie with a smiling quokka or spike your adrenaline with ziplining, skydiving, or a ride in a hot air balloon. So go on and take that step through this gateway into Western Australia – and walk into a dream in Perth for a holiday you won’t forget anytime soon.
Rediscover Perth from the skies
No visit to the city can be complete without a visit to Optus Stadium. Venture into the Ozone’s newest rooftop attraction by taking the Halo Rooftop tour of the stadium. This 90-minute 360-degree walk gives you fascinating information and a breathtaking look at the city and Swan River from above. Thrillseekers can strap into safety harnesses for Vertigo – a new 42m viewing platform with no handrails that opened last year. It offers an adrenaline spike (and amazing views) to those who dare to live on the edge.
Another new attraction in Perth is Matagarup Bridge. This pedestrian bridge linking East Perth to Optus Stadium impresses viewers with its undulating curves, which are meant to conjure up the imagery of two flying swans – apt as the structure spans the Swan River. Aside from enjoying its aesthetics, visitors can also experience this bridge in a more exciting way – namely climbing 72m up to its viewing platform before ziplining 400m at a max speed of 75kmh over the river back to home base.
After all that excitement, it might be time to fuel up at some of Perth’s newest eateries. Folly Perth serves up skyline views from its perch 18 storeys high, along with creative cocktails and seafood dishes with an Asian twist. Or, head to the Loft Bar and Lounge to while away a balmy evening on the terrace, taking in views of historic buildings below you as you sip expertly crafted tipples and nibble on delectable bar snacks.
If you’re up for some late-night shopping fun in the city, Friday is where it’s at. Instead of their regular 9am to 5pm schedule, many retailers kick things up a notch and extend their opening hours till 9pm (the same fun happens in Perth’s suburbs but on Thursdays instead!). Experience it all with Peddle Perth – rickshaw tours that take you through breweries, bars and the best of the area.
Snap happy with a quokka
Once you have had your fill of city life, it might be time to turn your attention to Perth’s surroundings. Fly to popular nearby destinations like Rottnest Island with Swan River seaplanes. Whether returning or making that the next leg of your holiday, a journey on this 12-seater Cessna offers time-saving plus great aerial views of the city and the WA coastline.
Or take a short ferry ride from the mainland to Rotto instead. Whichever way you travel, this pocket paradise packs a punch with no fewer than 63 pristine beaches and 20 aquamarine bays. An excellent way to experience its beauty in totality is from the air – book a session with Skydive Geronimo, which offers tandem skydive experiences for adrenaline junkies.
But the island is most famous for its adorable quokkas, a threatened species that can only be found in Western Australia. So don’t miss the opportunity to observe these adorable marsupials up close and find out why they are known as “the happiest animals on Earth”.
Sip away on a winery tour
Only 25 minutes away from Perth CBD, Mandoon Estate is one of the best ways to experience the delights of Swan Valley. It boasts a boutique hotel, craft brewery, Aboriginal art gallery, a sophisticated restaurant and an exceptional winery with vineyards to match. Sign up for a bush tucker tasting and talk to learn about Indigenous food and culture, or develop your winemaking skills by crafting and bottling your own blend at a workshop.
Rediscover a familiar favourite – the port city of Fremantle
Within a half-hour journey lies Perth’s port city of Fremantle. An irresistible blend of charm and character, Freo – as it’s affectionately called – invites visitors to wander through its cobbled streets, lined with beautifully preserved colonial architecture and bustling markets.
But don’t be fooled by its historic facade. The quaint suburb has a vibrant arts scene, mural-lined laneways and eclectic boutiques alongside a tantalising array of waterfront dining options, unconventional distilleries and funky small bars.
This bohemian seaside town has been revitalised lately with a redeveloped city centre and a wave of new hospitality offerings that will entice the curious and those who have experienced it before to revel in its coastal allure.
Rediscover Freo through the eyes of a local with the Oh Hey WA walking tour and learn about all sorts of stuff like street art, history, cool buildings, what’s happening at night, and the latest developments. And guess what? They sprinkle in some fun facts and offbeat stories while you’re at it.
