If there’s any coast that has the most in Australia right now, it’s in WA. Perth has always been a launch pad for tourists heading south to the waves and wines of Margaret River, or off shore to the friendly quokkas of Rottnest. Yet thanks to renewed creative energy and local talent, Perth has become a hot destination in its own right.
Who better to give us the lowdown on what’s hot than a local in the know? Travel Expert Emma Cotterell from Flight Centre Kardinya shares her tips for spending a weekend in WA.
I’ve always called Perth home – it’s a city full of diversity and beauty. Clustered around the twisting Swan River, you can go from suburbia to skyscrapers to bush all within an hour. Compared to the sprawling metropolis of Sydney and the arty scenes of Melbourne, Perth is often greatly underestimated. But that’s OK – we’ve made our own fun.
Where to brunch in Perth
As a girl who grew up in Fremantle, I’m biased as to where I eat, drink and spend my weekends. Brunch is one of the most enjoyable and social meals of the day and I’m usually at Ootong & Lincoln in South Fremantle after a beach swim, or heading to Mary Street Bakery in Leederville to order its ever-popular buttermilk chicken pancakes, or to grab a delicious coffee and one of their famous donuts to eat on the go. I truly believe Perth has the best coffee of any Australian city I’ve visited (yes, including Melbourne) and it’s not hard to find a brew that will satisfy even the most picky coffee connoisseur.
A Saturday arvo session
Fremantle Markets is a fantastic place to wander and the pop-up stores scattered throughout the area keep the shopping interesting. The pubs are always pumping and the service is always friendly. My picks are the Norfolk Hotel, with its welcoming local vibe, and the Sail and Anchor, which dates back to 1854.
Cottesloe is one of Perth’s most well known beaches and is a short ride away on a Transperth train from Fremantle. This beach is gorgeous, with incredibly tempting water and plenty of places to relax. Perth’s version of Sculptures by the Sea rivals its Sydney counterpart, with wacky art pieces against an incredible but unlikely backdrop of the brilliantly blue western coastline.
Along the same train line you can also visit Claremont, a hub for luxury shopping at fashion boutiques including sass & bide, Alpha60, Dilettante and the recent addition of COS – the only one in the city.
Shop up a storm
There’s something for every age and interest back in the city. Rooftop movies, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and events are always on the calendar. Watch out for the month-long Fringe Festival around the beginning of the year, where pop-up shows, bars and dining venues take over town. Come summer, locals flock to the Twilight Hawkers Market in the middle of one of the most popular shopping spots in Perth, Forrest Chase. Check it out for late-night shopping with delicious snacks on Friday nights.
Something a little different
If you’re looking for something fun and a bit out there to do, head to Northbridge and check out Holy Moley Golf Club – a mini golf/bar/bundle-of-laughs. Even on Tuesday nights this place is heaving with tunes, pizza and good times.
In search of a more sophisticated soiree? C Restaurant is a (slowly) revolving restaurant that offers a 360-degree view of our beautiful city and the Swan River – the perfect side to your meal. After dinner, head around the corner to Print Hall and upstairs to Bob’s Bar – great spots to try some of Perth’s quirkiest cocktails and popular local beers on tap.The culinary scene in Perth is also consistently on the up with something new to try almost every weekend.
Escape the city
As far as Perth is from other major hubs, it’s no excuse not to hop in your car and go for a drive. If you want to make a splash beyond Perth’s beaches, venture to Serpentine Falls, a popular place to take a dip under a waterfall surrounded by Australian flora and fauna, an hour away from the CBD. The Kalamunda Zig Zag Trail is also worth the drive – make a playlist, pack a picnic and cruise this former railway route to see an amazing panorama of Perth.
Some people may say Perth has nothing on east coast capitals, but I say they’re not looking hard enough. For me, Perth is a bit like a Sunday: lazy and comfortable, sunny and warm but above all, filled with possibilities to make it your own.
Get in touch with Emma at Flight Centre Kardinya.