The new Boola Bardip is yet another delicious dish in the feast of experiences on offer in the Western Australian capital. Also on the menu for visitors is Perth’s vibrant public art programme, fast evolving laneway culture, inventive eateries, plethora of cool cafes and small bars, and an epic inner-city park. The list of things to do isn’t getting any shorter, so let’s get started.
Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Perth. Book your stay with Choice Hotels.
8am: Do breakfast on King
Perth’s café scene is smashing more than just avos. Fabulous new options continue to spring up across the city, but one of the old guard that constantly delivers the caffeinated goods is La Veen Coffee on King Street. The heritage setting, oodles of natural light, an inventive menu and awesome coffee make this a morning must. And it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to your next stop – Yagan Square.
10am: Pound the pavement on a walking tour
If this is your first visit to Perth, there’s no substitute for a local’s perspective. So we’re handing you over to the experts at Oh Hey WA. Their two-hour walking tour departs from Yagan Square and is a top introduction to the city. It covers interesting aspects of local history, popping street art, and cool spots to have coffee and shop. You’ll learn more about Yagan Square, which opened in 2018 and has reconnected the CBD with entertainment hub Northbridge. The square honours the culture and heritage of the Noongar First People, and is architecturally stunning.
12noon: Connect with the collection at Boola Bardip
Your tour will wrap up in the Cultural Precinct, which is home to the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the brand new WA Museum Boola Bardip, and the State Library of Western Australia. Take your pick for how you’d like to spend a couple of hours here. Boola Bardip, meaning ‘many stories’ in Noongar language, is true to its name. Three key themes frame the collection, which weaves in a strong Indigenous narrative. The museum only opened in late 2020 and is an architectural masterpiece that combines the old and new.
2pm: Lose yourself in Kings Park
Pre-COVID, six million visitors a year would flock to Kings Park at the western end of the CBD. The numbers may be thinner but the majesty of this epic green space is undiminished. There’s an array of ways to spend your time in the park, but make sure you do the 40-minute return walk through the treetops on the steel and glass Federation Walkway, and take in the views of the city skyline from the State War Memorial. Kings Park is a big place, so why stride when you can glide? Explore with Segway Tours WA (go on, anyone can do it!).
5pm: Get stately
Head down St Georges Terrace to the very grand State Buildings. Formally known as the Lands, Titles and Treasury buildings, the great and the good have long gathered here to do business and dispense justice. Today, Perthites gather to socialise in the variety of venues that inhabit this imposing complex. Do pre-dinner drinks at Petition Beer Corner, which has a rustic vibe and tall windows with benches overlooking Barrack Street. Petition Kitchen is a great spot for dinner, as is Long Chim tucked away in the basement. Those looking to celebrate something special should push the boat out at rooftop Wildflower, which bases its menu on the six locally recognised Indigenous seasons. End your evening with a nightcap at new-kid-on-the-block Pooles Temple – an underground ode to martinis, oysters and jazz.
PS. If you happen to be visiting the State Buildings during the day, pop into the City Of Perth Library on Cathedral Place and check out the ceiling artwork. It’s a re-telling of the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest by West Australian artist Andrew Nicholls.
9am: Explore Elizabeth Quay
Go for a morning constitutional around fabulous Elizabeth Quay, the gateway to the stunning Swan River. There are several breakfast spots with water views, along with iconic attractions like The Bell Tower and swirling Elizabeth Quay Bridge. Splash down at the water park, ride the old fashioned carousel (you know you want to), and spot pieces of public artwork, including the 29-metre-high Spanda – fondly known locally as ‘the paper clip’.
11am: Cruise the Swan River
The glistening Swan River will undoubtedly draw you closer, and there are myriad ways to get to know this serene waterway. Take a ferry, do a river cruise, paddle in a kayak, be paddled in a gondola, or perhaps pedal yourself on a water bike. A cruise with the jaunty Little Ferry Company is our pick of the bunch. The ferries may look Edwardian, but they’re actually solar powered. The cruise operates on a hop on hop off basis between four stops (including Elizabeth Quay). Hop off at Perth Stadium – home to HQ for one of the city’s newest attractions (hint: you just cruised under it!).
2pm: Scale the Matagarup Bridge
The magnificent Matagarup suspension footbridge opened back in 2018 to connect East Perth with the stadium, and now hosts a newly opened bridge climb and zip line experience. Commencing with an induction at the Stadium meeting point, the climb to the SkyView Deck – an open-air glass-floored viewing platform 72 metres above the Swan River – is on a demanding 45-degree angle with 300+ steps (but just think of the wonders it will do for your quads). Spend 15 minutes snapping selfies and soaking up the views, before beginning the descent. Return to the city centre with the Little Ferry Company.
6.30pm: Relax over a pizza and craft brew
After an action-packed two days, it’s time to kick back over a pizza and craft brew. Don’t go past Alfred’s Pizzeria on Barrack Street – although that’s actually very easy to do as the doorway is pretty non-descript. Just look for the red telephone box and head down the stairs. The pizza bases at this locals’ fav are deliciously doughy and there’s an array of craft beers on tap.
More: Top 5 Pumpin’ Perth Bars
Need a place to stay? Choice Hotels has you well and truly covered in Perth with a range of accommodation options to suit every budget. Search online and book direct for a Lowest Price Guarantee.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.
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