A Taste of Perth with Tourism Western Australia
Perth in Australia is the only capital city in Australia where you can choose to enjoy the beach lifestyle, picnic in parks, sample world-class local wines and watch an ocean sunset within just 30 minutes of the city. With more hours of sunshine than any other capital city in Australia, chances are, there will always be a blue sky overhead. It’s no wonder Perth has been voted as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Perth is always being described as a parkland oasis, as there are 16 major parkland areas within the city. We started our tour at Stirling Gardens, Perth’s oldest public gardens. It honours the name of Sir James Stirling who fought long and hard for the establishment of a settlement in Western Australia. The gardens were originally used as an acclimatisation garden where many of its mature specimens were raised from seed. Grapes and other important fruits were first grown here. In 1845 it was opened as a botanical garden and some original trees planted still stand within the Gardens today.
As we overlooked the gardens, we get a view of the 135-year-old heritage listed State Buildings (formerly the Treasury Buildings) on the corner of St Georges Terrace and Barrack Street. It will be restored into an exciting mix of hotel, hospitality and retail uses. I am sure when it is ready, the CBD area will change significantly.
Within the gardens, there is Perth’s oldest building “The Old Court House Law Museum” and the Supreme Court Building. It is the highest state court in the Australian State of Western Australia. It has unlimited jurisdiction within the state in civil matters and hears the most serious criminal matters.
We heard the charming bell sound from the Bell Tower which includes the twelve bells of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which are recorded as being in existence from before the 14th century and recast in the 16th century by Queen Elizabeth I.
The bells were again recast between 1725 and 1770 by three generations of the Rudhall family of bell founders from Gloucester in England, under the order of the Prince of Wales who was later crowned as King George II. They are one of the few sets of royal bells and are the only ones known to have left England.
As we walked further, we arrived at Howard Lane which features a series of artworks commissioned by the City of Perth including Stormie Mills’ The Swing and The Conversation and Yok’s Night Forest. Restaurants within the area includes Helvetica Bar and Andaluz.
There aren’t many cities in the world which mix commerce and retail with beautifully crafted green open space. This is definitely considered a major asset for Perth. The State Government is also currently redeveloping Elizabeth Quay, with 1.5km of continuous boardwalks and promenades for great public spaces, new hotel and short stay accommodation and contemporary inner city living opportunities. When complete, it is expected to attract more than 4 million visitors each year and will be a place where people gather by the Swan River to work, live and play.
Want to get a perfect view of Perth? Visit Kings Park, one of the world’s largest and most beautiful inner city parks. It is home to the spectacular Western Australian Botanic Garden, which displays over 3,000 species of the State’s unique flora. It looks beautiful to take photos lying on the grass. Trust me, with that weather, it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to do. But well, for the sake of good photos~
Two thirds of the 400 hectare park is protected as bushland and provides a haven for native biological diversity. Here, you can stroll on a treetop walk, enjoy picnic with friends among the gum trees, and see wildflowers in bloom. Within the park, The Cenotaph was built to honour all servicemen and women who enlisted in Western Australia to die in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam.
The best way to enjoy Perth is to take a lazy lunch by the river or beachside and enjoy the fresh fusion flavours of Perth’s many cafes, restaurants and new small bars. After our leisure walk around the city, we dropped by Cott & Co. Fish Bar for lunch. Cott & Co. Fish Bar offers locals and summer beachgoers a new and relaxed bar where you’re able to relax in the sun, wine in hand, and enjoy fresh, local seafood.
We had local seafood, seasonal produce and an extensive range of white wines to complement each dish. Our appetizers include Grilled Tomato Bread ($5), crispy Busseltotn Whitebait ($9), Poached Veal Girello ($21) and Flambe Prawns ($29). The most memorable dish was Ricotta & Truffle Gnudi with cauliflower and walnuts ($29). I’ve never tried gnudi before, when the waitress introduced it (pronounced like nude-y), all of us looked at her and asked “what?!”. Haha! These tender, gnocchi-like pasta dumplings are actually deceptively light and shine with simple sauces and fresh ingredients.
For the main course, I went for the safest bet – Fish & Chips ($26) made with fresh WA snapper and homemade tartare. It’s a little too salty for my liking, but definitely crispy on the outside yet succulent inside. They have a wider range of seasonal menu which changes every now and then. On the day of our visit, we also ordered Franklin Harbour Triploid Oysters ($18 for half dozen), Blue Swimmer Crab Linguine ($28) and Gold Band Snapper with balsamic strawberry ($33). The oysters were very plump and fresh, while the linguine was light and would be better if they spice it up a little more.
