A Local’s Guide on the Best Things To Do in Elizabeth Quay 2022

Elizabeth Quay has become a popular tourist attraction in Perth’s city centre. Visitors are drawn to this new waterfront urban development which incorporates luxury hotels, restaurants, and cafes with stunning river and city views.

If you’re looking for a fun and easygoing day out in Perth, look no further than Elizabeth Quay. Here you’ll find all sorts of things to do, from river cruises to water playgrounds. Whether you’re looking for something simple like a walk or something more challenging like a waterbike experience, Elizabeth Quay has it all.

Things To Do in Elizabeth Quay

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Elizabeth Quay was formally opened in January 2016 and has been an important part of the city of Perth ever since. Named after Queen Elizabeth II during her diamond jubilee, the artificial inlet replaced the Esplanade reserve.

Both locals and tourists enjoy the beautiful water views, having lunch or dinner at one of the eateries and letting their children play in the playgrounds. There are lots of free things to do in Elizabeth Quay if you are on a budget too.

aerial view of the perth city skyline and elizabeth quay at dusk with the lights shining all different colours
Elizabeth Quay by Tourism Western Australia

The Bell Tower

Perth’s Bell Tower, one of the largest music instruments in the world, was built in 1999 despite a public outcry of the waste of A$5.5 million. However, it has proved to be a success and is standing strong in one of the busiest parts of the city.

The 18 Swan Bells hang in an 82.5 metre-high tower consisting of a glass spire with copper sails. The sixteen-bell peal is the second largest set of change ringing bells globally, with only Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral having more at nineteen.

Twelve of the bells are royal bells from St Martin in the Fields, London, given to Western Australia by the British Government in 1988. The oldest bell dates back to 1550, and these are the only set known to have left England. The remaining six bells were cast more recently by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and made with a donation of metals mined in WA.

The views from the top over Elizabeth Quay and the Swan River are beautiful.

There are three ticket options at the Bell Tower:

a tall glass bell tower nest to tall hotel with blue sky
Perth’s Bell Tower

Elizabeth Quay Bridge

Elizabeth Quay Bridge provides stunning views of the inlet and Perth city skyline from one side and the Swan River and South Perth from the other. This bridge links the island to Barrack Street Jetty. It’s one of the best photo locations in Perth and a beautiful vantage point to see our wonderful cityscape.

The 110m long, 22m high double arch, cable stay suspension bridge, the first of its kind in Perth, was constructed in 2016 .

a pedestrian bridge spanning the river with a white arch
Elizabeth Quay Bridge

The Island Playground

The nature-inspired Island Playground consists of natural materials that encourage creative play, designed with a maritime theme in mind. There are climbing ropes, a three-storey climbing tower, a sandpit with wooden stepping logs and a water table, a ship’s bell to ring, and a slide to keep the little ones amused.

Umbrellas provide partial shade for the hot summer months.

playground with climbing net and wooden structure
Elizabeth Quay Playground

Elizabeth Quay Water Playground

If you’re visiting Perth with kids during summer, they will enjoy cooling off in the BHP Water Park. It’s a free space for families to enjoy with an interactive water feature that uses jets and lighting. It is named after the global resources company due to their generous $10 million contribution towards the building of this project.

The area surrounding the water playground is ideal for a picnic or to watch the sun go down from the decking. Our daughters had so much fun playing in the water while we sat back and enjoyed the views, and it’s one of the best free things to do in Elizabeth Quay.

The beautiful mosaic tiles represent the Dreaming story of the creation of the Milky Way. Pinjah, meaning tadpole in the Whadjuk language, portrays water meandering through the playground. The small blue circles symbolise Hyde Park Lake and Lake Monger, the only two lakes left in the greater Perth area. The black circle represents the Noongar people, and the red circle depicts the people’s blood, in the past, the present and the future.

a brightly coloured water playground with jets of water coming from the ground
BHP Water Playground at Elizabeth Quay

The Elizabeth Quay Carousel

I love the nostalgia of a carousel, and the Elizabeth Quay one is no different. It was made in Italy by the incredible people who built the carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower and has the same intricate and beautiful hand-painted artwork.

The story behind the project by Rohan Milne of Rohan Jewellers is wonderful – Rohan visited San Sebastian in Spain where he fell in love with the Venetian carousel on the beach at La Concha. He then visited carousels all over the world and decided that his carousel had to be an Italian built, traditional Venetian Carousel.

The Elizabeth Quay Carousel is wheelchair friendly, and tickets are available at the ticket box by the carousel.

