Perth is a city poised on the edge. Post boom, the city is starting to expand and develop quickly with new infrastructure and new entertainment precincts springing up all over the city.
The city on the Swan is blessed with wide streets, stunning historic buildings like the old Perth Boys School and diverse public sculpture ripe for photographers. The small bar scene is booming and restaurants throughout the city are jam-packed most nights.
Two Feet & a Heartbeat offer a range of walking tours of the CBD, Eat, Drink, Walk tours of Northbridge, Small Bar tours and many more including a Fremantle Convicts and Colonials Tour.
Bernie our guide on our ‘City Way Out West’ tour highlights not only the better known spots in the Perth CBD but a number of the lesser known ‘sights’. For us East Coasters it’s great to get a little detail on the founding fathers of Perth as well as what’s happening to the modern-day city.
We start at the Town Hall and wind our way through the centre of the city through the Supreme Court Gardens and on to the tourist mecca, the Swan Bell Tower and then the J.J. Talbot Hobbs designed Weld Club. This little slice of old London is perhaps one of Australia’s most exclusive men’s only clubs. Dwarfed by skyscrapers the club remains a bastion of 19th century mores and because of it’s membership drawn mainly from the legal fraternity will most likely remain forever caught in a time warp.
We finish the tour in Northbridge with a beer just near the high-voltage nightspots and hip and happening bars and restaurants of James Street. The neighbourhood is also home to artists and the requisite caffeine dispensaries, groovy vintage stores, graffiti and galleries. http://www.twofeet.com.au/
For tourists Pan Pacific Perth is ideally located on Adelaide Terrace overlooking the mighty Swan River. Barrack Street Jetty is the jumping off point for ferries to Fremantle, Rottnest Island and South Perth and is just a short walk away.
Rooms are spacious and comfortable and if you’re lucky a view of the river might just beat overlooking the sparkling lights of the city. The hotel remains remarkably quiet despite being near capacity during our stay.
It’s the little touches that can make all the difference in a quality hotel and the Pan Pacific is no exception. From chilled water with lemon in the lobby to a concierge who goes the extra mile for a little emergency first aid, the Pan Pacific staff is wonderful. Don’t forget made to order eggs at the omelette station at Monteray’s for breakfast. www.panpacific.com/perth
No trip to Perth would be complete without a day on Rottnest Island. Rottnest Express ferries day-trippers to the city’s favourite getaway from Barrack Street Jetty and Fremantle. The Experience Rottnest package provides the full day tour with optional extras like bike and snorkel hire. There are 90-minute thrill boat rides, snorkelling adventures or a more sedate guided tour of the island’s fringe via mini-bus. www.rottnestexpress.com.au
The island has long been Perth’s playground with white sand, turquoise water, incredible dive and snorkelling sites as well as all manner of native wildlife. Boaties anchor in secluded bays while backpackers and families enjoy the inexpensive accommodation. Run by the government, the island is one of the world’s best endorsements for ultra low-key development: no skyscraper hotels or casino monstrosities.
But it’s the Instagram sensation of the year – quokkas that are ensuring Rottnest Island is now known around the world. Buzzfeed may think they were at the epicentre of the #quokkaselfie sensation but visitors to Rottnest have long known of the irresistible marsupials that call Rottnest Island home. Without the threat of feral cats for a few years these inquisitive, (read: always hungry), smiling balls of fur are perhaps the friendliest wildlife you will meet on the planet. www.rottnestisland.com
Australia’s fourth largest city is modern but continually evolving. Slowly shrugging off it’s history of mining barons, Perth is coming of age while embracing it’s past. Somehow a smaller city like Brisbane with touches of Sydney glitz and glam and a river that seems more like a harbour in certain reaches. Travellers and tourists alike will love Perth – it truly is a city with something for everyone. www.experienceperth.com