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30+ Best Things to do in Perth for Animal and Nature-Lovers!
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia, and one of the most beautiful cities in Australia for nature-lovers to explore. With a gold mine of things to do, you will never be bored when taking a trip to this coastal city.
When I travelled to Perth, I was blown away by all the incredible sites to see and different activities to do. It definitely exceeded all expectations I had developed before arriving.
Blessed with pleasant weather all year round, lush national parks, gardens, vineyard valleys, beaches, bays, islands and unique rock formations, Perth is an adventure playground for those who are willing to go off track and explore it.
In this article, I’ll be sharing the 30 best things to do in Perth for animal & nature-lovers!
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the most beautiful islands near Perth CBD and its surrounding areas.
Sitting just offshore from the city, Rottnest Island is one of the best things to do in Perth, Western Australia. Particularly for nature lovers searching for a fix of secluded coves, white sandy beaches and unique flora and fauna.
Western Australia is also the only place in the world where you can see the infamous, and adorable, quokka.
Quokkas are native to Rottnest Island and became world famous due to their presence in various celebrity selfies including:
- Chris Hemsworth (the original trend starter)
- Hugh Jackman (one of my faves!)
- Margot Robbie
- Roger Federer
- Rafael Nadal
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Once you arrive on the island, these cute little wallaby-like marsupials are not a rare find. They are practically everywhere you look!
And, although you’re allowed to take photos with the Quokkas, it is illegal to touch or pat them.
Truth be told, you probably wouldn’t want to anyway, as some can have mites, disease and a whole lot of nasties on their fur.
The best way to get to Rottnest island is via a short ferry ride from the mainland of Perth. It’s also important to keep in mind that the island is car-free meaning that you’ll need to hire a bike, walk or take the local bus to get around the island.
Ferry Tickets and Admission
There are various ferry and island admission packages that you can buy including:
- Ferry ticket and Island Admission (From Perth CBD) ~ $110 AUD
- Ferry ticket and Island Admission only (From Fremantle) ~ $72 AUD
- Ferry ticket and Island Admission only (from Hillary’s Boat Harbour) ~ $90 AUD
If you’re looking for convenience, catching the ferry from Perth CBD is recommended however it will cost you an extra $20-$30.
From memory, I believe we took this route when we were travelling in Perth. We found it great because a cruise along Swan River is also included, which you’d typically have to buy as a separate tour.
So, that’s quite handy.
It also allows you to have more of a sleep in if you want to board an early morning ferry.
Tours and Packages
Another great thing about visiting Rottnest Island is that there are many packages and tour options to choose from, allowing you to tailor your experience based on what you like and are interested in.
Here are some of my top recommendations:
- Rottnest Island All-Inclusive Day Tour (from Perth) ~$166 AUD
- o This package includes your return ferry ticket, morning tea at Hillary’s Boat Harbour, a guided bus tour of the island, a historic train ride and a picnic lunch.
- Rottnest Island Ferry & Bus Tour from Perth or Fremantle ~$158 AUD
- This package includes pickup from your hotel, your return ferry ticket, a 1.5-hour discovery bus tour, and gives you time to explore the island at your leisure.
- Rottnest Island Full-Day Bike Hire and Ferry Combo (from Perth) ~$110 AUD
- This package includes your return ferry ticket, island admission and bike hire. That way you can ride your way around the island at your leisure to the many different attractions. This is a nice budget friendly option.
We did the Rottnest Island Ferry and Bus Tour from Perth and really enjoyed it.
We appreciated the convenience of being picked up from our Perth accommodation, learning about Rottnest Island on the bus tour, and then have some free time to enjoy the island at our leisure.
The day went super-fast, but we felt like we had just the right amount of time there to see the main things we wanted to.
There are various other adventurous activities on Rottnest Island that you can enjoy including:
Although less famous compared to Rottnest Island, Carnac Island is another great thing to do in Perth for nature-lovers, especially if you love animals.
Located south-east of Rottnest Island and just a short boat ride from Fremantle, this picturesque limestone island is famous for its resident sea-lion population. These hefty sea-lions are known to sun-bake on the beaches during the non-breeding season.
