Perth, Australia Guide {UPDATE}

Today’s Perth, Australia City Guides comes from Hila Shachar, a writer based in Perth and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. She recently published a book with Palgrave Macmillan, and can also be found writing away on her blog, le projet d’amour. She also works as a writer for The Australian Ballet. Hila has lived in Perth for many years and has been involved in the local community, having worked with various Perth artists, independent retailers and writers. Here she shares some of her personal picks for what Perth has to offer. Thanks, Hila, for such a wonderful guide! — Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

For many years, Perth has been regarded as “Dullsville” by fellow Australians. But this is a reputation that’s proving increasingly untrue. Over the past few years, I’ve been watching the development of the local artistic community and the way the city is blossoming with new projects, galleries, independent shops, pop-up collectives, local markets, and an ever-increasing array of cafes, restaurants, bars, and street art. If you haven’t given Perth a chance yet, this is the time.

Perth is the capital city of the state of Western Australia, which is Australia’s largest state. It’s known for its beautiful weather and absolutely breathtaking beaches and scenery. Australia is a huge country, and most tourists never make it to Perth, often opting for more famous cities such as Sydney or Melbourne. But Perth is a beautiful part of the world and one of the friendliest cities you’ll ever visit. We have a very laid-back attitude toward life here, and this may partly explain why Perth was recently voted one of the most livable cities in the world. Not only is Perth a doorway into some of the most stunning natural scenery you’ll ever see, but it’s also home to many cultural experiences, with the city undergoing major renovation.

Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world, and this unique geographical location means that we have developed a close-knit community. Most of our popular restaurants, bars, and shops are known by word of mouth. Some of my favourite things to do in Perth summarize what’s great about this city: going to the beach to watch the sun set, outdoor ballet, movies and picnics in summer, the Perth Festival, sitting in the garden with endless sunshine, blue skies and blooms, or going out for a coffee by the beautiful Swan River. Compared to other major Australian cities, ours is a smaller, more intimate city, but we know how to enjoy the good things in life.

So without further ado, check out my customized Google Map for this guide and my picks below.

Stay

The Emperor’s Crown: If you’re like me, you search for the cheapest accommodation first. For those on a budget, there are a few centrally located hostels and budget accommodation options in Perth; however, The Emperor’s Crown is generally popular with tourists.

The Richardson Hotel & Spa: A five-star boutique hotel that ranks as one of the best places to stay in Perth. It’s easily within reach of Perth’s CBD, Kings Park, and Subiaco.

La Casa Rosa Bed & Breakfast: I’ve heard good things about this B&B, and I tend to trust word of mouth in Perth.

Mont Clare Boutique Apartments: Beautiful apartments with all the extras that come with self-contained accommodations.

PERTH CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

As many locals will testify, our Central Business District (CBD) is currently undergoing some major upgrading. What used to be a pretty quiet area outside of business hours is now coming back to life with new pop-up stores and street art.

See & Do

His Majesty’s Theatre: This Edwardian theatre is home to the Museum of Performing Arts, WA Opera, and the West Australian Ballet. Over the years, its stage has been graced by performers such as Anna Pavlova, Margot Fonteyn, Robert Helpmann, Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, Claudette Colbert, Rex Harrison and Geoffrey Rush. I have a particular fondness for the theatre’s amazing interiors.

Perth Zoo: Only about five minutes away from the CBD, Perth Zoo is a must for tourists. This is the place to see native Australian and West Australian animals such as emus, koalas, kangaroos, the famous black swan (Western Australia’s emblem), cockatoos, kookaburras, and many more.

Kings Park and Botanic Garden: One of the best places in Perth for a picnic, Kings Park is extremely popular with both locals and tourists. Featuring an array of over 300 native Western Australian flowers and plants, the park is situated next to Swan River. Taking a long and leisurely walk in Kings Park makes you feel like you’ve entered another world. If you come during summer, Kings Park also hosts Moonlight Cinema, an open-air cinema showcasing films outdoors.

Venn Gallery: Part of a combined space that also includes a shop, bar, cafe, and artists’ studio area, Venn Gallery displays a variety of exhibitions showcasing contemporary artists’ works.

Street art: One of the best things to do in Perth’s CBD is to come armed with a camera and simply walk around the hidden lanes and streets, because they are absolutely packed with street art. Some art has been specially commissioned or includes murals by local artists such as Stormie Mills. I can testify from my own snapshots here that most of the street art I’ve seen in Perth is incredible.

Eat & Drink

Helvetica: Before it became a trendy hangout, this little bar used to be the best-kept secret in Perth. An intimate and cozy bar hidden amongst the office towers of Perth’s CBD, Helvetica is hands down my favourite bar in Perth.

