Welcome to Perth’s ultimate top 10 list. From vibrant gardens, idyllic islands and stunning beaches to unforgettable culture, food and sport, Australia’s sunniest capital city brims with adventure and unpretentious luxury.

A sun-kissed urban metropolis, Perth is one of a kind. Heritage buildings rub shoulders with gritty street art, while state-of-the-art museums compete with the lure of the iconic Swan River or serene blue-ocean beaches, located just a hop-skip-jump away.

Tiptoe through Kings Park, seek out quirky quokkas or indulge in Perth’s energetic food and wine scene, where local produce shines in the hands of passionate producers.

Not sure where to start? Here are the top 10.

Diners at Emily Taylor Bar & Kitchen at The Warders Hotel, Fremantle

Emily Taylor, Fremantle

Fremantle: Coastal vibes and urban adventure

The world is your oyster in Fremantle. Perth’s sister city is edgy yet refined, juxtaposing its historic maritime and heritage past with a new world order of eclectic bars, cafes, restaurants and nightlife.

Walk in the footsteps of the convict inmates at World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison, discover fascinating seafaring history at the WA Maritime Museum and WA Shipwrecks Museum, or admire street art down every alley. Then follow your nose to the harbour for mouth-watering fish and chips framed by a stunning Indian Ocean sunset, and a brew from one of the pioneers of the craft beer scene in Australia.

Aerial View of swimmer at Little Armstrong Bay, Rottnest Island

Little Armstrong Bay, Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island: An idyllic island paradise

Gaze out from the Perth shoreline and, shimmering 19 kilometres in the distance, you’ll see Rottnest Island. The idyllic island, home to 63 picture-perfect beaches and 20 beautiful bays, is blissfully car-free and much loved by locals and visitors alike.

Snorkel colourful coral reefs and shipwrecks, discover secret swim spots like the gorgeous Little Parakeet Bay, or grab a board to surf slow-peeling Indian Ocean waves. Discover the island’s history on a guided tour. Wildlife abounds on ‘Rotto’, but the star attraction? The marsupial with the most infectious smile you’ll ever see, the quokka.

As the day sinks into evening, eat, drink and be merry at Thomson’s Bay, a spectacular sunset keeping you company before it disappears into the ocean.

Eye level view of Optus Stadium, Perth

Optus Stadium, Perth

Optus Stadium: Home of the action

Voted the ‘most beautiful stadium in the world’ in 2019 thanks to its state-of-the-art design and sweeping views of Perth and the Swan River, Optus Stadium keeps on getting better.

Chant in unison with 60,000 revellers at a blockbuster sports or music performance – the stadium offers an action-packed line-up of events year-round and is home to the Australian Football League in Western Australia

Get out of your comfort zone and explore Optus Stadium from every angle. Zip and climb the Matagarup Bridge, step off the roof in an adrenaline-rushing Vertigo experience or catch unparalleled views on the 78-step HALO Rooftop Climb.

Scarborough Beach: Life’s a beach

Sun-seekers, surfers and swimmers flock to Scarborough Beach for sublime swells and long stretches of snow-white sand by day and a laid-back vibe by night.

Scarborough Beach is a short 20-minute drive from Perth and a popular holiday destination in its own right. Lay a picnic blanket out on the grassy areas or seek shade under the gazebos, breathing in the heady smell of sausages grilling on public barbecues. A recent addition, the open-air Scarborough Beach Pool is geothermally heated for perfect year-round swimming.

As the afternoon sea breeze kicks in, kitesurfers and windsurfers hit the water, families cool off with cones of gelato, and sun-kissed beachgoers descend on the buzzing restaurants, cafes and bars lining the shore.

Visitors climbing the golden spiral staircase at the WA Museum Boola Bardip, Perth

WA Museum Boola Bardip

WA Museum Boola Bardip: A modern museum like no other

Discover Western Australia’s fascinating people, places and role in the world at the awe-inspiring WA Museum Boola Bardip. Opened in 2020 and meaning ‘many stories’ in the Nyoongar language, this extraordinary museum uses state-of-the-art technology, interactive exhibits and treasured artefacts to create a truly unique experience.

