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So many travelers favor Sydney or Melbourne, the bigger, glitzier cities in the east of Australia, but I’ve got a bit of a crush on Perth. It is fascinating how Perth even exists; it is located on the west coast of the country, just under a 2,700-kilometre drive from Adelaide, which is its closest city. To put that into perspective, the distance from London to Moscow is only 1,700 kilometers!
But exist very well it does. Perth is the sunniest city in Australia, with the most beautiful summer weather. Perth has friendly locals, great vineyards, a breathable city center, a cosmopolitan population, great food, breathtaking nature and plenty of pubs and clubs to enjoy once the day is done.
Despite Perth being incredibly disconnected from the rest of Australia – the only ways to reach it are by flying, a very expensive 65-hour train ride from Sydney to Perth or a long (but incredible, I’ll add!) road trip across the Nullarbor Plain, named after the fact that there are no trees for about 1,000 kilometers – it is very convenient for travelers coming from other locations around the world.
Perth is often the cheapest city in Australia to fly into from Asia; flights from Bali, in particular, are often sold for unbelievably low prices. The world’s first non-stop flight from London to Australia now lands in Perth Airport, as well. This makes it often the first or last stop on many traveler’s Australia trips. But even if your final destination is east Australia, don’t rush off too quickly – stay awhile and enjoy all Perth has to offer.
Whether you’re visiting Perth on a backpacking trip in Australia or traveling the city with your family, this 5-day itinerary to Perth will help you work out exactly what to do in and around Australia’s city of light. Are you ready to see the best of Perth in 5 days?
- 1 What You’ll Find in this Article
- 2 Best Time to Visit Perth
- 3 How to Get Around Perth
- 4 Where to Stay in Perth
- 5 The Perfect 5-Day Perth Itinerary
- 6 Day One: Perth CBD
- 7 Day 2: Fremantle
- 8 Day 5: Margaret River
- 9 Day 6 and Beyond
What You’ll Find in this Article
- Best Time to Visit Perth
- How to Get Around Perth
- Where to Stay in Perth
- The Perfect 5-Day Perth Itinerary
Best Time to Visit Perth
The best time to visit Perth is without a doubt the summer. This is when the city enjoys months of virtually no rainfall. If you’re sensitive to the heat, it’s best to visit during the shoulder seasons of April, September and October. Visiting out of school holidays will escape the crowds as well.
How to Get Around Perth
If you’re just exploring one area of Perth at a time, the city is very walkable. There is also a free CAT bus that orbits the centers of Perth and Fremantle.
To reach the suburbs you can either take the train – trains leave Perth station to suburbs in the north, east and south – or, for more flexibility, hire a rental car.
Where to Stay in Perth
From cheap hostels to 5 star luxury hotels, Perth has all kind of accommodations options available. Below are some of our favorites:
- The Old Fire Station ($): This hostel is amazing. It has an awesome, friendly atmosphere and feels exactly like a home away from home. Quirkily decorated and with cozy dorms, the hostel is a great place to get a good night’s sleep. But if you want to party, everyone hangs out in the courtyard until late. The huge common room has a TV with Netflix, vending machines, computers, a super clean kitchen and comfy sofas. There is free WiFi throughout the hostel, and not only are there girls’ only dorms and bathrooms, but a lounge area and kitchen just for females as well.
- Comfort Hotel Perth City ($$): Despite its low price, this hotel is constantly complimented for its boutique style and great facilities. The staff are friendly and accommodating, and will happily help you with any requests or questions that you have during your stay. All rooms have free WiFi, a flat screen TV and an en-suite bathroom. There is an on-site restaurant where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served.
- Hotel Tribe Perth ($$$): Choose from a garden or city view at this gorgeous hotel, which is in a great location for exploring the city center. It also enjoys prime position for exploring Kings Park, which is just across the road. Each room has a flat screen TV with satellite channels and a coffee pod machine. The en-suite bathrooms have toiletries and a hairdryer. The hotel also offers free bike hire – a great, eco-friendly way to get around the city.