Andaluz Bar & Tapas: The food is great here, but the atmosphere is even better. Gorge yourself on modern Spanish food while sipping on wine, beer, or cocktails.

Devilles Pad: Devilles Pad is, excuse the pun, one hell of an experience. This is an eccentric cocktail lounge filled with entertainment, good food, and plenty of drinks. It is, however, strictly for adults, only admitting people over 25. Be sure to dress sharp, too!

The Old Brewery: The biggest drawcard of this restaurant is its location, as it sits right on the Swan River. It’s easily accessed via the many buses from Perth’s CBD, or you can take a leisurely walk from the city centre instead.

Shop

140: I really like the concept behind the 140 Pop-Up project, which brings together a selection of Perth’s creative and independent retailers under one roof as a series pop-up stores. Situated on the corner of William and Murray Street Mall, this is a good place to buy and support local creative talent.

Pigeonhole: Pigeonhole has a huge selection of independent fashion, design, homewares, art, photography, stationery, vintage wares, and other lovely bits and pieces.

Above: Street art in Perth’s CBD

NORTHBRIDGE

Northbridge is an inner city suburb close to the CBD that is known as Perth’s cultural centre, with lots to see and do. Please note that there are many galleries, shops, and restaurants in Northbridge, so my picks are only a select few.

See & Do

Turner Galleries: Turner Galleries offers some fantastic exhibitions with unique works that aim to question, challenge, and critique. The gallery features artists working in media such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation, jewellery, and new technologies.

Outré Gallery: For those who like their art more lowbrow, kitsch, and humorous. Outré Gallery specializes in pop, street, modern folk, retro, and underground art.

Perth Cultural Centre: The cultural heart of Perth, which is also considered to be part of Perth’s CBD because it is located between the CBD and Northbridge. A few of the institutions represented by the Perth Cultural Centre are:

The Art Gallery of Western Australia: Be sure to visit the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) as soon as possible, because the gallery has launched a three-year partnership with the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) to exclusively showcase collections from MoMA in a series of six exhibitions. AGWA has also opened its own bar and is hosting an array of art, literary, and music events to coincide with the MoMA collections in Perth.

Western Australian Museum: This is a pretty great place to take the children – whenever I visit I see excited kids around the museum (think dinosaurs and planets).

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts: The place to go for contemporary art in Perth, as well as being a space committed to showcasing cross-disciplinary and emerging art from both Australia and abroad.

Eat & Drink

Viet Hoa: This restaurant has some of the best Vietnamese food in Perth. This place is always popular with the locals, so be prepared to wait for a table.

Rochelle Adonis: Rochelle Adonis Cakes + Confections is for those with a selective sweet tooth, offering delicious treats such as cakes, confections, high teas, nougat, and ice cream.

The Tuck Shop Cafe: Another local favourite, this pie house and delicatessen is the perfect place for breakfast or brunch in a simple and unassuming setting.

399 Bar: Great drinks are found here, with a staff that knows how to mix them.

Shop

William Topp: Any shop that quotes Pippi Longstocking for its motto is bound to be one I love. William Topp is one of the best examples of Perth’s many independent shops, and I recommend you take your time browsing here. It’s filled with a quirky and eclectic range of homewares, toys, jewellery, stationery, and art.

Ruck Rover General Store: Ruck Rover has moved from the suburb of Mount Lawley to Northbridge, but it’s still the same great shop. A giftware and clothing store, it specializes in independent labels for men, women, and children, as well as stocking a range of stationery, homewares, photography, and other accessories.

Oh Henry Vintage: A nautical-themed vintage clothing shop, offering clothes and vintage gems from the 1940s to the 1990s. It’s a charmer.

MOUNT LAWLEY

My friends call the suburb of Mount Lawley “Hipster Central,” although I say that kindly, Perth hipsters. It’s a friendly and trendy suburb that’s not too far from the city centre by bus or car and is home to a bevy of independent shops.

See & Do

Astor Theatre: This is an iconic Perth building situated in Beaufort Street. A stunning Art Deco movie theatre, it’s now used as a space for live music, comedy shows, and films.

Eat & Drink

Queens: I’ve had many birthdays, dinners, and casual get-togethers with friends at Queens Tavern. It’s a great place for a snack, drink, or hearty meal.

The Flying Scotsman: A popular pub and eatery affectionately nicknamed ‘The Scotto” and famous for its Sunday night pizza and beer deal.

Cantina 663: A European-style canteen offering organic, sustainable, and seasonal produce (and great coffee, too).