At the museum’s heart is a recognition of the rights of the land’s traditional custodians to express their cultural heritage – it’s a ‘people-first’ approach to curation that puts the stories and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at the forefront.

Gaze at the museum’s vibrant mix of modern and contemporary architecture, delve deeper on an insightful guided tour, or simply wander the eight exhibitions at your own pace, immersing yourself in the state’s compelling stories. Whatever you do, just go.

Kings Park: A spectacular inner-city oasis

For a rejuvenating pause to your urban adventuring, head to the idyllic green spaces of Kings Park and Botanic Gardens. One of the largest city parks in the world, Kings Park is a tranquil spot for a leisurely picnic, a stroll along peaceful bushland trails or serene contemplation of sparkling Swan River panoramas.

Witness a breathtakingly diverse array of native flora and fauna, including more than 3,000 plant species and around 80 species of birds. Spring’s wildflower season bursts forth in a riot of colour – join the September Kings Park Festival for tours, workshops and other events dedicated to these celebrated beauties.

Elizabeth Quay: Perth’s outdoor playground

Revel in Perth’s abundant sunshine and spellbinding riverside setting at Elizabeth Quay, where tempting food, carefully crafted drinks, lively markets and striking modern art are accompanied by stunning views across sparkling waters.

Take to two wheels to explore the waterside precinct’s trails and landscaped gardens, then reward yourself with a creamy scoop at Gusto Gelato or a cleansing craft beer at The Island at Elizabeth Quay’s microbrewery. Or view Perth’s captivating city skyline from a new angle with a leisurely boat tour – a number of operators offer up a wealth of local knowledge on Swan River cruises, Rottnest Island ferry trips and more.

Bartender pouring beer from tap at Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery, Swan Valley

Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery, Swan Valley

Swan Valley: An indulgent day-trip escape

The shortest of hops from Perth via car or boat, the glorious Swan Valley provides a feast for the senses. World-class wineries, artisan gin distillers and microbreweries, and delicious produce-driven fare tempt and delight – but Western Australia’s oldest wine region remains enchantingly unpretentious.

Sample surprising natural drops at Swan Valley Wines, award-winning wines at Mandoon Estate or innovative left-of-centre ciders at Funk 2.0, then settle on the shaded banks of the Swan River with a delectable picnic. Looking for something slightly more energetic? Join GoGo Active’s winery kayak tour, where you’ll combine wine-tasting with a peaceful exploration of the Swan River.

Matilda Bay: Unwind and relax at this tranquil sanctuary

And exhale… The charming riverside Matilda Bay Reserve is a perfect calming interlude in an action-packed holiday. Lounge on the lush grass or relax under a shady tree as you take in stunning views of the Swan River and the city’s glittering skyscrapers, then plunge into the shallow bay for a refreshing dip.

Alternatively, take to the river on a kayak or canoe, or launch yourself on a waterbike or stand-up paddleboard with SUP Central. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the resident dolphins frolicking in the bay.

Arriving at COMO the Treasury, Perth

COMO The Treasury, Perth

State Buildings: A vibrant cultural hub

Eat. Shop. Relax. Repeat. In the vibrant surrounds of the State Buildings, pleasure-seekers will find a hub of carefully curated restaurants, bars, boutiques, and health and wellness experiences to enliven the soul.

Located in the heart of Perth, this trio of former government buildings have been reimagined and reinvigorated into a grand public space, spearheaded by the luxurious COMO The Treasury hotel.

Sip locally roasted brews at Telegram Coffee, enjoy the energetic surrounds and delicious Thai street food of Long Chim, and gravitate to Pooles Temple for late-night cocktails, oysters and jazz. From artisan knives and hand-crafted chocolate to luxurious spa experiences and more, the State Buildings personify the very best of Western Australia.

There’s always something new, inspiring and exciting to experience in Perth. Start creating your own highlight list today.

Published August 2022.