Sometimes visiting a city, you can feel like you’re seeing the same museums, cafes and transport wherever you go in the world.
Perth is Australia’s fourth biggest city, and the capital of the state of Western Australia. Historically, Perth had a reputation as a sleepy town. But those days are long in the past.
From festivals to street art, Perth is a treasure trove of fun and unusual things to do. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or the twentieth, there’s plenty to keep you entertained.
To help you make the most of your time in the city, we’ve explored all the best local spots and hidden gems of Perth. Here’s our top 15 fun and unusual activities and experiences in Perth in 2021.
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Top 15 fun and unusual activities in Perth
1. Go Kangaroo spotting on Heirisson Island
Now you’ve probably heard of the Kangaroo Island near Adelaide, but did you know that Perth has its very own kangaroo sanctuary on Heirisson Island. This small island is located in the Swan River, just between the suburbs of East Perth and Victoria Park.
The island is an oasis of calm in Perth, and home to lots of adorable kangaroos. The story goes that in 1998 five female western grey kangaroos were introduced to the island, followed by a male joey in 2000.
Today there are around a dozen kangaroos roaming around the island. For the best experience, make sure to head there in the early evening when the rangers come to feed the kangaroos.
2. Find out who dresses Eliza?
Definitely one of the most unusual things to do in Perth, this Tony Jones sculpture is a mystery to tourists and locals alike. Found around a two-minute walk east of the Blue Boatshed is this statue of a swimmer called Eliza.
She is clad in different, often seasonal, outfits, from a Santa outfit at Christmas to a cycling jersey for the Tour de France.
This in itself is unusual. But the real mystery is that this statue is 15 meters offshore in the sea, and about 2 meters high. So the question is, how are the clothes getting on to the statue? And who is dressing her?
Stop by to see what the statue is wearing, and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the changing outfits.
3. Oh Hey WA Perth Art and Cultural Tour
Universally praised as the best walking tour to do in Perth, if not Australia, the Oh Hey WA Perth tours have a range of tours show you the city’s hidden gems. If it’s art and sculpture that you’re after, then check out the Street Art & Sculpture tour.
If you want a general introduction to Perth and a chance to get your bearings guided by some seriously savvy locals, then book in for The ULTIMATE Perth Walking Tour. Alternatively, if you haven’t got the kids in tow and you’re looking for something a little more unusual, then how about the Gin Masterclass or Beer & Bites tours.
You’re guaranteed to get plenty of insider tips for the best bars and attractions in the city, as well as learning a bit of Perth’s rich history.
4. Check out the local street art
If street art is your thing then you’re in the right place in Perth! In recent years, Perth has become a veritable street art hub, attracting both local and international artists to put their work on the city’s walls. If you’re taking a self-guided walk around the city, we recommend starting on Wolf Lane and Grand Lane where you’ll find tons of art, including work from local artists Fintan Magee and Stormie Mills.
We recommend using this customised google maps Streets of Perth for a full list of works and information about them.
Heading to Northbridge? Be sure to check out the alleys behind James Street for some street art gems. And if you have a bit more time in Perth, you can find some more unusual art in Mount Lawley, which you can reach by bus from Perth CBD. Make sure to admire Paul Deej’s beautiful mural at the end of Boodja Lane, itself full of art.
5. Sample some unusual ice cream flavours
On a hot day there’s nothing more refreshing than a big scoop of gelato. But in Perth we’re not sticking to boring chocolate and vanilla. Head to Chi Cho New Wave Gelato in Northbridge for some wacky flavours including Candied Bacon, Avocado and Prickly Pear Cactus Sorbet. The menu changes often, so it’s worth a trip every time you visit Perth.
We also recommend Gusto Gelato, which has several locations across Perth. As well as more traditional flavours (which are delicious), you might also try vanilla with French Fries and other more unusual pairings.
Finally, if you’re not ice creamed out yet, then make a stop at Whisk Creamery for some of the best gelato in town.
6. Race to the top of DNA Tower
You might be wanting to burn off a bit of that ice-cream, and we have just the thing. Head over to Kings Park, which is a favourite walking spot with locals and their pooches. In this park, you’ll find the DNA Tower, so called because of its double helix shape. Race to the top or bottom to get your blood pumping and also get a great view over the park.
If you’re in the mood for more outdoor views, then wander over to the Lottery West Federation Walkway. This treetop walkway has beautiful views out over the Swan River in the distance as well as a peaceful walk if you need a break from the hubbub of the city.
7. Admire the Bottle Top Tree
Urban legend has it that several years ago groups of motorcycle couriers sitting around this tree started sticking their bottle caps into the trunk. Today, this tree is now covered in a rainbow of bottle tops. If you want to see it for yourself, then head for the Graffiti coffee shop on the junction of King and Hay Streets in the CBD, and the Bottle Top Tree is just next to it.
