13 Extraordinary Things To Do in East Perth
East Perth is a beautiful inner suburb of Perth, close to the CBD. Being locals, we’ve found lots of things to do in East Perth, especially as David worked in the area for many years.
Situated close to the Swan River, East Perth was primarily an industrial area and the location of the East Perth rail yards, gas works, and power station. Today it is home to city professionals in apartments and double-storey residences with cafes and restaurants occupying Claisebrook Village.
Things To Do in East Perth
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Gloucester Park is home to the Gloucester Park Trots. Horse trotting, or harness racing as it’s sometimes called, consist of horses pulling a two-wheeled cart called a spider (or sulky) occupied by the jockey. Trotting started in Western Australia in 1910 and this course was subsequently built in 1929.
Every Friday night, you can see the best horses in WA race for a share in some of the richest metropolitan stake money in Australasia.
There are three eateries to choose from:
- The Beau Rivage Restaurant is on the top level of the JP Stratton Grandstand and offers views of the entire racecourse and Swan River. A great choice for a night out with a Seafood Buffet and the option to include a beverage package. The private bar and TOTE facilities means you don’t have to leave the restaurant to place bets.
- Steelo’s, on the ground floor, has a private deck for outdoor dining, bar, and TOTE facilities. They offer a pub-like menu, which includes kid’s meals.
- JP’s Bar has three giant screens showing the best world live sport plus pint specials and pizza.
We’re not “gamblers” and rarely expose our children to gambling. However, we have taken them to the Gloucester Park Trots a couple of times, both on their dedicated Family Firework Nights. It’s a fun-filled night with kid’s entertainment including an animal farm, face painting, and a bouncy castle with a firework finale.
If you are in Perth for New Year’s Eve, Gloucester Park is a fun option. We went with friends and dined at The Beau Rivage, with the drinks package of course, and celebrated the new year with a firework display.
Admission prices can be found on the Gloucester Park website.
The Perth Mint, in Hay Street, is Australia’s official bullion mint, built in the 19th century to refine gold brought in from the Gold Rush. It’s a popular tourist attraction where you can take a tour and buy souvenirs including Australian coins, gold, silver and platinum. The mint is housed in a grand heritage building, one of Western Australia’s oldest heritage sites.
The Perth Mint holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest gold bullion coin. In 2011, the Australian Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin was cast, weighing 1,012 kg, and measuring 80cm in diameter and 13cm thick. The coin is made from bullion with a purity of 99.99 per cent and was worth around A$64 million in 2019.
I recommend taking the tour where you will see a live gold pour in the original 1899 melting house and learn about gold and the Australian gold rush. The one-hour tour offers a great insight into the history of the goldrush era as well as modern coin making. You get to view the Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin, handle more than $700,000 worth of gold bullion, and see molten gold being poured to form a solid gold bar. There’s a spectacular collection of natural nuggets, including Newmont’s Normandy Nugget, the second largest gold nugget in existence, which weighs 25.5 kg.
The Perth Mint Shop is in the Mint’s original gold receiving room where you will find valuable gold, silver, and platinum coins, gold nuggets, stunning jewellery, precious stones, and an exclusive range of gifts and souvenirs.
If you are going to take the Hop On Hop Off Bus around Perth, you can buy a multi ticket here that combines the bus with the Perth Mint Tour.
Whipper Snapper Distillery
Whipper Snapper Distillery features Perth’s first ever premium whiskey made from 100% locally sourced West Australian ingredients. Perth’s first urban distillery crafts some of Perth’s finest whiskeys, all made on site.
They offer various tours including a tour of production, the distilling process, and tastings. You can view and book their tours on the Whipper Snapper Distillery site.
Queens Gardens, named after Queen Victoria in honour of her Diamond Jubilee, were opened in 1899. This park offers a peaceful oasis with manicured gardens, flower beds, and lakes full of water lilies (the lakes are the old clay mines). It’s an ideal place for a picnic, to read a book, or take a stroll, and is a popular place for weddings.
The Peter Pan statue is a replica of the same statue in London’s Kensington Gardens and was produced by the sculptor of the original statue, Sir George Frampton, and signed by Sir J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan’s creator.
The bench in Queens Gardens was thought to be the original bench from the movie Notting Hill and had a plaque stating this. However, it has since been proved to be false and the plaque has been removed.
The site was previously used for horse racing and later as a clay mine and brickworks. The bricks made here between 1860 and 1890 feature in some of Perth’s most prominent buildings, including The Perth Town Hall, Barracks Arch, and the Cloisters Building. During this time, the park was known as East Perth Clayfields Reserve.
East Perth Cemeteries
My family always point out local cemeteries when we visit a new place as they know I find them fascinating. I’m intrigued about the people and their history, and it helps me get a real feel for the town.
