There are so many well-known iconic Perth attractions and experiences to enjoy, but eventually you've got to start wondering: what do the locals get up to?
Even if you're a Perth local but haven't really got to know your ever-changing backyard, you'll find there's plenty of secret things to see and do. Fortunately for you, as #perthexperts we're more than happy to make those secrets a little less well-kept and share some of our favourite hidden gems with you! Enjoy your Perth experience in a whole new light (including starlight!), with attractions and tours you won't find in the guidebooks - and you'll love them even more for it.
So you've strolled through Elizabeth Quay, you've ascended the iconic Bell Tower, and you're wondering what more awesomeness is in store.
Begin with a walk across the road from the Bell Tower for a fantastic feed at one of the many food options overlooking the Swan River at Barrack Square or Elizabeth Quay. Enjoy causal dining at the Brew House or Garden at The Island or a grazing-style menu and cocktails on the rooftop of The Reveley. After that, what could be a more luxe way of experiencing the Swan River than on a gondola? Gondolas on the Swan offer a unique tour experience, cruising down the beautiful Swan River from Elizabeth Quay. The gondola is an authentic replica of it's traditional Venetian counterpart and is luxuriously appointed with sumptuous red upholstery, with traditional Italian mandolin music playing softly in the background. And if you're feeling in the mood for romance, check out their one hour sunset cruise that includes champagne, a red rose and chocolates - perfect to show that someone special how much you adore them!
If you're in the mood for some active adventure and getting to know the stories behind Perth City, check out Go Running Tours Perth - simply choose a tour that suits your interests and head off on a guided run! Take in the main sights of Perth on their Perth Must See tour, if you're into street art, their Perth Street Art Tour will take you to some of the best wall art in the city, or if you'd like to learn more about Perth's Aboriginal culture, the "Walkout Tour" will be right up your alley. Just grab your running gear, and you're good to go!
Budding photographers won't want to miss a Perth City Hidden Gems Photographic Walk brought to you by Capture the Light Photographic Tours, as you meander together through the laneways, architecture and open spaces of Perth, and receive advice and guidance from a professional photographer to help you get that perfect shot.
The Sunset Coast along the Perth Beaches, is the stuff that dreams (and postcards) are made of, spanning the glorious coastline of metropolitan Perth from Scarborough to Two Rocks, the locales of Hillarys Boat Harbour and Yanchep National Park, all the way up to Lancelin. Many a day tripper has enjoyed Yanchep National Park, with its world-famous-in-WA Crystal Caves, but a lesser-known must-do attraction in the area is the Yanchep Lavender Farm, with a gorgeous purple field that makes a fab backdrop for your family snaps (and your dog's welcome too!) So stop in and say hi - more often than not, you can see some farm workings, or even catch Gary making a batch of soaps and candles for sale on the onsite retail outlet.
And if you're feeling like exploring the coast with a bit of adventure, Easy Rider style, you're in luck thanks to Down Under Motorcycle Tours! Whether you're surprising someone special or just feel like hitting the highway, there's nothing quite like taking in the uninterrupted views from the back of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle or Trike. You only live once and this is an experience not to be missed!
For many of us, Rottnest Island is the place you go to sit on a beach, do a bit of swimming and try to take a quokka selfie - but there's much more to this incredible island than meets the eye. Indigenous historical and cultural roots run deep here, and with the walking tours offered by Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences, you're guaranteed to heighten your appreciation of 'Wadjemup' - the Noongar name for Rottnest Island. From a unique Aboriginal perspective, your Noongar guide will explore the Island’s pre-eminent significance to Noongar People prior to it's notorious recent past life as a penal settlement. Beginning with a traditional Aboriginal sand ceremony at the first settlement, your walk also includes a Dreamtime story, traditional song and Noongar language. There's also a Premium Tour upgrade available (for adults only), including a Noongar Smoking Ceremony and unique gift.
Hire a bike from Ocean Cycles as you journey at your own pace around Fremantle, taking in the gorgeous heritage buildings and coastal views, or join in on one of the tours on offer from Fremantle Tours, with knowledgeable local guides showing you a side of Freo most of us have never seen before. Their Street Art, Beers and Bikes tour is a particular must-do, as you deep-dive into the legendary street art scene of Fremantle over 3 hours while cruising the streets of central, South and North Freo on a retro bike, admiring amazing street art and enjoying a couple of beers along the way.
Freo's known for its incredible boutique shopping scene, with plenty of wares from artists and artisans both local and from around the world. We love the Bollywood clothing at the Lucky Elephant Boutique and Gift Shop - with its colourful decor, mandala tapestries, wall hangings and various Indian handicrafts, it's like the Little India of the Fremantle Markets! It's also a fab place for your Indian jewellery and fashion needs - whether you're looking for a yak wool pashmina or that perfect belly dancing outfit. You'll find more great Freo shopping finds at the Fremantle Markets and a ton of amazing second-hand bookstores in the West End. Make sure you don't miss The Artisan Store Fremantle for locally-crafted art and knickknacks, the permanent Aboriginal art exhibitions at Japingka Aboriginal Art, and the unique pieces of jewellery, artworks, homewares and clothing and textiles and books at FOUND at Fremantle Arts Centre.
