Perhaps Australia's most underrated capital, Perth boasts a vibrant, modern atmosphere, pleasant weather and some outstanding natural surrounds - it's a great all-round city for visitors from interstate and abroad and visitors will find there are plenty of things to do in Perth.
With an idyllic location that puts it in a position to garner the best aspects of coastal living and scenery combined with a neighbouring wine region and some incredible geographical formations nearby, Perth is something of an unsung hero of Australian sightseeing with numerous opportunities for unforgettable Western Australian day trips on offer as well.
The most isolated capital city in the world, Perth is full of great things to do both in, around and outside the city. It's full of quality parkland and bordering Aussie bush that adds a layer of greenery that other capital cities lack. From distinct wildlife offerings, stunning neighbouring islands and a thriving dining culture, Perth has something to offer all ages and interests.
We take a detailed look at the Top 10 Things to do in Perth below.
Location: Mandurah Jetty, 73 Mandurah Terrace, Mandurah
One of the most peaceful ways to explore Perth’s west coast is with a scenic dolphin sightseeing cruise or swim off the WA coastline with Mandurah Cruises and Rockingham Wild Encounters.
The picturesque coastline boasts some of the most beautiful and healthiest beaches and waterways in the country which naturally attract an abundance of marine life.
Mandurah Cruises offer scenic sightseeing cruises which double as a wildlife cruise with informative commentary as you journey past luxurious waterfront homes and historic sites.
Within minutes of heading out on the water you will encounter pods of dolphins darting enthusiastically in and out of the water swimming alongside the boat.
"Within minutes of heading out on the water you will encounter pods of dolphins darting enthusiastically in and out of the water swimming alongside the boat."
It is estimated that there are up to 100 bottlenose dolphins living in the coastal waters off Mandurah so while sightings are not guaranteed; your chances of seeing dolphins are extremely high.
The cruise will also travel past the internationally recognised wetlands which are home to several different bird species including Pelicans, Osprey and rare North Asian Migratory birds during October to March.
Passengers can choose between a 1 hour or 1.5 hour cruise and if you feel peckish there is an on board bar for lunch and refreshment purchases.
Rockingham Cruises offer swimmers the unbelievable opportunity to actually get in the water and swim with the dolphins in the sheltered waters of Rockingham once they have been sighted.
These gentle and curious creatures are just as fascinated by humans as we are of them and will hang around to check you and the boat out.
Rockingham Wild Encounters offer longer 3 to 6 hour wild dolphin cruises with all snorkelling equipment, wetsuits and a light lunch included in your unique wildlife encounter.
Scenic dolphin cruises and dolphin swimming adventures are an incredible activity that are suitable for all ages to relax and take in the sights and view dolphins interacting in their natural habitat.
Make your visit to Perth an unforgettable one with these once in a lifetime Dolphin Swims and cruises. This is our top thing to do in Perth because this is an activity that you will be talking about for a very long time.
Location: 18km off Western Australian coast, WA
Western Australia is a massive state that's home to some of the country's most beautiful spots, but there are few that can compare with the raw blend of striking colours, impressive lookout points and hidden golden coves of the amazing Rottnest Island.
With pristine sands and vibrant waters reminiscent of the Whitsundays, combined with truly unique wildlife on both land and sea all within easy reach of Perth.
Residents of WA's capital are truly spoiled having such an idyllic spot just a short distance from their city – it sits just 19km off the coast of WA.
The island offers a cavalcade of things to see and do, and the mere act of exploration of its approximately 11km-long expanse by boat, bike or foot is an adventure unto itself.
Known as 'Rotto' by locals, the lure of Rottnest Island all starts with the quality of the surrounding water. It's not only pretty to look at but generally both calm and quite warm in all but the coldest months of the year due to warm water currents, which in turn leads to ideal conditions for marine life and coral to make the island their home.
This results in some great off-shore snorkelling opportunities with more than 135 species of tropical fish as well as the likes of Green Turtles found within mere metres of the shore.
"This results in some great off-shore snorkelling opportunities with more than 135 species of tropical fish as well as the likes of Green Turtles found within mere metres of the shore."
Meanwhile on the island's more rough and rocky side, Fur Seals can be seen lazing in the sunshine and dipping in and out of the water while Humpback Whales can also be spotted during their annual migratory season from September and November.
