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Cottesloe Beach in Perth
Photograph: Tourism Australia

Weekend getaways: Perth

From quokkas to the Swan River, let this be your guide to experiencing the best of Perth

By Rebecca Russo
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Fun fact: Perth is the only capital city in Australia where you can watch the sun set over the ocean. It’s known for its pristine beaches, adorable quokkas (more on that later) and its heaving food and drinks scene, but Perth is all that and more. Here’s our guide to exploring Perth like a local and getting to know all its interesting corners.

RECOMMENDED: The nine best things to do in Perth.

Looking for more weekend getaway ideas from Melbourne? Try Launceston, Adelaide or Hobart

The writer visited Perth as a guest of Aloft Hotels.

48 hours in Perth

Generic Italian pasta
Generic Italian pasta
Photograph: Creative Commons

Eat and drink

Sometimes the only thing that will soothe your weary soul is a big-ass bowl of pasta. On that front, Francoforte Spaghetti Bar delivers. Head down Williams Lane in Northbridge towards this small (truly, it’s tiny) restaurant that specialises in one thing and one thing only: spaghetti. Try the porco rosso for a traditional spaghetti and meatball dish, or there’s kale pesto and kangaroo bolognese for the adventurous types. Either way, bring a bottle of vino with you (it’s BYO!) and share a couple of bowls with your pals.

Henry Summer ticks all the boxes of a great indoor-outdoor bar. Gorgeous beer garden? Check. Summer-themed cocktails? Check. Delicious share-style menu? Check. An abundance of indoor plants? Check. Henry Summer has a lot of competition in Northbridge, but if you’re looking for a place with cocktail-party vibes and minimal cheek, this is a great option for a group dinner or a lazy Sunday arvo drinking session

Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island
Photograph: ©Tourism Western Australia

Do

Think only Melbourne’s known for its graffiti? Think again. Perth’s street art scene is burgeoning, with amazing pieces of graffiti artwork popping up all over the city. You can get to know the best spots (and learn some bonus Perth history) on an Urban Adventures Perth tour. This local-run company takes you across the arcades and laneways of Perth’s city centre in a comprehensive two-and-a-half-hour tour. This tour company also takes visitors around Fremantle with a tour that focuses on the history of this historic city, ending the tour at the UNESCO-listed Fremantle Prison.  

No trip to Perth is complete without a trip to Rottnest Island. This A-class nature reserve boasts 63 white-as-snow beaches perfect for snorkelling, diving, surfing and snapping selfies with quokkas. It’s just an hour’s ferry ride from the mainland to Rotto, where you can spend a day lapping up the sun and meeting those native marsupials. Be warned: those investigative critters love to mingle with new visitors, especially those who have visited Rottnest Bakery – be warned, your sourdough will not be safe. Remember to always approach with caution when leaning in for a selfie, but if they’re at the Hotel Rottnest beer garden, they’re usually as friendly as Hugh Jackman. 

Remember when we said Perth is the only capital city in Australia to see the sun set over the ocean? Cottesloe Beach is the place to see it. It’s known as Perth’s most beautiful, white-sand beach and there’s something magical about watching the sun slip into its pyjamas and dip behind the Indian Ocean at nightfall. There’s also space for diving, surfing and snorkelling, too. But for the best vista, head to Cottesloe Beach in the well-heeled western suburbs. Afterwards, grab some fish and chips from Amberjacks and enjoy it on the sand.   

Love nature? Head to Hyde Park, which functions as a getaway for both local birdlife and the people of Perth. Within it are two lakes with islands, which are home to breeding birds. Spot cormorants, egrets and ibises flying in and out, and long-necked green turtles bobbing around the lake. You’ll also find many mature, shady trees including Moreton Bay and Port Jackson figs and creeping purple jacarandas.

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Aloft perth
Aloft perth
Photograph: Booking.com

Stay

Hotels Burswood

Aloft is a great address for weary travellers and busy corporate types in Perth. Located in the gentrified Rivervale area, the hotel is only a ten-minute drive to the city and 15 minutes from the airport. It’s a great option for those after an affordable yet sophisticated stay in Perth. The hotel offers 224 clean-cut rooms with all the right amenities (blackout curtains – yes please), and all the rooms are decorated with bright, beautiful artworks by local artists. Communal spaces like the XYZ Bar are great for that late-night tipple, but there’s also a gym and an outdoor swimming pool with a blue mural by Melbourne-based artist Stephen Baker if you’re feeling more active. Keep an eye on the Aloft website for offers and experiences – for instance, the hotel currently hosts a program called Live at Aloft Hotels which features musicians performing live in the hotel lobby. 

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