Shop

Planet Video and Books: What can I say about Planet, other than that it’s totally awesome? Many times, it’s been the only shop in Perth to stock a much-needed film I’ve been searching for. In addition to selling (and renting) books, movies, and collectibles, Planet also supports local talent by selling zines created by artists and writers.

Mariposa: My mother and I love visiting this shop together because it’s like a small indulgence. Mariposa offers Australian label perfumery, skincare, and cosmetics in a tastefully simple and welcoming shop.

Corner Store: This store makes me feel like I’m entering a candy shop, only the “candy” comes in the form of giftware, homewares, and furniture.

LEEDERVILLE

Leederville is another trendy suburb close to Perth’s city centre. It’s home to my favourite breakfast eatery and movie theatre in Perth, as well as some great shops.

See & Do

The Leederville Hotel: A Perth party central with a total of six bars for all you partygoers.

Luna Leederville: A vintage-style cinema venue for those who prefer to watch their movies in more intimate settings. This venue is part of a series of Luna Palace cinemas in Perth, the most famous being Cinema Paradiso in Northbridge. However, I personally prefer the theatre in Leederville for its more eccentric interiors.

Eat & Drink

Sayers: Sayers is my favourite place to grab breakfast, brunch, or coffee. The fact that it’s often very busy and that I have to wait in line for a table every time I visit means that others agree with me. With its diverse and indulgent menu, Sayers has rightfully earned a good reputation in Perth. I recommend grabbing a table on their outdoor “patio” area, if you can.

Little Caesar’s Pizzeria: The place to go when you’re in the mood for good pizza.

West End Deli: This is a homey bistro offering baked goods, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a friendly and lovely cafe.

Shop

Oxford St Books: I confess that I’m a total book nerd, and this store is one of my many book heavens in Perth. This independent local bookstore is stocked with every genre; however, locals (including myself) will tell you that the design and photography section is particularly worthy of a good long browse.

Varga Girl: A high-end boutique featuring Australian and New Zealand brands and designers.

Atlas Divine: The shop with the coolest website . . . but back to the shop itself, which is just as impressive in terms of its decor and is filled with Australian designer clothing labels for women and men, including my favourite: Lover.

Above: Snapshots of Perth’s dramatic wide skies

FREMANTLE

Fremantle is generally called “Freo” by the locals. This coastal port city is about 20km from Perth’s centre and is one of our biggest tourist destinations. It has an arty and hippy atmosphere, reflected in its strong arts and crafts community. Fremantle also has a significant Indigenous Australian, migrant, and maritime history that is fascinating to explore.

See & Do

Fremantle Prison: This is quite possibly one of the creepiest buildings I’ve ever been in — it’ll make you believe in ghosts. Fremantle prison has an almost mythic status in Perth, with many urban legends. Originally built in the 19th century by convicts, the prison opened to the public and tourists in 1992. The best way to experience this place is to take a guided tour filled with tales and history (and a few spine-chilling moments).

West Australian Maritime Museum: I’m fascinated by the sea and all the stories and histories that surround coastal ports, so I highly recommend a visit to the West Australian Maritime Museum if you’re likewise inclined.

Fremantle Arts Centre: A place to eat, shop, visit the local art gallery and view exhibitions, listen to live music, and even take some workshops or classes.

Kulcha: Located in the heart of Fremantle, Kulcha is both a performance venue and an arts program committed to promoting and sharing multicultural arts and artists in Western Australia.

Aboriginart Gallery: An indigenous fine art gallery specializing in ethically sourced contemporary paintings from the Central and Western Desert regions of Australia.

Eat & Drink

Little Creatures Brewery: Little Creatures is popular with the locals and rightly so. I often prefer a good beer over a glass of wine, and beer doesn’t get any better than Little Creatures’ locally sourced and produced Pale Ale.

Cicerello’s: Situated in Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour, Cicerello’s gives you a taste of local seafood on its menu.

Missy Moos Gourmet Burger Bar: I’m not usually a fan of burgers, but even I like the burgers here. There are also good vegetarian burger options on their menu.

Abhi’s Bread: A European-style bakery well loved by the locals and specializing in organic and sourdough bread.

Shop

Fremantle Markets: This is the place to shop in Fremantle. Always a hot spot with the tourists and a lively place to visit, Fremantle Markets has a long history and is pretty much an institution in Perth. These undercover markets feature over 150 stalls stocking wares and fresh food by local independent artists, producers, and retailers. It would be easier to tell you what isn’t sold here, rather than what is — there’s jewellery, art, homewares, antiques, photography, clothes, and much more. There is also a range of regular events and attractions within the markets, such as the Australian Wildlife Zoo (I got to gaze at an adorable but sleepy koala), pottery classes, and puppet shows, to name a few.

