Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and is the most isolated capital city of over 1,000,000 people in the world.
Perth sprawls along a flat coastal plain, centred along the Swan River and bounded by the Darling Scarp to the east and the Indian Ocean coastline in the west. Perth has a population of around 1.6 million (2009), making it the fourth largest city in Australia. The many uncrowded beaches along the Perth coastline define the lifestyle: Perth is laid-back, quiet and safe.
Perth Metropolitan Area
While the CBD straddles the Swan River, most of Perth's residents live in suburbs along the coast.
Outside the city
1-2 hr outside the city are many small townships and a big island
The Perth region (traditionally named Whadjuk) has been home to the Whadjuk Noongar people for at least 45,000 years.
British colonisers established a settler colony in 1829 as part of the Swan River Colony. The settlement was given the name "Perth" after the city of Perth, Scotland, the hometown of Sir George Murray, the British Colonial Secretary at that time. From 1850, an influx of convicts boosted the size of the colony and their labour helped shape the early architecture of the city. The discovery of gold in the 1890s triggered a boom which, with subsequent mineral discoveries, has been key to the city's economy. As capital of the state Western Australia, Perth joined the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
Once a small, isolated city, the mining boom in Western Australia following the end of World War 2 has led to a high rate of migration to Perth, which allowed its population to overtake that of Adelaide in the 1980's. While the actual mining takes places in distant, more remote parts of the state, much of the mining-related services sector is based in Perth. Today, Perth remains Australia's fastest growing city, and in recent years has transformed from a relatively laid back city to a fairly vibrant one. Due to the fact that Perth's population growth was relatively recent, it lacks the dense Victorian core of the eastern cities, but makes up for it with its own charm, particularly seen in the numerous parks and other green spaces within close proximity of the CBD.
Despite its isolation and relatively small population, Perth is a surprisingly culturally diverse city. Due to the high rate of migration to Perth, slightly less than half of Perth's residents were born outside Australia. Its proximity to Southeast Asia and Africa has led to an influx of migrants from countries such as Malaysia, South Africa and Thailand, and this is reflected in the diversity of cuisine available in Perth. If you wish to experience a cosmopolitan culture without the hustle and bustle of larger cities then Perth is worth visiting.
The City has a temperate Mediterranean type climate. Summers are hot and dry whilst winters are generally wet and mild. Summer temperatures average 30°C/86°F between November and April. Maximum temperatures during the height of summer can reach and sometimes exceed the 40°C/104°F mark. Very hot days tend to have very low humidity making conditions more bearable.
In the Perth metropolitan area the summertime temperature rises rapidly during the morning, sometimes relieved in the afternoon when the "Fremantle Doctor" blows inland from the ocean to cool the city centre by up to 10°C. The doctor often runs out of puff before reaching suburbs further inland, leaving the foothills and beyond to swelter till after sunset.
Winter (Jun-Aug) temperatures are usually around 19°C. Minimum temperatures occasionally drop to near 0°C on clear nights. Though Perth goes through lengthy dry spells in Winter, when it does rain, it pours. Storms with strong winds occasionally hammer a Winter's night, but they generally cause no more destruction than a toppled tree or flattened fence.
When to visit
Spring (Sep-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-May) are ideal times in which to visit Perth. Spring (particularly October / November periods) is perhaps the very best to see the sights as after a decent winter's rainfall, the famous wildflowers around Kings Park and the Avon Valley bloom splendidly. The metropolitan areas as well as the bushlands have many flowering species which often flower en-masse, so it is wise to purchase over-the-counter hayfever or antihistamines from a local chemist before making a trip to see them with minimal discomfort. Beach-goers from colder climes might find the summer months too harsh, usually reaching about 35°C and sometimes up to 45°C during the midday, so it is perhaps best to visit during March-April or October-November as well as taking a hat, sun-screen lotion and sunglasses.
The local inhabitants tend to holiday during the height of summer or winter, either to escape the climate, or to celebrate it. In winter Perth inhabitants often travel north to Broome or Bali for the warmth, or oppositely staying in small chalets in the southern country during the winter to enjoy the cool wet climate and seasonal foods.
Although Western Australia has many public holidays they are unlikely to cause much inconvenience to your travels. Shops are still open, public transport still runs and the sky is still blue. The exception may be New Years' Day (Jan 1), Australia Day (26 Jan), Good Friday (10 Apr in 2020), Easter Monday (13 Apr in 2020), Labour Day (first Monday of March), Queen's Birthday (27 Sep) and Foundation Day (first Monday in June), Christmas Day (25 Dec) and Boxing Day (26 Dec). Most larger shops and shopping centres, pubs and restaurants are closed on these days but smaller convenience stores and some fast food chains keep their doors open. That said however, more and more stores are beginning to open on public holidays. Sunday trading came into existence in late 2012 and most shops have quickly adapted to opening on Sundays.
