Street Art

Perth walking tours are open – discover hidden gardens, street art, WWII posters, historic brothels and more

Last Updated: 13 May 2020
Elise Matheson

It’s easy to become complacent and miss out on the best sites in your own city. If you are itching to get out, and keen to discover some of Perth's hidden quirks, several of the city's top walking tour operators will be back up and running this week and next. There’s no better time to discover the rich tapestry of street art, local history and cultural landmarks that make up Perth - all with a cup of the city's best coffee in hand. Check out three of the best below and get your walking shoes on.

Street Art & Sculpture Tour – Oh Hey WA

Rated as TripAdvisor’s #1 Perth Tour, Oh Hey WA is run by Perth locals and sisters Adie Chapman and Robyn Ennis, started back in 2014. They are starting up again this week with both their small group public walking tours and customisable private tours.

To mark the occasion, they have just launched their Street Art & Sculpture Tour, which takes you on an adventure through all the incredible artwork that colours Perth’s streets and hidden alleyways. Perth’s street art scene is packed with a diverse range of different styles and techniques, with contributions from both local and international artists making it a vibrant hub for lovers of street art.

One of Adie’s personal favourites is from Whadjuk Ballardong Noongar artist Rod Garlett, tucked away in Kings Square. His sculpture ‘Koorden’ – Noongar for strong – is a large-scale assemblage of six dramatic figures made of cast bronze. The skeletal designs come from ceremonial markings taken from historical photos of six Aboriginal men, who were meant to perform a dance in the early 1900s but were thwarted by authorities.

Running Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10am – 12noon, their Street Art & Sculpture Tour departs from Yagan Square and covers a distance of 3km at a leisurely pace. Good for all ages, their tours are also pram and wheelchair accessible.

$40pp, concession is $36, kids up to 16 $10. See more and book here.

Coffee, Culture & Art Tour – Two Feet & A Heartbeat

Grab a coffee from Telegram at the historic State Buildings before heading out to explore the hidden art, secret gardens and lesser-known stories that make up our city’s history. Two Feet & A Heartbeat’s Coffee, Culture and Art Tour is popular amongst locals looking to get to know their city better, taking you through the historic ‘Brothel district’ and Perth’s heritage precinct.

Although self-admittedly quite bizarre, Ryan Zaknich, founder of Two Feet & A Heartbeat, said he is most drawn to the old murals of advertisements scattered on walls throughout the city. His favourite, tucked away down Wolf Lane, is an advertisement for Eucalyptus Soap from the early 1900s. And there’s many more where that comes from, with several murals dating back to World War era.

Priced at $45pp, their Coffee, Culture and Art Tour runs over 2hrs, with groups no larger than 12. They will be operating in line with the latest guidelines, which the team are constantly monitoring.

Alternatively, you can book in for a private 2 hr walking tour and choose your own adventure here.

Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours at Elizabeth Quay, Yagan Square & Kings Park

Run by multiple generations of the McGuire family, who have traditional ties to the land as Noongar Whadjuk people, Go Cultural have been telling stories of Perth’s most significant cultural landmarks for the past four years. Under current circumstances, tours are kept intimate in groups of 10, and are run by either Walter, Meg or one of their two daughters.

Their tours are usually based at four locations; Elizabeth Quay, Kings Park, Yagan Square and Rottnest Island. Told partially in Noongar language, the tour hosted at Elizabeth Quay reveals the ancestral connection between the modern development and the site’s original use as a fishing site. Focused on telling the first story of the land, they explore the six Noongar seasons, postcolonial history and stories from the Dreamtime.

“It’s about peeling back the layers a little bit, to reveal the traditional stories behind the sites,” Meg emphasised.
The tour of Elizabeth Quay runs for 90minutes, although Meg said that it can be difficult to fit in that much cultural history in that time!

Another of their popular tours through Yagan Square explores the representation of Noongar people and their connection to nature. A highlight from this tour is artist Paul Carter’s 7-piece, text-based art installation commemorating Fanny Balbuk, titled ‘Passenger’. In the mid-19th Century, Fanny attracted a reputation for her defiance of colonial obstacles, often walking over or through paths built by settlers.

Set to re-open next week, check in with the team to book your next tour and gain important perspective on Perth. See more and book here.

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