Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, is a vibrant, energetic city whose claims to fame includes picture-perfect beaches, exotic wineries and expansive parklands.
CBD, Victoria Park & South Perth
Until recently, Perth city was less of the vibrant cultural hub you’d expect a capital to be, and more of a mash-up of its dual roles as a business district and tourist centre. Practical, yes, but dynamic? Not quite. Fortunately, recent years have seen the city mature – sure, it still has the sandwich shops, the tourist stores selling koala-printed tea towels, and the dated 80s restaurants, but through that has emerged a re-energised cultural scene, with hip independent retailers, upmarket galleries, and a seriously cool small bar scene. Over the river on either side of the CBD you can explore what the city’s adolescence could bloom into – to the south there’s glamorous South Perth, with its wide green parks and leafy streets, and to the east there’s Victoria Park, which is full of indie shops and cafés – perfect for exploring.
Northbridge, Leederville & Mount Lawley
What was previously an edgy, gritty urban centre has been transformed in recent years, thanks to the addition to this neighbourhood of some interesting independent boutiques, cool bars, and cafés with baristas who take their work seriously. The shopping strips of Northbridge, Leederville, and Mount Lawley are home to vibrant fashion and design stores, galleries and artist spaces, and provide some of Perth’s best people-watching. Every second shopfront seems to be a quirky new café, complete with beautiful coffee – perfect for an afternoon shopping break. Or, if you like, visit after dark for a drink and a bite in one of the area’s cosmopolitan late-night bars.
This eclectic, laid-back port city has a rich working-class history, with the heritage buildings and workers’ clubs of its narrow streets well-preserved relics of its origins as Western Australia’s first port and settlement. Now, it’s a creative and cultural hub, supporting independent boutiques and galleries, live music, and a growing coffee culture, while retaining the relaxed, unpretentious spirit of its industrial origins. Diverse and accepting, Fremantle is a progressive centre – there are community gardens, buskers, and yarn bombing through its streets. Spend a day exploring, and find Fremantle out for yourself, with just one rule – make sure you call it ‘Freo’.
Cottesloe, Claremont & Nedlands
The riverside suburbs of Nedlands and Claremont and neighbouring coastal Cottesloe make up one of the oldest and most exclusive neighbourhoods in Perth. Long, wide residential streets bordered with tall Norfolk pine trees – they were planted a hundred years ago – house Federation bungalows and sleek new buildings, and their occupants are the perfectly-groomed people you’ll see shopping, drinking, and eating on the cosmopolitan main streets. The University of Western Australia’s campus on the river’s edge softens this neighbourhood’s gentrified image, with its cheap cafés, outdoor concerts, and student population, but its hundred-year-old structures are impressively grand in a style perfectly fitting this neighbourhood.