If you’d asked me how many unusual things to do in Perth would be on this list before I went there, I’d probably have said less than 10 – but boy was I wrong. I found so many fun and different things to do on this trip, there was a brief discussion about moving there!
This wasn’t my first trip to Perth, I’ve been a few times but never stayed in the city itself – this time, however, The Boyfriend’s relatives with whom we normally stay had no room at the inn, so we stayed in an Airbnb in funky Northbridge, and I finally got a chance to spend more time wandering around Perth CBD itself and the nearby city of Fremantle and loved every second of it.
So, what unusual and fun things to do in Perth did I come up with? Well maybe give some of these a try.
Fun Things to do in Perth Itself
All of the below are within a short walk or bus journey from Perth’s CBD.
Head to Kangaroo Island
No, not the big one near Adelaide, I’m talking about Heirisson Island, a small island right in the middle of Perth that’s home to a small kangaroo sanctuary.
Five roos live there called Samantha, Dibbles, Cheeky, Jane and Snowflake – although when we went we only managed to spot two of them. Why they are there I don’t know, but don’t look a gift roo in the mouth.
The day we were there they kept their distance, but I’ve read that they will quite often hop up to say hello and have a pat.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.
It’s a lovely walk around the island though so even if you don’t see the hoppy ones, you will get to see a lot of birdlife and can check out some of Australia’s fantastic trees – no, seriously, Aussie trees can throw some seriously interesting shapes!
You can walk to the island in 45 minutes from Elizabeth Quay, or lots of buses stop nearby so you can just jump on one of those. If you get off a little bit early (at the stop on Adelaide Terrace just before Plain Street) you’ll stay in the Free Transit Zone which means you don’t have to pay a cent to get there.
Differentville Tip: Wear insect repellent – mosquitos love me and I got bitten to bits at 10 am!
Join the Queue at the Blue Boatshed.
Crawley Edge Boatshed, as it’s officially known, is quite possibly the most Instagrammed place in Perth. And I admit, it is very pretty – but if you want to get a picture, get there early,
I got the 950 bus from the centre of Perth at 8 am, got the shed by 8.30 and just as I finished poncing about taking selfies and fiddling with filters two different sets of couples arrived waiting to take pics.
It even has a ‘busy now’ graph on google! – apparently, 3-5pm is the worst time for people!
Try and work out who dresses Eliza – and how
About a two-minute walk east from the Blue Boatshed is a statue of a swimmer called Eliza by sculptor Tony Jones.
I admit, this wasn’t on my list of things to see at all when I was planning my trip – and then I went past her and realised she was wearing clothes, specifically, this day, a fetching boob tube and skirt combo topped off with a rainbow flag to go with the vote for marriage equality that was happening in Australia at the time.
This theming of Eliza’s outfits is apparently normal – she’s been seen in a posh frock on Melbourne Cup Day (a huge horse race that all of Australia watches), she’s got a Santa outfit for Xmas and someone even gave her a bike when the Tour de France was in town.
I say, someone because no-one knows who dresses Eliza, or how….this statue is 15 metres offshore – and, she’s 2 metres high. The only way you could get clothes on her is via a boat – and where do you buy clothes for a 2-metre high woman? Suddenly, ‘go and see what Eliza is wearing’ got added to my list of fun things – it’s definitely one of the most unique things to do in Perth.
Book the Oh Hey WA Perth Art and Cultural Tour
This was hands down THE best guided tour I’ve been on in a city so far. Guide Adie was fantastic and she really knows her stuff.
I booked the tour to go and see some of Perth’s amazing street art but it delivered so much more.
Adie really loves her city and points out so many tiny, quirks my mind was blown trying to remember them all, Without Adie I’d never have known about the tiny hidden statue of mice I’d walked past at least five times; I wouldn’t have learned what’s unusual about the Australian Coat of Arms by the old Perth Post Office, or seen some hidden pieces of Perth’s best street art (including the mural at Long Chim I really wanted to see but couldn’t find the entrance to) and much, much more.
The tour cost $40 for one person, less per person if there’s a group of you, and lasts two hours. I honestly can’t recommend it enough as one of my fun things to do in Perth – and, if you don’t have much time in the city I’d say it’s a must-do as you’ll see and learn far more than you could alone.
