A 4-day Itinerary in Perth
I was just walking down the memory lane of my little adventure to the “Belly Button of the Earth” two years back, and I remembered how we spend the 4 days we stopped over Perth in Western Australia. As I have mentioned a couple of times in my previous posts, Perth is the world’s most isolated metropolitan area in the world. Geographically, Perth is actually closer to East Timor, Jakarta, or Bali than any other Australian city in the East. There’s no city of comparable size anywhere in the world that’s so remote. The sense of desolation was somehow contagious to me; when I was in the middle of nowhere, I just wanted to get away more.
Having said that, Perth and its surrounding area offer plenty of sunshine, beaches, natural resources, and delicious food and wine. We were in Perth for 4 days before heading to Uluru, and here’s a 4-day self-drive itinerary that covers some of the area’s best highlights.
Day 1 Fremantle & Rottnest Island
We headed out of our apartment in the morning and drove toward the southwest of Perth’s city center with swimsuits, caps, and suntan lotion in our backpacks. We planned to head out to Fremantle first, and then take the ferry to the Rottnest Island!
Fremantle is located on the coast facing the infinite Indian Ocean. It is a vibrant port town, discovered by English marine Charles Fremantle in 1829. Fremantle is a place where ships parked in the 19th century, the gold rush also boosted the town’s economy. Now Fremantle doesn’t change a bit, and it has rich marine history and cultural heritage. The Fremantle Prison is the only UNESCO World Heritage-listed building in Western Australia that stretches way back to 1855. The prison housed some of Britain’s most notorious convicts and the state’s toughest prisoners right up to its closure in 1991. The prison is surrounded by 5-meter tall walls with over 350,000 prisoners at its prime. Now, visitors could go on a tour of the historic site, including popular ghost tours.
Nearby the prison is a tourist area. The Cappuccino Strip (South Terrace) is filled with cafes, and it’s a great place to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee.
We had a great time exploring the Fremantle Markets. The market was built in 1897, and Victorian architecture where we found 150 fruit stalls, shops of design souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry, wool, candles, woodwork, pottery, and more. This is also a great place to sample many delicious snacks. This is also the place for busking, and the locals also like to hang out here and enjoy some creative live music. Outside the market: cafes, bars, shops, and entertainment interspersed in the old town area, together with the historic buildings. You will also find cuisines coming from all over the world: from Turkish kebab, German sausages, and Greek rice to Japanese sushi!
If you have time, take a walk in town and visit the Western Australian Maritime Museum, E Shed Markets, the Roundhouse, WA Shipwreck Museum, or head to the Rottnest Island.
We drove to the North Fremantle Ferry Terminal after lunch and it was time to get active in Rottnest Island. While an island paradise sounds like a place far, far away; it is merely a half-hour ferry ride away from Fremantle. Yes, “Rotto” is an island paradise – azure blue sea water, gorgeous beaches, pristine bushland, dramatic rock formations, miles of cycling paths, historic houses, and relaxing resorts and recreational facilities. No wonder the population of the island upsurges from 100 to 15,000 when tourists flock during the summer holidays.
We hopped on a bike once we got off the ferry and began our round-the-island “beach hopping” tour. Keep an eye on the road when biking because you might catch a glimpse of the cutest and happiest marsupial, quokka, that lives on the island. We saw a pelican (which is giant, as tall as a human adult) standing at the top of the lamp post when we headed back to the ferry terminal during sunset.
A lot of tours and activities are available on the island! If you are an active traveler, you won’t be bored. Exciting activities include electric bikes, Segways, scenic flights, skydiving, diving, and underwater walk; The island has diverse natural resources, too. Salt lakes, Quokka Walk, Reefs and Wrecks, Oliver Hill, and so much more! If you have more time, stay in one of the resorts or cottages to enjoy the spa and fun parks.
Day 2 South of Perth, skydiving in Busselton
The next day we headed to the south of Perth. We met some adorable dolphins in Bunbury. If you can reach Bunbury really early and in summer, consider joining the “Swim Encounter” eco-tour and swimming with the dolphins.
Then, we headed to Busselton where we jumped out of a plane and had a nice dinner at the Busselton jetty. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but If the daredevil act is not your thing. Enjoy some nice food and wine vineyard-touring at Margaret River; the area has a reputation for fabulous wineries and restaurants.
Check out: Whoa~! Skydive
Day 3 North of Perth, the Pinnacles and Lancelin
On day 3, head to the north and explore the wonderful mother nature. The landscape of Western Australia is diverse: It has broad plateaus, red rock desert, exquisite rock formation, dramatic coastline, unique pink lakes, and pristine bushlands. While you may not actually see all of these features in a day, we visited the Nambung National Park, and the Pinnacles, and met with the Koala at the Caversham Wildlife Park on the way. We went sand sliding at Lancelin on the way back to Perth. Remember that you need a 4×4 jeep because there were a group of exchange students and their car was stuck in the sand, we helped pull the car out or they could be in trouble.
Check out: Adventurlicious, to the North of Perth
Day 4 City of Perth
Finally, we explored the urban area in Perth. After lawn breakfast, a morning jog, and cartwheel practices at the South Perth Foreshore, we headed to the Elizabeth Quay.
