Perth – best seen from Kings Park.
Perth is the most geographically isolated city in Australia but there is nothing quiet or backwater about it. It is a sophisticated, fun and a friendly city with a rich history with some interesting and unique attractions. Whether you are taking advantage of a layover, stopping en route to the Outback, having a staycation or completing a circuit of Australia, you should take full advantage of what Perth has to offer. If you’ve yet to explore the beautiful city of Perth in Western Australia, what are you waiting for? This 2 day Perth Itinerary will take you through the best things to see and do in Perth!
The best time to visit Perth
Anytime is a good time to visit Perth in my opinion. If you don’t have a reason to visit, like visiting family or friends, the weather is the major influence in your decision. The best time to visit Perth, weather wise, is in September, October or November. This is when spring sunny days are uninterrupted by rain. March to May is probably the second best season to visit as the warm days allow for beach and outdoor activities. June through August is winter so it is very chilly with lots of rain. Great for football though! And then there is summer, December through to February, marked by scorching temperatures. Your choice.
Where To Stay in Perth
Perth has a variety of accommodation available to suit all budgets for your 2 days in Perth visit. Great news is there is plenty of very central accommodation in easy walking distance of many of things you can see and do in Perth. If you are in a van, towing a caravan or like to stay in cabins there is the Perth Central Caravan Park. This park is only minutes away from central Perth and offers tent and powered sites and cabins. Check out pricing and availability for Perth Central Caravan Park here. If a hostel bed is what you seek check out Ocean Beach Backpackers, Cottlesloe and JJs Backpackers which includes breakfast. For a budget hotel room check out pricing and availability at Doubletree by Hilton Perth in Northbridge. Located in a great area for good nightlife. For a room in a mid-range hotel try the Duxton Hotel Perth, only .6km from the centre of Perth. If you like to self-cater then check out All Suites Perth. For all other options check out Booking.com.
Day 1: Explore Central Perth
Start your day in Perth on your 2 day visit with a walk along the Swan River and the Elizabeth Quay. Elizabeth Quay is a transportation hub and is a good place to get your bearings for your time in Perth. Why not walk the loop around the Quay first or catch a cruise of the Swan River which Perth is built on from here. Afterwards head to the City Information Kiosk in the Murray Street Mall in the heart of the Perth shopping precinct. This visitor kiosks provides free information on what to see and do in Perth plus, offers a free 90-minute guided city tour by knowledgeable volunteer Tour Guides. Be prepared to do a lot of walking on this tour as you discover highlights of central Perth including its history, architecture, art and gardens. It is a great way to discover Perth on your 2 day visit to Perth. I do suggest a sit down in a coffee shop for lunch after such a walk.
After a morning of walking stay in the city and check out the art at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Walk through exhibits and view beautiful pantings and sculptures. Depending on your interests, you could spend anywhere from an hour to an entire day at the art gallery. There is also the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts if you are passionate about art and wanting to expand your cultural experience of Perth. And why not, both galleries are free to enjoy. If you can squeeze it in, go to The Perth Mint. Perth was a hive of activity during the Western Australia gold rush of the late 1800s. If you visit the Perth Mint you will see replicas of the some of the massive gold nuggets that were unearthed during the gold rush. Or maybe you just want to shop in the Murray St and Hay St Malls. And check out some of the attractions while walking between shops like ‘The Cactus’, a 6.5m high statue. There is also London Court located off Hay St and connecting through to St Georges Terrace. Built in 1937, this three level shopping arcade looks like something out of Harry Potter!
If time is not on your side or, you don’t want to walk so much then take the Perth Tram Explorer. This hop-off hop-on bus takes you to all the best sites to see.
After lunch, take the free bus to Kings Park and Botanic Garden for the afternoon. This gorgeous park sits above Perth and offers spectacular views of the city and the Swan River. There are also spectacular things to see in the park including over 2,000 different plant species indigenous to Western Australia. Who would have thought there were so many! As you wander around you will discover it is also home to the State War Memorial. If you don’t want to wander through Kings Park on your own you can take a free tour led by trained volunteers. The one I took was at 2pm which worked out well as I then stayed in the park and saw a fabulous sunset over Perth. I wish I had taken some cheese and crackers and wine to have been able to sit down and enjoy the view with a drink. Next time!
On leaving Kings Park, head to Northbridge. Northbridge is a vibrant part of Perth town with many restaurants, bars and pubs. So end the day with a nice meal and a drink. On your way there you might want to have a game of mini golf at Holey Moley. This is touted as a crazy experience with each hole designed around a theme or a movie. This place is licensed too so you could enjoy a drink while playing a round of 9 or 18 holes. If not, Northbridge has an abundance of places to eat and drink plus the Northbridge Piazza is a great place to enjoy a free movie, listen to some music or just sit on the grass and watch the world go by.