And no, Adie didn’t pay me to say any of this. I booked and paid for the tour completely off my own back. If you want to do the same, check it out here.
Have Some Strange Ice Cream
Not surprisingly for a city that’s often quite warm, there’s a lot of gelato and ice cream parlours in Perth – and so, to stand out, some of them are getting creative with the flavours.
When I was there, Gusto Gelato in Elizabeth Quay was offering vanilla ice cream with French Fries in it. I had a tiny sample – and while I approve of their originality, potatoes and ice cream should never mix in my eyes! Chi Cho New Wave Gelato is also famed for its cutting-edge flavours like Prickly Pear Cactus Sorbet and Avocado and Candied Bacon (!).
If you need your cone photogenic as well as yummy, Whisk Creamery in Northbridge and Subiaco is where you go. Look!
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🍦🐠🎣 TAIYAKI 🍦🐠🎣 Summer holidays are finally here! And we will be open as usual both stores except the following days NORTHBRIDGE STORE CLOSED 25TH DEC and 1ST JAN. SUBIACO STORE CLOSED 25TH 26TH DEC. and 1ST JAN. EAT taiyaki and be merry! Taiyaki available only at the northbridge store 🙂
Find the Bottletop Tree
This was one of the things Adie showed us on the Oh Hey WA tour and, while I normally don’t think it’s fair to directly give away the secrets people tell me on tours, this is too good not to share.
It’s located by a coffee shop called Graffiti on the junction of King and Hay streets in the CBD and the story has it that it began when groups of motorcycle couriers started sitting by the tree and sticking their bottle tops into the trunk.
The tree is now studded with caps of all different colours. You could quite easily walk past this tree without noticing it but stop for a second and check it out.
Check Out Kings Park
Every guide to Perth includes this and I admit, I couldn’t really see the appeal myself – but one the main reasons for my last trip to Perth was to see my friend’s dog, Muttley, and Kings Park is his favourite walking spot and so I got a dog’s eye view of it – and there are a few unusual things to do in the park itself.
Apparently, the area around the DNA Tower – so named as it’s shaped like the double helix of DNA – is particularly good sniffing spot, sorry sightseeing spot.
Also, take a wander over the Lottery West Federation Walkway – a treetop heigh walkway which gives you a nice close-up view of leaves on one side and out over the Swan River in the distance.
Try the Gin Spin
Perth has loads of very cool bars and the fun things to do in Perth list will feature quite a few of them, but we start with The Flour Factory aka heaven for gin lovers.
They have over 70 types of gin on offer – and, even though the night we went the barman wasn’t hugely chatty about the different types (and told us that they didn’t have a gin menu which seemed daft), there’s one simple way to test a few. Try the Spin for Gin wheel.
Each number on this correlates to a different gin – some spendy, some cheap – and for the princely sum of $10 AUD, the barman will spin the wheel to see which you get. It’s fun – although I admit, I would have liked a little bit more chat from the barman about what we had ‘won’. Maybe we got him on a bad day.
Search out Your Favourite Street Art
Perth’s street art scene is quite incredible. What makes it unusual is not how much of it there is, but how many international artists have been invited to paint, spray or stick their work around the city alongside local artists like Fintan Magee and Stormie Mills (whose sad little creatures make him probably my favourite artist of those I saw).
The mecca for street art in Perth is Wolf Lane which is lined with works small and large; but also check out Grand Lane (middle), which, from the right angle, looks more like New York!
There’s also a lot of works in Northbridge – particularly in the alleys behind James Street – and in Leederville.
If you have time to hop on a bus though, then also take a trip to Mount Lawley where you’ll find another of my favourite pieces of Perth street art – this piece by Paul Deej.
It’s right at the end of Boodja Lane which is full of art – walk down the end where it meets Dancker Lane and then turn right. There’s also a lot more dotted around other alleys off the main road of Mount Lawley.
Mount Lawler is also full of cafes and restaurants so you might want to time your visit for around lunchtime or, early evening if it’s light and stay up there for something to eat.
If you want a full list of all the work, Streets of Perth have the most amazing customised google map which will transfer itself onto google maps so you can not only find the pieces you like easily but learn about them as well.