- Hyatt Regency Perth ($$$$): Treat yourself at the glamorous Hyatt Regency hotel. This luxury residence has a heated pool, tennis court and 5 restaurants on-site. A delicious breakfast is included with some rooms. Each room is equipped with everything you need for a good night’s sleep, including an en-suite bathroom with a bath, a flat screen TV with satellite channels, air conditioning and a tea/coffee maker. You might find it hard to leave, but the hotel is in prime location – just a few minutes from Perth CBD and the Swan River.
The Perfect 5-Day Perth Itinerary
With so much going on, it can be super difficult to figure out what to do in Perth in 5 days. But no worries. We’ve incorporated historic sites, amazing parks and beaches, and more, to make sure your time in Perth is the best it can be.
However, before we get to our Perth itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
We personally use and recommend SafetyWing. For only around $10 a week, it’s really a no-brainer. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
Even if you don’t get travel insurance with SafetyWing, please make sure to get travel insurance from somewhere. One popular alternative, for example, is World Nomads.
Now with that out of the way, let’s get to this Perth itinerary already!
Day One: Perth CBD
Due to Perth CBD’s compact size, you only need one day to see it all. Get up early in the morning and head to Elizabeth Quay. This is the center of the city, and is home to many events and activities throughout the year.
Elizabeth Quay is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Perth. It is a lovely spot to take some photos, admire the fountains, practice bell ringing (and see their assortment of funky bells) in the bell tower and marvel at the mighty Swan River. You can also take a boat over to the other side of the river to see the city beach and snap a photo of the Perth skyline rising above the water.
Go Cultural operates Aboriginal tours and experiences around Elizabeth Quay, where they detail how the Nyungar people built their society around the Swan River. Guides tell dreaming stories, teach traditional songs and a bit of the language, and discuss their cultural and societal beliefs. Tours last for 1.5 hours.
It’s also possible to take a cruise on the Swan River, which will teach you more about the history of Perth. You’ll be able to see the beauty of the city and its surroundings from a unique perspective, while enjoying some drinks. Most of the cruises leave from Barrack Street Jetty, which is only 400 meters from Elizabeth Quay. Advance booking is recommended.
When you’re ready for some lunch, Annalakshmi Restaurant is well worth a visit. It is a vegetarian Indian buffet that looks over the Swan River, and it operates on a pay what you want basis. Remember to pay what you can afford; the model works because some people are generous and pay extra to fund those who might not be able to afford a good meal otherwise. It is open from 12:00pm until 2:00pm for lunch (and then again from 6:00-9:00pm for dinner. No judgements if you go twice in a day, I have before!).
Once you’re fed, stroll up to the Perth Cultural Centre. The Western Australia Museum is not open until 2020 as they’re doing some major refurbishments, but the art gallery is free to enter and look around. The Cultural Centre is also a nice place to sit and watch the world go by!
Kings Park is next on your Perth itinerary. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Perth – it is the largest inner city park in the Southern Hemisphere, and once you’re amongst the trees you won’t believe that you were in the CBD just a few minutes ago! You can take the free 37 bus from St Georges Terrace to reach the inside of the park.
Kings Park has beautiful views over the city center, walking trails, statues and monuments, a war memorial and an interesting botanical garden with lots of flora from all over Western Australia. Strolling around this park gives you a great feel for the wonderful nature in the city of Perth.
You could stay in Kings Park all evening, and I wouldn’t blame you – but getting to Cottesloe for sunset is well worth it. You’ll need to take a bus back to the CBD and then hop on a train – it’s about 20 minutes to the suburb of Cottesloe. It is then a 15-minute walk to get to the beach from there.
Cottesloe is a laid-back coastal suburb with a beach that’s really popular during the day. It is also one of the best sunset spots in Perth. Grab a coffee or an ice cream from one of the shops above the shore, then take a seat and enjoy the spectacle as the sun descends over the Indian Ocean.
Enjoy dinner in Cottesloe or head back into Perth to try one of the many restaurants there.
Day 2: Fremantle
After a busy first day, day number two on this Perth travel itinerary takes you to my favorite part of the city: Fremantle. This historic suburb is a great place to walk around because it has lots of tales from the past and beautiful architecture.
If you can time your visit for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the Fremantle Markets are well worth checking out. With artisan products from Perth, food made in Western Australia, local musicians and global cuisine, the markets have a great atmosphere and are a great excuse to go souvenir shopping.