New Edition Bookshop: I love New Edition Bookshop in Fremantle because it stocks books by local writers and books published by the local independent publisher, Fremantle Press.

Wall Candy Wallpaper: As a lover of wallpaper, this shop makes it into my list for its wide selection of wallpaper designs housed in a beautiful store in North Fremantle.

Oxfam Shop: Guilt-free shopping for all manner of things can be found here, as the Oxfam Shop supports fair trade and local artisans, including Indigenous Australians.

SUBIACO

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Australians like to shorten words, and Subiaco is another name that has been shortened by the locals to “Subi.” This swanky suburb sits west of Perth’s city centre, and is well worth a visit.

See & Do

Subiaco Arts Centre: The centre showcases local art and theatre and also has a licensed bar.

The Regal Theatre: A well-known local icon in Subiaco, this Art Deco theatre has been around since the 1930s and today is home to comedy, theatre, dance, and live music shows.

Seva Frangos Art: This is a lovely boutique gallery promoting and showcasing Australia’s indigenous artists.

Lister Gallery: An Australian art specialist gallery that deals and showcases contemporary and modern Australian art from the 1950s to the present.

Irish Theatre Players: This amateur theatre group has lots of great productions focusing on Irish plays. I really recommend them, especially if you’re in the mood for a laugh.

Eat & Drink

The Witch’s Cauldron: Possibly one of the most well-known restaurants in Subiaco, the Witch’s Cauldron has an extensive breakfast, lunch, dinner, and wine menu, but you must try their signature dish: garlic prawns with chili.

Boucla: This little Mediterranean-style cafe is a great place to stop for a quick bite.

Chez Jean-Claude Patisserie: I love this bakery and patisserie, which sells delicious croissants, bread, baguettes, tarts, cakes, éclairs, macaroons, and so much more! Everything here is baked fresh daily, and this is a bustling and popular shop with the locals.

Lapa Brazilian Barbecue: Lapa is a meat lover’s paradise and definitely not for vegetarians. However, if you like a traditional Brazilian barbecue, this is the place to go.

Shop

Subiaco Station Street Markets: Located next to the Subiaco Railway Station, the Station Street Markets are a good place to drop by and check out local handcrafted wares, vintage goods, and flowers.

Mr Sparrow: This is an adorable shop featuring contemporary and vintage wares for the home and garden. In its tiny space, you’ll find many treasures, including stationery by one of my favourite brands, O-Check, and handmade ceramics by a local artist, to name a few.

kikki.K: kikki.K is famous in Australia for cute stationery and desktop accessories inspired by clean and minimalistic Swedish design.

OTHER MUST-SEES

There are so many other places you must visit while in Perth that are not mentioned in the above neighbourhoods:

Araluen Botanic Park: This park is paradise on earth. Araluen is about 35km southeast of the city centre and is best visited in spring when all the different flowers are in full bloom. There’s also a sweet little gift store and tea shop, where you can sip on a coffee or tea while gazing at the beauty.

Coventry Square: This is a huge indoor market that opened late last year in the Perth suburb of Morley, situated 7km northeast of Perth’s CBD. There are over 150 market shops indoors, ranging from fresh food, seafood, butchers, florists, bakeries, confectionaries, cafes, restaurants, and gourmet specialty shops, as well as homewares, art, photography, cosmetics, jewellery, fashion, and more. These shops are run by local independent retailers and artists, and many of them produce their own wares. Coventry Square also hosts regular events for the kids, as well as live music.

The beaches: The most obvious attractions in Perth are the beaches, and you can take your pick, as we have many of them. Popular beaches are Cottesloe, Trigg, and if you’re willing to make the long drive, the beaches in Esperance are spectacular, with the whitest sand you’ll ever see.

The University of Western Australia: My own university, where I’ve spent many years. UWA, as it’s known to the locals, has beautiful grounds, and you’ll often find tourists wandering them. The university also hosts Perth Upmarket, which is always popular.

Sorrento Quay at Hillarys Boat Harbour: When I was younger, my parents would take my brother and I to Sorrento Quay for an evening walk with ice cream on weekends. It’s one of my favourite places in Perth, with a good selection of shops, restaurants and cafes located on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean. You’ll also find a large array of Australian pearl jewellery shops here.

Swan Valley and Margaret River Wine Regions: These are the famous wine regions of Western Australia and the places to go for wine tours and scenic drives away from the city centre. West Australian wine is developing a reputation around the world as a good drop, and you’ll find yourself coming home with a bottle (or two, or three).

