Whilst most of Australia’s major cities are found on the famous East Coast, over on the other side of the giant country, Perth finds itself as one of the most isolated cities in the world! As the largest city in Western Australia, Perth is its own self-contained paradise on the West Coast and the gateway to the rest of the state.
Perth has a great mix of qualities that make it a great place to visit, luring holidaymakers from all over Australia and the world. Perth really does have something for everyone so whether you’re looking for an action-packed city stay or a relaxing getaway in nature, you’ll be sure to have a great weekend in Perth!
The city is packed with fun attractions and beautiful landscapes – add to that some great weather, multi-cultural influences, and world-class facilities and you have a recipe for a fantastic weekend break in Perth!
If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Perth, we’ve come up with some great information to help you to get the most out of your trip.
Insider Tips for an AMAZING Weekend in Perth
We’ve put together some of the best tips to ensure you maximize your weekend trip to Perth.
Perth has a relatively small city center compared to its bigger outer suburbs. However, for ease of travel and efficiency of time, we recommend staying in a central Perth for maximum convenience.
Perth’s Central Business District can feel a bit sterile because of all the businesses located there, but there are some really nice hotels and apartments around. However,yYou won’t find too many budget options as this area does tend to cater for a more upmarket lifestyle.
A good option for a central stay is the neighborhood of Northbridge. This multicultural suburb is loaded with backpackers and is the best value-for-money accommodation in Perth! The best part is it’s just a short walk away from the CBD.
Here are three options we recommend for a great weekend stay in Perth.
Our Favorite Hostel – Spinner’s Backpackers
- Within walking distance from the city center.
- Accepts short and long-term stays.
This recently renovated backpacker hostel is one of the best in Perth. It has a good atmosphere, and each bed is supplied with plugs and lockers in the dorms.
Our Favorite Airbnb – Studio apartment in the heart of the CBD!
- You won’t waste a second of your stay in Perth commuting into the city, because you’ll be staying right in the heart of it.
- This spacious modern studio has all the conveniences you’ll need
- You’ll be able to walk to both beach and bars with ease from your doorstep. It’s considered one of the best Airbnbs in Perth as well.
Our Favorite Budget Hotel – The Great Southern Hotel
- Clean rooms away from the road noises.
- Parking is available for a reasonable fee compared to usual city parking fares.
Located a mere 10-minute walk away from Northbridge, the Great Southern Hotel has all the amenities for a great budget stay. Enjoy some in-house meals or a delicious pint at the bar.
Our Favorite Splurge Hotel – The Westin Perth
- Get a workout in the fitness center or outdoor pool
- Dine in style at the chic restaurant or cafe in the heritage-listed Hibernian Hall
The Westin Perth has all the features of a world-class hotel… great location, excellent service and luxurious facilities. From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel like a VIP.
Know How to Get Around in Perth
Getting around Perth is fairly easy if you know how. Public transport in Perth is well-established mixing of trains, buses and ferries. Add to that taxis, e-hailing, bike routes and walking paths and you’re spoilt for choice with great, safe ways to get around.
From the city center, you’ll easily find buses that stop near the major tourist attractions. There are also free Perth CAT buses that service the inner city so hop-on one of these at no expense. The bus network branches out into the suburbs too, making it a convenient and cost-effective mode of transport in and around the city.
The train is a good option to take when you want to get into the city from the surrounding suburbs. You are allowed to take bicycles on the train outside of peak hours, which is really great if you want to combine getting around Perth by cycling and the train! What’s better is that the trains servicing the inner city, and Fremantle are also free!
To get up and down, or across the Swan River, there are loads of ferries to help you out. They are fairly inexpensive, and a good way to view the city from a different perspective! There are also daily Rottnest Express ferries available to take holidaymakers to Rottnest Island from central Perth.
Taxis are also available all over the city and can be hailed from the side of the road or ordered from your phone. These are a little more pricey than other forms of transport but are a great alternative, especially for a night on the town or after having a few drinks!