All scheduled international and domestic flights arrive and depart from Perth Airport (IATA: PER). Though all international and domestic services operate under the same Perth Airport banner, there are 4 terminals, with two located either side of the runway, or about 9km (15 minutes) by road. The airport is working towards full consolidation on the eastern side of the runway by the mid-late 2020s, however in the meantime passengers may need to transfer to the other precinct if connecting between Qantas or Jetstar flights and other airlines.
T3 and T4 are Qantas Group terminals, and are connected as part of the same building. All Qantas and Jetstar domestic flights depart and arrive here, as do Qantas's international services to/from London and Singapore (the only international flights Qantas operates from Perth)
T1 is also one building, with all non-Qantas international flights (including Jetstar's international flights) and all Virgin Australia domestic flights (except some regional flights, which depart from T2). T2 is located next to T1 and hosts budget carriers and some regional flights.
A new train connecting all terminals to the city by Bayswater on the Midland line is currently under construction, and due to open at the end of 2021. This will make getting to the city much easier and cheaper by public transport than at present.
Airlines & destinations
Major airlines operating from each terminal:
The city and major hotels can be easily accessed by taxi or commercial shuttle buses from all terminals. Courtesy phones are located inside the terminals (for the domestic terminal, the courtesy phone is surrounded by a large board advertising accommodation past the baggage conveyor belt as you leave the arrivals area).
For more than two people it is often cheaper and faster to take a taxi into the city (waiting time and drop off other passengers can make a shuttle bus service to the city very long). A taxi by meter to the city will cost approximately $40 from the international airport; the shuttle costs about $15 per person. It departs from T3 and T4.
Starting 1 November 2015, Transperth runs a limited stops express bus service number 380 servicing T1 and T2 (click here for the announcement). The number piggybacks on the Airbus A380 airliner in an attempt to make it easy to remember. The frequency is once every 30-60 minutes between 4.25am to 11.25pm from the City (Elizabeth Quay bus stop) and 5.20am to 1.20am from the Airport (each starting 1 hour later on weekends). The service uses accessible buses with dedicated luggage racks. Tickets are at standard public transport prices ($4.50 adults, $1.80 concession, cheaper using a Smartrider).
Located next to the international terminal (T1) the newly opened T2 has a cafe and convenience store located adjacent to the forecourt and check-in hall. Past security there is a pub, cafe, Subway outlet and newsagent/convenience store.
See T1 for public transport details.
T3 & T4
Transperth buses serve T3 and T4. Two bus routes, 37 and 40, service the airport. The 40 is much faster than the 37, but the routes are coordinated to maximise frequency (e.g. 37 at :00, 40 at :15, 37 at :30, 40 at :45), so don't leave a 37 to wait for the 40, except in peak periods. Finally, a warning that only some 37s go to the airport: many terminate earlier. Check the display on the front of the bus to ensure you are on a full length service. The service cost $4.20 per adult, and cheaper for children. The bus drivers take cash and give change.
Please take care on these routes, they pass through some rougher areas of Perth and assaults have been witnessed on these buses. It is highly advised to avoid using these buses at night full stop. See if you can buy a transperth Smartrider tap-and-go card at the airport with at least $10 on it.
Alternatively, use the shuttle bus, although this is much less frequent and more expensive, it is more direct.
There are a couple of coffee shops and food outlets both before and after security, as well as basic shopping, books and souvenirs. If you have some time to kill in transfers, there are some cafes open during business hours in the surrounding industrial park. Walk straight across the car park, or turn right and walk past the long term car park to the Flight Path Cafe in the Civil Aviation Authority building (very hot walk in summer).
Also take care using taxis, due to the advent of rideshare apps, the taxi industry has somewhat disintegrated, with quality of the vehicles and drivers at much lower levels than they used to be. Many vehicles are dirty and not even in roadworthy condition, with drivers poorly presented and often with poor driving. There are also repots of meters being rigged, one traveler has seen the meter go from $6 flagfall to $14 within about 60 seconds, and then to $34 for a 10mins trip from the airport.
It really is advised to use rideshares, however, it is very difficult at times to catch a rideshare from the airport, as drivers dont like to wait there. If you do try find one, you need to go to the specific Rideshare pickup area, otherwise the app wont work.
Rideshares should be around $30-35 from the airport terminals to the city area, maybe up to $50 at peak times (particularly very early morning). Also taxis have a $6 additional fare on sundays and public holidays.
A free transfer bus operates between T1/T2 and T3/T4 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Between 0600 and 2400 buses depart every 20 minutes and the journey takes approximately 10 minutes. From 2400 to 0600 buses depart every 30 minutes.
Note: as of January 2021, this terminal transfer bus has been suspended. The only option between the T1/T2 and T3/T4 is taxis, rideshare or private transport.
