Perth was our home for 26 years until we bought our home-on-wheels and started living on the road travelling the rest of Australia. We became experts at travelling Perth on a budget because we needed to save every penny before we left!
For example, the best time to visit Perth while on a budget is between September and November (spring). This gives you the perfect balance between low accommodation prices and good weather.
We have so many cheap, budget activity ideas for travelling in Perth. The good news is, transport is very cheap here and some routes are even free, so you don’t need to worry about that when visiting.
What can set you back though, is eating out, it can easily be around $30/per person. But we have listed options of places to eat, that offer the best value for money.
If we had to choose, we’d rather use that saved money towards a few low-cost tours! That way you can experience as much of Perth and its surrounds as possible, without breaking the bank.
Let your wallet collect some dust with these tips!
Table of Contents
Best time to travel to Perth on a budget
Spring (September-November) is the best season to visit Perth if you want the balance between good prices and good weather.
Those months mark the end of the school holiday season. So, there will be fewer tourists compared to summer (December-February), which lowers accommodation prices.
Time it right and you can see the stunning purple Jacarandas blossoming (Mid October – Mid November)
Plus, temperatures are excellent for outdoor activities as there’s little to no chance of rainfall, compared to winter (June-August).
Most of the things to do in Perth involve beaches and parks, so visiting when the weather is good is key if you want to enjoy as much of this city as possible.
However, the cheapest season to visit Perth is winter, not spring. Winter is very chilly and rainy in Perth, so most people avoid visiting. The bright side is the drop in accommodation prices!
Don’t let the weather hold you back, though – there’s plenty to do in Perth in July, even if it’s the peak of winter.
Cheap ways to move around Perth (and nearby attractions)
Perth is the fourth biggest city in Australia by area. Some even consider it to be the longest city in the world, as it stretches for ~150km of coast.
So… your two feet won’t be enough to explore this city.
However, there are several cheap transportation options to use, according to the things you want to do:
Move around Perth with public transport
The public transport system in Perth is called Transperth. It connects Perth CBD (Central Business District) with the airport and the surrounding suburbs.
It services from Joondalup and Midland, all the way down to Fremantle and Mandurah. Now, the service area is divided into 9 zones:
- If you move within one zone, you pay a 1-zone fare.
- If you move from one zone into another, you pay a 2-zone fare. This is regardless of how many zones you cross.
This means that you can cross all 9 zones and still pay a 2-zone fare. Talk about cheap!
Planning your journey with Transperth
You can plan your journey with Google Maps, Apple Maps, or the Journey Planner from TransPerth. Use the latter to get estimated fares!
You can pay for the ride with cash, on the bus or at the ticket machines near bus stops, train stations, or ferry jetties.
In general, expect to pay between $2 -$5, depending on the number of zones and whether you have a SmartRider card.
The SmartRider card is a reusable card you can use to travel with Transperth.
It costs $10 and it’s an absolute must if you want to travel a lot within Perth while saving money, as it gives you several benefits such as:
- 10% discounts for all tickets.
- Free transit zone for trains.
- First Sunday of the month free.
You can purchase it at Transperth Information centres or certain retail outlets.
Transperth also has free transit zones for buses available to the general public. Read more about free travel options from Transperth here.
Bike your way around Perth
Perth is a bike-friendly city, with heaps of cycle lanes and dual-use paths. Renting a bike for 1 day costs around $25.
We recommend using About Bike Hire to rent a bike. They offer different kinds of bikes, including hybrid, electric, tandem, scooters, etc. You can also rent kayaks and SUPs here!
Drive a car (or hire one) in Perth
A car is the best way to explore Perth and its surroundings at your own pace, such as:
- Lancelin sand dunes (1.5 hour drive north)
- The Pinnacles (2 hour drive north)
- Busselton (2.5 hour drive south)
- Margaret River (3 hour drive south)
If you want to hire a car, we recommend avoiding the rentals at Perth Airport, as they are going to be the most expensive.
Expect to spend $50/day minimum on a car rental in Perth. That price will lessen or steepen depending on the make and size of the car you choose to rent, and for how long you will rent it.