Perth may be an isolated city, but it has an impressive nightlife inspired by British and American cities. The different hotspots of nightlife have their own unique feel and flavor as you hop from one suburb to another. Head out in one of these three areas and you’re sure to experience a proper party as part of your Perth itinerary!
- The highest concentration of nightclubs in Perth
- Find restaurants inspired by a diverse range of international origins
- The place to head out to if you’re looking to party all night long
The district of Northbridge is a multicultural area and the center of the Perth clubbing scene. Among the dozens of disco-theques, pubs and bars are a whole host of restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world! Northbridge after dark is always lively and a party atmosphere can be found throughout the week, although the best nights are Thursday to Sunday.
- A good place to go out for a few drinks and a delicious meal
- Fills up on the weekend, especially when there is a game of Auzzie Rules Football on at the local stadium
- Expect a slightly classier crowd, pricey drinks and many elegant venues
Located behind the grand gardens of Kings Park and to the west of the Perth Central Business District, Subiaco is not only home to Domain Stadium, but also an array of classy and cozy bars. Known as Subi to the locals, this area is where you should head to for a cool beer after a picnic at the park or a footy game.
- Head to Ocean Beach Hotel for an authentically local night out
- Spend the day on the beach, then head to one of the bars to keep the good vibes going
- Cap off your weekend with a few cocktails and dancing until late!
Cottesloe has a small but vibrant nightlife that seems to have been born out of beachgoers not wanting to venture too far after a day’s sun-soaking on the beach. Sunday evenings in Cottesloe, and at the Ocean Beach Hotel, in particular, have become an institution in Perth, where the beach party carries on indoors.
Perth is home to various cultures and culinary influences. Although the fast-food scene is mostly American-influenced, there are loads of amazing restaurants offering dishes inspired from various parts of the world. Fresh produce markets are also very popular in Perth, we’ve picked our favorite three options to help you pick where to eat.
Scarborough Sunset Markets
- Summer markets take place from on Thursday evenings from November – April
- Winter markets happen on Saturday evenings from August – May
- Enjoy sunsets in style as you dine on delicious food next to the blue ocean waters
The Scarborough Sunset Markets provide a great atmosphere through both summer and winter. Come and explore over 40 stalls full of amazing food and crafts, from amazing Greek doughnuts and warm Moroccan soups to homemade fudge and handcrafted jewelry. Warm up by the fire and roast some marshmallows while you watch the sun go down to the sounds of local DJs.
Perth City Farm – Farmer’s Market
- The market can be hard to find as it is tucked away behind a large parking lot in Royal Street, East Perth
- Stock up on some organic or ethically grown fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Try out the next door cafe for a delicious breakfast, coffee or decadent cakes.
The Perth City Farm – Farmer’s Market is a popular market offering organic, biodynamic, ethical and sustainable produce. None of the fruit and veg, dairy products, unrefined honey or meats are treated with chemical sprays. Along with the fresh produce and health foods, you’ll also find organic clothing and body products.
Take a Food Tour of the Swan Valley
- Taste the goodness of the Swan Valley on a food tour from Perth
- Choose between a ‘sweet’ morning, or ‘savory’ afternoon tour
- The food will be paired with some delicious wine made right there in the Swan Valley!
Join a unique food tour through the beautiful Swan Valley. You’ll get the chance to visit 10 great locations and enjoy over 25 different tasting experiences! The morning tour offers a taste of sweet delicacies, wine and cider, while the afternoon tour dishes up some more savory cheeses, meats and olives to go with some wine and beer.
Perth has the perfect climate for getting out in the fresh air and doing something active! Whether you prefer taking part or just watching, there are always plenty of options on offer! Either watching a match or getting your sweat in are great additions for any Perth itinerary.
- Perth’s brand new multi-purpose stadium is home to the city’s most major sports teams.
