When you’re visiting one of the most remote cities in the world, where do you even start to find the best things to do in Perth? Well, worry not, fellow travellers. Here’s a roundup showcasing 5 of the best things to do on a day trip to Perth, the capital of Western Australia, including popular highlights and a couple of unusual activities!
How to get to Perth
From where we were staying in Fremantle, we made our way to the big city on the train. The journey takes around 30 minutes, and we took the Fremantle Line train which cost us $4.80 per adult for a standard single cash fare from Zone 2 (return $9.60).
Things To Do in Perth
Like many cities, some of the key attractions are from simply walking around and getting a feel for the area. When I visit new cities, I usually mark out any unusual or specific things to do, plus my usual favourites. Those include:
- Art gallery and cultural district
- Historical sites and museum
- Parks or gardens
Fortunately, Perth has all of that and more! Let’s dive into our one day itinerary for a visit to Perth.
Day Trip to Perth Itinerary
10am – Take A Tour Of The Perth Mint
We Kicked off the day with a bit of local (and national!) history. The tour of Perth Mint is fascinating, and an ideal way to begin our day avoiding too much burning sunshine.
After browsing the elaborate jewellery and collectibles on offer in the shops, we booked our tour time at $19 per person. With a group of 20 or so other visitors we were led outside by our guide who introduced us to the building itself and history of gold rush in Australia. Hearing the stories of your average farmers who stumbled upon giant nuggets of gold (and seeing a replica for size!) is astounding – what an exciting time it must have been!
Before the heat became too much for us, we were guided indoors through to the exhibition. We watched a short film explaining the importance and value placed on gold throughout history. After the video, our guide showed us to the world’s largest gold bullion – a one tonne 99.9% solid gold coin! The enormous Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin stands at 80cm tall and is more than 12cm deep, so our guide helpfully pointed out that the coin is able to stand freely without security because anyone even attempting to steal it would need to have super powers in order to succeed!
We moved on to roam the exhibition part of the tour, where we could try and lift a gold bar, examine real gold nuggets found in Australia and abroad, and even find out our weight worth in gold! This part of the tour is great fun to explore the meaning and cultural value of gold and how it became the most iconic precious metal. It’s hard to believe we were really standing amongst such priceless artefacts and memorabilia!
We then moved on to the final part of the tour – a gold pour! Seated in the melting house built in 1899, we chose seats that gave us a centrally eye-level view to witness it all. Our guide introduced what he would be doing, as well as a few health and safety instructions (pretty much summarised as don’t touch it and don’t distract me). The room went completely black, as he opened the glowing pot of molten gold that seemed like a burning chasm of fire. As he explained his steps, he swiftly and calmly completed the pour to create a solid bar of gold that began to cool after being dipped in water. Seeing this traditional technique is fascinating, we loved every second! There’s something about an element of danger that is strangely entertaining isn’t there?!
Exiting the room, our tour was sadly over. However we were allowed more time to explore the gold exhibition if we wanted. We watched the continuing work being carried out in the modern-day area of the mint (imagine trying to do your job with tourists constantly staring at you!). Although the coins made at Perth Mint are not in circulation, it is still owned by the government and they do work with collectors and customers as Australia’s official bullion mint, and the coins produced are legal tender. The dedicated attention to detail and extreme care taken to ensure quality in the Perth Mint is astounding. I was blown away at how intricately the team work, and how knowledgeable every member of staff is about all things precious!
Before we turned into Gollum with a new-found obsession for precious metals, we left the Perth Mint and continued on our day. Overall, I’d say it is well worth the visit and so much fun to learn a little bit about such a fascinating part of history. The interactive elements and real visual aids made the trip interesting from start to finish, I’d highly recommend it! Our tickets for the tour cost $19 each for the tour and gold pour, and took us just over an hour in total. An hour well-spent and at under $20 it’s definitely a very affordable activity!
11.30am – Explore The Art Gallery of Western Australia & The Cultural Centre
Ticking another city-visit box, we visited the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Sat right in the heart of the cultural centre of the city, it’s a large complex of exhibitions ranging from aboriginal paintings to modern installations and everything in between.
The art gallery has a few permanent exhibitions as well as visiting works, so be sure to check out what’s on during your trip! We took a look around the free exhibitions on offer and enjoyed seeing local artists’ works, popular Australian works, and international pieces alike.
We particularly enjoyed visiting the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture exhibition, where the nominees and their works were displayed and your favourite could be chosen through an interactive questionnaire. There is such a huge variety of works on display in this exhibition, with so much talent telling many moving stories. It was hard to pick our favourites, so we enjoyed discussing what we did and didn’t like about certain aesthetics and why (the philosopher in me was having a ball!).
Satisfied with our slice of art we headed back out to the sunshine and took a little look around more of the cultural centre, which is constantly evolving and being developed. We stopped by a small store for a refreshing drink before continuing on our exploration of Perth.