It's a wonderful display of marine life that extends onto the shore as well, with what is probably Rottnest Island's signature calling card, the Quokka. A small, furry and photogenic marsupial, the quokka is extremely rare and has managed to survive over the years due to a lack of major predators on the island.
Outside of wildlife, the island boasts an array of other activities and ways to pass the time. Cycling on Rottnest Island makes for a popular and reasonably priced way for getting around (bikes are available for hire on the island).
Those looking for some quality walking tracks will be spoiled as the island's extensive 50km Wadjemup Walk Trail walking track spans a wonderful, scenic path through some of the island's key points including natural and historical attractions.
Boardwalks on the west end of the island, a track overlooking Henrietta Rocks and its shipwreck, and panoramic views from Vlamingh Lookout are all-must do's for visitors who don't mind investing energy in a walk, and all have significant payoffs.
Other, family-oriented facilities such as a fun park, mini-golf and aqua park combine with the wildlife to make Rottnest Island a day out that's great for families as well, so you'll never be short of things to see on your visit.
Getting to Rottnest Island is doable with two quality companies in both Rottnest Express (departing Fremantle and Perth) and Rottnest Fast Ferries (from Hillary's Boat Harbour).
Both operators offer standalone transfers to the island as well as bundled tour packages which include the likes of bike hire, on-island accommodation, snorkel gear, guided bus tours or wildlife cruises, meaning you'll be able to make your trip to Rottnest as comprehensive – or budget-conscious – as you wish.
The trip takes approximately 1.5 hours when departing from Perth (the ferry has to cruise slowly down the Swan River before heading into open water) and 25 minutes from Fremantle (available only with Rottnest Express).
One of Australia's most scenic and thoroughly enjoyable spots that are not ridiculously expensive to enjoy, Rottnest Island is an absolute must on any Perth travel itinerary.
Location: Wellington St, Perth, WA
Scenery and wildlife aren't the only calling cards of the Perth region, food, dining and quality culinary experiences also play a large role in the city's overall identity. This is perhaps best exemplified by the region's verdant Swan Valley.
Dubbed the 'Valley of Taste', the Swan Valley is fueled by the waters of the Swan River, serves as one of the key locales for fresh produce in Western Australia and is a haven for foodies and wine aficionados alike.
The region is famed for the quality of more generic offerings such as its cheeses, wines, fresh fruits and more as well as more specific products like spreads, chutneys, scones, olive oil, honey and craft beers, making a trip here a true delight for the taste buds.
As a result, it's home to a range of food and beverage based attractions that run the gamut of all-things-culinary.
Here you'll find award-winning wineries, breweries, bakeries and more abound, with over 150 individual spots ranging from small boutiques to renowned national brands on offer.
Couple this with the fact that the region provides a pleasant dose of green scenery, with rolling hills and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see, and it's a destination that's almost as much a feast for the eyes as it is the palate.
"The region is famed for the quality of more generic offerings such as its cheeses, wines, fresh fruits and more as well as more specific products like spreads, chutneys, scones, olive oil, honey and craft beers, making a trip here a true delight for the taste buds."
If you're looking to relax and indulge while in Perth, the Swan Valley should be near the top of your list.
While it's possible to do a self-driving tour of the Swan given its relatively close proximity to Perth city – roughly a 25-minute drive from the CBD – the fact that you'll likely want to sample multiple wines or beers during your visit makes a tour a highly recommended option.
It's here that local Perth operator, Swan Valley Tours, come in. Offering a range of great coach tours and cruises to local wineries with tastings and lunch. These tours aim to provide visitors with a good sampling of the region and have been fine-tuned down to a tee so that everything is perfectly organised.
The tour hosts have great relationships with the businesses visited along the way, and with a cheerful overall atmosphere, very solid value for money, and both morning and afternoon departure times available, there's no better way tour the Swan Valley without having to monitor your alcohol intake than this.
Location: Shop 3, 14-16 Kent St, Rockingham, Perth, WA
Skydiving is another one of those unbelievable once in a lifetime activities that many people talk about but never actually get around to do.
If you have ever thought about going skydiving then Perth is one of the most beautiful locations in Australia to take a leap of faith.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and conquer those fears of heights or chase the ultimate adrenaline rush with an exhilarating skydive experience.
