This gem of a city is the most remote capital in the world and the locals like it that way. It’s a place where the great outdoors and a modern city go hand in hand. It’s no wonder that Perth is thriving.
Perth has a relaxed city centre with large expanses of gardens and parklands, and well-considered harbour-side precincts made for people to enjoy the great outdoors. With its clean, sprawling suburban pockets that are tree-lined and close to white sand beaches, Perth is an incredibly pretty city. Add sunsets so luridly coloured they look as if they’ve been photoshopped, it’s a place that makes you wonder – ‘Why doesn’t everyone want to live here?’
Before the British colonised Perth in 1829, it was (and still is) home for the Whadjuk Nyoongar people. In 1829, more than 600 Europeans (or wadjelas, as they are known to the local Indigenous people), arrived at Fremantle, and the Swan River Colony was established. The area quickly became an important market town for Europeans, and Noongar lands, particularly around the Swan River and Guildford, were subsequently taken over by the new settlers. It was the first free-settler colony in Australia established by private capital, and from 1850, convicts joined the colony in large numbers to build roads and other public infrastructure.
The WA gold rush of 1890s boosted the economy and resulted in the construction of The Perth Mint – a common excursion for local school kids and a thriving tourist attraction. The late twentieth century saw the building grow taller, and by the turn of the twenty-first century, Perth was a buzzing capital with a distinct city centre, surrounded by vast green spaces with the Swan River snaking out through the suburbs.
Constructed in 1999, The Bell Tower‘s angelic chime rings through the Elizabeth Quay every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. Gifted by the British in 1988 to celebrate Western Australia’s bicentenary, visitors have the chance to ring the 18 extraordinary bells that overlook the city. Back down at sea level, there’s plenty more to do in Elizabeth Quay – go on a nostalgic carousel ride or wander down to local brewery The Island Brew House.
Outdoor adventures in Perth
Take a break from the bustling city centre and take a stroll through Perth Zoo. Operating for more than 120 years, the zoo has been pursuing conservation efforts including launching a re-wilding program to help increase the population of endangered species. The zoo is home to an array of animals, from goofy and adorable penguins to a mighty Sumatran tiger. Don’t know what animals you want to see or which way to go? The zoo offers itineraries like Awesome Aussie Icons to guide you on a themed safari.
Atop Mount Eliza, this park is covered with grass, bushland, and botanical gardens. It’s one of the world’s largest inner city parks with the botanic garden displaying 3,000 different species of plants. Walk to different attractions scattered throughout the park like the 101-step spiral DNA Tower or stumble upon a summer event like music concerts or a movie in the park. The park’s many winding pathways are perfect for a brisk morning stroll or a leisurely afternoon walk.
Rottnest Island is Western Australia’s very own island getaway that the locals are rightfully incredibly proud of. This pristine paradise is only 19 kilometres off the coast of Fremantle and just like Perth, it is kept beautifully clean and has many open green spaces and countless places to swim, snorkel, windsurf, go boating, fishing and diving, all while relishing in the casual atmosphere and picture-perfect scenery. A mediterranean-style climate and the range of flora and fauna on this Island provides a backdrop to a special holiday experience. And you can also meet some of the cutest critters in the world on Rottnest – the much-photographed and globally adored native Quokka.
You can snag a great package with ferry tickets and bike hire to explore the island on two wheels. Check out this departure from Fremantle or set off from Perth.
On-trend hotels to try
With its style and curated aesthetic, The Adnate is a hotel built around contemporary art. This unique stay offers art pieces to view in the halls and in the rooms. The east side of the building adorns a mega mural – one of the world’s largest, covering 25 storeys. The piece embodies the history of the people of Perth in its colourful display. This 250-room hotel offers an outdoor pool and restaurant as well as art libraries and art tours.
You can read more about the artist in our interview here.
Sitting at the bottom of King’s Park, Quest Mounts Bay Road is an apartment style hotel just outside of downtown (though, there is a free shuttle bus service that can get you there in just eight minutes). The rooms are modern and spacious, ranging from a studio to a one bedroom. If you want to get in a workout in the morning, try the hotel gym or brave Jacob’s Ladder, a 242-step steep staircase at the base of the hotel that goes up to King’s Park. It is manageable for most people, and the view on top is worth the climb.
For a great new hotel right in Perth’s CBD, check in to the Adina Apartment Hotel Perth, which is opposite the impressive Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. Only a 20-minute drive from Perth Airport with onsite parking, the serviced apartment style hotel offers 138 spacious one and two-bedroom apartments and generous studio rooms. Each apartment is modern and stylish with all the creature comforts you need, including fully equipped kitchens, in-room laundries and plenty of light-filled living space.
Food & wine in Perth
Gioia On The River is a charming Italian restaurant that brings friends and family together to enjoy a heartwarming traditional Italian meal. The two award-winning chefs at the helm bring the Italian culture of poetic and romantic food to their dishes. Choose from a selection of pastas and other delicious offerings and pair it with a wine from the restaurant’s extensive selection. Gioia – meaning “joy” – is truly brought to Perth through the welcoming authentic setting and food fusion.
Renowned for its specially curated wine menu, Balthazar is located in an Art Deco apartment block, adding some character to the restaurant before going in. Its a la carte menu is filled with delicacies made with locally sourced ingredients, while its wine menu offers chances to try Australian wines from small producers across the country. Enjoy the eclectic flavours, and take home a bottle of wine to extend the experience.
High atop the city on level 33, the award-winning C Restaurant is the only rotating restaurant in Western Australia. Enjoy 360-degree views of the city while dining on delicious expertly-prepared meals. If you can’t decide what to order, go for the degustation menu and tuck into a four-course meal with dessert. You can also take a break in the afternoon and participate in their High Tea time. The combination of breathtaking views and elegant food make this restaurant unforgettable.
Want more Perth inspiration? Have a read of our Thriving art, culture and history in Perth story.