To my surprise, all of the sea-lions found on Carnac Island are males and are considered one of the rarest types of sea-lion in the world – found solely in Australia.
Other than sea-lions, you may also see bottle-nose dolphins and various seabirds that come to the island to nest.
Things to know when visiting Carnac Island:
- Do not leave the beach or venture inland because this island contains a significant population of tiger snakes. This type of snake is one of the world’s most deadly snake species!
- This island is an important nesting habitat for seabirds so please don’t disrupt them
- Please respect the sea-lion sanctuary area (a small visitor exclusion zone identified by signs)
- David Attenborough filmed a wildlife documentary on this island
Tours and Packages
One of the best ways to see Carnac Island is to jump upon a catamaran and sail to its shores.
This 4 hour catamaran sailing tour by Charter 1 will give you the chance to:
- Enjoy a 45-minute sail to the island
- Witness the nature reserve’s spectacular wildlife from the deck of a catamaran
- Snorkel, kayak or even stand-up paddle-board around the shores of the island
You can read more about this catamaran sailing tour below:
Scenic Wine & Cider Regions
Swan Valley & Swan River
Just a 25-minute drive from Perth, Swan Valley offers locals and travellers a smorgasbord of incredible things to do.
In the region of Swan Valley (between Guildford and Bells Rapids), you can enjoy:
- World-class wineries, breweries and distilleries
- Chocolatiers and ice-cream boutiques
- Honey and nougat makers
- Countless gourmet artisan goods
- Boutique shops
- Bustling local and fresh produce markets and eateries
There is truly many things to do in Swan Valley and its surrounding regions.
Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Tours and Packages
My partner and I enjoyed a wine region tour during our stay in Perth and it was fantastic. I can’t remember which tour company we went with, but can confidently say that you will have a ball exploring Western Australia’s wine regions!
The wines are delicious and the chocolate from the Margaret River Chocolate Factory is to die for!
In my opinion, doing a wine tour across the scenic the rolling hills of vineyards is one of the best things to do in Perth, especially if you appreciate nature and fresh local produce.
Here are some top recommended tours to check out:
- Full Day Perth to Swan Valley River Cruise & Vineyard Tour ~ $160 AUD pp
This 7-hour tour includes a two-hour river cruise from Perth to the Swan Valley before jumping onto a coach to for an indulgent experience of unique vineyards, world class wines, delicious lunch, craft beers, chocolate and so much more!
On this tour, you will get to visit three wineries tasting up to 35 different wines and a brewery, enjoy a morning tea with cheese and biscuits and sample different types of chocolate truffles, chocolate buttons, jaws, chutneys and chocolate liqueurs.
Need I say more?
This 8-hour tour also includes a leisurely cruse along the Swan River to Swan Valley and a coach tour through this picturesque wine region. You will get to visit two wineries and two breweries, enjoy morning tea, cheese and wine tastings and indulge at the Margaret River Chocolate company.
On this half day 5-hour coach tour, you will get to enjoy everything mentioned in the above tours, except for the Swan River cruise.
You will have the chance to sample beer and first class wines at four different wineries, enjoy a delicious cheese board and indulge in chocolate samples and chocolate liqueurs at the Margaret River Chocolate Factory.
Other Things to Do in Swan Valley
If wine tasting isn’t your thing, there are various other activities you can do in Swan Valley or on Swan River.
For example, you can enjoy a:
- Twilight river cruise along the Swan River
- Guided bike tour along the foreshores of Swan River
- City highlights tour which includes a tour of Swan Valley and Kings Park Botanic Garden
You can head on over to Whitman Park (a 4,000-hectare bushland and wetland area) which is located in the area.
It has a lot of biodiversity and cultural significance to the local Aboriginal people and is a nice place to explore if you like admiring native flora and fauna. You can also go hiking or bike riding along its many tracks.
Another option is to hire a kayak and paddle your way from the Upper Swan to the seaside suburbs of North Fremantle.
You can read more about other things to do in Swan Valley here.
Margaret River is one of Australia’s largest wine regions and one of the best known attractions south of Perth.
With over 200 rolling vineyards, the region is packed with top-grade wineries that produce more than 25 percent of Australia’s premium wine.
