Just 19 kilometres off the coast of Perth, Rottnest Island has the pristine beaches, jaw-dropping scenery and abundant marine and wildlife you’d not expect to find on a secluded tropical island.
Rottnest – which unflatteringly translates to “rats nest” – was named by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1696 after he mistook the island’s wildlife for rodents. The animals he spotted were none other than Quokkas, the famous smiling marsupials adored by locals and tourists alike.
After getting that perfect quokka selfie, cool off in the clear waters along the island’s many beaches and bays. Popular water activities here include snorkelling, diving, kayaking and sailing. While the island is car free, a hop on/off bus service is available to take visitors around. If you’re looking to get the family moving, free guided walking tours and bike rentals are also available on the island.
It might seem strange to visit a former prison, but the unique history of the iconic Fremantle Prison makes it well worth your time.
Built by convicts in the 1850s, what was then known as the Convict Establishment played a fundamental role in the state’s growth throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It was the primary site of incarceration for nearly 140 years, complete with death row, gallows and solitary confinement. It is the state’s largest structure built by convicts and the first to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site – an important title that has helped boost Perth tourism.
The prison was opened to the public after being decommissioned in 1991 and became a fascinating portal to the state’s past and a reminder of how criminals of the past were treated. Passionate tour guides reveal fascinating insights into the history of the prison by day and lead spine-chilling torchlight tours by night, with special tours of the prison’s ‘extreme heritage’ tunnels also available.
If a tour inside is not for you, there’s still plenty to see outside at the Gatehouse, with the Convict Cafe, gallery, museum, gift shop and convict depot all open to be explored at no charge.
Originating in 2011, Perth’s boldest and most daring festival, the Fringe World Festival, has grown rapidly to become the biggest summer celebration in Western Australia and the third-largest fringe festival in the world.
Every year, hundreds of artists from Australia and overseas gather from January to February to put their talents on show. From shameless comedy and circus acts to burlesque and theatre shows, the festival sees a quirky and eclectic celebration of all things alternative.
The best part? Many events during the four-week long festival are free, while ticketed events are usually well worth their price.
This world-class area is the city’s newest crown jewel. Opened in January 2018, the 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium is just a short walk from Perth CBD to the Burswood Peninsula where patrons can enjoy sprawling views of the city and Swan River.
With the city’s proud sporting heritage and modern facilities in the stadium, you’ll want to catch an AFL (Australia rules Football League) game – one of Western Australia’s most popular sport – or a soccer match here before you go. For those who aren’t a fan of sports, the stadium also hosts a variety of events, including performances by the biggest names in the music industry like Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and heavy metal supergroup Metallica.
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