Also, expect to pay around $1.5-$2.5 per litre of fuel, depending on whether it’s gasoline or diesel.
We use RentalCars to find the cheapest deals. Use their “show on map” feature to check the different pick-up locations and best prices!
Explore nearby cities by plane
Perth is the capital of Western Australia, which is the largest state in the country. WA has dozens of beautiful destinations to check out, but some of them are +20 hours by car!
Thankfully, Perth Airport has direct flights to most of them. You can get low prices if you buy the tickets at least 3 months in advance.
Here are the cheapest round-trip costs for popular destinations in WA, we recommend checking at least one of them if you can:
If you bring your car, you can find good deals to leave it in Perth with Fly Parks. They offer excellent deals for booking with an off-site airport parking provider.
The car won’t be on airport grounds, but most off-site providers offer a complimentary shuttle to take you to and from the airport on demand.
That said, try booking your airport parking after booking your flights to get the best deals, or at least 3 weeks in advance.
Pictured below from left: Exmouth, Kalbarri, Hutt Lagoon, Esperance, Broome and Cable Beach!
Tips to find cheap flights
We love using the price graph because it shows the different prices depending on the day of departure/arrival, so you can choose the cheaper tickets!
You can also create alerts to track the prices of a specific flight. They even have a free Chrome plug-in to easily find lower prices when comparing flights!
Try Trip.com here:
Where to stay in Perth on a budget?
Hostels are the cheapest accommodation available, around $50/night. But if you bring your car, a caravan park may be best.
There are also budget hotels in Perth CBD and the surrounding areas, which you can easily get to and fro with your SmartRider card!
Here are the best spots to stay according to accommodation type:
Note: We can’t include the exact prices because they change depending on the season. But you can quickly check that out by clicking on the accommodation and filtering by date!
We have stayed at the charming tiny homes by Heyscape in rural areas surrounding Perth. You can read our accommodation review here.
Caravan Parks ($50-$300/night)
Most of the camping grounds and unpowered sites are around $50-$100 depending on the season. Cabins are the most expensive, averaging $200-$300/night.
These are the cheapest yet best-rated caravan parks, which are also a 30-minute drive or less from the city centre:
Rooms for 12-24 people can be as low as $45/night, while rooms that sleep 4 are around $100/night. These are the best hostels in Perth CBD (they are within walking distance from Perth station):
- The Hive Hostel
- Hostel G
- The Shiralee Backpackers
- Perth City Backpackers Hostel
- Downtown Backpackers Hostel
Find cheap hostels in Perth through HostelWorld:
Budget hotels (from $130/night)
The cheapest rate on budget hotels is around $130/night, but you could find better prices in the low season (winter). That said, these are the best-rated budget hotels in Perth:
- Criterion Hotel Perth, in Perth CBD
- The Great Southern Hotel Perth, in Perth CBD
- The Civic Hotel, a 10-minute bus ride from the CBD (1 zone)
- Great Eastern Motor Lodge, a 30-minute ride from the CBD (1 zone)
- Ibis Budget Perth Airport, a 35-minute bus ride from the CBD (1 zone)
Where to eat in Perth without breaking the bank?
Cooking your meals will drop your food costs to $20-$25/day.
Also, tap water is safe to drink, although it can taste a bit weird. If you don’t mind that, bring your reusable bottle!
Eating out in Perth is a bit expensive, as it can cost $25-$30 for one dish with a beverage (non-alcoholic). The cheap but good restaurants tend to be Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Indian.
These are some budget-friendly restaurants with great ratings:
- Vietnamese food: Okay Restaurant, Viet Hoa
- Thai food: Pinto, Thai Esarn
- Chinese food: Billy Lee’s, Sunflower
- Indian food: Delhi Diamond, Shalimar Curries
- Local food: Gusti Restaurant
Free or cheap things to do in Perth
Thankfully, most of the best things to do in Perth are either free or cheap! This city has a big focus on outdoor activities (which is why we recommend visiting in spring instead of winter).
These are 12 free or cheap things you must include in your itinerary:
Note: All distances are from Perth Station
Check out the city beaches
Perth has a few beaches for every water-based activity imaginable, including surfing, snorkelling, swimming, and fishing.
