Perth is an expensive city, even in relation to other large cities: $4 for a cappuccino, $6 for a piece of cake, $9 for a craft beer, $22 for a burger. The list goes on.

But it is possible to spend an enjoyable day or two (or three) visiting the city and still have money left over for food. Below are 10 free (or almost free) things you can do in Perth.

1. CAT buses

You can ride four free buses around the centre of town. The buses are colour-coded and route maps are available at the Visitor Centre (55 William Street). They operate roughly from 6 am to 7 pm (or later) and come around every 5 to 15 minutes, seven days a week (except the green bus which only runs on weekdays). Most central attractions can be reached by CAT bus, including the Perth Mint, The Bell Tower, and Forrest Place. The red and green lines also have a stop within walking distance of King’s Park.

In addition to CAT buses, a Free Transit Zone (FTZ) exists within the City of Perth boundaries where you can travel on any TransPerth city bus for free. Check out this link for more information on getting around Perth.

2. Walking tours

The City of Perth offers free guided walks, including an orientation walking tour, and four speciality tours. All are led by i-City volunteers and take up to two hours. You can join in or leave anywhere along the way. The daily orientation tour departs daily at 11:00 am from the City Information Kiosk on Murray Street Mall (except on very hot days when it may be cancelled). For more information, visit the City Information Kiosk or Visitor Centre.

3. Chocolate tasting

Have a sweet tooth? Or just looking for a nice air-conditioned building to dash into? The new concept store of the Margaret River Chocolate Company at 317 Murray Street offers both the A/C, and free chocolate tasting. Roam the large store featuring shelf after shelf of chocolate confections.

Truffles at Margaret River Chocolate Co.

Truffles at Margaret River Chocolate Co.

4. King’s Park and Botanic Garden

This huge park is one of the city’s top attractions, and what’s even better, it’s free to visit! Even the Botanic Garden, which is part of it, does not charge an admission fee. Follow the one- kilometre Law Walk with views over the Swan river (yes, it’s another kilometre to come back), or stand along Fraser Avenue to watch twilight fall over the city skyline. Beside the Botanic Garden, the park also offers a restaurant and Aboriginal Craft store.

Fraser Avenue - Entrance to King's Park

Fraser Avenue – Entrance to King’s Park

5. Cultural Centre

The Cultural Centre, located just north of Perth’s central train station, encompasses several buildings, all contributors to the art and culture scene of the city. These include the Western Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Library and Information Service of Western Australia, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Blue Room Theatre. Admission to all of these is free of charge.

6. Didgeridoo Lesson

If you’re more the hands-on type than the museum type, why not try to play the didgeridoo? Creative Native is an Aboriginal Art store downtown (Shop 58, Forrest Chase, opposite the Visitor Centre) that offers free basic didgeridoo lessons on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which you can book online. The maximum number of students per class is 5, so you should book in advance.

7. Queen’s Gardens

This is another pleasant garden, much smaller than King’s Park, but also much easier to get your head around. Take the red CAT bus and get off at stop #29. The garden features lawns with ponds full of birds, native trees, flower beds and a very whimsical sculpture of Peter Pan.

Queen's Gardens

Queen’s Gardens

8. Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe Beach, only 20 minutes west of Perth, can be reached by car, bus or train. The 1.5 kilometres of golden sands and clear waters make it one of the city’s favourite beaches for swimming, snorkelling, surfing, and watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. The grassy Esplanade, shaded by giant Norfolk Pines, is a perfect spot for picnics. And it’s all free of course. If you happen to be here in March, watch out for the “Sculpture by the Sea” event which sees the beach transformed into a stunning sculpture park.

9. Visit Fremantle

Getting to Fremantle is not exactly free (unless you walk the 35 kilometres there) but sightseeing around this historical enclave is mostly free. If you don’t have a car, the cheapest and most efficient way to get there is by local train (part of TransPerth local transit), which will only set you back $4. The ride takes 30 minutes.

Once in Fremantle, you can use free CAT buses (similar to the ones in Perth), free bike hire from the E-Shed Markets, or just walk. Fremantle is very walkable and not that large. Beside admiring the British colonial architecture, visiting the Markets, the Fishing Boat Harbour and the beach, you can enter the grounds of the Fremantle Prison and visit the free exhibits. If you want to see further afield, including inside the prison buildings, you need to take one of the tours ($19). But with all the money you’ve been saving from these tips, you may want to indulge.

Fremantle

Fremantle

10. Brewery tour and tasting

While in Fremantle, take a break at the Little Creatures Brewhouse, where you can sample a full range of beers for free, and even get a tour of the facilities at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 PM every day.

What else?

As you start your exploration, drop by the Visitor Centre (55 William Street) and pick up the Hello Perth booklet. It contains coupons giving you discounts on restaurants, accommodation and activities in both Perth and Fremantle. For example, a $5 voucher for a Bell Tower visit means that you pay only $9 instead of $14.

Free WiFi is being tested in a downtown area covering Murray Street Mall and Forrest Place, giving you basic browsing with a 50 Megabytes daily download limit per user. There is also a free WiFi zone at the Northbridge Piazza. Furthermore, many cafés and restaurants in Perth offer free WiFi to their customers.

For more information on what to do in Perth see visitperthcity.com

Anything I forgot? If you know of other free things to do in Perth, please leave a comment!

 

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