Be intrigued, feel inspired and get challenged with my top 20 unique things to do in Perth. Discover more to Perth than meets the eye.
We are living in one of the most isolated cities in the world and yet, living in a city that’s smaller than most, many of us are still not familiar with the unique activities Perth offers.
You will discover that there is truly more to Perth than meets the eye.
1. Dive with Sharks
AQWA (The Aquarium of Western Australia) in Hillarys Boat Harbour, allows snorkelers or qualified SCUBA divers to explore the reef and encounter sharks, stingrays, turtles and thousands of other fish in their Indian Ocean aquarium with a certified Divemaster.
I did this at the Manly Sealife Sanctuary in Sydney 5 years ago (before AQWA introduced it) and it was adrenaline rushing. The grey nurse sharks are an extremely docile breed of shark, I even accidentally kicked one with my flipper (not knowing it was behind me) and I still have both my legs. I definitely want to do it again at AQWA.
For more information on snorkelling and diving with sharks in Perth, visit the AQWA website.
2. Go Shooting
Whether you are a true gun appreciator or you’re just an independent woman that-don’t-need-no-man, either way there is a certain thrill in handling a gun and shooting some bullets will make for a thrilling afternoon with friends.
Lone Ranges Shooting Complex is the largest in Perth, only 10 minutes from the Perth CBD in Belmont. They have famous guns such as the Browning, Beretta, Glok, Ruger, Smith and Wesson, Para Ordnance and the mighty Desert Eagle (a personal favourite). All packages include the firearm, ammunition, safety equipment and training.
Interested? Head to the LRSC website.
3. Swim with Wild Dolphins
Only 45 minutes from Perth is Rockingham Wild Encounters, an eco-friendly award winning tour group that gives you the opportunity to swim with dolphins in their natural environment. They also have a “Wild Dolphin Guarantee” – which means if you don’t swim with dolphins on your paid cruise, you can come again for free. The tour also caters for Penguin Island activities where you can watch penguins and sea lions.
For more information, check out the Rockingham Wild Encounters website.
4. Fremantle Prison Tunnel Tour
Looking for a unique prison adventure? You may have visited Fremantle Prison before, but have you explored it underground?
Fremantle Prison has a 2 hour tunnel tour available for those wanting to discover original blast holes bores, oil lamp recesses and artifacts from the days when working in the tunnels was extremely hard labour for the prisoners chosen to do the jobs.
You will be trekking through sections of the labyrinth tunnels on foot, and then boarding a replica convict punt to explore the submerged passageways which are only accessible by boat. You also receive a certificate of completion at the end of the tour.
I did this with my friend a year ago (pictured above left) and thoroughly enjoyed learning about its rich history and prisoner stories. My highlight was rowing through the submerged tunnels, however I didn’t quite like being the last person to walk behind everybody else on land though. There was something eerie down there.
To look at tour times and costing visit the official Fremantle Prison website.
5. Venomous Snake Handling Training Course
Perhaps you see yourself as a bit of a Bear Grylls, or you do actually live in an area where snakes are abundant – when in threat, learning to properly catch, handle and release a venomous snake will protect your family and pets while also saving the snake’s life.
Animal Ark Wildlife Education and Training in Duncraig offers a 1 day snake handling practical course that teaches you how to catch and release a venomous species of snake in a strictly supervised setting. No prior experience required, suiting any age or educational background. They also give you a take home manual and educate you on other hazardous wildlife, understanding reptile behaviour, utilizing protective clothing and equipment, first aid for bites and stings and why fear is a natural human response. After you finish the course, you receive a certificate which will enable participants aged 18+ to then apply for DPaW Reptile Removalists Regulation 17 license.
Ready to conquer your fear of snakes? Check their course dates at the Animal Ark website.
6. Visit Abandoned Theme Park
This is what happens when you name something Atlantis – it gets lost. (I had to get that out of the way… moving along). That’s right, Perth has its own creepy abandoned theme park with a giant merman statue (hey there King Neptune, looking good).
Atlantis Marine Park was built in 1981 in Two Rocks, Yanchep, 60km from Perth. It was to be a major feature of Alan Bond’s Yanchep Sun City Plan, but it closed in August 1990 due to financial difficulty. Since its closure, it’s become a vandalised, overgrown water world that’s been retaken over by nature, however it is still accessible to enter through broken walls, bridges, staircases and concrete pools.
Atlantis Park is a cool place to walk around, great for photography shoots and taking a nostalgic walk back in time.
There have been rumors circulating around that it’s getting restored. To stay in the loop, follow it’s Facebook Page.
7. Gingin Space Observatory
Are you feeling run down from life’s trials and tribulations? Do you need time to unwind and reflect about life and your place in it? First things first. Log out of Facebook, put down your smart phone, step outside and look up at the nightsky. I guarantee it will you put you into a more positive state of mind.
