40 Things to do Free in Perth WA: Perth on a Shoestring 2024

Welcome to my ultimate guide on free things to do in Perth, Western Australia! If you want to explore this beautiful city without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll unveil cost-free experiences and activities that allow you to make the most of your time in Perth while keeping your budget intact.

Whether you’re a local resident like me or a visitor to our stunning state, get ready to discover the best no-cost adventures that Perth offers.

Best Free Things To Do in Perth, Western Australia Key Takeaways

  1. Free walking tour
  2. Explore Kings Park
  3. Stroll around Elizabeth Quay
  4. Spot wildlife on Heirisson Island
  5. Visit a museum
  6. Enjoy the Swan River
  7. Look for street art
  8. Hike a nature trail
  9. Head to the beach
  10. Discover Perth’s heritage

Read on for more ideas of things to do in Perth’s city with information on each activity.

Free Things To Do in Perth City

bridge over a river
Matagarup Bridge, East Perth

1. Take a Free Walking Tour

Discover Perth’s history with free walking tours in the city. These are an ideal way to experience the charm and character of Perth without spending a dime.

Choose from guided or self-guided tours.

2. Discover Nature at Kings Park & Botanic Garden

I enjoy walking through bushland trails and seeing wildflower displays in Kings Park. The panoramic views of the city skyline and the Swan River are beautiful.

Discover the rich biodiversity of the region as you explore Kings Park, which includes the WA Botanic Garden.

3. Find John Oldham Park

John Oldham Park, near the picturesque Swan River, is a free attraction in Perth with lush greenery, scenic walking paths, and a waterfall.

Whether you want a peaceful spot for a walk, a picnic, or a quiet moment, John Oldham Park offers respite from the city.

4. Spot Wildlife on Heirisson Island

Heirisson Island, in the middle of the Swan River, is connected by two pedestrian bridges. This island sanctuary is home to a population of wild kangaroos, offering a rare opportunity to see these iconic marsupials in Perth.

Enjoy leisurely walks along the island’s paths, taking in scenic river views, and perhaps spot a kangaroo or two grazing peacefully.

5. Enjoy Elizabeth Quay

Elizabeth Quay is a stunning waterfront development in the city. It hosts various events throughout the year and is a perfect place for a sunset walk to see the city’s lights shimmering on the water.

As one of many free Perth attractions, you can wander along the paths and discover art installations along the way.

high rise buildings by the river
Elizabeth Quay

6. Perth Cultural CentreCultural Adventures at No Cost

Perth Cultural Centre, near Perth train station in Northbridge, is a dynamic hub of art, culture, and creativity. This vibrant precinct is home to some of Western Australia’s most renowned cultural institutions. These include the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the State Library.

Explore exhibitions and rare collections, and immerse yourselves in the rich history of WA.

Most Perth museums here are free to enter, except the WA Museum Boola Bardip.

WA Museum Boola Bardip Entrance Fees:

StandardA$15
ConcessionA$10
Junior (15 years & under)Free
CarerFree

7. See Perth’s Historical Sites & Landmarks

Perth City has historic buildings offering a captivating journey through the region’s rich past. The city’s skyline is graced by architectural gems like the Perth Town Hall, a splendid Victorian Gothic-style building.

Nearby, the Barracks Arch, a remnant of the 19th-century military presence, is a testament to the city’s colonial history. St. George’s Cathedral, with its neo-Gothic design, is another iconic structure that tells a story of spiritual heritage.

As you explore the streets, you’ll encounter beautiful heritage-listed buildings. See His Majesty’s Theatre, which has been preserved and continues to host cultural events.

8. Discover Perth Architecture

The University of Western Australia has grand sandstone buildings and pretty gardens. It is a stunning example of Renaissance Romanesque-style architecture within the city.

The Bell Tower is a modern architectural landmark with its iconic glass spire and breathtaking panoramic views. It serves as a symbol of contemporary Perth.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, with its intricate neo-Gothic design, is not only an architectural gem but also a spiritual sanctuary that evokes a sense of awe.

9. Enjoy the Swan River Foreshore

One of the best ways to experience the river’s beauty is by walking along the riverbanks. Here, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of the water, the city skyline, and the surrounding parklands.

For an outdoor dining experience, a picnic on the South Perth Foreshore by the Swan River is a popular choice.

Cycling enthusiasts will find dedicated paths along the Swan River that are perfect for a bike ride. I like the family-friendly 10 km bridges loop trail.