The Fremantle Maritime Museum discusses the town’s history as a port and how it became the town it is today because of its prime coastal position. The museum features the submarine HMAS Ovens, the Parry Endeavour and America’s Cup yacht, which were all crucial in Western Australia’s history.
For lunch, check out Moore and Moore Café. They serve great coffee, tasty lunches and delicious cakes here, which you can enjoy in a tranquil courtyard. The historic building is worth checking out too – as is the neighboring art gallery.
After you’ve eaten, it’s time to go to prison. Well, for a tour at least! Tours of the Fremantle Prison leave every hour and cost $22 for an adult. You’ll get to see the highlights of the gaol and learn about some of its spookiest tales.
Next it’s time for a stroll around Fremantle’s picturesque harbor. It’s really aesthetically pleasing, so make sure you take your time and take lots of photos! Your next stop is the Roundhouse, which is right by Bather’s Beach.
The Roundhouse was also a crucial building on the Australian convict scene; you can learn more about convicts in Western Australia and even be put in the stocks!
If you eat fish, Fremantle is famous for it – so enjoy a plate of fish and chips by the sea as the sun starts to go down. You’ll get a great sunset from here as well.
Day 3: Rottnest Island
You might want to edit this Perth itinerary to ensure that your day on Rottnest Island coincides with the day with the best weather, as it’s best enjoyed when the sun is shining! However, bear in mind that Tuesday is the cheapest day to get to Rottnest Island because tickets are half price – although they do sell out fast.
Rottnest Island is about 25 minutes from Fremantle or 90 minutes from Barrack Street Jetty in Perth. Try to catch the ferry as early as possible because the ferry back leaves quite early as well.
The best bit about Rottnest Island is relaxing and doing as you please rather than following a strict itinerary. Renting a bike is recommended to get around the island easily and quickly. You can pre-book a bike with your ferry ticket here.
There are plenty of walking paths and trails on the island, as well as 63 gorgeous beaches. You can explore Aboriginal history and snap some photos of the amazingly blue water at the shores. In the summer, great snorkeling can be had off the beaches of Rottnest Island. And let’s not forget the quokkas… these cheeky animals have become synonymous with Rottnest Island. They still are wild animals and should be treated with caution, but they generally won’t mind you taking a selfie with them.
There are over 12 restaurants on the island, with lots of different cuisines, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to lunch. In the afternoon, maybe return to your favorite beach or lookout, or take part in one of the tours on Rottnest – you can skydive over the island or take a peek at the underwater world in a submarine!
The last boat to the mainland is around 16:30, so make sure you’re there on time. Alternatively, you could stay the night at one of the many hotels on Rottnest Island and head back in the morning.
Day 4: The Perth Hills
We’re going off the beaten track a little on day four of this suggested itinerary for Perth. The Perth Hills is my little secret destination near the city that not so many international travelers go to. As they are spread out east of the city center, the best way to explore the hills is to rent a car for the day. For the best car rental prices check out Rentalcars.com.
The first stop on your self-drive tour of the Perth Hills takes you to Guildford. A historic town with lots of old-style buildings, Guildford high street is interesting to browse. The highlight is the Guildford Hotel; a fire (which may have been an arson attempt) burnt the entire hotel down. Instead of refurbishing it, the owners decided to reopen it with the fire damage still intact (making sure everything was secure, of course!). The result is a somewhat eerie hotel with jagged floorboards sticking out and old fireplaces in random spots. It’s a good spot for some breakfast, but don’t have too much coffee yet, because your next stop is…
Bolt Coffee Yard
The best coffee shop in Perth! Bolt’s owner knows everything there is to know about coffee, and he’s happy to discuss it in detail with anyone interested. You can choose from a few different varieties of coffee and sit in the yard to enjoy it.
Bolt coffee yard is a mishmash of old chairs, sofas and tables. It kind of resembles a junkyard, but it really works. When the sun is out, it’s a lovely tranquil place to enjoy your beverage!
Another cute historic town, Kalamunda is a great pit stop. If it’s a weekend, the markets will be open and selling some great local products. If you missed Fremantle markets, these are a must visit so you can see some of the best produce Western Australia has to offer. There is also a history village in Kalamunda which discusses the stories of the Perth Hills and how the townships were created here.
