The best place to start exploring in Perth is the central business district. Get charged up for the day with a sampling of the city’s hearty coffee and brunch scene. Petition Kitchen serves up inspiring seasonal menus and is located inside the heritage State Buildings complex. Or head to busy King Street where you can try La Veen Coffee, which is known for some delicious breakfast options and top quality coffee. Then why not spend some time exploring Perth’s historic centre and visit the vibrant area of Elizabeth Quay where you can check out the finely preserved Victorian architecture of Government House and the Supreme Court.
The Boom or Bust trail is also a great way to explore this part of the city and highlights the “boom” created by gold, and the surge of growth and wealth in Western Australia. As part of that, you can head to the Perth Mint, Australia’s official bullion mint where the exhibitions will help you appreciate this unique history. Here you can also see the famous Kangaroo One Tonne Gold Coin. Not only is it the largest gold coin in the world, but it’s also worth an incredible £35 million.
Make use of Perth’s handy Free Transit Zone and jump on the bus across town towards one of the city’s best attractions: Kings Park. This sprawling area of bushland and manicured gardens is the pride and joy of Perth. It’s the perfect spot to escape the heat of the day and get in some views of Perth’s skyline. It’s also the world’s largest inner-city park and has stunning bushland. Don’t miss out on Federation Walkway, where you’ll cross onto a bridge made of glass and steel that carries you up into a canopy of eucalyptus trees.
Finish the afternoon off with a late-but-leisurely lunch at The Old Brewery right on the river. This historic site was where the industrious Scottish sea trader John Maxwell Ferguson started the Swan Brewery, which pumped out Western Australia’s favourite frothy beers for almost a century before stopping in the 1960s. Now revitalised and revamped for the more modern age, sample its range of award-winning beers and ciders on tap and pair it with one of the venue’s excellent steaks.
Next stop on the itinerary is the gentrified and alternative area of Northbridge. With loads of eateries offering every type of cuisine imaginable, you’ll be hard-pressed to choose a restaurant. Brika is standout when it comes to Greek food, or you’ll find some of the best pasta in the city at Francoforte Spaghetti Bar, while The Hummus Club is the place to go for Middle Eastern food.
After dinner, it’s time to hit the bars. Perth is known for having a great music scene and is home to Australian artists Tame Impala, San Cisco, The Panics, and plenty more. As the evening descends, join the throngs of live music punters and catch the next best act at Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Universal Bar, or The Bird. As the night carries on, Northbridge is also one of the best areas to experience a bit of Perth’s raucous nightlife.
Dust yourself off after a hectic night and head to Perth’s favourite stretch of sand: Cottesloe Beach. Perched on the glittering Indian Ocean, it’s an ideal place to lap up some waves, go for a surf, and catch some rays. Magnificent Norfolk pine trees tower over the sand, while the iconic Indiana Teahouse is a splendid display of historic architecture. If you’re feeling hungry, the staff at Il Lido Italian Canteen cook up a delightful range of breakfast favourites.
No trip to Perth would be complete without a visit to the port town of Fremantle. Dazzling visitors with its heritage architecture, bohemian vibes and brilliant food, it’s an absolute must. It’s just a few stops south on the train from Cottesloe, so in no time you’ll be in the middle of this vibrant town. It’s quite the contrast from the finance-focused Perth. Grab lunch along “Cappuccino Strip”, a cosmopolitan street filled with pubs, cafés and restaurants, all of them heaving with life on weekends. Leave space for the Fremantle Markets, where fresh produce, food stalls and local crafts all come together in a beautifully preserved Victorian building.
As the afternoon moves on, explore a bit of colonial history at the Fremantle Prison. This is the only UNESCO World Heritage-listed building in Western Australia. It dates back to the 1850s when it was the place where the meanest criminals in the state would be locked up. Built on the backs of convict labour, it remains as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. There’s even a youth hostel inside, so if you’re looking for a creepy and unique place to spend the night give it a try.
Another advantage Perth has over its East Coast counterparts is that you can enjoy watching the sunset over the ocean. There are plenty of great spots but since you’re already in “Freo” you should make a beeline for the Little Creatures Brewery and grab a prime position to watch the sun sink beneath the ocean (get there early to snag one of the outside tables). The fantastic craft beers from Little Creatures are popular all over Australia, and go especially well with the delicious pizzas on offer. After the sun sets and you’ve had your fill, catch the last ferry back across the water towards central Perth, getting one last glimpse of that glittering skyline.
This article is an updated version of a story created by Tom Smith.