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10 Best Landmarks to Visit in Perth

10 Best Landmarks to Visit in Perth

Perth is a bustling city teeming with life, offering locals and tourists lots of fun things to do. With almost everything modernised in it, it’s easy to forget all the history that made Perth the city we know today.

We’ve reexplored and reacquainted ourselves with some of the best landmarks in Perth as the city reaches almost 200 years since its founding in 1829.

Regardless of whether you’re a local or new to the city, we’ve come up with a list of the best landmarks to visit in Perth.

1. Swan Bell Tower

Swan Bell Tower

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Location: Barrack Square, Riverside Dr, Perth WA 6000

How to get there: Take the free Blue CAT bus between Barrack Square and Northbridge.

Because of its futuristic look, Swan Bell Tower isn’t exactly what many would imagine when thinking of a bell tower. This is because it was a millennium project made to envision the future and depict modernity.

Despite having lived in Perth for most of my life, I hadn’t seen the bells being rung by the bellringers until this visit. I watched them perform on their regular Thursday slot, and it was an unforgettable experience.

I understand why this is such a popular wedding venue around Perth because the splendour of the bells will add a magical feeling to your big day.

Why was the Swan Bell built?

The Swan Bell Tower was built to celebrate the Australian Bicentennial in 1988. The 18 St Martin-in-the-Fields bells in the tower came all the way from London. 

They were donated to celebrate the Bicentennial.

Local’s Tip: The bells are rung every Thursday and Sunday from 12 PM to 1 PM. However, you can try chiming the bells yourself by booking a package on their website.

2. Indiana Tea House

Location: 99 Marine Parade, Cottesloe WA 6011

How to get there: Hop on a ride from the Fremantle station, then get off at Cottesloe. Cottesloe Beach—where the tea house is located—is a 17-minute walk from the station.

Another of the most famous landmarks in Perth is the Indiana Tea House. Indiana has been declared a state heritage place, safeguarding its iconic beachfront structure at Cottesloe Beach.

Today it functions as a restaurant, hotel, and spa, but it has a history dating back to 1910. Renovations are currently ongoing, but the new development is a nod to its history while incorporating modern styles.

Once finished, Indiana’s rooftop will have an open garden and an open-air dance floor. The new dance floor will be inspired by the building’s past as the Centenary Pavilion, which had a British colonial architectural style.

When was the Indiana Tea House built?

The Indiana Tea House was first built in 1910 but was replaced by the Centenary Pavilion 19 years later. It was demolished due to its instability and rebuilt in 1983.

Local’s Tip: Right in the ocean across the Indiana Tea House is the Cottesloe Pylon, whose colours change yearly. The Pylon is visible even if you don’t take a dip in the sea, allowing you to see two landmarks in one trip!

3. Blue Boat House

Location: 1 Kings Park Ave, Crawley WA 6009

How to get there: Ride a 950 bus from Beaufort St and get off at Mounts Bay Road by the Old Swan Brewery. The boat house is three minutes away by foot.

If I had to choose, the Blue Boat House in Crawley is probably my favourite landmark in all of Perth. The little blue house at the end of a jetty is quintessentially Aussie.

It has become a favourite selfie spot among foreign tourists, and I can’t blame them. When the place isn’t too crowded, it’s a quaint spot to enjoy the calm waters of the Swan River.

Who owns the Blue Boat House in Perth?

The Blue Boat House is owned by the Nattrass family and was originally built in the 1930s.

Local’s Tip: The Blue Boat House is located by the side of the street, and you can park by Kings Park Avenue if travelling by car. And remember: cross the road safely!

4. Barracks Arch

Location: Elder Street &, Malcolm St, Perth WA 6000

How to get there: Ride a 935 CAT bus in Kings Park. You can either hop off St Georges Terrace Mount Street or enjoy the view from the ride.

The Barracks Arch may be easy to overlook for locals, especially those who frequent Elder and Malcolm Streets. However, this is one of the most prominent buildings in Perth’s history.

Built during the 1860s, the Barracks once housed British soldiers who guarded convict ships. The rest of the Barracks was demolished in 1966, but the Arch remained and has been a city staple since.

The Barracks Arch has become an everyday sight for many, but when it starts to lose its wonder, I like to think of it as our version of the Arc de Triomphe.

Why was the Barracks demolished?

The Barracks was demolished in 1966 to make way for the Mitchell Freeway. However, it was decided that the Arch would remain.

Local’s Tip: Barracks Arch looks great at night when the light from the city illuminates its windows.

5. Parliament House

Parliament House

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Location: 4 Harvest Terrace, West Perth WA 6005

How to get there: Ride a 910 bus on Fremantle Station and get off St Georges Terrace. Parliament House is a 9-minute walk from there.

Right behind Barracks Arch is the Parliament House, which houses our local parliament. Here, locals can attend events and debates in the Chambers.

I participated in one of their art tours and enjoyed their great collection of artwork created by Western Australian and Aboriginal artists. If this interests you, they have regular tour schedules all year-long on their website.

They have other tours available for members of the community, especially history buffs. There are free public tours, community group tours, and a tour and tasting that allows you to dine in their Members Dining Room.

