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Perth's Blue Boat House | © Pixabay
Perth's Blue Boat House | © Pixabay
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How to Spend 48 Hours in Perth, Australia

Picture of Tom Smith
Updated: 30 January 2018
If you’ve flown for four or five hours from the East Coast of Australia to visit Perth, then you’re going to want to see all the top sights that the West Australian capital has to offer. Follow this jam-packed 48-hour itinerary to see the absolute best of the west.

Day One

Perth is home to a vibrant coffee scene and there’s no shortage of great brunch spots around the city centre to sink your teeth into. Try cafes like modern bistro Tiisch, La Veen Coffee in a heritage-listed building, or Gordon St Garage, a fashionable micro-roaster located in a converted mechanics shop, in West Perth.

View of Perth from Kings Park
View of Perth from Kings Park | © Max Pixel

Lace up your walking shoes because you’ll spend the morning strolling around Kings Park, Perth’s biggest attraction — literally. In fact, Kings Park is the largest inner-city park in the world — about 20% bigger than New York’s Central Park — and is filled with a colourful botanic garden, several war memorials, the spiral DNA Tower, the treetop Federation Walk, plenty of play areas for the kids, and hectares of pristine bushland to explore.

After all that walking, you’ll need to rehydrate — so it’s lucky there’s a brewery sandwiched between Kings Park and the banks of the Swan River. The Old Brewery creates a range of award-winning beers on-site at the Riverside Brewhouse, best consumed alongside one of the premium steaks fresh off the grill. The historic Swan Brewery had pumped out WA’s favourite drops from the 1850s until the 1960s, before it was redeveloped in the new millennium.

From one waterfront venue to another, spend the afternoon at Cottesloe Beach, Perth’s favourite strip of sand. Set up your picnic rug under one of the picturesque Norfolk pine trees, sun-bake on the snow-white sand, go for a dip or a snorkel or a surf, relax with a drink in the iconic teahouse, or just admire the sunset as it disappears below the horizon into the Indian Ocean.

Head back into the city for dinner, where the restaurants of Northbridge are inviting you for a feed. This trendy inner-city suburb on the CBD’s doorstep is brimming with restaurants dishing up cuisine from every corner of the globe. From the African-European fusion of Baby Mammoth and the sophisticated modern Japanese of Bonsai, to the lively Greek fare at Brika or the hip, modern Australian at The Standard.

Dishes at Brika
Dishes at Brika | © Courtesy of Brika

If there’s one thing Northbridge does better than eateries, it’s nightlife, boasting more bars and nightclubs than even the most seasoned party animals could possibly tackle in one night. Have a tipple at laid-back live music venue The Bird, a quiet craft beer at the Northbridge Brewing Co., or a lively one at retro-themed Jack Rabbit Slim’s.

Live music at Jack Rabbit Slim’s
Live music at Jack Rabbit Slim’s | © Courtesy of Jack Rabbit Slim’s

Day Two

Spend the night in one of Northbridge’s trendy boutique hotels then scope out somewhere nearby for brekky the next morning. How about the finger-licking brunches at Layup, the meat-free fare at Flora & Fauna, or the sweet treats at Babooshka?

Eggs hollandaise
Eggs hollandaise | © Courtesy of Layup

Walk through the CBD — past the historic Perth Town Hall, WA Government House and the Supreme Court of WA — in the direction of the Bell Tower, an 82.5m glass sculpture that pierces the sky above the Elizabeth Quay precinct. Find the Barrack Street Jetty to board a ferry to the picturesque port city of Fremantle, cruising along the Swan River with superb views of Perth’s impressive waterfront skyline.

When you hop off the cruise in ‘Freo’, tuck into some lunch on the Cappuccino Strip or grab something to eat from the famous Fremantle Markets. The South Terrace institution has been distributing fresh produce, delicious food and independent wares to Western Australians since 1897, one of the few grand old Victorian-era market halls anywhere in the country to survive from the 19th century.

Next stop on the itinerary is an equally historic Fremantle landmark that dates way back to the 1850s: Fremantle Prison. WA’s only UNESCO World Heritage-listed building was built with convict labour before locking up the state’s meanest criminals for well over a century until it was finally closed in 1991, turning into one of Perth’s premier tourist attractions in the 21st Century. Do some time inside on a tour to step through the joint’s grisly past.

The pizza kitchen at the Little Creatures Brewery
The pizza kitchen at the Little Creatures Brewery | © Gnangarra/Wikimedia Commons

The Little Creatures brewery is another one of Fremantle’s great draw cards, pouring some of the most mouth-watering beers you’ll find anywhere in Australia. The huge warehouse overlooking Success Boat Harbour is always packed with diners and beer-lovers enjoying themselves in the lively industrial-chic space. What better way to watch the sun set on your two days in Perth than with a pint of pale ale in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other?