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Perth on a Budget Free Things You Can Do in the City

Perth on a Budget: Free Things You Can Do in the City

The best things in life are free. Most of us know this saying very well, and being frugal with our money takes an extraordinary feat of patience and self-control.

The ability to control our spending is especially hard to achieve whenever we’re visiting another city. Lucky for you, Perth is a city full of things you can do without having to pay a single cent.

We have parks, museums, events, and more that don’t charge an entrance fee to get in. This article will tell you exactly where those are, and I’ll also give you some useful tips on how you can save more money while travelling around my city.

Have a free and relaxing outdoor experience

Well, it’s no surprise that going for a walk in outdoor spaces is one of the best ways to experience a city for free. Whether you want to go for a quiet stroll around a park or have a refreshing swim at the beach, Perth has something to offer you.

Stroll around Kings Park and Botanic Garden

Address: Fraser Ave, Perth WA 6005, Australia

Let’s start off our visit to Perth with a morning stroll around Kings Park and the Botanic Garden. The largest green park in the city can be found on the west side of the Perth CBD and is open anytime to all visitors.

A lot of the activities you’ll find here won’t charge an entrance fee. Some of my favourite spots here are the DNA Tower, the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, and the Place of Reflection.

And of course, how could we forget the botanic garden? This is where you’ll find an extensive collection of 3,000 of the rarest native plants in Western Australia.

If you find checking out the activities in Kings Park by yourself to be too overwhelming on your own, the park offers free guided tours every day.

Beat the heat at Cottesloe Beach

From: jannik_disch

Now that the heat is starting to ramp up, it’s time for us to hit the beach! Come join us at one of Perth’s most famous beaches, Cottesloe Beach, famous for its pristine waters and white sandy beaches.

This beach is a favourite among many snorkelers, surfers, and swimmers from all over the city. Aside from its famous sandy beaches, Cottesloe Beach also has smooth terraced lawns where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon.

From: nieveshuang

Another big reason why this beach is so popular is its accessibility. Cottesloe Beach is so easy to reach for commuters because the road leading to it is among the major routes of Transperth buses.

I recommend visiting Cottesloe Beach during the month of March. This month is when you’ll get the chance to see the free yearly exhibition called Sculpture by the Sea.

Capture some awesome selfies at the Elizabeth Quay

Address: The Esplanade, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Elizabeth Quay is one of the most prominent places you can visit in Perth for free. This quay is located in the Perth CBD and was built in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee.

There are lots of things you can see and do here. A five-minute walk around the quay will show you some impressive sculptures, promenades, playgrounds, and more.

On most days, it’s also common to see an event or live performance being held here.

In my opinion, the best time to visit this place is at dusk when the night lights are just starting to light up. The beautiful night lights reflecting on the Swan River give me the best background for my selfies.

Have a riverside picnic at the Swan River Foreshore

From: visitperth

Address: Riverside Drive, Perth, Western Australia, 6000

What’s the best way to end a day full of fun activities? Why, with a relaxing riverside picnic at the Swan River Foreshore, of course!

Most suburbs and towns near the banks of the Swan River have their own parks and natural spaces where you can enjoy a picnic session. However, I recommend the one on Riverside Drive because it’s near Elizabeth Quay and Kings Park.

From: australiadiario

Swan River Foreshore also has some barbeque spots you can use if you want to cook your meal on the spot. There’s also a playground in the park if your kids want to burn off some energy before eating.

This place is also a great spot for taking photos of the river. Across the river, you’ll see the beautiful waterfront of Mends Street Jetty and the impressive animal sculptures of Mindeerup.

Immerse yourself in Perth’s culture and art

Visiting the city’s parks and beaches isn’t the only way to experience Perth for free. The city is home to Western Australia’s most prestigious museums and art galleries, which are open to the public for free.

Here are the best spots in the city to immerse yourself in Perth’s best cultural works.

Join a fun event at the Perth Cultural Centre

Address: Roe Street, Beaufort Street Francis Street &, William St, Northbridge WA 6003, Australia

Let’s start off our cultural tour by visiting the Perth Cultural Centre. This cultural precinct is the best place to go if you want to browse a wide variety of cultural works and historical collections.

You’ll find the Perth Cultural Centre in Northbridge, just north of the Perth CBD. The cultural precinct is divided between distinct establishments like the Art Gallery of WA, the State Library of WA, and the WA Museum Boola Bardip.

Some of the establishments here require a small entrance fee, but most of them can be accessed for free. As Western Australia’s cultural centre, it’s no surprise to see live performances and events regularly held here.

Use this website if you want to know what the latest events are at the Perth Cultural Centre. I always use this website to see what events are available for free.

Address: Perth Cultural Centre, Perth WA 6000, Australia

The Art Gallery of Western Australia is one of the awesome establishments you’ll find at the Perth Cultural Centre. This publicly funded art gallery is home to some of the best artwork and sculptures made in Western Australia.

I’m still surprised that I’m able to enjoy these cool works of art for the price of zero dollars.

Please take note that most of the exhibitions here are only displayed for a limited amount of time. Use this website to know which exhibits are currently on display and how long they will be available.