East Perth Cemeteries was the first burial grounds established for the Swan River Colony in 1829, becoming an early colonial era cemetery. The first acknowledged burial was John Mitchell on 6th January 1830 (aged 22) and the grounds continued to be the main burial ground for the Perth area until April 1899, when burials commenced at Karrakatta Cemetery.
Unfortunately, due to the loss of many headstones and no burial register kept by either the Church Wardens or the caretakers of the Cemeteries, only 800 out of the approximate 10,000 graves have been identified. These 800 graves, however, are now conserved by the National Trust, and offer a special way to explore Perth’s early years. The headstones tell stories of courage, heroism, illness, and achievement and are of a highly significant historic value.
In the middle of the cemeteries, you can see St Bartholomew’s, a Gothic Chapel built in 1871. This mortuary chapel, designed by colonial architect Richard Roach Jewell, became a parish church in 1888. Despite times of neglect, it is still a consecrated church, used for regular church services, weddings, and other religious events.
Perth East Foreshore and City Segway Tour
This 90-minute Segway tour will take you along the picturesque eastern foreshore of the Swan River where you’ll get away from the tourist area to discover Perth’s hidden gems. The knowledgeable guides will tell you about Perth’s new colony in the 1800’s and stories of Western Australia’s gold rush era.
At the time of writing, Get Your Guide were offering the tour for the same price as direct but with free cancellation. However, if you want a Family Pass (2 adults & 2 children), it’s cheaper to book direct.
See prices with Get Your Guide here.
Perth’s much needed “new” stadium was opened in January 2018 and was voted the Most Beautiful Sports Facility in the World in the Prix Versailles 2019 international architecture awards. Optus Stadium, as it’s known by naming rights sponsorship, is owned by the Western Australian State Government, and operated by VenuesLive.
The stadium is located on the Burswood Peninsula with views of the beautiful Swan River and Perth city. The multi-purpose stadium can seat 60,000 and hosts a variety of sports and entertainment events, including Australian Football League, International and Big Bash League cricket, soccer, rugby league and union, plus concerts. Perth’s two AFL teams (West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers) moved their home games here from Subiaco Oval and Perth Scorchers now play here instead of at the WACA.
There are over fifty food and drink outlets at Optus Stadium and The Camfield, a large microbrewery, is part of the area surrounding the stadium which includes the nature playgrounds in the Chevron Parkland, the BHP Boardwalk and Amphitheatre, picnic, and barbeque areas.
A good way to see the stadium is by taking the 90-minute Optus Stadium Guided Tour where you will experience the inner sanctum with change-room, locker room, and coaches’ room access. The tour includes viewing sports memorabilia showing WA’s rich sporting history along the way. You can book the tour here.
Matagarup Bridge Zip & Climb
The Matagarup Bridge was opened to the public in July 2018 providing access between East Perth and Burswood. The 370m suspension pedestrian bridge quickly became a Perth icon, and you can see it lit up in different colours to support major local, state, and international events.
Matagarup, meaning a place where the river is only leg deep, allowing it to be crossed, is the name given by traditional land owners to the area around Heirisson Island. The flowing arches represent the Wagyl, a water-serpent of great importance to local Noongar culture, and a pair of swans.
You are now able to climb and zip line from Matagarup Bridge.
The Windan Bridge Loop
One of our favourite walks, or bike rides, is the Windan Bridge Loop, a 6.2 km trail running beside the Swan River and over Windan Bridge and The Causeway.
Windan Bridge was named after the wife of Yellagonga, a chief of the Mooro people, who was buried around this area.
There are a few stops you can make along the route including Heirisson Island where you may see Western Grey kangaroos, which can be found in the southern enclosure of the island (best sighted at dusk or dawn). If you have children, they will love Chevron Parklands, which has a fun playground, and you can view Burswood Park’s Heritage Sculpture Trail, a collection of over a dozen bronze sculptures designed by artists Joan & Charles Smith.
St Mary’s Cathedral
St Mary’s Cathedral was originally built in 1865 and has been the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth for over 150 years. The gothic cathedral has undergone three extensions throughout its life. The biggest began in 1926, and was only completed in 2009, making it the longest single construction project in Western Australia’s history.
The cathedral is located at the top of a hill in East Perth, at the centre of Victoria Square, and is the most impressive place of worship in Western Australia.
It is open for prayer and quiet reflection every day.
Girls School Cinema
The old Perth Girls School building, built in the 1930s, operated as a school for thirty years and then as a Police centre for fifty years. It is now home to live performances, a cinema, delicious food, and a bar. You can book tickets and view what’s on here.
Wellington Square – Moort-ak Waadiny
Wellington Square has had a A$17.5 million upgrade to include a new intergenerational playground and a place of reflection to commemorate the Stolen Generations. The playground features nature play, a skate park, a flying fox, embankment slides, a pump track, waterplay and climbing towers, and basketball courts.