Mandurah, Busselton, and Dunsborough: These are some of our most popular places for long or short holidays, with plenty of spots to stay and hidden retreats, as well as tea rooms, cafes, and small arts and crafts galleries and shops along the way. I also recommend a visit to Jarrahdale.

Penguin Island: Catch a ferry from Rockingham to Penguin Island to see penguins and dolphins. This is an experience you won’t forget.

Rottnest Island: A popular destination for Perth locals, Rottnest Island is home to the cute Quokkas. There’s always plenty to do and see here.

Above, top to bottom: Sorrento Quay at Hillarys Boat Harbour; Araluen Botanic Park; Necessiteas Tea Shop in Jarrahdale

NOTABLE LOCALS

  • Gail Jones: Author
  • Heath Ledger: Actor
  • Tim Winton: Author
  • Sam Worthington: Actor
  • Gemma Ward: Model
  • Rolf Harris: Artist
  • Megan Gale: Model
  • Tim Minchin: Comedian
  • Edith Cowan: Politician
  • Melissa George: Actress
  • Aurelio Costarella: Fashion Designer
  • Judy Davis: Actress
  • Stormie Mills: Artist
  • Isla Fisher: Actress
  • Katy Steele: Musician (whom I went to school with, and she rocked even then)
  • End of Fashion: Band
  • Shaun Tan: Illustrator and Author
  • Birds of Tokyo: Band
  • Elissa Down: Filmmaker
  • The Waifs: Band
  • Taj Burrow: Surfer

Our other claims to fame include artist Frieda Hughes, the daughter of poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes and who lived in Perth for a few years, as well as Hugh Jackman, who graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Andrea

I guess we couldn’t keep this beautiful, remote and creative city a secret for much longer. Great post!

Stephanie

Yay! Thank you for posting this! I’ve lived in Perth for six years now and am only beginning to find some of the cool stuff that Perth has to offer. Mount Lawley is definitely the place to go (especially if you’re an ex-Melbournian craving a bit of culture!) I didn’t know your website existed – I’ll be taking a good look through it. Thanks!

Jessica

Thanks for a great guide to Perth and Freo! I lived in Freo a couple years ago and have to say it’s one of the best places I ever lived. Lots of free spirits and creative types – especially in the Fremantle Markets!

I actually got my start with jewellery by selling at the Oxford St. Markets in Leederville – lots of great designers and crafters, and several Etsians.

I’ve traveled most of Australia and I have to say, West is Best!

stephylou

I went to Perth back in May and stayed in Mount Lawley. The city is such a contrast from Sydney and after a day or so of settling in it was a welcome change. The city is so welcoming it felt like home almost immediately. So much to see and do, can’t wait to get the chance to go again even if it is on the other side of the world! And when I do, I’ll be using this guide. :)

Lara

What a great post! I’m from the U.S. and went to visit some friends in Perth just over a year ago. I had an amazing time. Would love to live there. Everyone is extremely friendly and laid-back. So welcoming. Little Creatures was excellent, love their apple cider, as was the Beaufort Street Merchant. Also love The Moon cafe and San Churros, wish we had these here in the U.S. Can’t say enough about Perth and WA :)

Sheree

Great review of Perth…for those in Fremantle this weekend there are 2 runway shows featuring Fremantle based fashion designers….THREADS 2pm Sat 24 and Sun 25 Sept Fremantle Town Hall…Free event.

Natashia@foodonpaper

Thanks for posting this! Living in Perth my whole life, there’s constantly new places opening up, especially awesome bars and eateries! I can’t wait for our summer – definitely the best time to be here :)

Kat

There’s so many cool places to go in Perth. I can’t believe how much the city has grown into a niche place for fostering creative artistic and musical talent. Also worth a look in Northbridge is the William St Bird for great local and international music and PICA art gallery.

hila

hooray! great to see you here Claire, and great to see my home town :) great picks here, and I particularly agree with your choice of new edition bookshop – it’s my favourite in Perth.

I can’t tell you how chuffed I am to see Perth featured on Design Sponge, does this mean we’re ‘cool’ now? ha …

li

Great post! Been in Perth for 5 years and always found something new somewhere in Perth! :)

Rosie

I spent 20 years of my life in Perth. I was pretty glad to get away 5 years ago from what felt like such a backwater, but I’ve heard that during that time it’s really become a much more vibrant and interesting place. Just one niggle though: Perth is NOT the only city in WA. Yes, it’s the only *proper* city, but off the top of my head I know that Albany, Mandurah, and Bunbury are cities too (albeit small ones).

