Perth Tourist Attractions
Top Tourist Attractions in Perth
Capital of Western AustraliaPerhaps none of the other Australian capitals has changed so much in recent decades as Perth, capital of Western Australia.
With a population of 1.5 million, it is now the fourth largest city in Australia, coming after Brisbane and just ahead of Adelaide. Bounded on the west by the Indian Ocean and on the east by the foothills of the Darling Range, the Perth conurbation, with an area at present of over 5400 sq.km, is steadily expanding farther north and south. Its unique situation on the water is no doubt one reason why outdoor activities play such an important part in the city's way of life and why one in four households has either a sailing boat or a motorboat.Fremantle DoctorThe heat of summer is mitigated by the Fremantle doctor, a wind which blows in from the sea regularly every afternoon. With the constant movement of air, fog and smog are unknown in Perth.TransportPerth has excellent communications by air, rail, road and water and is easily reached from any part of Australia.Perth's international airport lies 20km northeast of the city; the domestic terminal (flights within the state and interstate flights) is on the west side of the large site, only about 10km from the city.The Indian Pacific service to Sydney (three times a week) and the Trans Australian to Adelaide (twice a week) depart from the Railway Terminal in East Perth (1.5km from the city center). The popular tourist train to Kalgoorlie, the Prospector, and the Westrail overland buses also start from there.The Esplanade Bus Station is the terminus for all the suburban lines and the tourist train to Bunbury, the Australind.Transperth, the city transport authority, provides the local transport system with its railroads, buses and ferries. The two most important terminals are the City Railway Station together with the nearby City Bus Station, and the ferry wharf on Barrack Street.Within the Free Transit Zone in the city center travel on public transport is free, which has considerably reduced the use of private cars in the inner city. There are three bus routes in the Central Area Transit System, which makes it easier for tourists in particular to find their way around. The Blue CAT buses follow a north-south shuttle route from the Barrack Street ferry terminal to Northbridge, while the Red CAT buses are on an east-west axis from Outram Street to Horatio Street near the WACA cricket ground in East Perth. Detailed information (incl. timetables) can be obtained from Transperth offices (e.g. City Arcade in Hay Street Mall and Central Bus Station). Most sightseeing and excursion buses also start from the Central Bus Station.Transperth ferries sail from Barrack Street jetty to South Perth and the zoo, Rottnest Island and Fremantle.SportAmong the city's principal sports venues are the Ascot and Belmont racecourses on the south bank of the Swan River, to the east of the city center, the WACA cricket ground near the Causeway and Queens Park and the Australian Football Oval in the Subiaco district. There are golf courses in many parts of the city. The Western Australian Tennis Open is staged annually in Kings Park. The race for the Perth Cup is run on Ascot racecourse on New Year's Day. There are numerous sailing clubs in inlets on the Swan River and the coast of the Indian Ocean.EntertainmentsPerth offers a wide choice of theaters, concert halls and other places of entertainment, in particular the Perth Concert Hall at the east end of St George's Terrace (1900 seats), His Majesty's Theatre at the corner of King and Hay Streets with its late 19th C splendor and the Playhouse Theatre at the corner of Hay and Pier Streets. The center of the city's night life is the Northbridge district, in which - in addition to the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Western Australian Museum and the State Library - there are many restaurants, night spots and discos.AccommodationIn spite of its isolation from the rest of Australia Perth, thanks to its economic boom, has numerous luxury hotels: indeed it claims to have more top-class hotels than Sydney. In the city center the leading establishments are the Hyatt Regency and the Sheraton, both in Adelaide Terrace; and the Burs wood Resort Hotel. Among the more reasonably priced hotels in the city center is Miss Maud Swedish, which has the advantage of a central situation (and a generous buffet breakfast).InformationThe best listings of events, entertainments and restaurants are in the Entertainment pages of the Western Australian, the Perth newspaper with the largest circulation. Also useful is the free brochure This Week in Perth and Fremantle. For information of all kinds there is the Perth tourist bureau.
Like most Australian cities, Perth is well endowed with parks and gardens. The largest of these, immediately west of the city center, is Kings Park, one of Australia's most beautiful parks. Laid out in 1872 and finely situated on a hill above the broad river and the city, it has an area of 404 ha, consisting partly of natural bush country, with a brilliant display of wild flowers in spring, and partly of a botanic garden containing more than 1200 species of Western Australian plants.There are particularly fine views of the city from the War Memorial and the Pioneer Women's Memorial.On the parking lot on the city side of Mount Eliza a Visitor Centre provides detailed information about Kings Park.
Address: Kings Park, Fraser Avenue, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia
Opening hours: 9:30am-4pm
Useful tips: Hours listed for Visitor Centre.
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Mount Eliza is well equipped with roads, cycle tracks and footpaths, ponds, play areas and viewpoints. At the foot of Mount Eliza the city traffic can be seen filtering into the freeway.
Kennedy's Fountain was constructed in the time of Governor Kennedy. It is fed by a spring which was an important source of water in the early days of the colony.
The Old Observatory is a Victorian building, and is now the headquarters of the National Trust, the authority responsible for the protection of national monuments. The astronomical equipment has been removed.
In Perth water sports, swimming and surfing are not merely holiday activities but part of everyday life. The beaches on the Indian Ocean, in particular Cottesloe, Swanbourne (nude bathing beach), Port, City, Scarborough and Trigg Island beaches, and the sheltered inlets on the winding Swan River (Crawley, Nedlands, Peppermint Grove, Mosman Bay, Como, Canning Bridge, Applecross, Point Walter) are all within easy reach. 20km northwest of the city center in Sorrento is Hillary's Boat Harbor, a large and well equipped marina with picnic facilities and a new attraction in the form of the Underwater World, with acrylic glass tunnels and moving walkways under the water where visitors can watch divers hand feeding sharks, and also swim alongside dolphins. Between September and November there are boat trips to observe whales off Rottnest Island.
Perth Zoo and Wildlife Parks
The zoo in South Perth can be reached by ferry from Barrack Street jetty. It houses a collection of native animals (koalas and kangaroos) which live in the wildlife park, as well as imported fauna. The fast-disappearing numbat is kept separately. An African Savannah has been created with a special ecosystem, and the zoo has also installed a Harmony Farm.There are wildlife parks at Caversham (19km northeast of city center), Gosnells (Cohunu Wildlife Park, 20km southeast) and Two Rocks, in Atlantis Marine Park, near Yanchep National Park (60km north).
Address: 20 Labouchere Road, Perth, WA 6151, Australia
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Always opened on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in AUD: Family $50.00, Adult $19.00, Concession or reduced rate $16.00, Senior $15.00, Child 15 & under $9.50, Child 3 & under FREE
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Facilities: Gift shop
Old Mill Reserve
The old flour mill on the Old Mill Reserve goes back to the earliest days of the settlement. This picturesque old windmill was built in 1835 by a miller named Shenton, but it was too far from the wheat fields and had to close down in 1859. A plan to demolish it to make way for road development aroused so much opposition from the people of Perth that this relic of pioneering days was preserved and now houses a museum.
Perth International Arts Festival
The Perth Festival, which lasts three weeks in February/March, has a full program of music, drama and other events.
More Perth Pictures
Map of Perth Attractions