Planning Your Trip
Things to Do & Itineraries
What to Eat & Drink
Perth is the largest city on Australia's west coast and the perfect base for adventurous travelers. Surrounded by beaches, deserts, and wineries, it has a population of around 2 million people and remains one of Australia's underrated gems.
Perth is a great destination for foodies, art lovers, and outdoorsy visitors, offering whale watching, wildflower blooms, and native wildlife, plus world-class restaurants, breweries, museums, and galleries. Read on for our guide to everything you need to know for your trip to Perth.
Planning Your Trip
- Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Perth is in the spring (September to November) for most travelers. Fall (March to May) is also pleasant, thanks to similarly mild temperatures, but Perth's famous wildflowers are in full bloom in spring. Summer (December to January) is peak season.
- Language: Australia has no official language, but English is spoken almost everywhere. Many locals also speak another language at home, like Mandarin, Cantonese, or Arabic. Noongar is the official language of the Aboriginal people of the southwest of Western Australia.
- Currency: The Australian dollar is the national currency.
- Getting Around: Perth's buses and trains cover most of the city and are relatively easy to use. You can buy cash tickets or use a SmartRider card across the network.
- Travel Tip: Perth runs on Australian Western Standard Time (UTC+8) and does not use Daylight Savings, meaning it is two hours behind Sydney from April to September and three hours behind Sydney from October to March.
Things to Do
Whether you're here for the unique flora and fauna or you want to explore the urban jungle, Perth has activities for every kind of traveler. Depending on the season, you can enjoy the beautiful beaches, go for a hike, visit a museum, and get some retail therapy all in one weekend.
- In Western Australia, more than 12,000 species of wildflowers bloom every year. The flowering season usually hits Perth in September, when Kings Park is transformed into a floral wonderland. Throughout all four seasons, Kings Park is Perth's top tourist destination, thanks to the panoramic views from the the treetop-grazing Federation Walkway.
- You can easily spend a day exploring the port city of Fremantle, which is only 45 minutes by train from the center of Perth. Spend the morning at Bathers Beach, grab a lunch at the markets, then visit Fremantle Prison to learn about Western Australia's convict history.
- Take the ferry to Rottnest Island to meet one of its famous quokkas, a small, friendly marsupial that is arguably Australia's cutest animal. Rottnest also has 63 beaches with crystal clear waters that are ideal for snorkeling. The ferry only takes around 30 to 90 minutes, depending on where you board.
Explore more of Perth's coastline with our article on the best beaches in Perth.
What to Eat and Drink
Perth is packed with incredible restaurants, cafes, and bars that make the most of the city's seafood and fresh agricultural produce. You'll find many top fine dining spots in the city center and around Elizabeth Quay, while Fremantle is known for its wine bars and trendy cafes.
The inner-city neighborhood of Northbridge is the heart of Perth's nightlife scene, with pubs, bars, and clubs open into the early hours every weekend. You can also find Perth's Chinatown here, with plenty of authentic Asian dining options and fun late-night restaurants.
Where to Stay
The Perth metropolitan area (including the neighboring port city of Fremantle) covers around 2,500 square miles with about the same population density as Houston, Texas, so we recommend staying close to the main hubs.
Most boutique and luxury hotels are concentrated along the Swan River in the Central Business District (CBD), Northbridge, and South Perth, close to all the main attractions.
Over by the ocean, Fremantle is home to quirkier and more affordable offerings, and Scarborough hosts a couple of beachside resorts that are popular with families. There are also plenty of Airbnbs throughout the city and a good selection of airport hotels.
Almost all international visitors will fly into Perth Airport (PER). It is also possible to take the Indian Pacific luxury rail service from Sydney to Perth, or drive the 2,500-mile journey across Australia. The airport is located in the east of the city, and a 20-minute taxi or ride-share service will cost around AU$43 ($25).
You can also take Bus 380 from Terminal 1 and 2 or Bus 40 from Terminal 3 and 4, which will cost around $3. Renting a car can be cost effective and convenient if you're planning on traveling more around Western Australia.
Culture and Customs
Perth is safe, modern, and welcoming to visitors. The city is located on the traditional lands of the Noongar, an Aboriginal people made up of 14 different language groups, who lived in Western Australia for at least 45,000 years prior to British colonization in 1829.
Tipping in Australia is voluntary and usually only done at upmarket restaurants and bars (around 10 percent is standard). At hotels and with taxi drivers, feel free to tip a dollar or two if you would like to, but it's not expected. Servers and other hospitality workers receive a relatively high minimum wage, meaning tips do not make up an integral part of their income.
Money Saving Tips
Traveling in Australia is generally not cheap, and Perth is no different. You are likely to spend a large proportion of your budget on food if you plan on dining out, as well as public transport or car rental for day trips. However, it is possible to stretch your savings a little further with these tips.
- Perth's public transport system includes a free transit zone in the center of the city, as well as free CAT buses that run seven days a week in the city and Fremantle.
- The city offers free walking tours at 9:45 a.m. every day except Sunday, leaving from the Perth City Visitor Kiosk near the Perth Underground train station. You can register by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by visiting the kiosk.
- Access to the Perth Cultural Centre in Northbridge is generally free, but there may be an entrance fee for some special exhibitions. The Cultural Centre includes the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the State Library of Western Australia and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.