A gem of a city that delights at every turn, Perth is changing in a big way – here’s your essential guide of things to do
A place where nature collides with a dash of urban cool, Perth has well and truly shaken its small-town vibe to become a buzzing metropolis that lives life on a global scale. Never short of sunny days, Perth has an enduring vibrancy that wafts through the city centre and its many villages as effortlessly as the sea breeze
The places to visit and things to do in Perth are endless – from the edgy bars and restaurants of Mount Lawley to the stylish streets of Subiaco, discover Perth’s pulsing food and nightlife scene, all before you even head over to the coast.
And although Perth is one of Australia’s most isolated cities, it’s progressive, outward-looking and takes a lot of pride in its indigenous culture. With an explosion of street art, small bars and a global foodie scene, Perth ticks every box on the bucket list,– and we’re not the only ones who think so. More and more, Perth is becoming a destination driven by tech-savvy hotels, stylish eateries and a creative energy that’s hard to beat. So, whether you’re looking for a seachange or simply planning a weekend away, here’s why Perth should soar to the top of yourtravel list.
From their basement digs in Perth’s CBD, Long Chim have given Pad Thai the flick. Instead, they have a winning menu that is overflowing with flavours from Southeast Asia. Its street food done exceptionally well, and Long Chim’s signature drinks collection, Muay Thai Mai Tai or Thai Basil Smash, will keep you here well into the night. You can also get your mid-week fix of Long Chim from their Tuck Shop, which is only open from 11am to 2.30pm weekdays.
State Building, Basement Level, corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street, Perth
Atop one of the finest hotels in town, Wildflower blends indigenous culture of seasonal changes with contemporary fine dining. Their menu revolves around the six seasons of the indigenous Noongar calendar – Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang - meaning, Wildflower’s farmer and forager-driven menu changes aligns with the ebbs and flow of nature’s bounty. Fittingly, a large mural depicting the bushland features in the light-filled interiors of the main dining room, while the outdoor terrace overlooks Swan River and the CBD.
COMO the Treasury, Level 4, 1 Cathedral Avenue, Perth
In a city that prides itself on its line-up of global eats, Bivouac pulls rank with its Eastern-inspired dishes. Their menu is designed to be shared, and each dish reflects their regional origins, but with Bivouac’s interpretation of the traditional recipes – think Spiced Freekeh, Babaannessi’s Harissa Cuttlefish and Whole Goat Shoulder. But that’s not all this small Northbridge restaurant does well. Their walls are a blank canvas for local and emerging artists to exhibit their work, which brings a creative energy that’s constantly evolving to their interiors.
198 William Street, Northbridge, Perth
South of Perth, in North Fremantle, Propeller is an all-day eatery that has set up shop in a converted shipping container that’s become part of a contemporary fit-out. Light-filled with pops of greenery, Propeller uses fresh Australian produce to craft Middle Eastern menu that is categorised into garden, sea and paddock. It’s a lunch and dinner venue, but on weekends, brunch becomes the highlight. It’s also fully licensed, with everything from international wines and craft beers to locally roasted coffee.
222 Queen Victoria Street, North Fremantle, Perth
Perth is not one to shy away from late-night revelry. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The small bar scene has exploded onto the streets of Perth, and long-standing institutions are still just as revered. Live music to themed bars to sports-crazed watering holes, Perth’s nightlife is well and truly kicking.
Sitting across three floors of a historic flour mill, The Flour Factory is an inner-city public house, and its home to Perth’s legendary gin wheel, where you can either roll up and spin the wheel yourself or let the bartender take control. Whatever number you land on deciphers which gin you’ll be served – but don’t worry, with over 100 to choose from, you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re after a cool hangout for your next event, check out The Flour Factory’s hidden rooftop bar, The Sherry. It’s part lounge, part outdoor terrace in a lush rooftop garden.
16 Queen Street, Perth
On-trend and pulsing with an energy that has people hitting the streets in droves, the laneway bars of Northbridge in Perth’s city centre rival that of Melbourne’s. Tucked away on Williams Lane is Ezra Pound, one of the original small bars to hit the streets, and has steadfastly remained a local go-to. Inspired by prohibition America, the folks behind Ezra Pound mix up a mean cocktail, and their bar menu is a nod to pub faves. It’s also well-priced, leaving you with plenty of spare change to kick back a few in the chilled-out space.
Williams Lane, 189 William Street, Northbridge, Perth
Another small bar in Perth’s Northbridge, Frisk is a delightfully intimate parlour filled to the brim with gloriousgin. Quite literally – this nifty little neighbourhood gem stocks over 180 varieties of juniper-laced botanicals. Choose from a small selection of fruity, aromatic cocktails, or enjoy straight up with ice and a dash of tonic. Frisk is also famed for its oyster selection – because gin sipping and oyster shucking naturally, go hand in hand. And if gin’s not your thing, they also have a good selection of cocktails, wine and beer.