- Get exclusive access to the pitch and changing rooms on a stadium tour
- Get some tickets for an AFL match and enjoy the electric atmosphere of a live game!
Optus Stadium is east of the city center just over the bridge, on the Burswood Peninsula. With views of the picturesque Swan River and Perth city in the west and the foothills in the east, this 60,000 seater stadium hosts a variety of sports and entertainment events. The spectacles staged here range from Australian Football League, cricket, soccer, rugby plus large-scale music concerts.
- Get active over the weekend by joining locals in running around a local park or street course
- This is a free activity, but you must register online before participating
- A great way to experience Perth and its beautiful surroundings
Park run is a series of short-distance (3-4 miles) runs held every Saturday morning at various locations around the city. Park run is open to everyone of all ages and fitness levels, is free to participate and is safe and easy to take part in. You can run, walk, push a pram or even take your dog. It’s a great way to meet others and get out and enjoy our beautiful parks.
- Get down to Perth’s favorite beach for some active fun in the sun!
- Grab a coffee at the iconic Indiana Teahouse
- Choose to get some cardio in, pump up your muscles or simply relax in the cooling waters
Take advantage of warm, sunny weather and head down to Cottesloe Beach to soak up the sun or cool off in the water. It’s not hard to see why this is Perth’s most popular beach. The main strip of beach is great for swimming in the sea or jogging on the sand. North Cottesloe is a good spot for snorkeling, and South Cottesloe has good waves for surfing!
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
Despite its geographical isolation, Perth gets its fair share of live performances that are not to be missed. Here are three venues that we think you may enjoy while visiting the city.
The Rosemount Hotel
- A great venue in North Perth for quality pub dinners and lazy Sunday sessions.
- Features live music most nights of the week.
- North Perth’s premier medium-sized live music venue
The Rosemount Hotel is an award-winning live music venue in Perth and hosts local, national and international bands most nights of the week. Some of Perth’s most notable bands have played here, and it provides a great atmosphere! It also has a large outdoor courtyard and beer garden for acoustic gigs and DJ sets.
- A historical live performance venue in North Perth that hosts performances of various genres
- For a full line-up of their upcoming acts, check out their events page.
- Easy to get to via public transport
The Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley, after opening in 1919, has a long history of use as a live performance venue. It has previously been used for dancing, orchestra performances, karate fights, silent movies, adult and Italian films and as a bingo hall. Today the majestic art deco venue hosts a variety of shows and some of the best musicals in Perth!
Fremantle Arts Centre
- Has 3 great live performance and exhibition areas – the large south lawn area, the front garden and the inner courtyard.
- This splendid example of Australian Gothic architecture first opened its doors in 1864.
- A hub for the creative arts and live performances in Perth!
The beautiful Fremantle Arts Centre is a heritage building that was previously a mental asylum in the 1800s. Around the building are three epic outdoor live music venues! One of the best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in summer is at the free annual summer concert series in the front garden.
10 Other Awesome Things to do in Perth This Weekend
So you’re still looking for more fun things to do in Perth today? Here are 10 activities that will give you a great idea of what’s on in Perth all year round!
#1 – Take a Leisurely Walk Through Kings Park
Perth’s iconic Kings Park is the largest inner-city park in the world, roughly 20% larger than New York’s Central Park! It is a verdant oasis in the heart of Perth, offering postcard-perfect views of the city center and the Swan River.
The park is home to 300-plus native West Australian plants, dozens of bird species and miles of manicured gardens and untamed bushland to explore. Take a walk, cycle or run through the park and you’ll feel a million miles away from the city below! For great views, head up the DNA Tower to above the tree canopy.
#2 – Visit Fremantle Prison
Fremantle Prison was built by convicts in the 1950s, and used as a place of incarceration for 136 years! It housed some of Britain’s meanest convicts, then Western Australia’s toughest criminals before being decommissioned in 1991. The empty prison with its solitary cells and gallows is a monument to a system of punishment that is uncomfortably recent.
