PLACES TO GO
With so many new bars and restaurants popping up in the CBD, it’s no wonder that people seem to be sticking around after work. And it’s not just the bars that have people talking – there are new street art tours; skydive onto Langley Park; take a cocktail-making class; or – better yet – tour all the small bars. In summer, there’s the Twilight Hawkers Markets in Forrest Chase, and when it gets chilly there’s the farmers market instead. Top spots to visit include Wolf Lane, Shafto Lane, Brookfield Place, Hay Street and Murray Street malls, and King Street.
A bustling hub of small bars, cultural hotspots, cuisine and nightclubs, Northbridge is a bridge-walk from the CBD. Asian and Mediterranean cuisine reign here, as do quirky concept and vintage stores. During summer you’ll find the rooftop movies – there’s rooftop yoga as well! William Street and the Northbridge Piazza are popular with locals. You’ll also find the Perth Cultural Centre which is home to
the State Library, Art Gallery of WA, WA Museum and State Theatre Centre.
Kings Park and Botanical Gardens
If you only have one day to see WA’s wildflowers, Perth’s Kings Park and Botanical Gardens is the place to go, with displays representing all the state’s regions. Even better, visit in September for the Kings Park Festival, when the wildflowers and flowering trees are at their most spectacular. Kings Park is big, so don’t restrict your visit to the Fraser Avenue/Botanical Gardens precinct. Venture deeper into the park for fantastic family picnic and playground areas at the Saw Avenue Picnic Grounds, Lotterywest Family Area, and Synergy Parkland. There are extensive bushwalking trails and cycling paths that will get you deep (but safe) into the natural environment. All are better explored in the cooler months, when the trees are green and the sun more benign. If you prefer something more sedate, the Fraser Avenue precinct is for you: cafes restaurants, galleries, gift shops, and a lawn with unbeatable city views. The fabulous Kings Park outdoor cinema kick starts its season in late November. Visit www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings park/maps/facilities for maps and lists of park attractions.
If you haven’t been to Crown Perth for a while, you’ll be gobsmacked at its transformation. You can get great package options at both the Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade, and a weekend getaway will take the monotony out of your routine – it’s even great for a family escape. With the new cabana and pool area, complete with twisting waterslide, the kids will have a ball in the water while you relax poolside. Come nightfall, book into one of the world-class restaurants – think Nobu, Rockpool and Bistro Guillaume – while the kids stay in the room with the hotel babysitter.
THINGS TO DO
Most of us only travel to the city for work or an occasional raid on the department stores. More and more suburbanites, however, are vacationing in town, with city hotels offering cracking good deals that are family-friendly and often come with tours, dining and entertainment specials. Check-in and throw away the car keys; you won’t need them. The kids will love the novelty of a luxury hotel, and you will love that there is someone else to clean up after them. Try a walking tour of the city – there are plenty to choose from. Take the kids on a riverside walk to check out the new developments at Elizabeth Quay, or hop on the ferry to South Perth and the zoo, where activities are in full swing during the holidays. Alternatively, leave the children with a sitter, and enjoy sleep-filled couple of days, followed by small bars by night. Want to impress your partner? Take a helicopter tour of the city, or even try skydiving onto Langley Park.
They’re popping up everywhere: in laneways, on rooftops, in basements, down improbable streets. Small bars are cementing themselves in the Perth culture, giving the beer barn a run for its money. In the city, think Wolf Lane, Shafto Lane and Brookfield Place. So great is the expansion that small bar licensing hours are loosening up as more people spend longer evenings in the CBD. There are specialised tours of the city where you can discover the best of the new bars and restaurants, and even a gourmet tour and evening bar crawl that delivers you home to your front door. Now you’re talking. Also close by, Northbridge has its share of hip bars just away from the main crush, as does Mt Lawley and Leederville.
A city is measured in part by its art and culture… and Perth is growing in stature. Cross the railway to the city’s cultural centre in Northbridge. The Art Gallery of WA is ringed by gardens that include a community vegetable patch, music stage, public art exhibits and picnic zones. Visit the Museum and State Library, and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), and then see a show at the new State Theatre Centre, internationally regarded as an architectural triumph. Back in the city’s west end, along King and Queen streets, you’ll find new galleries and design warehouses promoting local artists. If you’re keen to learn about the city’s art from an expert, FORM hosts urban art tours around Northbridge and the CBD (Thursdays and Saturdays), with a guide to explain the stories of the artists behind the colourful urban scrawls that decorate our city. The tour even ends with a cheeky drink.
- Go on a small-bar tour
- Spend a weekend at Crown Perth
- Have a drink at Brookfield Place
- Head to the beach for a swim
- Spend a day learning about the city’s arts and culture
- Picnic in Kings Park
- Plan a family day out
- Book a staycation in the city
All these events and more at www.scoop.com.au/thingstodo
Leighton Beach | Like a highway for dogs on weekend mornings, it offers uninterrupted walking (with limestone interest) and some of the most stunning water colour to grace the coast. There’s a bar/restaurant right on the beach, and a new wine bar that’s set to be housed in the Leighton Beach apartments. With summer’s sea breezes, it becomes kitesurfing central.
Cottesloe Beach | It’s iconic for good reason. The sheltered bay near the groyne is perfect for bobbing, and if you want to stretch out, it’s a decent swim between the surf clubs of North and South Cott – or even just from the shore to the pylon.
Norfolk Island pines frame the perfect sunset, and when you’ve had enough of the sand you can plant yourself in one of the many pubs, cafes and restaurants.
City Beach | The closest beach to the city centre, it’s got a big grassy foreshore area and lots of parking. As at neighbouring Floreat, waves are usually moderate in summer, and rips are rare. It’s a popular spot for beach fishing.
Scarborough Beach | One of Perth’s most well-regarded beaches, it’s got grassed areas and lots of parking, plus nearby cafes and a hotel. It’s becoming more family-friendly: approval is even being sought for a rooftop cinema! It’s popular for swimming, surfing and long beach walks. Brighton Beach, just to the south, can be quieter, and is also dog-friendly.
Trigg Beach | Perth’s most consistent surf break can be found at this beach north of Scarborough – it’s the best place to catch a wave in Perth’s summer.
Mettams Pool | One for families and calm-water fans, this natural rock pool near North Beach is protected by reef. Shady gazebos and a walkway to the water add to the stay-a-while aspect of this swimming spot, which is also good for snorkelling. Nearby, the waves are suited to longboard surfers.
TOP PICKS FOR KIDS
• AQWA This aquarium has an awesome conveyor-belt tunnel for kids (and adults) to go ‘underwater’ with sharks, rays and turtles.
• Art Gallery of WA Budding artists from pre-primary age up, can enjoy a program that includes free guided tours and workshops
• WA Museum With a free interactive area for kids, a giant dinosaur, and even a part where they feed live crickets to frogs, this is a sure winner.
• Scitech Some serious fun can be had at this young scientist’s heaven, with a mini construction site and new Planetarium.
• Some strings attached Spare Parts Puppet Theatre has enthralling shows for four- to 12-year-olds (like the rural tale Farm in September).
• Free movies Screening regularly at Northbridge Piazza or the Perth Cultural Centre’s James St Amphitheatre.
• Perth Zoo An oldie but a goodie, and there’s loads of walks and talks for families. TIP Pack a raincoat for the elephant presentation!!