What is up my adventure Hustlers! I’m at the Perth airport as I write this with many hours to burn. (Long story, I won’t bore you on that today) Anyway this is the first overseas trip I’ve had since I started this blog, which means I actually took more photos and made a point to remember where I went and what I did. So I could write this awesome travel guide to Perth for you all. Prior to this I was enjoying my nephew’s company!
So here’s my travel guide to Perth, Western Australia.
Trivial fact! – Perth is the world’s most isolated capital city in the world.
Perth is a pretty young city with only around 3 million inhabitants, or so I’ve been told by a restaurant waiter one evening. (so don’t quote me on that) 3 million is a really small number in comparison to many other capital cities around the world, and when you add in how big Perth is…well…it makes the city pretty empty.
I arrived on a Sunday night, and didn’t really get an idea of what the city was like until I left my hotel room on a sunny Monday afternoon for brunch. I stayed at the Intercontinental on Hay street, which is at the heart of the city centre. And as I stepped out of the hotel and on to the streets… I found the city empty.
I could count the number of people in my line of vision with one hand and for the first 15 minutes I kept googling whether it was a public holiday or not. Why? Because a lot of restaurants and some shops were closed. It was a bit of a shock to the system when my girlfriend and I found out it wasn’t the case.
Needless to say I found myself feeling a little confused to my underwhelming welcoming, but it soon turned into a feeling of excitement and giddiness when the whole city felt like my own personal playground. I don’t remember ever being in a city and having so much room to walk wherever I wanted without watching out for other people!
Getting in and out of Perth by plane
I flown in on a Sunday night. Flying in from Hong Kong to Perth on Cathay Pacific’s new airbus A350 planes. The flight was a comfortable 7.5 hours long. The plane was packed with many people from other partnering airlines such as British airways, Finnair and a Japanese airline I didn’t recognise.
I would assume if you’re flying from a further destination then don’t pick Cathay Pacific to get you to Perth. My gut tells me getting a ticket with the partner airlines with a Hong Kong stopover will be cheaper.
I didn’t have any check-in bags and only had my one backpack as well as a weekend bag. So I strolled through immigration using my e-passport and through customs within 3 minutes. In fact it took me longer to walk from the plane to the immigration check point than it did for me to get from the immigration check point to the arrival hall.
And before you guys wonder how I managed to not have any check-in bags for a one week stay, well check out my Travel hack – packing smart guide. I even managed to bring a nice date outfit with boots for my girlfriend’s birthday along with all my work electronics. (yes. I know. I deserve a pat on the back for managing to do that.)
The airport isn’t the most glamorous, but it’s clean with lots of natural light. It’s light and refreshing enough to seat comfortably while you enjoy the free wifi and many plugs to charge all your electronics. Other than that, there really isn’t much to do at the airport, so don’t come in early thinking you can burn some time here. Unless you have a lounge pass. I don’t but I’m sure the free food is entertaining enough to burn a few hours if you do want to come early.
One of the bad things about the terminals is the international and domestic are in different locations that are not connected other than the nearby highway via bus. That means you can’t go through security at one terminal and then conveniently catch the bus or some other form of transfer link once on the other side. But the bus transfer is free and it comes every 20 minutes.
If you are going in and out from the international terminal than you can catch the 380 bus that takes you into the city centre. I took that on my way back, but took an Uber when I arrived. I did this because I arrived really late and not knowing much about the city, I didn’t want to take a bus at night.
Ubers are up to 40% cheaper than a taxi so remember to get the app and place your order with the free airport wifi.
Top 5 things I recommend everyone doing when in Perth
Day trip to Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is home to the famous Quokka. “The happiest animal in the world” and it’s one of the few places you can actually see these furry creatures in the wild, so if you’re in Perth you HAVE to visit Rottnest Island. The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by ferry. You can catch a ferry from the waterfront of Elizabeth Quay, Fremantle or Hillarys boat harbour.
I caught mine at Hillarys because Rottnest Fast Ferries had a great Thursday deal. It was $69AUD for return tickets with an all day bike hire pass and free shuttle bus pick up and drop off. Bargain! I’m not entirely sure how long this offer will last, but it pays to check out all 3 ferry operators to see who is cheapest.
Trivial fact! – Rottnest Island got it’s name by the Dutch sailors thinking the Quokkas were just oversized fat rats and called it “rat nest” island.
The only ways to get around the Island would be, by foot, bike, segway or hop-on and off buses. The buses didn’t seem to be too frequent as I only saw a few the whole day I was biking around the Island. The segway seems likes a great option if you want the flexibility to go wherever and not need to peddle, but it is a lot pricier than renting a bike. And finally, walking around the island is fine, but I don’t think you’ll be able to go to many spots if you plan to return to Perth the same day. So the bike it was!