Perth’s only UNESCO World Heritage-listed building now hosts public tours, including a popular ghost tour. There is also a chance to spend the night in a cell at the backpackers’ hostel that occupies the former women’s wing.
#3 – Catch a Ferry to Rottnest Island
While Perth is not exactly an island paradise, there is an inhabitable island just a short ferry ride away! Rottnest Island only has 100-odd permanent residents but the population swells to 15,000 during the summer holidays. Holidaymakers flock to its shores for the gorgeous beaches, miles of cycling paths, pristine bushland and historic buildings.
‘Rotto’ is also home to the photogenic marsupial on earth – the quokka. While there are no cars on the island, there are buses to get you swiftly around the island, so that you can do some fishing, snorkeling or swimming at a favorite spot!
#4 – Head to a Cafe in Northern Suburbs, Perth
Australians take their coffee very seriously! If you do too, then you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of quality coffee shops in Perth to choose from and get your favorite caffeine-fuelled drink.
Little Sisto in Doubleview is an absolute gem and has a single origin to knock your socks off! For some beautiful latte art, be sure to stop by Regular Coffee Co in Carine. Stop off at Canteen in Trigg for a great coffee and breakfast in North Suburbs, Perth. Backacking Perth requires energy, so fill your cup and drink up!
#5 – The Bell Tower
The modern glass campanile of the Bell Tower is an iconic feature of the Perth city skyline. You cannot miss this 270-foot tall tower rising above the Elizabeth Quay precinct!
The structure houses the Swan Bells, comprising 18 bells sourced from historic churches in London that form one of the largest musical instruments in the world!
The Bell Tower is surrounded by ceramic tiles designed by school kids around Perth, and contains an observation deck that offers amazing panoramic views over the Swan River and the city!
#6 – Take the Children to SCITECH
If you want to have a fun weekend in Perth with your kids, take them to Scitech. Located in West Perth, Scitech is an interactive science and technology museum that will keep you entertained for hours!
Scitech hosts a number of fantastic exhibitions that cover a range of fascinating topics, from science and technology to engineering and mathematics. There are several areas to explore for all ages, including a science lab, planetarium and puppet theatre.
The museum is a hit with locals taking their kids on weekends or during the Perth school holidays. So for a quieter experience, it’ll be best to visit during the week!
#7 – Discover Local Marine Life at the Aquarium of Western Australia
The state of Western Australia has over 12,000 miles of coastline and boasts an impressive diversity of marine wildlife. It’s impossible to see even a tenth of the state’s marine diversity while diving or snorkeling, but thankfully, at the Aquarium of Western Australia, you have a chance to discover some exciting creatures!
The AQWA was Australia’s largest aquarium when it was opened in 1988. The pride and joy of the aquarium is an 800,000-gallon exhibit containing a 300-foot tunnel giving visitors an intimate view of the resident grey nurse sharks, stingrays and loggerhead turtles!
#8 – Get a Dose of Adrenaline at Adventure World
If you are traveling with family or friends, make sure you spend a day at Adventure World! Perth’s only amusement park is set in beautifully landscaped botanical gardens and lawns with over 25 rides and attractions to enjoy.
A few of the adrenaline-pumping thrill rides include a giant pendulum swing, an exhilarating roller-coaster ride, and the world longest, tallest and steepest funnel water slide! There is also a popular Hawaiian resort-themed water ride, an Aussie wildlife experience and even a mini safari.
Located 25 minutes South of Perth by car, the park is easily accessible via public transport, and a fun stop on a weekend itinerary in Perth.
#9 – Take a Cruise Down the Swan River
What better way to enjoy Perth’s good weather than a leisurely boat cruise on the Swan River? You’ll find a whole host of cruises departing from Barrack Street Jetty daily, and you won’t have to wait long if you’re in a hurry.
River cruises are a fabulous way to see the sights of a city, some of which we’ve already mentioned higher up. Swan River cruises typically head down to Fremantle, where you are afforded some free time to explore before returning to the city.