Check out some research journals and antique documents at the State Library of Western Australia

Address: Perth Cultural Centre, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Another awesome building you can check out for free in the Perth Cultural Centre is the State Library of Western Australia. This public library has an extensive collection of books, research journals, documents, and more.

I highly recommend you visit this place if you’re a huge fan of history. The State Library of Western Australia hosts exhibitions on different themes surrounding various points in history.

An exhibition I saw during my last visit here was called Stuff! This exhibit showcased the most unique artefacts the library had in its collection, which were handpicked by its librarians and seasoned historians.

It was pretty cool seeing some old French maps of the Australian continent and children’s storybooks written in the Indigenous Walmajarri language.

Learn more about maritime history at the WA Shipwrecks Museum

Address: 47 Cliff St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

The Western Australian Shipwrecks Museum is another free museum you can visit to learn more about Perth’s history. The city has always been a busy port city since its founding and thus has a rich maritime history.

The museum can be found in Fremantle, Perth’s first major port city. The building it is in is actually a historical site in itself. 

Known as the Fremantle Commissariat, it was built to store food and important supplies for the Swan River Colony.

From: ace7979

Today, the museum offers an extensive collection of artefacts captured from shipwrecks scattered along the seas near Western Australia.

My visit here was memorable. One of the major highlights of this museum is its exhibition on one of the deadliest ship mutinies in history, the Batavia Mutiny.

Discover Perth’s proud heritage

If a trip to the museum isn’t enough to satiate your curiosity about Perth’s history, then it’s time we visit some of the most iconic structures in the city. My city is full of historically significant places that can tell you more about Perth’s heritage.

Without further ado, here are some notable places you can visit in my city without having to pay a single cent.

Visit the iconic Perth Town Hall

From: buchum

Address: 601 Hay St, Perth WA 6000, Australia

The Perth Town Hall is a historically significant building that carries a unique distinction. It’s the only town hall in Australia that was built using convict labour.

This town hall was designed with Gothic-style architecture, a style that was fairly common during colonial times. Nowadays, the Perth Town Hall is regularly used to host events and exhibitions.

From: ziibii88

It’s very easy to visit since it’s located in the Perth CBD and is just a few metres away from Elizabeth Quay. I sometimes visit this place to attend weddings I’m invited to.

On most days, the Perth Town Hall is open to the general public. Make sure to bring a camera since there are a lot of awesome shots you can take at this place.

See Perth’s colonial past at the Old Mill

Address: Melville Pl, South Perth WA 6151, Australia

Another historically significant building you can visit for free is the Old Mill, located in South Perth. This building is one of the few remaining structures that were built during the Colonial Era.

The Old Mill was built in 1835 and used to produce up to 680 kilogrammes of wheat. It only recently became a tourist attraction thanks to the efforts of the local government of South Perth.

It was a fun experience for me during my last visit here, and I learned more about what life was like back then. Entrance is totally free, but this place also offers guided tours, which you can participate in for a small fee.

Observe a prayer session at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral

Address: 38 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000, Australia

Come and visit St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, one of the oldest religious buildings in the city. It was built in 1888 and was considered a historically significant building by the WA Heritage Register.

The St. George’s Anglican Cathedral is a Victorian academic-style building and is one of the few remaining buildings in Perth that has this style. It has undergone numerous renovations throughout the decades to maintain its beauty.

Masses and prayer services are still regularly held in this cathedral. Please observe silence and follow the rules, especially when a mass or prayer session is currently ongoing.

Learn more about the Convict Era at the Fremantle Prison

Address: 1 The Terrace, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Fremantle Prison is the place to go if you’re curious to learn more about Perth’s brief period as a penal colony. This prison is one of the most famous places in the city thanks to its recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

It was an awesome experience for me to see what prison life was like back in the Convict Era. Fremantle Prison contains some important artefacts and documents detailing the various lives of the prisoners that were incarcerated there.

The entrance to Fremantle Prison is free, and visitors can access some facilities within the prison free of charge. However, some sections, like underground tunnels, require visitors to pay a small fee to visit.

Explore the city’s local scene

We’ve already discussed so many things you can do in Perth for free, it’s unthinkable we’ll have more, right? Nope, don’t leave just yet because there are still lots of awesome places and activities in Perth you can try out.

In this section, we’ll talk about the city’s local scene. Here you’ll find the best spots and activities in the city where you can enjoy a lively and welcoming atmosphere for free.

Stroll around the city’s markets

If you want to experience Perth the way we locals do, then I urge you to come and visit any of our public markets scattered throughout the city. These markets offer you a glimpse into the daily life of a Perthite.

Fremantle Markets

Address: South Terrace &, Henderson St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia

Start off with a visit to one of Perth’s most popular markets, the Fremantle Markets. This marketplace hosts a wide variety of shops selling food, souvenirs, and more.

What I particularly like about this market is its lively atmosphere. The market is always full of locals and tourists buying stuff, and you may catch a local busker performing along the market’s pathway.

Perth City Farm Markets

Address: 1 City Farm Pl, East Perth WA 6004, Australia

The Perth City Farm Markets are one of the best places in the city to score some fresh produce. This farmer’s market is known for selling products that are pesticide-free and organic.