Be sure to check out FOMO Freo (Fremantle On My Own) – a one-stop destination for the senses that blends architecture, art, culture, retail and dining under one roof. Savour fresh seafood harbourside and fine fare in historic buildings, or sip a refreshing drink on the beach as you watch an Indian Ocean sunset.
Sign up for a whale-watching cruise if you’re here in spring from September to November. Or else get ready for an educational but exciting experience by enrolling in Gin School or Cocktail School or going on a distillery tour at the Republic of Fremantle.
Rock the boat in Rockingham
Less than an hour away from Perth, this appealing seaside getaway is good for boating and fishing, as well as swimming. In fact, Rockingham is known for offering visitors the unique experience of swimming with 200 wild bottlenose dolphins in sheltered waters.
This town is also only a short drive from Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, where you can dive and snorkel to explore shipwrecks and observe marine life. Then hop aboard a glass-bottomed boat cruise that takes in the ruggedly spectacular coastlines of Penguin, Seal and Bird Islands. You may be able to spot some rare Australian sea lions, as well as seabirds like pelicans, gulls and terns.
Go up, up and over Perth Hills
Nature lovers can explore Perth Hills, which is only a 30-minute drive from the city but a world away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan. Start your adventure from one of the three main townships: Kalamunda, Mundaring or Armadale. From there, there are more than 40 walking and biking trails to choose from, alongside plenty of amazing wineries and restaurants to explore. Throw on a backpack, lace up those hiking boots and prepare to be greeted by tree-cloaked valleys, babbling brooks, fruit orchards and vineyards perfect for serene walks or picturesque picnics.
Further afield, you’ll find Avon Valley, an area rich in history filled with charming country towns, quaint bakeries and heritage hotels. An experience you should not miss out on is taking off on a hot air balloon flight at sunrise. This starts at dawn, so you can enjoy a champagne breakfast as you watch the sunrise, lighting up a glorious patchwork of verdant paddocks, lush pasture and neatly farmed cropland.
It is worth spending a few days here, and if you do, try booking a Heyscape tiny cabin. This company offers the experience of camping out in the wild without giving up any creature comforts. Each cabin offers comfortable beds, proper showers, a kitchenette and outdoor BBQ facilities while completely off-grid, with nothing around you except miles of rolling wilderness. Gaze up at vast starry skies as you sip a glass of wine and unplug completely from real life.
Be a pirate for a day and see the giants
Another destination no more than an hour away is Mandurah (Mandjoogoordap), a coastal regional city boasting a range of magnificent beaches and a surprisingly large estuary harbour. Unsurprisingly, much of the activity here is centred on water.
Those who love boats will have a field day with the sheer variety of day trip cruises. A novel way to explore the city’s thriving waterfront and canals is to hop on a doughnut-shaped BBQ boat. Cruise around at your own pace while enjoying 360-degree views with a drink in hand and fresh seafood (or sausages!) sizzling away on your centrally-fitted barbecue.
Wildlife enthusiasts can book a dolphin-watching cruise; a must because Mandurah has the largest population of bottlenose dolphins in WA. Families with children can opt for The Pirate Ship Mandurah. This 45-minute cruise through Mandurah’s inland waterways and canals allows opportunities for kids to steer the pirate’s wheel, take lots of photos with the pirate crew and shoot water cannons.
Gourmands will love the Mandurah Wild Seafood Adventure Cruise, where you’ll help the crew to haul in the catch of the day – lobster, crab, oysters, shrimp and all sorts of fish – before sitting back to enjoy a seven-course banquet of the freshest seafood, cooked by a private chef onboard.
And if all that is still not enough time on the water, book yourself into a Mandurah houseboat instead of a hotel. Float along the waterways of the Peel Inlet and Murray River and enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing, and sunbathing even as you savour the facilities of a fully-equipped houseboat.
For another creative way to explore the city, hunt for the Giants of Mandurah. Created by artist Thomas Dambo, these are five “giants” in the form of outdoor art installations hidden in and around Mandurah that help celebrate the area’s wetlands, waterways, bushland and wildlife.
Want to know a side of Perth you’ve never seen before? Visit westernaustralia.com for more information and plan your ideal getaway today.
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