Travel & Touring | WA Things To Do

By: Kirsty Petrides

If you’re a Perth local looking for a unique or interesting way to spend the day, look no further.

While the likes of Kings Park and Cottesloe are beautiful, as a Perth local you’ve probably visited them countless times (likely when playing tour-guide to relatives visiting from overseas).

So instead of rehashing the obvious tourist hotspots, here’s some inspiration for 20 fun activities in and around Perth that locals can enjoy. Some are a bit unique and different, others you may not have done for a while. Plus, we’ve only listed things that are free, cheap or offer an RAC member discount.

RELATED: Fun things to do in Perth with kids »

1. Go snorkelling

Don’t just save snorkelling for when you’re on holidays – do it when you’re at home, too. Here in Perth, we’re lucky enough to have world-class snorkelling spots right on our doorstep, so get out there and take advantage of it. With our beautiful beaches, bays and islands, there are countless snorkelling spots in Perth to choose from, all the way from Trigg to Rockingham.

2. See the stars

Perth often cops flak for being more like a big town than a capital city, but do you know what the upside of that is? Minimal light pollution, which means Perth and its surrounding areas are full of excellent stargazing locations.

Be it the observatory in the hills or the lakes of Mandurah, there are tons of places to stargaze in Perth. So why not make an evening of it by packing a dinnertime picnic and jumping in the car to admire our night sky somewhere special?

3. Hit a hiking trail

Think there’s no decent hikes in Perth? Think again. While our city may be relatively flat by international standards, there are still some decent hikes within a few hours of Perth that are actually challenging. Whether it’s a serious bushwalk, a waterfall hike or a climb up an imposing peak, there’s plenty of trails for avid hikers to tackle.

RELATED: Spectacular waterfalls under an hour's drive from Perth »

4. Take a bike ride

If you’d prefer to explore on two wheels, why not take a bike ride along one of Perth’s best family-friendly bike trails? Not only is it a great way to see the city from a different perspective, it’s a perfect family-friendly activity. And with locations stretching all the way from Burns Beach to Fremantle, you won’t struggle to find a good one.

If you're up for a challenge, hit the pedals on the best mountain bike trails within two hours of Perth. Stretching from Kalamunda to Collie, these adrenaline-inducing tracks range in difficulty and are a great way to explore lush forest a short trip from the city.

5. Get up close and personal with sea creatures

If you’re a nature-lover then you need to get down to business exploring Perth’s marine life. Whether it be the dolphins in Rockingham, penguins of Penguin Island or the turtles in the Marmion Marine Park, we can have some of the world’s best marine wildlife encounters right here in our backyard – and get our feet wet in the process, too.

However, if you’re keen to explore whilst staying dry, that’s not a problem – RAC members save 10% at AQWA.

6. Get to know your own city better

We can often get complacent when it comes to exploring our own home-city, so why not reacquaint yourself with Perth? The City of Perth information kiosk offers free guided walking tours run by volunteers, or self-guided walking tour itineraries if you’d prefer to do it on your own.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to get a pro tour guide, walking tour operators like Two Feet and a Heartbeat and Oh Hey WA run guided tours around the city and Fremantle.

7. Explore a national park

If you’re someone who enjoys getting out amongst nature, why not visit one of these national parks that are closer to Perth than you think. With tons of walking trails, swimming holes and wildlife-spotting, they’re the perfect way to reconnect with nature. Plus, RAC members save 50% on national park passes.

8. Go stand-up paddle boarding

With our beautiful beaches, rivers and lakes, Perth is the perfect place to go stand-up paddle boarding when the weather calls for it. Not only does it let you enjoy the scenery from a different perspective, it’s also a serious workout. There are loads of great SUP boarding spots around Perth all the way from Mundaring and Ascot, to Crawley and Bicton.

9. Admire our wildflowers

Western Australia is home to more than 12,000 wildflower species, and come springtime, they transform our state into a colourful wonderland. The good news is you don’t have to travel very far to enjoy them. Check out our list of Perth’s most vibrant wildflower hotspots.

10. Live the island life on Rotto

While it could be considered a passè thing for a local to do, nothing makes you feel more proud to be a West Australian than a trip to Rottnest Island.