In addition to wine, Margaret River is also renowned for its boutique breweries, pristine beaches along the coast, lush forests and ancient caves.
Here are some of the best things to do in Margaret River:
- Wine tours
- Visit the region’s breweries, distilleries and restaurants
- Margaret River chocolate factory
- Margaret River dairy company (yoghurts and cheese)
- Buy fresh produce from the local farmer’s market
- Go Caving
- Explore the nearby cave precincts
- Go whale watching
- Go hiking within the many nearby national parks, reserves and forests
- Guided tours of the nearby Cape Naturaliste lighthouse
If you’re interested in doing a wine tour in Margaret River, here are some great options to check out:
- Margaret River: Wine, Coffee, Cheese, and Chocolate Tour ~ $155 AUD pp
This 7.5-hour tour through Margaret River will give you the chance to enjoy four tastings at 3 different wineries as well as lunch at a brewery with a glass of beer or wine.
You will also get to visit Yahava Koffeeworks and experience an olive oil tasting at Olio Bello or Pukara Estate. Finally, you will visit a cheese and chocolate factory.
- Margaret River: Full-Day Wine Tour ~ $130 AUD pp
This 9-hour wine tour has been designed for the budget conscious traveller, yet it still allows you to indulge in and discover the beautiful Margaret River region.
On this tour, you will get to visit Yahava Koffeeworks to taste a variety of different coffees from all over the world and enjoy a two-course lunch with a glass of wine at Flute’s Restaurant.
You will also get to visit Gabriel Chocolate Factory where you can indulge your tastebuds with their variety of award-winning chocolates.
Bickley Valley is located around 30 minutes from Perth within the Perth hills region.
It is surrounded by forests, wildflowers, birds and animal life and is a popular destination for cider and wine enthusiasts.
Your best bet is to drive along the Bickley Valley Wine Trail and select a handful of places to stop at. You can view the map and guide here.
Some popular attractions include:
- Core Cider House
- Carmel Cider Co.
- Plume Estate Vineyard and Café
- Myattsfield Vineyards
- Bickley Valley Asparagus Farm
- The Perth Observatory
- The Bibbulmum Track (starting from Kalamunda)
- The Whistlepipe Gully Creek loop walk (with waterfalls) in the Mundy Regional Park
If you’d prefer to explore Bickley Valley on a tour, you can check out this Bickley Valley Artisan Wine and Cider Tour from Perth.
On this half-day tour, you will get to enjoy stunning views of vineyards and apple orchards, a tasting paddle of five signature ciders, visiting two premium local wineries, a cheese and antipasto platter and simply take in the beauty of the surrounding area.
Many of the wines and ciders that you taste on this tour are exclusive and are not available to the general public.
You can read more about the tour below.
Unique Rock Formations
If you’ve travelled to Perth, Western Australia, with hopes of seeing some unique natural rock formations, I promise that you won’t’ be disappointed.
This is another popular thing to do in Perth for nature-lovers, because many of the rock formations in Western Australia are like no other.
Here are some cool rock formations to check out north, south and east of Perth CBD.
- North Coast:
- The Pinnacles Dessert (below)
- Stromatolites of Shark Bay
- South Coast:
The Pinnacles Desert
When staying in Perth, my partner and I did a tour to the Pinnacles Dessert and it was really cool. It almost feels like you’re in an alien world or walking on the moon.
In my opinion, it’s a MUST do! – and one of the coolest things to do in Perth!
The Pinnacles Desert is located approximately 2 hours from Perth and makes up part of the Nambung National Park, covering an area of 17,487 hectares.
It is one of the most popular natural attractions in Western Australia and provides a natural habitat for various native animals and bird species.
What are the Pinnacles?
The Pinnacles are amazing natural limestone structures that are believed to have formed around 25,000 to 30,000 years ago after the sea receded from the area.
Over time, coastal winds removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars or various heights exposed to the elements. Some of the pillars stand as high as 3.5m!
Once at the Pinnacles Desert you can enjoy:
- Taking lots of photos and selfies with these unique rock formations
- Star-gazing once the sun has gone down
Tours and Packages
Unless you hire a car and drive yourself, the best way to see the Pinnacles is to join a group tour. That’s what we decided to do.
