While Perth, the capital of Western Australia, is one of the most isolated cities in the world, it’s definitely worth adding to any Australian travel itinerary. It’s a beautiful, modern city, with great food, and a huge public park and botanical gardens. Plus, you can take a half hour drive from Perth to visit the charming port city of Fremantle.
What to do in Perth
You can’t visit Perth without making the trip over to Rottnest Island to hang out with the adorable Quokkas. Rottnest is one of the only places in the world where you can find Quokkas in the wild, and you will find them everywhere.
Book a ferry online here, and jump on at either Elizabeth Quays, in Perth City for an extended river cruise, or get on at Fremantle for a quicker boat trip. For an extra $30 you can hire bikes directly from the boat company and collect them as you disembark on the island. We were a bit unsure about whether to hire bikes, but they’re definitely the best way to get around and see more of the island – there are a number of different length routes, with a few minor hills.
Once you’re done cycling, two of the best beaches for a bit of relaxation are The Basin and Pinky Beach. Around that area are a lot of the Quokka, but you will spot them all over the island if you keep your eyes peeled.
Visiting Rottnest is definitely a full day trip. We caught the ferry that arrived at 10.30am and the 5pm ferry back, which was long enough to cycle around half the island at a leisurely pace, and then spend a couple of hours on the beach.
If you’re keen to encounter some of Australia’s native wildlife then a visit to Perth Zoo is well worthwhile. The Australian Bushwalk area is where you can find all the iconic Australian animals from kangaroos to koalas, as well as some emus, Tasmanian devils, wombats and dingos.
It’s best to visit early morning, or later in the afternoon, if you’re hoping to see them up and about, as they avoid the midday heat. It’s also worth checking out the talks, where zoo staff will share a bit more information about the resident animals.
20 Labouchere Rd, South Perth WA 6151, Australia
This huge inner city park is considerably bigger than Central Park, and home to the Western Australia Botanic Garden, as well as 400 hectares of protected bushland. Set aside a couple of hours and venture through the park, or take a picnic and enjoy it on one of the landscaped lawns with views of the river and Perth city.
For even better panoramic views of the city, walk along the Lotterywest Federation walkway, which cuts above the park.
Find out more about Kings Park here.
Fraser Avenue, Kings Park WA 6005
If you get the chance to venture out of Perth city, then head to Fremantle for a day or two. It’s a port city less than half an hour’s drive from the centre of Perth.
It’s known for its 19th century, colonial-style buildings, and is filled with striking street art, cute cafes, bars, micro breweries, and shops. The Fremantle Markets hold over a hundred stalls selling locally made crafts, souvenirs, and other unique finds, as well as a variety of food stalls.
You can also visit Fremantle prison, which was in use from the 1850s until 1991. And close by is Cottesloe Beach, with stunning white sands.
Where to eat in Perth on a budget
Eating out all the time while you’re travelling can add up, but these are some of the best places to head to in Perth for reasonably priced, delicious food.
Authentic Bites Dumpling House
If you’re after any kind of Chinese food in Perth, you have to go to Authentic Bites Dumpling House. You can’t reserve a table, and there is sometimes a line waiting outside, but be patient – it moves quickly and it’s so worthwhile.
With boiled, steamed, or pan fried dumplings, as well as rice dishes, noodles and sides – there’s so much choice it can be a little overwhelming. We tried the pork and prawn wontons in spice sauce, steamed vegetarian dumplings, plus beef rolls, and a fried chicken steak – and a side of Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce because you can’t forget about your greens. The wontons in particular were amazing, but it was all really filling and only about $20 per person for plenty of food.
Authentic Bites Dumpling House
3/145 Newcastle Street, Northbridge, Perth
Fremantle has so many great places for brunch, you can’t really go wrong. On the Saturday we were there we headed to Little Lefroys on South Terrace. They do excellent coffee, and the brunches were all incredible.
I had the quesadilla with black beans, feta, avocado salsa, cherry tomatoes and fried egg, which was perfect. The shakshuka and the green bowl also looked really fresh and delicious.
310 South Terrace, South Fremantle, WA 6162
Duck Duck Bruce
Another coffee and breakfast spot in the centre of Fremantle that’s definitely worth checking out is Duck Duck Bruce.
It’s in a really cute, old building on Collie Street with a creative, unique menu of fresh dishes – they serve breakfast until 11.30, then lunch is available from about midday until they close at 3pm.
Duck Duck Bruce
18 Collie Street, Fremantle WA 6160
The Mantle – food truck heaven
Food trucks are always a great shout when there’s a group of you and everyone can choose exactly what they want to eat. At The Mantle they have a whole load of local kitchen pop-up food trucks inside a historic warehouse space – you can pick and choose from curries, fish and chips, burgers, pizzas and lots more. Alternatively you can order from the resident Free Pizza Factory or Short Order Burger Co.
Catch the food trucks in action Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 6pm until late.
1 James Street (Corner Beach and James Street), Fremantle
After a bit of an extravagant desert in Perth? Look no further than Whisk Creamery (just around the corner from the Dumpling House). These have even made it on to Big Seven Travel’s most instagrammable desserts list.
You can either pick from one of their sweet creations such as the unicorn cone or a hazelnut sandwich (a cronut filled with gelato and topped with Nutella and whipped cream), or build your own picture-perfect dessert. They have a range of ice cream flavours including Italian hazelnut, salted caramel, uji matca.
151 Rokeby Road, Subiaco WA 6008