Three Day Checklist: Perth

Perth’s local favourites can be hard to crack if you’re a visitor, but if you’ve got a few days to spend, here are a few must-visit destinations and secret spots to help get you started.

Three Days in Perth

I can’t get enough of the beach, and Perth has some of the best beaches in the world. In the morning, when the sun hits the ocean, you can see all the way down to your toes. The water just glows this extraordinary blue.

I think many people are yet to discover Perth’s vibrant nightlife. Perth has this reputation as being a fairly quiet town, but over the past few years it has completely made itself over. Now it has art everywhere, heaps of cool small bars, good cafes serving great coffee and major urban developments – including Elizabeth Quay and the State Buildings – that have ignited the city’s personality.

The PerthFremantle line

The Perth­–Fremantle train line is a great way to get around. It leaves from the city, then passes through Subiaco and Cottesloe on its way to Fremantle.

From Cottesloe station there’s a free bus to the beach, with its beautiful bay and great restaurants. Further along the train line, North Fremantle station is a short walk to Leighton Beach, which is a bit of a local secret. It’s a white sandy beach where the water is completely flat and glassy. There’s a great restaurant there called Bib and Tucker, run by former Olympian Eamon Sullivan. They do excellent slow cooked meats and really good soft shell tacos.

If you continue on to the end of the line, you’ll end up at Fremantle and its winding streets full of history, art and culture.

Fremantle

Fremantle has such a beautiful, eclectic, artsy vibe and the local markets are chaotic and fun. Duck into the Little Creatures brewery, or explore one of the hidden pockets of restaurants and bars in the west end.

Another fun way to get to Fremantle is to take a Captain Cook Cruise from the city along the Swan River to the Freo port. There’s a good chance of spotting a dolphin along the way.

Cottesloe Beach, Perth
X-Wray Cafe Fremantle

Rottnest Island

I recommend cycling around the stunning beaches of ‘Rotto’. It’s a beautiful spot to spend a day, and if you want to know a bit of history, I love the free guided tours run by the yellow-shirted volunteers. You should also try to get a selfie with a quokka. So cute!

Video credit: Apertunity Productions.

The Swan Valley

At the right time of year, the Swan Valley is green, lush and absolutely stunning. With so many wonderful family-owned wineries, it’s really easy to spend a day popping from one to the other.

Perth Hills

The Perth Hills are only a 40-minute drive from the city. They’re a relaxing little getaway in a beautiful setting of native trees and big boulders. There’s a lovely village atmosphere, with small, family-operated wineries, art galleries, and nice little restaurants and cafes. There are also plenty of walks through beautiful bush.

Windy Creek Estate, Swan Valley, Perth
John Forrest National Park, Perth Hills

Northbridge

In the evenings, I love bar hopping through Northbridge. It’s such a funky area with a real heartbeat – there’s street art down the laneways and the people who run the bars are so passionate about what they do. There are rooftop bars, underground bars and even bars you need a password to get into. Many have excellent menus, with share plates and intricate, flavourful food.

Perth CBD

The Perth Cultural Centre has the museum, the art gallery and the beautiful Urban Orchard full of herbs and leafy greens that you can pick yourself.

Lately I’ve been taking people to the State Buildings, which are a mix of hip and happening restaurants and beautiful historic architecture. I also take them to Lalla Rookh restaurant. If you didn’t know about it you’d walk right past, because it’s almost like a trapdoor opening in the pathway on St Georges Terrace, the busiest street in Perth’s CBD. It does amazing Italian food with a real Western Australian style to it.

Perth has evolved over the past few years. If you scratch the top layer, it’s so exciting. I’ve had friends book their next trip while they’re still here. I love hearing that – it confirms I made a really good decision moving here.

Urbanistar, Northbridge, Perth

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