There’s something in the water in Perth, and it’s not just the marron. Perth has long been living in the shadow of its upper east siders, Sydney and Melbourne, but there’s a burgeoning food and culture scene emerging in Perth, which is giving the west sider a personality of its own.
Perth has more restaurants per capita than any Australian city, and its award-winning restaurants and internationally acclaimed chefs are spoiling locals for choice. Australia’s only capital city on the Indian Ocean is also home to some of Australia’s best beaches, wine bars, parklands and historical buildings.
And with Jetstar operating direct flights between Melbourne and Perth, it’s the perfect time to start planning your next stopover. Here’s a guide to make the most out of your weekend visit.
Arrive in Perth via Jetstar and check in to Perth’s newest luxury hotel, the five-star Intercontinental Perth City Centre at the corner of Hay and King streets, then spend the evening soaking up Perth’s vibrant CBD bar and dining culture. The basement of the newly refurbished State Buildings precinct is the perfect place to have a roving dinner and drinks. Start with a drink or two at one of Perth’s hottest wine bars – Petition – then insult your taste buds on fiery Thai cuisine at David Thompson’s Long Chim. Or for something a little subtler try Wildflower, a fine dining restaurant which specialises in native Australian ingredients, like marron and emu.
The small bar and laneway movement in Perth has grown substantially in recent years, so take advantage and bar hop well into the evening at laneway gem Helvetica, Spanish tapas and wine bar Andaluz, or rooftop beauty, The Aviary. Over in hip Northbridge, Ezra Pound Bar and The Bird Wine Bar are also great options to party the night away.
Grab a takeaway coffee and some pastries from Perth institution the Mary Street Bakery, or settle in for their signature fried chicken buttermilk pancakes teamed with maple chili, fried egg and extra maple butter. After a much needed caffeine hit, head to Kings Park (one of the largest inner-city parks in the world) for a stroll through the picturesque botanical gardens and ogle at the picture perfect views over the city and Swan and Canning rivers. There’s also plenty of bushland trails and a treetop bridge to explore in the area.
Spend the rest of the morning exploring the inner city precinct of Northbridge, which is one of Perth’s coolest bohemian neighborhoods full of street art, trendy boutiques and cafes. Fuel up on brunch at hidden laneway café Babooskha, before exploring the city’s vibrant art scene. A must visit is the Perth Cultural Centre, the heart of arts and culture in Perth which encompasses the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Blue Room. If that’s not enough to make you feel cultured, find out more about Perth’s heritage and natural history at the Western Australian Museum.
When you’ve had enough of the cultural action, slip away from the hustle and bustle and indulge in lunch at Shadow Wine Bar, tucked in next to the Alex Hotel. Here you can enjoy classic European inspired dining with a modern twist and a pretty epic wine list.
Spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful Perth beaches, brimming with white fluffy sand and turquoise waters. Start at one of Perth’s most popular beaches – Cottlesloe Beach – famous for its gorgeous postcard views, shady Norfolk Pines and pristine sands: then work your way north. Stop at Scarborough Beach for a surf and a coffee at funky café, Wild Fig, or enjoy a drink and a bite to eat at the beautiful Island Market at Trigg Beach. Mullaloo Beach is also a popular swimming beach and is the perfect spot to take a dip in the refreshing calm waters of the Indian Ocean or relax on the soft white sand with a good book.
No trip to Perth is complete without watching one of their epic sunsets, and City Beach is the perfect place to watch the sun dip into the Indian Ocean at the end of the day. For a casual dinner, feast on seafood classics at Clancy’s Fish Pub, which overlooks the crystal clear waters of City Beach, or venture to seaside Il Lido for comforting Italian cooking at its best.
Go across town to Mount Lawley and have a nightcap or two at Defectors, a cocktail bar on the top floor of The Flying Scotsman, full of luxururious couches and chandeliers. They do a mean Old Fashioned and Negroni.
Spend the morning exploring one of Perth’s coolest neighborhoods – Leederville. Pick up a coffee at tiny coffee haunt – Pixel Coffee Brewers – before having wander around some of the suburb’s quirky shops including Urban Records, Varga Girl, Urban Depot and Oxford Street Books. Visit nearby Lake Monger before feasting on brunch at Sayers, a much-loved Leederville institution. It’s a beautifully designed café with a brilliant menu to match. Think saffron doughnuts filled with lemon custard, chocolate sauce and poached pear and a mouthwatering breakfast potato rösti with poached eggs, bacon, onion jam and spinach. The Five Senses coffee is also excellent.
From there make your way to Elizabeth Quay, a new development on the Perth foreshore, which reconnects the city to the north shore of the Swan River. Have a wander around the new precinct full of modern architecture, cafes and restaurants.
Jump on a train or go on a road trip to the lively port city of Fremantle, affectionately known by locals as “Freo”- Perth’s bohemian and artist enclave. Explore the historic buildings, quirky boutiques and antique stores. For a culture dose visit the Fremantle Arts Centre, or have a tour of the World Heritage listed historic Fremantle Prison and the Fremantle Round House, the oldest public building in Western Australia.
Stop for lunch at the impossibly cute Moore and Moore in Henry Street. Housed in a heritage building, next to an art galley, the café is full of vintage quick and charm. The wholesome menu (with a great range of celiac, vegan and vegetarian options) is a treat too. Your next stop is Fremantle Institution Little Creatures Brewery to enjoy a brew or two and one of their delicious wood fired pizzas if you can squeeze it in.
Make your way back to the Perth airport in time for your flight.
Planning to extend your stay?
- Visit Rottnest Island – just s short ferry trip from Fremantle
- Wine and dine to your heart’s content in Margaret River
- Get up close and personal with the penguins on Penguin Island
- Chase waterfalls at the Lesmurdie Falls National Park in the hills east of Perth
- Explore the historic Fremantle Markets is one of the port city’s most significant landmarks
- Plan a Swan Valley Winery Day Trip
This post was written in partnership with Jetstar Australia.