Harper’s Bazaar UK gives Freo a great plug

Check out this UK guide to Perth which pleasingly puts some of our very cool, new Freo destinations front and centre.


What to do in Western Australia’s capital city

Picture: Perth, from Kings Park, courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Australia’s latest city to flourish, sunny Perth is enjoying the benefits of the last decade’s mining boom. Money has poured in and it shows: new hotels, exciting eateries, waterfront developments and more cranes than London. It is the state capital of Western Australia’s turn in the spotlight and it’s revelling in it, with buzzy bars in Northbridge, bohemian boutiques in Leederville and an outdoorsy sort of life for all residents. Down south is Perth’s slightly hippie sister: Fremantle, a city in its own right but compact and more free-spirited than its northern neighbour, with a busy port and ornate gold rush-era architecture.

Where to stay
In Fremantle, we love the Hougoumont Hotel, named for the last convict ship that delivered prisoners from England to Western Australia. The area’s rich convict history is reflected throughout the hotel, nowhere more so than in the haunting mural in reception, which lists felons, date of arrival and their crimes. New for 2015 is Alex Hotel, due to open in Northbridge in April. For apartment-style living, with an efficient concierge and excellent breakfasts, try Fraser Suites in East Perth.

Picture: The Hougoumont Hotel in Fremantle

Where to eat
Fremantle, or ‘Freo’ as locals like to call it, may as well be Shoreditch or Williamsburg as far as trendy dining spots are concerned: there are numerous, including Don Tapa, for an adventurous take on South American flavours at the Mantle, a lively so-called ‘activity hub’ on James Street; and Bread in Common, for freshly baked delights from the wood-fired oven, slick cocktails and enviable interior-design skills. For grilled meat, it doesn’t get better than Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill within the Crown casino emporium – and luckily for seafood lovers, he’s also perfected the fish courses.

Where to drink
At Alter Ego, within the Mantle in Fremantle, potent cocktails are mixed up to hip-hop beats. We love the NYC-loft-style Wolf Lane, down an alley in the CBD, and The Garden in Leederville, whose green rooftop space lives up to the name.

Where to shop
For the city’s designer district, relatively new to Perth, head to King Street, where you’ll find Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel outposts. For something more bohemian, Leederville offers unusual shops and vintage boutiques.

Picture: The Mantle in Fremantle

What to do
Don’t miss a trip to Fremantle Prison for an eye-opening insight into the life of the convicts who built it – the first of almost 10,000 prisoners arrived in 1850 and were put to work building much of the local infrastructure. Familiarise yourself with the city on an informative guided walking tour one evening. Perth is famous for its beautiful beaches, and with good reason; Cottesloe is just a 15-minute drive from the city. For the best views, head up to Kings Park, a botanical garden a short walk from the centre.

For a chance to swim with dolphins, head down to Rockingham, 45 minutes away by car, and book in with Rockingham Wild Encounters, who will take you out to interact with the intelligent mammals and witness their fascinating behaviour (fights, homosexuality, casual sex) for yourself. And for the stuff childhood-holiday memories are made of, run free on Rottness Island – there are no cars, only bicycles and mythical creatures like the quokka, alarmingly like a giant rat.

Getting there
For more information on Western Australia, click here. Qantas flies to Perth from London Heathrow, with a short stopover in Dubai (0845 774 7767).


About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

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