We don’t recommend trying to add your own bottle tops, as we’re not sure how good this is for the tree, but it’s definitely worth the trip for an unusual sight in Perth.
8. Spin the Gin Wheel
No before you ask, this isn’t a high school drinking game, this is actually a novel feature of one of Perth’s coolest gin bars, The Flour Factory. Located on Queen Street, this bar has over 70 different types of gin on offer, making it a gin lover’s paradise. Part lounge, part outdoor terrace, the space has an intimate seating area and a lush green garden.
If you’re stuck for which gin to try, or in the mood to be surprised, take a spin of the Gin Wheel and see what gin you win. Here the barmen are all knowledgeable about gin, so will be able to answer any questions you have.
9. Take a tipple at these unusual bars
If secret bars and unconventional watering holes are your thing, then you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up the best unusual bars in Perth for you to try. First head over to Lucky Chans which is a noodlebar disguised as a laundrette. For fusion dishes and cool cocktails in an industrial setting, this is the place to be.
For a more traditional speakeasy style drinking establishment, check out Sneaky Tony’s in Northbridge. Named after the infamous rum-runner Tony “the hat”, rum is the thing to be drinking here. However, you have to know the password to get in…
Also to check out are Bob’s Bar, a hidden rooftop bar located on top of the old offices of The West Australian Newspaper, and Holey Moley, a bar complete with an entire mini-golf course inside.
10. Take a turn in a gondola
Next on the list of fun and unusual things to do in Perth is a gondola trip from Elizabeth Quay. You might be surprised to see these boats outside of Venice, Italy, but here on the Swan River they’re a popular activity with tourists and locals alike.
Tours range in length from fifteen minutes to an hour, and can be planned to make sure you’re on the water to appreciate the sunset over Perth. Make sure to check in advance if tours are running as they are sometimes cancelled due to exceptionally bad weather.
11. Meet the Quokkas on Rottnest Island
We hadn’t heard of Quokkas either before arriving in Perth. They are possibly one of the cutest animals under the sun – they actually smile! And no trip to Perth is complete without a trip to go and see them. Perth is home to a huge colony of quokkas on the nearby Rottnest Island. Here, these cuddly creatures have no predators, so around 12,000 of them hop around waiting to look cute on your Instagram feed.
Quokkas aside, Rottnest Island itself is very beautiful, so worth the short ferry trip from Perth or Fremantle.
So this probably tops the list as the most unusual thing to do in Perth. If you’d told us that there was a place in the world filled with thousands of garden gnomes, we would have said you’re kidding, right? But no, it’s true. Around a two-hour drive south of Perth is Gnomesville in the Ferguson Valley. No one knows exactly how many gnomes there are here, but it’s well into the thousands. The gnomes here have been donated by people all over the world, and every one has a little themed home and surroundings. They’ve been split into groups based on their outfits, characters, and other such categories.
13. Hiking in Ellis Brook Valley Reserve
If you fancy some fresh air and time in nature, then you could do a lot worse than heading out to Ellis Brook Valley for a hike/ Apart from its beautiful wildflowers, Ellis Brook Valley Reserve is also well known for its dramatic cliffs and emerald green waters of Old Barrington Quarry. Located only a half an hour drive from Perth, a hike around this nature reserve is the perfect antidote to city life. Here’s a route circuit that will take around 2 hours and give you a nice loop of the park to appreciate the flora and fauna. Ellis Brook Valley Reserve is open every day from 8am to 5pm, but they do close the park on days where there’s a high fire danger risk.
14. Get creative on the pottery wheel
Maybe you’ve been inspired by the street art around Perth, or maybe you just fancy trying your hand at a new skill. Either way, a pottery class at Not Yet Perfect is a totally unusual activity to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Check out their schedule to see what classes are running. We particularly recommend How to Make Your Own Tea Cup and an introduction to Wheel Throwing pottery. And the best part? You get to take your creation home with you as a totally unique souvenir of your time in Perth.
15. Fremantle Prison Tours
Last but not least, Fremantle Prison is a must-see for all visitors to Perth wanting to learn about the city’s rich history. This prison was established in the mid nineteenth century for British convicts. There’s a variety of tours that you can take here, including a true crime tour, a tunnels tour, and even a torchlight tour – not recommended for the fainthearted. Here you’ll learn about the lives and stories of some of the prison’s most notorious inmates.
So there you have it. Our top 15 unusual and fun things to do in Perth, guaranteed to show you the city as you’ve never seen it before.
And a bonus tip? Store your bags with Stasher so that you can make the most of the first and last day of your trip to Perth entirely luggage free.
If you’re headed on to more cities in Australia next, we’ve got you covered:
Hi! I am George and I am the Content Lead for Stasher.com. I love travel, writing, making music and meeting new and interesting people.