Visitors to Western Australia’s capital city Perth always remark on the friendly, laidback environment that welcomes them – and it’s no wonder the locals are happy. Blessed with more hours of sunshine each year than any other city in Australia, 19 pristine metropolitan beaches, a vibrant wine growing region just 20 minutes from the city, a flourishing wining, dining and cultural scene and an impressive events calendar – there’s never been a better time to explore Perth and beyond.
Perth has been voted one of the most liveable cities in the world, which is no surprise given its combination of a vibrant cultural landscape and an amazing natural environment.
Right now there’s a real buzz of excitement around Perth, following the opening of new bars, restaurants, retail outlets, cultural spaces, and major infrastructure projects changing the face of the city. New life has been injected into Perth and it’s not just happening in the central business district (CBD) – the expansion and transformation extends into the inner-city precincts such Northbridge, Mount Lawley, Leederville and Subiaco.
Perth is enjoying a ‘dining boom’ with new small bars, cafés and restaurants opening up across the city and its surrounding suburbs. Some of the new eateries include Brika, Bib & Tucker, Cott & Co, Bread In Common, Pleased to Meet You and The Old Crow, along with the more established venues The Trustee, Print Hall, Lalla Rookh, The Heritage, Restaurant Amuse, Andaluz, Co-op Dining, Bistro Guillaume and Greenhouse.
Perth Cultural Centre is the city’s melting pot of people and cultures and home to key institutions including the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Western Australian Museum. Located close to public transport links, the dynamic and lively space is the vital connection between Perth CBD and Northbridge’s retail, food and beverage and entertainment precinct.
Western Australia’s capital has also become a mecca for luxury brands, with labels such as Gucci, Bally, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and Chanel appearing on stylish King Street in the city, making it the ultimate destination for the fashion savvy. ‘Pop up’ stores are a regular concept around the city, and visitors will find boutique and interesting retail options within 140; Wesley Quarter; enex100; and along the revitalised William Street, Northbridge.
Within walking distance from the CBD sits one of the world’s largest inner city parks, Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants or cafés, or pack a picnic and enjoy the breathtaking views over the city skyline and the sparkling Swan River. Take a walking tour with an Aboriginal guide, check out local artwork at Aspects, walk across the Federation Walkway, marvel at the 750-year old boab tree and Kimberley Garden, and in the summer season watch a movie under the stars at the outdoor cinema.
To really live the Perth life, a visit to one of the beautiful beaches is a must – it’s an important part of the city’s culture. Easily accessible and only 20 minutes from the CBD, you can try your hand at surfing at Scarborough Beach or grab some fish and chips and watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean at iconic Cottesloe Beach. Snorkelling options and rock pools are on offer further north, found around Mettam’s Pool.
Food and wine lovers will appreciate the Swan Valley – WA’s oldest wine growing region, and only a 20 minute drive from the CBD. Spend the day visiting the many wineries, microbreweries, and other food-based attractions, where you can meet winemakers and sample the fresh and varied local produce. Tours operate, or you can self-drive or cycle – but if you’re planning on trying the many wines and beers on offer, then a tour or chauffer option is best.
Fremantle is Perth’s vibrant ‘port’ city, and it’s a ‘must do’ for every visitor. Known for its eclectic, multicultural charm, Fremantle or ‘Freo’ as it’s referred to the locals, is also the best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world, with its world-famous heritage buildings and a fascinating maritime and convict history. A 20 minute drive from the CBD, or an easy train or bus ride, or boat cruise down the Swan River, Fremantle is steeped with historical attractions such as WA's earliest convict jail, the Roundhouse, Fremantle Prison and WA Maritime Museum. Supporting Freo’s rich history is a strong creative streak and a diverse wining and dining scene.
For a fantastic day trip take a ferry to Rottnest Island, located just 30 minutes from Fremantle. “Rotto”, as the locals call it, is home to 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays making it the perfect location for swimming, snorkelling and relaxing. Bikes are the easiest way to get around Rottnest and can be hired on the island or visitors can bring their own from the mainland.
From Perth, you can travel just a few hours in any direction to experience the extraordinary. From world class wineries in Margaret River, to the underwater wonderland of Ningaloo Reef; and outback characters in Kalgoorlie to epic landscapes in the Kimberley – there’s never been a better time to experience the wonders of Western Australia.