The Burswood Peninsula
The Burswood Peninsula is home to some of Western Australia’s biggest tourist attractions, including Crown Perth, Optus Stadium, the Camfield, Belmont Park Racecourse and the State Tennis Centre.
Burswood was originally developed as two separate entities – Burswood Island, and a part within the suburb of Victoria Park. An English migrant, Henry Camfield, was granted 1,000 acres of land opposite Claisebrook and named the estate after his father’s farm, Burrswood in Kent. The peninsula became Burrswood Island in 1841 when the Burrswood Canal was made to offer a more direct route to Guildford. Camfield let it to tenants until he sold it in 1871. The current spelling of Burswood was a result of a misspelling on the signs at the train station, built as part of the Perth to Armadale line in the 1890s.
WA’s first golf course was built on Burswood Island in 1895, but closed in 2013 to make way for Crown Towers and Optus Stadium. A racecourse was built in 1899 which became the Belmont Park Racecourse.
Burswood Island Complex (now Crown Perth)
The Burswood Island Casino was opened on 30 December 1985 and was the largest casino in Australia and third largest in the world. Burswood Island Hotel opened in October 1987, with the Burswood Convention Centre opening the following month, and on 8 April 1988 the Burswood Island complex had its official opening.
In 2000, a $96 million resort renovation was started followed by a joint venture deal with InterContinental Hotels Group in 2003, rebranding as Burswood InterContinental Hotel. A new, Holiday Inn hotel was constructed next to the Burswood Theatre and in 2004 was rebranded again as Burswood Entertainment Complex due to Publishing and Broadcasting Limited acquiring full control.
Publishing and Broadcasting Limited vested its gaming interests into Crown Limited and the resort became known as Crown Perth in 2011, in line with its sister complex Crown Melbourne. InterContinental Burswood became Crown Metropol Perth and Holiday Inn Perth Burswood was rebranded Crown Promenade. The $568 million six star Crown Towers was opened in December 2016 and is Perth’s largest hotel complex, taking the casino’s hotel capacity to 1,200 rooms.
The Burswood Park has more than 56 hectares of public open space, including grassed areas, shady tree-filled spaces, recreational areas with free barbecues, and the river foreshore and is one of Western Australia’s most popular places. The park features seven lakes, scattered throughout the parkland for visitors to enjoy. You wouldn’t know that it was originally a rubbish tip, and the location of a cement works in the 1940s!
The Heritage sculpture trail is a heritage trail showcasing more than a dozen bronze sculptures and other public works and landmarks, which takes around 45 minutes to complete. The bronze sculptures were designed and produced by artists Joan and Charles Smith and bought between 1989 and 2002. You can download the Heritage Sculpture Trail map before visiting.
East Perth Restaurants
Here’s a list of some of my favourite eateries in East Perth:
- The Royal (great pub with views of the Claisebrook Cove)
- Gioia on the River (delicious Italian food with beautiful views over Claisebrook Cove)
- Royal Cambodia (delicious, affordable Cambodian food with a casual atmosphere)
- Wok and Ladle Thai (consistently excellent Thai food in unpretentious surroundings)
- Kinky Lizard Espresso Bar (great coffee and breakfast with a smile)
- Wassup Dog (gourmet hot dogs, homemade sausages, burgers and more in this quirky café)
- Bright Tank Brewing Co (craft beer brewery hidden in a side street)
If you are here on a Saturday morning, visit the East Perth Farmers Market which is filled with organic and ethical produce.
East Perth Accommodation
The Pan Pacific and the Crown Towers are our go-to hotels in East Perth and have stayed in both numerous times. The Pan Pacific has an affordable Club Lounge, and the Crown Towers is more of a luxury hotel stay.
Quest East Perth is a great option for families with kitchen facilities.
The Sebel East Perth offer serviced apartments right on the riverfront at Claisebrook Cove.
Baileys Serviced Apartments offer clean self-catering accommodation.
Fraser Suites Perth features an indoor swimming pool and 24-hour fitness centre.
Ibis Styles East Perth is a modern hotel in a convenient location.
|Crown Towers Perth||6||8.9||N||$$$||Y||Book Here|
|Pan Pacific Perth||5||8.4||N||$$-$$$||Y||Book Here|
|Quest East Perth||4||8.7||Y||$$-$$$||N||Book Here|
|The Sebel East Perth||4||8.6||Y||$$-$$$||Y||Book Here|
|Baileys Serviced Apts||4||8.6||Y||$$||N||Book Here|
|Fraser Suites Perth||5||8.4||Y||$$-$$$||Y||Book Here|
|Ibis Styles East Perth||4||8.4||N||$$||N||Book Here|
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