Open on weekends, pubic holidays, and WA school holidays from 10 am to 7 pm (weather permitting).

a beautiful french inspired carousel with a white horse
The beautiful carousel – a true piece of art

Water Bike Experience

See Perth from a different angle on a one-hour fun water bike – glide along the river and into Elizabeth Quay in groups of two to nine with a professional guide.

The water bikes are safe, stable, and incredibly easy to use, suitable for most ages and abilities.

River Cruises

There are a lot of scenic river cruises to choose from that depart from Barrack Street Jetty.

The Swan River Scenic Cruise takes you past the Old Swan Brewery building, Kings Park, the Royal Perth Yacht Club and Perth’s opulent waterfront homes to the port of Fremantle. Here you will turn around and return to Elizabeth Quay. Alternatively, you can travel one way by boat, explore Fremantle, and return later by train. This is what we do when we have visitors. Book through Viator for free cancellation for the same price as direct here.

You can cruise along the Swan River on a Swan Valley Gourmet Wine Cruise while enjoying the wine tastings on board with cheese and biscuits. At Sandalfords, a behind-the-scene winery tour, a sample of flight wines, and a 2-course lunch are included in your ticket.

The Dinner Cruise is popular and receives excellent reviews, but we haven’t taken this cruise yet. You can read the reviews here.

If you choose to depart from Perth to Rottnest Island, your ferry will depart from Barrack Street Jetty.

The Little Ferry Co offers you a scenic way to get from Perth to East Perth aboard WA’s only solar electric ferry. The cute Edwardian-style return boat tour includes a commentary and can be used as a hop on/off service, stopping at On The Point, Optus Stadium, and Claisebrook Cove in East Perth. We often see dolphins in this part of the river as well as our beautiful black swans. The entire return cruise takes 2 hours.

a boat with passengers on it with writing the little ferry co
The Little Ferry Co in Elizabeth Quay

Gondolas aren’t something you’d expect to see in Perth, but Gondolas on the Swan provide a one-hour romantic sunset cruise and a half-hour cruise.

a black gondola on the river with a gondelier paddling and tourists in the boat
Gondola tour on the Swan River

Segway Tour

For a bit of fun and adventure, Perth Segway Tours leaves from Barrack Street Jetty. Your knowledgeable guide takes you to attractions like Kings Park, Claisebrook Cove in East Perth, or the river foreshore, depending on the option selected when booking. 

tourists on a segway tour with yellow  jackets standing on segways
Perth segway tour

Public Art

As you walk through Elizabeth Quay, look out for these beautiful pieces of art.

First Contact is an aluminium artwork by indigenous artist Laurel Nannup. The local Noongar people thought that the European settler ships were their past ancestors returning from the ocean. You can see it at the William Street Landing.

a metal sculpture of a bird with wings out standing on a boat
First Contact Sculpture

Spanda, located on The Landing, was designed by Christian de Vietri and represents ripples or orbits.

a white sculpture featuring 3 oval rings by the river and in front of city skyline
The Spanda sculpture in front of Perth’s city skyline

The bronze statue of Bessie Mabel Rischbieth is by artist Jon Tarry, and you can find it on the island. Bessie fought for conservation, promoting the Citizens Committee for the Preservation of Kings Park and the Swan River.

a statue of a lady holding an umbrella by a river
Bessie Mabel Rischbieth statue

In 1999, over 200,000 Western Australian students’ signatures were etched into 2,375 tiles and laid into the pathway in front of the Bell Tower. However, these had to be pulled up as part of the redevelopment, so digital photos were taken of all the signatures. The Signature Ring, by local artists Simon Gauntlett and Matthew Ngui, have these signatures engraved in copper plates as part of the headphone resembling sculpture.

red metal sculpture  like headphones in city park
The signature Ring

Four Winds is on top of the ferry terminal canopy and imagines wind travelling across Elizabeth Quay from all directions over the billowing, blue sky coloured canopy.

seeing this blue sail like sculpture on top of ferry terminal is one of the things to do in elizabeth quay
Four Winds art

How to get to Elizabeth Quay

Elizabeth Quay is easy to get to as it’s a short walk from the Elizabeth Quay Train & Bus Port, the Ferry Terminal is located in the inlet, and the free blue CAT bus stops near the Bell Tower.  

Train and Bus

The Elizabeth Quay Train Station and Busport (formerly The Esplanade Station) is across the road from Elizabeth Quay and 400m from Barrack Street Jetty.

CAT Bus

You can take the free blue CAT bus to Barrack Street Jetty (stop 18).

Hop On / Hop Off Bus

We are big fans of the Hop On Hop Off buses in cities as they are good value, provide an easy way to get around, and have commentaries. See where the HOHO bus goes in Perth here. We have even taken the HOHO Bus here in Perth with our daughters.