Lucy

I adore this post – Awesome review of Perth and the surroundings. I’ve been to Australia twice – the second time was backpacking and I lived in the Cottesloe beach hostel for 6 months. Amazing place and where I met my now boyfriend of 2 years.

Definitely agree with the Gypsy Tapas and Little Creatures Brewery – Oh how I would love a pint of Pipsqueek cider :) So many wonderful places… Now we are trying all we can to get back out there and live permanently. I miss my second home too much.

Elli

Great stuff – we’re moving to Perth in a couple of months and I can’t wait – you brought a tear to my eye :)

Lucia

Perth’s city guide has come a right time, I’ve always wanted to go and now more than ever. I’ve been to Australia before and loved Melbourne and Sydney but always curious about Perth – it looks awesome!! Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!

Jen

YAY for perth :-) Also check out neat bars like Mrs Browns and Ezra Pound, and cute shops William Top and the Butcher Shop on William street in Northbridge. Other great cafes in Fremantle include Ootong & Lincoln, Il Cibo and X-wray. And the opshopping is great :-)

Melanie

Big hugs to two of my favourite blogs for shining the light on our brilliant city. If visiting Freo check out The Attic cafe, you will never drink a better Chai. Also, in the Fremantle Markets are the most amazing organic donuts you could ever introduce to your taste buds. The West End is the place to be.

Maggie

Yay! I’ve been waiting for a Perth guide. Perth is a great city. I loved doing Jacob’s Ladder in the afternoon after uni (on the side of Kings Park), an awesome workout and a magnificent view!

Helen

I’ve lived in Perth my whole life and although most of the people I know here have moved/ have aspirations move to Melbourne, I can definitely say we are getting there! The moon cafe is also great for a cheap feed and some live local fun, agree with 399, Balthazar restraunt is A grade food, cute little cafes spotted everywhere! Pidgeon holes (if you can all three of them scattered around the CBD) are great for fashion, photography, stationary, art, coffee and vintage. Vic park is also growing into something quite nice! Can’t believe Yanchep national park and Lagoon beach was left out? It’s like paradise!

GTR

This is a terrible guide. It’s based more on who has been networking with whom than on genuine quality or interest (Milkd, for example, is far more popular with people who make Guides than it is with actual customers, and Gypsy Tapas is great if you want to pay $4 for a single, golfball-sized meatball). I don’t know why Jelena and Claire are being so… well… cross-promotional in their approach, but it’s damaging the quality of their suggestions.

Grace Bonney

GTR

based on the majority of responses we’ve gotten from local readers and bloggers, i’m afraid i’ll have to disagree with you.

because a restaurant is expensive (though a $4 tapas plate is incredibly common here in nyc) doesn’t mean it should be excluded, nor does it mean that the guide is bad.

i don’t understand what you mean by cross-promotional. if they were only promoting their own businesses i would understand, but this is a guide full of other people’s businesses, not theirs. networking with other people in your area is what builds a community, so if you have a problem with them knowing store owners than i think you’ll have to discount the majority of guide-writers in the business. i think the best guides are written by the people know know, love, and support their local shops, so i’m happy to have had claire and jelena’s help with this one.

grace

Eleanor

This is great! Last year, my husband and I took a road trip through Western Australia from Perth up to Exmouth (he swam with the Whale Sharks) We stayed with friends in Perth, and they took us to ‘Freo’, which was great. I definitely had the feeling that I was only scratching the surface. I’ll have to consult this guide next time around!

Lisa Hannaford

LOVE LOVE LOVE is all I have to say. I’m super passionate about the city I live in, so it is fantastic to see it up on design sponge! I hate it when people don’t realise the charm that we have here, everyone seems to think they must flee to Melbourne to get some character and quirk into their lives.

Totally agree with Lincolns 102 – amazing chocolate porridge, just perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast. Devilles is also fantastic – amazing cocktails.

Pigeonhole should have got a mention though! It’s a precious chain of stores located in the CBD selling fashion and homewares and everything in between. http://www.pigeonhole.com.au

I’ve been doing a bit of a blog about living in Perth, check it out at http://leesaweesadesigns.blogspot.com/

Emma

Lazing here on my verandah on a sunny spring blue sky Perth Saturday arvo, and couldn’t agree more with the recommendations. So many of my favourite Perth places. I’ve travelled all over the world and still think Perth is one of the most stunning places. I’d add Rottnest Island, some of the most gorgeous bays, snorkelling, cycling..simple pleasures.
A splendid guide to Perth and so lovely to see it on Design Sponge..I think Perth just blushed..