If you love street art, you have to make visiting some of the main areas one of your top fun things to do in Perth.
Eat at the ‘Pay What You Like’ Restaurant
Annalakshmi is a chain of vegetarian Indian restaurants who believe that everyone should be able to get a good meal – as such, when you eat in one of their restaurants you can eat as much as you like from their buffet and, at the end, you pay what your heart tells you the meal was worth.
It’s a beautiful idea wherever it is, but Annalakshmi on the Swan in Perth has something else going for it. The view. The restaurant is directly on the waterfront of swanky Elizabeth Quay. The view is breathtaking, especially at sunset. You get a great, healthy, veggie Indian meal with a view, they get some cash that helps others – what’s not to love about the place?
In fact, I’d say make searching out any curry part of your trip from Perth.
It might not sound like a very Australian experience, but this tip is more for Brits who live in Sydney who might be visiting Perth.
I love Sydney, but it’s REALLY hard to find a good, hot curry here if you don’t know where to go (it’s taken me seven years of experimenting to find just three good restaurants) – every curry we’ve had in Perth though has been great.
We ended up at Aachi Indian Cuisine on Adelaide Terrace in East Perth completely by accident when the restaurant we had wanted to go to was closed and it was hot enough to actually melt off my make up.
A couple of nights earlier, we’d spent my birthday at the slightly posher Curry Munchers in Leederville – it’s not quite as traditional, but the Paneer and Pineapple Tikka starter which we tried because it sounded so weird, was really, really good.
Hit Bob’s Bar
My day job is a journalist so there was one bar I HAD to go to in Perth – and it actually turned out to my be favourite.
Bob’s Bar is named after the ex-Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke and it’s housed on the rooftop of the old offices of The West Australian Newspaper. I love a rooftop bar at the best of times but often they can be on the snootier end of the scale. Not Bob’s Bar, it’s friendly, down to earth and, while it doesn’t have a view, it does have Perth’s fantastic bright blue sky above it so that’ll do.
Other fun and unusual bars in Perth include The Garden in Leederville which is a fantastic open space; Sneaky Tony’s in Northbridge which models itself on an old fashioned speakeasy – and does really nice Pina Colada in a coconut juice can! Lucky Chans is disguised as an old laundrette while Northbridge Brewing is great for craft beer.
Fasten a Love Lock
The Perth Belltower is usually mentioned in this type of guide as one of the top things to do in Perth – part of me thinks it sounds fun, part of me thinks that the fact that I’ve been to Perth three times and haven’t been up it yet, says everything…I nearly went up there this time, but instead, I got distracted by the love locks overtaking the fence outside.
If you aren’t aware of the phenomenon, the idea is that you and your BAE write, paint or even carve your names onto a padlock and fix it for all eternity. The craze started in Paris, but now there are little Love Lock areas all over the world. This is Perth’s.
If bells are your thing though and you do want to go up The Belltower, you can take a tour that not all teaches you all about the Belltower, but that actually lets you in on the chiming action. Here’s the details and where to book.
Go on a Gondola
There are lots of boats floating around Elizabeth Quay, private ones, ferries, little cute boats doing sightseeing tours, but standing out from all of them is this gondola!
The new tour called Gondolas on the Swan is run by an English guy and costs $15 for 15 minutes.
Sadly, the day I was there I was alone as The Boyfriend was off riding motorbikes and I felt that riding around on a gondola on my own was just a tad too sad for words. Mind you if he’d been there it would have been dismissed as ‘too romantic’….if your other half is less cynical about all things hearts and flowers, why not give it a punt (sorry, couldn’t resist).
Play Mini Golf in a Bar
Holey Moley is a new bar in Perth’s Northbridge district – but as you’d expect as it’s on this blog, it’s a bar with a difference. Within it is a mini-golf course. I love the concept and was even more enamoured when I realised that they have a golf-themed cocktail menu. Anyone for a Long Island Ice Tee or a Sugar Caddy.
To book your time on the course as one of your fun things to do in Perth, have a look at their website
Watch a Movie Outside.
With 265 sunny or partly sunny days a year, it’s not surprising that Perth gives you the chance to do things you’d normally do indoors, outdoors – like going to the cinema.