Is the prime minister in Parliament House?

No, the prime minister is not in the Parliament House in Perth. The Australian Prime Minister does their duties from the Parliament Houe in Canberra.

Local’s Tip: Parliament House has a total of 42 chandeliers. You won’t get to see all of them, but you can see the main chandelier made from Austrian crystal in the foyer.

6. Government House

Location: 13 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000

How to get there: Government House is a short drive away from Parliament House. Head south from Harvest Terrace, turn left to Malcolm St, and then make a U-turn.

Government House was built during the 19th century, and its exterior retains much of its original architectural style, with rooms that are equally as regal.

The Western Australian governor resides in Government House for the duration of their term, but regardless of who’s in office, it remains one of Perth’s most popular places for a lunchtime picnic.

The grounds are open from Tuesday to Thursday between 12 PM and 2 PM, and it’s one of my favourite spots to visit in the spring when all the flowers are in bloom. You’ll also spot a quaint little pond on the grounds when walking around.

Who lives in Government House?

The governor of Western Australia lives in Government House.

Local’s Tip: You can request to have your wedding photoshoot on the grounds or hold an event in the gardens or ballroom. All requests are subject to approval.

7. Perth Town Hall

Location: 601 Hay St, Perth WA 6000

How to get there: Head south on Barrack St toward Wellington St, then turn left to Hay St.

Gothic architecture is not something you get to see a lot of in Australia. What makes Perth Town Hall unique is that it’s the only Gothic-style town hall in the country.

While it no longer operates in any government capacity, it’s open as a venue for events, shows, festivals, or banquets. They always have events lined up, often held in their main hall.

If you’re there for a tour or a show, I suggest spending more time in the hallway adjacent to the main hall. Here you’ll find photos on the wall illustrating the Town Hall’s history and the first panoramic photos taken of the city from the clock tower.

What is the Perth Town Hall used for?

The Perth Town Hall is currently used to host events, shows, and celebrations. Members of the community are free to rent the location.

Local’s Tip: Local volunteers host a tour of the Perth Town Hall every first Thursday of the month at 10:15 AM.

8. Old Mill

Old Mill

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Location: Melville Pl, South Perth WA 6151

How to get there: Get on the 34 Bus at the Perth Busport Zone A. Ride three stops until you get to Mill Point Rd. The Old Mill is a 12-minute walk from there.

Make your fun trip educational by visiting relics of the past to remember how life used to be. The Old Mill, built in 1835, was first used as a flour mill up until 1959. 

Since shutting down, it has operated as a wine saloon, poultry farm, and hotel.

Now it functions as a tourist spot, and while it may not look like much from the outside, going on a tour around the mill and the surrounding properly will help you appreciate all the tools regular Aussies used back in the day.

There’s an adjacent cottage that you can explore in the guided tours. This was my favourite place on the property, as it still had interesting antique cookware and furniture.

Who built the Old Mill in South Perth?

The Old Mill was built by Oaul and James Lockyer in 1835, having been commissioned by William Kernot Shenton.

Local’s Tip: You can volunteer to help run the Old Mill’s operations, even for just three hours once a month. If interested, you can email [email protected].

9. Old Perth Observatory

Old Perth Observatory

Photo credit:

Location: 4 Havelock St, West Perth WA 6005

How to get there: Ride the Red CAT Bus at Welling St Perth Station all the way to Ord St Havelock St. The Old Perth Observatory is a two-minute walk from there.

Now home to the National Trust of Western Australia, the Old Perth Observatory was once used to provide information about the weather and bushfires. Despite being constructed by 1897, it only started mapping out stars by 1901.

You can still see traditional devices, such as the anemometer, on the tower. The city has also kept most of the original roof, with the two masonry chimneys and weathervane.

However, since the building is now used as an office, it’s unfortunately closed to the public. You’re still free to admire the building from the outside, which we think is a great sight by itself, with its location on top of a hill.

How many observatories are there in Perth?

There are two observatories in Perth: the Old Perth Observatory and the new Perth Observatory or the Bickley Observatory. Only the latter remains operational.

Local’s Tip: There’s a stone-and-sand garden at the bottom of the hill, which is a great spot for a little zen during your day.

10. Perth Observatory

Perth Observatory

Photo credit: Perth Observatory

Location: 337 Walnut Rd, Bickley WA 6076

How to get there: Drive down Parry St and continue all the way to State Route 8. Turn left onto Pomeroy Rd, then turn right onto Lawnbrook Rd until you reach the Observatory.

The new Perth Observatory was constructed in 1966 to catch up with newer technologies. It has since remained Perth’s only functional observatory and is open to the public while also being a research facility.

There’s plenty to do here, and we suggest that you make the most of your visit since it’s a little bit out of the way. You can sign up for the group day tour around the grounds and see some telescopes.

What I’d highly recommend, however, is the night sky tour where you can see the constellations and the planets through the Observatory’s telescopes. It starts early at 7:30 PM and is a great family activity!

Who owns the Perth Observatory?

The Perth Observatory is owned by the Western Australian State Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. However, it’s run by the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group.

Local’s Tip: You can adopt a star through their star adoption program and gift it to someone special.

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