Plan the Perfect Long Weekend in Perth

Perth skyline view over the Swan River

Perth, the capital of Western Australia, might be the most isolated capital city in the world, but it can be the perfect long weekend escape from the eastern states.

Whether you’re in town to catch a footy match or you’re using Perth as a starting point for a longer road tripping adventure in WA, we’ll take you through our favourite things to do and the best places to stay to make the most of this glorious city.

This post is part of our series Discover Australia

Navigating Your Way Across Perth

Australia’s 4th largest city sprawls along the Indian Ocean coast. While the CBD is quite compact and easy to navigate, hiring a car can be a good idea for a long weekend in Perth to explore further afield, as the Transperth train and bus system will only get you so far.

That said, the free CAT (Central Area Transit) buses and the simple grid layout of the city make Perth an easy place to explore on foot and a great place to base yourself for a long weekend. Look for accommodation along a CAT route to easily get to major transit hubs, such as Elizabeth Quay Bus Station and Perth Train Station.

If you are in town for a sporting match, we’d recommend East Perth accommodation to put you within walking distance of the WACA and Optus Stadium across Matagarup Bridge.

Top Sites and Attractions in Perth

You’ll want to get the following places on your itinerary around Perth to get a great perspective of the city. Let’s start with some fairly central city attractions that appeal to all the family.

Elizabeth Quay

This vibrant waterfront precinct in the heart of Perth offers stunning views of the Swan River and the city skyline. Elizabeth Quay is a hub of activity, featuring fine dining, casual eateries, and bars. Visitors can enjoy art installations, visit the Bell Tower, take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, or hop on a ferry for a scenic ride.

overhead view at sunset of Elizabeth Quay in perth
Elizabeth Quay is the modern heart of Perth city

Take a Boat Cruise along the Swan River

Experience Perth from a different perspective with a relaxing river cruise. Options range from scenic daytime cruises to enchanting dinner cruises, offering views of iconic landmarks such as the Bell Tower and Kings Park from the water.

If you want a short and simple trip to take the kids on the water, why not head on the South Perth ferry? At minimal cost, it takes just 10 minutes in both directions and will give you fabulous city views.

Another fun water experience the kids will love is Little Ferry Co. Their eco-friendly solar electric ferry takes you on a guided river tour from Elizabeth Quay to East Perth.

East perth view to the city
East Perth is easy to reach by ferry along the Swan River and offers great visitor accommodation

Kings Park

One of the largest inner-city parks in the world, Kings Park offers spectacular views of Perth’s skyline and the Swan River. It’s perfect for picnics, nature walks, and botanical exploration.

As well as multiple kids’ playgrounds, the park also features war memorials, a treetop walk, and diverse native plant life, making it a significant cultural and natural attraction in the city.

Cycling Around the Bridges

A favourite among locals and tourists alike, cycling around the Swan River’s bridges provides a unique way to see the city. The route covers several major bridges, offering panoramic views and a fresh perspective of Perth’s beautiful landscape. This activity is perfect for those looking to combine fitness with sightseeing.

a family cycling along the south perth foreshore

Easy Day Trips from Perth

Within easy reach of Perth, we recommend you take a half to a full day to explore one or two of these spectacular locations on a long weekend in Perth:

Hillarys Boat Harbour

Home to the wonderful Aquarium of Western Australia (AQWA), take an in-depth look at the marine life of Western Australia’s waters. With one of the world’s largest walk-through aquariums, visitors can come face to face with sharks, rays, and hundreds of other sea creatures.

Afterwards, enjoy the many eateries, ice creameries and boutiques and pack your togs for the calm swimming cove, perfect for the little ones. Older kids will enjoy the swimming pontoon and waterslides at Hillarys.

Day Trip to Fremantle

Just a short drive from Perth or an easy train journey, Fremantle is a charming port city known for its maritime history and vibrant arts scene. Visitors can explore the historic Fremantle Prison, browse the Fremantle Markets, and savour fresh seafood at the Fishing Boat Harbour.

The town’s eclectic mix of architecture and cultures makes it a fascinating destination for a day trip from Perth, and plentiful parks, gardens and accessible beaches make it a great place to visit with kids.

a view of the beach and bpoat harbour in fremantle, western australia

Take a Swan Valley Wine Tour

A short drive from Perth, Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine region. Visitors can sample exquisite local wines and gourmet foods and enjoy beautiful vineyard scenery. Many tour companies offer visits to local breweries and distilleries as well, with pick-ups from the city so you can fully enjoy your day.

Rottnest Island

Famous for its laid-back atmosphere and the adorable quokkas, Rottnest Island is a must-visit. Accessible by ferry from Perth, Fremantle and Hillarys Boat Harbour, this protected island offers pristine beaches, snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, and the chance to take a selfie with the friendly quokkas. It’s an ideal spot for a relaxing day away from the city.

The best way to see the island is to hire some bikes and take your time exploring the many beaches and hidden coves. You can extend your visit by arranging an overnight stay at one of the island’s self-contained units or try the unique glamping tents at Pinky Beach.

bikes on Rottnest island

Mundaring Weir

Mundaring Weir is a historical engineering marvel in the scenic Perth Hills. Take a glimpse into Western Australia’s water supply history with informative displays at the No. 1 Pump Station Museum. The area around the weir is perfect for bushwalking, picnicking, and enjoying the natural surroundings.

Weekends at Mundairing Weir Hotel are packed full of live entertainment, so make sure to book ahead if you’d like to dine or enjoy a show at this WA icon.

Scarborough Beach

Known for its vibrant atmosphere and stunning ocean views, Scarborough Beach is one of Perth’s most popular coastal spots. This beach features a recently upgraded foreshore with a new pool, skate park, and various cafes and shops.

Whether you’re up for surfing, sunbathing, or simply enjoying a sunset over the Indian Ocean, Scarborough Beach offers a lively and picturesque setting for beach lovers and would make the perfect place to end your long weekend in Perth.

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overhead view of Elizabeth Quay in perth with text overlay perth attractions
view of the suspended bridge in kings park with title text overlay How to spend a long weekend in Perth WA

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