10. Find Perth’s Street Art

Exploring the vibrant street art in Perth City is like embarking on an open-air art gallery adventure. As you wander through the streets and laneways, you’ll encounter a vivid tapestry of creativity splashed across building facades, walls, and public spaces.

From colourful murals that tell stories of local culture to thought-provoking graffiti that challenges norms, every corner seems to have a surprise waiting.

mural of a lady with black hair and white eyes with sparrows in her hair
Street art in Wolf Lane, Perth

11. Admire Government House Gardens

Wander through meticulously landscaped lawns, admire the colourful flowers, and relax under the shade of ancient trees in the Government House Gardens.

Entry is free every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 12 pm and 2 pm. Sometimes, the gardens have to close for functions, events, and maintenance.

Free Things To Do in Perth WA

12. Explore Perth’s Pristine Coastline

One of the best free active things to do in Perth is to visit one of the stunning coastal suburbs for a walk, bike ride, jog, snorkel, surf, SUP, or one of the other water sports.

Some of the best Perth beaches include Cottesloe Beach, Scarborough Beach, and Mettams Pool.

13. Stroll through Burswood Park

Relax in this picturesque park along the river near the Crown Perth complex.

14. Bird Watch on Kuljack Island

Kuljak Island, tucked away in Ascot, offers a unique natural escape close to the city. This secluded island in the Swan River is accessible by a wooden footbridge.

The island is known for its lush greenery, abundant birdlife, and peaceful ambience, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching or relaxing with a good book.

15. Wander Through Vibrant Neighbourhoods

Northbridge, with its street art, lively restaurants, and eclectic nightlife, is a hub of artistic energy and multicultural influences.

Leederville, on the other hand, has a laid-back atmosphere with trendy boutiques, cosy cafes, and a charming community feel.

Subiaco blends old-world charm and contemporary elegance with leafy streets, boutique shops, and a thriving dining scene.

a cafe in leederville
Leederville

16. Uncover the Swan River Suburbs

Some of the most affluent suburbs in Perth back onto the Swan River, including Peppermint Grove, Dalkeith, and Mosman Park. Walk along the Swan River to discover parks, grand houses, and beautiful views.

Some other spots along the river worth visiting are Matilda Bay Reserve and Point Walter.

17. Stroll around Claisebrook Cove

Explore this picturesque inlet in East Perth and look for dolphins who live in the river. The Royal is a lovely spot for food or drink.

18. Hike a Nature Trail

Whether you’re exploring the trails of Kings Park, wandering through the bushland of John Forrest National Park, or hiking in Yanchep National Park, you’ll encounter native flora and fauna. Look for colourful birds, unique wildflowers (in season), and perhaps even a kangaroo or two.

Some trails lead to beautiful waterfalls in Perth, including Lesmurdie Falls, a favourite of mine.

You can also walk a section of the Bibbulmun Track, the famous long-distance trail from Kalamunda to Albany.

19. Bird Watch at Herdsman Lake

You can spot a variety of bird species in this urban wetland or cycle around the 8 km loop.

20. Free Things To Do in Fremantle

Exploring Fremantle for free is easy with a treasure trove of free attractions, from strolling along the iconic Cappuccino Strip to wandering through the vibrant Fremantle Markets.

Admire the well-preserved 19th-century architecture, including the Fremantle Prison and enjoy street performances outside the markets. Discover the historical architecture and landmarks on free self-guided heritage walks.

The Maritime Shipwreck Museum offers insights into the region’s maritime history without an admission fee, and the Roundhouse (WA’s oldest building) shows what it was like as a prisoner in the 1830s.

Fremantle’s bustling streets are also dotted with street art and sculptures, and entrance to the Fremantle Arts Centre is free.

a fishing harbour with boats restaurants and a ferris wheel in the background
Fremantle Fishing Harbour

21. Picnic at Lake Monger

Lake Monger has abundant birdlife, with walking trails perfect for leisurely strolls, picnics, or unwinding in a peaceful setting. One of the lake’s unique attractions is its thriving population of black swans, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.

22. Guildford Heritage Walk Trail

The Guildford Heritage Walk Trail is a self-guided walking trail through the historical precinct showcasing the rich heritage and architectural beauty that defines this area.

Informative signposts provide insights into the town’s fascinating past, from its origins as a thriving river port to its role in Western Australia’s development.

23. Explore the Perth Hills

This picturesque region is characterised by rolling hills, forests, and charming towns, providing a beautiful contrast to the coastal plains of the city.

The area is known for its boutique wineries, orchards, and delightful cafes.

