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Perth Travel Guide: What to know before you go

Where to stay, what to do and how to get around one of the most remote cities in the world.

With near-perpetual sunshine and some of the most amazing sunsets in Australia, a trip to Perth is a no-brainer really. You don't need to go far from the city to experience the beauty of the Western Australian landscape. Within hours you can find yourself on some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, riding massive sand dunes, having an unforgettable marine adventure or unwinding in one of the most well-regarded wine regions in the country.

Travel writer Bill Bryson might have called it "the most remote city on earth", but Perth and its surrounds are far from inaccessible. With departures daily from major Australian cities and the Indian Pacific rail service to take you from the other side of the country to this very spot, getting here is a cinch.

Despite being remote, the city itself is definitely not quaint. Boasting a population of 1.8 million people, it’s considered to be one of the fastest growing cities in Australia. The CBD is a mix of business and heritage buildings filled with a roaring nightlife and lauded restaurants, while its suburbs offer a relaxing respite of inviting beaches and sun-soaked parks.


Fast facts about Perth

Main airport: Perth Airport (PER).

Ground transport: Train, bus and ferry.

Weather: Perth experiences all four season. Its summers are hot and dry with maximum temperatures above 30℃ and its winters are mild with maximum temperatures of 18℃.

Top 10 must see destinations: Cottesloe Beach, Swan Valley, Kings Park, the WACA Ground, Perth Mint, Scitech, Rottnest Island, Penguin Island, Fremantle and Wave Rock.


Best places to stay in Perth

  • Perth CBD: Staying in the heart of the city gives you the best access to Perth’s major attractions. These include The Bell Tower, Government House, Kings Park, Crown Perth, Perth Arena and the Western Australian Museum.
  • Elizabeth Quay:This vibrant district in the Perth CBD is a new development project created to revitalise the area. It offers entertainment, open spaces, water views and nightlife.
  • Fremantle: Located south of Perth, Fremantle is a port city riddled with Victorian architecture and historical monuments such as Fremantle Prison and The Round House. Fremantle is the ideal base for maritime adventures including tall ship cruising, humpback whale watching and trips to the spectacular Rottnest Island.
  • Cottesloe Beach: Cottesloe is one of the most popular and accessible beaches in the city. It’s a 15-minute drive from the CBD but feels worlds away, boasting a vibrant village atmosphere along a 1.5 kilometre stretch of sand.

perthairportimage

  • Scarborough: Another beachside suburb, Scarborough is less frequented than Cottesloe and is ideal for those seeking a quieter resort getaway.
  • Swan Valley: For drinking connoisseurs, there’s no better locale than Swan Valley. On the fringe of the Perth metropolitan area, it’s a melting pot of wineries, breweries and distilleries amongst a landscape of historical buildings and native wildlife.

Check out what accommodation is like in these areas:


Top things to do in Perth

  • See Perth by skyGet a bird’s eye view of the city of Perth and the Swan River in the cockpit of your own private helicopter.
  • See Perth by sea: Busselton is home to an incredible underwater observatory. Descend eight metres below the surface to the to see the majesty of the marine life as it swims by in a flurry of colour.
  • Learn about Fremantle’s historic past Fremantle is steeped in the history of Australia’s convict past. It’s the birthplace of the "Freo" Swan River colony and is home to Fremantle Prison, one of the most notorious prisons of the British Empire.

topthingstodoinperthimage


 Best events to attend in the year:

  • Sculpture by the Sea: This annual arts exhibition travels between Cottesloe Beach in Perth and Bondi Beach in Sydney. In Cottesloe, artworks hug the coast from the sea wall to North Cottesloe. Cottesloe Beach, 3-19 March 2017
  • Perth International Arts Festival:  Featuring theatrical and musical works from local and international artists, as well as family events and workshops, Perth International Arts Festival is a celebration of culture and talent. Various locations, 10 February - 5 March 2017
  • Night Noodle Markets: Featuring mouthwatering dishes served from hawker stalls, the Night Noodle Markets is a popular sensory journey through the Asian continent. On top of delectable dishes, the festival features live music sets, lion dances and a lantern garden installation for that must-have Instagram pic. Elizabeth Quay, March - April 2017
  • Eat Drink Perth: Perth’s gastronomic food festival hosts over 90 events over six weeks. Expect everything from long-table degustations to yum cha picnics in the park. Various locations, March - April 2017
  • Fringe World: This the largest summer arts and cultural event on the Perth calendar. Held over 31 days, it’s a dynamic display of circus performances, theatrics, dance, music and amusement park rides. Various locations, 20 January - 19 February 2017
  • Perth Science Festival: Being the home of Scitech (from The Terminator, geddit?), Perth wouldn’t be complete without a jaw-dropping science festival. Over 50 interactive stalls will amuse and amaze both young and old. Perth Cultural Centre, August 2017

How much will a trip to Perth cost?

Accommodation

  • Budget: Hostel beds from AUD$16 per person/per night.
  • Moderate: Moderate hotels and serviced apartments from AUD$79 per room/per night.
  • Luxury: 4-5 star hotels and resorts from AUD$126 per room/per night.

 Typical meal

  • Main:  $20 for a roast and a pint at the local pub.
  • Beer:  $7.10 for a small bottle of Eagle Bay ESB.
  • Coffee: Average of $3.90 for a cappuccino in a cafe.

Getting around

  • Uber: Ubers are an inexpensive means of private transportation in Perth. A trip from the airport to Perth CBD in an UberX costs $27-$37.
  • Taxis from the airport: Approximately $43 to Perth CBD and more for locations such as Fremantle and Scarborough.
  • Local transport from the airport: Shuttles and public buses operate between Perth Airport and the city. Shuttles are $15 one way and drop you off at certain hotels and hostels in the city. The public bus costs $4.60 one way (the airport is in zone 2 of the transport system) and travels through the city to Elizabeth Quay.
  • Local transport throughout Perth: Perth is well connected with trains, buses and ferries and charges by zone. Most of Perth CBD is in zone 1 and a single ticket in this area costs $3. An electronic SmartRider travel card can be purchased, which automatically deducts your fare amount and is 15% cheaper than purchasing individual paper tickets.

Top Perth travel deals

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Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at finder.com.au. If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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