A taxi between the terminals will still cost at least $20. Also take care using taxis, due to the advent of rideshare apps, the taxi industry has somewhat disintegrated, with quality of the vehicles and drivers at much lower levels than they used to be.
Once the only way to way to get into Perth, a limited number of passenger ships now dock at Fremantle. A number of round the world cruise ships including the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria call into the Fremantle Passenger Terminal  on their own schedule. Sailing into Perth from the Indian Ocean is expensive. Since the covid-19 pandemic, there have been no cruise ships trips anymore.
The Indian Pacific  trans-continental railway runs from Perth to Sydney via Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill. It is generally not cheap, but this journey, which takes four days and three nights, is one of the world's great train journeys. The train traverses the longest stretch of straight track of any railway in the world (478km) as it journeys across The Nullarbor.
The Indian Pacific leaves from and arrives at the East Perth terminal, which connects with Perth's suburban rail network as well as the regional bus depot. The city centre is just a 5 min train ride away from the terminal. If you are carrying baggage, it is probably best to jump into a taxi as many of the city's hotels and hostels are located up to a few kilometres away from either of the stations.
Taking your car with you is also possible between Adelaide and Alice Springs, for an additional fee.
Regular train services (one or two per day, depending upon whether you are travelling during the week or on Saturday/Sunday) are available to and from the regional cites of Kalgoorlie (departing from East Perth) and Bunbury (departing from the Perth station). The Australind  train departs Perth Train Station at 9:30AM and 5:55PM daily for Bunbury in the south west with various coach connections, and The Prospector  departs from the Public Transport Centre (East Perth) at various time to the inland city of Kalgoorlie.
There is currently no regular scheduled coach service across the Nullarbor Plain between Perth and Adelaide. People wishing to travel by road may wish to consider one of the adventure oriented tours that include camping and sightseeing. The only one currently operating on a regular schedule is Nullabor Traveller  Adelaide to Perth and Perth to Adelaide
Driving a car from Perth and Adelaide is also an option and the road and accommodation infrastructure makes it achievable without too much stress. However, be warned that it is still a 2,700 km drive and is considered a 'once in a lifetime' activity for locals. You need to allow 3 days for the trip and around $400 for petrol at least, with food and accommodation being expensive on the way.
The main operator of regional bus services in south west Western Australia is the government run Transwa . Coaches also depart from the Public Transport Centre to various locations around the state.
Coach services are available from Transwa or South West Coach Lines (enquire at their office in Elizabeth Quay Bus Station). See the TransWA website, most departures are from the East Perth station. Most frequent journeys are to larger regional cities like Albany, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and all stops en route. Advised to book in advance, otherwise you may find the bus booking out. Buses are large and comfortable, with toilets, wiFi and movies on board.
By public transport
The Perth metropolitan area has a fairly reliable and inexpensive public transport system operated by Transperth . Information about timetables, fares, disruptions or service alterations can be found on their website, by calling 13 62 13 or at 'Transperth InfoCentres' located in at the Perth train station and a couple of branches in the City. The frequency of public transport decreases remarkably on weekends, and on weekdays in the evenings after 7 or 8pm. Always plan your journey before you travel. Travelling to the tourist attractions within Perth, Fremantle, Cottesloe, Scarborough is easy by public transport, but outside of that a car is significantly better. You can also use the Fremantle train line to access ferries to Rottnest Island.
A reasonably reliable network of public bus services run around the suburbs between bus and train stations. They are sporadic on weekends and public holidays, and at nighttime too. Some routes are well-served, for example, the city to Curtin University or the city to Belmont Forum, but you should obtain the Transperth app and try to plan your journey in advance as much as possible.
Transperth also operates a free CAT bus service in Perth CBD, Fremantle and Joondalup. The large air-conditioned buses of different colours with the distinctive cat logo run about every 10 min on various routes around major facilities and attractions. They are a great way of getting from one place to another.
The buses are free leaving and entering the city within the Free Transit Zone - it runs from Newcastle Street down and from the end of Kings Park when going towards Subiaco. This does not require a SmartRider, just get on.
Perth's suburban railway network is great for quickly getting to outlying suburban areas, and extends down south to Mandurah. All services stop at the Perth station in the City on their way to or from the outlying terminating stations. The Mandurah line travels through the Elizabeth Quay station adjacent to the bus station and the south of the city. There are numerous extensions and additional lines in the works at the moment as well for the Joondalup and Armadale lines, plus a new line to Ellenbrook and spur line between Thornlie and the Mandurah line.