There are also family-friendly beaches and nudist ones, so take your pick!
Plus, you can get to all of them by public transport in 1 hour or less, quicker by car! These are the ones you must include in your itinerary:
- Scarborough Beach. Family-friendly beach with excellent surfing, with dozens of cafés and bars along the shore. 20 min by car/45 min by bus.
- Cottlesloe Beach. Another iconic beach in Perth, it’s similar to Scarborough Beach but further south. 25 min by car/35 min by bus
- City Beach. This is your spot for a great sunset on the beach. Family-friendly, heaps of parking, good surfing. 17 min by car/40 min by bus.
Parks and natural reserves
Perth is a dream city for outdoor enthusiasts, as there are +10 major parklands just within the city limits, and all of them are free to enter.
One of them, Kings Park, is bigger than New York’s Central Park, and the second biggest park in all of Australia.
Suffice it to say, there’s PLENTY to do in them – hiking, birdwatching, wildlife spotting… there’s even a kangaroo sanctuary in one! Here are the must-see parks and natural reserves in Perth:
- Kings Park. Massive park on Mount Elizabeth, overlooking Perth CBD. There are walking trails, lookouts, picnic areas, a memorial, and more. 8 min by car/15 min by bus.
- Bold Park. Apart from walking trails and picnic areas, Bold Park is bustling with wildlife! Possums, native bats and reptiles, and spectacular birds. 20 min by car/30 min by bus.
- Heirisson Island. Here’s the kangaroo sanctuary! There are also picnic shelters, children’s playgrounds, and barbecues. 10 min by car/20 min by bus.
Take a free or a self-guided walking tour
Volunteers from Visit Perth offer free, 90-minute walking tours several times a week. They have tours for history, arts, and even general orientation on the city.
They also created 10 self-guided tours, each with its own downloadable route to follow along, such as:
- The Secret of Point Zero, great to do with kids
- Parks & Gardens Walking Trails, a must for any outdoor enthusiast.
To book free tours and self-guided tour maps, click here!
You can also download the Perth Trails App, a hub of walking trails that showcase different attractions, as well as the history and heritage of the city. It was developed by the council and you can download it for free.
Browse the markets
There are farmers’ markets, night markets, beach markets… Each one is an awesome opportunity to mingle with the locals and get to know Perth’s culture up close.
Plus, you’ll be supporting small businesses with every purchase! These are the most popular markets, but there are many more:
- Subiaco Farmers Market. One of the first farmer’s markets in Perth, come to shop the local produce and grab a bite at one of the 80 stalls. Open every Saturday, 8 am-noon. 18 min by car/20 min by bus.
- Twilight Hawkers Market. This outdoor food market showcases cuisines from all over the world. It’s across the street from Perth Station and opens every Friday from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm during warm seasons.
- Fremantle Markets. Built in 1897, you’ll find pretty much everything here – food, produce, clothes, handicrafts, souvenirs… Open from Friday to Sunday, 35 min by car/40 min by bus.
See dolphins in the wild
Yes, you can see dolphins in Perth! You may see them swimming along the Swan River between September and May. They’re usually the most active between 10 am and noon, and from 4 pm to sunset.
These are the best spots to see them:
Perth Cultural Centre
Right across Perth Station, the cultural centre is the place to be for everything culture and art-related. Here, you can visit:
- The Art Gallery of Western Australia (free entry)
- The State Library (free entry)
- Western Australian Museum ($15 entry)
- The Blue Room Theatre (free entry, $30-$35/per show)
Built in 1899, this is Australia’s official bullion mint. It’s a 20-minute walk from Perth Station and it’s free to enter the shop and overall grounds.
But if you want to know more about it, they offer a great 1-hour tour where you’ll learn all about the Australian gold rush and even watch a traditional gold pour. Check the Perth Mint tour here.
The Bell Tower
The iconic Bell Tower is a glass building, +80 metres high, that contains a set of bells from the 14th century. It’s a unique attraction that offers unique views of the city and the river.
There’s even a low-cost tour where you can ring the bells yourself! It’s a 15-minute walk from Perth station.
