21 free things to do in Perth
1. Head to Elizabeth Quay and wander the riverside trail, cycling or walking through the one and a half hectares of gardens that run along the Swan River.
2. Enjoy some stargazing under the clear night skies of Mandurah or the Perth Hills. Perth itself doesn't have too much light pollution either, if you're lazy!
3. Hit the beach! Perth is home to the famous Cottesloe and Scarborough beaches which feature white sand and crystal blue water. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
4. The City of Perth runs daily free walking tours. Go on an orientation tour to get your bearings, or try out one of their four themed tours to see Perth from a different angle.
5. Northbridge Piazza runs free activities throughout the year. Watch cricket games or movies on the big screen or start your day with some yoga and Tai Chi. Check out their website for a list of events and activities.
6. Visit the Perth Cultural Centre, home of the Western Australian Museum, the State Library of Western Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art – they all have free entry!
7. Jump in the car and go for a short drive south of Perth to Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, where you can dive, swim, snorkel, fish and surf in the gorgeous waters while spotting penguins, sea lions and dolphins!
8. Immerse yourself in nature. Perth is surrounded by a large number of national and marine parks where you can hike, swim and animal watch. Some parks do have entry fees, so make sure you check the Explore Parks WA website before you go.
Image: Tourism Western Australia/@global_planan
9. September to November is wildflower season in Perth, where wildflowers bloom along the urban and coastal walking trails. Spot the different types and learn about Perth’s flora as you go.
10. Perth and the surrounding suburbs are chock-a-block full of markets that are great for window shopping. There are farmers markets, artisan markets and even night markets, so take your pick!
11. Go wildlife watching! Head to Heirisson Island to look out for kangaroos at dusk and dawn, spot native black swans floating along the river or to keep an eye out for the thousands of other species of birds that inhabit Perth’s urban and national parks.
12. Check out St. Mary's Cathedral in Victoria Square – a grandiose building with an interesting mishmash of architectural styles.
13. Explore Kings Park and Botanic Garden and walk through the tree tops on the Federation Walkway while looking out over the city of Perth. Free guided tours are also available.
14. Head out to the airport to the outdoor viewing platform and feed your aero-curiosity by watching planes take off and land – bonus points if you pack a picnic.
15. Browse the Aboriginal art gallery and shop at Kings Park. Immerse yourself in Indigenous culture, wander through the gallery, meet and talk to Aboriginal artists and observe them as they work.
16. Spend the day visiting wineries and food producers in the Swan Valley, where free samples of the amazing food and wine produced in the region abound. Also drop by the Maalinup Gallery to view some local Aboriginal art.
17. Watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Head to your favourite west-facing beach and relax on the sand while the sun sets, setting the water ablaze with glittering yellow and orange.
18. Spend the day in fascinating Fremantle, just 30 minutes south-west of Perth City. This characterful district is full of rich convict history, cute hip cafes, bars with live music, stunning beaches and the famous Fremantle markets. Pro tip: the Little Creatures Brewery has free bike hire!
Image: Tourism Western Australia
19. Get your groove on at Danza Loca in Northbridge – they offer free introductory salsa and Kizomba classes and free social dancing afterwards so you can dance the night away. Check their website for days and locations.
20. Hike up to the lovely Lesmurdie Falls in the Mundy Regional Park. There's various trails you can take, varying between 45 minutes and 2 hours. Best in Winter/Spring when the extra rainfall swells the falls to an impressive cascade.
21. Need a running buddy? Lululemon Perth City store has a run collective – a social running movement that welcomes runners of all levels, pacing and distance. Sessions are held every Tuesday at 5:45pm and Sunday from 8:00am.
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