Train services run frequently during peak hours and every 15 min during weekday daylight hours and 30 min after 7PM and weekends. Services commence around 5:30AM cease at around midnight. During peak hours Perth Station can get quite busy, though it is always very safe
Transperth operates a passenger ferry across the Swan River from Elizabeth Quay Jetty, where it connects with the Blue CAT bus, running to South Perth (on the promenade at the foot Mends Street). Fares are the same as the equivalent bus journey, and SmartRider cards are accepted. Services run every 15 minutes in peak times, and every 30 minutes off-peak. From the Elizabeth Quay Jetty it is a short walk past the Elizabeth Quay Station to main shopping and business streets of the CBD, whilst the South Perth terminal is a short walk to the Perth Zoo.(Timetable/map) If you're short on cash, this public ferry makes a nice, cheap way to get on the water without paying for a tour, and the walk along the South Perth foreshore is great. If you're feeling energetic, walk all the way to the Vic Park bus station, and get a bus back to the city.
The Transperth system is divided into 9 concentric zones, as well as the Free Transit Zone (city centre and surrounds). The Free Transit Zone on the trains is only available to SmartRider (transport card) holders, passengers without a card have to buy a ticket. Tickets and passes are valid on all buses and trains within a zone. Tickets are valid for two hours and can be used on your return trip.
Zone 2 extends as far as Fremantle and for most visitors a two zone ticket will suffice. Single trip, cash tickets can be purchased from bus drivers or coin-operated ticket machines located at train stations. The more convenient SmartRider cards automatically calculate your fare and deduct it from your card when you tag on and off upon boarding and alighting bus and train services. SmartRiders can be bought or recharged at Transperth InfoCentres, major train and bus stations and/or from most Newsagents. Bus drivers can also charge your SmartRider for you, however they will not provide change. SmartRider cards carry a 10% discount over cash fares.
It is recommended to register your Smartrider online and download the app, then fares drop to around 20% less than the cash fares, and is a great deal more convenient. If you are spending any amount of time in Perth, you can add auto-top up, so you dont need to look around for somewhere to top-up.
There are $12.60 DayRider tickets available after 9am during the week and anytime on weekends. FamilyRider tickets also cost $12.60 and allow two standard fare passengers plus up to five concession passengers unlimited travel - these are only available after 6pm Monday to Thursday, after 3pm on Fridays, and from 9am on weekends and school or public holidays. This is an excellent value for couples and couples with children, as a standard one-way fare alone runs from $2.80 for one zone, $4.20 for two zones, and $5.10 for three zones.
With the advent of the new SmartRider system, those passengers not holding SmartRider cards will need to present their paper ticket to the transit guard upon entering and leaving Perth and Elizabeth Quay Stations and selected suburban stations. Also note if you are in possession of a TransWA ticket for coach travel to regional WA, that entitles you to free, unlimited travel on all Transperth train services on that day (not bus/ferry services).
Taxi experiences in Perth can range from hassle-free to problematic. Extended waits during peak periods (5AM-9AM Weekdays and Weekend Evenings) are common, but outside these times, taxis are plentiful. Booking a taxi is possible but only recommended if your journey is likely to be upwards of $35 or you are travelling to the airport. This is due to the convoluted way in which the dispatch services handle timed bookings. If your journey is likely to be short, it is better to simply call for a taxi once you are ready to leave, or hail a taxi if you are in a busy area.
Two major taxi companies are Swan Taxis (13 13 30), who dispatch Swan, TriColor, 13CABS, Yellow and Coastal taxis, and Black and White Taxis (131 008). Apart from these two companies, there is another company called Maxi Taxi Perth (0406 553 313) who is providing excellent service to people of Perth. They are specialized in Maxi Taxis, airport transfers and they also have wheelchair taxis too. Which means a van with a hoist wheel chair ramp can pick up any disable people especially even if they are on electric wheel-chair. They strongly suggest that you should book online. There are numerous smaller companies that operate mainly out of the Central Business District. Fares are regulated by the state government and all dispatch companies charge the same rate. Flagfall is $3.90 during weekdays, increasing to $5.70 on weeknights and weekends. The kilometre rate is $1.59/km charged in $0.10 increments. Surcharges apply on designated holiday periods (New Years Eve and Christmas Day) and on weekend nights between midnight and 5AM. Tipping taxi drivers in Perth is not customary, but adding a small gratuity ($1 or $2) on top of the fare is common for exceptional service.
Catching a taxi from an entertainment precinct late on a Friday or Saturday night sees clubbers waiting at taxi stands up to 2 hours for a ride home. Drivers are known to avoid picking up drunken patrons from outside of pubs, clubs or from the entrance to Perth station. There have been a recent spate of sexual assaults on female passengers so it is advisable to travel in groups. There are specially designated 'secure ranks' operating at these times where patrons can queue in (relative) safety. Another option is the late night Transperth trains and buses run specially for revellers after their night out.
If you do try to catch a taxi or rideshare from Northbridge late at night, walk away from the busy areas before requesting, it may be easier for drivers to pick you up then get stuck in the typical late-night traffic on James or Lake streets. Single women alone should always take care, and use the safety features on ridehsare apps.
Services at Perth Airport are always available and taxis arrive continually 24hrs a day. A typical taxi ride from the Domestic Airport to the City is around $40-50. There is a $2 airport tax payable on top of the fare and $6 public holiday/sunday/late night surcharge.
