Perth City is the central business district in Perth, but there are plenty of other things to see than just tall buildings and busy men in suits.
Perth City as seen from Kings Park
The centre of the Perth metropolitan area is the City, located on the Swan River around 10 km inland. The City is the main business and shopping centre, and together with the adjacent Northbridge, the entertainment centre as well.
The CBD is about 1 km North-South but 2 km East-West and is centred on the pedestrianised Forrest Place. In or adjacent to Forrest Place you will find the General Post Office (GPO - open Monday - Friday 9-5 and Saturday 9-12), the Tourist Information Centre, Perth Train Station and the Forrest Chase shopping centre including Myer Department store.
The main East-West streets are Wellington Street (northern boundary), Murray and Hay Streets (which become pedestrianised shopping malls in the centre), St Georges Terrace/Adelaide Terrace and Riverside Drive (which runs along the Swan River and forms the southern boundary of the CBD). The main northbound street is Barrack Street which runs along the eastern end of the central shopping district and the main southbound street is William Street to the west.
Transperth info-centres provide timetables and journey advice for all its services at the central train station, Wellington Street bus station, the Esplanade Busport (south of St.Georges Tce, near the bell tower) and Plaza Arcade in the city centre (the Plaza Arcade can be found between the Hay and Murray St malls - if walking from St. Georges Tce, walk up London Court and across the Hay St mall, the Plaza Arcade is located directly opposite the exit to London Court).
All buses operating within 'Free Transit Zone' (city centre), including the CAT (Central Area Transit) buses, are free of charge. The Free Transit Zone extends to Newcastle Street when going north, and to the end of Kings Park when going west. CAT bus services stop 5-6PM. CAT buses run circle routes every 5 to 15 minutes, but depending on the traffic and the volume of boardings, you might find walking to be less time consuming. City CAT services are geared towards both tourists and locals. The red CAT service runs East-West and stops at Royal Perth hospital, the WACA (Perth's home ground for cricket), the historic Perth Mint, Wellington Square, the Murray St Mall/Perth Underground train station, His Majesty's Theatre, Parliament House, King St (after its return to the city via West Perth) and the Wellington St bus station/central train station. The yellow CAT runs a similar route to that of the red CAT. The blue CAT runs North-South and stops at; the Bell Tower, London Court, James St (Northbridge), Central TAFE and William St. The vast majority of stops along each route have a map and an ETA (which can either be read or dictated by pressing a large button below the route map).
A single ferry service makes the short hop across the Swan River, departing from Barrack St Jetty on the CBD side and heading to Mends St Jetty in South Perth. The ferry is the most direct way across the Swan River for those headed to South Perth, the Old Mill or the Zoo. However it may be best for Zoo bound tourists who do not like walking to catch a bus as (some claim) it is a sizable walk, mostly uphill, from Mends St. Ferrys leave every 15mins weekdays and 30mins on weekends. You will need a 2 section ticket for $0.60 to go one way across.
- Kings Park. Overlooking the city this large and lush park is the perfect place to escape the city and get a full view of the Swan river and surrounds. A myriad of paths wind through various gardens showcasing flora from different regions of WA including a boab tree brought down on the back of a truck from the Kimberly. The striking War Memorial and Flame of Remembrance are also here. Take either free bus #37 (weekdays) or #39 (weekends) from St Georges Terrace. Free.
- Perth Cultural Centre. Adjacent to the Perth Train Station on the Northbridge side, this is the hub of cultural activity in Perth. Including the Art gallery, Museum, State Library and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) (See listings below). A 2 min walk from the Perth Train Station. Blue CAT Stops 7 and 15 both service the Cultural Centre, as well as Yellow 24 and Red 31.
- Western Australian Museum, Perth Cultural Centre, ☎ +61 8 9212 3700 ([email protected]), . 9:30AM-5PM daily except W. The museum has an interesting collection of social and natural history from WA and beyond. The main building has an extensive display of marine creatures, minerals, butterflies and birds, as well as the shrivelled taxidermed bodies of mammals familiar to generations of Perth residents plus the revitalised Katta Djinoong Aboriginal history display. The Old Gaol building at the rear houses colonial artefacts, displays of life from the different periods and a couple of meteorites. Make sure to look into the creepy eye of the rare Megamouth shark whose preserved body floats in a subterranean tank next to the Old Gaol. Gold coin donation.
- Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre, ☎ +61 8 9492 6600 ([email protected]), . W-M 10AM-5PM. Rotating exhibitions of contemporary Australian, International and Indigenous art and design drawn from the state collection. Exhibitions can be a bit heavy on Indigenous art (though there are some fantastic Indigenous works represented) but you could easily fill a few hours here surveying 150 years of Australian Art. Free (except special exhibits).
- Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), Perth Cultural Centre, James St, ☎ + 618 9228 6300 ([email protected]), . Tu-Su 11AM-6PM. Rotating exhibitions of local and international artists work that focuses toward the more experimental end of contemporary art. Free.
- Barracks Arch, Cnr of Malcolm and Elder Sts (E end of St. Georges Tce). Equally loved and loathed by residents this arch is all that remains of the 1866 Tudor style accommodations for soldiers of the Enrolled Pensioner Guard. The two wings were demolished in 1966 to make way for the Mitchel Freeway but public protests held back the wrecking ball from dispatching this part of Perth's history. Free.
- Kangaroos in the City, Cnr Barrack St and St Georges Tce. If you don't get the chance to see some real ones, do like everyone else and take a photo with these friendly Roos. The larger than life size bronze kangaroo sculptures were installed in 1997 and have become a magnet for international visitors who are subsequently disappointed with the diminutive size of their real life counterparts. Free.