1.30pm – Go Street Art Spotting & Meandering
Perth is a relatively spread out city, which means there are plenty of opportunities to simply enjoy your surroundings. As a keen street art spotter, I very much enjoyed exploring the streets and catching a photo or two of the more unique murals.
We meandered through the streets, particularly nearby the cultural centre, and enjoyed pausing at points that caught our eye. The grid of streets in the city centre meant we may have accidentally made a few circles, but it’s a great way to immerse oneself in the vibe of Perth!
2pm – Have Lunch & Ice Cream At Elizabeth Quay
One of the more touristic areas of the city, Elizabeth Quay is a recently developed area of restaurants, bars, and some shops. We walked along the harbour front and passed the Bell Tower, an unmissable attraction famed for its views of the city. Continuing on, we stopped by a couple of statues and points of interests on the #heartofgold discovery trail – an interactive way to follow in the footsteps of the gold rush that the city was founded upon. We even saw the site where the Golden Eagle Nugget was found, a discovery we’d just learned about up at the Perth Mint!
We made our way around the whole quay in a short amount of time, pausing for photographs during a beautiful, cloudless afternoon. Deciding to make a full route around the quay before lunch, we stopped by the First Contact statue and carried on across Elizabeth Quay bridge for the most amazing cityscape views.
As we went on the hunt for somewhere to eat, we were aware that the restaurant prices were notably higher than elsewhere in the city (possibly due to it being a tourist hotspot). We enjoyed a delicious takeaway burger from V Burger Bar and sat by the fountain in the shade. I had the teriyaki chicken burger which was incredible, Kazimir had the lambaabaa and we shared fries, which came to a budget-friendly $36 between us. It was very deserved and tasted even better after a busy morning!
To cool off by relaxing in the quay and bask in glorious sunshine a little longer, we aimed for Gusto Gelato for an ice cream. They had a wide selection to choose from, including traditional flavours such as stracciatella and pistachio, to more unique combinations such as ginger beer and lime, and caramelised white chocolate. We could have sat there sampling the goods all day!
5pm – Soak Up The Sunset At Kings Park
To let our food go down, another walk was in order. We headed up the hill a little further out of the city centre towards Kings Park. Botanical gardens, flora and fauna, and a stunning view meant we felt well and truly out of the busy city and into a part of Australia’s nature. Plus, the cooling shade beneath the trees is very much welcome after spending time in the sun!
We didn’t venture into the botanic gardens, instead preferring to admire the statues and cannons sitting on the park’s bank, before perching for a while and people watching on Fraser Avenue. As the sun begins to lower, amble onwards towards the lookouts and State War Memorial. From this vantage point you can catch the views across Elizabeth Quay and the expanse of the city, made even more beautiful by the golden hour light.
With the time to do so, Kings Park is huge and there are a number of great walks to enjoy to reach viewpoints, picnic areas, memorials, art galleries, and other points of interest. However, with a short visit and the sun already setting, our tired legs were ready to start the long walk back to the city centre and return to Fremantle.
Tips For A Day Trip To Perth
- Bring lots of water! Of course, being Australia it can be very hot with strong sun, particularly in the warm months of November – February. Stay hydrated as much as possible!
- As well as being hydrated, it’s also important to stay in the shade when you can. Australian sunlight is very harsh, so it’s worth being diligent with your exposure.
- Get to know the street layout. Distances between activities/attractions might be further than you expect, and despite having a simple grid system some of the roads in Perth can be a little confusing if you’re not paying close attention to a map or GPS.
- Similarly, familiarise yourself with the train times and public transport so you can know where to be and when in order to make your way around. This is especially useful to keep in mind if you don’t plan on walking too much during your visit.
- As well as the above, it’s always worth it to plan out a route. In such a widespread city such as Perth, knowing where everything is and the easiest way to tick them all off efficiently certainly helps maximise your day!
- One of the best ways to get planning is to know the opening hours or tour times of the attractions you’d like to visit. We were lucky to arrive at the Perth Mint just in time for a tour that was starting, but we might have had to hang around had we turned up a little later.
How much does a day trip in Perth cost?
Considering we spent very little throughout our day, we were pleased with a very low budget spend of just $66 per person (including food, drinks, activities, and transport).
For transport to the city, the Perth Mint tour, and our lunch, we were very reasonable and could easily have spent more on a pricer lunch, souvenirs, or paid attractions had we chosen to do so. I’d recommend budgeting at lest $60 p/p for a day out, with an average budget being roughly $100 including a dinner and a few more activities when visiting on less of a shoestring – but being budget friendly is possible!
If you’re looking to save costs on transport but would like to avoid walking so much, the city offer great day savers, and even some free transport with the CAT buses. Check out the Transperth site for more info.
I think we managed a decent day trip to Perth from Fremantle, are are pleased to have seen some of the best things to do in Perth. With a city of a surprisingly rich history, I’d definitely recommend looking at those attractions, as well as sampling the world-class culture on offer too.
Have you visited Perth? What would be your highlight activities in the city? Let me know below!
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