Please be aware the taxi industry is not what you used to be, and many taxis are in poor condition, with questionable charges on the meter. Try to check what a reasonable price should be before getting in, and ask for a receipt. Often, drivers claim to not have change, or also have taken circuitous routes to increase the fare further. Drivers personal hygiene can be terrible and the vehicles in bad condition. You can complain directly to the taxi company if any mishaps occur (look for the taxi number and drivers name on a plaque inside each vehicle). Champ taxis generally has a worse reputation than Swan Taxis, Black and White or 13 Cabs.
Rideshare service Uber is now very popular in Perth and most locals prefer it over taxis. They offer a cheaper (up to 50%) and generally more reliable private transport service than the major taxi companies, but can be limited in their locations for outlying areas. Users can sign up online using a mobile app and book a taxi from within the Perth CBD area to various locations, including the airport. There are several other apps available, such as Didi and Ola as well, all offering their own promotions and deals. If your Rideshare account if from overseas, you should be able to use it here, with charges being in $AUD and converted back on your home account.
It is hard to pickup a rideshare from any of the airport terminals, so you may need to rely on taxis or public transport. However, anywhere close to the city it is usually a breeze. Typical fares without surcharging would be $15 from CBD to casino, $30-35 CBD to airport and $10 for a short trip of 10mins of so. During the covid-19 pandemic, it is advised to sit in the back seat, and use hand sanitiser before/after your trip.
By bicycle or on foot
Perth and Fremantle can be comfortably explored on foot or by bicycle as Perth has some of the best cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in Australia. The Perth bicycle network features an ever growing, metro-wide system of bicycle/pedestrian paths. The system features;
Cycle maps are available from most bike shops, and at Planners Map . The Department for Planning and Infrastructure provides a range of guides, maps and brochures for bike riders. If you have a scenic route in mind, these brochures can take you to the coast, Kings Park, Armadale and the Hills or around the Swan River.
A favourite amongst seasoned local cyclists is the ride along the North side of the Swan River between the City and Nedlands. Allow 60 min for a round trip along this route, as you might encounter a strong headwind. Another great trip from the city is to head down to the foreshore, around Elizabeth Quay over the Narrows and along the South Perth foreshore, back across at Herrisson Island. You can also continue further up the Swan River past the casino, all offering great views and a very pleasant bike trip.
Bicycles are allowed on board Transperth trains but not during peak hour, unless they are the type of bicycle that can be folded up.
Renting a car is the ideal means of transportation for traveling to outlying attractions. Perth's major freeways and highways are free from any tolls, as is not the case in Sydney and Melbourne and from either of these major arterial roads, it is possible to be surrounded by beautiful countryside within 45mins or so. Indeed, public transport is only good for the city, Fremantle, Cottelsoe Beach, Scarborough and a handful of other areas of interest to tourists. For everything else, you simply need to have a car.
Rent-a-car providers are located at the airport and there are quite a few scattered around the city and the suburbs. You can save money by not accepting their expensive 'excess reduction' option, and instead use your own insurance policy from certain websites for excess reduction. Always check fine print carefully.
You generally need a valid credit card; otherwise call around to see who will accept a debit card with deposit left (usually $600 hold on your card). International drivers are permitted to drive on their foreign license for a period of 3 months, provided their license is in English or accompanied by a notarised translation. It is helpful to have an international driver's license should you have an accident or subsequent legal problems.
Unfortunately, a lot of overseas drivers have died or been seriously injured on WAs roads over the years, many of whom are not used to the faster speed limits and local driving conditions, or often have very little driving experience in their home countries. Remember, if you have a car accident, it is entirely your responsibility as the driver to have adequate insurance/coverage in the event of accident or breakdown, and if not, you will be expected to pay for all damaged that have occurred, as well as towing costs and the like.
The general speed limit within built-up areas is 50 km/h unless otherwise stated. In heavily built-up area in the city, it is 40 km/hr, or even 30 km/hr in some places.
Note that traffic in Perth (as elsewhere in Australia) travels in the left-hand lane. It is advisable to travel on the left hand lane even in dual carriageways for tourist drivers. This might take a bit of getting used to if you drive on the right-hand side back home. Even for right-hand drivers some things are different here like the ability to overtake on the inside of a vehicle on a freeway.
Note that Police are rarely seen out on the roads but manned mobile speed cameras operated by public servants are very prevalent. Driving even 5km/hr above the placarded speed can incur a fine. Driving 40km/hr above the placarded speed means the car is impounded for 28 days even if it not your car (hire cars excepted). Most tourists encounters with the WA Police are to do with driving issues, so remember fines are significant here and the rules strict. Long weekend public holidays attract extra police attention and 'double demerits' for infractions incurred by local drivers. Above all, the penalties for drink driving are the most serious. The limit is strictly 0.05 and you will be arrested if found to be behind the wheel over this limit.