Just a 40-minute drive from the city centre, Perth’s observatory is currently an educational facility where people from all over the world come to learn about (and see) the stars.
The observatory offers dozens of tours, including group tours, night-time tours, and even winter tours. They cost between $25-$50 depending on the activity and are worth every single penny.
Learn more about the tours and opening times of Perth Observatory here.
Low-cost tours in Perth for bucket-list activities
There are some activities you need transport from Perth to see, like visiting Rottnest Island and its happy quokkas, Mandurah and the Giants Installations, driving around The Pinnacles, or seeing penguins at Penguin Island.
Thankfully, there are low-cost tours that take you to them! Here are the best-rated ones.
Most of them have perks such as:
- “Reserve now & Pay later” feature
- Lowest price guarantee
- Free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity.
Take advantage of them to save as much as possible!
Full Day Tour – Lancelin Sand Dunes and Pinnacles Desert
If you want to live a full Western Australian experience for a bargain, book this tour as soon as possible.
You’ll visit two of the most famous attractions in Western Australia – Lancelin Sand Dunes and The Pinnacles.
On the tour, you’ll go sandboarding to the dunes, check out either Nilgen Lookout or Hangover Bay, and finish your day at The Pinnacles.
At The Pinnacles, you’ll watch the sunset, have a delicious Western Australian barbecue, and stargaze with telescopes and astrobinoculars.
The price includes everything except lunch – transportation, dinner, park fees, all activities, and a local guide. There are several pick-up and drop-off spots in Perth.
Rottnest Island Round-Trip Ferry from Perth
This is the most hassle-free way to visit Rottnest Island and meet the smiley quokkas! This ferry will take you from Perth to the island and back, so you can spend the whole day there.
There’s excellent audio commentary during the trip and the cost of the authority fee is included in the price.
2-Hour Whale-Watching Cruise (From Fremantle)
From September through December, this cruise will take you on a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see these gentle giants of the sea up close. There will be a whale expert as well, telling you all about these incredible creatures.
Don’t let the cheap price fool you, though – this tour has glowing reviews. The meeting point is in Fremantle.
Half-Day Swan Valley Wine Tour
Western Australia is not only famous for its landscapes, but also for its wine. The closest wine region from Perth is Swan Valley, and this small-group tour will take you wine tasting to a few of the wineries there.
You’ll also sample other liqueurs, chocolate, and cheese, and end your day beer tasting at a local microbrewery. Pick-up and drop-off included, don’t drive after this tour!
If you want to socialize with the friendly locals, go out for drinks on a Sunday afternoon. These are “Sunday Sessions”, where most local bars offer special prices.
Also, most businesses are open between 9 am to 5 pm. Any shopping you need to do, try to do it during that timeframe.
Finally, bring sunscreen and a hat if you’ll be doing outdoor activities. Insect repellant is a good idea too.
Did you know?
Perth is also known as “The City of Light.” Not because it has more sunshine hours than any other capital city in Australia, but because of an event in 1962.
That year, the Friendship 7 spacecraft passed overhead while orbiting the Earth. So, the city residents lit their house lights to make the town visible from outer space… and it worked!
How to travel for cheap in Perth?
To travel for cheap in Perth:
– Visit during winter for the lowest accommodation prices
– For transportation, get a SmartRider card or rent a bike
– Drink tap water (it’s safe in Perth)
– Buy groceries to cook your own food
– Do free activities, like checking the city beaches
– Do cheap tours in Perth, there are several!
Is Perth cheap or expensive?
Perth is cheap compared to Melbourne or Sydney. But it’s expensive, compared to other WA towns like Broome or Margaret River.
How many days in Perth is enough?
3 days in Perth is enough to check out the main attractions of the city. But if you can, 5 days is best to also explore nearby attractions like Lancelin Sand Dunes and/or The Pinnacles.
The bottom line
Perth can definitely be enjoyed even with the tightest of budgets. It’s a beautiful city, with a lot to offer aside from its stunning beaches and massive parks.
Visit during spring for the best balance between weather and prices, get a SmartRider card as soon as you arrive, and if you can afford it, try one of the low-cost tours mentioned above. You won’t regret it!
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