As the seasons change and we transition into summer, a weekend getaway to the West Coast should definitely be on your radar. Coming in at a tied fifth place with Adelaide in this year’s “World’s Most Liveable Cities” list is Perth, naturally making it one of Australia’s much-loved cities. Having grown up there, I do hold a soft spot for it but having been gone for 10 years it brings me so much joy upon every return to see the growth and development of Perth’s personality. You certainly need more than a weekend away to experience the vastness of its offerings, but if a weekend is all you have, then let this inspire your travel itinerary.
Start the morning off with a delicious breakfast at Springs Kitchen at Aloft Perth in Rivervale. Whether you choose to enjoy the buffet or order à la carte, your palate will be satisfied. If you’re a sweet tooth like me then I certainly recommend the French Toast with dulce de leche mascarpone, fresh strawberries and candied walnuts. It’s light and full of flavour.
Known as one of the wine region’s of WA is the Swan Valley, and incredibly, it’s only a stone’s throw away from the city centre. To work off your breakfast, begin your adventure at the Caversham Wildlife Park, a privately funded wildlife park where you can see koalas, kangaroos, wombats, birds, reptiles and other various animals native to Australia. For those who haven’t ever been up close to a koala, be sure to attend one of the appointed photo sessions and snap a selfie with the cute little creature. The park itself isn’t overly large and you can easily see each area in two hours.
By this point you will have worked up an appetite and guess what, some of WA’s best eateries can be found in the Swan Valley. One of the most popular destinations right now is Mandoon Estate; an expansive property where you can easily spend three to four hours. The Estate is rich in history dating back to the mid 1800s, and today, the owners have retained those old world feels and looks by blending with the new. There are many facets to the Mandoon Estate experience including a degustation at the Wild Swan, hearty meals at the Homestead Brewery, pizza and good times at The Llawn, of course their wines, and as of December, their newly opened luxury accommodation The Colony. Perhaps you’re a foodie, maybe you’re a wine lover, or you might just love the outdoors and spending time with loved ones. Either way, there is an experience to suit any person of any age at Mandoon Estate.
On the drive back to the city, you without a doubt must stop by the Margaret River Chocolate Factory to stock up on some of the best chocolate you’ll ever taste! I am a chocolate fanatic and these homemade creamy delights are all that I need as a memento of my time in Perth. Trust me on this one, you’ll never taste chocolate this good again in your life!
If you’re more into a city based adventure, then not to worry. With the impending completion of the incredible Optus Stadium, you’ll be able to book tickets to sporting games and concerts. From the outside it looks like Noah’s Arc, and with all of its features it’s easy to understand why it’s taken almost four years to be completed. This multi purpose venue will as of January 21, 2018 play host to international artists and exciting sporting games. Be sure to head along to the open day to see what all the fuss is about! Inside, it seats 60,000 people and has two restaurants, 18 function spaces, 101 suites, a 1,200 person function room and spectacular panoramic views of the Swan River. This is undoubtedly going to become one of people’s favourite spots to watch the Perth sunset from. Along the riverfront there are also bike trails and kids playgrounds making it the perfect family-friendly destination.
This stadium does has something rather unique to it as well. Once you get up close, you’ll see the facade of the structure is lined with LED lights which light up at night time. This is the biggest LED light show in the world, and better yet, it is economically efficient and all-round mesmerising. Amazingly, the light show can be changed to suit a certain sporting team or artist, making it flexible, fun and never boring. And if you just so happen to get the nose-bleed seats inside, fear not for the Optus Stadium has the biggest LED screens the Southern Hemisphere. You have to see them to believe it! With a train station made specifically for this stadium, this new development is a huge asset for WA and something all locals will be able to enjoy.
Given Perth’s gorgeous climate, it’s best to take advantage of the outdoors by setting up a picnic at Kings Park. Whether it’s a DIY one or you enlist the professional help of Picnics by Design, just sitting on the grass overlooking the sweeping views of the Swan and Canning Rivers, and the city skyline, is all you really need for a lazy afternoon. Kings Park and Botanic Garden is one of those places you just need to spend time walking the grounds of, reading the historical information plaques, taking a moment to pay your respects at the State War Memorial, or moseying around the gift shop and cafe. I must say though, an afternoon siesta under the tall trees with the sun sprinkling through is pure bliss.
Of course, a trip to Perth wouldn’t be complete without some time at the beach so why not head to City Beach for dinner at Odyssea. Sunset cocktails are a must, and letting the sand between your toes after a long day brings a sense of relief and relaxation. The City Beach precinct is vibrant and modern with white architectural design at the forefront. Listen to the waves crash, the kids run around and be still in the silence of your own world. Make your way back up to the restaurant and feast overlooking one of the country’s best beach cities.
The author visited Perth as a guest of Aloft Perth and travelled from Melbourne with Qantas.