‘tis the season to be going out and making the most of blue-sky days, warm evenings and plenty of social festivities. While Perth is home to plenty of big night out bars and restaurants, not every outing needs to be a direct hit to your back pocket. For a tenner or less – and sometimes nothing at all – you can enjoy gelato by the sea, see some art and work towards your 10,000 steps for the day. Happy holidays, Perth.
Eat gelato by the ocean (from $5.50)
Sitting pretty on Scarborough Beach, Dumbo Gelato is the classic Australian ice cream shop of our dreams, reimagined for the Instagram generation. Dumbo’s gelato is available in traditional (pistachio, say) and not-so-traditional (Vegemite and cheese!) flavours alongside vegan and gluten-free options, and the sorbets are well worth checking out too. A single scoop costs $5.50 and a double is $8, as is the gelato pie (jam and ice-cream squished into a warm brioche bun). Or get your ice-cream in shake form for a cool $7.50.
Revisit Perth’s iconic sandwich ($9.60)
While a growing number of bars, delis and cafes have turned their attention to the continental roll – some versions, it’s worth saying, are very, very good – the versions served at the two Re Stores remain the gold standard. Pricing depends on your fillings-of-choice, but the classic ($9.60) is a crunchy roll with a mix of meats (maybe ham, sopressa, salami and mortadella), provolone cheese and either pickles or melanzane. While both delis have outdoor seating, the move is to find a nearby park to enjoy your taste of Italian-Australian history. In Leederville, consider Axford Park or Britannia Reserve. From the Northbridge store, both Russell Square and the Northbridge Piazza are easy strolls.
Laugh out loud ($5)
On the first Thursday of the month, Fremantle’s Federal Hotel brings together local stand-up comedians for the Fremantle Comedy Factory. Tickets are just $5 and meals from the kitchen are half-price before the show.
Explore one of Perth’s urban parklands (free)
Take your exercise out of the gym. While most people know about King’s Park and its cycle trails and Jacob’s Ladder, the suburbs are also home to green havens. In Victoria Park, there’s Jirdarup Bushland inside the Kensington Bushland Reserve, an oasis of native flora and fauna hiding in plain sight next to Kent Street Senior High. Closer to the coast, Bold Park in City Beach is another reserve that’s popular with runners and nature enthusiasts alike.
Get to know the state’s coastline a little better (free)
Cottesloe. Scarborough. Trigg. All popular beaches, and for good reason. But sometimes, one seeks the beach for solitude, not crowds. The solution: find new stretches of shore to (temporarily) call your own. West Coast Highway, Marine Parade and Cockburn Road are dotted with beaches, bays and other bodies of water worth checking out. One of my favourite destinations are the patches of sand between Port Beach and Leighton: quiet, flat and perfect for dropping by before or after a trip to Freo. (Bonus: there always tends to be spots in the car park just up from the main Port Beach lot). Also: as far as excuses to take the car or road bike for a spin along the coast go, beach-hunting has to be right up there. For further inspiration, consider picking up a copy of Places We Swim.
Eat baked goods at Hyde Park ($8.50)
Since Seren and Ryan Chu opened Chu Bakery in 2015, nearby Hyde Park has become the bijou bakery’s unofficial outdoor dining room (and backdrop for many a cream-filled bun ($8.50), with past specials ranging from choc-hazelnut to Pina Colada flavours). Five years on, and the Chu faithful continue to stroll across the road to devour their pastries, only now they’re joined by fans from Miller & Baker, a new artisan bakery that opened near the park earlier in late 2019.
Visit the new WA Museum (free entry, though some special exhibits may incur a fee)
Four years and $400 million in the making, the new WA Museum Boola Bardip – “many voices” in Nyoongar – opened in November and has been popular since day one. Consisting of eight permanent galleries and a 1000 square-metre temporary exhibition space, the museum is the perfect vehicle for sharing stories from the state and beyond. Although general admission is free, special exhibits and tours need to be booked, including opening special exhibit, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters.
Eat one of North Street Store’s cinnamon buns ($4.50)
Following the opening of Big Loaf Bakery, North Street Store’s famous cinnamon buns can be found at more places, yet there’s something very satisfying about getting one from North Street’s original Cottesloe corner shop. Pillowy, generously spiced and iced to order, it’s the perfect post-swim treat after a dip at Cottesloe or Swanbourne.
Get a late-night burger at Alfred’s Kitchen ($8.40)
There are fancier burgers in Perth, certainly, but when it comes to an unapologetically old-school Australian-style burger and setting, Alfred’s Kitchen in Guildford continues to command a loyal following. The classic hamburger ($8.40) still gets you change out of a tenner, but the real pleasure is joining the long, long (long) list of diners that have turned to Alfred’s for late-night sustenance over the past 75 years.
Go on a street art safari in Fremantle (free)
The port city of Fremantle remains a heady mix of the new and the old. Over the past decade, new street art – some commissioned, some not-as-much – has added a fresh new flavour to the port city. Start your exploring with the City’s own checklist, then add a few more names to it.