Skydives are conducted 45 minutes away from Perth, in Rockingham, and a few very brave skydivers will be treated to views of Shoalwater Islands Marine Park on your brief flight back down to earth.
This is one activity that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping with a 60 second free fall out of the airplane once you take the leap with your experienced skydive instructor.
"Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and conquer those fears of heights or chase the ultimate adrenaline rush with this exhilarating skydive experience."
Experience eye watering speeds up to 200 km/hr as you take an extreme flight over the waters of WA.
Before you know it, your tandem skydive instructor will release the parachute at a safe altitude and you can relax and take in the views on a more slower paced flight to the drop zone.
Skydivers will enjoy a pleasant five to seven minute flight floating in the sky under the canopy before landing at Rockingham Naval Memorial Park beside the beach.
Unbelievable ocean views of Penguin Island, Garden Island, Rottnest Island and bragging rights await those who dare to book in a skydive in Perth.
This is the closest beach skydive to Perth CBD and one of top 10 must do activities in Perth.
Location: Brighton Beach, Perth, WA
Surfing is one of the most popular water sports in the world and you can join in on the fun with a surf lesson run by Perth Go Surf.
Perth Go Surf operate group lessons for adults and children or one on one private lessons all aimed at beginners or those who may have begun their surfing journey but need some helpful pointers to master the basics.
Perfect your surfing skills and learn about surf safety and ocean awareness under the watchful eye of surf instructors who love nothing more than to share their hobby with new surfers.
The passion of the surf instructors shine through as they work hard to ensure that everyone has a good time and is up on their feet on their very first lesson.
"The passion of the surf instructors shine through as they work hard to ensure that everyone has a good time and is up on their feet on their very first lesson."
The only thing you need to bring along for a surf lesson is swimwear, a towel and an ability to laugh at yourself because nobody magically catches a wave on the first attempt.
After a surfing lesson with the pro’s you can take your newfound skill on any beach holiday around the world and perhaps turn it into your new favourite hobby.
Surfing lessons typically last for 90 minutes and cater for all ages and abilities in small group sizes.
Group surf lessons are available at 7.30am, 9.30am and alternatively private lessons can be booked in for mid morning or afternoon from Brighton Beach or Leighton Beach in Perth.
Location: Nambung National Park, WA (approx 250km from Perth)
Australia is known worldwide for some truly outstanding and distinctive geographical and rock formations, and in Western Australia, there are few more distinctive places than the eerily astounding Pinnacles Desert in WA's Nambung National Park.
Renowned for its mixture of both vivid red-orange grains of sand and moon-like rocky limestone formations, the Pinnacles have been an iconic landscape featured in Australia for decades.
This is all with good cause as it's a relative one-of-a-kind landscape unmatched anywhere else in the country.
Consisting of a variety of massive individual blocks of varying sizes – with some measuring up to 4m high – scattered at random through the desert, the Pinnacles sit around two and a half hours' drive from the centre of Perth via the Indian Ocean Highway and make for one of the most popular day trip destinations.
While it's not technically in Perth, the fact that it's one of the most photogenic destinations in Australia makes it an essential for first-timers to the region.
The way the blue of the sky contrasts with the desert below is entrancing, and when combined with the outstanding views of the ocean in the distance, it's a spectacle that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.
"Renowned for its sand and moon-like rocky limestone formations, the Pinnacles have been featured in Australian landscape photography for decades.
Assuming you're blessed with good weather during your trip, hanging around for sunset is a must if you've put forth the effort to make the trip out. In terms of getting there, both guided tours and self-drive options are available, with a sealed road that leads into the mouth of the Pinnacles themselves.
If you're driving yourself, keep in mind there's an entry fee for the park. Once inside you'll have the option to explore the walking or driving tracks, with the car track being roughly 4km in length and providing a great overall view of the middle of the formations.
The various walking trails take you on different routes through the Pinnacles allowing you to get up close to the rocks.
Tours of the Pinnacles from Perth are typically conducted aboard purpose-built off-road buses that are designed to be able to navigate on the sand. While in the region you can explore nearby attractions and activities such as sandboarding and visit Caversham Wildlife Park.
The Pinnacles also has a designated Discovery Centre that provides a window into the history of the formation of the Pinnacles and offers visitors the chance to pick up some souvenirs, however, if you're planning a sunset visit bear in mind that the centre closes at 4:30 pm.