Surf Beach in Secret Harbour is home to a surf school with a difference - Salt and Mantra - Surf and Yoga Experiences. The name Salt comes from Surf, and Mantra from Yoga, which they combine in a unique approach which recognises the power of surf and yoga for mental health, considerate of your interests and goals, fears and challenges, physical fitness and mobility levels. They also do a variety of events, workshops and retreats, so keep an eye out!
Mandurah and Peel
There's so much more to Mandurah and Peel than friendly dolphins and Venetian canals (although that already sells us on it, of course). But with Salt and Bush Eco Tours, you'll see a quiet, tranquil and truly special side of this region, in the form of boutique guided nature walks and kayak tours just south of Mandurah. Naturalist guides will share the wonder and awe of the natural world through geology, wildflower, kayaking and sailing tours that explore the extraordinary native wonders of the Peel Region, including internationally protected wetlands and extraordinary birdlife, flora and fauna of this global biodiversity hotspot. Step away from it all and escape into nature for a perfect day-trip. Just what the doctor ordered!
The scenic Avon Valley is known for its heritage buildings, hot-air ballooning and farmgate produce, but less so for its thriving public art scene! The Avon Valley is home to a variety of artists, and their creative work can be seen as you travel throughout the region along the Avon Valley Art Trail, which outlines public art pieces in Beverley, Goomalling, Northam, Toodyay and York. FORM's Public Silo Trail is also worth following, putting regional WA up in lights. We particularly love the gorgeous Wara Art in York, made using Avon Valley wheat straw and traditional Japanese techniques to form huge (and cute!) Aussie native animals. While you're in York, don't miss the gorgeous Avon Valley River Trail (so much Insta fodder).
In Northam, make sure you drop in on the beautifully-designed, informative and deeply meaningful Bilya Koort Boodja Centre for Nyoongar Culture & Environmental Knowledge; you'll leave with a much deeper understanding of Noongar Culture, and be in awe of their connection with the subtle nuances and patterns of this very special land.
The Perth Hills are renowned as the perfect place for bushwalks, stargazing, and picking up a unique artisanal knickknack or two (or ten). But an experience that's less known (and absolutely divine) is the Apple Orchard Tours & Tastings at CORE Cider House, a very unique and fun farm tourism experience taking place on a 40-ha apple orchard and cidery. Get on board the green-apple tractor (Apple Express) for an adventure tour to remember, as you learn everything about apples and the cider making process. The tour guide provides you with an insight into what they do: from cider making and apple growing, to the history and personalities of CORE, there's lots to talk about! You'll discover the orchards, pick your own fruit, head to the cidery and learn about the cider making process, and then be treated to a guided cider tasting at the cellar door (or an apple juice for younger participants). There's also the awesome Orchard Bistro on site showcasing local produce, and in the cooler months the fireplace is lit in the Apple Shed transforming the space into a warm, relaxing spot for conversation and mulled cider. Peak cosy!
The Swan Valley is nicknamed Perth's food bowl for very good reason, and you'll find plenty of foodie experiences to enjoy here. One you may not know about is the Little Eeden Farm Honey & Apiary - set on 100 beautiful rural acres it's a must-do for lovers of the sweetest stuff: pure, unprocessed natural honey, infused with all sorts of all-natural ingredients for some seriously delicious mixes. There's also the Hive Cafe onsite, where you'll find fresh homemade meals and cakes with delicious coffee and smoothies. You can sit amongst the beautiful gardens with a variety of inquisitive birds as your guests, and taste all manner of wonderful flavours of honey on offer. Simply exquisite!
Across And Beyond Perth
For a star-studded experience that's truly astronomical, get in touch with the Stargazers Club of WA! It's a great social club where you'll meet like-minded people of all ages along with local amateurs who share a passion for stargazing. Learn more about the night sky, gain confidence with using telescopes and binoculars and much more: they love making astronomy easier for beginners, and a whole lot of fun! Events are held north of the Swan River, and the Club travels to close dark-sky locations in Perth surrounds for special stargazing nights.
And for a guided stargazing tour that’s as entertaining as it is educational, check out Lumineer Adventure Tours! Their guides have an excellent knowledge of Australia's native animals and vegetation as well as a good understanding of Aboriginal culture and history. If you want to see native animals in their natural environment these tours are just perfect.
Perth's so chock full of amazing things to do that it's hard to keep track - but some of the least-known places can be some of the most magical! We hope we've whetted your appetite for going off the beaten path and discovering new favourites of your own. And don't worry about keeping these secrets secret: we love being able to help Perth locals and visitors experience the best of our amazing city so be sure to share your experiences with us on social media by tagging us @destinationperth or using #seeperth.