Review: Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express ‘City to Surf’ Combo Ticket inner banner

Review: Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express ‘City to Surf’ Combo Ticket

This combined hop on hop off bus tour and Rottnest Island ferry ticket is the perfect introduction to Perth. Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the city, then escape to a sublime island paradise for some R&R.
Review: Perth Explorer and Rottnest Island Combo Ticket
Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket
Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket. Image: Perth Explorer

Top Oz Tours offers a great range of Perth tours and cruises. You can browse the options here.

There are two contrasting sides to the fabulous Western Australia capital — urban jungle and beach mecca — and you can experience the best of both by booking a Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket.

The package features a 48-hour hop on hop off bus tour ticket with Perth Explorer and a return fast ferry transfer to stunning Rottnest Island with Rottnest Express. The combo can be used on consecutive days (in either order) or split up and utilised separately at any time within two weeks. For the purposes of this review, I’m opting to use them back to back — and I can’t wait to revisit some favourite inner-city spots and walk the shores of beautiful Rottnest for the first time.

Ten of the best things to do in Perth

Perth Tours, Activities & Attractions

Day 1: Perth Explorer

Perth Explorer’s double-decker hop on hop off tour bus departs from the Barrack Street Jetty (the older sibling of the stunning Elizabeth Quay redevelopment). I start the day by staying on board for the entire 11-stop circuit, which takes about two hours to do. It’s a good way to see the lie of the land, before deciding where to hop off the bus and explore in more detail. Informative commentary is provided throughout the tour.

Stop four is located right outside glittering Crown Perth, and on my second circuit I decide to take a look inside. Sadly, the casino’s dress code (no beachy sandals, ladies) means I miss out on having a flutter.

Back on board the bus, I take a seat downstairs — intending to hop off again at stop five: The Perth Mint. I purchase an entry ticket from our driver, which includes a guided tour of the heritage facility and the chance to see a live ‘gold pour’ (the making of a bar of gold). The demonstration turns out to be surprisingly exciting.

Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket
Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket: The Perth Mint

Continuing on my second lap, I remain on the bus until it reaches Kings Park. The are three stops in this sprawling natural wonderland, and I spend some time strolling through the verdant Botanic Garden.

The last bus of the day arrives right on time, dropping me off in William Street in the CBD just before 5pm. It’s perfect timing for an early dinner at Jaws Sushi on Hay Street.

Watch our video of ten top things to do in Perth:

10 Great Things to Do in PERTH, Western Australia, 2024 | Ultimate Perth Travel Guide & Tips

In this episode of our online travel series, we bring you tips for ten top things to do in Perth.

Day 2: Rottnest Express

The following morning my travel dreams come true, as I head to Barrack Street Jetty to board the Rottnest Express. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. Being an eager beaver, I’m a tad early. So, I head off in search of a light breakfast, before joining the boarding queue.

The crossing takes about two hours, including a short stop in the port city of Fremantle. As we approach Rottnest Island, the energy level on board goes from super sleepy to mega excited!

Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket
Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket: Rottnest Island

As you step off the boat and onto the dock, the island’s holiday vibe is palpable. I have three hours of free time to tick the boxes of my Rottnest (known locally as ‘Rotto’) wish list: a) quokka selfie, b) tour by bike, c) swim at beautiful beach, and d) lunch. I start in reverse order at Isola — a welcoming waterfront eatery, which offers an Italian-inspired menu with a focus on quality Western Australian produce. My meal is delicious.

Over at Pedal and Flipper, there are rows of bicycles of all sizes for hire. I rent one for three hours and set off at a leisurely pace in search of jaw-dropping vistas — and quokkas!

Not far from Thomson Bay (the main settlement), I spy a group of furry Rotto locals and approach with caution. These are wild animals after all, so it’s essential to treat them with respect. After a bit of coaxing, a selfie is obtained. That’s three ticks on my list and I still have two hours to go. Winning!

Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket
Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket: Meet the locals.

There isn’t time to pedal around the whole island, so I make a plan to go to Parker Point and back. However, at a crossroad, two riders coming in the opposite direction call out: ‘Go to Salmon Bay — it’s the perfect beach!’ I do — and it is. The warm, crystal clear water welcomes me into its embrace and my cares drift away on the tide.

A mix of sadness and gratitude fills my heart as I board the ferry home. This Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express Combo Ticket is a fantastic way to explore the city and its surroundings. The highlight for me was Rottnest Island, but city slickers may think differently. The experience really does offer something for everyone.

The writer travelled as a guest of Perth Explorer and Rottnest Express.

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Cover image: Tourism Western Australia. Additional images: Bigstock

Jennifer Morton

About the writer

Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer and photographer. The Canadian expat has lived all over Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. She also spent six months working on a cruise ship in Europe. When Jennifer is not writing about travel, you may find her lounging on the beach, fishing with her son, sipping coffee at a cafe, reading a book, or zooming in on a beautiful scene.

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