103 Francis Street, Northbridge, Perth
An old-world cocktail bar with a healthy dose of refinement, Bar Lafeyette’s moody interiors are decked out in vintage decor and leather chesterfield seats, fitting of a late-night bar with high-end service. The bartenders, who have ranked in the Top 100 Bartenders of Australia, serve drinks from a menu that is overflowing with luscious cocktails and spirits. Plus, the food from the bar menu comes directly from neighbouring W. Churchill – Perth’s very own Churchill-inspired restaurant and bar.
Brookfield Place, 125 St George’s Terrace, Perth
Tech-savvy hotels to design-driven gems to heritage marvels, Perth is at the top of its game when it comes to hotel accommodation. And although there is a profusion of Airbnb ’s to choose from, here we focus on the four hotels that have been making a big splash on Perth’s accommodation scene.
With both feet firmly in the future, at Tribe, you won’t find gyms, concierges and bellhops. Instead, the tech-savvy hotel is all about giving guests exactly what they want (and nothing they don’t). Think sleek design, speedy check-ins and free breakfast, WiFi and movies on demand. It’s also a co-working dream – the beautiful lobby buzzes with people tapping away at laptops. And sitting opposite King Park and its natural bushland, you can easily disconnect, and all without leaving the city.
4 Walker Avenue, West Perth
After the wild success of its hotels on the east coast, QT went cross-country. Inspired by the way desert meets the sea in WA, Perth’s rendition of QT features plenty of plants and eye-popping brights. The restaurant dishes up local produce, while the roof is the highest in the city. Each of the 184 rooms is equipped with QT Gel Beds, entertainment systems and dark stone bathrooms, with the QT Executive Corner being the room to get. It’s also the king of convenience, located in the middle of Perth’s CBD; you will be surrounded by some of the city’s best eats and drinking spots.
133 Murray Street, Perth
Housed in Perth’s historic 19th-century State Buildings, COMO The Treasury is a beautiful balance of Victorian and contemporary luxury. The rooms themselves, are spacious, light-filled and lush with natural, modern furnishings, with the suites and there impressive 80sqm footprint being the most prized. Two restaurants, a bar, lounge and library form part of The Treasury’s offerings, but with views extending across Swan River, The Treasury’s signature restaurant Wildflower garners the most attention, especially on the foodie trail.
1 Cathedral Avenue, Perth
The work of design powerhouse, Arent&Pyke, Alex Hotel is a curated collection of 74 guestrooms which has been designed around the way people travel - from compact rooms of 15sqm to extra-large rooms of up to 27sqm. Plus, there are bunk rooms and family rooms and ones that come with private balconies. But, it’s the shared communal spaces that make the Alex Hotel a standout. Spread throughout the hotel, you are encouraged to leave the sanctuary of your room and spend time in the lounge areas, roof garden and outdoor terraces, all of which are popping with colour.
50 James Street, Perth
A metropolis in the remote corners of Australia, Perth is packed full of things to do; from sprawling parklands and sparkling beaches to thought-provoking museums and on-trend neighbourhoods. And although the city itself has a lot to boast about, venture out a little to some of Perth’s outer neighbourhoods and you will discover many hidden gems.
King Park and Botanic Gardens
Smack bang in the middle of Perth’s CBD is one of the biggest city parks in the world, King Park and Botanic Gardens. The park itself has a sprawling network of well-trodden bushland trails, manicured gardens and cafes that look out over Canning and Swan rivers, plus there are a treetop bridge, playgrounds and picturesque memorials.
Head thirty minutes south of Perth to the port city of Fremantle. This sun-loving town is where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean. Beaches are in abundance, as is water play, and an on-trend foodie scene that champions fresh from the trawler seafood. Wander the streets of Fremantle, and you will quickly see that this seaside hub takes a lot of pride in its heritage. After grabbing a bite to eat at Bread in Common, check out the bustling indoor Fremantle Market before heading over to the Fremantle Prison or the Maritime Museum and Shipwreck Galleries.
Pristine beaches of turquoise water and soft sandy shores, Perth’s beaches are postcard-perfect. A standout among the many is Cottesloe Beach, namely because it is an ideal spot for swimming, surfing and snorkelling, but it also boasts some great waterfront cafes and eateries that sit in the shade of Norfolk Pines. It’s a short 20-minute drive from the city centre, making it a popular day-trip.
Subiaco (or as the locals call it, Subi) is one stylish suburb, just west of Perth’s CBD. It’s the centre of fashion and all things shopping. Boutiques and big-name brands grace the many storefronts, as do providores and delicatessens. The weekend markets at the Subiaco Pavillion draws a crowd, and although the on-trend cafes and eateries make a fair trade during the day, the night time crowd are well and truly bustling.
On our next trip to WA we will be taking in the sights, visiting Perth's attractions, dining at the best restaurants in Perth, taking a dip at Cottesloe Beach and discovering the most fun things to do in Perth.