3 Days in Perth: Everything You Should Know
The largest and capital city of the state of Western Australia, Perth is an idyllic city that has emerged as one of the top destinations in the country. Despite being isolated from the rest of Australia, millions of tourists come to Perth to experience its vibrant culture and beautiful nature; the city is known for its lovely weather, thriving arts and music scene, topnotch restaurants, picturesque beaches and so much more.
With plenty to see and do here, why not make Perth the next destination on your travel list? If you are planning a trip to the Western Australian capital, one of the first things to consider is the length of your trip.
To truly experience Perth and all its glory, especially for first-time visitors, you need to spend at least three days in the city. Three days in Perth is enough time to cover the city’s top attractions (like Perth Hills, State War Memorial, and Kings Park) and without feeling like you are rushing through. We've created the best 3-day Perth itinerary, covering everything from the top spots and parks in the city center to beaches and day trip destinations.
Pro tip: No doubt, you'll be hoping to pick up souvenirs and maybe shop in Perth. Take a little weight off and use one of the many Perth luggage storage lockers so you don’t have to carry your purchases while you explore this fabulous part of Australia.
So as you fly into Perth Airport, keep this itinerary handy to know exactly where to start your adventure. Remember, you can always take a day and head to an area like the west coast. Here, you'll find picturesque places to see such as Nambung National Park. Keep an open mind and prepare to be busy. A terrific 3 days in Perth awaits!
Perth itinerary – Day 1
Morning: Perth CBD
There is no better way to start your trip than exploring the heart of the city, which is the Perth CBD. Perth city centre is home to an array of interesting attractions and landmarks that are worth visiting. Luckily, the public transport system in Perth is extremely user-friendly and efficient, making it easy to move from one place to another. One of the simplest ways to explore Perth CBD is to ride the Central Area Transit (CAT) city bus, which is completely free of charge and allows you to jump off at any of the attractions.
Make your first stop at the Perth Cultural Centre, which is home to some of the best institutions and landmarks in the city. Check out the incredible collection of Aboriginal art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, discover cutting-edge exhibitions and works at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, or admire the beauty of the gardens at Urban Orchard. Then, head over to Swan Bell Tower, which boasts the largest musical instrument in the entire southern hemisphere, or Perth Mint, where you can find the biggest and most valuable coin in Australia (worth a staggering $55,000,000).
After sightseeing, take a stroll to the Elizabeth Quay (just a few blocks away from Perth Mint) and discover the different cafés and shops, and the waterpark. To get an in-depth background on Elizabeth Quay, join a guided tour led by a Nyungar guide, who will give you insights into the rich ancient history of the site.
Once you are done with your tour, stroll along St Georges Terrace to admire the amazing architecture until you reach Brookfield Place, where you will have lunch at Print Hall. As its name suggests, this award-winning multi-level restaurant is located inside a heritage-listed building that was once used as a print house. Today, Print Hall is one of Perth’s most famous restaurants and is known for whipping up incredible modern Asian cuisine. They also have a small cafe where they serve great coffee and pastries.
Afternoon: Kings Park and Cottesloe Beach
The next stop on the itinerary is Kings Park, which measures over 400 hectares and is one of the most popular inner-city parks in Australia and the world. Kings Park is among the best places in the city to relax and unwind while admiring the incredible views of the city skyline and overlooking Swan River.
If you visit Perth during springtime, you can even witness the blooming of the native wildflowers that Western Australia is famous for. Then, make your way to the Botanic Gardens and take in the over 3,000 different species of plants and flowers and head up to the Federation Walkway for an amazing bird's eye view of the surrounding areas.
After discovering the lovely nature in the city, the next thing to do is to see what the seaside has to offer. Head over to the Perth Central Station and take a train to Cottesloe Beach, Perth’s most renowned city beach that boasts 19th-century architecture, delicious coastal restaurants, and a world-class shoreline.
When you get there, you can go for a dip in the ocean or simply relax by the shore to read a book or sunbathe. Cottesloe Beach is also one of the best places in the city (and in Australia!) to watch the sun go down, so make sure to stay until the glorious sunset. Afterward, you can take a train back to the city and prepare for your night out.
The best way to end your first day in the city is to discover the bustling nightlife scene at Northbridge. This trendy inner-city suburb is the heart of Perth’s foodie and nightlife scene, with most establishments opening at 5 in the afternoon until the wee hours of the night. From restaurants and bars to nightclubs, Northbridge has something that will cater to your taste. Some of the neighborhood’s hottest spots include the Mechanics Institute, Geisha Bar, Ezra Pound and The Bird.
