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Perth may seem to play second fiddle to Sydney and Melbourne, but its allure is manifold. A flat, easy-to-navigate city with a cluster of skyscrapers and the great leafy Kings Park at its core, Perth is a city that’s easy on the eye.

Its nucleus, Elizabeth Quay, bursts with a mishmash of confident contemporary architecture (including its showy suspension bridge and the futuristic Bell Tower) and a few bastions of bygone days, such as the 19th-century Treasury Building and the fin-de-siècle Perth Mint. The quay overlooks the Swan River, the broad waterway that hugs central Perth.

Inland from the quay run laneways and broad streets crammed with youthful bars, fine-dining restaurants, craft breweries, galleries, performance venues, and cafés.

Kings Park and its accompanying botanic garden were once sacred ground for the local Aboriginal people, the Noongar. The park’s highest point, Mount Eliza, offers views over the cityscape and river to the ocean. Aside from the generous grassy lawns that are perennially dotted with picnickers, the park has a rotunda, children’s area, and rooftop bridge that leads you on a walk through a canopy of gum trees.

Even the air in Perth is refreshingly clean, thanks to the affectionately named ‘Fremantle Doctor’, a southwesterly that breezes in from the Indian Ocean. And, although the city may seem strung out on its own (it’s actually closer to Singapore than Sydney), Perth’s immediate surroundings have a lot to offer.

The vineyards of the Swan Valley begin only a short drive from the city’s CBD (central business district), the vines braiding the gentle hills of the Darling Scarp. In-between wineries, you’ll come across art galleries and boutique restaurants.

Cottesloe Beach, PerthMeanwhile, the pine-lined beaches of Cottesloe are a short train ride away, or you can choose to visit the sands of Scarborough, popular with the local surfing crowd. A little farther afield is Mosman Beach, where kitesurfers sometimes like to show off their skills, and the compact, even sand is ideal for runners.

A half-hour train ride south from the CBD brings you to Fremantle, a salt-of-the-earth port that’s home to a once-notorious prison. Nowadays, the city is better known for its artisan food and drink scene, from seafood shacks to microbreweries and pop-up coffee shops.

From downtown Perth you can take a 40-minute ferry journey to Rottnest Island, a nature reserve where cars are banished and quokkas — a native (and extremely curious) marsupial — abound. The island’s topography of sand dunes, saline lakes and pine woods is best explored by bicycle. You can dismount at out-of-the-way bays, peer into the limpid water, and see marine life such as sea lions and stingrays.

Best time to visit Perth

Perth enjoys a year-round temperate climate, but the heat can soar during its summer months (December to February). It’s more comfortable to visit in the spring (September to November), when it’s cooler and, as an added bonus, the many native wildflowers are in full bloom.

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Audley Travel specialist Barbara

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Perth by contacting one of our Australia specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Perth

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Perth, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Perth

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Perth

    Our expert guides to exploring Perth

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Perth, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Perth at its best.

    • Classic railway journeys in Australia: The Ghan vs the Indian Pacific
      The Ghan, Darwin

      Classic railway journeys in Australia: The Ghan vs the Indian Pacific

      Classic railway journeys in Australia: The Ghan vs the Indian Pacific

      Australia by train? Yes: the country hosts two of the world’s greatest routes, The Ghan and the Indian Pacific. But, what are the differences between them? Our specialists explain. Either way, expect Outback scenery and great on-board dining and hospitality.

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    • Southwest Australia
      Yallingup Beach, The Margaret River region

      Southwest Australia

      Southwest Australia

      Perth with its skyscrapers that overlook quiet colonial suburbs on the banks of the Swan River is the largest city in this vast region. Out of the city, you can whale watch, hike in national parks, visit the wineries and have deserted beaches to yourself.

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    • Wildlife holidays in Australia
      Cassowary in the Daintree rainforest

      Wildlife holidays in Australia

      Wildlife holidays in Australia

      Australia is well-known for its kangaroos and koalas, but delve a little deeper and you'll find a whole host of unusual and eye-catching wildlife. We'll advise you about the best ways of spotting the wildlife you don't want to miss on your holiday in Australia.

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    Accommodation choices for Perth

    We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Perth. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Perth

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Perth, and which use the best local guides.

    • Rockingham Dolphin Watch Cruise
      Bottlenose dolphins

      Rockingham Dolphin Watch Cruise

      Rockingham Dolphin Watch Cruise

      Discover the natural treasures of the Rockingham dolphins in the shallow bays of the sparkling Indian Ocean. Experienced staff will guide you on this magical journey to see these incredible creatures in their own environment.

      View details
    • The Indian Pacific
      Indian Pacific Train, Perth

      The Indian Pacific

      The Indian Pacific

      As the name implies, The Indian Pacific links two oceans in one of the world’s longest and greatest train journeys. Travelling from Sydney to Perth, or vice versa, it covers a distance of 2,720 miles over three nights.

      View details