We went for a tour with the star-gazing option, but sadly on the day that we went the sky was very cloudy, therefore didn’t see any stars or the rings of Saturn! It was also a very cold night, so we were all freezing.
That part was a touch disappointing, however the rest of the tour was fantastic!
It’s just something to keep in mind, as the tour guides don’t have control over the sky (unfortunately).
Some great tours to check out are:
This 9-hour tour will take you to The Pinnacles, with some fun activities along the way including:
- Lancelin, where you can walk along the beach or have a go at sand-boarding down the giant Lancelin dunes if you’re feeling adventurous.
- A visit to Hangover Bay to learn about native plants and how they were used by the Aboriginal people for food and medicine when they lived off the land
- Dinner at the Observation Deck in the Pinnacles Desert accompanied with a tasty glass of Margaret River wine
- Watching the sun set over the ocean
- Once dark, you can marvel at the stars through binoculars and a telescope
This is the tour that my partner and I did, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a tour to do, I can highly recommend this one.
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- Perth: Pinnacle Desert Sunset and Stargazing with Dinner ~ $170 AUD pp
This 8-hour tour will take you along the north coast of Perth, with various stops along the way before finally reaching the pinnacles desert.
On this tour, you will have the chance to:
- Stop and see koalas near Yanchep National Park
- Explore the unique rock formations at the Pinnacles Desert
- Watch the sun set over the ocean
- As night falls, you’ll then head to Cervantes for a traditional Aussie dinner at a Western Australian Tavern. This will give you the opportunity to soak up the true Aussie atmosphere.
- You will then head back to the Observation Deck will you will get the chance to star-gaze
Now, do keep in mind that this tour arrives back to Perth late – around 11pm at night!
- Pinnacles, Koalas & Sandboarding Day Trip from Perth ~ $215 AUD pp
This 11.5 hour tour is action packed, giving you a taste of everything.
It will give you the chance to:
- Go off-roading and sand-boarding at Lancelin sand dunes
- Feed kangaroos
- Photograph koalas
- Witness seasonal wildflowers and
- Enjoy a traditional fish and chips lunch in Cervantes
- Explore and take photos at the world-renowned Pinnacles Desert
Unlike the tours above, this tour will take you to Caversham Wildlife Park in the Swan Valley. It does not include star gazing in the Pinnacles Desert.
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Wave rock is another popular natural wonder to visit when exploring Western Australia. As its name suggests, it is literally a giant rock that is shaped like a spectacular breaking wave.
If you only have limited time in Perth, you may want to save this attraction for another time given that it is a 3.5-4 hour drive to Wave Rock from Perth.
And there’s not really that many breathtaking stops along the way.
If you don’t want to hire a car and drive yourself, you can join the Wave Rock, York, Wildflowers and Cultural Tour from Perth.
This 12.5 hour tour will take you all the way to Wave Rock with several stops along the way to break up the journey.
You will get to:
- Visit the picturesque town of York and enjoy a relaxed morning tea as you admire its charming architecture
- See ancient Aboriginal artwork at Hippos Yawn and Mulka’s Cave
- Visit the Gnamma Holes which are a sacred Aboriginal site
- Stop to enjoy a typical Australian country-style lunch
You can read more about this tour here
Beaches and Bays
Western Australia offers travellers and locals some of the best beaches in Australia, with some only a 20-30 minute drive from Perth CBD.
No matter which beach you choose, you’ll be blessed with white sand and turquoise waters.
Your trip to Western Australia is not complete without a visit to the various beaches along the west coast.
Considered one of the best things to do in Perth for nature-lovers, there’s nothing that quite compares to sitting at the beach, looking out onto the turquoise waters while eating a cup of ice cream or gelato.
