Layover Guide

Perth Layover Guide: A Unique Journey to the Most Isolated City in the World

May 18, 2019

Perth’s International airport connects through to many parts of Asia, Mauritius and South Africa across the Indian Ocean and, of course to many other parts of Australia, including the most remote and amazing natural attractions that are offered within Western Australia itself.

Rochelle of Love Family Life Travel is a travel blogger and native of Perth, Western Australia. She loves living in this incredible and unique part of the world and has created this post to offer you the best tips and experiences so you can make the most of your layover in Perth.

  • Perth International Airport Code: PER
  • Perth is the capital of Western Australia, and is also known as the most isolated city in the world. Its closest city is Adelaide, 2,690 km away, or a lazy 3-day drive.
  • In terms of time zone, Western Australia lags behind the east coast by two hours during winter and three hours during summer since Western Australia does not observe daylight savings time. As of publishing, it is around 12 midnight in Perth while it’s already about 2 AM in Sydney.
  • Perth enjoys the most number of sunny days as compared to any other capital cities in Australia.
  • Unless you’re an Australian citizen or bearing a passport from New Zealand (visa on arrival), you need to obtain a visa prior to arrival in Australia.
  • Never miss a chance to get up close with the Quokkas, Instagram’s latest fluffy sensation.

Perth International Airport Layover Guide

Being the most isolated city in the world, Perth offers a large array of rare and unique attractions that are located nowhere else on earth. Some of these rare experiences are available within a stone’s throw of Perth – the capital city of Western Australia.

Perth Airport is made up of 4 Terminals. T1 is for all international flights except for Qantas. T3 operates all Qantas flights – international and domestic. T2 and T4 service all remaining domestic flights. Free shuttle buses operate every 10 minutes connecting each of the terminals.

How to get around Perth

If you find yourself in Perth for a few hours or a couple of days, there are plenty of unique things to keep you occupied. The Perth International airport is located only 11 km south east of the city and is well connected to the city center with taxis, Uber and shuttle buses.

Perth’s public transport system is clean and generally runs on time however on a Sunday, or outside of peak hours, you could find yourself waiting for half an hour or more for a bus.

My suggestion for ease of getting around and more cost-effective than using taxis or Uber would be to hire a car. There are several car hire facilities available at the airport. The roads in Perth are wide, well signed and easy to navigate. You can hire a car with GPS navigation or use google maps on your phone.

Where to stay in Perth

There are several hotels and motels located in Rivervale, just outside of the airport which make it convenient to return to the airport for onward flights. Most of them have pools and many of them have views over the Swan River.

Crown Casino is located in Burswood which is only 10 minutes from the airport. The complex offers two luxury hotels for you to choose from as well as several restaurants, bars and entertainment options.

However, as the airport is close to the city you are not limited to these hotels. You could choose to stay in the CBD and still only be half an hour away from the airport.

What to do in Perth

These are my suggestions for what to do when you find yourself in Perth for a layover. I have divided them based on how long your layover is for with some additional suggestions if you find yourself with extra time.

12 hours or less

If you find yourself in Perth for 12 hours or less, you can split your time between Kings Park and Perth’s famous beaches.

Kings Park

Located right in the city center, Kings Park is huge with heaps of attractions to entertain you for a few hours. It offers stunning views over the Swan River and Perth CBD, with a number of restaurants, grassed areas, bush walks, memorials and historic markers, kids playgrounds and even a native botanic gardens.

Perth Wildflowers

Perth’s Wildflowers at Kings Park
Rochelle Harrison / Love Family Life Travel

If you are in Perth in August or September head to Kings Park to see a burst of Western Australia’s famous wildflowers. WA is home to more than 12 000 varieties of wildflowers, more than anywhere else in the world. Perth’s isolation means that most of them are unique to WA. Even outside of ‘The Big Flowering’ you will find wildflowers blooming all through the year.

If you are travelling with kids head over to Synergy Parklands which includes a huge playground located near a picturesque lake. The area is dotted with dinosaurs and crocodiles for the kids to explore and climb over and Zamia Café is nearby if the adults want to grab a coffee or if you would like a sit down meal.

Cottesloe Beach

Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Cottesloe Beach
Rochelle Harrison / Love Family Life Travel

Perth has some of the best beaches in the world with sparkling blue water, clean white sand and the most sunlight of any other city in Australia.

