Just when you think you know the Western Australian capital, it reinvents itself again. Discover the best things to do in Perth over one perfect weekend.
As the light starts to fade, make your way to the CBD’s State Buildings – Perth’s historic cultural centre. Hidden down a flight of stairs, Pooles Temple awaits. Sink into a velvet chair with a Dry Martini or a glass of wine from the all-French menu. Afterwards, head to Northbridge for dinner at North Bird.
Where to stay: Crown Towers Perth
More like an urban resort than simply a five-star hotel, Crown Towers Perth sits over a vast expanse of riverfront parkland, facing the CBD across the water. From the ornate lobby to the enormous palm-dotted lagoon pool, it’s a thrilling exercise in OTT indulgence.
At first glance it looks like standard nosh in the cabinet at Epoch, part of the newly opened WA Museum Boola Bardip. But the meat pies are made with crocodile and the quiche is rich with warrigal greens. Boola Bardip is Nyoongar for “many stories” and that’s what you’ll find here – multi-sensory displays that tell the story of the state and its First Peoples. Look up to spot Otto, an enormous blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling.
For lunch, visit a new eatery on the Swan River in West Perth. Some waterside joints trade on views rather than food but that’s not the case at Cooee, led by chef Alan Wise. Nab a table outside and sip a G&T made from the house gin, Tattarang Springs, which has been infused with bush botanicals. If delicate akoya – pearl meat from the Leeuwin Coast – is on the menu, it’s a must.
Walk off any lunchtime excess with a stroll along the riverbank to Elizabeth Quay (pictured top). There you can explore the waterfront playground with a self-guided public art tour – simply download a map to discover ethereal sculptures and a water park mosaic inspired by the Dreaming story of the Milky Way.
Reflect on your favourite pieces at The Ritz-Carlton’s swish rooftop bar Songbird, where the eponymous drink, a pink lychee and vodka cocktail, comes in a swan-shaped glass. Stick around to watch the sun sinking into the water, dramatically mirrored onto the glass of nearby buildings. Order a local drop from the 150-strong list at the dark and moody bar before tucking into Mediterranean-inspired fare with a native Australian spin. The juicy half chicken with apricot and thyme is a highlight.
Downstairs is Hearth, the brainchild of ex-Wildflower chef Jed Gerrard. An element of every dish is cooked over fire – whether it’s local dhufish or fresh blueberries. WA is Gerrard’s muse and that’s evident in everything from the hyper-seasonal menu to the Kimberley rock centrepieces. Go all-in with Taste of Hearth, a five-course treat that you can enjoy paired with local wines.
Where to stay: COMO The Treasury
An understated modern sensibility meets Perth’s colonial past at COMO The Treasury, a stunning reinvention of the city’s grand 1890s State Buildings. The luxury landmark’s central location means it’s a great base, while the award-winning restaurant and spa make it hard to leave.
Grab a coffee and cruffin from one of cult favourite Mary Street Bakery’s outlets – there are six – then drive about 20 kilometres south of the CBD to the Old Riverton Bridge for a kayak tour of the Canning River Wetlands. You’ll see a unique side of Perth in this tranquil wilderness. The paddle includes a morning tea break – just save room for lunch at beachside Coogee Common, about 25 minutes away. This restaurant – from the team behind Fremantle’s Bread in Common – bases its menu on produce from the sprawling onsite garden. Ask for a table in the arbour for garden views and chat to sommelier Jodie Chatfield to find your ideal drop.