24. Enjoy Free Wine Tastings

Located just a short drive from Perth, the Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine-producing area, with over 40 wineries. Visit vineyards to sample award-winning wines and learn about the winemaking process directly from passionate vintners.

Beyond wine, the region offers artisanal cheeses, chocolates, and fresh produce.

25. Scenic Drive

For a taste of the countryside, the Perth Hills Scenic Drive winds through picturesque hills and valleys with panoramic views of the city skyline along the way.

The Trigg Beach to Burns Beach Coastal Drive allows you to soak in the beauty of the Indian Ocean, with breathtaking ocean views and the chance to stop at iconic coastal landmarks.

26. Wildflowers

Every year, from late winter to early spring, the region’s landscape transforms into a vibrant tapestry of wildflowers in full bloom. The Perth area has an incredible variety of native flora, from delicate orchids to striking banksias and iconic kangaroo paws.

Nature enthusiasts can explore numerous wildflower trails in nearby national parks like Kings Park, John Forrest, and Lesmurdie Falls, where the dazzling display of colours against the backdrop of greenery is stunning.

Free Things To Do in Perth at Night  

27. Sunset

In Perth, witnessing the sunset is a cherished ritual, and there are numerous picturesque spots to enjoy this daily spectacle. Cottesloe Beach is a favourite, offering a stunning backdrop of the Indian Ocean as the sun dips below the horizon. For a cityscape view, head to South Perth Foreshore, where the lights of the city twinkle as the sun sets behind the skyline.

Matilda Bay Reserve along the Swan River offers beautiful views and a perfect spot for a sunset picnic. Kings Park, with its elevated vantage points, provides sweeping views of the city and river, making it another excellent choice.

28. Outdoor Movies at Northbridge Piazza

Visitors and locals gather on the spacious Northbridge Piazza to enjoy free screenings of a diverse selection of films under the stars. It’s a fantastic way to relish Perth’s balmy evenings, with a festive atmosphere and comfy bean bags.

29. Stargazing

Despite its metropolitan setting, Perth provides plenty of spots for stargazers to observe the night sky. Kings Park, with its elevated vantage points and minimal light pollution, is a popular choice.

The coastal areas around Perth, such as Cottesloe Beach or Trigg Beach, offer uninterrupted views of the horizon, allowing you to witness the moonrise and stars appearing over the Indian Ocean.

For a more immersive experience, you can join local astronomy clubs and attend their free stargazing sessions, where experienced astronomers share their knowledge and telescopes with the public.

Free Family-Friendly Activities

30. Shoalwater Marine Park

Shoalwater Marine Park, located just south of Perth, is a protected marine park encompassing Penguin Island.

The park is renowned for its resident wildlife, with colonies of little penguins and Australian sea lions calling these islands home.

The crystal-clear waters of Shoalwater Bay are perfect for snorkelling and diving.

aerial view over penguin island with clear green water and boats in the ocean
Aerial View of Penguin Island by Tourism WA

31. Plane Spotting

Taking kids plane spotting at Perth Airport or Jandakot Airport is an exciting and educational adventure that can spark a lifelong fascination with aviation.

Perth Airport, the primary international gateway to Western Australia, has a wide variety of aircraft to observe, from commercial airliners to cargo planes and private jets.

The airport’s designated viewing area provides an excellent vantage point for kids to watch planes take off and land.

Jandakot Airport is where children can see smaller planes, helicopters, and flight training in action.

32. Storytime at the Local Library

Storytime at the local library in Perth nurtures a love for reading and learning in young minds. These engaging sessions are designed to captivate children’s imaginations through the magic of storytelling.

Knowledgeable librarians or enthusiastic volunteers bring stories to life using expressive voices and interactive elements that encourage children to participate.

Beyond fostering a deep appreciation for books, Storytime also promotes social interaction and early literacy skills.

33. Cool Off in a Water Park

Taking kids to cool off in a water playground in Perth is the perfect way to beat the summer heat and provide hours of fun-filled entertainment.

One popular spot is the Elizabeth Quay’s BHP Water Park, where water jets provide refreshing relief.

Forrest Place water feature in the heart of the city invites kids to cool down while shopping with their parents.
Perth’s water playgrounds, often surrounded by picnic areas and shaded spots, make for a fantastic family outing where children can run, laugh, and stay comfortably cool during the warm Australian summer.

34. Learn about the Fire

The DFES Education & Heritage Centre in Perth is managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. It provides an opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of emergency services and learn about their crucial role in Western Australia.

Through interactive exhibits, historical artefacts, and displays, you can gain insight into the evolution of firefighting and emergency response in the region.

