This June, I spent my birthday week in Perth, Australia with my family.
When I turned 18, we were in Bali, for this milestone, we were in Perth for the first time. I try to get to new places as much as I can instead of revisiting places just because I constantly feel like this world is so big, and there's so little that I've seen of it. So, pretty much the best kind of birthday.
Longline Bomber Jacket: Bershka, Black Mesh Tee: Topman, Chinos: H&M, Boots: Caterpillar
Places: Northbridge Neighbourhood, Elizabeth Quay, Shafto Lane
Eats: Sayers Sister, Angel Falls Grill
Day 1 — The first day was pretty much settling in. We got an Airbnb in the neighbourhood of Northbridge, which I chose because it was a quiet residential neighbourhood that had many cafes abound and was pretty close to downtown, which is exactly the kind of neighbourhood I always want to stay in when I'm in a city.
Of course, we did get to go around and explore a little of the neighbourhood and had afternoon tea at Sayers Sister, one of the more popular cafes in Perth for muffins which were pretty great, before eventually ending up at Elizabeth Quay which gave us our first view of the Perth CBD skyline. We walked around the Quay and watched the sun go down there.
After, it was time to head back into the CBD area for dinner, and thus settled for Angel Falls Grill at Shafto Lane, a popular small walking street packed to the rafters with people out in the City for a meal or drink. Many restaurants and bars line this street, which more than added to its atmosphere.
Flannel Shirt: Uniqlo, Jeans: Vintage, Boots: Caterpillar
Places: Hyde Park, King's Park and Botanical Garden, City Beach
Eats: Chu Bakery, Botanical Cafe, Clancy's Fish Bar, Odyssea Beach Cafe
Day 2 — We started bright and early and headed for one of Perth's finest (and aesthetically pleasing) bakeries, Chu Bakery where I really fell for their pastries and donuts. The bakery's one of the most recommended in Perth so there's always a line, and for good reason. We settled at Hyde Park where we had our breakfast. Hyde Park wasn't huge so we decided to move on to what was the big place of interest on our itinerary, King's Park and Botanical Garden.
There, we really took our time to explore, and boy is there a lot to walk and see if you desire. We set foot on walking trails that took us further and further from the main square, but gave us sweeping views of the skyline facing Swan River, adjacent neighbourhoods and suburbs, and other buildings along the River.
After exploring the walking trails, we stopped by Botanical Gardens on the garden grounds for a quick lunch. One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to visit Western Australia is mostly because of the sheer number of stunning beaches. So the first beach we hit up on this trip was City Beach.
One of my favourite things about Australia's beaches is how impeccably maintained all of the beaches I've seen are. Clear waters, fine white sand, little to no trash, honestly lots of beaches around the world could learn a thing or two. That and the fact there are walking trails at so many of these beaches, with many elevating to a vantage point where you can get some brilliant photos. Couldn't stop snapping that day.
It was here that my dad and brother joined us from the airport and we headed to Clancy's Fish Bar for an afternoon pick-me-up of ginger beers, juices and fries which were really good by the way. I don't doubt their signature Fish and Chips would've been perfect for a lazy afternoon with a table by the window overlooking the beach.
At City Beach, we waited for dusk to arrive and the colours it painted the beach were on another level.
After watching the sun sink into the ocean, we ended the day with the best meal we had in Perth at Odyssea Beach Cafe which is a restaurant serving modern Australian fare. Amongst the four of us, we ordered a House Pasta with Shark Bay King Prawns, Arkady Lamb Shoulder, Market Fish and Royal Blue Potatoes with Porcini Salt. Every single dish was incredible and what a fitting way to end our second day with the whole family reunited.
Wool Jacket with Borg Collar: ASOS, Oversized Long Tee with Zip Neck: ASOS
Places: Blue Boat House, Cottesloe Beach, Dalkeith, Subiaco
Eats: Chu Bakery, John Street Cafe, Lapa Brazilian Barbecue
Day 3 — After grabbing our breakfast pastries at Chu Bakery (again), we headed to Blue Boat House which my family was insistent on going. If I'm being honest, I don't see the fuss. There was a queue just to get your picture taken with what is honestly just a single boat shed painted blue along the River. And there was really nothing beyond that.
For lunch, we headed to another Perth oceanside view, this time at Cottesloe Beach. We made our way to John Street Cafe, a simple but pleasant cafe located on (surprise) John St before heading out to the beach.
Armed with a rental car (necessary in Perth if you want to go anywhere beyond CBD), we could take long drives with no aim in sight and so that's what we did. Just for views of the Swan River, we drove around the district of Dalkeith along the River on roads like Victoria Ave, Jutland Parade and Birdwood Parade. Along the way, there were a fair few small parking lots and trails that allowed us to head down to the River.
