The Best Non-Touristy Things To Do in Perth, Australia

Western Australia has some of the best Perigord truffles in the world, like these ones from Stonebarn
Western Australia has some of the best Perigord truffles in the world, like these ones from Stonebarn
Photo of Carmen.Jenner
19 October 2017

From beaches to shopping to low ‘n slow barbeque, discover Perth from a local perspective. While the city is rightly proud of its pristine environment, remoteness, endless sun and idyllic lifestyle, there’s a lot more to life in Western Australia’s capital. The perpetual flock of cranes littering the skyline gives some indication to the pace of progress as Perth sheds its “big country town” persona as a city of vibrancy. Here’s a few ways the locals appreciate their hometown.

Kings Park is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world

The great outdoors, inner-city style

From power-walkers to ramblers, many take advantage of those endless blue skies almost any time of the year without even leaving the vicinity of the city. Start the day with a 10-kilometre jaunt around the Narrows and Causeway bridges either on foot or by bike. All kinds of bikes are available from About Bike Hires at the base of the Causeway, who also rent stand up paddle boards and kayaks if the Swan River beckons.

Hovering above the city, Kings Park is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world and enjoys uninterrupted city views. Nature lovers meander the parklands and the Lotterywest Federation Walkway, while the challenging Kokoda Track and Jacob’s Ladder ensure those thighs keep pumping, before flopping down for a picnic.

Perth has no shortage of year round ballet, jazz, music, festivals, comedy, art and creativity

Culture vultures

Commanding pride of place and perched between the river and the city, Elizabeth Quay hosts year-round events such as the Perth International Arts Festival, Fringe World Festival, Night Noodle Markets, pop-up bars, promenades and art installations.

Northbridge is home to the Perth Cultural Centre with the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Blue Room Theatre, PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts) and a great festival line-up. Across the road, live music venue The Bird showcases live music, exhibitions and stand-up performances.

Since the iconic His Majesty’s Theatre opened in 1904, it’s been a steadfast favourite for its Edwardian grandeur, theatre, live music and in more recent times, the West Australian Ballet, West Australian Opera as well as its basement comedy lounge. Jazz aficionados are utterly enamoured with The Ellington until 3.00am on weekends. In the warmer months, outdoor cinemas pop-up all over town and the Quarry Amphitheatre is magical from October to March with jazz, ballet, opera and live performances.

Western Australia has some of the best Perigord truffles in the world, like these ones from Stonebarn

Glorious Food

Western Australia’s reputation for fresh produce and multi-cultural cuisine means no end of great options here. There are numerous continental stores and The Re Store is a much-loved favourite for espresso, continental cuts, handmade pasta and all things Italiano in either the Northbridge or Leederville store.

Larger than life personality Vince Garreffa, also known as the Prince of Flesh, is the face of Mondo Meats, where you can buy his famous White Rocks veal or attend one of his cooking classes. Vince is also the man behind the Inglewood Night Markets which run on Monday nights from September until the end of April. Farmers market run over the weekends ranging from the city, Subiaco, Kalamunda and Fremantle.

From June to August the city goes crazy for world-class Perigord truffles grown in Manjimup. Don’t fret if you can’t make the four-hour journey as many menus feature the prized ingredient and Stonebarn Truffles has an online store and deliver all over the world, including to your hotel room. The freshwater crayfish known as marron, farmed in Pemberton and also four hours away from the city, can also be delivered to your door by Forest Fresh Marron.

Oh, the places you go!

Untouristy neighbourhoods

Perth has many cool neighbourhoods such Mt Lawley, Guildford and Leederville. Equally charming are its suburban treasures such as Whately Crescent in Maylands where you’ll find baked goodies at Sherbet Cake and Shop and vintage-inspired fashions at Look Feel Be.

In North Perth, splurge at Angove Street Collective or the boutiques on Angove and Fitzgerald streets, such as the bold structural designs at S2. Swoon over your purchases at any of the eateries lining Angove Street, including The Rosemount Hotel and The Old Laundry, which has a busy line-up of events and quiz nights.

Granted the port town of Fremantle is a tourist magnet, but it’s worth knowing that Ruocco’s Pizzeria E Ristorante has been pulling pizzas and north Italian fare from their woodfired pizza ovens for over 40 years. Far enough away from South Terrace’s main drag, also known as the “cappuccino strip,” Ruocco’s is a steadfast favourite for those who know from where that delectable aroma wafts.

Alfred's Kitchen has been serving burgers since 1946

Late night feasts

Dining out past 10.00pm can considered late in Perth, that is, unless you know better. Many flock to Uncle Billy’s Chinese Restaurant to feast on their favourite Chinese dishes until 4.00am. While others will drive or catch the train to Guildford village about 20 minutes from the city for some of the best burgers in town at Alfred’s Kitchen until 2.00am on the weekends. Craving deep fried chicken or jalapeno peppers in the wee hours? Vine & Oil has it sorted. Decked out in Art Deco, The Moon is one of Perth’s best-loved and reasonably priced late-night enclaves; in fact, you can’t even order a drink without a substantial meal after midnight.

Avoid the crowds at Bather's Beach

Outsmart the sun

Notoriously picture perfect, Perth’s beaches are an obvious year-round drawcard, particularly mid-week when everyone’s at work. Favourite beaches include City and Cottesloe, plus Bather’s Beach, which also has easy access to the maritime museum precinct, Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and Fremantle. However, the sun’s harshness is often only truly revealed to unsuspecting tourists once it’s too late, even if you Slip (on a shirt), Slop (on sunscreen) and Slap (on a hat). Save the beachside frolics for the early morning followed by brunch at any of the seaside cafes. Or engage in the Perth tradition of a late afternoon dip and fish and chips with the sand between your toes as the sun slips into the Indian Ocean.

Low ‘n slow barbeque

Australian’s love their barbeques, but did you know Perth has a thriving underground US-style BBQ scene? So avid is this breed of barbequers, there are year-round competitions where teams camp out overnight to barbeque low ‘n slow come rain, hail or shine. Even if you miss one of the competitions at Smokin’ in the City, Smokin’ in the Port, WA Smokin’ BBQ & Chilli Festival or Smokin’ on the Water, Perth has its fair share of barbeque joints such as Porkies Bar-B-Que, Deen Street BBQ and Holy Smokes.

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