Perth – the city
Sometimes cities make me feel a little closed in with their tall skyscrapers surrounding you and blocking out the sun leaving you mostly in the shade. Whilst I love what cities have to offer such as diversity and great quality of places to shop, eat and drink, I don’t like being away from the sea for too long.
Perth, as a city, didn’t make me feel closed in at all. The CBD had tall buildings with people rushing about getting food in their lunch breaks but that is to be expected. Walk a couple of streets over and you hit the pedestrian malls. These ‘open air’ malls are pedestrianised streets with shops on either side both at street level and underground.
If you prefer art and culture, good food and wine then walk five minutes to Northbridge which is well known for its restaurants, bars and is home to Perth’s Cultural Centre.
Perth is located on the Swan River and you can get a ferry to Fremantle, South Perth or Rottnest Island from the recently built Elizabeth Quay.
If you want a great view of the city and you love being in amongst trees and greenery, then head to Kings Park and Botanic Garden. There is a free bus that takes you there from the city centre. Kings Park has over 400 hectares of natural bushland and has several lookouts over the city and Swan River.
Where we slept
As most cities do, Perth has a wide range of accommodation on offer. In an attempt to keep our costs down we wanted to stay somewhere that had a fully equipped kitchen so we could cater for ourselves. Eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be pricey especially with the amount of wine I can drink!
We found a studio apartment in Mount Lawley through Air BnB. Mount Lawley is about a 10 minute bus journey from the city centre. The studio apartment was in a secure small complex with a bus stop right outside. It was made up of an open plan kitchen/ lounge space with doors to a private patio and the bedroom was through an archway off the lounge. From the bedroom was a bathroom with shower. It was just the perfect amount of space for the two of us. Our Air BnB host even provided us with fresh milk, bread and a brand new jar of Vegemite.
Click here to see the studio apartment we rented.
Perth has pretty good public transport which gives you easy access to surrounding areas by bus, train and boat. Grab a day tripper ticket or a family ticket (can be used by couples) for the best value.
We used the train several times and hopped onto the Fremantle line, getting off at various different places for a look around.
Here are a few places we enjoyed:
At the end of the Fremantle line and only 30 minutes away from Perth, is the gorgeous little town of Fremantle. The main street is lined with restaurants and shops each with outdoor seating to enjoy the sun. There are lots of small shops too. If you love coffee, you will find a great choice of coffee shops on Cappuccino Strip.
If you have the chance to visit Fremantle from a Friday to Sunday, then head to the market. It is an indoor market made up of lots of stalls selling arts and crafts, vintage clothes, spices, fruit and veg, and handmade fudge to name a few. They also have a bunch of food stalls where the smells are amazing and many offer free samples. If you come across a stall selling jerky, biltong and cured sausages, then make sure you buy the sausage in the photo below. It was our absolute favourite purchase (we bought it on 3 separate occasions) and it really packs a punch on the hot chilli front!
There is a road that runs parallel to the beach and sloping grass banks lead you to the sand. There is plenty of free parking along these roads which are lined with fish and chip cafes and restaurants. There were patches of grass covered in cockatoos under the shade of Norfolk pine trees. There is also a playground for the kids and a walking/ cycling track that runs the length of the beach.
Just a 25 minute drive out of the city is the oldest wine region in WA, Swan Valley. We went to Swan Valley whilst we had the camper van and were delighted to find a campsite on the same road as a few wineries and Funk Cider (cider lovers must go here as the cider is good for you being that it is natural, wild fermented, barrel aged and preservative free!).
The best way to enjoy Swan Valley is to book yourself onto a wine tour (unless you have a designated driver). We went on a half day trip with D’vine Wine Tours who pick you up from your accommodation, which can be in Perth, and take you to four wineries, a brewery and for a chocolate tasting. Cheese, biscuits and olives were provided at Fig Tree Estate (great food and even better wine) and get ready to fill your pockets at the chocolate tasting!