Perth is having a moment; there’s no way to deny it.
From the local brews to the hipster central hotspots, Perth is Australia’s new must-see destination and it’s not hard to see why. Awesome barrier reefs, expansive desert landscapes, wine country, white sand and blue water beaches, creative little creatures, and more are all rolled into one fantastic hotspot on Western Australia’s Coast and it’s a great place to vacation.
While I tend to take the road less travelled—beer tours! music festivals! fancy eats!—there’s a guide to getting the good stuff like a local as well, and this one is it. So sit back and relax; I’ve got suggestions to where to stay, where to play, and where to shop in an ultimate guide to living it up in Perth.
Where to Stay
Perth is bursting with things to excite someone who really loves finding their niche in the travel market through accommodation; from great Airbnb rentals to state of the art boutique hotels, there’s plenty to excite a person who prides themselves on making a particularly excellent choice.
For lovers of the quiet B&B atmosphere I suggest Pension of Perth in Northbridge; with it’s classic, rustic-chic bed and breakfast style, it’s perfect for a couple taking a romantic getaway or for a writer’s retreat that ends with you writing the next screen adaptation for Australia. There’s private rooms and a townhouse, and it’s all minutes walk from Perth Central without being in the middle of the hustle and bustle—this means you get to eat, drink, be merry, and then come back home to relax.
Anywhere I go, I always suggest checking out Airbnb, especially if you’re looking for a local experience, or plan on going with a lot of people. There are some really great finds, from chic, luxe getaways close to the city and the beach, to huge Fremantle palaces to bring the whole family along, it’s hard to find something that won’t fit. Plus, you’re benefitting from the locals who are always inclined to give you good recommendations for eating, playing, and beaching!
And my ultimate recommendation for accommodation comes from personal experience at COMO The Treasury, and I’m fairly sure it’s the best place I’ve ever stayed (and there’s a lot of great options in Perth). Stark, modern interiors, specifically crafted restaurants and cafes, and a storied past (it used to be a government building), COMO by far is the coolest digs in Perth. If you’ve got the extra pocket change, splurge for a room here with modern art made by local and international artists on the wall, a meal at their rooftop hangout Wildflower, or a lazy day hanging around their in house library. Can you imagine anything more sumptuous than that?
What to Do
Do. There’s plenty to play with in Perth; from the Kings Park (the largest city green space in the world) to Cottesloe Beach, taking a tour of Perth’ must-sees are super fun, sometimes off the map, and impossible to miss. For a look at the native creatures up close, check out Perth Zoo. For an overlooking view that makes for great panoramic shots, go with the Lotterywest Federation Walkway. For a history lesson, The Perth Mint is the oldest functioning mint in the world and the Old Mill is a quaint relic of life in the mid-19th century.
- Think Perth is just about the wine tours in Swan Valley? Think again. The microbrewery revolution in Perth has hit its stride and spending an afternoon tasting all the hops is certainly a great way to taste the flavor of WA. Check out favorites like Mash Brewing, Colonial Brewing Co., and Indian Ocean Co. for classic tastes that are always good, or strike out and make a date with Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery and Feral Brewing Co.—either way you roll, you can’t go wrong.
- Perth has a great many music festivals (that also happen to be conveniently located on their stunning beaches) that shouldn’t be missed. Sets on the Beach is Perth’s hottest beach party, both literally and figuratively. Featuring both local and international talent, Sets fest banks on the beautiful summer weather and killer beach sunsets, not to mention it’s awesome lineups, to give you the best time around. For urban and underground music, check out The Origin (it’s Perth’s answer to the growing hip hop scene), and try St. Jerome’s Laneway for an international fest that hits up locations all over Australia and Southeast Asia, bringing some really big acts and a whole lot of jamming fun.
- Do you consider yourself to be a bit of a foodie? Then Perth is going to be your taste bud heaven. From one of a kind gourmet grilled cheeses at Toastface Grillah to streetside food trucks offering excellent bratwurst at Run Amuk, you’re going to go hungry and come back really full, really satisfied, and really in love. Hit up La Veen for a flat white, The Raw Kitchen as an ode to the clean living revolution, and Lot Twenty for some great outdoor vibes. For dinner, make sure you don’t miss No Mafia’s Australian-Italian menu or The Old Crow for a 5-course style eatery that mixes authentic gastronomy with local favorites and trendy dishes.
What to Buy
Anything Quokka. This fluffy marsupial always wears a happy smile and has been deemed the happiest animal on the planet (truth is, if I were this cute I’d be perpetually happy too), and is a much smarter find than going for the run-of-the-mill kangaroo. While we love our two-legged pouch friends, the quokka is the younger, more adorable cousin that makes for a perfect stuffed animal to take home to just about anyone. Don’t miss your chance, these furries are one of a kind.
Aboriginal Art. How can you go into a cultural mecca and not partake in the local arts? So when in Perth, grab some great Aboriginal pieces that won’t only be a talking point for all those dinners but also will enrich the community and keep the incredible artistry alive. Hit up galleries like Japingka and Creative Native Perth for some clever finds.
- As a colony of Britain and just excellent located for some international trading, antiques are not hard to come by in Perth, and spending a day searching for treasure might just be your perfect answer for a rainy day plan. From awesome furniture finds to old fishing equipment, even if you don’t plan on taking anything home, it will certainly make you feel like you’ve just encountered old pirate’s booty after a day in Curio Warehouse or Bluebird Vintage.
- Okay, maybe this one is a bit of a stretch if you’re imagining the airfare it would take to book an extra street just for your new favorite instrument, but there’s no harm at all in going to Didgeridoo Breath and trying one out on your own. Grab a picture (and maybe a tiny souvenir from the shop) and turn that moment into a great postcard from Postagram or a magnet from Sticky9. It’s going to be way better than anything you imagined picking up at one of those tiny tourist shops.
Any additional places, things, eateries, or stays that I missed in my list? Let me know what makes Perth your favorite place to visit, and I’ll be sure to check it out next time I’m there. Until then, bon voyage!
Featured image credit: Gnangarra…commons.wikimedia.org [CC BY 2.5 au (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
First image credit: Greg O’Beirne (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons