Perth warms up in summer, but year round, it’s just – well – cool. Yes, it’s hopping with fine food, hip watering holes, lively shopping districts and cultural happenings. But it’s unique because all of this action forms the beating heart of a city – and a region – awash with natural marvels. In a single day, you can quench your thirst for cosmopolitan cool and dazzling natural beauty. Try these one-day Perth itineraries for the best of both worlds.
Brunch, lunch and shop in Subiaco or Leederville. In Subiaco, caffeine aficionados will give thanks for Stimulatte or Architects & Heroes. Grab an early lush lunch at the charming Bistro Des Artistes. In Leederville, trawl record stores and unique boutiques before nabbing a bite at (justly) famed Sayers (essential: chocolate banana bread with maple butter).
Pop up the road to Kings Park – it’s an afternoon delight. At 400 hectares, Kings Park is one of the world’s largest inner city green spaces. Stunning sweeping views of the Swan River and city skyline are just the beginning. Budding botanists will appreciate 1700 unique native species in the State Botanic Garden. Meander over seemingly endless lawns, nature trails and boardwalks. Test your legs and treat your eyes on a 52-metre arched bridge suspended among towering eucalypts. There’s a restaurant, three cafes and two kiosks. Or, almost any patch of grass yields a romantic picnic with a view. Every trip to Kings Park brings something new – don’t leave Perth without visiting.
Take an early Indian Ocean dip at Cottesloe, Swanbourne or City Beach. Post swim, you’ll find killer Coffee and brekkie right on the sand: try Barchetta in North Cottesloe and the cafe at Clancy’s Fish Bar on City Beach. Cottesloe’s Il Lido Italian canteen is worth crossing the road for. A tip for avoiding early morning surprises: the northern section of Swanbourne Beach is nudist.
Drive 10 minutes to Claremont Quarter for lunch and shopping. Somehow, this multi-level shopping centre has a village feel, with relaxed to high-end fashion, plenty of eateries and fresh food options. Explore the nearby Bayview Terrace (and adjoining laneways) for boutiques, bookshops and cafes.
Swing back to the beach for drinks served with an ocean sunset. You can’t beat The Cottesloe Beach Hotel: patrons keep it real out front (a basic beachside pub) and hop with hipsters out back (a refurbished beer garden, now called The Beach Club).
Do coffee, street art and yum cha in the city. If you know where to look, you’ll find exciting art and cute cafes in previously neglected CBD laneways. In Grand Lane, off Murray Mall near Barrack Street, check out a 99-metre mural, snag coffee or a toastie at Toastface Grillah (worth a visit for the name alone) and pop into the Museum of Perth. There’s more art in Howard Lane behind St George’s Terrace and Prince Lane connecting Wellington and Murray streets.
No longer just about Chinatown, Northbridge is one of Perth’s hippest locales. Dragon Palace and Northbridge Chinese Restaurant are the picks for a dim sum or Yum Cha brunch. Stroll down William or Beaufort streets to Highgate for more coffee, kitsch stores and outdoor art.
Take a 25-minute afternoon drive to WA’s most underrated wine region. You’ll be surprised and delighted at the proximity and charm of the Swan Valley’s unassuming boutique wineries. Narrow down stops by looking for grapes plus scenic eateries. My picks:
- At Olive Farm Wines, sit vine-side for a ploughman’s platter from The Cheese Barrel café
- Mandoon Estate incorporates Homestead Brewery, so there’s something for everyone: a beer garden and deli, fine dining, a huge outdoor play area and art gallery
- Houghton’s wines, food and grounds make it well worth a visit
- Try the ‘gourmet boards’ samplers with matching wines at RiverBank Estate
Go south to Fremantle or north to Joondalup for many more ways to adventure as the mood strikes. You’ll be hooked on Perth and surrounds, where you can go from urban cool to naturally wonderful in a hop, skip and a jump.
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