Told people you’re heading to Perth over the break? There’s a good chance someone in the office/at the gym/next to you on the plane will take a (predictable, unfunny) pot-shot at the Western Australian capital and encourage you to reconsider. Ignore them. There aren’t enough hours in the week to tick off everything on the city’s never-ending to-do lists and – speaking from experience – keeping tabs on openings west of the Nullarbor is no easy feat.
From new players making good on their pre-opening hype, to old favourites that continue to kick goals, here’s a cheat sheet to help you make the most of your visit to P-Town. (Also, if your travels are taking you elsewhere around Australia this Christmas, Broadsheet has hit lists for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, too).
You’ve heard how good looking the beaches at Cottesloe and Scarborough are. Trigg, however, remains below the radar: just how the locals like it. As an excuse to explore Trigg, test-driving the suburb’s new all-day beachside diner Island Market Trigg works nicely. Perth hospitality veteran David Coomer is behind the Levantine-inspired menu, which ranges from breakfast pides crammed with Turkish sausage, to kingfish crudo and wood-roasted duck at lunch and dinner.
Technically, Canteen Pizza – the new seaside pizzeria from the crew at Il Lido – is a restaurant, but its licence lets guests drink as long as they’re seated. It’s a very attractive proposition, at least for those with an interest in lo-fi, hands-off winemaking. The cocktails, meanwhile, are Italian, spritz-y and calibrated for maximum fun in the sun. Bonus: you’re a short walk from the white sands and cooling blues of Cottesloe beach, and sandy feet and wet bathers are welcome.
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The argument: Fremantle’s West End is the port city’s most happening enclave. The proof: good times on tap at neighbourhood hotspots such as multi-function small bar Strange Company and warehouse-turned-restaurant Bread in Common. Then there’s Stable Hands, one of the state’s more interesting cafe options. A zealous coffee focus aside, a menu celebrating Australian ingredients and flavours – duck breast with quandong, for instance – speaks to its progressive bent. The recently acquired small bar licence makes the cafe an equally compelling after-dark prospect, too.
The Lotterywest Film Festival, part of the citywide art and cultural celebration that is the Perth Festival, screens independent movies and documentaries at UWA’s beautiful Somerville Auditorium and among the pines at ECU in Joondalup. Closer to the city centre, Rooftop Movies turns the rooftop of a Northbridge car park into an al fresco movie theatre showing cult favourites and arthouse releases.
The western suburbs enclave of Claremont remains one of Perth’s favourite retail destinations. Mobilia’s handsomely stocked showroom remains a happy place for many design and homewares buffs while local shopping centre Claremont Quarter houses the Perth HQs of Australian labels such as Alice McCall and Cos.