There are at least three outdoor cinemas I know of in the middle of the city. One on a roof the middle of Northbridge, one in East Perth and the Luna Outdoors in Leederville.
This was the one we checked out and it’s great. You sit down with a drink and some nibbles and watch the big screen in the warmth of the night air.
If movies aren’t your thing, at least make a take a trip to Leederville one of your fun things to do in Perth as you’ll want to check out the cool bars and restaurants there. We love The Garden, particularly the upstairs and Anna’s Vietnamese restaurant is a Perth institution. Instagrammers, check out the flower wall tucked away in the corner of Amani Bar and Kitchen.
♥ READ MORE: 16 Fun Things to Do in Sydney’s Circular Quay ♥
Catch the Sunset from The Revelry bar
We ended up at The Revelry by accident. Used to warm balmy nights we headed out without any kind of jacket, only to find a wind whipping up around us. Our plan to go to a more open waterfront bar was abandoned and we decided to stop here where the sheltered patio let us be outside, but out of the wind.
It was a good choice – we got the best view of the sunset over the water. There’s also some arty shots to be taken as the sun reflects onto the glass buildings opposite as well.
If you like the sound of the above fun things to do in Perth, here’s a map as to where you’ll find them (and the five ideas that follow)..
Heading Further Afield
While you can easily amuse yourself for a few days with the above things to do in Perth itself, it would be a shame not to explore a bit outside the CBD too. Here are some more unique things to consider…
Go and See the Containerbow
Fremantle is a city about a 30-minute train ride from Perth. It’s a cute place to visit. It has lots of historic sights like the old prison, a nice weekend market and a pretty harbour – but the thing that makes Fremantle special to me is its love for quirky sculptures.
There are lots of great examples around the city – but my favourite is this giant rainbow made out of multi-coloured shipping containers. You’ll find the Containerbow about 20 minutes walk north-east of Fremantle Station.
There’s nothing else around there but it’s very cool to see – sadly, it was only once I got home that I realised if I’d stood on my tiptoes when I took my photo I could pretty much have worn it as a hat! To find it look for the Fremantle Rainbow by Marcus Canning on google maps.
Visit the Kangaroo Pub
The John Forrest Tavern is a no-frills pub in the middle of the John Forrest National Park (itself a cool place to visit as it has two waterfalls and an old railway tunnel to explore) about 35 minutes drive out of Perth.
What makes it special and, why it’s on my list of fun things to do in Perth though is what hangs out in the pub’s beer garden….a mob of wild kangaroos who aren’t phased at all if you sit there with your drink as they hop around you. It was incredible.
For full details on what its link to sink a schooner with Skippy and how to get to the tavern, check out the more detailed post I wrote about it here.
Meet The Quokkas (My Favourite)
If you don’t know what a quokka is, have a picture – a picture to stare at all day as you marvel at how one animal can be so cute. Look at it, they actually smile! Perth is home to a huge colony of quokkas in the nearby Rottnest Island. 12,000 of the cuties hop around with no predators just waiting to have their photos taken.
Oh and Rottnest itself is incredibly beautiful so, even if your heart hasn’t been melted by quokka cuteness, it’s definitely worth the ferry trip. You can get there from Perth or Fremantle. For more details about quokkas, how to get the island and, what else to see there, check out my post on attempting to get a selfie with a quokka….it only took me nearly five years!
Get a Piccy with a Giant Wombat
Caversham Wildlife Park just outside Perth is a fun day out – but I went there for one fun thing in particular. The Wombat picture.
Four times a day they have ‘Meet the Wombat and Friends’ session where you get the chance of having your picture taken with some of the park’s animals – and one of them is a huge wombat. I was so excited I was literally jumping up and down.
The keepers could tell they had a wombat-fanatic on their hands and actually let me touch his leg (wombats are normally like the Queen and you mustn’t make contact) – it made my day! If you don’t believe me, just look at my ‘too excited to try and actually look nice’ face in the picture below!
Climb Sunset Hill
The seaside town of Scarborough is a short drive from Perth itself, but, it’s a nice place to spend an evening – and you need to make sure you get there at sunset… because look!