Pro tip: We biked all around the Island for a good few hours enjoying the beautiful scenery, but hadn’t come across one single Quokka. The only thing we came across was Quokka poo! If you want to land yourself a Quokka selfie, then all you have to do is stay within the settlement and walk towards the small holiday rental homes. You’ll find plenty of them lingering around there.
Rottnest Island was my personal favourite. The Quokkas, the crystal clear water, powder white sand and beautiful landscapes. I recommend everyone to go to Rottnest Island if they’re in Perth.
Visit the Fremantle market
A close second favourite for me was Fremantle Market. The market isn’t the biggest, but I really enjoyed the energy it gave off. It didn’t feel too commercialised that it had no character, nor too local that it was too intimidating. It was perfect.
The market includes a fresh fruit and veg section, cooked food section and then dry goods including crafts and other cool nifty items. If you’re anything like me and enjoy looking at various things then you’ll have a field day at the market. The fruit is a bargain and it was all super fresh and tasty. So I recommend you enjoy what’s in season when you’re there.
Pro tip: Another cool thing to do is to grab your free tea towel at the market office. Once you get off the train in Fremantle find yourself a copy of the local guide book and at the back you’ll find some awesome coupons. One of them gives you a free tea towel! What a great souvenir to remember a great afternoon.
Enjoy the uncrowded Cottesloe beach
Cottesloe beach is the most famous beach in Perth. It’s a must go spot if you’re in Perth and rightly so. There’s no crowds! If you’ve been to any semi-famous beach anywhere, then you’ll know going to the beach isn’t actually that much fun because of the large crowds. But the number of people at Cottesloe beach was just perfect for you to enjoy an afternoon of sun soaking.
Bring your beach towel and enjoy the white sand, pristine water and all the options to lay your towel down wherever you want! To get there from the city, you’ll need to catch the train and take the Fremantle line. The train always leaves on platform 7 if you get on at Perth station. (it’s the furthest platform from the gate so give yourself some extra time or you’ll be running to catch it…like I did once) The entire ride should take roughly 30 minutes, one way.
I’ve read that it’s also a great place to catch the sun set.
Pro tip: Bring your sunscreen. The sun in Western Australia is not something you want to play with. The weather is dry and the temperature was comfortable while I was there so you don’t notice how strong the sun is, but I got sunburnt on this one patch of skin I failed to protect after only an hour or two under the sun. Always bring sunscreen.
Have a picnic at Kings park or at the waterfront near Elizabeth Quay
Kings park is right next to the city centre and it’s absolutely huge. I can’t really explain how big this place is, and you are best to approach this park with the attitude of never ever really seeing it all.
There’s many walks, biking trails and playgrounds dotted around. You can get the best views of Perth CBD and Swan rive from Kings park and it’s absolutely free. You can easily walk to Kings park from the city. A great idea is to head over to Woolworths to grab some picnic food before finding the perfect scenic spot to sit, relax and just unwind from all the stresses of life.
Trivial fact! – Kings park is bigger than central park in New York City
Another great picnic spot is the waterfront at Elizabeth Quay. I really have to hand it to the city planners in Perth, the waterfront is really pleasant to have a late afternoon stroll in. We were lucky enough to find 3 different food markets while we were in Perth and one of them was the noodle market at Elizabeth Quay. Great vibes, great food and great scenery to enjoy your evening.
Pro tip: Don’t go to Elizabeth Quay in the afternoon. The place doesn’t have a lot of shade and the afternoon heat can get a bit too much after awhile.
Spoil your instagram feed with all the amazing wall art in Perth
It didn’t take me long to notice all the street art, wall murals and other fantastic instagram opportunities. I don’t actually have an instagram CORRECTION (I have an Instagram now, follow me), but my girlfriend does and it was great fun to just walk around, stop and take photos making us look way cooler than we actually are.
Maybe this one is more enjoyable if you’re going to Perth with someone, but even if you’re not you can’t pass up on all the cool photo opportunities!
Pro tip: The art is everywhere! You just need to pay attention and look around. Look down the alleyways, at the end of a street, gaze upwards etc. You just need to keep your eyes open.
Other things you shouldn’t miss out on
Little Creatures brewery
This is a local brewery located in Fremantle. They have a few breweries overseas, one being in Hong Kong, Kennedy Town. The place is massive and is great fun to visit. There’s multiple small bars located as well as a restaurant serving some basic eats to share while drinking a pint.
You can even grab a bike and take it around town if you wish, or join one of the tours to see how they make one of many beers they produce.