There’s lots of stuff you can do at the Perth City Farm Markets for free. Visitors can play chess, attend workshop classes, and even join a tour of the farm where most of the market’s products come from.

Inglewood Night Markets

Address: Beaufort St, Inglewood WA 6052, Australia

The Inglewood Night Markets are a great location to spend some time enjoying Perth’s nightlife for free. There’s always a live music performance here, which helps set a great atmosphere in the market.

A lot of the stores you’ll find here sell unique items that are locally made and handcrafted. The Inglewood Night Markets are only open on certain days of the year, so make sure to check out this website to find out when.

Join one of Perth’s free walking tours

From: twofeetperth

Joining one of Perth’s free walking tours is a great way to experience the city’s local scene. These free tours will take you directly to the best places in the city, both famous and underrated.

Each of these walking tours has its own theme, so you won’t get the same experience twice. Some themes you can try out are:

  • General Orientation Tour 
  • The Big Boom Tour 
  • Icons of Influence Tour 
  • Convicts and Colonials Tour 
  • Art City Tour 
  • Perth Town Hall Tour

From: ohheywa

I tried out some of these tours to see what’s great about them. My favourite one was the Art City Tour, where I was able to see some impressive street art I hadn’t seen before despite my years of residence in Perth.

Click here to reserve yourself a slot on any of these tours. Please take note that a walking tour may be cancelled for any reason, like bad weather.

Participate in some free events

Another way to experience Perth’s local scene for free is by attending some of the free events regularly held here. Some shows, like the ones in the Fringe World Festival, can be watched for free.

Here are some events in Perth that have shows and performances that don’t require you to pay an entrance fee to get in.

Watch free shows at the Fringe World Festival

The Fringe World Festival is one of the biggest annual events held here in Perth. It’s a yearly summer event that runs between the months of January and February.

The fringe festival features a wide range of acts and shows like comedy, musicals, circus performances, cabaret, and more.

It’s a highly anticipated event for many of us here because it always has some fresh performances every year. A lot of the shows here require an entry fee, but there are some great acts here that are open to the public for free.

See the pay-what-you-can shows at the Perth Festival

The Perth Festival is another awesome yearly event you can visit to see the best performances the local artists here can offer. There are a large number of things you can see here, including live music, ballet, and interpretative dances.

When I attended the show in 2023, one of the major performances here was from the famous Icelandic singer Bjork.

Like the Fringe World Festival, there are also a tonne of shows here that don’t require visitors to pay to get in. 

Referred to as “pay-what-you-can shows,” these shows only ask visitors to give a small donation to help make other shows cheaper for the public.

Extra Tips on How to Travel Around Perth on a Tight Budget

Now that we’ve discussed the best things you can do in Perth for free, we need to talk about the ways you can save as much money as you can while in the city.

To help you out, here are some tips I can give you on how to travel around Perth while on a tight budget.

Use public transportation whenever you can

Using a city’s public transportation is a great tip you can use to save money not only in Perth but in other cities, too.

We’re really lucky that Perth has a solid public transportation system composed of trains, buses, and ferries. These are managed by the city’s local government under one entity named Transperth.

Some areas in Perth have free bus rides, especially in the central zones of cities like Perth City, Fremantle, and Joondalup. You can find out where these buses are on Transperth’s website.

If you plan to make many visits to Perth or want to explore the city a bit longer, I urge you to get yourself a SmartRider card from a TransPerth InfoCentre.

A standard SmartRider card costs $10, which gives you great discounts whenever you use any form of public transportation in Perth. The more you use it, the more money you can save.

Pack your own food and drinks

From: lunchboxmafia

Another good tip you can use in any city or place you visit is to always pack your own food and drinks. You can save a lot of money this way instead of eating at a restaurant or cafe.

Unfortunately, most of the restaurant food here in Perth is more expensive compared to other major cities in Australia. One of the negatives of being an isolated city is that it is more expensive for companies to stock food supplies here.

This is why I encourage preparing your own food. Carry some sandwiches and a small meal in your backpack, and just eat it at any of the parks here.

Take advantage of free accommodation

From: westawhile

The last tip I can give you to save money is to try to get free accommodation while in the city. There are two good ways you can do this: by couch-surfing at a friend’s home or by temporarily working at a farm.

Couch-surfing is a great option if you have a friend or family member living here in Perth. You can ask them to let you stay in their house for a few days while you’re exploring the city.

Is it possible to couch-surf with a complete stranger? Well, yes, you can. 

Some websites, like, offer a way for travellers to connect with locals who are willing to open their homes to couch surfers.

However, I’m not supportive of this idea because there are safety risks for both parties since they’re dealing with complete strangers.

From: perthcityfarm

Another great way to get free accommodation if you don’t want to couch-surf is to be temporarily employed on one of the farms near Perth.

A lot of farms here, both big-time and family-owned, are in dire need of farmhands due to the expensive labour costs in Australia. Some of these can provide you with free accommodation in exchange for a few hours of work on their farms.

Not only is working on a farm a great way to save money, but it can also provide you with good morning exercise before you start exploring the city.

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