Now looking at this picture you might think, bah, watching sunset isn’t an unusual thing to do….but, have a think about it. Isn’t it handy that there’s a comfy hill to sit on at virtually the exact point where the sun dips into the sea in Perth. After all, the rest of the beachfront there is totally flat – but, actually, Sunset Hill, as it’s known, is man-made. If you’d come here before December 2016 it wouldn’t have been there! It was added when the beachfront was given a major makeover.
If you don’t fancy sitting on the hill itself, make your way to the Scarborough Beach Bar where you get the view in this shot with a beer in your hand. The food in there isn’t bad either.
Take a Dolphin Cruise
The last time we were in Perth, we decided to take a few day trips out of the city via public transport. And this outing in Mandurah was probably our favourite.
We caught the train from Elizabeth Quay to Mandurah where we made our way by bus to the office of jumped on the Mandurah hoping to see some dolphins.
Now, I admit, I wasn’t sure this was going to happen. Whenever I take The Boyfriend to anything that involves seeing animals in the wild, it’s like they get the memo he’s coming and vanish.
My nervousness was increased by the fact that the day we went, they weren’t running their official dolphin cruise – instead, we had booked on their 1 Hour Dolphin and Scenic Canal Cruise which pootles around the canals around the town. Dolphins do live in these canals and so they do regularly see them (hence the name) – but they can’t guarantee it. Still, at just $32 a person we figured we’d give it a try.
Thirty-five minutes into the cruise we still hadn’t seen anything grey and jumpy – although I was enjoying the cruise anyway – and then, in the distance, we saw a fin. And then a tail. And then a baby.
Next thing we knew the boat was surrounded by dolphins big and small jumping in the bow wave.And they kept coming. We must have been surrounded by them for a good 10 minutes. It was excellent. Check out the video above to see them yourselves.
You can also hire little boats to sail around the harbour which could also see you having your own dolphin encounter.
If that sounds like fun, you can book the tour here.
You can also travel to nearby Rockingham and swim with wild dolphins. Check out the tour here.
And the absolute last of my unusual things to do in Perth… Visit Gnomesville
Gnomesville in the Ferguson Valley, about a 2-hour drive south from Perth is a piece of land filled with gnomes – no-one knows quite how many but it’s in the thousands.
It’s a quirky paradise of plaster made creatures divided into little tribes (depending on their outfits and other such criteria). They have little-themed homes and surroundings and have been left by people all over the world.
For the full story of Gnomesville and more pictures, check out this post from our visit – you’ll also find out about the Secret Gnome Garden that’s nearer Perth itself.
So there you have it, my list of my top 23 fun and unusual things to do in Perth.
There were heaps more I could have added – visit the fairytale greenery of the Secret Garden in Gwelup, driving the Zig Zag road in Perth hills with its hairpin bends and amazing views – and, taking a trip to Wine Country to drink all the vino (and eat chocolate and cheese!) but I think you’ve probably scrolled enough.
Not to worry, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back in Perth one day soon – and I can research (another) 23 Fun Things to Do In Perth!!! Let me know if you have any suggestions as to what should be in it in the comments.
If you’re already deciding to book, your next job is to decide where to stay. Here’s some ideas..
Where to Stay in Perth
The first few times we went to Perth we stayed with relatives, which is great, but staying in the city does give you a different image of the place – and there are more and more hotels springing up all the time.
On our last trip, we got a great deal at the Adina Apartments close to the convention centre. We booked a top floor apartment with a huge balcony that we loved. The hotel also has a small pool and a nice bar. We got a great deal because there were no conventions on when were there just before Christmas.
If you like the look of it, you can check room rates and availability here.
If there is one on and it’s a bit pricey, I’d also looked at the Doubletree which is right in the middle of funky Northbridge.
The Airbnb we stayed in on another visit is no longer listed, but there are heaps of others listed in the city.
Good areas to check out would include the CBD and Northbridge if you want to be close to the centre, or super cool Leederville which is packed with bars and restaurants. Subiaco and Mount Lawler would also be a good choices of suburb as again, there’s plenty to there in the evening.
If you choose another suburb, make sure it has good transport links – ideally the train into the city. Perth is very spread out and it can take a long time to get places otherwise.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.
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