Location: 45 minutes south of Perth, WA
The greater Perth region is blessed to be home to quite an array of stunning little islands located not too far from the city (another of which you'll encounter further down this list), however, if you're the type of person who loves wildlife then you'd be hard-pressed to find a better spot to spend a day near WA's capital than the iconic Penguin Island.
Located within the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, roughly 45 minutes to the south of Perth, the island derives its name from the 1,000 Little Penguins who call it home.
When combined with the extensive array of other wildlife in the surrounding waters such as sea lions, stingrays, pelicans, dolphins and more, Penguin Island is a true delight for those looking to see these creatures in their natural environment.
Penguin Island is easily reached with a short yet scenic 5-10 minute ferry ride provided by operator Rockingham Wild Encounters and makes for a highly accessible one-day escape for local Perth residents as well as an essential stop for wildlife lovers travelling to the region.
Birds also feature prominently here and with over 50 species of birds in various states of flight, nest and rest it's something of a birdwatcher's delight.
The physical beauty of the island is no slouch, either. The picture-perfect, turquoise waters make for a wonderfully colourful and vibrant environment, and there are a range of lovely little beaches around the island that provide change for plenty of other marine activities.
Snorkelling, surfing and swimming are all popular here, and the sheltered nature of the island's beaches provide great conditions and levels of visibility for each of these.
Penguin Island is a true delight for those looking to see dolphins, sea lions, stingrays and more in their natural environment rather than in a zoo or aquarium.
Those wanting to explore without getting wet can choose to take part in one of Rockingham Wild Encounters' glass-bottom boat cruises as well, which provides a veritable window into the many colourful charms of the underwater world awaiting below.
If you're looking to explore the island on foot, there is a timber boardwalk around the island that will take you to secluded coves, penguin colonies and beautiful lookouts.
All of this is, of course, wonderful, but it's the Little Penguins themselves that are the stars of this natural attraction. Unfortunately, due to both their shy nature and offshore feeding habits, your best bet to see them up close is by paying a visit to the island's Discovery Centre.
One of the focal points of the island, the centre provides more detailed information on the penguins and allows visitors the opportunity to see them being fed for a small fee.
Perhaps the only downside to Penguin Island is that it's closed to visitors during the winter months (June – August), so if you're wanting to visit be sure to schedule your trip accordingly. One of Australia's best examples of wildlife uninhibited by cages this side of the Great Barrier Reef, Penguin Island is yet another standout amongst the Perth region's extensive array of things to see and do.
Location: Pier 3, Barrack St Jetty, Perth
Combine sightseeing and delicious gourmet food and join Captain Cook Cruises on the Swan River for an Perth Dinner Cruise and an evening to remember.
See Perth’s skyline light up the night sky after sunset with a 3 hour evening cruise, buffet dinner and desert plus complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks.
Live entertainment and a fully stocked bar await you so that you can dance the night away or toast to a special celebration or occasion.
Enjoy the sights of the Swan River as you cruise around the city with plentiful food and wine.
During the course of the cruise you will be served a delicious hot and cold buffet dinner which includes a range of fresh salads, prawns, bread rolls, slow cooked roast beef, steamed king snapper, butter chicken, a pasta dish, baked vegetables and steamed rice.
"See Perth’s skyline light up the night sky after sunset with a 3-hour evening cruise, buffet dinner and dessert plus complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks. With plentiful food and wine, you can dance the night away.
For dessert, are a variety of cakes and a tasty seasonal fruit platter. Captain Cook Cruises take care to cater meals inclusive for vegetarians, vegans and gluten free meals.
A river cruise is beautiful during the day but to see the city skyline all lit up at night adds a magical touch to the experience.
The Perth dinner cruise departs on Friday and Saturday night during June to August and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights between September to May from the Barrack Street Jetty.
Whether you are new to the city or are celebrating a special occasion with your partner or family, the Perth dinner cruise is one of the Perth’s must do activities.
Wave Rock is one of Australia's most unique natural rock formations shaped in the form of a surf wave. Join a Wave Rock day tour from Perth to see this fascinating granite rock up close.
Bring the family along to The Aquarium of Western Australia for an aquatic experience. The kids will love the interactive touch pools and informative daily shows and presentations.