Catch the ferry over early in the morning, jump on your bikes and ride around the island while stopping at the idyllic bays and beaches, head to the pub for a late lunch and finish your day talking the obligatory selfie with the world’s happiest animal – the quokka.

Although it's not on top of the cheap list, from now until the end of Jan, kids under the age of 12 can travel to Rotto on same day trips for free with no island admission fee, while adults can get $35 ferry tickets with no admission fees for same-day return from 2pm.  

Plus, RAC members get discounted Rottnest ferry tickets all year round.

11. Take a unique day trip

If you’re keen for a day trip but have been to Rotto and the Swan Valley more times than you can count, then its’ time to discover some of the more unique day trips from Perth.

Whether it’s to soak up history, enjoy some water-sports or indulge in a foodie getaway, these spots are close to Perth, will offer something new and (probably) won’t be nearly as busy.

12. Adventure with your furry friend

Everything is better with your pet, so if you’re looking for something to do, why not include your furry friend in your plans? You could pack the hiking shoes and picnic lunch and hit some of Perth’s best dog-friendly walking trails.

Or if your pet is more of a water-baby, pack the swimmers and check out some of Perth’s best dog beaches. Either way, you’ll have a great time spending the day with your pooch.

13. Get spooked out

For those who are not faint-hearted, you can go scare yourself silly at some of Perth’s most haunted places. The usual suspects of Freo Prison and Roundhouse have their fair dose of spook-factor, but the lesser-known ones of the Alkimos Wreck, Kalamunda Hotel and Mount Claremont’s Montgomery Hall are also worth a visit.

14. Go for a paddle

Kayaking isn’t only a great way to build your fitness, it’s also a unique way to explore your own backyard and see familiar places from a new perspective. From ocean spots in Hillarys and Rockingham, to the river at Maylands and Mount Pleasant, there are plenty of great kayaking trails in and around Perth.

15. Go for a dip

Though there's nothing quite like a Perth beach, some of Perth's best natural swimming holes are pretty spectacular. These dams, pools and lakes no more than two hours from the CBD are fantastic for an afternoon dip. Many of them have barbeque and picnic facilities, too, if you want to make a day of it. 

16. Sample street food

Come summertime, the suburbs of Perth are abuzz with hawkers’ markets, providing a very ambient way to enjoy dinner on a balmy evening. From the South Beach Sunset Markets in Freo to the Wanneroo Street Food movement, there are food trucks, vans and pop-up kitchens aplenty. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best hawkers’ markets to catch this summer.

17. Explore Perth's art and culture

From towering painted walls, oversized sculptures and larger than life digital installations, WA is a feast for the eyes when it comes to public art. And the good news for the people of Perth is that the majority of WA’s best public art happens to be right here in the city, so you can grab your walking shoes and head on an art-appreciation adventure.

To take your cultural experience up a notch why not also throw in a museum visit? The new WA Museum is making history, being added to the list of buildings set to shape the world in 2020. A visual feast inside and out, its a stunning home for the State's greatest stories and treasures and also a good place to soak up city life.

18. Learn how to catch a wave

If you’ve always wanted to try surfing, you live in a great place to do it. WA is renowned for its epic surf, and while the pros tend to head to Margaret River where the swells are huge, the conditions up near the city are a little gentler, meaning there are loads of beginner surf spots right here in Perth.

19. Visit local farmers markets

There’s no better way to spend a weekend morning than with a trip to a farmers market. With a cup of freshly brewed coffee in one hand and croissant or some other baked breakfast treat in the other, you could stroll around for hours admiring the delicacies from local makers and fresh produce from farmers.

Luckily for us, there’s a bevvy of farmers markets across Perth, so pencil them into the diary and get out there and support our local producers.

20. Think like a tourist

Take a look at your home town from a whole new angle and go on one of the many tours that showcase some of Perth’s unique attractions. You can meet Mandurah’s resident dolphins and explore its network of canals on a dolphin tour, take a behind-the-scenes tour at Optus Stadium or go below the decks on the replica Dutch ship the Duyfken, which also includes entry to AQWA. Plus, RAC members save 10% on these activities with Experience Oz.

Last updated: April 2021

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