Swan Bell Tower
Opened in 2000 as Western Australia’s Millenium project, this modern glass sculpture is located at the Elizabeth Quay (in the heart of Barrack Square), and it’s an eye-catching landmark of Perth’s riverfront at Barrack St Jetty. The tower is only 82.5 meters tall yet it houses the Swan Bells., which comprise 18 bells sourced from historic St Martin-in-the-Fields churches in London.
Join an interactive demonstration in the world’s only bell tower that was custom built to allow safe, close-up viewing of the bell ringers practicing this highly specialized musical style.
The tower is surrounded by ceramic tiles designed by school kids around Western Australia and contains an observation deck on the 6th floor that enjoys peerless bird’s eye views over the Swan River.
We spent some time at the nearby London Court (which we spent quite a lot of time in the area in the evening); this is an open-roofed historic shopping arcade located in Perth’s CBD which was built in 1937. It was wonderful that these historic buildings are still well-protected within the hustle and bustle of the busy St George Terrace.
While you are in the area, don’t forget to drop by the connecting Stirling Gardens & Supreme Court Gardens, and the Perth Mint – one of the oldest mints in the world, which started operation in 1899.
Kings Park & Botanic Garden
Kings Park is another of Perth’s pride and joy. Kings Park is amongst the largest urban parks in the world, and one of the best. Yes, it’s larger than New York’s Central Park (by 20%), London’s Hyde Park, Vancouver’s Stanley Park, or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Kings Park is a verdant thousand-acre oasis in the heart of Perth, offering postcard-perfect views of the CBD skyline and the Swan River (and I picked it as the cover of this blog!) at the front lawn of Botanic Gardens. The Park also features over 300 species of native Western Australian plants, dozens of bird species, and miles of manicured gardens and untamed bushland. This is a popular location for a picnic, garden party, wedding, or concert, so don’t be surprised if you ran into one of these cheerful festivities. In September and October every year, the Wild Flower Festival is an event in Perth and it’s a world-class flower festival, with a wide range of flowers showcased to the public.
The State War Memorial in the park is dedicated to Western Australian servicemen and women who died in World War I and World War II; another highlight in the park is the Lottery Federation Walkway – it is a great place to see the gardens as it a 222-meter long skywalk with steel and glass above the trees.
This is a new addition to the city. The Matagarup Bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the Swan River, and it’s been a landmark of Perth since it was completed in 2018. This is another bridge in Australia that visitors can climb, too! Zip+Climb took over the operation and climbers can walk upon the steep 314 steps to the top of the wave-like arch (73 meters high) that holds the bridge in place. The entire experience is faster – that takes about 90 minutes. If you are interested in climbing a bridge, check out The Few Only Bridge Climbs in the World, too!
The black swan (not the one in Natalie Portman’s movie) is a large waterbird that is mainly found in southeast and southwest Australia – so it’s a truly unique thing to do in Perth!
It wouldn’t be a surprise that this beautiful creature has become the city’s emblem and also a symbol of Perth. The black swan has a deep connection with a lot of traditional histories of aboriginal people, and also it plays a significant role in the development of modern times. For example, the body of water in Perth is named the Swan River – it was mainly because the first Dutch explorer saw many black swans on the side of the river (which black swans are rather unusual to him) when they first arrived in Perth.
A typical black swan is almost completely black, with a few brown-color feathers on their side, and red eyes and beaks. Lake Monger is a wonderful place to find and interact with the swans, among pelicans, cormorants, and spoonbills. The reserve is also a popular location for locals for recreation with playgrounds, barbecue facilities, and walking trails for bird watching. It was quite convenient to uber everywhere in the city and we saw a lot of spacious condos by the lake!
After a day of exploring the many places in Perth we headed back to Perth’s CBD at night for dinner and some fun! To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised that the city has quite a diverse coverage of Asian cuisines. We had pho in a Vietnamese restaurant and we also love the churros at San Churro Chocolateria!
Of course, there is still a lot to explore and I will add them to my itinerary for my next trip. But now, I would like to share some “Aussie” slangs that you may not actually use, but you would understand what they mean when you hear them~
Aussie Gentlemen and Sheila slangs:
G’day Mate: Please make your acquaintance
Your little ripper!: Words of praise fail me.
Rack off: Your presence is no longer required
Fair dinkum: Of course I’m telling the truth
Pull ya head in: You may be correct in your assertion but shut up.
Wanna rage: Would you like to drink large amounts of alcohol with me until we both drop?
Bloody oath!: I’m in total agreement with you.
Your shout: If you value your well being you should buy the next drink.
Go on: I’m not entirely convinced you to know what you’re talking about.
Whadayawant?: Might I enquire about your needs?
Have a chunder: The delicate act of regurgitation.
Give it a go ya mug!: Are you perhaps incapable of performing this act?
Wanna cuppa?: Would you care for some tea?
Go and tart yourself up.: Please dress in your best clothes
Wanna come to our piss up?: You are invited to our party
How ya goin’ luv?: I hope you are feeling well.
Don’t get your knickers in a knot: Don’t upset yourself.
What’s the latest goss?: Any juicy news
The old man’s shot through: My husband’s left town
Shut ya gob!: Tell someone who cares
Grouse lippy: What a nice shade of lipstick.