Alastair

I had the best ice-cream I’ve ever had from a street vendor in Perth. Although I have a feeling it was because we had been walking along the river for hours in sweltering heat rather than the actual quality of the ice cream!

hila

Sorry, I can bite my tongue: I’d have to agree with Grace’s apt response to the criticism that Claire and Jelena are being “cross-promotional”. Guides such as these are often a matter of individual opinion, but the fact is, both Claire and Jelena are coming from an informed position as people who know the area well and support local businesses. As someone who lives in Perth too, I actually think this guide is informative, detailed, balanced and fair. It also showcases what the Perth community has to offer to an unfamiliar audience extremely well. Why criticise that?

Chelsea Herman

Terrific! I’m a Canadian living in Australia and am going to Perth for 10 days next month. Thank you for this well-timed city guide!

Cath C

perth, australia guide http://www.designsponge.com/2011/09/perth-australia-guide.html
Great to see a guide on Perth! Being a Mount Lawley resident too for most of my life, I agree with your recommedarions girls, but would add a couple more. “Behind the Monkey” is a awesome jewelry and homeward shop for anyone interested in unique statement pieces that can also be found on the Beaufort St strip. it also has a small gallery with various exhibitions. The Queens Hotel is also an institution on the Beaufort St strip and the Flying Scotsman is incredibly popular with the alternative Boho set with a crowd 7 nights a week. Across the road is the fabulous Planet bookshop/DVD/cd/clothing shop open late 7 days a week which is always great for a browse and a last minute gift. clothing store Deparment is also great for those with deeper pockets as is Billie & Rose clothing shop for women also on Beaufort street.
In Freo, I would add Tokyo Rose as a great clothing shop for women and Megan Salmon for those who like something a little different.
The funky suburb of Leedeeville which is 10 minutes out of the city also deserves a mention. Sayers cafe is for brunch or lunch. The Leederville Hotel is also good with a great outdoor dining area known as “The Garden”. There are a number of great little clothing and homeward shops on Oxford St Leederville that are worth investigating too.
Oh- and it would be remiss of me not to mention THE best homeward and furniture shop in Perth which is called Empire and can be found on Beaufort St Highgate as well as in Freo. I would encourage the DesignSponge crew to do a feature on their shops as it has me in raptures every time I walk in- tremendous eclectic style that always whets my appetite and sees me buying at least one thing when I visit.
enjoy Perth – it has a lot to offer!

jes

thankyou so so much. I am moving to Perth in February and this should get me on my feet! woopie!

Cindy

for beach lovers, you should visit Hillary and Mandurah especially summer time

aria mansbridge

Great to see your Perth guide, I followed your Auckland guide which was very useful when I was on holiday. next time you are in Fremantle you need to check out Missy Moos Burger Bar,South Fremantle, best funky Burger Bar I’ve been to in my travels. Aria

Lilly

Nice guide but it missed out my favourite Northbridge places; The Butcher Shop, William Topp, Ezra Pound, The Bird. Infact, William St is by far the best street in Perth!

how2home

This list is exactly what we’re looking for! Thank you so much for posting this up along with your personal recommendations! Book marked!

Paige

Even after living in Savannah GA for years, Perth was the most laid-back and relaxing city I’ve ever been to. I spent maybe 2 weeks in Western Australia during a 5 week Australia excursion and I have to agree with previous posters….West is Best! Lovely update!

Miriam

I’m a Perth girl and have been lucky to live all over the world and there really is no place like home – but I recently left Perth to live in Adelaide and I miss it BIG TIME! Great post – perhaps one on Adelaide too – it’s actually a very stunning, sophisticated little town and gets overlooked much the same as Perth, I would highly recommend a visit to anyone travelling around Oz. Feeling a little homesick now…..but thank you! I’ll be bookmarking this one for visiting guests!

stuart

Maylands has had a great transformation over the last few years , Mrs S, Milkd, Chapels on Whately, Smoults Continental Deli, Dome cafe, Sherbet, the newly opened small bar Swallow, Old Bakery on 8th gallery and cafe( with its restored woodfired oven) and Rifos cafe all within a few hundred metres radius. Get in early on the weekends some of these places have qs. Only a few stops from the Perth central Train Station.

Emily

Yay for Perth! I’m embarassed (or should I say proud? maybe I’m just motivated by food!) that I’ve eaten in most of the restaurants listed above- off to make a list of the ones I’ve missed!!

Mrs Eden

Great post. I’m looking forward to exploring my home town this summer. I live in the Perth Hills and it is so beautiful up here that I often forgo the “big” city experience.
I recommend a day trip into the Hills. Kalamunda has a growers market on Sunday mornings and a craft market on the first Saturday of the month. And about loads of coffee shops.
I was going to keep this a secret but I will be nice and share: The Core Cider House in Pickering Brook make organic cider from their own orchard. You can sit on the deck and gaze over the Valley. It feels a lot like Margaret River.

