Perth Things to Do Tips by Kathrin_E
Perth Things to Do: 784 reviews and 1,220 photos
Murray Street Mall
Perth's shopping area is small and easily walkable. Hay Street and Murray street are pedestrian malls between Barrack and William Street. This is where the big shops are. I enjoyed shopping for clothes and stuff...
In case you want to buy some Aussie music as souvenir, JB40 in Hay Street is a big and well-assorted CD shop.
There are also a number of tourist souvenir shops in this area - prices for the same items can differ quite a bit from shop to shop and comparing prices beffore buying is recommended.
The two parallel streets are connected by a number of indoor malls and passages, some of which continue to St George's Terrace. Note that due to topography, Hay Street is one storey higher than Murray Street. Some malls that leave Murray Street on ground level pass underneath Hay Street and you'll suddenly find yourself in St George's Terrace.
Bell Tower at sunset
The Bell Tower was erected in 1988 to host a special gift the capital of Western Australia received to commemorate the bicentennary of Australia. The twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London as well as five specially cast bells came to Perth. Together with one more that was donated by the state of Western Australia for the millennium, they now form a circle of 18 bells.
Each bell is rung by hand with a rope. Groups of volunteers have been trained to do the ringing. The bells can be heard in Central Perth in certain intervals throughout the day.
Visitors can watch the bell ringers from a gallery.
The extravagant architecture with the glass spire and copper sails has become a new landmark in the cityscape of Perth.
In addition to the Swan Bells, the tower contains an exhibition on clocks, bells and bell casting. The terrace at the top offers a nice view of the river and downtown skyline.
The entrance fee is $ 11 for adults, which is a bit exaggerated for the tower's attractions in my humble tourist opinion. If you have a lot of time in Perth the tower and the bells might be interesting to see. If your time is limited, however, this is not one of the top must-sees that absolutely have to be done.
Address: Barrack Square
Directions: Perth City Centre, on the river bank next to Barrack Street Jetty
Villas and yachts on the river
River cruises on Swan River are a great and relaxed way of getting a different view of the city. Boats run on a regular timetable from Barrack Street Jetty in Central Perth to Fremantle and back. The cruise takes about one and a half hours each way. I'd recommend going one way by train (Fremantle Line) to save some time.
Photographers: Take the cruise back to Perth in the afternoon for the best light. If you are lucky you'll even catch the magical reflection of the low standing sun on the glass facades of the skyscrapers.
The cruise takes you along the wealthiest quarters of the city. The houses on the hilltops overlooking the winding river must be worth several millions. Well, I would not mind living in one of those villas. Everyone seems to own a yacht or at least a sailing boat, the river is full of yacht harbours and mooring places. After every river bend you'll get new views.
There are two companies offering boat cruises: Captain Cook and Oceanic. Check their websites for timetables, fares and package offers.
Travelogue page with more photos
St George's Cathedral
St George's Cathedral is the centre of the Anglican church in Western Australia. The present building, which substituted a smaller church erected 40 years earlier, wan begun in 1879 and consecrated in 1888. It is designed in English Victorian Gothic Revival style and strongly resembles old English churches. Architecture and interior are very 19th century historism, the stained glass windows even more so. The walls were made of of bricks with stone trimmings. Local jarrah wood was used as timber for the ceiling.
Opening hours: 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Address: St George's Terrace
White kangaroos at Caversham Wildlife Park
Caversham Wildlife Park is, besides the Zoo, the second option in Perth to see a wide variety of Aussie animals. You can get close to them, enter some enclosures, feed the kangaroos, touch a koala's fur, have your photo taken with an animal. The star of the show is Big Bubs the Wombat - I was even allowed to hold her myself because the park was not very busy that day - usually she stays in the keeper's lap. In addition to the Aussie species the park also has domestic animals.
