Camped out on the far west coast, Perth is one of the most isolated cities on earth!
But this isolation, over 2500 kilometres from the nearest city of Adelaide, gives Perth a personality all its own.
With its relatively small population of 1.7 million people, Perth offers both the rewards of being a small city with its laid back style and nightlife any big city would be proud of.
Perth has grown through the years thanks to an influx of tourism as travellers come here to experience the white sand beaches and the great year-round weather that has come to define Perth.
It has a great mix of the intimacy of a smaller city, but big enough to always find things to do.
There is no excuse not to branch out and get away from the east coast and head west to the capital of Western Australia.
Perth is quite a spread-out city, so getting around particularly to the beaches and suburbs like Fremantle is best done on public transport.
Depending on the length of your stay you might want to pick up a Smart Rider card to get you around town.
Another great reason to use the transport system is the free ‘Central Area Transit’ zone service or the CAT Bus service, which delivers you to different destinations around the city for free.
It is not only an easy and budget-friendly way to see the city but also if you are staying long term, it’s a great way to get your bearings.
Another excellent way to get around the city is on one of the river ferries that float along the stunning Swan River.
Ferries operate to Fremantle (a fantastic day trip option which we have detailed more below) and also to Rottnest Island an island off the coast which is a must-see for all backpackers in Perth.
A beautiful city. An often unexplored city by those who don’t make the trip away from the east coast
There are excellent beaches, snorkelling opportunities and beautiful native plants and wildlife.
There are also bars if you want to relax and watch the grand surroundings.
Other ferry rides include wine tours upstream into Perth’s wine region, Swan Valley and also general ferry rides across the river to get you from A to B.
Perth has a luxury of incredible beaches that with leave any traveller spoilt for choice.
As far as city beaches go Perth would rival many cities in the world both for the quality of the beaches plus also the all-important accessibility to them.
Twenty minutes from the CBD is Perth’s most famous beach. Cottesloe Beach is the place to be on those hot, lazy days in the summer and with snorkelling on the south side offers more than just your average ‘swim and tan’ day at the beach. Get a feed on Marine Parade and stay till dusk to take in the beautiful sunset.
Another great option is just 15 minutes from the city and harbours great views of Rottnest Island off the coast.
Scarborough Beach has terrific surf and free BBQs.
With the background full of charming cafes and restaurants this is the perfect spot for a day at the beach and for those who want to spend as much time admiring the ocean and getting a tan as spending it catching breaks.
Southwest of the city is Kings Park a place sweet for a hangout if you aren’t keen on heading to the beach that day.
A park that has the feel of part botanic gardens and part national park, it has everything for the nature lover and the relaxing sun-soaker.
Hang out here for a free BBQ, have a spot of cricket on the open grass plains or if you’re lucky to catch an outdoor cinema screening or one of the many live music acts and festivals that make Kings Park their home.
For the nature lover, there are hectares to explore and with a large area of the park reserved for bushland you will find an array of flora and fauna that with captivate you as you walk along one of the many tracks.
Fremantle is just a half-hour outside of the city centre and is great for a day trip or a longer stay if you are swept off your feet by the colonial-style buildings, its country feel all mixed in with lots of things to do.
From local pubs like the Espy to getting fish and chips on Fisherman’s Wharf or checking out the outstanding Fremantle Market, there is a stack of things to do here.
For travellers of the backpacking persuasion, the heart of Perth though is found in St George’s terrace and with the hotspot for nightlife being in Northbridge.
Like any large party scene, you are going to have surrounding you an assortment of choices that makes just putting a few on here a little hard.
But we will give it a shot anyway. A sweet place to start is The Shed which plays a big part in the local social scene as well as Universal Bar, which has live music every day of the week.
Other options include Paramount Nightclub which has been a primary club on the scene for 15 years and also Aviary home to a fabulous rooftop bar and long Saturday nights.
Either way, you are spoilt for choice here in Northbridge.
Speaking of long nights, Perth takes the famous Aussie ‘Sunday Sesh’ to a whole new level. You could head anywhere in the city to indulge in one of Australia’s great pastimes you must head to ‘The Cott’ or Cottesloe Hotel just opposite the beach.
Mondays will feel like Sundays after this one.
But its charming cosiness and atmosphere without the big-city feel travellers to Perth will fall in love with the beaches and the nightlife that will have them happy they made it across the desert and regretting not having done it sooner.