Kathe Trigg

Brilliant post ! Thanks Hila – you’ve done us proud :-) As a homegrown Perth girl who has lived and travelled all over the world I’m SO PLEASED to see Perth shaking off it’s Dullsville reputation ! I’m proud to say I know and love most of the places listed – but very excited to see a few unknown gems that I need to check out !! I also add my love for Maylands, Margaret River and my home ‘hood of Victoria Park. Can’t beat the range of food on offer – especially from all corners of Asia. Treat yourself to an awesome book from Crow Books while munching on some tapas at The Imp or The Precinct, some tasty Lebanese at The Prophet or Dim Sum for Sunday brunch at Emma’s. Yum ! Thanks again Hila !

The Divine Miss M

I was looking for a mention of Maylands also Stuart. In addition to the eateries, there are also some great stores. Look Feel Be, Sosi (kids store), Magic Shoebox (specialise in orthopedic kids shoes), Avenue Apparel, Country Living, 8th Ave Gallery etc etc :)

Maylands is also home of WA Ballet studios now. They resided in a beautiful old building on Whatley Crescent.

Other than that a good post.

stuart

Sorry Divine Miss M, I generally think with my belly! while my other half would be able to list the other stores you mentioned.And yes the ballet building is amazing. I had the pleasure of working in there in its former life as a little community theatre( part of it anyway).

Rachel

this is a great, comprehensive guide to Perth, i’ve been to just about all the stores visited and they’re all fab. Perth is a fantastic place to live and is amazing to visit! come on over everybody!

Eleanor J

This is a spot-on guide to Perth. I am 22 years old and have lived there my whole life, I am currently traveling for 6 months and this guide has made me so homesick! As a young person interested in design, fashion and art I really agree that Perth has made leaps and bounds over the past 5 years to improve its reputation from ‘cultural wasteland’. I used to get so excited to go to Sydney and Melbourne to shop, but over the past couple of years I have been somewhat disappointed with the shopping there, which is a credit to how spoilt we now are in Perth with gorgeous boutiques. I actually worked in Atlas Divine and we had so many tourists both from the east coast and overseas comment on how great the store was. I wouldn’t change anything from this post, but would love to add a few favourites:
1. Cath C has mentioned this above but Empire has the most amazing furniture and home-wares. I could easily live in a house solely decorated with pieces from there. They also have an amazing spa downsouth on Caves Rd between Dunsborough and Yallingup. I have a house at Smiths Beach and every time I go down there, Empire Spa is a must.
2. Another suburb some people have commented on above is Maylands and I definitely agree. Sherbert Bakehouse makes the best sandwiches I have ever eaten- get the chicken sandwich, trust me. And further down the road is Mrs S. which I love for a slightly fancier lunch.
3. I definitely urge people to visit the Univeristy of Western Australia and walk around. I was actually at Harvard last week and although the buildings at UWA aren’t all as beautiful, the grounds and river views are stunning. My favourite thing to do there is take a picnic to the Sommerville outdoor cinema in summer. In fact I plan on making it my first outing when I get back home in January.
There is nothing like lengthy travels to make you appreciate your home town, so I am thrilled that my favourite website is acknowledging my favourite city!

Anita

Lovely post. Been living here all my life. Have traveled extensively but still think we are sooo blessed. Agree totally with the comment about Love in Tokyo in Freo. Fab shop and the staff are gorgeous. Fisherman’s Wharf has some lovely places to eat and is close to Little Creatures. Go for a long walk down South Terrace past Freo Hospital. There are some funky little shops and cafe’s you’ll come across – South of the Border (gift/homewares/vintage clothing etc) , The Corner Store and Aubergine’s Cafe just to a name a few. Also, Manna Healthfood is fabulous, fresh are really cheap. Then to cool off, go for a walk along the dog beach at South Beach early in the morning or late afternoon. Can’t help but feel good after watching the fur-families interact while the waves gently splash along the shore. Finish of at the Wild Fig for a coffee & cake. Another well kept secret that the locals love is in Bicton and called The Little Stove. Perth is only Dullsville if YOU are dull!!!

linda

Perth is a lovely place. It has fresh air, clean beaches, lovely cafes and clubs. It’s a vibrant place to be at the moment because of all the growth that’s happening. Come over and see for yourselves.

Vyv

Great resource; I’ll be in Perth in a couple of weeks! But I cannot believe you forgot to list David McComb and the Triffids as one of Australia’s most enduring and influential musical performers!

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