Now, depending where you are looking up at the nightsky, you might not be seeing as much as you should be because of light interference. Gingin Observatory (next to the Gravity Discovery Centre) is an hour’s drive north of Perth, giving visitors the opportunity to experience and learn more about space through powerful telescopes, engaging with knowledgeable astronomers and viewing big screen educational presentations on the Universe.
There are regular bus tours that visit the observatory, as well as various accommodations and other activities nearby to make it a worthy, mobile-free weekend getaway.
Read more information at the official Gingin Observatory website.
8. Kitesurfing Lessons
You most likely have seen kite surfers (also referred to as kite boarders) while driving along the coast to and from work, envying them for basking in the perfect weather outside while you hurriedly try to get to the office or jobsite on time. Yet even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t try it on the weekend!
The coastline of Perth offers sublime conditions for kitesurfers who take to the waves in spectacular form, carving them apart while performing aerial jumpers and somersaults. There are various kite surfing schools in Perth that give professional advice, sell gear offer lessons at different priced budgets.
Get the kitesurfing school details from the official WA Kite Surfing Association Inc.
9. Meet Wombat and Friends at Caversham Wildlife Park
It’s been psychologically proven that interaction with animals can help limit depression in children and adults alike, improving mental and emotional health.
A day at Perth Zoo is always fun, but did you know there are other wildlife parks in WA that offer you even more opportunities to get closer to the animals?
Besides Cohunu Koala Park (Byford, South of Perth) that lets you cuddle a koala and have your own photo session, there is also Caversham Wildlife Park in Whiteman Park, North of Perth. They offer visitors educational farm shows, keeper talks, close encounters, photo opportunities and complementary animal food to feed the friendly kangaroos. Their most popular attractions are their male and female wombats, giving families a chance to have a photo with them.
I went with girlfriends solely to meet the wombat who was the star of the farm show (I’m pictured top left) and I have to say I was blown away by the staff there. They were extremely knowledgeable, patient and friendly, answering questions and educating everyone on all the types of animals they introduced. The enclosures were all clean and spacious, with hand feeding the kangaroos being another highlight.
To plan your itinerary, head to the Caversham Wildlife Park website.
10. The Pinnacles Desert
The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park is a major natural attraction in the coral coast region of Cervantes and Jurien Bay, roughly 200km north of Perth and covering an area of 17,487 hectares. It has an extensive away of native animals and bird life with a nearby Rock Lobster fishery.
The pinnacles are natural limestone structures, some standing as high as 5 metres, and were formed approximately 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, after the sea receded and left deposited of sea shells. Over time, coastal windows removed surrounding sands leaving pillars exposed to the elements to harden. It’s a stunning sight, great for photographers. If you have a tripod, make sure to bring it. I aim to go back there during a sunrise and sunset to capture more scenic moments.
Note: You can access the pinnacles via your own two wheel or four drive vehicles. However, there are tour buses that include The Pinnacles on their itineraries should you wish to explore more of Perth’s North Coast.
Get the details at Pinnacles Visitor Centre.
11. Swim with Seals
Already swam with dolphins? What about seals? Jurien Bay Charter ‘n Dive gives you the opportunity to swim with playful and friendly seals in Jurien Bay, 2 hours drive north of Perth (along the new Indian Ocean Drive. Jurien Bay). They also offer sea lion and whale watching tours.
I did this last year with a friend, staying the weekend in Jurien Bay. Despite throwing up on the boat and in the water, I had a great time and seals were abundant and playful, with one nibbling on my fin and another getting right up and close. It will make for great photos. I am prone to sea sickness you see, and I forgot to take my motion sickness medicine. I implore you to take yours! Otherwise you’re going to have a hard time spinning in circles and doing water cartwheels to attract them – as they won’t come to you unless you look like you’re having a crazy fun time.
Get the fishy details at the Jurien Charters website.
12. Learn Archery and Crossbow
Whether you have been inspired by Katniss from The Hunger Games or you’re a bloke that likes hunting and drinking Emu Bitter; learning archery and crossbow is a unique way to spend your weekend with friends while testing your shooting skills. You might think this sport is as easy as picking up a bow and arrow and shooting, but it’s more technical and challenging then that, especially if you want repetitive consistency and accuracy.
Do you like a good challenge? View the names and locations of archery clubs that do lessons at the AWA Archery Association of Western Australia website.
13. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
Stand-up paddle boarding or also known as stand up paddle surfing (SUP) is a sport that originated in Hawaii and is an offshoot of surfing and paddle boarding. This water sport is not as easy as it looks, as it really tests your fitness levels to the point where it’s only just recently been combined with yoga. That’s right – yoga on water. Just when you think yoga can’t get any more creative, it has.
Paddle Board Yoga originated in India and it consists of combining poses to increase strength and flexibility while maintaining balance and posture on water. I’ve done a little searching and found Elemental Sup do Paddle Board Yoga in Perth. If there are any others, please comment below.
Otherwise, to get the full list of accredited Perth kitesurfing schools head to the Stand-Up Paddle Association of Western Australia Inc.