For dinner, we headed to the district of Subiaco for a bit of Brazilian, specifically Lapa Brazilian Barbecue. Their specialty was the endless feast at AU$55 per person with an endless supply of meat and sides. We figured none of us could ever make that worth it, so we went with the a la carte for a taster and it was really good, the good stuff being their different sauces which went with different dishes.
Places: The Pinnacles Desert (Nambung National Park), Cervantes, Lancelin Sand Dunes
Eats: Chu Bakery, Cervantes Bar & Bistro, Pancho's Mexican Villa & Restaurant
Day 4 — After spending a few days in and around Perth City, it was time to head out and go on a long(-er) road trip. One of the most popular day trips out of the City takes you on a drive just over two hours ending up in Nambung National Park, but more specifically The Pinnacles Desert.
There's an admission fee to National Parks in Western Australia, and we paid AU$4 for our vehicle to enter The Pinnacles Desert, which is honestly not all that much for how well-maintained Australia's national parks are. I know I keep harping on and on about how Australia has done an incredible job with maintaining its more natural attractions, but it's only because I genuinely mean it.
There are two options available for exploring The Pinnacles Desert, by foot or by vehicle. We chose the latter as it would be far too much ground to cover on foot. The driving trail splits from the walking trail right at the start. There really is no need for a 4x4 given how well-trodden the single-lane one-directional driving trail is. There are small bays at corners every few hundred metres or so, so you can stop your vehicle anywhere and hop out to get some pictures on the ground. There were a fair few vehicles and people around, but it never felt cramped nor did I have a lot of people or vehicles in my pictures as you can see above which was pretty awesome. And yes, that is our trusty rental on the right, which I covered almost 1, 500km in in a week. Car magazines should low key hire me to photograph and design their covers, damn.
When we'd gotten enough pictures after just over an hour, we drove to the nearby town of Cervantes, which brought me back to Spain a little as the streets in the town are named after various Spanish places, so called because of a ship that was wrecked nearby that was named after a Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. With less than a population of 500 though, it's honestly the smallest town I've ever been in, quite a different environment this city boy's used to.
We stopped at Cervantes Bar & Bistro for lunch. This area and nearby town Jurien Bay is famous for its crayfish, but there really isn't much variety of food available as you can imagine.
An hours' drive south of Cervantes took us to Lancelin, which I wanted to visit for its Sand Dunes, and it would be the last thing on the itinerary for the day before we headed back to Perth.
We parked at a carpark at the entrance of the Dunes, before realising we could actually drive in a little further to get closer to the actual Dunes.
We eventually parked at the bottom of the steep Dunes and headed up on foot. The view was stunning.
There was a couple renting out boards to do sandboarding on, as well as ATVs, but we skipped all this for a good ol' fashioned walk.
After spending another hour or so at Lancelin, we headed back to Perth for Mexican at Pancho's Mexican Villa & Restaurant. This was packed to the rafters and portions were huge. The servers got us to don on Mexican sombreros (of course), and we got our own cheesy tourist family photo taken. I'm not putting that on here just because some things are better kept in our own personal phone galleries lol.
Cable Knit Sweater: MANGO Man
Places: Perth CBD
Eats: Mary Street Bakery, Tuck Shop, The Hummus Club
Day 5 — Since we got such an early start the day before, we decided to take things slow on our fifth day, spending the whole day in Perth CBD, at the shopping streets of Murray St and Hay St. We had a lazy breakfast at Mary Street Bakery, another recommended bakery in the city, before I caught up with a friend of mine studying in Perth at Tuck Shop for lunch.
There really isn't all that much to explore downtown, but I'm a lil' obsessed with finding cool places to eat, if you can't already tell ha. For dinner, we headed to The Hummus Club, which I walked past on my first day and made a mental note to give it a try one day.
The lamb was the best, but honestly everything we had was pretty damn good.
'In Hummus We Trust,' indeed.
Jacket: H&M Essentials by David Beckham, Round Neck White Tee: Uniqlo
Places: Margaret River (Margaret River Mouth View Point, Surfer's Point Look Out, Voyager Estate Winery), Cape Naturalist Lighthouse, Sugarloaf Rock, Mandurah
Eats: Swings Tap House & Kitchen, Peninsula Bar and Kitchen
Day 6 — It was time to hit the road again, this time 3 hours south down to Margaret River. We didn't stop much on the way, meaning by the time we pulled into a parking lot it was time for lunch at Margaret River. And this joint was all thanks to my brother who found it, called Swings Tap House & Kitchen.
What an awesome space right? But man, the food. THE FOOD, MAN.
I ate so well the whole time I was in Perth it's ridiculous.
After lunch, it was time to get some sightseeing done. And honestly if you ask me, Google Maps is my best travel planner and guide when I'm in places I'm unfamiliar with. I use it to stake out what seem like cool places, and I found the Margaret River mouth, which I thought might've been a cool thing to see. If you're gonna travel to the Margaret River region, at least make the effort to see the actual river, no? Google Maps told me there was also a viewpoint, which was perfect.