Compared to Perth Zoo, Caversham is the better choice for families with kids and generally people who want to interact with the animals, feed and pat them. People who prefer observing animals in their natural habitat and behaviour to treating them as pets will feel happier at Perth Zoo.
The disadvantage of Caversham Wildlife Park is its location far out of the city in Whiteman Park - you need a car, getting there by public transport is difficult.
More animal photos on my travelogue page
Government House is the home of the Governor, the representative of the official Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II. The Victorian building was designed in neo-medieval style and is supposed to resemble old English castles. It is surrounded by a large garden and can only be spotted through some gaps between trees and shrubs.
The grounds are protected by a wall and usually closed. On some days, however, the gardens will be opened to the public for an hour or two around lunchtime. If they are, a sign will be put up on the sidewalk of St George's Terrace.
Address: St George's Terrace
The Supreme Court, the highest law court of Western Australia, occupies a neoclassical building off Barrack Street and St George's Terrace. The building cannot be visited. More interesting for visitors: it is surrounded by a beautiful garden which is open to the public. Many people who work in the nearby office towers come to spend their lunch break here.
Address: Barrack Street
Art Gallery of Western Australia
The Art Gallery offers "exciting encounters with the art of Western Australia, Australian Indigenous art and the art of the world" (quote from their website).
The house hosts an impressive collection of indigenous art. I do not know enough about the art of Australia's aborigines to really appreciate the quality but the collection seems to be at highest level. All I could do was watch and marvel - the works are unusual to the eyes of a western art historian but definitely fascinating.
Large parts of the gallery are used for temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, often two or three at the same time. Check on the website what is on, or let yourself be surprised. I got to see an exhibition of art works done by 12th grade high school students which was surprisingly good.
Address: Cultural Centre
Directions: Next to the train station on the Northbridge side
Dinosaur in the "Land and People" exhibition
Western Australia Museum consists of several departments that present history, culture, flora and fauna of Perth and Western Australia.
Old Gaol: The restored building contains an exhibition on life in 19th century Perth, furniture and household items, a blacksmith's shop, a pharmacy, technical devices like grammophones and telephones, and children's clothes and toys.
Natural history and science: A traditional natural history museum showing birds, mammals, butterflies, maritime gallery - mostly dead stuffed animals and preparates. Not my favourite part.
Discovery centre for adults and children: interactive exhibition on nature with materials to touch, drawers to open, and a lot of discoveries to be made.
West Australia - Land and People exhibition in the old library wing, left of the main entrance.
This exhibition is excellent and absolutely worth visiting. The best the museum has to offer.
The presentation begins with the creation of the world a) according to the local aboriginal myth and b) according to modern science, both presented as equals. The era of the dinosaurs. the arrival and life of the aborigines. White settlement and colonization, including both the life of the early settlers and the consequences for the native population, are explained from individual persons and their fates, proved by historical sources. Cultural differences are shown from the perspectives of both winners and losers.
The second half is dedicated to man's interference with nature and its environmental consequences: Farming, mining, whaling and fishing, wood industry, gold rush and exploitation of other natural ressources, the growth of Perth metropolis. Resulting ecology problems like salination (which I was then able to observe and understand during our drive to Kalgoorlie and Esperance a few days later), lack of water, extinction of native animal species because of pollution, traffic and forest clearing, the introduction of feral animals.
All these aspects together are presented and explained in a general overview that shows the complexity of the sensitive ecosystem. Computer touchscreens allow venturing for further information to your liking.
Address: Cultural Centre
Directions: next to the train station on the Northbridge side
THE VIEW of Perth, the one inevitable view that every visitor must have a photo of, is the view of the city centre skyline and the river from the lookout in Kings Park. The appearance changes throughout the day with the changing light. At night it is even more impressive.
Don't miss going up at least once in the daytime and once at night. The place is busy enough in the evening after dark, no worries.
If you have no tripod, the stone balustrade of the platform makes a good tripod substitute.
Address: Kings Park, lookout at Fraser Avenue
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