Perth Travel Guide

Getting Around

By public transport

The Perth metropolitan area has a fairly reliable and inexpensive public transport system operated by Transperth. Information about timetables, disruptions or service alterations can be found on their website, by calling 13 62 13 or at 'Transperth Infocentres' at the central train station and a couple of branches in the City


A reasonably reliable network of public bus services run around the suburbs between bus and train stations.

Transperth also operates a free CAT bus service in Perth CBD, Northbridge, Fremantle and Joondalup. The large air-conditioned buses of different colours with the distinctive CAT logo run about every 10 min on various routes around major facilities and attractions. They are a great way of getting from one place to another.

The buses are free leaving and entering the city within the Free Transit Zone- it runs from Newcastle Street down and from the end of Kings Park when going towards Subiaco. This does not require a Smartrider, just get on.


The suburban railway network is great for quickly getting to outlying suburban areas. All services stop at the central Perth station in the City on their way to or from the outlying terminating stations. The network consists of five rail lines, some reaching further into the outer metropolitan area:

Fremantle Line, servicing western Perth, to Fremantle.
Midland Line, servicing eastern Perth to Midland, and offering transfers to regional and interstate rail services.
Armadale/Thornlie Line, servicing south-eastern Perth to Armadale, with a spur line to Thornlie.
Joondalup Line, servicing northern Perth, to Clarkson.
Mandurah Line, servicing southern Perth, to Mandurah

All rail lines converge at Perth Station. Joondalup and Mandurah Line services utilise underground platforms at Perth Underground Station, which is directly connected to Perth Station, allowing transfers by foot to the other lines.

All lines connect to various bus services. The Wellington Street Bus Station, located in the CBD, is where many bus services can be boarded, and is directly connected to Perth Station. The Esplanade Bus Port is another prime bus service location in the CBD, and is directly connected to Esplanade Station on the Mandurah and Joondalup Lines. Most train stations across Perth have bus transfers that service the more local area of the station.

Train services run every 5–10 minutes (this depends on the line and station) during peak hours, with many trains running express. Off peak and most of the day on weekends, trains run every 15min and 30min after 19:00 and weekends. The Armadale Line runs express at all times except late nights.

During peak hours (07:00-21:00.00 & 16:30-18:30) the Midland and Clarkson lines can become extremely overcrowded. Avoid these lines during peak if possible. Bicycles are not allowed on trains heading toward the city in the morning, or away from the city in the evening; they are also not allowed to enter or pass through Perth, Perth Underground or Esplanade stations. Passengers with bikes should use City West, McIver, Canning Bridge or Leedervile stations during this time and then ride to the final destination from there.

Services commence around 05:00 and cease around midnight.

Remember to purchase a valid ticket or use your SmartRider card when travelling on the rail network; failing to have a proper ticket can cost you $100, and the fine doubles for every month it is overdue. Fail to pay a fine at all, and you could end up paying up to $20,000 in fines and court costs. A good tip to remember is, if you have a SmartRider, to use one of the red fare gates to enter the station, so you can also be sure you have "tagged on". Do the same when leaving. Not all stations have these gates. If your station does not, look for a green pole with a SmartRider reader instead.


Transperth operates a ferry shuttle service between the city, departing from the Esplanade foreshore, and Mends Street Jetty in South Perth. Services are frequent throughout the day, and it is rare for a service to be cancelled. From Mends Street, it is a seven minute walk to Perth Zoo. The Blue CAT connects to the ferry at Barrack Square.


For trains, buses and ferries, the Transperth system is divided into 9 concentric zones, as well as the Free Transit Zone (city centre and surrounds). The Free Transit Zone on the trains is only available to SmartRider (transport card) holders, passengers without a card have to buy a ticket. Tickets and passes are valid on all buses and trains within a zone. Tickets are valid for two hours and can be used on your return trip.

Zone 2 extends as far as Fremantle and for most visitors a two zone ticket will suffice. Single trip, cash tickets can be purchased from bus drivers or coin-operated ticket machines located at train stations. The more convenient SmartRider cards automatically calculate your fare and deduct it from your card when you tag on and off upon boarding and alighting bus and train services. SmartRiders can be bought or recharged at Transperth Information Centres, major train and bus stations and/or from most Newsagents. Bus drivers can also charge your SmartCard for you, however they will not provide change. SmartRider cards carry a 15% discount over cash fares.

There are $9.30 Single Rider passes available after 9am most days. Family Rider passes also cost $9.30 and allow two standard fare passengers plus up to (five?) concession passengers unlimited travel- these are only available Monday to Thursday after 18:00 (15:00 on Fridays), and all day on weekends and school or public holidays. This is an excellent value for couples and couples with children, as a standard one-way fare alone runs from $2.70 for one zone, $4.00 for two zones, and $4.70 for three zones.