Popular Beaches in and around Perth
- South Perth Foreshore (Has relaxing walkways and great ocean views)
- Cottesloe Beach (One of the most popular beaches in Perth with safe swimming areas and is accessible by train as well as car)
- City Beach (One of the closest beaches to Perth CBD – approx. an 18 minute drive)
- Scarborough Beach (another popular beach with good surfing, a pool and public BBQs)
- Bathers Beach (A popular beach located in Fremantle)
- Leighton Beach (A popular beach for families and water sports)
- Coogee Beach (One of WA’s only shark free swimming areas given it has an Eco Shark Barrier in place)
- Swanbourne Beach (a long sandy strip of beach)
- Safety Bay (A good place to go kitesurfing, kayaking, paddle-board and other water sports)
If you’re an animal lover like me, you’ll find many things to do in Perth to satisfy your inner wild child.
Here are some of the most popular animal-based activities to while staying in Perth:
- See koalas, kangaroos, dingoes, emus, quokkas and a whole range of other native Australian animals at Cohunu Koala Park. This wildlife sanctuary has been operating since 1972.
- Visit Perth Zoo which houses more than 164 different animal species and has as much of a focus on wildlife conservation as it does tourism
- Admire the diversity of marine life at AQWA Aquarium
- Experience what it’s like to snorkel with sharks at the aquarium
- Go on a whale watching cruise from Hillary’s Boat Harbour
- Join a cruise to spot and swim with dolphins
- Spot sea-lions while sailing around Carnac Island on a catamaran
- Take selfies with quokkas at Rottnest Island
- Go outback horse riding in Cardiff, Western Australia (2+ hours from Perth) on a private or group trail ride through creeks, hills and dunes.
National Parks, Gardens & Trails
If you love hiking, you won’t want to end your trip without visiting one of Perth’s many national parks or gardens.
With trails for people of all ages and fitness levels to explore, this is a relaxing thing to do in Perth, especially if you’re craving your daily dose of nature.
I have covered off some of the main stand-out parks and gardens below.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden (+ Matilda Bay)
Kings Park and Botanic Garden is one of the largest parks situated on the outskirts of Perth CBD.
It is a 400-hectare park that can be accessed from a variety of main roads and provides panoramic views of the Swan River and the central business district of Perth.
This park is believed to attract over 5 million people every year! – a very popular tourist attraction. Probably because it is only a short walking distance from Perth CBD.
The Kings Park and Botanic Garden contains over 324 native plant and 215 fungi species within a combination of natural themes including:
- Grassed parkland
- Native bushland and
- Various other flora within the botanic gardens
There are many different types of bird species that can be seen frolicking within the park as well – around 80 different species to be exact.
Other facilities that can be enjoyed within the park include:
- The State War Memorial
- Plaques dedicated to those who died in World War I and World War II
- The Royal Kings Park Tennis club and
- The reservoir
If you visit in September, you may even get the opportunity to witness Australia’s largest wildflower show and exhibition, which is hosted inside the gardens as part of the King’s Park Festival.
Along the borders of Kings Park, you can enjoy views of Matilda Bay which is a natural bay within Swan River.
If you like bike riding, you can even join a relaxed guided riding tour that takes you around both Matilda Bay and Kings Park.
On this tour, you’ll get to wind your way along some of the best river cycle paths in Perth, passing by the beautiful Matilda Bay, the iconic Blue Boat House and the Kings Park area.
You can read more about it below:
Hyde Park and Gardens
Hyde Park is an inner-city park located 2km north of Perth CBD (central business district), on the corner of Vincent Street and William Street.
This park is a great place to relax and bask in the sun, have a BBQ with friends or go for a nice walk around the lake (approx. 800m).
Compared to other parks and gardens in the city (e.g. Royal Botanic Gardens) it is a pretty small park however a nice place to enjoy nonetheless.
A combination of beautiful trees and flora line the paths beside the including Moreton Bay Figs, Port Jackson Figs, Pines, Jacarandas, Swamp Cypress, Red Cedar, Bunya Pine a couple of Eucalyptus trees.
If you’re planning to spend half a day or so at the park, you can enjoy the following facilities:
- Public toilets
- A playground
- Gazebos and sites within the park that can be booked out for weddings, picnics and BBQs.
- A pavilion and stage that hosts entertainment throughout the year
- Fitness equipment
Sometimes, seasonal festivals with action-packed rides are held at Hyde Park too.
Bold Park is a 437-hectare conservation bushland area that is located 8km east of Perth in the suburb of City Beach.
