Exploring Perth in a day or two
from a Hop-on, hop-off bus
Part of the joys of exploring Australia is that every city is unique and has its own distinctive charm. The sunshine city of Perth is a perfect example - it offers a completely different experience from Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns, but one that is just as special.
When you’re not soaking up the sun on golden beaches, enjoying fresh seafood in a myriad of excellent restaurants, shopping till you drop in the modern city centre or enjoying the breathtaking scenery, there are lots of sights for you to see. Simply jump on a "hop-on, hop-off" bus and explore this dynamic city, with its sparkling buildings, fascinating historic sights and lush parks and gardens.
Perth is the type of city where there’s always something you want to take a look at, whether it’s a sight you want to visit, or some magnificent scenery that has captured your attention. This is why this type of tour is ideal. Just hop off the bus, explore at leisure, then hop on again and continue your sightseeing adventure.
What does it cost?
A regular adult ticket is approximately US$ 30, at the time of writing, while a child ticket goes for US$10 for children aged 5+ (children under age 5 can travel free).
Family pass costs US$55 for 2 adults and up to 4 children aged 5 to 14 years.
A single ticket covers both Red and Blue routes and a tour around King’s Park, and also provides discounts to Perth's major tourist attractions, including:
- 2 for 1 entry in to the Bell Tower;
- Tourist Passport from Harbour Town for further discounts!
- 10% entry into the Perth Mint
- Experience Perth Reward Card for further discounts (ask your driver for one)
Red route: 9.15am from Barrack St Jetty. Last tour ends approx. 4.30pm
Blue Route: 9.20am from Northbridge. Last tour ends approx. 3.45pm
Places to see and things to do along the routes
As already mentioned, there are two routes, and the ticket covers them both:
The Red Route begins at Barrack St Jetty, travels up to King’s Park with stops in the Park, and returns to the city via the west end, while the Blue Route begins at Northbridge, travels over to the Burswood Casino and Entertainment Complex., and returns to the city via Perth Mint.
1. Barrack Street Jetty is your starting point on the Red Route. Located in the city centre, overlooking the pretty Swan River, it offers a number of fascinating attractions, the most famous being the Bell Tower (Swan Bells), one of the largest musical instruments in the world, and one of the only sets of Royal bells located outside of England. The jetty also boasts an excellent selection of lively cafes, restaurants and bars and is the city’s departure point for cruises to Fremantle and the Swan Valley, as well as for sightseeing tours around the city and ferries to South Perth and Perth Zoo.
2. Next stop is Kings Park, Perth’s pride and joy, a magnificent lush 400-hectare oasis close to the city centre, offering breathtaking expanses of parkland and bush. It’s the ideal spot for a relaxing stroll away from the bustle of the city, or to enjoy a scenic picnic. Although you’re in the midst of Perth, you’ll feel as if you’re in the countryside in this lush paradise.
While you enjoy a tour of King’s Park on your bus trip, do take time out to hop off the bus and explore some of the highlights of a visit here including the State War Memorial, and other special memorials located throughout the Park. There’s also the popular Zamia Café in Synergy Parkland, an area including a playground, ornamental lake, outdoor cinema venue and an island fort. And don’t forget to look out for some fine Australian arts and crafts on Fraser Avenue.
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3. Perth’s beautiful Botanic Gardens, in King’s Park, is next along your route, and well worth exploring. This unique garden boasts more than 2,000 species of local flora, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. A highlight of a visit here is a stroll along the 620-meter long path through the gardens, called the Lotterywest Federation Treetop Walkway, which includes a magnificent elevated glass and steel bridge suspended amongst a canopy of eucalyptus trees. Also here is the DNA Tower, with viewing points en route to the top, where you can enjoy an unbeatable panoramic view.
