Perth 2012

What to see in Perth?

Off to Perth for a brief holiday next month. (As usual I won’t be too specific about dates; this slightly hysterical article in Sunday’s Age, and its accompanying graphics, was a reminder that it’s not advisable to advertise when you’re going to be away from home.)

What should we see around Perth and southwest WA?

Suggestions so far, from my aunt (who lives there) and others:

If one wishes to gunzel, I see there’s both a rail and a tram museum.

Naturally I’ll want to look at the PT system and try out their Smartrider card… though it won’t be cheap: $10 for the card, and the topups are a minimum of $10 each (and not as widely available as Melbourne’s Myki), which has the potential to make it pretty expensive if miscalculating how much PT travel we do.

Suggestions? Comments?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

20 replies on “What to see in Perth?”

You could also try the Perth Mint, quite a good show, I’m told and for a little bit of history, there is the old Fremantle Gaol.

The Tree Top walk in Denmark is pretty cool
and the Gloucester Tree is a fun climb
Mundaring Weir in a good place to visit if you’re keen you can walk down the Aboriginal trail (can’t remember the name of it right now) that goes from Kalamunda all the way down to the south coast, not all the way! it goes past the dam.
And the Pinnacles they’re pretty impressive.
of course most of these are not really in or near Perth. But they’re ideas :D

the maritime museum (on the Fremantle docks, iirc) is good too – it’s got the Australia II and a submarine to explore. Can’t recall cost though, sorry

When the SmartRider first came out, the card cost $1.

I second Kings Park and Cottesloe Beach, but wouldn’t bother with Rottnest Island. The Barrack St to Fremantle ferry is a nice trip.

Despite having grown up in Perth, I never really took an interest in the trains there (I remember travelling by train ONCE in my life as a child – to the royal show on a cattle car. Other than that, we used busses a lot and ferries occasionally. I wonder whether they still have “The Great Fairy/Ferry Race” to Rotto every year?
However, my gunzel son and my husband highly recommend the train museum at Bassendean.
Also in the city, there’s a lever frame that you can “play” on – it’s sort of hidden away and hard to describe just where it is, but if you’re on the top level of the train station and walk down a sort of alleyway between the shops towards Barrack St (walking parallel to Wellington St, I think) you might be able to find it.
Good luck, and I hope you don’t get blown away!

There’s a fast, modern train service to Mandurah that opened only a few years ago. I can recommend the train trip and Mandurah itself. A great place for a day trip.

The best of WA isn’t in Perth. I had the best time up north personally, but if you are going to be in the Perth area.

– Go to Cottlesloe and walk around and if you are a surfer there are still some good waves even in winter.
– Kings Park is really nice also.
– If you are a wine person I would say doing a swan river cruise and a wine tour, I had a blast on that. Margaret river tours are good too but are hard to accomplish in a day.
– Freo is good for all the things you mentioned as well as their markets.
– If you have the time then a trip up to the pinnacles could be worth it I wasn’t all that impressed though (visiting North to South).
– Subiaco is a good activity centre outside of the CBD, very much like Richmond or Chapel St in Melbourne.

As for the transit as I remember the trains were almost like two of the bee trains in Melbourne, I only used them off peak so they probably have bigger ones (or attach more) for peak hour, or more frequencies. From observing smartrider it seemed very similar to myki and was promoted in the same familiar way (Tag on – Tag off). Busier stations had barriers for the smart-rider users and you had to show the paper ticket to staff when entering or leaving a station if you didn’t have a card. Standard ticket machines were still everywhere in Perth stations (as of Sept 2011) and far more interactive than metcard machines because you could enter suburbs to find out your fare (ie. City to Fremantle) because there are several zones.

Interesting that you brought this up, in Melbourne we really should have left the metcard machines and should still allow people to buy the basic metcards at stations. Even modify them so they are validated from printing like on trams so you can remove the validating machine and change all the barriers like in perth. They really wouldn’t matter forming transportation statistics as all the regular users would use myki, you can track the tourist number from sales. Tourist and forgetful people could buy the metcards to avoid getting 7 mykis (as the Mx article said today).

A PT guide to Perth:

A couple of tips:

SmartRiders work in some regional centres, so could be worth trying there (eg Busselton).

The South Perth ferry across the Swan River accepts SmartRider tickets and is good for a short trip that doesn’t take much out of your day. It leaves from Barrack St, not far from Esplanade Station. The zoo is near the other end.

Despite their potential as regional rail type corridors, train frequencies to Bunbury and Northam are extremely limited (a handful of trains/day). Coaches exist but are also limited (think of Victoria west of Apollo Bay). You’ll want to hire a car south of Mandurah.

Whiteman Park (despite its proximity to Perth) is also remote from much public transport. But you can get a free trip (on weekends) from the nearest bus stop, in a heritage bus.

BTW, skip Wave Rock – a very long drive for not much. The same could also be said for the Pinnacles.

Another good day trip by train is to historic Guildford. The tourist office has a map with interesting walking tours of the town. Guildford is also on the Perth airport flight path, and I was fascinated by all manner of planes passing overhead, such as A380s. It’s actually a suburb of Perth, so it doesn’t take long to get there by train.

Guildford was the centre of the Swan River Colony before Perth succeeded in being the dominant location on the Swan Coastal Plain.,_Western_Australia

The caves at Margaret River are spectacular. We went to all three in January. Be warned – there are lots of steps. Hiring bikes to ride around Rottnest Island was fun, but the bikes are very uncomfortable and the round trip is not short. My 13 year old daughter was miserable doing this ride until we came across the quokkas. And the queues for bikes were extremely long. King’s Park is my favourite. Worthy of several visits.

– Freemantle Goal is a winner. On specific nights they have canoe trips in the flooded passages underground (at additional charges).
– Maritime Museum at Freemantle was great, as previously mentioned, Australia II is there and HMAS Ovens (submarine). Museum wasn’t free though and submarine tour was extra. Excellent tour though.
– WA Museum – Perth, one of the best stuffed animal collections I’ve seen, also hundreds of butterflies. They have a hands-on section too.
– If I recall correctly, the loop buses around the city centre were free.
– Kings Park I didn’t find particularly indulging, basically lots of trees/shrubs/parklands, nothing I hadn’t seen before.
– Film and TV museum down Freo way, can’t remember where, wasn’t really my thing but it wasted a half hour.
– If you are looking for accomodation and it’s out of the Uni teaching semester, then contact St Georges College (opposite UWA). They let out student accom during the off teaching periods and you get brekky included (in a Harry Potter style dining hall).
– Locals were chatty and friendly, city was clean and prices were average. I’d like to take my family there at some stage as I consider it the beautifulist city I’ve seen.

Comments are closed.