Location: Perth, Western Australia
By the time you read this post I’ll be back in my sunny and spacious home town of Perth on a short visit for my brother’s wedding; which is great because having all my friends and family there means I can save a lot of money on accommodation and transport (and many freebie meals to boot!). However, I am well aware that most travelers avoid my city as its reputation as an expensive place to visit far exceeds itself, and believe me, even the locals feel the pinch on their purse strings! Luckily, there are quite a few things that’ll help make your trip to Perth a bit more affordable if you can’t save on accommodation and transport, but best of all they are all FREE. Let me repeat that: There are FREE things to do in Perth. Get yourself over there NOW while the sun is shinning!
- Kings Park and Botanic Gardens. Here you’ll see the best view of the city skyline and the Swan River including the newly opened Elizabeth Quay development. Make sure you do the Federation Walkway, which is a suspended glass walkway that’ll take you high among the tree tops.
- Perth’s Beaches. Perth is blessed with incredible beaches and, best of all, they’re all free to visit and swim at. Take your pick because there are plenty of beaches to choose from that stretch the length of the coast. Top spots include Cottesloe, Scarborough and Trigg beaches.
- The Swan River. You can take a stroll along the river just outside of the city and relax on the foreshore and admire the city view from the free open public spaces where you can put out a blanket and have a picnic.
- Whiteman Park. Enjoy a day out at Whiteman Park where you’ll see unique native flora and fauna attractions, do a few bushwalking trails and can learn a little about Perth’s transport history (and keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos!).
- Fremantle Boat Harbour. Wander along the jetties and see the Fishermen’s Memorial which honours migrants who made the sea their livelihood and relax at the nearby Bather’s Beach while you’re there.
- The Swan Valley. Take a drive out to the Swan Valley and visit wineries for free tastings (remember to find yourself a skipper to avoid drinking and driving), try any of the five walking trails through the area and grab yourself a free sample handful (or three) of the locally made chocolates at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.
- Street art. The graffiti scene in Perth is exploding and there are some incredible works of art adorning the walls of many laneways and buildings in and around Perth. You can wander around and see works from well known local artists including Stormie Mills and Anya Brock. Check out the FORM interactive map for a good starting point on your Street Art walk and get out and explore.
- Fremantle walking tours. These free self guided tours cover different facets of Fremantle’s culture and history, from the Indigenous history to the port city’s convict past, to the Hotels and Brewery’s walk and which visit historical hotels and modern hangouts.
- i-City Walking Tour of Perth. There are a series of tours which will help orientate yourself in the city and learn about its history and culture at the same time.
- London Court. This open air shopping mall was originally built in 1937 as a residential and commercial centre for a wealthy gold miner and financier. It’s been beautifully preserved and is open to the public to view, and you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped back in time to Elizabethan London.
- Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA). Here you’ll find all sorts of contemporary arts with a lively ‘year round program of changing exhibitions, seasons in contemporary dance, theatre and performance and a range of interdisciplinary projects’.
- The Western Australian Museum. Housing WA’s scientific and cultural collection encasing Australian Aboriginal artefacts, Dinosaurs, and even an expansive Butterfly collection. Permanent exhibits are free however, a donation is appreciated.
- The Art Gallery of Western Australia. Perth’s premier art gallery has hosted some big touring exhibits which will incur an entry free; however, the remainder of the gallery is free to view, albeit with a suggested donation.
- Fremantle Arts Centre (FAC). The FAC building was originally built by convicts in 1864 and used as the Lunatic Asylum – and yes it’s haunted! FAC also hold chilled out free music sessions on the lawn every Sunday evening, and hold regular market days that you can come and browse. Check out their calendar to see what’s coming up during your visit.
- WA Museum Shipwreck Galleries. Like the WA Museum, entry is free but a $5 donation is suggested. Here you can see the famous Batavia and Dutch Wreck gallery and learn all about WA’s rich European maritime past – and spy yourself some booty of the gold kind!
- The Fremantle Markets. Lose yourself in WA’s ultimate market experience. You’ll find a selection of fresh local produce, browse the Indigenous and independent products on sale, and be entertained by the lively music and atmosphere provided by the numerous buskers and street performers. Definitely come for a visit on the weekend to see it all in full swing!
- Northbridge Piazza. The Piazza hosts movies and documentaries on the outdoor big screen and you can check out their calendar for the latest on what’s happening in the Piazza.
- Free festivals. If you time your visit to Perth you may be able to catch some Festivals in and around the city. February is a popular month for festivals with The Perth International Arts Festival and The Fringe Festival going on, both with a selection of free entertainment (the opening night of the Perth International Arts Festival is a must see!). Sculpture By the Sea comes to Cottesloe Beach in March, and the Easter long weekend sees the Fremantle Street Art Festival come to life with the world’s best outdoor theatre, music, circus and more performing free. Other festivals include the Angrove Street Festival in October, the Beaufort Street and Fremantle Festival in November, and the Leederville Carnival in December. All festivals offer market stalls, entertainment and kids activities, art installations and lots of food to try!
OTHER AWESOME FREE PERTH THINGS
- CAT Buses. Short on time and want to cram in a lot of sites? You’ll be happy to know that Perth and Fremantle have free buses that will take you on regular loops around the city. The Central Area Transit (CAT) buses operate at regular intervals every day of the week, and cover the main tourist attractions so you can hop on and off as you please.
- The brand new Elizabeth Quay. After 3 years in the making and lot of nay-saying from disgruntled locals after having traffic rediverted to accommodate the works and subsequent Quay, it’s finally open to the public! There are weekend community markets and even free yoga classes in addition to the beautiful open spaces and new bars and cafes. Definitely check out Perth’s newest attraction on your way through town.
One of the best thing about Perth is the abundance in open spaces such as parks, rivers, and beaches; which are quiet and clean and don’t cost a thing! And you can keep it cheap by buying snacks and drinks from the supermarket and having a picnic and soaking in the view; it’s both relaxing and a great way to experience Perth the way that the locals like it – outdoors in the glorious Western Australian sunshine! So don’t let stories of astronomical prices put you off because you can visit Perth on a budget – tell all your friends!
Why don’t you come along with me on my trip back to my beloved hometown? You can follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (add me! thetravelleur); or like our Facebook page for notifications on new blog posts and trip ideas in Australia and abroad!
Photography by Jelena Stipanicev.