As Australia’s sunniest capital city, Perth enjoys a year-round outdoor lifestyle. The city is home to an abundance of walking trails, sprawling parks, long stretches of coastline and the beautiful Swan River. In the summer months, you will find outdoor cinemas, concerts and live music popping up across the city. And in winter, you can enjoy everything from hiking to fruit picking and outdoor markets.
With all of this on their doorstep, international students in Perth tend to spend a lot of time outside. We spoke to three of them about their favourite outdoor activities in Perth.
Meet the students
Olivia Pichler is from the Austrian capital of Vienna. As soon as she finished high school in Austria, she booked a flight straight to Australia.
“My reason for coming was simple: I have never been here and I am far away from home – that sounds like an adventure to me!” she says. “My biggest dream was to live by the ocean and to experience a tropical lifestyle. Before I came here, I didn‘t know anyone who lived in Australia – but it has been the best decision of my life so far. I just love Australia and the lifestyle. I was finally able to get my diving license, surf almost every day, snorkel with animals like whale sharks and manta rays, hike, swim, skydive and much more!”
Olivia has now lived at managed student accommodation provider Campus Perth for over a year and loves her building’s convenient location: “I have been almost everywhere in Australia and Perth is my favourite city without a doubt! Campus Perth is located in the heart of Perth‘s CBD, which is perfect, as it is easy and fast to get to places. I definitely recommend Campus for all international students, as you can meet so many international students and friends.”
Born in Singapore, Rachel Geow moved to Australia to study dentistry. After completing high school, Rachel was planning to undertake her dentistry studies in Singapore, but with only one dental school available and a lot of competition, she looked into studying overseas instead. Rachel considered a number of different countries but was particularly drawn to Australia’s environment and warm climate.
“Natural landscapes in Australia are much more prevalent than in Singapore, where almost every inch of land has been urbanised for man-made activities,” she says. “As a naturalist, I was excited to finally be close to nature. And I’d heard that the climate was similar to Singapore with really hot summers, so I’d be less homesick.”
Rachel adds that her interactions with Australians in Singapore only affirmed her decision to move to Perth: “My encounters with Aussie patients while I was working as a dental assistant were pleasant, which gave me a good impression of Australia.”
Shrav Patel comes from Mumbai. After graduating from the University of Mumbai with an undergraduate degree in zoology, Shrav moved to Perth to pursue his Master of Biological Science, specialising in conservation biology.
“I grew up watching the National Geographic channel and Steve Irwin on the TV, and I was always fascinated with wildlife and conservation,” he says. “I always wanted to study outside of India and have close interaction with different types of animals, and that’s why I enrolled at the University of Western Australia.”
Having now been in Australia for two years, Shrav says living at Campus Perth feels like home. He is currently completing the final year of his master’s and plans to work in turtle conservation in the future.
Our favourite outdoor activities in Perth
Olivia and Rachel both enjoy getting out of the city and tackling Perth’s hiking trails in nearby national parks. Some of Olivia’s favourite trails are located in Serpentine National Park, John Forrest National Park and near Honeymoon Pool in Wellington National Park.
“Perth has some amazing national parks with beautiful hike trails,” she says. “All the national parks are full of kangaroos and beautiful views, waterfalls and swimming holes.”
Rachel says you can’t beat the trails in Serpentine National Park: “Serpentine Falls boasts spectacular views due to the abundance of nature. The entire trail runs for fifteen to twenty kilometres, and I usually hike for about seven kilometres before returning to where I started and finishing the day off at the Serpentine Falls for the breeze and the view. It is also great to cool down at the falls.”
Outdoor yoga classes
One of Olivia’s favourite ways to do yoga in Perth is by joining a beach yoga class: “There is no better way to start the day than by stretching on the beach and going for a swim afterwards! The yoga class at Trigg Beach costs fifteen dollars.”
Outdoor yoga classes also run at South Beach in South Fremantle, South Perth Foreshore, Hyde Park and on a Northbridge rooftop. Make sure to check the website right before attending, as many of these classes are weather dependent.
Going to the beach
Rachel and Shrav both love spending time at Perth’s beautiful beaches, favouring the popular Cottesloe Beach.
“If the weather is perfect, then Cottesloe beach it is – it’s one of my favourite beaches in Perth!” says Shrav. “To get there, I just have to take a train from Perth CBD along the Fremantle line to Grant Street station or Cottesloe station. Otherwise, I can just wait at the Campus Perth reception and pay five dollars; Campus has a bus that takes us to these iconic beaches.”
Having a picnic
Rachel’s favourite place to have a picnic in Perth is at the picturesque South Perth Foreshore.
“The view at South Perth Foreshore is amazing, and if you head over in the late afternoon, the sun will not be as bright and the breeze will be cooler,” she says. “You get to see the entire Perth cityscape, and if you decide to head over at night, the scenery is equally astonishing. Remember to sit directly opposite Perth CBD and watch the sunset if possible.”
Rachel explains that while the nearby waterside restaurants are expensive, there’s an easy way to make the experience cheaper: if you bring your own food and a picnic rug, you can enjoy the view for free.
With over 10,000km of coastline, Western Australia is home to some of the best surfing spots in the world. Olivia loves catching waves at Perth’s surf breaks.
“Surfing is my favourite thing to do,” she says. “I love to take my board out to one of the many beaches that Perth has to offer. Boards can also be rented for twenty dollars an hour.”
Olivia recommends the breaks at Scarborough Beach, Cottesloe Beach and Trigg Beach. You can hire a surfboard from Soul Boardstore in Scarborough, and if you haven’t surfed before, you can take a lesson from the experts at Go Surf Perth.
Shrav first visited Caversham Wildlife Park on a trip with Campus Perth. She highly recommends checking it out: “Caversham Wildlife Park is one of the best parks that you can visit for close interaction with native Australian animals. The entry fee for students is twenty-three dollars excluding transport.”
For Rachel, Kings Park is the best park to explore in Perth.
“Looking down from Kings Park allows you to see the Perth CBD from an elevated height, providing you with a never-seen-before view of the city,” she says. “It’s best to head over in the evening, before the sun sets. There are certain locations that provide you with an unobstructed view – make sure to get there early!”
Day trip to Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is one of Olivia’s favourite places to spend a day. The island offers a huge variety of outdoor activities, from swimming and cycling to snorkelling and mini golf.
“Biking through Rottnest Island is always a magical day!” she says. “The island is just a thirty-minute ferry ride from Fremantle and has crystal-clear water and amazing snorkel spots. If you’re looking for a nice reef and colourful fish, then Rottnest is the place to go.”
Shrav and Rachel both enjoy getting involved in social sports around Perth. Rachel particularly loves playing netball with UWA Social Sports. “Playing sports is not only a great way to meet new friends, but it also relieves your stress and allows you to stay fit,” she says.
“To play a bit more competitively, Campus Perth residents usually play at Donnie Taco, which is a cafe with a half court,” he says. “The court hire is cheap, at around twenty to thirty dollars per hour. We had a few 3v3 basketball events arranged by Campus Perth over there, and it is always fun.”