Once notorious for its houses of ill-repute, Northbridge wears its gritty image as proudly as its graffiti-clad walls. Some might even say it’s on the wrong side of the tracks given its location north of the central business district and historical Horseshoe Bridge snaking its way across the railway line. There’s never any shortage of art, theatrics or literary musings keeping the mind sharp with its galleries, theatres, cinemas and bookshops. Travel around the world with Northbridge’s cuisine ranging from Chinese, Cambodian, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Italian, Greek, Japanese, US-style BBQ and Mexican. With a higher concentration of bars than anywhere else in Perth, wandering through the laneways in search of bourbon, gin, whiskey, tequila and craft beers is a memorable and fruitful adventure. Keep up-to-date with Northbridge happenings at OnWilliam.
In 1901, the Governor’s wife Lady Lawley had only one stipulation when naming the suburb after her husband. There mustn’t be any drinking establishments built in the area. Mrs Lawley’s ghost must surely disapprove with the historical Queens Tavern, the sleek industrial Five Bar, not to mention the champagne room and the wall of wine at Must Winebar. The neighbourhood has since redeemed itself with its Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, dessert bars, urban-cool boutiques, fancy homewares and bookshops. Totter on over to the restored Art Deco Astor Theatre for a line-up of alternative stage acts throughout the year.
Lune Leederville is one of Perth’s few remaining and operating Art Deco cinemas screening year-round arthouse films, and in the warmer months, an outdoor cinema. The Garden Hotel also takes advantage of Perth’s sunny disposition, as do the many sidewalk cafes and restaurants specialising in Spanish, seafood, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. Indulge in cake beneath the lanterns at Greens & Co café, while en route to the many eclectic shops. On Friday and Saturday nights, board a rickshaw for a Leederville Food Safari with an oriental flare. Ever wanted to run away and join the circus? Fly through the air with abandon with AirYoga; it’s much less disruptive to your life. Or with feet firmly planted on the ground, take the 3.6km walk around the wetland reserve of Lake Monger.
Once Australia’s roughest port town, Fremantle reinvented itself in the 1950s with the arrival of European immigrants, which is still evident from its Mediterranean cuisine and cappuccino strip on South Terrace. Winning the America’s Cup in 1987 put the town on the map on an international scale, don’t miss the America’s Cup winning yacht Australia II at the WA Maritime Museum. Continue to explore WA’s rich maritime history at the WA Shipwreck Museum or sail on the tall ships Duyfken or Leeuwin. Or explore Fremantle’s gruesome past at Fremantle Prison and trek on foot and by boat through the labyrinth of tunnels 20-metres below ground. Fremantle is also considered a hippy haven and buskers and bohemians often perform outside the Fremantle Markets, which have been trading their wares since 1897. Or engage in the local tradition of fish and chips at sunset at Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and a frolic at Bathers Beach.
Established in 1929, it makes perfect sense for a strip of antique shops and tea houses to be in one of Perth’s oldest settlements in Guildford. Allow your journey to take on a macabre twist at Guildford’s Museum of Natural History with its taxidermy displays. A hive of activity during the Gold Rush days the Guildford Hotel has undergone a complete transformation since it almost burnt to the ground several years ago. Meanwhile, across the road, Alfred’s Kitchen has been serving wholesome burgers and pea and ham soup since 1946. Congregating around the fire pit or the dining train carriage is a Perth tradition on a cold night. Across the railway tracks is the Rose and Crown Hotel, and reputedly WA’s most haunted pub. Guildford is also the gateway to the Swan Valley, Australia’s first Humane Food Region, and as its Western Australia’s first wine region, you can be swilling wine among the vineyards just 30 minutes from the city.
North Perth’s Angove Street is lined with all kinds of treasures such as the homeware store Angove Street Collective and boutiques, and the bold structural designs at S2 on the adjacent Fitzgerald Street. There are plenty of cafes wonderfully positioned for people watching including The Old Laundry and local haunt The Rosemount Hotel.