CASH TO SPARE? SPLURGE ON ROTTNEST ISLAND
Quokkas. Need we say more? People come to Western Australia from all over the world to meet these friendly marsupials that are known to love humans and are happy to come right up to them. The only place you’ll find them in the wild is on Rottnest Island, but the adorable critters aren’t the only attractions in this magical place. Only a short trip from Perth, Rottnest boasts picturesque white sand beaches, secluded coves and other wildlife including dolphins, seals and native birds. Here, you can snorkel, dive, swim, fish and kayak – and maybe even get that perfect quokka selfie!
Being such a popular and breathtaking spot, trips to Rottnest can be expensive, but if you’re going to splurge on something, it should be this.
GOT A FEW DOLLARS? BEST CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN PERTH
CHECK OUT PERTH ZOO
Perth Zoo is one of the best in the country. See rare animals from all over the world, from the Sumatran Orangutan to the Southern white rhinoceros, as well as pretty much every Aussie animal. If you don’t get to Rottnest, this is also your chance to see a quokka!
You can get a concession ticket for $25 or an adult ticket for $32 – and it’s definitely worth it. Your entry fee helps support important wildlife conservation initiatives, sustainability efforts and education programs. So, embrace your inner child and head on down to Perth Zoo for endless delights and joy, and make a difference while you do.
TEMPT YOUR TASTEBUDS AT SWAN VALLEY
You’ll find Western Australia’s oldest wine-growing region just 30 minutes out of Perth. Swan Valley is not accessible by foot, so you’ll need to make a tiny investment in transport –get the train to Guildford from Perth CBD and then pick up a taxi or Uber, or join a tour. Once you’re there, you can relax and enjoy a day of wine-tasting. Hop from winery to winery as you taste some of the best wines in the country. Soak it all up with gourmet food made with fresh produce, from fine dining to pub dishes.
With outdoor concerts, summer markets, wildlife encounters and masterclasses, you’ll never get bored in the Swan Valley. You could spend nothing after you arrive and still have the time of your life – but it’s definitely worth taking home a souvenir or two.
SWIM WITH MERMAIDS AT THE AQUARIUM OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA (AQWA)
Aquariums are a seriously underrated attraction in Aussie cities, and this is especially true for AQWA. AQWA is home to Australia’s largest single aquarium and walk-through underwater tunnel, and it’s a seriously spectacular place. See cute critters and menacing predators and embrace your inner child. You can even see and swim with some real-life mermaids.
AQWA is a must-do for any visitor to Perth. For $22 concession tickets or $30 adult tickets, you can enjoy a whole day of fun and learning for less than dinner – so get down there!
MEET SOME FAIRY PENGUINS
Just 45 minutes south of Perth and a five-minute ferry ride across stunning Shoalwater Bay, Penguin Island is a must-do Perth day trip – it is home to 1,200 adorable fairy penguins. While they spend most of the daytime out at sea, you could be lucky to spot a few in the wild. Otherwise, there is a dedicated enclosure for rescue penguins, where you can watch feedings three times a day and learn all about these amazing little creatures. There’s also swimming, bird-spotting, prime picnic spots, and cruises that let you check out seals and dolphins.
With ferry tickets from $18, a day trip to Penguin Island is the perfect way to spend a day without breaking the bank.
GOT $0? BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN PERTH
WANDER AROUND KINGS PARK AND BOTANIC GARDEN
If you’re looking for magnificence and culture but don’t feel like spending a single cent, look no further than Kings Park. Rich in Aboriginal and European history, it’s the most popular destination in Western Australia. In fact, it’s visited by five million people each year. The best part? Entry costs nothing. Lose track of time wandering around the park’s 400 hectares, two-thirds of which is protected bushland. Enjoy sweeping views of Perth and snap plenty of great pictures for Instagram. Kings Park is also home to the unmissable Western Australian Botanic Garden, which displays over 3,000 species of Western Australian flowers.
No trip to Perth is complete without checking out the port city of Fremantle. The city is a hub for hippies, boasting markets, street performers, a dazzling waterfront and plenty of colour and pizzazz. You’ll have a hard time avoiding your wallet as you discover all the delights of this vibrant city, but it’s possible to have a great day out without spending a cent. Watch the street performers, perch on the grass and enjoy the view at Monument Hill, stretch out at Leighton Beach, and check out the Bon Scott statue. If you do feel like spending a few dollars, the iconic Little Creatures brewery is a must-visit!
Photo: Tourism WA
The beach is perfect for a fun and free day out. Perth has no shortage of beaches where you can find a lovely patch of sand and spend the day relaxing, but the two standouts are Scarborough and Cottesloe – affectionately called “Cott” by the locals. If you’re a surfer, Trigg Beach is the place to be, but it’s a little wild for swimmers. If you like to get in touch with nature, head to the northern “clothes optional” section of Swanbourne Beach. Whichever beach you choose, you’re guaranteed a glorious time taking in the wonders of the stunning Western Australian coastline.
GET CULTURED AT NORTHBRIDGE
The State Library of Western Australia. Credit: Western Australia Government
A kaleidoscope of food, arts, culture and nightlife, Northbridge is Perth’s coolest area and is just a five-minute walk from the CBD. It’s where you’ll find Perth Cultural Centre, comprising the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Western Australian Museum, State Library of Western Australia and much more. You can wander aimlessly around Northbridge enjoying the street art and vibe without reaching for your wallet, but if you do, you can enjoy an outstanding array of different cuisines and vibrant and decadent bars.