Perth itinerary – Day 2
Morning: Fremantle Markets
Your second day in Perth will be focused on one area – the incredible old town of Fremantle. Known to locals as “Freo”, the port city can be reached via a short train ride and has everything you need for a fun day out. Start your morning wandering Fremantle Markets, one of the most popular landmarks in the area and the perfect introduction to the lively port city. It is also a good spot to see a more authentic side of Perth, as you get to observe locals going about their daily lives while shopping.
Founded in 1897, Fremantle Markets operates every Friday to Sunday and is home to a multitude of stalls selling all types of products – from handcrafted souvenirs and jewelry to fresh local produce and delicacies. Located within the market is the Yard, where you can find a dizzying array of vendors selling street food. This is a good spot to grab a bite before moving on to your next destination.
Afternoon: Historic Fremantle Prison
Your next stop on day two is Fremantle Prison, which is just a short walk from the market and is a must-stop when in town. This historic landmark served as Western Australia’s first prison and is the biggest jail built by convicts; it is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entry to the prison gatehouse is free, but you will only be able to access the gallery and museum and check out souvenirs from the gift shop.
The best way to explore the prison is to book a guided tour. The prison offers a tour of the inside of the complex, including the labyrinth of tunnels found 20 meters underground. As you make your way through the network of tunnels, your knowledgeable guide will share stories about the prison’s history and the different events that took place inside its four walls.
If you have time after your tour of the Fremantle Prison, you may want to check out other museums located in town, such as the WA Maritime Museum, which details the history of Fremantle and how it became the major port city that it is today, and the Fremantle Arts Centre, which is a multi-disciplinary arts hub that showcases a range of events and exhibitions.
Night: Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour
After a full day of exploring, it is time to kick back and relax at the Fishing Boat Harbour, a commercial marina that boasts some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues. Some of the top dining spots in the harbour include Char Char Restaurant & Bar (for modern Australian cuisine) or Cicerello’s (known for their iconic fish n’ chips). For drinks, head over to the beloved Little Creatures brewery for delicious local craft beer.
Perth itinerary – Day 3
Morning: Rottnest Island Ferry
Widely regarded as Western Australia’s most popular island, Rottnest Island is one of Perth's most popular day trips and a place that is absolutely worth going to. The idyllic island is easily accessible from both Perth city and the Fremantle Harbour via a short ferry ride and is renowned for its pristine beaches, some of Australia's unique wildlife creatures, extensive hiking trails and relaxing atmosphere. To explore Rottnest Island, you may use one of the hop-on-hop-off buses or opt to rent a bicycle to get around.
One of the most popular activities among those visiting Rottnest Island is hiking. The island is filled with easy walking trails that you can do regardless of your experience and skills. For instance, the Wadjemup Lighthouse trail is a beginner-friendly trail that will take you through some picturesque scenery. You may even encounter some quokkas, which are marsupials that are native to the island. As adorable as they are, remember that quokkas are wild animals and thus should not be fed or touched; doing so can result in some hefty fines.
Afternoon: Secluded beaches
Rottnest Island has some of the finest beaches in Australia. The island is home to 63 beaches and bays, each of which has its own unique quality. A lot of these beaches also offer opportunity for different water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving and surfing.
Generally, it is recommended that you go in a clockwise direction while traveling the island to get to the beaches. Some of the must-see spots in Rottnest Island include Marjorie Bay (secluded and quiet), Salmon Bay (a marine sanctuary zone that offers great snorkeling), Little Parakeet Bay (a quiet beach that’s popular among swimmers), The Basin (considered the best snorkeling spot on the island) and Strickland Bay (a surfing beach).
After you are finished visiting and spending time in the island’s best beaches, it is time to head back to the city. Note that the last trip leaving Rottnest is at 6:30 PM, which docks at Fremantle and Northport; if you miss the last trip, you will spend the night in one of the accommodation options on the island.
Night: Swan River Dinner Cruise
As your trip is coming to a close, a lovely way to end it is to treat yourself to a dinner cruise on the Swan River. This activity is popular among couples, families and friends who want to have a special evening with the people closest to them. Although there are numerous companies that offer this type of cruise, the inclusions are nearly identical. Guests are treated to a buffet dinner with dessert, unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks and live entertainment under the stars. Enjoying delicious food and drinks while taking in the beautiful sight of Swan River and the Perth skyline is truly the perfect ending to your trip to the city.
A Wonderful 3 Days in Perth
Three days will pass you by quickly, especially with all the fun things to do and incredible sights to see in Perth. From exploring the CBD and strolling the city parks to laying under the sun by the beach and drinking the night away, there is just a lot of fun to be had in the vibrant city of Perth.
Still planning your visit to Perth? Check out these guides for more ideas!