When one mentions Australia, the most common places that come to mind are Sydney, Melbourne and perhaps Gold Coast. But Australia is such a humongous country with so much more to explore, to discover and to learn! Home to 2.3 million people from over 200 different countries, Western Australia, the largest state in Australia, is a melting pot of diverse cultures and influences.
Perth, Western Australia
I have never set foot on Western Australia (WA) before although I have visited Sydney and Melbourne previously. It’s interesting to know that Perth enjoys a true Mediterranean climate with long hot summers (December – February) and mild cool winters (June – August) all year long. No need for thick and bulky winter jackets that take up so much storage space! Being the lesser known state, most presume WA to be more country-like, more laid back or even more boring. Guilty? I used to be one of those judgmental persons too, until I did some research and found out that WA has so much more to offer.
Things to do in Perth
In Perth, for example, it is known as the ‘city’ with plenty of dining, entertainment and shopping options. If I were to spend a day in Perth, I would start by doing some sightseeing at the Kings Park and Botanic Garden, one of the world’s largest inner-city parks. After having my picnic lunch under the gorgeous Perth weather, I would browse along King Street, home to many chic and leading boutiques including Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton.
Shopping on King Street
For dinner, I would love to try the unique European influenced modern Australian cuisine in Balthazar, a sophisticated bistro with low lighting and wine bottles lining the wall. After a meal of fine dining, cocktails at Venn, one of the latest watering hole in Perth, would be perfect for a night cap. Who says Australians have no night life?
Venn Bar in Perth
Things to do in Fremantle
Located about 30 minutes drive or train ride from Perth city, Fremantle boasts the best example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world. Known to the locals as ‘Freo’, this city is packed with pubs, live music and plenty of shopping opportunities. My day at Fremantle would start with a stroll along ‘Cappuccino Strip’, enjoying a morning cuppa before blending in with the locals at the 100-year-old Fremantle Markets. There’s something about the sight of fresh oysters and thickly-cut meats that tickle my fancy. Lunch would be at the award-winning Cicerello’s Fish and Chips while enjoying fabulous views overlooking the Fishing Boat Harbour. Prisons might not be the first place that comes to mind when we’re on holidays, but it’s quite fascinating to do time with experienced guides on a Fremantle Prison tour or explore the labyrinth of tunnels 20 metres underneath the prison. Finally, end the day with some snacks and drinks at Little Creatures, a brewery/pub that is famous for its boutique beers. Yes, it opens till midnight too!
Al-fresco dining at Fremantle
Streets of Fremantle
Things to do at Swan Valley
Attention food and wine lovers! Swan Valley is the place to go for a one-day trip purely indulging on dining and drinking at WA’s oldest wine growing region. Located barely 30 minutes from the city, Swan Valley houses some of the big international wineries such as Sandalford and Houghton. Before leaving the beautiful region, don’t forget the divine local produce – olives, cheese, jams, preserves, chocolate and nougat. Yum!
Things to do in Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island is a car-free zone located a short ferry ride away from Perth. If you’re an outdoor type of person, this island with some 63 beaches and 20 bays, a fascinating maritime and convict history, intriguing heritage buildings and unique wildlife, is heaven for you. Clear blue skies and sapphire-coloured water, this island is blessed with amazing marine life waiting to be explored. In other words, it’s a diver’s paradise!
Clear waters at Rottnest Island
Cycling on Rottnest Island
The Magical Margaret River
The Margaret River Wine Region is, without a doubt, considered by most as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Western Australia’s gourmet offering. Located about 3.5 hours from Perth, it is home to more than 220 wine producers, 100 cellar doors and produces more than 25 per cent of Australia’s premium wine. Given a chance to visit, I’d stay at Cape Lodge, a premier boutique hotel that has yet again made the prestigious Conde Nast Traveller magazine 2011 Gold List, for the most amazing hotel experiences in the world. The on-site restaurant was even placed in the top 10 hotel restaurants in the world for its exemplary cuisine. Now, who wants to join me in their cooking class?
Wine tasting at Xanadu Winery
Cheese-tasting at Margaret River
Lobster at Watershed Premium Wines, Margaret River
Things to do at The Coral Coast
Last but not least, located north of Perth is the scenic stretch of coastline called the Coral Coast from Lancelin up to Exmouth. The breathtaking landscape along the road passes from cityscape to wheat fields, small coastal towns and desert-like surrounds. Their signature huge ocean-side sand dunes are perfect for adventure four-wheel driving, sand boarding, or windsurfing. Its famous moonscape-like landmark is the Pinnacles desert. Formed over millions of years, the incredible limestone pierces the golden sand, some rising up to several metres tall giving a lunar-like appeal. After all that driving and sight-seeing, drop by the Lobster Shack to tour its lobster farming processes and place orders to take home.
Sandboarding at Lancelin
Upcoming Festivals in Western Australia
- Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 1 to 19 March, Cottesloe Beach, Perth
- Telstra Drug Aware Pro Margaret River 19 to 26 March, Margaret River
- Fremantle Street Arts Festival 7 to 9 April, Fremantle
- Margaret River Wine Region Festival 13-16 April, Margaret River
- Busselton Festival of Triathlon 4 to 6 May, Busselton
- Ningaloo Whaleshark Festival 25 to 27 May, Exmouth
- Truffle Kerfuffle – Southern Forests Food Festival, 16 June, Manjimup
- Picasso to Warhol: Twelve Modern Masters 16 June to 3 December, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth
For more information check out westernaustralia.com.
Don’t miss out: Visitors purchasing a Perth/WA package at the MATTA Travel Fair from 16-18 March 2012 will receive an Extraordinary Deals booklet worth up to AUD 2,000 in savings and a Western Australian gift pack.
*NOTE: This is a sponsored post.