Step aside, Melbourne and Sydney, because Australia has a “new capital of cool,” and it is none other than Perth.
Of late, the Western Australian capital has found itself at the centre of much media attention, and the adulation is long overdue: as a thriving city, Perth has acquired the cultural substance to satiate any modern traveller. For outdoor adventurers, Perth will always remain a gateway to Western Australia, while its own natural attractions are a sight to behold.
If you are planning your Perth holidays this year, read on to find out why travel experts are completely smitten with Perth.
1. Perth Attractions and Activities
“Perth has never looked as good as it does right now,” pronounced The Telegraph’s destination expert Mark Chipperfield in a recent feature. “New urban developments, such as the waterfront development at Elizabeth Quay, are transforming the visitor experience, adding more restaurants, cafes, and cultural experiences.”
While the riverine city’s new developments are guaranteed crowd pleasers, it is Greater Perth’s established attractions that visitors continually flock to and revisit. For wine and artisanal food lovers, Swan Valley and Margaret River are essential stops (read our guide to Margaret River here).
Like any veritable foodie destination, Swan Valley offers masterclasses where you can “soak up the seasoned knowledge of a master chef.” It also plays host to the occasional outdoor concert or festival. Over at Margaret River, you can lose yourself in the wonders of nature, with wildflower walks and scenic flights of fancy. If time is in short supply, go with Swan Valley, which is 30 minutes from the city centre, as opposed to Margaret River, which is a three-hour drive.
Within Perth city, The Telegraph recommends visiting Kings Park, Swan River, and the historic Fremantle, home to the nerve-rattling Fremantle Prison, which is notorious for its chilling Torchlight Tours on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
If you plan to linger in Fremantle, you can walk, or hop on a tram or a Segway scooter. Highlights include Fremantle Markets and the WA Maritime Museum, as well as Bather’s Beach for the requisite sundown view to cap an evening. Other beaches in Perth worthy of your consideration are Scarborough Beach and City Beach, both freshly refurbished to offer more facilities, as well as food and entertainment options.
To be enlightened about Perth’s cultural history and the Nyungar people—the traditional Aboriginal people of Perth—book a walking tour with GoCultural.
Insider Tip: “My favourite Perth neighbourhood is Swan Valley… [because it] offers winery experiences, breweries, wildlife parks, and great local produce. You may be tempted to purchase a bottle, or six!” — Andre Burford, Chief Concierge, Pan Pacific Perth.
2. Where to Eat in Perth
The best thing about Perth is its “sense of openness, endlessness, and possibility,” says Anna Reece, who oversees programming at the Perth International Arts Festival. The same can be said of Perth’s diverse restaurant scene. For memorable meals, try Co-Op Dining (degustation only, but certifiably non-pretentious), Wildflower (contemporary European cuisine based on the “indigenous ethos of six seasons”), and Gazette Perth (“a modern, playful approach to Italian dining”), all vouched for by GQ Australia.
The Telegraph has its choice selections too, and they include Australian cuisine specialists West End Deli (“food that is diverse, thoughtful, and delicious”) and Bib and Tucker (offers breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, and no wonder, as one of the owners is former Olympic swimmer Eamon Sullivan). To expand your palate, make time for Lalla Rookh (“fresh, modern Italian”) and La Cholita (“classic Mexican fare, best enjoyed with a margarita”).
According to The Guardian, restaurants favoured by locals include Petition Kitchen (“showcasing the best of Western Australia’s local and seasonal produce”), Gino’s (for the “best coffee in Perth”), and La Sosta (a tribute to Italian family recipes). But to truly stretch your culinary horizons, follow The West Australian’s guide to the “Top 20 Dishes in Perth in 2018,” which includes “Green curry of roast duck,” “Black cuttlefish paella,” and “Sri Lankan prawn curry.”
Insider Tip: “Start your day in East Perth with brekkie at Toast, a waterfront cafe with great coffee and a cosy vibe, and it is also child-friendly… For lunch try the Petition Kitchen (see above), located in the Old Treasury building. End your day with a view: make a booking at C Restaurant and take in the skyline of Perth whilst sipping on a glass of bubbly before indulging in a great meal!” — Milton Lima, Assistant Chief Concierge, Pan Pacific Perth.
Like the rest of the city, Perth’s bar and nightlife scene is fuelled by high energy and a single objective: maximum fun. For a sampler of the best places to relax and let loose, join tour organisers Two Feet & A Heartbeat on their small bar tour, where you will get to “walk a little, eat a little, and drink a little.”
To bar hop on your own, venture into these places namechecked by CNN Travel: Helvetica (for whisky cocktails), Fromage Artisans (where wine meets cheese), and Alfred’s Pizzeria (for all your party needs in one place—cocktails, pizza, and rock ‘n’ roll).
Other options include Varnish on King (dedicated to whiskey lovers) and Petition Beer Corner (where “there is a beer for everyone”), as mentioned by The Independent in their “ultimate guide” to Perth.
Insider Tip: “Northbridge is the hot spot if you are looking for a great night out. There are heaps of great restaurants, funky bars, and a real buzz. I would compare it with Soho in London—the place that never sleeps.” — Milton Lima, Assistant Chief Concierge, Pan Pacific Perth.
Need more suggestions for your welcome to Perth? For new ways to experience Perth, read our guides to the best Perth desserts and other hidden gems in the city. For travel and accommodation advice, speak to our helpful team at Pan Pacific Perth.