4. More scenic beauty awaits you at our next stop, in Roe Gardens, another part of the Botanic Gardens and a well-kept secret. It’s home to a number of unusual trees and shrubs, including the mottlecah, or silver eucalyptus macrocarpa, copper-cups, red Morrison, sand bottlebrush, smokebush and yellow and black Kangaroo paw. These unique plants are not all that awaits you here; you can also visit a monolith dedicated to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who died serving the Australian army in a number of wars. You will also find a memorial to John Septimus Roe, after whom the gardens are named.
5. Harbour Town is the next place you can hop off, especially if you’re in the mood for some bargaining. This shopping precinct offers discount shopping at up to 30% less than you’ll pay elsewhere in Perth. The selection of stores is excellent and varied, and you can pick up anything from sunglasses and sandals to jewellery. As shopping is hungry work, you will find a number of fast food outlets and cafes here, too.
6. Next stop is on 306 Murray Street. This is your closest stop to the Perth City Shopping Malls and the city’s underground Railway Station. You will hop off right outside the entrance to the Moon & Sixpence Pub, a traditional British pub where you can enjoy some refreshment and a hearty pub meal before doing some serious shopping. Here, in the heart of the city, you will find over 900 specialty stores, offering the latest in fashion, design and technology. So if you’re in the mood for some serious retail therapy, this is probably the right place.
7. At 56 Williams Street, your next stop, you will find more City Shops. So if you haven’t had enough of shopping, you can hop off here and do some more. This stop is also where the red route ends up.
8. Perth Town Hall is next, and the starting point of the Blue Route. This old building, which was built by convicts in 1868, is designed in the Victorian Free Gothic style, and located at Perth’s highest point. Restored in 2005, Town Hall is now used for events, including banquets, exhibitions, cocktail receptions and weddings.
Nearby, along Hay and Murray Streets are a number of excellent shopping malls, including famous London Court, which has been designed in the style of Tudor England.
9. Perth Cultural Centre is the next hop off point, and it’s well worth stopping here to explore. The Centre is home to a number of places of interest, including the Museum of Western Australia, where you can learn all about the history and culture of the country’s Aboriginal people, as well as the area’s unique flora and fauna, and its fascinating minerals and meteorites. There’s also a Discovery Centre here, where you can interact with the museum’s displays to get an insight into Western Australia.
The Art Gallery here is home to an impressive art collection, including one of the finest collections of indigenous art in the world. It also boasts some excellent modern works from all over the world. The Old Gaol, which was built in 1856, is Perth’s original prison and was used until 1988. It’s now been renovated and offers an excellent insight into a bygone era. You can also visit the Western Australia State Library and the State Theatre while you are in this fascinating area.
10. Next stop is Burswood, close to the Opera. This Entertainment Complex offers a way to while away some time. Here you can escape into a world of never-ending fun and excitement. There’s a Casino, seven restaurants, eight bars, a nightclub, two international hotels, a world-class golf course, theatre and the Burswood Dome with its inflatable roof. This fun complex is open 24-hours a day, so there’s always something to do!
11. Perth Mint is an ideal hop off point. This architectural landmark offers visitors the opportunity to experience gold’s never-ending attraction. Since the Gold Rush in 1889, Australia’s gold has been refined by the Perth Mint and made into coins, bars and superb jewellery, and it is still in operation to this day! You will see this alluring substance being poured and transformed into these items, and will also get a chance to see Newmont’s Normandy Nugget - at 25.5kg, this gold nugget is one of the largest in existence.
12. HILL ST and PAN PACIFIC are the last two points on the Blue Route, and the ideal hop on or hop off points for those wishing to get to one of the many hotels in the area, or start their Perth Adventure.
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Something you may like to know... Taking a hop on hop off bus tour is one the best ways to see any large city, as it saves you plenty of precious holiday time and takes you EXACTLY where you want to go... (Not to mention the great cityscape views you can enjoy on the way...). Our "Hop on hop off guides" cover quite a few cities across the world, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Canberra and many other destinations..... (Click on the links to go directly to the city-guide of your choice, or click here to go directly to our world hop-on, hop-off guide).
Did you know? Perth can also be explored from the water...Join one of the cruises on the Swan River and enjoy seeing the city from another perspective.