And goddamn, I'll never tire of these ocean views.
When at Margaret River, you can't not do a winery of course, so we headed to Voyager Estate Winery. I didn't do the wine tasting by the way, seeing as I was the one doing the driving. So responsible.
Earlier in the day, we planned to hit Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, because a) lighthouse, b) it would've literally been at one of the tips of Western Australia that far south and west, which leads to c) bragging rights, basically. How cool would that be??
Except we didn't, just because it would've been an hour's journey down, making us 4 hours away from Perth. I don't know bout you, but I don't love driving that much to drive for 4 hours straight back into the City just to avoid the 'Roos at dusk. So we settled for something further north, namely Cape Naturaliste Lighouse, which began the Cape to Cape Walk just on the other side.
They were just about to close when we arrived but the attendants were gracious enough to let us be the last visitors of the day.
We had a nice chat with the attendants as they were closing up, and they told us we couldn't go back to Perth without seeing Sugarloaf Rock. Truth be told, I didn't know of it's existence till they told us about it, and there's no better travel advice than a local's. So off we went to Sugarloaf Rock to catch the sunset.
We settled our last meal for the day at Mandurah on the way back to Perth at Peninsular Bar and Kitchen for contemporary Australian fare.
Longline Bomber Jacket: Bershka, Oversized Long Sleeve Black Tee: ASOS
Places: Fremantle (Cappucino St, Fremantle Markets, The Roundhouse)
Eats: Little Creatures Brewing, Cicerello's
Day 7 — I know, I know. It took us 7 days in Perth to get to Freo. To be fair, we just wanted to be there in time for the markets so we had to wait a week because they're only open from 8am to 6pm on Fridays to Sundays. The markets definitely didn't disappoint.
Freo in general was beaut, mainly because I loved the architecture, felt a little European. But of course, given its colonial heritage.
We had lunch at Little Creatures Brewing, one of the most popular spots in town. The pizza was amazin', and my brother said his pint wasn't half bad too.
The rest of our day in Freo was pretty much just spent walking the streets till our feet were sore.
When it started to get dark and restaurants started filling up, we walked past so many joints that looked incredible.
But because everyone kept banging on about the Fish and Chips at the docks in Freo, it felt like something we had to do. Never again. I mean, for how much it's been hyped, it really wasn't great. The Fish and Chip shops at the docks all felt more like fast food joints than quality places and they weren't exactly cheap either. The batter wasn't great, both the fish AND chips were pretty bland, there was nothing special about the stuff, and we tried other items on the menu too and none were great.
Issa tourist trap, kids. Head into the town centre for better food.
Reversible Bomber Jacket: Pull&Bear, Long Round Neck Tee: ASOS
Places: Cape Peron (Rockingham), Swan River, Perth Hills, Mundaring Weir
Eats: The Posh Convict at Rose & Crown Hotel, Pinchos Bar de Tapas
Day 8 — This was our last day and I decided to get another ocean view just because. So we headed south of the city to Cape Peron at the edge of Rockingham just 30 minutes away from Perth.
There, I watched a pelican (I'd never seen one in the flesh before) consume a whole fish, which was... um, interesting. Nah, it was actually kinda wild.
After, we headed to Swan River and its surrounding towns like Guilford. We settled for lunch at The Posh Convict at Rose & Crown Hotel. It was my birthday lunch and it was a good lunch. There was another table across from us with a girl celebrating a dirty 30s which was cool. While waiting for our lunch to be served though, we headed up a stairwell with a terrace to find a couple sitting there, only to realise quite a while after that we'd actually stolen a bit of their terrace lol. It was connected to their hotel room and we didn't even realise because the terrace had a whole corridor and we didn't actually see their room. Thankfully though, they didn't mind and we got to chatting with them for a bit. Friendly strangers are the best.
After lunch, I wanted to head out to Mundaring Weir because I saw it looked pretty good in pictures overlooking the O'Connor Lake. We drove through Perth Hills, which was also another day trip recommendation by the internet, though I didn't think the drive was all that impressive but I was probably spoiled by the Indian Ocean Drive. Sadly though, everything was under construction when we reached and there wasn't a soul in sight, so it was a bit of a wasted trip but at least I can say I got to see Perth Hills I guess!
For our last meal, we headed to the very busy street of Oxford Street for a Spanish dinner at Pinchos Bar de Tapas. Still haven't found a good tapas bar like the multiple ones I had in Catalonia but what ya gonna do!
So that concludes my busy week in Perth. I feel like I really got the most out of my trip and got to see pretty much everything I aimed to see.
Basically, rent your own car, get out there and explore. Perth's only boring if you decide it is!