Those passengers not holding SmartRider cards will need to present their paper ticket to the transit guard upon entering and leaving Perth Station and selected suburban stations.

By taxi

Taxi experiences in Perth can range from hassle-free to problematic. Extended waits during peak periods (5AM-9AM Weekdays and Weekend Evenings) are common, but outside these times, taxis are plentiful. Booking a taxi is possible but only recommended if your journey is likely to be upwards of $25 or you are travelling to the airport. This is due to the convoluted way in which the dispatch services handle timed bookings. If your journey is likely to be short, it is better to simply call for a taxi once you are ready to leave, or hail a taxi if you are in a busy area.

Two major taxi companies are Swan Taxis (13 13 30), who dispatch Swan, TriColor, 13CABS, Yellow and Coastal taxis, and Black and White Taxis (131 008). There are numerous smaller companies that operate mainly out of the Central Business District. Fares are regulated by the state government and all dispatch companies charge the same rate. Flagfall is $3.90 during weekdays, increasing to $5.70 on week nights and weekends. The kilometre rate is $1.59/km charged in $0.10 increments. Surcharges apply on designated holiday periods (New Year's Eve and Christmas Day) and on weekend nights between midnight and 5AM. Tipping taxi drivers in Perth is not customary, but adding a small gratuity ($1 or $2) on top of the fare is common for exceptional service.

Catching a taxi from an entertainment precinct late on a Friday or Saturday night sees clubbers waiting at taxi stands up to 2 hours for a ride home. Drivers are known to avoid picking up drunken patrons from outside of pubs, clubs or from the entrance to Perth central station. There have been a recent spate of sexual assaults on female passengers so it is advisable to travel in groups. There are specially designated 'secure ranks' operating at these times where patrons can queue in (relative) safety. Another option is the late night Transperth trains and buses run specially for revellers after their night out.

Services at Perth Airport are generally reliable, but at offpeak times (1am - 8am), be prepare for a potential wait at the taxi-stand as the line of waiting taxis crawl in one by one. The frequency at night drops off but there should still be a few cars waiting to meet incoming planes. A typical taxi ride from the Domestic Airport to the City is around $30 ($35 from the International). There is a $2 airport tax payable on top of the fare.

For bookings made more than 24 hours in advance, you can request that your booking is pre-confirmed with a driver for an additional $9.00 fee. If the taxi arrives later than ten minutes, the fee will be waved. Normal bookings can still be placed 24 hours in advance at no additional cost.

By bicycle

Perth can be comfortably explored on foot or by bicycle as Perth has some of the best cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in Australia.

The Perth bicycle network features an ever growing, metro-wide system of bicycle/pedestrian paths. The system features;

Principal Shared Paths (high standard shared paths that run adjacent to each railway lines and along major motorways).
Local Bicycle Routes (a series of on-road routes as well as some suburban off-road sections that run through parks - these paths provide a connection to such destinations as schools, shopping centres and other recreational facilities.
Generic minor works (projects include general improvements to the cycling environment in local areas, such as on-road bike lanes and sealed shoulders).
End of trip facilities (including U-Rails, Cora bike racks and bike lockers and change-rooms).

Cycle maps are available from most bike shops, and at Planners Map . The Department for Planning and Infrastructure provides a range of guides, maps and brochures for bike riders. If you have a scenic route in mind, these brochures can take you to the coast, Kings Park, Armadale and the Hills or around the Swan River.

A favourite among seasoned local cyclists is the ride along the North side of the Swan River between the City and Nedlands. Allow 60 min for a round trip along this route, as you might encounter a strong headwind.

Bicycles are allowed on board Transperth trains but not during peak hour unless they can be folded up.

By foot

Perth city has at times had books and pamphlets for self guided walking tours.

Two Feet and a Heartbeat currently has guided walking tours.

By car

Driving into Perth's CBD and Northbridge will mean paying to park, which can cost up to $40 a day on a weekday. There is also congestion on roads leading to the CBD during peak hours. The other option is to park at a railway station and catch a train. Some stations charge a small fee for parking, and all-day parking can fill up. Once parked in the CBD, you can reach most destinations by foot or by a free bus.

Renting a car is the ideal means of transportation for travelling through the suburbs and to outlying attractions. Most major car hire companies have locations in or near Perth. Budget Rent a Car has 7 location in Perth, Avis, Hertz and others have more than one location, as well. Perth's major freeways and highways are free from any tolls, and it is possible to be surrounded by beautiful countryside within minutes.

Car rental providers are located at the airport and in the city. There are some providers also in the suburbs.

The speed limit within built-up areas is 50 km/h unless otherwise directed by traffic signs.

Police are rarely seen out on the roads but speed cameras are very prevalent. Driving even 5 km/hr above the speed limit can incur a fine. Driving 40 km/hr above the speed limit means the car is impounded for 28 days even if it is not your car (hire cars excepted).

source: Wikivoyage

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