14. Quad Bike or Four Wheel Drive the Lancelin Dunes
Lancelin is a small fishing town that is home to 220 hectares of sand dunes that are open to motorcycles and quads of all engine capacities, as well as 4WD’s and buggies. The town is 127km north of Perth, also offering a range of accommodation types, as well as a tavern and the charismatic fish and chips shop.
Four Wheeling and quad biking on the sand dunes is great fun, with a huge area to explore that change every day due to the strong winds. You can even try sand boarding by hiring or buying a board – just remember to bring candle wax, as waxing the board will help its slide down the sand easier.
As Lancelin is under the Shire of Gingin, head to the Gingin Off Road Vehicle Information webpage to get the extra details.
15. Co-Pilot a Light Aircraft
Want a taste of whether flying is for you, without having to pay a heap of money upfront for a long term course? Do what I did – a 30 minute ‘hands on trial flight’ in a Cessna 152 at Perth Jandakot Airport. For just $183 (I swear they are not endorsing me for this, I’m just over enthusiastic) you get a pre-flight briefing with the instructor explaining the aircraft controls and outlining the fundamentals of piloting the light aircraft, as well as a certificate of completion. No joke, I truly co-piloted the aircraft and at times, steered it on my own. We flew over Rottnest Island and it was a stunning sight.
Note: There is a chance the pilot may want to demonstrate the aerial acrobats the Cessna 152 is capable of. Before you agree and strap yourself in, make sure to ask if there is a paper bag near by in case you need to vomit if you’re prone to motion sickness. I agreed and I’m just glad I landed the aircraft without ruining my shirt.
To purchase the Trial Flight in the Cessna 152 or check out what else they offer, visit the Royal Aero Club of WA website.
16. Hike the Bibbulmun Track
The Bibbulum Track is one of the world’s greatest long distance walk trails, stretching 1000km from Kalamunda in the Perth hills right through to Albany on the South Coast. Starting from The Darling range, you go through Dwellingup, Collie, Balingup, Donnelly River, Pemberton, Northcliffe, Walpole, Denmark and finishing at Albany, Bibbulum Track offers walkers a wide range of experiences through camping out, joining a guided group, a tour or doing it on your own through comfort.
If you do manage to walk the entire track, end to end (whether you do it all in one go, or in stages over many years) you become classified as an ‘End-to-Ender’. Once finishing, you can register to receive an ‘End-to-Ender’ badge to give proof of your accomplishment!
For get more informed, visit the official Bibbulmun Track website.
17. Hot Air Ballooning
Enjoy the enchanting experience of a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the stunningly picturesque Avon Valley, just an hour’s drive east of Perth.
This has to be one of the most romantic activities you can do in Perth – perfect for a proposal or for a really fancy date (if you got the money to spend). Avon Valley has plenty of other things to do while you’re visiting – accommodation, museums, walks and drive trails, food and wine attractions and events – that it really makes for a nice little country getaway that’s not so far from the city.
For more info on Hot Air Ballooning and other types of aviation to do in the area, visit Avon Valley WA.
18. Yanchep National Park – Crystal Cave Tour
Perhaps you’ve been here on a school excursion, but it’s been a while since then, so why not head back with mates to explore the Crystal Cave in Yanchep National Park and all the other awesome wildlife and attractions they have to offer.
The Crystal Cave in Yanchep National Park is just under an hour’s drive from Perth. The famous crystal cave exhibits a multitude of incredible stalagmites which you view as you wander amongst the lakes. You learn about the formation of this majestic cave, and hundreds of other caves, throughout the park.
To organise your visit, head to the Parks and Wildlife Crystal Cave webpage.
19. Horseriding in Moore River region
I loved that Australian TV series ‘The Man From Snowy River: The McGregor Saga’ which ran from 1993-1996. Even though I was young at the time, Matt McGregor and his mustache (Andrew Clarke) left quite the impression on me that’s stayed with me ever since. I too, wanted to ride a horse heroically through the rough Australian landscape with a purpose, a mission, while at the same time looking good in slow motion. So without hesitation and wanting to fulfill my childhood fantasy of being a female version of Matt McGregor, I said yes to going horse riding with my girlfriends in Moore River, only a short drive from Perth.
The place is called 1300 Trail Rides, and they offer different types of rides that cater for both beginners and experienced riders. Some of their ride packages include a river ride, hill ride, heritage ride, twilight ride, trail blazer ride (including how to feed, groom and tack your horse) and private rides for couples. There are also 20 minute pony rides available for the younger riders.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and found the guide to be extremely patient, friendly and knowledgeable. For more information, visit the 1300 Trail Rides website.
20. Tandem Sky Diving in Jurien Bay
Saving the most adrenaline rushing activity til last is sky diving – the activity that is pretty much on all bucket lists.
Tandem sky dive with the experienced team at Jurien Bay, located 2 hours north of Perth on the spectacular coral coast of Western Australia. They have have won numerous tourism awards and have a perfect safety record.
Check out their cool website at Sky Dive Jurien Bay.