We should all play tourist in our home town at some point, especially when visitors come to stay. We have recently had family visiting so it has been time to dust off some old favourites and look for some new ones in Perth and its surrounding areas.
This itinerary is based on our greatest hits - packaged neatly into four days. You can give or take with the time a bit - unfortunately Perth's attractions aren't nicely co-located - the beauty and the bane of Perth is its space. Things are spread out, and having a car at your disposal definitely helps. This itinerary assumes that you do, but most things are able to be reached by public transport - except maybe the attractions in the Swan Valley - where a tour might be the answer if you don't have a car.
If you are heading to the State's South-West wine producing region, you could bypass the day in the Swan Valley. Likewise if you aren't heading 'down south' - the Swan Valley will give you a reasonable taste of what you are missing out on - without the 2.5 hour drive.
Perth has developed a rather thriving foodie scene and there are lots of new and exciting places to enjoy - but it is certainly not a cheap place to eat out. Likewise attractions and tours tend to be expensive. It is possible to do most of the excursions we recommend on any budget and I have tried to recommend some budget eating options that we enjoy ourselves.
Day 1 - Perth city and Kings Park Day 2 - Swan Valley Day 3 - Fremantle Day 4 - Excursion to Rottnest Island or the Pinnacles
Tips for planning your successful visit to Perth
There was a time when locals and bewildered visitors alike would bemoan the lack of a 'scene' - or much at all - in the Perth CBD after about 5.30pm. Because the Central Business District was and to some extent still is exactly that - business. And once business was done for the day, people went back to the suburbs or to other more 'happening' precincts, including neighbouring Northbridge (see below). This left travellers to the city in their hotels wondering where all the people were...
But fear not, night owls. New York it isn't, but it is no longer the desolation it once was. There are some lovely bars and restaurants that have popped up around the city area. Some of these will no doubt blow what you might have thought was a generous budget...but there are some budget gems about the place.
If you have some cash to flash, the bars and restaurants spots along and around St Georges Terrace offer top nosh and creative drinking options. Some are hidden amongst the office towers and hotels and there is a cluster of good spots in and around the Brookfield complex.
In terms of evening entertainments, Perth Arena is a new-ish multi-purpose entertainment centre that hosts all sorts of events from tennis tournaments to Justin Timberlake.
For more intimate music venues and smaller scale concerts a good place to check what is on in Perth, Fremantle and around town is Heatseeker tickets.
If you are staying in the Perth CBD - do be sure to head out of town to explore other areas at night (or day if time permits!) The spots mentioned below are all inner city suburbs and a modest taxi fare will get you to the action, if not a bus or train. Which brings us to...
2. Inner city precincts with charm
All these spots are good fun in the day or night, and you will find a range of food and beverage options in all budgets.
If you only choose one place to venture to, my choice would be the Highgate stretch of Beaufort Street, running toward the Astor Cinema. If your budget extends to the Must Wine Bar - my favourite restaurant in all of Perth for many a year - you won't go wrong with a reservation there. But there are lots of choices along this stretch from budget to high end, and these are changing all the time. It is also a great place to go for a drink - likewise lots of options from cute hip little bars to larger pubs like the Queens. The Astor Cinema is no longer just a fab old art deco cinema - it regularly hosts stand up comedy, live music and interesting acts - check the program for something you fancy. I have made a little map of our favourites which you can find here. https://jauntful.com/IDreamofItineraries/l10X9OtlQe
Similar in scope - the Leederville 'strip' around the intersection of Oxford and Newcastle Streets has lots of options. Duende is has long been popular for tapas and vino, but for more budget options try newcomer Pinchos or decent fish and chips from Sweetlips.
Northbridge has traditionally been Perth's main pub/nightclub area - and authorities have been trying for a couple of years with some success to improve the somewhat seedy, unsafe reputation of this area. It is a work in progress, but there are already quirky shops, small bars and interesting restaurants and cafes coming up here, as well as the State Theatre Centre. If you are catching a show, next door Bivouac does great food and wine in a relaxed setting.
In the day time, Northbridge takes on an altogether different feel - particularly on weekends. It is basically Perth's Chinatown, Little India, Little Saigon and Little Italy all rolled into one. We regularly chow down on chaat, dosa and other Indian treats at Mela; slurp pho at Tra Vinh and sample dim sum at a range of specialised restaurants around the precinct. Definitely the place to head for budget eats.
Though not exactly an inner city precinct with charm and casinos aren't my thing - for food alone the Crown Perth is worth a mention. After an almighty spruce-up, Perth's only casino complex has some very swanky, big name restaurants now within its doors. For a big night out, Rockpool or Nobu are enjoyable, though I rather like the moderately priced, quality Italian at Modo Mio - the only restaurant in the complex we have been to more than once!