Just four short weeks ago I landed in Perth, Western Australia to embark on my second year exploring this vast and beautiful country.
I chose Perth because in my first year in Australia I had joined the general masses of backpackers and travelled from Cairns down the east coast to Melbourne, stopping off along the way to experience many of the awesome sights such as the Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
Having whet my appetite, I vowed to return to Australia and explore the West Coast. So, perfectly positioned in Perth I am poised and ready to begin my next adventure. Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been up to in the first couple of weeks.
Where I’m Staying
In the first week I stayed in a hostel called Haus Accommodation in the heart of Northbridge, just a hop, skip and jump from the CBD – central business district – or city centre to any non-Australians. This location turned out to be perfect for my initial explorations of the city.
Northbridge is a fun neighbourhood brimming with cafés, bars and restaurants of every kind: from ice cream shops to nightclubs.
I’m now in a super chilled and friendly hostel called The Witch’s Hat, which is just a short walk further out from the hubbub of Northbridge. I enjoy staying in hostels as it’s a cheap and sociable option whilst travelling.
Although Northbridge’s vibe is hard to beat, with hidden alleyways leading you to discover awesome mural graffiti and hideaway bars, there are plenty more cool neighbourhoods to check out. I’ve also explored Mount Lawley and Subiaco to check out their independent shops, one of a kind cafés and bars.
What I’ve Been Up To
One of the first things I did upon arriving in Perth was to visit the famous and much loved Kings Park and Botanical Gardens. Check out the great view of the city and what you can expect from the gardens here.
For a full day out, Fremantle is a must see. It’s a quirky, atmospheric neighbourhood with a port, historical prison, maritime museum and even boasts a brewery – The Little Creatures – that you can tour and enjoy a beer.
At the weekend, a thriving and vibrant market is held in the covered market building, bursting with stalls of every kind and plenty of tantalising food stalls. I’m looking forward to spending much more time here checking out all there is to see and do.
Top this day off by sailing to Fremantle with Captain Cook Cruises. From the boat you can enjoy views of the Swan River and the cityscape. The boat departs from Elizabeth Quay in the city, an area that is being redeveloped with great outdoor areas, shops and cafés and also boasts a bell tower that includes the twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century and are the only royal bells known to have left England.
Those people who love the call of the ocean will be pleased to know they’ve arrived in the right place. Perth boasts a stunning array of sandy beaches, from the iconic Cottesloe to City Beach and Scarborough. Cottesloe Beach recently held their annual Sculpture by The Sea exhibition where various sculptures were displayed on the sand and along the beach front promenade. If relaxing or a little culture is not your thing then there’s also lots of great surf spots to be found, including kite and windsurfing, especially down the coast in Safety Bay and Rockingham.
Head up the coast to Hillary’s Boat Harbour at Sorrento Quay to watch the sunset and enjoy a meal and drinks in one of the many restaurants and cafés there. I noticed that the trees were full of white cockatoos sheltering from the heat of the sunshine. When they’re not snoozing, these guys emit such a raucous squawk that they make their presence known.
In the heart of the city, right next to the train station, is the cultural centre which is home to some of WA’s cultural and educational institutions such as the State Library of Western Australia, WA Museum, and the Art Gallery for WA. I found refuge from the heat in the air conditioned galleries with the added bonus of some interesting contemporary art on display in the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Venturing in the city is turning out to be really easy. There is a really comprehensive network of buses and trains here operated by Transperth. You all know how much I like taking local forms of transport around and about and it makes exploring a new city so much more accessible if there are good transport links.
I’ve merely scratched the surface here and I know it. My list of To-Do’s is still the length of my arm but although I am itching to get cracking there is no rush. My time in Perth has only just begun and can continue for as long as I want it to, which harks back to the blog I wrote a while back about going with the flow.
I’ve you’ve visited Perth then please share your hints and tips with me. I’d love to get your recommendations!
What are your favourite must-do’s when visiting a city for the first time? Do you love to meander or stick to a schedule?
For more pictures about what I get up to on a day to day basis check out my Instagram page of @meanderwithmeg!