TASTE THE NORTH There was a time when inner-city Northbridge was strictly the realm of nonnas by day and rowdy clubbers after dark. Today, the vibrant neighbourhood – in particular, its myriad food options – attracts a cosmopolitan mix. The frozen treats at newwave gelateria Chicho Gelato (chichogelato.com) draw crowds day and night, while Shadow (shadowwinebar.com.au), the Alex Hotel’s wine bar and European restaurant, is equally popular. (Its weekend brunch is at once grown-up and plenty of fun.) For something casual, consider Francoforte Spaghetti Bar (4/189 William Street, Northbridge; 08 9227 9289), a BYO, no-reservations pasta place that’s busy every night of the week.
HIT THE COAST Cottesloe Beach is one of Western Australia’s prettiest stretches of coast. Maximise your time here by staying in one of the 13 rooms at the Art Deco-style Cottesloe Beach Hotel (cottesloebeachhotel.com.au). It’s an ideal home base from which to embrace – even temporarily – that sun-kissed, beachy lifestyle.
PLATE UP THE STATE Not all farmers’ markets consist solely of primary producers selling their wares. The buzzing Saturday Farmers Market on Manning (farmersmarketonmanning.com.au) gets the balance right between farmers and food stalls, plus it’s only about 15 minutes from the CBD. Stock up on Cambray Cheese (cambraysheepcheese.com.au) and farmer-direct seasonal treats like white asparagus from the Bickley Valley (bickleyvalleyasparagus.com).
STEP IT UP What’s tough, about 250 steps long and the best way to explore Perth’s green lungs? Jacob’s Ladder, a staircase that connects Kings Park with the Swan River below, attracts local fitness fans, who race up and down its steep incline. It’s one way to go sightseeing and stay on top of your exercise routine.
DRINK IN THE VIEW Trigg is a seaside community and beach beloved of locals. Here’s a great way to start the day: fill your KeepCup at cult café Yelo (yelocornerstore.com.au) then walk across West Coast Drive and take a seat overlooking the Indian Ocean. Voilà! Magic views of the waves rolling in to go with your flat white.
HEAD FOR THE HILLS Everyone’s heard of the Margaret River wine region. But the Perth Hills? Now that’s a revelation. Just a 45-minute drive east of the CBD, the area is notable for its diversity of wine styles, microclimates and terroirs. At Fairbrossen (fairbrossen.com.au), Matt Bowness crafts adventurous drops using grapes grown on the estate and elsewhere in Western Australia, while the winemakers at Myattsfield (myattsfield.com.au) focus on Spanish and Portuguese varieties. A little further north, the Swan Valley (swan valleywinemakers.com.au) is another destination not to be missed. The warmclimate area is the state’s oldest wine region and has a reputation for producing plush, generously flavoured drops. Verdelho, shiraz and fortified wines are regional strengths. The Kosovich family is among the valley’s winemaking pioneers and third-generation winemaker Arch oversees day-to-day operations at John Kosovich Wines ( johnkosovichwines.com.au). Lamont’s (lamonts. com.au) is also a family name synonymous with the region.
JOIN THE ’ROOS Watch a film with kangaroos... plus a million stars of the celestial, rather than celebrity, kind. Running from November to April, Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema (kookaburracinema.com.au) at Mundaring Weir – just over 45 minutes from the CBD – presents movies in a state forest, where the local fauna and flora is as big an attraction as what’s on screen. For the adventurous, overnight camping is available at nearby Perth Hills Discovery Centre (parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au).
TACKLE A CONTI Like the muffulettas of New Orleans and the hoagies of Philadelphia, Perth has its own Italian sandwich: the continental roll, or “conti”. Beloved deli The Re Store was pivotal in popularising the roll and its outposts in Northbridge (72 Lake Street; 08 9328 1877) and Leederville (231 Oxford Street; 08 9444 9644) still make benchmark versions for the lunch crowd.
DIVE FOR ABALONE Abalone fishing has a very short season – your window of opportunity is just an hour long on a handful of Saturdays from December to March – but seafood-lovers and fishers relish the chance to hunt for these pricey delicacies. While we won’t reveal the specific spots where you can find abalone, we will let you know that you need to go online (fish.wa.gov.au) to apply for a fishing licence (and to discover the designated fishing zones) before donning your wetsuit.
FLY IN, FLY OUT The Margaret River wine region is no secret but given it’s some 270 kilometres from Perth, it’s a long drive for a daytrip. Flying, though, means less time on the road and more time tasting vino and enjoying the area’s gorgeous scenery. Swan River Seaplanes (swanriverseaplanes.com.au) offers a daytrip package that includes hotel pick-up, return seaplane flights, winery tours and lunch for $795 per person.
Kings Park & Botanic Garden is one of the world’s largest inner- city parks
Visit the Margaret River region by seaplane for an indulgent day of food and wine tasting