35. Playground

From sprawling adventure playgrounds with towering slides to smaller neighbourhood parks with swings and climbing structures, Perth’s playgrounds cater to a range of ages. Iconic spots like Kings Park and Hyde Park have imaginative play areas, while coastal destinations like Scarborough Beach feature beachfront playgrounds with stunning views.

36. Perth Mint

While there is an admission fee for most exhibits and guided tours, there is an opportunity for free entry. The Perth Mint allows visitors to explore its retail shop and wander through the Gold Exhibition for free. Here, you can see one of the world’s largest gold bullion coins and learn about the significance of gold in Australia’s heritage.

While the free visit provides a taste of the Perth Mint’s offerings, those interested in a more comprehensive experience can take a tour to delve deeper into the minting process and gold mining history.

37. Whiteman Park

Whiteman Park, a short drive from Perth’s city centre, is a natural reserve with free activities for all ages. The park has numerous walking and cycling trails that wind through bushland. Families can picnic in the designated areas or explore vintage trams and heritage transport at the Revolutions Transport Museum (small fees for some attractions).

Entrance fees apply to Caversham Wildlife Park, where you can interact with friendly kangaroos and see native wildlife.

38. Lancelin

Lancelin is a short drive from Perth, making it a perfect day trip destination. This coastal town is renowned for its stunning white sand dunes, which offer a unique playground for sandboarding and exploring.

39. Mandurah Giants

The Mandurah Giants are here for a while longer. So, if you haven’t discovered them yet, do so before they disappear. These outdoor sculptures by Thomas Dambo are amazing to see and take you on a journey through bushland,  wetlands, and waterways. Handmade from recycled timber, the artist designed them to be interactive, where children can touch and climb on them.

40. Dwellingup Bike Tracks

The Dwellingup mountain bike tracks are an exhilarating, cost-free adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. These trails wind through forests with a variety of terrains suitable for riders of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced mountain biker, the network of well-maintained trails allows you to explore the stunning Jarrah woodlands, encounter native wildlife, and experience the thrill of downhill descents.

Dwellingup also has the Munda Biddi Trail, a long-distance cycling trail that traverses Western Australia’s beautiful countryside.

the start of the trail and a sign for marrinup pow camp trail dwellingup
Dwellingup

Tips for Saving Money

Finding enjoyable activities that won’t break the bank can be challenging. Still, there are various strategies you can use to save money:

Research Free Events

  1. Check Local Listings: Websites, social media groups, and newspapers often list free or cheap events in your area.
  2. Community Centers: These often host free or low-cost workshops, classes, and events.

Use Discounts and Offers

  1. Membership Cards: Cards like student IDs, senior cards, or local membership cards often provide discounts. We buy the Entertainment Card every year.
  2. Bulk Tickets: Some venues offer discounted rates if you purchase tickets in bulk or as a package.
  3. Early Bird or Off-Peak Specials: Attractions and activities sometimes offer discounted rates during off-peak hours or days.
  4. Coupons and Vouchers: Websites and apps often offer digital coupons for a variety of activities.

Plan and Prioritise

  1. Budget-Friendly Days: Some museums and attractions have specific days where admission is free or discounted.
  2. Set a Budget: Decide on a spending limit for outings and stick to it.
  3. Pack Snacks and Drinks: This can save you from costly food purchases when out.

Go Outdoors

  1. Nature Walks and Hikes: Free and good for your health.
  2. Beach Day: A day at the beach can cost next to nothing, especially if you bring your own supplies.
  3. Picnics: A great way to enjoy outdoor spaces without spending money on dining out.

Public Transport and Walking

  1. Public Transport: Often cheaper than parking and petrol.
  2. Walking Tours: Many cities offer free self-guided walking tours.

Free Perth Sightseeing

Getting around Perth doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and in some cases, it can be entirely free. One of the most convenient options is the Central Area Transit (CAT) buses, which operate within the central business district. These buses run on multiple routes and are a quick way to hop between major attractions and transport hubs without spending a dime.

Within Perth’s CBD, you can also ride any Transperth bus for free within the ‘Free Transit Zone.’ The trains are free between City West, Elizabeth Quay, and Perth Underground stations as long as you don’t exit the stations.

the free cat bus in east perth
Perth’s free CAT Bus

My Thoughts

Despite many attractions costing money, there are still a lot of free things to do in Perth. Make use of our beautiful weather and head to the beach or park.

Do you have any other ideas for free activities in Perth? Let me know in the comments and come join our friendly community in our Facebook group.

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