There is plenty to see in the city centre within wandering distance or on a free CAT bus. Hidden among the sprawl of the surrounding and metropolitan area are a few worthwhile attractions usually less than an hour away by car, or a bit longer on public transport.
Outside of the metropolitan area are some unspoilt national parks, unpopulated coastline and other interesting locations.
There is a designated area in the zoo for kangaroos where they can wander on visitors' paths and the animals are used to people so you can see them very close.
To see semi-wild kangaroos visit the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park (a cemetery, but not European style)  - it's a walking distance from Whitfords Transperth Train/Metro Station - just cross the highway, the highway exit and look for the entrance on the left. As there is plenty of space for them you may see them not only eating but also hopping.
Many local golf clubs, Karrinyup Golf Club, Joondalup Golf Club will have Kangaroos dotted along the fairways, and it is very likely to spot them during a game of golf.
There are a lot of options if you have access to a car - from the city just head to the coast, then head north or south for some exploring.
Perth is well known for its indie music scene at established venues such as Amplifier Bar, Rosemount, Fly By Night, The Rocket Room and Mojos. Visit YourGigs  for upcoming gigs or Perth Indie Bands  for a selection of good Perth bands.
Previously thought by some to be lacklustre, shopping options in Perth have improved dramatically in recent years, with major international luxury brands such as Burberry, Gucci and Louis Vuitton now having branches in Perth, along with many local Western Australian boutiques. As a general rule, the luxury brands are located around the junction King's Street and Hay Street in the city centre, while mid-range options are generally to be found at the pedestrian-only Hay Street and Murray Street malls.
The largest concentration of boutique shops is in the City centre while adjacent Northbridge is the place for niche independent stores. Trendier suburbs such as Mount Lawley, Leederville and Subiaco have a number of offbeat designer fashion stores.
Large shopping complexes located in the outer suburbs, such as in Morley, Carousel, Cannington, Midland, Joondalup, Booragoon (Garden City), Innaloo and Karrinyup have the usual department and chain stores.
Fremantle Markets offers an experience on its own with its over 150 independent stalls, but is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Shopping hours in the Perth metropolitan area for medium size shops to large supermarket/department stores are:
Small supermarkets such as IGA as well as other small shops can have more flexible shopping hours (some Petrol stations and small corner stores are open 24 hours).
A 10% Goods and Services Tax is included in listed prices. Water Town (Previously (Harbour Town")) (Yellow CAT from any stop) is where manufacturers have their factory outlets; some good deals are to be had there.
After Christmas (and around July as well for many stores) is the best time to come to Perth for bargain shopping. Some Perth stores are open Boxing Day as well as the 27th December. Customers have been known to form a line across the street to even enter stores such as 'Guess' and Myer store entry and escalator movement is monitored by security guards to prevent floor crowding.
One of Perth's drawbacks is that its people have not embraced late night dining. Very few places will serve food after 10PM, even on Friday or Saturday nights. While most restaurants in Perth do cater for vegetarians (and more rarely vegans), the selection is often decidedly limited. If you are looking for a place that embraces vegetarian food, Fremantle is probably a better option.
There is an extensive array of restaurants in Northbridge. You will find a great selection of Southern European and Asian restaurants. Northbridge gets very busy on Friday and Saturday nights as Perth goes into party mode. Neighbouring Mount Lawley and Highgate also has some good options. Victoria Park has a stretch of restaurants along Albany Hwy which is a fairly steady location with the locals and has a few high quality restaurants, although is lower key and more casual.
Fremantle is a good eating option. Famous for its cappuccino strip lined with cafes next door to one another popular with the yuppie crowd. On weekends, a local tradition is to visit the Fisherman's Wharf on warm, sunny weekend evenings for fish and chips. There are a couple of options to choose from close to the beach. Just follow your nose or the seagulls. Further exploring in Fremantle, or "Freo" as it is locally known, can reveal lots of trendy, alternative restaurants that cater for the "careful" eaters. If you care about knowing what it is you are eating, (vegan, preservative free, fair trade, organic), try exploring the Freo markets area, or just ask around, they are often not in the "touristy areas". Little Creatures is a decent brewery. If you are looking for a decent fish and chip or seafood dinner, it is typically far more expensive by the coast (where the tourists are), excellent seafood at a better price can be sourced in the central and eastern suburbs.
Subiaco is located just a couple of kilometres from the city center. It is a trendy but fun suburb which features some great food and entertainment, although it can be quite expensive.
Claremont is a suburb on the Fremantle railway line where you will find some good restaurants as well (including authentic Italian), although, again, it can quite expensive and there is a limited range.
The Swan Valley, especially along West Swan Road contains various wineries, food producers and restaurants with stunning views over the vineyards. Particularly good are The Black Swan Cafe, Duckstein Brewery, Elmar's and The Mallard Duck Cafe.
