13 suburbs of Perth to explore when you visit Western Australia

When we who call Perth home mention Perth, we mean far more than the city centre. For us, Perth is a vast sprawling city, now home to over two million people, and because of our love of living near the coast, it stretches more than 100km from north to south and it covers an area equivalent to well over double the size of Luxembourg.

13 beautiful suburbs of Perth, Western Australia

That’s why knowing a few of the suburbs of Perth before you visit makes sense when you’re planning a Perth trip. First, you need to know something important about Perth suburbs: we divide them into north of the river (NOR) and south of the river (SOR), cutting the city in half at the point where the Swan River runs through the centre; we northerners are quite biased against the southerners and vice versa! But I have tried to include a bit of everything in my list of useful Perth areas to know for trip planning here. (I’ve tried, but it’s still NOR-biased!) If you’re looking for Perth accommodation this suburb guide might help you find the right place to stay if you’re getting away from the city centre.

Hillarys

Of course, I’m starting in the northern suburbs! Hillarys Boat Harbour AKA Sorrento Quay (even I, as a local, don’t really know why it seems to have two names) is on the beach about twenty minutes north of the centre of Perth. It’s a great place to eat, stroll, eat, drink, eat (again!) and the beach in the picture below is great for little kids – completely sheltered and shallow. A regular beach is directly to the south of the entrance. We hang out here ALL the time so you might bump into us, especially near the ice cream shop.

Perth suburbs - Hillarys Boat Harbour

Hillarys Boat Harbour

Yanchep

Head further north. Quite a lot further north. When I was a kid, Yanchep was totally like a huge day trip from Perth but now it’s just on the outer limits of suburbia. Most famously it’s home to Yanchep National Park which includes a reserve with koalas and the Crystal Cave as pictured below, which you can tour. Picnicking up at Yanchep is the thing to do, in my experience.

Perth suburbs - Yanchep and its cave

Yanchep National Park is home to this cave …

Mindarie

Slightly south of Yanchep, Mindarie is like the newer, smaller version of the Hillarys Boat Harbour, with Mindarie Marina being the centrepiece. There’s resort accommodation there and restaurants and LOTS of boats.

Perth suburbs - Mindarie Marina

Mindarie Marina

Joondalup

Still in the northern suburbs and inland a little, the suburb of Joondalup is one of those weird (to me) places that didn’t exist when I was a kid growing up in Perth, and yet now I couldn’t live without it. It’s a real hub of the northern suburbs of Perth and kind of like a satellite city with everything of its own. They’re also getting great at holding interesting festivals and events.

Perth suburbs - Joondalup Library during festival

Joondalup Library during a light festival

Whiteman Park

Now heading inland (east) – amazingly to me, there are people living more than five minutes’ drive from the beach, even though that sure wouldn’t be my choice! – and one spot with heaps to do is Whiteman Park (technically in the suburb of Whiteman, but I didn’t even know that was a suburb name until I looked it up just now). Apart from this old railway (kids love it), there is Caversham Wildlife Park which is a favourite with tourists wanting to see Aussie animals. Quite a few years back now I got to cuddle a wombat there, a very memorable experience!

Perth suburbs - Whiteman Park

The old railway is one of the many attractions at Whiteman Park

Swan Valley

Our Swan Valley area covers a couple of suburbs but nobody except the locals know what they’re called (I sure don’t) so I’m sorry, but I’m lumping them all into the Swan Valley! This is also east of the city and it’s a more rural area and most importantly, it’s the wine growing area of Perth. Lots of vineyards with restaurants here, lovely accommodation, chocolate factories, bushwalking and more, and always a fun place to explore.

Perth suburbs - Swan Valley

From a bush walk through the Swan Valley with my friend Jules

Subiaco

Subiaco is very central and is one of my favourite Perth suburbs because it seems so old and historical. When I was a kid, my father worked in a bank there for many years and I got to know the local business owners and loved hearing “Subi” stories. It’s home to a theatre, about a million restaurants and cafes, an important football oval and always has some kind of action to discover.

Mount Lawley

Another inner suburb I frequent often, Mount Lawley centres on Beaufort Street and has done lots in recent years to really spruce itself up. It’s a great spot for a meal and a stroll and at certain times of year has some good festivals too.

Leederville

And yet another inner suburb of Perth – you can see how close it is to the CBD skyscrapers of Perth in the photo below – Leederville is one of my favourite spots to hang out for a chat and something to eat and drink. (My son likes its playground!)

Perth suburbs - Leederville

Looking over the park in Leederville

Scarborough

Back to the coast, which is really what Perth is all about, and Scarborough is a well-known spot for beach-loving locals. There’s quite a lot of accommodation around Scarborough and people heading to the beach all year round.

City Beach

Head further south of Scarborough (along West Coast Highway, a great drive) and you reach City Beach. It really just used to be a great beach area but there’s been more development there recently and there is a small complex of (I think) four restaurants – so if you want a meal with ocean views but otherwise pretty quiet and peaceful, City Beach is a great area.

Perth suburbs City Beach

City Beach

Cottesloe

One of Perth’s most popular beaches (it helps that you can get the train to nearby), Cottesloe is not just a great beach but a spot with lots of pubs and restaurants. I love it for the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibit, too.

Perth suburbs - Cottesloe

Looking back at Cottesloe Beach

Fremantle

A city in its own right (as are many suburban areas of Perth, of course) but still technically a suburb of Perth, Fremantle is the harbour town of Perth and weirdly, I find, it often gets a separate label on maps of Australia or the world. Anyway – Fremantle is amazing. It’s got a great mix of historical buildings and funky new stuff, it’s on the water (famously good fish and chips) and it’s a tourist mecca with good reason.

Perth suburbs - Fremantle Markets

Fremantle Markets

Weekends are the best because the Fremantle Markets are open and the whole suburb has a great vibe then but there is a heap of stuff to do whenever you are there, and plenty of good accommodation to. You can take the ferry to Rottnest Island directly from Fremantle, too.

Perth suburbs - Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle

Shipwreck Galleries in Fremantle

What are you waiting for? Come to Perth!

Perth is a fabulous city (yes, I’m biased!) and there’s much more to it than just the centre of the city which seems to make it into all the tourist photos. Wherever you stay in Perth, transfers to Perth airport are easy to organise and by exploring our suburbs you can get to know about what makes a Perth dweller tick. There must be some reason we all love living in the most isolated city on earth!

Comments

  1. Beautiful post Amanda, highlighting some of Perth’s wonderful suburbs.

  2. Great post – we often forget just what we have on our doorstep. I’ve been meaning to do the WW2 tunnels tour for ages, I’m putting it on my list to do this year!

  3. I have never been further west than Adelaide but since I’ve started following your blog, Perth has really jumped onto my radar – and this post, oh, it looks fabulous! 🙂

    Can I ask if winter would be a good time to visit? I’m not in love with hot weather (30+) and much prefer exploring on mild, sunny days.

    • Winter is a fabulous time to be in Perth Kati! Yes, we get rainy days but rarely more than a few together – admittedly sometimes you can be unlucky but on the whole, we have a lot of sunny days – and winter can be just delightful.

      • Sounds like the perfect time to visit! Those hot Perth summers that I see on the weather forecast are definitely not my thing. 😀

  4. Watched many films and devoured many choc bombs at the Luna Cinema in Leederville.

    • Good on you Ian! I was there a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately the choc bomb queue was too long (and we arrived too late) – but we did all regret it afterwards! So yum!

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