Ferry

Transperth operates a ferry service between Elizabeth Quay Jetty and Mends Street Jetty (South Perth) all week. You can use this service to visit the Perth Zoo or, if driving, park in South Perth and take the ferry across to Elizabeth Quay as parking is cheaper on that side of the river.

ferry docked by the river
Take a ferry from Elizabeth Quay to South Perth

Where to park for Elizabeth Quay

We usually park in the Terrace Road Car Park, across the road from Elizabeth Quay and a five-minute walk. You can find more locations, opening hours, and rates at City of Perth Parking (CPP) or Wilson Parking (WP).

Where to eat & drink in Elizabeth Quay

The Island

The Island consists of a restaurant, kiosk, garden bar, pizzeria and microbrewery, all housed in the historic Florence Hummerston building. The operators own one of our favourite Perth breakfast spots, Voyage Café in Sorrento (if you haven’t been, put it on your list).

The Florence Hummerston building was previously located on The Esplanade and was deconstructed in 2012 and rebuilt here.

a colonial building with people eating and drinking in the garden
The Island Elizabeth Quay

The Reveley Pub

You have the option of three floors at The Reveley, which overlooks the Elizabeth Quay inlet. The ground-floor café is family-friendly and perfect for quick bites, coffee, drinks, and weekend breakfasts. The second level has floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the beautiful views of Perth city and the Swan River and where you can enjoy lunch or dinner with family and friends. The dining room is where the weekend High Tea is served. On the top floor, you will find Henry’s Rooftop Bar, where seasonal cocktail creations can be sipped while taking in the incredible outlook across Elizabeth Quay.

a building with a sign saying the reveley and table and chairs on the outside overlooking a river
The Reveley – a popular restaurant & bar in Elizabeth Quay

V Burger

V Burger Bar offers a delicious range of burgers made using the freshest ingredients from local suppliers. Some of the most popular ones are the classic beef burger, the steak burger, Teriyaki Chicken Burger, and the meatless Guacaloumi Burger. I highly recommend them for a casual lunch.

close up of a beefburger in a brioche bun with cheese onion and salad
Delicious V Burger

Gusto Gelato

We always stop for ice cream at Gusto Gelato when we’re in Elizabeth Quay. The gelato is handmade on the premises using only the finest ingredients, no commercial pastes or artificial flavours are added. It is created using traditional artisan production techniques learnt in the Italian town of Bologna. The only problem is trying to decide what flavour to have!

Where to stay near Elizabeth Quay

Why not make the most of your visit to Elizabeth Quay and stay the night so you can try out some of the bars in the area? My choice for a luxury stay would be Como The Treasury occupying the 19th Century State Buildings and the top-rated hotel in Perth.

an old building with balconies and red bricks and a black canopy with words como the tresury
Como The Treasury 5* Hotel

If Como The Treasury is out of your budget, my mid-range choice would be Quay Perth which represents fantastic value for money and is still close to Elizabeth Quay.

We recently stayed at Doubletree by Hilton and could not fault it for value for money, cleanliness, and hospitality.

two girls sitting on a window sill in a hotel room overlooking city park
Doubletree by Hilton Elizabeth Quay

The Ritz Carlton Perth sits right in the centre of Elizabeth Quay with views over the Swan River and the city.

high rise buildings by the river
Ritz Carlton Perth

I use Booking.Com to book most of our accommodation as the prices are usually the same, if not cheaper than direct, plus they mainly offer free cancellation, which is a must with the uncertainty of travel at the moment. They also have a reward system where you can earn discounts the more you book with them.

HotelStarsTripAdvisor RatingDistance from Elizabeth QuayPricePoolBook
Ritz Carlton Perth540.1 miles$$$YBook Here
Como The Treasury550.3 miles$$$YBook Here
QT Perth54.50.4 miles$$NBook Here
Doubletree by Hilton Perth Waterfront440.2 miles$$YBook Here
Adina Apartment Hotel Perth440.3 miles$$YBook Here
Quay Perth34.50.1 miles$$NBook Here

Elizabeth Quay Map

You can download a copy of the Elizabeth Quay Map here.

My Thoughts

We often visit Elizabeth Quay when we are in the city to have a drink or lunch and to enjoy the views over the Swan River on a sunny day. Our family also cycle the “bridges” route (a 10.5 km trail around the Swan River, incorporating Wyndham Bridge, Elizabeth Quay, the Narrows, and South Perth. You can find a map of the Swan River Loop here.