Day 2: Explore the Beaches and Perth Hills
Swim, surf or snorkel at Cottlesloe Beach
Start your second day in Perth with a great breakfast. Australia is known for its coffee shops offering delicious breakfasts and coffee, and Perth is no exception. Just a tip though, if your second day in Perth is a Sunday be aware that most coffee shops in Perth don’t open until around 10 or 11am. Perth, I discovered, is known for its cruffins (croissant-muffin hybrids), and they’re delicious. But I’m sure you will find that out for yourself!
After a hearty breakfast it is time to check out some of Perth’s beaches. Western Australia is known to have some of the most immaculate beaches in all of the country. Luckily, if you’re in Perth, you don’t have to go far to experience some for yourself! In fact Perth has some 19 beaches to swim, snorkel or surf at. Here are some of the nearby beaches that would make for an excellent half or full-day spent in the soft sand and salty seawater.
- Mettams Pool- Despite its confusing name, Mettams Pool is, in fact, a beach and is one of the best spots for snorkelling, swimming, spectacular surf and fishing in the Perth area. If you’re after a family-friendly spot, this should be on your list!
- Cottlesloe Beach- A local fave and it’s clear why! This quaint beach town is riddled with cafes and shops and is a great place if you want to relax and avoid the crowds at busier beaches.
- Mullaloo Beach- Another popular spot to enjoy a picnic lunch with white sand beneath your feet, Mullaloo Beach is a fun spot to engage in your typical beach day activities. It also makes for a great kitesurfing beach and takes beach safety seriously with the Mullaloo Surf Life Saving Club within arms reach.
- Scarborough Beach- Often referred to as the best beach in Perth, Scarborough Beach has it all! It’s one of the most built-up beach towns in the area, with a wide range of accommodation and entertainment at your fingertips. If you spend the day at Scarborough Beach, you could allow yourself some time before the day ends to walk along the coast up to Trigg. The trail is better known as the Scarborough-Trigg Heritage Trail and it will take you through the beach and bush for a total of 7.5 km. From there, you can explore Trigg Beach or head back into the city.
If you have had enough beach time you can head 45 minutes out of the city until you reach Perth Hills. Here you can explore a variety of wineries, go hiking, stargaze or go chasing waterfalls. Lesmurdie Falls is the easiest to find and is truly spectacular! If you plan your trip during the right time, you may also get to experience the Kalamunda Artisan Market that takes place the first Saturday of each month. You’ll also find the best mountain biking trails in the Perth Hills that are perfect for beginners to intermediate riders.
After a long day outdoors, stay outdoors and head back to a beach and end your day enjoying some fish and chips while watching the sunset. And that concludes your 2 days in Perth.
Extend your 2 days in Perth by a day or two
Why not extend your stay in Perth and enjoy two gems not too far from Perth. The first gem is to spend a day or two in Fremantle. The second gem is to spend a day or two at Rottnest Island.
Venture Around Fremantle
Fremantle is only a 30-minute commuter train ride from Perth and is filled with history and is a fun spot to visit. Spend an hour or two walking through the Fremantle Markets to experience some of its charm for yourself! Fremantle has an amazing food scene and it’s where you can find some of Perth’s best breweries. If you’re interested in the historical side of Fremantle, you can also check out the Fremantle Prison that has been around since the 1800s and provides a fascinating insight into some aspects of Australian history. Also visit the waterfront and check out the Western Australian Shipwrecks Museum and the Australian Maritime Museum where you will find Australia II, the winged keel yacht that won Australia the America’s Cup in 1983.
Get a Selfie With A Quokka on Rottnest Island
You will want a full day to explore all of Rottnest Island so if you can add an extra day to your 2 day visit to Perth that is wonderful. To get to Rottnest Island grab a short ferry from Perth or Fremantle on a sunny day and keep an eye on the wind. Try to go on a day that isn’t too windy for the most enjoyable experience! While on Rottnest Island you can hire a bike for the 22 km loop. While riding you can beach hop and maybe even catch a few dolphins swimming nearby. Of course, a trip to Rottnest Island wouldn’t be complete without getting a selfie with a quokka! If you aren’t familiar, a quokka is a cute and small furry animal that you won’t typically find anywhere else in the world. They’re friendly, maybe too friendly, and can be found throughout the island so your chances of running into one and getting the perfect picture is quite high. You can organise your day at Rottnest Island yourself or you can undertake a tour such as those following.
Are you ready to spend 2 days in Perth?
With so much to see and do in and around Perth, this 2 day Perth itinerary barely scrapes the surface but it’s a great place to start! When you get a chance to return, you can make your way a little further out of the city and see more of Western Australia in all of it’s glory.
Want to go further in WA? Check out my post 11 Top Things To See and Do in Western Australia
Sharyn McCullum has travelled all of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. She is the creator of Live Work and Play in Australia. She loves coffee, chocolate and parmas and currently calls Melbourne home. Read More.