Whether you're a first-time tourist or seasoned veteran wanting to try something new, Perth offers an endlessly inspiring array of options. From slurping up maple chilli sauce off fried chicken in Highgate and people-watching in Leederville, to feeling the sand between your toes in Fremantle and bar-hopping the night away in Northbridge, we've got your by-the-hour itinerary covered.
9am – Breakfast at Mary Street Bakery
It’s easy to start your day at Mary Street Bakery, which is known for having some of the best breakfasts in town. There’s three locations to choose from – the original (and best, in our opinion) in Highgate, the sister store in West Leederville, and the newly opened cafe on St Georges Terrace. They’re all equally busy, so head there before 9am and save yourself a wait.
Try the lauded fried chicken and buttermilk pancakes, complete with peanuts, maple chilli sauce and a fried egg. There’s also berry puddings; Boston beans with black pudding, and childhood fave, eggs and soldiers. The fully functioning bakery also makes great pastries, including Mary’s salted caramel (or peanut butter) and jam doughnuts.
11am – Shopping in Leederville
Walk off those maple-soaked pancakes with a stroll down Leederville’s Oxford Street and Carr Place shopping strips, where you’ll find a cross-section of fresh threads, tunes and homewares. Stores include the likes of Varga Girl, Black Plastic, Urban Depot, Hunter Store, Harry & Gretel and Atlas Divine.
Alternatively, get yourself a coffee at Green and Co, plonk down on one of its ornate couches and people-watch the morning away. If in the mood, head to indie cinema Luna Palace, and catch one of the eclectic arthouse, contemporary or classic films on show.
11am – Take Beaufort Street into the city
Beaufort Street is a reliable favourite for eclectic finds. Start at Planet Books for a wide selection of all things print and quirky, then continue on to Highgate Continental, a self-proclaimed purveyor of hard-to-find new music and speciality publications from across the globe. If you keep heading towards the city (you can walk or catch the bus), you’ll hit the Perth Cultural Centre, home to the state museum, art gallery and library. Hit up the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art for a dose of the alternative, then check out nearby shops such as StreetX, Beans & Bunches, Safari’s Record Shack, Ruck Rover, Ollie & Sons, Periscope and Noise Pollution Records. By the time you’ve finished browsing and pounding the pavement, you’ll be ready for some lunch and a touch of nature.
1pm – Views and brews in Fremantle
Jump on the train or Uber your way to the seaside town of Fremantle. Stop at Little Creatures Brewery on the waterfront, where you can grab a pizza and drink a beer made right next-door. If lighter is your style, head to Freo’s “Cappucino Strip”, South Terrace, or small-batch brewery, The Monk. If it’s still too early for a drink, head to Bread in Common for a sample of freshly made fare (such as churned butter, pickled pine needles, cured bresaola and, of course, bread).
3pm – Take to the beach
Western Australia has one of the longest and most beautiful stretches of sandy coastline in the world, and Fremantle is one its best city-beaches. After a swim and soaking of rays, walk out to the South Mole Lighthouse – the big green tower at the end of the bay – for a spectacular view of the harbour.
From there, find a shady spot to laze under the pines at Esplanade Park, then head to the Fremantle Markets (open Fridays to Sundays). You’ll find local market stalls, Perth food crazes (think muffles, Cottoni and rolled ice-cream) and busking musicians – maybe you’ll encounter the next John Butler.
5pm – A drink at Bathers Beach House
What’s more spectacular than a picture-perfect coastline? Watching the sun set over it, with sand between your toes and an ice-cold drink in hand. Bathers Beach House has sweeping views of the Indian Ocean, and is the first establishment in the country to have its own fully licensed stretch of beach. There’s 20-odd sun lounges to occupy, and beach-friendly nibbles to pair with your drink. What’s not to love? If you’re a sand-a-phobe, head inside and upstairs for an equally impressive view.
7pm – Dinner in the CBD
Long Chim, in the basement of the newly refurbished State Buildings precinct, is on the top of many locals’ hit-lists thanks to chef David Thompson’s delicious recreation of traditional Thai fare. Go for the chicken larp, but stay for the Bangkok Painkiller.
A little further down the way is The Apple Daily and its tantalising Asian street-style food. Located upstairs at Brookfield Place, the restaurant overlooks luxurious bar Print Hall. Between these two precincts and the city’s bustling laneways, you’re spoilt for choice for intimate wine bars and cocktail dens.
9pm – Drink and snack in Northbridge
Walk down one of Northbridge’s back alleys and you’ll come across Mechanics Institute, a split-level bar with a rooftop and cosy interior. It’s home to one of the best Bloody Marys in town (it’s even served with a mini burger on Sundays), and a strong line up of whisky and local gins.
Another option is The Dominion League, the Mechanics’ younger-but-arguably-more-mature sibling. Its basement is a whisky lover’s haven, with more than 260 varieties.
Then there’s Northbridge’s El Publico, where you can chow down crunchy crickets with shots of mezcal, or Meat Candy, which specialises in southern-style fried chicken and smoked meats.
11pm - Dive bars and gin joints
If the giant bull’s head in the middle of the bar didn’t give it away, Alabama Song is a late night honkytonk bar that does it’s best to transport you to America’s Deep South. If “Hey ya’lls” aren’t your style, move on to Sneaky Tony’s. Hidden behind Northbridge’s Chinatown, this little speakeasy can only be accessed with a secret password (head to Sneaky Tony’s Facebook page to find out). Once inside, order one of the many rum-based cocktails on the menu before moving on to Joe’s Juice Joint, Ezra Pound, Lot Twenty or Frisk Small Bar.
1am – A little live music
Jack Rabbit Slim’s is one of the few places in Perth where late-night owls can flock, whether it’s 1am or 4am. This 1950s-themed diner/bar/live music venue on the corner of Aberdeen and Parker streets has a host of lures, from a retro arcade games room and live-music stage, to a diner filled with fire-engine-red booths and midnight munchies (don’t pass up the spiked milkshakes or the Ragin’ Cajun fries). There’s even a vintage-style lounge area upstairs for those needing a rest.
2am – Bedtime at Alex Hotel
Finally ready to call it a night? If you’ve checked into Northbridge’s Alex Hotel, you’re only an eight-minute walk away from your home away from home. This boutique hotel features communal spaces for after-hours conversation, rooftop hideouts, and an espresso bar. The early-riser might like to hire a bike, or simply settle into the communal mezzanine lounge and watch the day come to life around you.