After Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bali, we flew to Australia with the aim to visit several coastal cities from West (Perth) to North-East (Cairns). The country is so big that it’s not really possible to travel from a big city to another without taking the plane (unless you have a lot of time!) so we decided to make the most of each place we visited. We started off with the west coast and stayed 10 days in Perth.
I’ll start by saying that we were so relieved to leave the heat and humidity we had in Southeast Asia since the beginning of our trip. A month spent sweating like never before was becoming a bit difficult to cope with (we’re from London, remember!) and we were really looking forward to a drier climate at least. Perth is a super cute city with some tall buildings but not in an overwhelming way, and many pretty pathways along the Swan river. It feels small and big at the same time, there is a free bus within the city but it’s probably a good idea to rent a car if you also want to discover the surroundings.
It’s a dynamic city with cool events being organised, we were really happy to just sit on the grass and watch a Christmas Symphony Orchestra with locals. It was free to access for everyone and there were a lot of food stands around to give us more summer vibes – in December. Also, Perth has amazing sunsets. You can see it from parks, rooftops, or even walk along the coast. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a cormorant drying its wings.
Perth is a bit isolated from the rest of the country, with no easy way to go anywhere (Indian ocean on one side and the Australian outback on the other) but there are many places to explore within driving distance. The wildlife is amazing in Australia, who doesn’t like a big cuddly koala for example? In Caversham Wildlife Park, you’re not allowed to touch them but you can take nice pictures. If you want more proximity with animals, there is a pathway among kangaroos too where you can feed them directly from your hand.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard about quokkas… They’re famous for their constant smile on their face and their selfies with celebrities. Take a ferry from the harbour and head over to Rottnest Island to see them! We attempted to cycle around the island but it was so hilly and hot – around 40°C that day with no shade at all – that we eventually had to swap the bikes for the hop-on/hop-off bus instead. The island is surrounded by stunning beaches, you can go for a dip or just enjoy the scenery. Many quokkas live on this island (estimated between 12,000 and 15,000) and are really easily approachable. You just have to give them a berry you picked up from a tree and they’ll let you take a picture! You’re not allowed to touch them or feed them anything else though. The flora and fauna is under protection.
Rottnest Island is very popular and therefore particularly busy so I would also suggest the slightly less popular Penguin Island. There are no quokkas there but wild penguins, pelicans, albatross… And maybe a few lizards. Penguins can be hard to spot in the wild but there is a conservation centre with an indoor pool to help penguins who wouldn’t survive on their own. This species is the smallest in the world, they’re only 30 cm tall. The ferry to get there is a very nice few minutes trip, I wouldn’t miss it if I were you!
Only 30 minutes drive away, there is another city often associated with Perth due to its proximity: Fremantle, famous for its fish & chips. You can feel the British influence there! But portions are HUGE, Australians do eat a lot. There isn’t very much to do there other than restaurants and shops near the port but it’s still worth a visit.
Finally, below some additional random facts about Perth and thoughts on our stay:
- The city of Perth offers free wifi around the CBD, quite convenient when you’re not using a local sim card in your phone.
- There is also a free bus service called CAT (Central Area Transit), operating 7 days a week, apart from Christmas day.
- We found fresh gluten free doughnuts in a market that we haven’t found anywhere else…
- The Bell Tower is one of the world’s largest musical instruments, located in Barrack Square (5 minutes walk away from the CBD). We’ve seen lots of love locks attached to the fence there!
- There is a shopping arcade in Perth called London Court with many small shops inside and a big clock at the entrance. It almost felt like we were back home for a moment!
- “The Blue Boat House” is considered the Australian icon for Asian tourists. It’s just a boathouse but it’s painted in blue and is quite photogenic so Asian tourists come to Perth just for the purpose of taking a selfie in front of it! Social media can be quite powerful… You might have seen it among your Windows screensaver options too!
- Perth is known for being the most isolated city in the world, but it’s also the sunniest with no less than 8 hours of sunshine a day in average.
- One thing we wanted to do but couldn’t do is visit the Pinnacles. There were some fires blocking the route to get there… It happens when the weather is particularly dry. Unlucky this time but it’s a good excuse to go back someday!
This is another city we can’t wait to go back to, whenever it will be possible… Here’s a little secret: we watched all episodes of MAFS Australia just to recognise the places they were filmed in, it was our guilty pleasure. It says a lot about how much we miss this country. Tell me what you like or dislike about Perth if you know this city!
Big Girl x