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.
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:
- The Bell Tower Experience Tour which includes a bell chiming demonstration (book here for free cancellation and lowest price guarantee)
- The Anzac Bell Tour which is a premium small group tour (book through GYG for free cancellation at the same price as direct here)
- General Entrance
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 .
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Spanda, located on The Landing, was designed by Christian de Vietri and represents ripples or orbits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ritz Carlton Perth sits right in the centre of Elizabeth Quay with views over the Swan River and the city.
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.
|Hotel||Stars||TripAdvisor Rating||Distance from Elizabeth Quay||Price||Pool||Book|
|Ritz Carlton Perth||5||4||0.1 miles||$$$||Y||Book Here|
|Como The Treasury||5||5||0.3 miles||$$$||Y||Book Here|
|QT Perth||5||4.5||0.4 miles||$$||N||Book Here|
|Doubletree by Hilton Perth Waterfront||4||4||0.2 miles||$$||Y||Book Here|
|Adina Apartment Hotel Perth||4||4||0.3 miles||$$||Y||Book Here|
|Quay Perth||3||4.5||0.1 miles||$$||N||Book Here|
Elizabeth Quay Map
You can download a copy of the Elizabeth Quay Map here.
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.
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 Viator, Get 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.
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