Cottesloe beach is the pick of the best. Sparkling blue water, edged with clean white sand, there are plenty of grassed areas and trees to find a shady comfortable spot to enjoy the view.

The sun sets on the west coast, so if you are around at sunset, find a good spot to watch the sun set over the water.

Across the road from the beach is Cott’s Takeaway where you can grab some take away fish and chips. I suggest ordering the Dhu fish – which is only found in the deep seas of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia.

24 – 48 Hours

If you have more time head down the Indian Ocean Drive to see some incredible sights and have a unique Australian experience.

Indian Ocean Drive heads north of the city and leads to a series of coastal towns that showcase the best of Western Australia coastal culture. Here you will find two natural attractions that are located nowhere else on earth.

The Pinnacles and Stromatolites

The Pinnacles, Perth, Western Australia

The Pinnacles
Rochelle Harrison / Love Family Life Travel

The Pinnacles are mysterious tree like structures rising out of a yellow desert sandscape. No one is completely sure what they are, but the current theory is that they are ancient calcified tree trunks that have been preserved under the desert sands. As the sands shift in the wind more are revealed and others are covered, creating an ever-changing landscape that is completely surreal.

They are located in Nambung National Park and the entrance fee is 13 AUD per vehicle. Once inside you can drive through the Pinnacles or follow the 1.2 km walking trail.

Stromatolites, Perth, Western Australia

The Stromatolites
Rochelle Harrison / Love Family Life Travel

Just down the road you can head to Lake Thetis and view Stromatolites. Stromatolites look like a bunch of rocks in shallow water. In reality, they are the oldest living lifeforms on earth. There are less than half a dozen places that you can see them in the world and Western Australia has 3 of them.

Kangaroos and Koalas

Yanchep National Park, Perth, Western Australia

Yanchep National Park
Rochelle Harrison / Love Family Life Travel

Also located on the Indian Ocean Drive is Yanchep National Park.

The entrance fee of $13 per vehicle gives you the opportunity to see the two most iconic Australian animals. Western grey kangaroos can be found throughout the entire park. Koalas are native to the east coast of Australia but some have found a home at the Koala boardwalk in the National Park.

The National Park also runs tours through the Crystal Caves, has a tavern for accommodation or meals and offers several world class walking trails.

More than 48 hours

If you find yourself with any additional time you could also consider the following:

Rottnest Island

If you want to get involved in one of the world’s latest selfie crazes and see some beautiful beaches while you are at it, head over to Rottnest Island for a day. Rottnest was named for the unique marsupial – the Quokka that calls it home. They were mistaken for rats by the Dutch explorers that first discovered the island in 1696. These photogenic animals are super friendly, and it is easy to get a selfie with one of them to add to the collection on Instagram.

You can catch a ferry to Rottnest from Fremantle or from Barrack Street Jetty in the city. The ferry takes between 30 – 90 minutes to get there, depending on where you are departing from.


Fremantle is an historic port town with loads of character, heaps of great restaurants, a quirky market and bustling night life. You will find beaches, quirky characters, unique shops, great food and loads of culture.

Caversham Wildlife Park

A favorite with International Visitors, Caversham wildlife park is located about 20 km away from the center of town in Whiteman Park. If your priority is to get up close and personal with Australian wildlife, this is the best place to do it. It is a very interactive and hands on wildlife park with plenty of shows and opportunities to interact with the wildlife. Admission fees are $30 per adult and $14 per child.

The Swan Valley

The Swan Valley is Perth’s premier food and wine region. The 23 km scenic route through the region takes you past more than 150 food and wine producers. You will find wine, beer, cider and spirits as well as cheese, coffee, chocolate, nougat, fresh produce and much more. There are many restaurants and cafes where you can have a meal and plenty of grassed areas for the kids to have a run around. My two favourite picks are The Henley Brook and Mandoon Estate.

Quokka Selfie

Curious Twins
Tiomax80 / @janafalk / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Enjoy! And have a selfie with a quokka.

Perth offers all the best experiences that you could want from any trip to Australia. If you are heading there for a stop over or travelling onward within Australia, be sure to check out the blog Love Family Life Travel for more inspiration and ideas.

Featured images via Pixabay.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.