3 Days in Perth

11 March 2014
Read Time: 3.6 mins

Only fractionally closer to Melbourne than it is to Bali and two time zones from its east coast compadres, Perth scores the trifecta with its prime river-front vantage, proximity to sun-kissed coastline and outlying wine country. Enviable natural assets, streets lined with elegant historical facades a penchant for the great outdoors make this far-flung capital city well worth your long weekend.

A string of 19 brilliant beaches and superb surf conditions mean Perth is a great sand-based break any time of the year, and one of the only Australian locales where you can watch the sun dip behind the Indian Ocean. Take a weekend in Perth and see why this new world hub in the western third of our sunburnt country is forecast to have the fastest growth of any Australian city (we think it has something to do with the 3,000 hours of yearly sunshine).

 Perth keeps it cool, casual and effortlessly chic

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Day 1

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Morning

Say good morning to Perth as the locals do – by lacing up and hitting the pavement. Even if you’re not the jogging type, Perth’s balmy climes make it impossible to resist a dose of Vitamin D. Banked on the gentle waters of the Swan River, Kings Park is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world, even bigger than New York’s Central Park. A short stroll from the city centre, Kings Park is webbed with cycle and walking trails that are edged in native wildflowers come spring – the perfect setting for you to work up an appetite before retreating to the CBD for a richly deserved breakfast.

Afternoon

Keep your walking shoes on and enjoy a stroll through the stylish streets of inner-city Perth. While once associated with a lacklustre shopping scene, WA's capital has injected a serious fashion fix to turn that reputation around. Upmarket King Street in the West End is Perth’s answer to Rodeo Drive with luxury brands aplenty (think Louis, Chanel and Bally), while London Court on Hay Street will have you feeling like royalty with a wealth of items to browse and buy.

Evening

A night out in Perth is invariably spent in Northbridge – the city's entertainment enclave an easy one-kilometre from the CBD. Northbridge boasts a European ambience with sidewalk tables, late-night bistros and cafe-gallery hybrids, where you can settle in with a pitcher of New Orleans Nutmeg at the Americana-inspired The Old Crow, or feast on a Sichuan sit-down in 'Little Asia'.

Laneways and rooftops are echoing with Perth's blossoming small bar scene, and the locals rank Northbridge's The Bird and Ezra Pound among the best petite places for a pint. By day, Northbridge caters to the brunch crowd at popular joints like Sayers Sister – lemon custard-filled cinnamon saffron doughnuts with hot chocolate sauce, poached pear and pistachio almond praline? Be right back; booking flights.

 Catch some waves or a golden tan at Cottesloe

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Day 2

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Morning

Around 50-kilometres of metropolitan coastline mean you can take your pick of sandy shoreline, or beach-hop at your leisure. Of Perth’s 19 white sandy beaches, Cottesloe is arguably the most popular –the Bondi of Perth, if you will. 'The Cott', City Beach, Scarborough, Swanbourne and Floreat each have their own advantages, whether you’re seeking the surf, fish and chips on the foreshore or a quiet spot to soak up some rays.
If you’re not feeling beachy keen, take a morning drive out to Swan Valley (just 25-minutes away) and knock on a few cellar doors signposted on the Swan Valley Food and Wine Trail – 32-kilometres of breweries, distilleries and eateries. If you really love your vino, you could always go AWOL for the rest of the day and take a three-hour drive south to the Margaret River wine region.

Afternoon

Best known for hosting music festivals and Aussie rules footy games, Subiaco is a trendy suburb where shoppers, art hunters and caffeine fiends mingle. Just five-kilometres from inner-city Perth, ‘Subi’ is easily reached – it's the third stop from the city on the Fremantle train line. Subi’s charming tree-lined streets are ideal for a few hours of window shopping down Hay Street and Rockeby Road, where more than 200 cafes, galleries, boutiques and bars will while away your afternoon.

Evening

While an indisputable cosmopolitan city, Perth isn't afraid to show its true colours when ‘footy fever’ sweeps through. This means yellow and blue for the West Coast Eagles or white and purple if you’re a Fremantle Dockers fan. As in Melbourne, AFL is big business in Perth and Patersons Stadium (aka Subiaco Oval) is the place to catch all the action. Not an AFL fan? The Perth Glory soccer team would be happy to host you at nib Stadium nearer to the CBD.

 Carouse with the Quokkas on idyllic Rottnest Island

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Day 3

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Morning / Afternoon

Why not spend your final day in the WA capital getting to know one of its neighbours edging the vast urban sprawl? Port city Fremantle (Freo’ in local speak) is loved for its bohemian beat, where buskers, pop-up food vendors and seafarers rub shoulders. Fremantle’s so-called ‘Cappuccino Strip’ is the place to be seen with an espresso in hand before calling in on the historic Fremantle Markets close by. Housed in a grand Victorian building, the Markets’ 150 stalls showcase the freshest, finest state produce as well as providing a platform for emerging local artists.

For adventures further afield, Perthians escape to their very own island paradise – Rottnest Island. A 40-minute ferry from Fremantle will bring you to ‘Rotto’, where your only responsibilities include dipping your toes in the clear blue waters, seeing the island from the saddle of your cycle and trying to capture a selfie with the furry island residents known as quokkas. This liquid playground sees dolphins, sea lions and migrating humpbacks pass by, while schools of tropical fish and more than a dozen sunken ships make for prime diving conditions.

Evening

If you were to sum up Perth in one word, a frontrunner would definitely be ‘liveable’. International visitors and interstate migrants are lured by the lush green spaces, al fresco emphasis and hipster-friendly eat/drink scene. As your 72 hours in Perth wind up, give your holiday one last hooray by pulling up a patch of grass next to the locals at one of Perth’s outdoor cinemas. Running from around December to April (weather permitting), there are sundown screenings in Kings Park, Burswood Park, The University of WA and at the Northbridge Piazza.

Ashton Rigg

When I'm not at home in Brisbane, you’ll find me wanderlusting around hipster bars, eclectic boutiques and arty nooks. From bagels in Brooklyn to strudel in Salzburg, I believe the best way to experience a destination is by taking a bite! Tweets & 'grams at @AshtonRigg