If you don’t have a bike, you can take a guided Swan River foreshores bike tour, where a guide takes you on a 3-hour ride around the river, Optus Stadium, and East Perth.

Western Australia Travel Guide

Save money planning your holiday

Flights: We use different sites to get the best possible price for flights. Check matrix.itasoftware.com to get an idea of the cheapest dates, but you can’t book through this site. Compare the cost of flights with Kiwi.com and try different routes.

Accommodation: We mainly use Booking.com for accommodation as they consistently have the lowest rates with free cancellation on most properties. We also book through Stayz for private accommodation as they are usually cheaper than Airbnb.

Car Rental: To compare rental car company prices, we use Discover Cars, an award winning car rental comparison website. They offer competitive pricing in over 10,000 locations worldwide and are highly-rated.

Tours: We use third-party sites ViatorGet Your Guide & Klook due to their free cancellation policies, instant confirmation, price guarantees, and mobile ticketing. We occasionally book through Red Balloon too.

Mobile: Telstra has the best coverage in Western Australia. We buy our sims through Boost who provide 4G/4GX coverage on full Telstra 4G Mobile Network. With up to 82GB for 28 days or 240GB for 12 months, unlimited national calls & text, and international inclusions on selected plans, you’re sure to find the right prepaid SIM for you. See plans here.

Travel Insurance: Cover-More protects the travel dreams and experiences of more than 15 million people worldwide every year (including us!). Part of Zurich Insurance Group, they cover 22 countries across five continents with leading positions in the USA, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, India and New Zealand. Protect your trip against several COVID-19 scenarios during the current coronavirus pandemic. 

A Local's Guide on the Best Things To Do in Elizabeth Quay 2022

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26 thoughts on “A Local’s Guide on the Best Things To Do in Elizabeth Quay 2022”

  1. This has got me thinking that Perth could be a lovely stopover between NZ and the UK 🙂 and a bit of a change from the usuals (Singapore, Hong Kong, KL, Los Angeles). Such a lovely waterfront and there are so many things I would love! – not least the wine tasting cruise and the tower. How amazing that those bells from London were gifted, I had no idea. Another future addition to my ‘best city towers’ post!

    Reply
    • Glad to have inspired a future addition to your post Carole. I think you’d enjoy Perth, it would make a change. I’m always trying to think of new places to stop on the way to Europe.

      Reply
  2. Elizabeth Quay looks like my kind of place! Love the views of the Elizabeth Quay Bridge and all the river cruise options. Looking at the water playground, I’m thinking Hong Kong needs one of those. Nevermind for the kids, I’d be playing it it myself! Is that frowned upon? 😉

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth Quay seems to be a fun expedition for people of all ages and interests. On one hand there are adventure activities such as water playground and river cruises, whereas one can ignite your love for art through the many astonishing masterpieces! Not to mention it’s going to be a hit with kids. Lovely post!

    Reply
  4. I love it when waterfronts or river fronts are developed into nice spaces. Love boat trips as well as the different variety of art! Count me in for that non artificial flavoring gelato too 😋

    Reply
  5. Love your local’s guide to Elizabeth Quay. I would especially like to take in the views from the Elizabeth Quay bridge and a river cruise.

    Reply
  6. I definitely need to spend more time exploring Elizabeth Quay as I’ve only been to Perth once since it was officially opened. I remember it when it was all fields. 😂

    Reply
  7. Amazing post Wendy, as usual. I am loving this place, looks like you could spend a full day just hanging around. My favorite alternative will be sitting there drinking something and enjoying water views. Water is always so relaxing.
    Thansk a lot for sharing always fantastic new places!

    Reply
  8. Looks like a fun place to hang out at, Wendy. Love the architecture, art, and the whole vibe. I always find Australia does this sort of thing better than most countries. The Bell Tower is rather pretty!

    Reply
  9. I love waterfront cities! It drowns the everyday chaos and softens the steel and concrete facade of an ever changing urban life. I see myself getting on the merry-go-round, holding a red balloon and beaming like a Cheshire cat without a care in the world.

    Reply
  10. Hi Wendy. I think my first stop would be the Elizabeth Bridge for fantastic views. Maybe even at night for a great first impression. Also, I could see myself enjoying the Island Playground in my younger days! What means a lot to us is the beautiful carousel. We like that it’s wheelchair accessible so that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy it.

    Reply
  11. This looks like a really “happening” area, Wendy and has been so well done. I love the imagination in the sculptures and the bridge in particular. It reminds me a little of the waterfront area in Leith (Edinburgh) which was a huge regeneration project and had created a really characterful area like Elizabeth Quay. This post makes me want to visit Perth even more!

    Reply

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