The Best Summer Activities in Perth

perth what to do

This article is sponsored by Edith Cowan University

Summer is almost here, which means you can finally start planning that long-awaited study break. If you’re thinking of staying local over the summer, there are lots of things to do right here in Perth. The city’s event season is vibrant, and the warm weather means balmy evenings outside and many hours spent in the water. So, grab your hat and sunscreen, and get ready for your best summer yet!

Go snorkelling 

Perth’s coastline is home to colourful coral reefs, awe-inspiring shipwrecks and fascinating marine life. Mettams Pool is a sheltered snorkelling spot in Trigg. As it is protected from big waves, the natural rock pool provides a peaceful home to a diverse range of ocean critters. Another great snorkelling spot is the Coogee Maritime Trail, located at the northern end of Coogee Beach. The underwater dive and snorkel trail features a shipwreck, a thriving coral reef, and an underwater gallery. If you’re feeling adventurous, the six-metre-deep Boyinaboat Reef in Hillarys has underwater caves, swim-through ledges, and exciting sea life to discover. 

Explore an island 

Just off the coast of Perth lies a collection of pristine islands. Rottnest Island, only a 30-minute ferry ride from Fremantle or Perth, is home to beautiful bays, scenic walking trails, tranquil swimming spots, and adorable quokkas. This car-free island is best explored by bike, which you can easily hire when you arrive. The bike hire venue also provides snorkelling gear, so you can discover the plentiful marine life on Rottnest. End your day with a drink at the beachside pub. Another island close to Perth is Penguin Island, home of the smallest penguins in the world. Accessible via a five-minute ferry ride from Rockingham, across the beautiful Shoalwater Marine Park, Penguin Island is rich with sheltered beaches and nature trails – you might even be lucky enough to meet a fairy penguin!

Watch a movie under the stars 

Outdoor cinemas are the perfect way to spend a balmy summer’s evening. Most of the ones in Perth are equipped with food trucks, licensed bars, and plenty of comfy seating. Telethon Community Cinemas operates in four locations across Perth (including Edith Cowan University Joondalup) and has some of the cheapest tickets. The program is a mix of old classics and new releases, with all profits going towards children’s charities. You can also check out Rooftop Movies in Northbridge, Somerville Auditorium, and Moonlight Cinema. 

Cool off in a swimming hole 

If it’s too hot to hike, you can still enjoy the great outdoors by taking a refreshing dip in an inland swimming hole. Located 1.5 hours south-east of Perth is the serene Lane Poole Reserve, the largest park in the northern jarrah forest. The Murray River runs through the reserve and flows into a tranquil swimming hole. There are lots of shady patches to lay out a towel, and nearby campsites if you decide you don’t want to leave. Other idyllic swimming holes around Perth include Rocky Pool in Kalamunda National Park, Lake Leschenaultia, and Wungong Dam. 

Head to the markets 

Farmers’ markets run every weekend around Perth and are stocked with fresh produce, handmade gifts, and lively community atmospheres. Some of the best include Mt Claremont Farmers’ Market, Freo Farmers Market, and Victoria Park Farmers Market. In the summer, there are also a few evening markets, which combine delicious food with music and pop-up bars. Make sure you visit Perth City Farm Twilight Markets, and the seaside Scarborough Sunset Markets. 

Eat ice cream 

There’s nothing better than a cold ice cream on a hot day. Thankfully, Perth is full of artisanal ice creameries and gelaterias. The favourite in Elizabeth Quay is Gusto Gelato, which makes decadent dessert flavours such as choc-fudge brownie, apple pie, and sour cherry. Or, try playful and nostalgic flavours, such as lime pie with Anzac biscuit crust, from Kuld Creamery, which has stores in Highgate and Fremantle. Make sure you keep an eye out for Delish Ice’s retro caravan, which drives around Perth selling sweet and juicy icy poles. 

Catch live music outdoors

Fremantle Arts Centre holds free outdoor concerts in their historic grounds every Sunday afternoon during the summer. The venue has a licensed bar and a rotating roster of food trucks, but you are welcome to pack your own picnic. The program always features a diverse line-up of local artists, playing everything from rock and pop to blues and roots. You’ll also find live music concerts in Kings Park and at Scarborough Beach Amphitheatre. 

Enjoy the river 

On hot days, most people flock to Perth’s beaches and forget about the calmer waters of Swan River, along which you’ll also find shady picnic areas and quiet bays. At Matilda Bay, you can hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board, swim between the pontoons, or spend the afternoon lazing in the shade. Another popular swimming spot is Bicton Baths, where you can swim within the enclosed boardwalk, while Point Walter and Deep Water Point Reserve both have spacious grassed areas and great cafés. 

Dine by the beach 

From casual cafés to gourmet restaurants, Perth is home to a vibrant beachside dining scene. Head to Yelo Corner Store for healthy takeaway breakfasts, and to The Little Bay for stylish Hampton décor. Bib and Tucker in Fremantle specialises in seafood and sweeping beach views, while Bathers Beach House is the only venue in Perth where you can have a drink with your feet in the sand. 

Go on a waterslide

One of the funnest ways to enjoy summer is to head to a waterpark. Outback Splash in Swan Valley has some of the fastest waterslides in Western Australia. Adventure World in Bibra Lake has more than 25 rides, including adrenaline-pumping waterslides such as the Kraken. If thrill-seeking isn’t for you, you can simply float in the Hawaiian-themed lagoon.

Check out Perth’s festival scene

Summer is festival season in Perth, and no end-of-year break would be complete without attending at least one of them. Check out the eclectic multi-arts offerings at the third-largest fringe festival in the world, Fringe World Festival, from 15 January to 14 February next year, or see one of the incredible acts at Perth Festival between 5-28 February. Factory Summer Festival, which runs from 11-31 December, has lots of great live music on offer, and there are several Christmas and New Year festivals and markets taking place around Perth over the next couple of months.