The Zig Zag
The Zig Zag Scenic Route is where you’ll see the best of the Perth Hills. While traversing through bushland, you’ll be able to see the skyscrapers of the city and eventually the blue sea. The spectacular views offered here represent all I love about Perth; that it’s a city that has worked with nature, rather than obliterated nature.
If you haven’t seen a kangaroo yet, here is your chance! Mundaring is home to roos aplenty – the only place you’ll see them within Perth. The Mundaring Weir and pump station are interesting to look around too. Around Mundaring there are lots of short walking trails; one of Australia’s best walks, the Bibbulmun Track starts there. I wouldn’t recommend trying to conquer it today though – it stretches 1,000 kilometers all the way to Albany on the south coast!
CORE Cider House
After a busy day of exploring, what sounds better than putting your feet up in an apple orchard? CORE Cider House offers great food and even better cider (if you’re British, you’ll know that good cider is hard to find in Australia!). You can get tasting platters with a few different flavors, then grab a pint of whichever you like best while watching the sun bounce off the green hills. Of course, don’t drink above your limits if you’re the designated driver.
Day 5: Margaret River
Keep your hire car for today because you’re heading down to the Margaret River region. It is a 2.5-hour drive to Busselton where today’s itinerary begins, so be sure to get up early to make the most of the day.
Home to the longest pier in the Southern Hemisphere, Busselton is a merry seaside town. If you haven’t eaten breakfast, grab some overlooking the seafront. Otherwise, you can tour the pier and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the town.
Home to surfer dudes and a beautiful beach, Yallingup is a great place to chill out for an hour or two. If you’re there at either 9:45am or 12 noon, Yallingup Surf School does lessons – or you can rent a board and take to the waves yourself! Take caution if you’re not a strong swimmer, the sea in Australia can be unpredictable.
In the town that gives the region its name, there are plenty of lunch spots and cafes in Margaret River to enjoy. I’d also recommend stopping by the tourist information center to grab a map (you can also download the map here) of the winery area – which is where you’re heading next!
This wooded road is very atmospheric and has some stop offs where you can really be in nature, as well as a lovely hand-built maze. The trees are reminiscent of those in the Karri Forests further south, and it’s a lovely place to connect with nature away from the beach.
Voyager Estate/Any Other Winery
The wineries of Margaret River are world-famous, with some of the best wines in the country. Many have beautiful vineyards and quaint features. Follow your map from the tourist information center for a self-guided tour! And again, remember to only drink to your limit if you are driving!
There are also chocolate and cheese factories in this area. You can stop off here to sample some of both and make some purchases. Margaret River is famed for its food, and you’ll quickly realize why!
After the culinary tour, Hamelin Bay is a great afternoon stop. Snorkeling here is fantastic – if you’re lucky, you may even see manta rays! The beaches are wonderfully scenic and rarely busy.
Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse
Head north later on in the afternoon, as sunset by the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse is something that’s not to be missed. There is a walk from the car park to the headland where the sun gloriously turns the sky all sorts of pinks and oranges every single night.
Once the sunset spectacle is over, head back up to Perth. The Margaret River day trip is a long one, but it’s a day that you definitely won’t forget. Of course, if you have a bit more time to play with, you could always stay in the area for a little while longer.
Day 6 and Beyond
If you have more than 5 days in Perth, consider these day trips north of the city:
- The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park: These otherworldly rock formations in the desert are fascinating to explore.
- Lancelin Sand Dunes: The tiny seaside village of Lancelin has some spectacular white sand dunes, which are best enjoyed by boarding, of course!
- New Norcia: Australia’s only monastic town, New Norcia really is in the middle of nowhere. But the buildings are stunning and you can stay the night in the monastery guest house, which is pretty special!
For even more day trips ideas, take a look at our guide to the best day trips from Perth.
All of these attractions are amazing, and the further north you get from Perth, the better Western Australia becomes. I would really recommend doing a Western Australia road trip – I traveled all the way up to Broome, through spectacular beaches and national parks, and then traversed the Gibb River Road all the way to the border with the Northern Territory. Western Australia is a truly magical place – and there’s so much to do and see.
So there you have it, an ideal itinerary for Perth, Australia! Now all that’s left is to book your tickets!