Kalamunda and other Eastern hills suburbs offer hidden gems of cafes, small shops and food producers in beautiful countryside with stunning city views. Traditionally Perth locals used to go for picnics and produce festivals in these areas back in the 19th and early 20th century, however as the practice waned with fashions leading towards the coast, it is an excellent place to visit away from the touristy areas for a relaxing or peaceful trip to the bush with fine views and decent food not too far from the city. People often do DIY food tours to local orchards, vineyards, cheesemakers, bakeries and other cottage industries, arts and cafes as its not really organised. Its usually best to visit during Spring or soon after the rains when the forest is at its best.
Guildford has many antique stores (although like all Australian antique markets are visited by many hundreds of tourists as well as locals, so real bargains can be rare), but you can get decent cafe morning teas and lunches in some fine old architecture. This area has some of Perths oldest residential houses and grand building museums & cafes. The old theatre now houses a large Asian textile and artworks store worth a visit and a quirky taxidermy museum a few doors down. Alfreds Kitchen is a tiny but legendary burger bar to the locals, who amass in large crowds that opens at night.
A large Western Rock Lobster (known locally by its former name of crayfish) industry. Most of the crayfish is exported to Asia and USA for vast sums of money. However, crayfish prices in Perth can be relatively cheap, especially during summer in a good season. A chance to give it a try without breaking the bank.
Chilli Mussels are a popular local speciality, consisting of mussels cooked in tomato and chilli jus, available in various restaurants.
Truffles are grown around Mundaring and Manjimup.
The ubiquitous fast food chains serve the usual oily stuff.
If you're interested in a gourmet road trip, nearby Margaret River (about three hours drive away) is extremely popular for wine tasting, delicious chocolate and fresh, locally made food and produce. The Spring in the Valley Food & Wine Festival in the Swan Valley is increasingly popular, but at the cost of getting a place cheaply and it being overcrowded. Its best to visit the Swan Valley outside of the festival to get the best value, or during the festival if you like the crowds. Most of these places have websites that you can confirm times and dates and are open throughout the year.
Perth has an a number substandard Gloria Jeans, Miss Mauds and Dome stores mainly in the city centre and suburban shopping areas. A larger number of of independent cafes serving high quality coffee (of various types and brews) line the trendy streets of suburbs around the city centre. One of the most well known place for a espresso is the Cafe Strip in Fremantle closely, however, a higher standard can generally be found in Perth, Mt Lawley, Leederville, South Perth and other inner-city suburbs. Although Perth culture has a high quality taste for coffee and demands very high standards in product, Perth has some of the more expensive coffee prices in the country with a normal sized coffee (e.g. latte) coming close to $4.
Pubs and bars
Perth has bars scattered throughout the city but most bars are in the CBD, Northbridge, Subiaco, Leederville, Victoria Park, Mount Lawley & Fremantle areas. Bars usually become busy after 5pm with the afterwork crowd, but most locals tend to go to bars on Friday & Saturday nights. The CBD bars in particular get very busy on Friday nights with many of the popular bars forming long entry lines. Most bars open from around 11AM and close midnight, although most bars in Northbridge and around the city centre stay open until 1 or 2am, and many bars in other areas have special extended liquor trading hours to either 1, 2 or 3AM. There has been an increase in small bars and bistro dining in niche areas of the CBD, however these are typically expensive even though good quality, so shop around for a good value evening. Smoking is prohibited inside all pubs and bars.
Club nights and both international and local gigs are held at a variety of venues across the city centre, Northbridge, Subiaco and Leederville, with some clubs scattered further out. Club nights are popular or Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with few venues opening past midnight on other days and none on Sundays (due to licensing laws). Check out local street press magazines such as Xpress for gig guides and further info for a comprehensive gig guide
Almost all clubs in Western Australia have very strict ID policies and scanners, so in most venues it is impossible to enter without appropriate ID (either a passport or an Australian issued Proof of Age card or Driver's License).
An unfortunate effect of the current mining boom is that the price of accommodation in Perth has skyrocketed in recent years, with average room rates currently higher than those in Sydney, Melbourne or even Rome. Figure on paying over $100 per night for even the most basic room, and over $200 for a 4-star hotel. In general, room rates tend to be most expensive in mid-week, when many business travellers visit, while (relative) bargains can often be found on the weekends.
Hotels and Motels
Most of Perth's hotels are concentrated in the city centre, the neighbouring suburb of East Perth, as well as the seaside suburb of Fremantle. Though slightly further, the coastal town of Mandurah, which is easily accessible by Perth's suburban railway system, is a popular weekend getaway for Perth's residents, and has several hotels and beach resorts to cater to that crowd.
Hostels and backpackers
Perth is very popular with backpackers and there are a large number of backpackers' hostels located in the city, particularly in the Northbridge area. Be warned there are a few hostels in Perth that are in terrible condition make sure to see your room or check the ratings online.