Some cruises include a complimentary lunch, tasting of wine or even a visit to a winery!
#10 – Go Wine Tasting in the Swan Valley
The Swan Valley is a fantastic wine region on the outskirts of Perth, perfect for a short road trip with friends. The wine culture in this area has grown and evolved with the help of migrants from Europe that moved over after the World Wars.
Surprisingly, it was Croatian farmers that were mainly responsible for the transformation of the Valley into lands suitable for vineyards! Later, the arrival of immigrants from more traditional European wine regions brought wine-making skills and helped the wine culture to flourish in Swan Valley.
Most of the wineries are family-owned and offer a delicious array of wine varietals! Book your Perth wine tour here.
Don’t forget to pack a good book! Fodor’s Essential Australia (Full-color Travel Guide) is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.
Even a weekend trip requires some research to get the most out of your visit. To keep that time to a minimum for you, we’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about a weekend getaway to Perth.
#1. What should I pack for a weekend in Perth?
In addition to the essentials, here are a few things we recommend you pack before embarking on your weekend to Perth.
- Perth has loads of riverside and bushwalking paths so make sure to pack some comfortable walking shoes! Many of Perth’s fancier restaurants and bars may require formal shoes.
- The ozone layer above Australia is particularly thin, so make sure you pack a medium to high SPF sunscreen to keep the sun’s powerful rays at bay while you enjoy your time outside. Even in winter, the sun’s UV rays can reach a 3 or higher, which is right at the marker for when you should apply sunscreen!
- Pack a reusable water bottle to keep hydrated if you plan on walking around a lot. There are many water fountains dotted around where you can fill up, so there is little need to buy bottled water. Not only will you be saving money but saving the environment too!
#2. Can I get an apartment in Perth for the weekend?
Most definitely! Airbnb is the perfect option for booking your accommodation in Perth. You can filter whatever amenities you prefer (kitchen, parking on site, TV, etc) and enjoy all the luxuries of having your own place for the weekend.
This is a great money saving option for larger groups, as you can find larger accommodation, and split the cost without having to pay for separate hotel rooms!
Staying in an Airbnb also comes with the added bonus of being able to stay with a local. There are plenty of friendly hosts who are willing to provide visitors with insider tips and insight on how to make the most of a two-day stay in Perth.
Booking.com also has apartment listings on their website to choose from, often in premier locations. A perk to this is you go through a company for booking accommodation and not a private individual.
#3. Is Perth safe for a weekend trip?
Perth is a very safe city, but you should always take precautions for your personal safety. Walking around the city center is safe, even at night, but you will have to be a little more cautious when spending the evening in Northbridge.
Taking the train is a safe exercise, except there are a couple of lines that we recommend avoiding when traveling alone at night. These are the Rocklands, Victoria Park, and Kwinana lines.
Animals often cross the roads in the suburbs late at night, so be vigilant when driving a hired car at night. Whatever you do, do not swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting an animal! It is better to drive slowly on roads that are unfamiliar.
Take precautions when visiting one of the many beaches in Perth, as the tides can be very unpredictable. Big waves can cause serious injury and rip tides can sweep you out to sea!
And have you thought about getting Travel Insurance for your trip? We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Final Thoughts on a Great Weekend in Perth
Now that you have all the information, all that is left is to pick the weekend that suits you and enjoy an incredible weekend getaway to Perth!
The city has a vibrant atmosphere, friendly locals, delicious food and lots of natural surroundings to take your breath away! From Two Rocks to Malaga, Mandurah to Perth Hills, you’ll find something quaint and unique about Perth.
If you prefer mild temperatures then we suggest visiting in the cooler months between May and September. Winter (June – August) can get wet, but on the whole is a really nice time to visit, with fewer tourists around.
Be sure to take in all the culture and creativity, cuisines and coastlines that Perth has to offer when spending a few days in this West Coast paradise!
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