We took a quick tour around The Cottesloe Beach Hotel which offers a stunning Perth beach location with Indian Ocean views. There is a range of seating available including communal tables, the option to stand or sit at high tables, or you can grab casual bite at the kitchen bar. Perhaps most enticingly, there is the opportunity to relish Cottesloe’s famous sunset from the comfortable lounge seating near the windows. It’s the perfect place to relax after work, entertain friends from out of town or enjoy a wine in the sun over the weekend. And, they even have an indoor beach for events, how cool is that!
Cott & Co.
Address: 104 Marine Parade, The Cottesloe Beach Hotel, Cottesloe WA 6011
Phone:(08) 9383 1100
After a great lunch, it’s time for shopping at Fremantle Market! The Fremantle Markets are housed in the Victorian-era building, which was listed by the National Trust of Australia and the state’s Heritage Council in 1980. With over 150 stalls offering exquisite products of all kinds including handicrafts, specialty foods, dining halls and fish and vegetable markets.
The Fremantle Market
Telephone: (08) 9335 2515
Hall Opening Times: Fri 9am-8pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 9am-6pm, Public Holidays 9am-6pm
Yard Opening Times: Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 8am-6pm, Public Holidays 8am-6pm
Closed on Christmas Day & Good Friday
I took a walk around Fremantle and chanced upon this small kiosk called “Legally Brewed”. It’s just next to Timezone Fremantle, away from the city’s hustle. Guess what, it is owned by a 28-year-old Singaporean Stefan Lum, as introduced by Selena. Graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, he does cheap and good burritos from $7. I haven’t had a chance to try the burritos, but heard the pull pork one is good. I went for my usual Cappuccino and what was rather unique is, they serve cold drip coffee! Stefan is always super friendly and happy to have a chat.
Address: Piazza Arcade, 20 South Tce, Fremantle Western Australia 6160
Dinner is at Chesters Restaurant and Heafod Glen Winery, located in the premium wine producing region of the Swan Valley, Western Australia. The Swan Valley is situated just 25 minutes from the central CBD. This rustic yet elegant venue used to be a stable quarters for a local riding academy. The Marri columns sustaining the roof were originally set into clay, as was done in the valley during the early 1900’s.
The Head family later transformed it into a restaurant, serving outstanding modern international cuisine, by an award winning kitchen team. All of their tables, cabinet works and feature walls are handcrafted by the original timbers. Even the characteristic stable doors have been lovingly restored.
Appetizers started with Scallops Duck L’Orange ($24). The pan seared scallops is interestingly served with shredded confit duck leg, preserved orange puree and microherb salad. The Eyre Penisula ginger beer battered oysters ($24) is a dozen of fatty oysters with fennel escabeche and lemon balm.
I ordered a plate of medium Black Angus Beef Fillet ($40). Beautifully grilled steak was tender and smoky, well flavoured with Heafod Glen shiraz jus. The thing that caught my attention was the slow cooked hen’s egg in tomato pickle. When I glazed the fillet over runny egg yolk, it provided a luscious boost.
Another option is Katanning Lamb Collar Butt ($38.50) with beetroot puree, herb and wattle seed black pearl barley, peppered goat’s curd, Heafod Glen tawny reduction. There was no gamey taste in the tender meat. Vegetarian friends can go for Quinoa & Haloumi ($28.50). It looks like a beautiful garden with mint and sumac haloumi, red quinoa, grape tomato, asparagus salad, smoky babaganoush, pistachios, drizzled with pomegranate dressing.
For dessert, their Sticky Date Pudding ($15) wins hands down. It’s so moist and soft, yet not too sweet. Drenched with salted butterscotch sauce, candied pecans and malt ice cream, I don’t mind having another plate for myself. Another summer dessert is Eton Mess ($15) with refreshing strawberry compote, crisp meringue, Chantilly cream foam, popping candy and kiwifruit coulis.
From home smoked produce through to succulent local seafood dishes and prime fillet steaks, this enchanting Swan Valley Restaurant is ideal for relaxed casual dining, corporate and social functions or weddings. Fabulous cuisine with a rural edge, Chesters Restaurant and Winery is truly one of the Swan Valley’s finest culinary masterpieces.
Address: 8691 West Swan Road, Henley Brook WA 6055
Phone:(08) 9296 3444