Long Term Stay
If you plan to stay for a longer period than one month in Perth you might consider renting an apartment or share room. You can find these accommodations online, for example on Gumtree. Prices range from $120 to $240 per week. Be warned for impostors though and be sure to always read the contract before actually paying the bond.
Caravan parks are a cost effective and often good value family way to stay in Perth. Caravan parks are usually some distance from the city, but some have bus stops right out the front door. Caravan parks are generally clean and offer a variety of accommodation types.
The main dangers that an overseas visitor to Perth faces are sunburn and dehydration. Make sure you cover yourself with SPF 30+ sunscreen and a hat, and preferably a shirt and always keep a bottle of water with you (preferably a litre or more), especially in the warmer months. Also be wary of dehydration in the hot weather. An insect repellent such as 'Aeroguard' will be useful on summer evenings if you are outdoors.
Perth is relatively safe, though its best to exercise caution at night. Some areas such as Northbridge are also known to be 'trouble spots' on weekend nights and tourists should be careful. Drunken violence is a huge problem and heavily concentrated in a small area in Northbridge, which is compounded somewhat by Perth being the R & R destination for mining workers from around country and world (many of whom are stuck in WA due to covid pandemic). The daily local news on Mondays is nearly always awash with stories and slightly frightening images of violence in the central areas of Perth.
Perth citizens (as with most Australians) almost never carry firearms or other weaponry, but unfortunately some people do carry knives and other weapons. Overall Perth is becoming safer, due to small alleyways and other niche problem zones being refurbished, but issues remain. Theres no need for paranoia, Perth is fairly safe, but you just need to aware of certain things, especially when going out.
There are some people under the influence of drugs/alcohol roaming through the city area, and a lot of homeless people for a relatively small city like Perth (as well as large groups of intoxicated revellers on Friday/Saturday nights). Generally these people won't bother you, apart from random yelling and look disheveled, but you should still be careful. The main spots where they hang out include around McDonalds on Barrack St & Hay St Mall, directly in front of Perth CBD train station, the area between Perth station and Northbridge, and the park on James street in Northbridge. The fast food venues on William street and immediate area can also be a bit volatile at times.
Fremantle also can have its problem areas too, with a homeless camp setup opposite the Fremantle stations for weeks recently. Scarborough also has an issue with drunken violence. Bouncers and hospitality venue staff and security guards can be a little heavy-handed in their approach to entering venues and maintaining security, try not to have an argument with them. Generally, your night out should be without incident, you just need to walk away from potentially volatile situations as soon as possible.
The main thing to remember Perth is a beachside City, not a 24-hour city like Tokyo, New York or London. It is a smaller, very isolated city where most locals live in the surrounding suburbs.
Trains are generally safe, and Transit Officers patrol all train services after 19:00, and also do so routinely throughout the day. All railway stations are fitted with an emergency call facility, usually accompanied by the ticket vending machines (note that the emergency call facility will connect to the Railway Police, and not the Western Australia Police Service). All stations have cameras constantly monitored by the Railway Police. In each carriage of every train, there is a call button near the either of the doors which allows a passenger to communicate with the train driver in an emergency. If it is not safe to use one of these buttons due to their position, any passenger may walk to the next carriage and use the call button there, or ring 9220 9999.
The Armadale/Thornlie Train line especially in the areas of Burswood and Carlisle has had some assaults from gangs travelling on the train system. As of 2021, there are transit security posted at most station and roving on trains, so security has improved a lot. Just take care travelling at night, and particularly walking away through deserted streets late at night.
The bus network is generally safe, but after hours can be a little more dangerous than the train network. It is not patrolled by the Railway Police, and bus security patrols are limited. Reports of attacks by people throwing rocks at buses and general antisocial behaviour is not unheard of. The main station (& its associated routes) that should be avoided is Mirrabooka. If you have to travel by bus at night, sit towards the front of the bus. If an incident on the bus occurs, tell the driver. Incidents — including violent attacks — carry on for far too long as they are not reported. The driver should then radio for assistance and will be met by bus security. Also be aware on the routes through Belmont, Burswood and Carlisle areas anytime of day (including where the airport buses pass through).
Police are generally friendly and approachable. To contact the emergency services, call 000. For general enquiries and for police assistance when the matter is not urgent, ring 131 444 (international: +61 8 9222 1111).
Be wary of using ATMs, fraudulent devices have been added to some across Perth, but the prevalence is no higher than in any major city. Recently ATM bombings have been reported more frequently compared to other Australian cities. The most notable incident is the bombing of 4 ATMs at the Harbour Town Shopping complex in West Perth in January 2013. There was no injury as it occurred when the centre was closed, but it did cause severe structural damage to the building. Be wary of using ATMs in secluded places at night or during the early hours of the morning.