Famous for being Australia’s sunniest capital city, boasting stunning coastline and a laid-back lifestyle, the once sleepy, now booming capital city of Western Australia is a hotspot for travel and tourism.
Perth is the world’s most isolated continental city as over two million people live in rugged and beautiful province of Western Australia, but more than one-and-a-half-million of that population lives within Perth and it’s metropolitan areas.
Yet it’s located closer to Singapore than the capitol of Canberra, making for cheap flights and an easy stop-off point between Asia and Australia’s more populous eastern side. For this month’s 24 Hours in Town, we’ll look at the place glorified for its coffee, cuisine and character.
From the airport, there is the Perth city shuttle bus, which costs AUD15 each way. With five convenient stops around town, this is the most direct option barring a taxi. For visitors watching their wallets, buses 37 and 40 also run from the airport. Transit time is 45 minutes to an hour.
The CBD is on the smaller side compared to other Australian cities, making it an ideal spot for a layover. Getting around central Perth is easy with bus, train and rail services.
There are also the free CAT buses that run on three color-coded routes and stop at the majority of Perth’s main sights.
Perth’s Cultural Centre is located right beside the city’s Railway Station and an easy starting point for a visitor’s introduction to the area. In the complex are the state museum, library and Institute of Contemporary Arts. Outside, students, artists and other residents mill around looking at whichever sculptures are on display or chill out on any of the numerous benches or steps.
King’s Park is also centrally located and worth a visit. With walking paths, bike trails and arresting views of the city, it is the largest inner city park in the world.
To truly experience what Perth has to offer though, you need to go out of the center and into the surrounding suburbs where street art and event posters reign. Historic and funky Fremantle (Fremantle Markets pictured below), or Freo as it is more commonly known, is a necessary stop with any visit.
Yet one of the main draws for visitors is not for the sites or shopping, but the cuisine and café culture. Perth is a foodie heaven and it is impossible to walk down any given street and not be bombarded with quirky coffee shops and eateries.
Due to proximity and immigration, Perth’s food scene is rich in Asian inspiration. Hit up Northbridge for well-priced Chinese, Indonesian and Indian restaurants.
Or, for a unique dining experience, check out the Greenhouse. Celebrity chef Matt Stone is driving in the clients with his eco-designed restaurant complete with an onsite work farm, reclaimed wood features and vertical gardens. Try a distinctively Perth dish of chilli muscles and eat like the locals do.
Beware, Perth is pricey, even by Australian standards. If budget is an issue, head back to Fremantle and hit up the famous Freo Markets on the corner of Henderson Street and South Terrace. Fresh, locally grown produce as well as meats, sweets and cooked meals can be found here. For those who’s wallets are really feeling the pinch, go later in the afternoon, as shopkeepers desperate to make a sale will drop prices and offer deals as the markets wrap up for the day.
The beach is an impressive coastal suburb 15-minutes drive from the CBD and popular among residents for its Sunday sessions.
Cottesloe Beach Hotel and the Ocean Beach Hotel are the main spots. The hotel, with big, open facing windows, is the perfect place to grab a schooner and experience one of Western Australia’s famous sunsets.
If the night involves staying closer to the center, Perth has no shortage of options to grab a drink. The small bar movement has taken off and made great use of many of the city’s backstreets and laneways.
Perth’s nightlife is sure to not disappoint, just make sure to take your passport as many places do not accept foreign drivers licenses as a form of identification.
Simply put, Perth, with its laid-back, cool vibes, is a beautiful city well worth the visit. Spread over 100 kilometers of breathtaking coastline, Perth has mastered the balance of suburban loving with city living.
Music, beer, wine, coffee and art are taken very seriously. So, grab a long mac coffee, listen to some jazz and chill out and enjoy the sun like the Perth-dwellers do.
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Originally published in That’s PRD