Being one of the largest remaining bushland areas along the Swan Coastal Plain, it offers locals and travellers a taste of wilderness only a short distance from the CBD and various coastal beaches.
Perry Lakes reserve is also adjacent to the park, providing networks of walking trails to explore.
You can also enjoy:
- Spectacular views of the surround from Reabold Hill
- The diverse flora, fauna and fungi throughout the park
- Boardwalks to walk along
Given this park is a 10-15 minute drive out of the city, you will need to get there by car or public transport. Parking is available onsite.
Yanchep National Park
Although a 40-minute drive from Perth, I had to include Yanchep national park on the list given the diversity of things you can do here. It is also open every day.
If you have time to spend a day at a National Park, this one should be right at the top of your list of top things to do in Perth.
This park is known for its:
- Network of caves (Over 400 caves have been recorded in the park)
- Native bushland
- Nine walking trails to suit people of all ages and fitness levels ranging from 500m – 46.2km!
- Rich cultural heritage and history associated with the Noongar people of Australia’s South West
- Bird watching opportunities
- Nine-hole golf site
- Camping opportunities
- Helicopter flights
- Tree-top adventures – including wooden bridges, tight ropes, cargo nets and ziplines
- Colonies of koala and grey kangaroos
If you’ve never seen a koala or grey kangaroo in its natural habitat, this is this place to go!
At Yanchep National Park you can take a 240m stroll along the koala boardwalk which will give you a good chance to see a koala, one of Australia’s favourite native animals.
You can also see grey kangaroos nibbling on grass or resting in shaded areas in the park. The best time of day to see them is usually at sunrise or sunset.
There are also free BBQ’s available to the public and picnic spots, so you can make a full day out of it.
I would highly recommend checking out some of the caves including:
- Crystal Cave
- Cabaret Cave (this cave is often used as a venue for weddings and corporate events – pretty cool!)
- Yonderup Cave
You can opt to do a cave tour to so that you don’t have to go down in the cave yourself.
John Forrest National Park
Located a 30-minute drive from Perth, John Forrest National Park is one of Australia’s oldest conservation areas.
It was also proclaimed as Western Australia’s first national park in November 1900.
At the park you can enjoy:
- BBQ and picnic facilities
- Cultivated gardens containing native plants
- Wildflowers (season dependent)
- The various walking tracks ranging from 300m to 16km including the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail (a 41km loop!)
- Walking through Swan View Tunnel which was constructed in 1894 with dynamite, picks and shovels! It is the only historic railway tunnel in Western Australia.
- Its two waterfalls that flow actively in winter and spring (Hovea and National Park Falls)
- Spotting various species of animals including native mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs
If you’re a nature-lover, there’s definitely many things you can do at John Forrest National Park. Particularly, if you’re craving a dose of nature.
Here’s a detailed visitors guide that you can check out for more ideas.
Bibbulmun Track Northern Terminus
The trail is over 1000km long! So, is DEFINITELY not for the faint hearted (if planning to go the whole way!).
This extensive track winds through the heart of the Perth hills and the scenic south west of Western Australia.
The town of Kalamunda is also a nice little treasure to explore while you’re there, with old English village vibes and various cafes, restaurants, galleries and boutique shops to browse. It is a nice place to stay overnight after a big day of hiking along the track.
To pick up information about the track and maps, ensure to head over the Perth Hills Visitor Centre which is located in the Zig Zag Cultural Centre.
You can also read everything that you need to know about the track here.
So, there you have it!
30+ Best Things to Do in Perth for Animal & Nature-Lovers!
I hope that you have found this article useful and that it has helped to give you some inspiration around some epic things you can do in Perth and surrounds, with a focus on nature and animals.
Here’s a quick overview of what we covered:
- Rottnest Island
- Carnac Island
- Swan Valley & Swan River
- Margaret River
- Bickley Valley
- The Pinnacles Desert
- Wave Rock
- Kings Park and Botanic Garden (+ Matilda Bay)
- Hyde Park and Gardens
- Bold Park
- Yanchep National Park
- John Forrest National Park
- Bibbulmun Track Northern Terminus
I wish you an amazing trip to Perth!