Old Faithful bar
This place is an “American” BBQ place / bar famous for it’s ribs. You won’t get in unless you book a table so be sure to do that. The atmosphere is fun and the food was great. I wouldn’t really call it American BBQ, but it was good BBQ.
You’ll find this place on King’s street in the city.
Annalakshmi Indian restaurant
I read about this place online and it instantly tickled my interest. This all vegetarian restaurant is ran entirely by volunteers. You eat however much you want and pay however much you want. Yup, that’s right.
The place is located at near the ferry terminal in Elizabeth Quay. It’s very easy to find with the decorative Hindu and Indian decor at the front of the restaurant.
The restaurant isn’t lavish and the selection wasn’t wide, but the food tasted great and I loved the idea of having my money help feed another person. Unfortunately I didn’t eat too much because a few things were on the spicy side, but I got to try everything on offer by picking it off my girlfriend’s plate.
Get some good karma and have a nice lunch and pay it forward for someone else.
Viet Hoa in Northbridge
This place was the last place we went to in the city on our trip. We were craving for some pho because it’s something we often get together. No matter where we are. A quick google search gave us Viet Hoa located in Northbridge.
Now the restaurant doesn’t look like anything special and the menu wasn’t either. BUT the raw beef pho was the best I’ve had since having pho in Vietnam. The broth tasted authentic, the rice noodles were the narrow kind instead of the wider ones, which its suppose to be. The beef was flavourful and they actually gave the full selection of all the herbs they give you in Vietnam. Not the one or two sprigs of coriander or other nonsense. It was the real deal guys and I was very extremely impressed by this.
If you’re a pho lover like I am, you know what I’m talking about. Pho always tastes good, but great pho is hard to come by.
How many days should you visit for?
If I was objective about it all, you could probably do Perth in 4 days in comfort and ease. This includes the day trips to the nearby areas as well. I was there for 7 days, but since I was with my girlfriend for this trip the extra days were perfect to just idle about and wander the streets romantically with zero objective. In fact by the end of my trip I have concluded Perth is a great date city for couples. It’s just so relaxing and stress free with beautiful scenery everywhere you go.
But even if you weren’t with your partner and just with buddies or by yourself, you can really add a few more days to your trip and enjoy the relaxing vibes Perth gives off.
Where to stay
We stayed at the Intercontinental on Hay street, which is pretty much right in the centre of the city. The location was great and that’s one thing you should consider when picking a place to stay. Perth buses and trains are pretty good, but by being in the city centre, we didn’t actually have to use the buses at all to get to the places we wanted to go to. Everything was a leisurely stroll away.
The train station was a quick 3 minute walk away, and the bus to the airport was also only 3 minutes away. The location was great. We saved a lot of money from not needing to use much public transport.
The hotel was brand new, being less than a year old and the carpet in the room definitely showed the newness. We were still able to smell fresh cut wood in the elevators! But would I stay at the place again? No.
The walls were really thin and the whole building oddly shook from…what? I don’t know but it would vibrate a little every now and again. Also some fixtures were starting to break already from poor handy work, so I can’t imagine what the place would be like on my next visit. If I did visit it again.
Another big penalty was our missing plug adaptor and phone cases from our rooms. The cases were spares so none of these items needed to be brought outside of the room. We left it on a bedside table and found them missing. Well to be exact, we only noticed them missing on our last day while packing, and in the middle of the week, we found our “do not disturb” switch to be a little faulty. We ended up using the old fashion door knob sign you hang outside, but that wasn’t before our room was cleaned without us wanting it to be…
Groupon is your friend
We found some amazing deals for food and activities on here. Saved a good amount.
Tourist booklets are even better friends
I always take booklets when I see them, because I don’t do too much planning before I go on trips. And from my observations, Perth booklets have a lot of coupons, freebies and discount codes.
Northbridge will never fail to feed you
I mentioned how I found a lot of shops closed in the afternoon, well they also close very early in the evening. I’m talking about finding the city centre empty by 7:30pm on a weekday. But that’s just the city centre. Walk over to Northbridge and you’ll find a lot of Asian cuisine restaurants opened until 9pm or later.
Quokkas love fresh green leaves
You’re not allowed to touch Quokkas, give them human food or water. BUT from what I witnessed on the Island, these adorable marsupials are completely dependent on humans. There’s a reason why they aren’t scared of us…
I don’t advocate anyone touching or feeding them, because you really don’t know what they can or cannot eat. Instead, stick with the fresh green leaves. They seem to enjoy them just as much as human food.
Bring a jacket!
Perth gets chilly in the evening with it becoming windy once the sun goes down. I don’t know if it’s a weather pattern that happens only in March, but you might want to bring a light jacket if you’re out at night.