- Perth Mint, . The nation's oldest operating mint and one of the oldest mints in the world. Even today it still produces coins and gold bullion from its original premises. You can buy and sell gold, jewellery and souvenirs, see the mint in operation and watch molten gold being poured to create gold bars. (Walk from City Centre along Hay Street east or catch the red CAT) $15.
- The Swan Bells, . A bell tower is at the foot of Barrack Street, in front of the ferry wharf. The bells are from the church of St Martin-in-the-Field in London, and were a gift from the London to the people of Perth. The bell tower has a modern design, and is somewhat controversially regarded by locals. Inside the tower you get a view over the river and city or you can look around the outside of the tower, and hear the bells at noon. $11, Child $7.
- Burswood Entertainment Complex (Burswood Casino), . Situated amongst some of the most valuable real estate in all of Australia is this all-in-one entertainment precinct. The casino offers all games, the theatre provides a venue for some of the best touring productions while the Burswood Dome is a 20,000 capacity arena that regularly hosts tennis tournaments and international concerts. Also included within the complex are a number of bars and pubs including Paddy Hannan's (named after the first person to strike gold in West Australia) and the infamous nightclub The Eve. Take the Thornlie line (platform 4) from the central station, McIver or Claisebrook (platform 2).
- Claisebrook Cove, . A major urban redevelopment area on the Swan River, on the fringe of the city centre. Spend an hour or so wandering about the brightly coloured, modern and strikingly unusual architecture before you wind down with a meal and a hot or cold bevy. Views of the city centre from the footbridge that runs above the cove are particularly stunning at night. (Take the yellow CAT to the Haig Park Circle stop during daylight hours or take the Midland, Armadale or Thorline line to Claisebrook transfer station which is located within the Free Transit Zone).
Festivals and events
- Perth International Arts Festival, ☎ +61 8 6488 2000 ([email protected]), . A month long annual festival held around February is Perth's biggest arts event, offering local and international acts of every artful stripe. Most performances are ticketed but a number of free exhibits or street performances may be worth catching.
- The Red Bull Air Race, . held in Perth annually in early November. It is the Final of the season and the event determines the overall winner of the competition. Thousands of spectators pack the Swan River foreshore as planes fly at low altitude (just metres above the water!) at speeds reaching well over 300kmp/h). After the race, there is an air show in which the pilots can perform some airborne trickery. Potential spectators should be warned that it is a very busy event: parking will be a enormous problem (with some locals going to extreme lengths to get spaces) and public transport sparse.
There are two Woolworths Supermarkets located in the city. One is on the Murray Street mall near Barrack Street. This is open 7 days and until 9PM on Weeknights. It can get very busy around 5PM (the end of the business day for Perth office workers).
Another newly opened store is on St Georges Terrace, in the enex100 development. This store is open until 9PM on weeknights and 5PM on Saturday. On Sunday the store is open from 11AM-5PM. Woolworths accepts all forms of payment including Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Both of these stores carry the new Woolworths logo and branding on their signage, so they may differ in appearance to older stores around Perth.
King Street has some of the more expensive shops in Perth, including Louis Vuitton and Gucci.
'But' at the Northern end of King Street from Murray Street to around the corner of Wellington Street you will find a mix of fantastic locally owned boutique stores with more afforable designer Australian clothing and interesting designer imported clothing and a great coffee shop. Some of the best shops to visit are 'Love in Tokyo, Billy and Rose, Cult Status, Zekka, Mame and Dilettante. Hay Street and Murray Street malls are the main shopping precinct of Perth. They have a number of chain music, clothing and department stores. The two are connected by a number of arcades, including Carillon arcade, Plaza arcade and Picadilly arcade. These have a number of off-beat asian fashion stores, unique jewelry shops, and even a shop which specialises in gourmet teas. Basement level of Carillon arcade has a large food court. You can go and have a free Didgeridoo Lesson at Creative Native in Forrest Chase.
People seeking alternative clothing with a dance/street bent might want to check out Narcissist clothing (located along Barrack St - just listen out for the drum & bass oozing from the stairs that lead down to this basement level shop) and Red Rover clothing (Murray St east), the former of which also sells 12" vinyls, CDs, DVDs and a small selection of DJ equipment.
Keep an eye out for Elizabeth's secondhand bookstores - along Hay St (west) near King St. There is also one located along the cappuccino strip in Fremantle which is open 'til late on weekdays.
Harbour Town located on Wellington Street in West Perth (Yellow Cat to Harbourtown or Train, Fremantle line to City West. Within Free Transit Zone)is good for a budget shopping spree, and contains primarily outlet stores.
- Ajisan Ramen, Forrest Chase Square (Under Myer). A hodgepodge of Asian or Asian-style noodle soups on a big point and eat numbered menu board. The store doesn't have much style but there are seats inside. Might be worth a shot if Hans is full and you cant wait for some noodles. $10-12.
- Carillon Arcade Foodhall, Carillon Arcade (btwn Murray and Hay St). Sitting well at the bottom of the budget scale is this underground food hall with various shops around a central seating area dishing up food from around the globe. There is some pretty decent healthy and fresh food here if you look and ignore the fast food outlets. $10 for something good. Less for the other choice.
- Croissant Express, Various outlets, . M-F 7AM-4PM. You cant walk too far without passing one of these stores that are a good place for a cheap lunch. Ready made salad Baguettes, wraps and bagels are usually quite fresh since they have a high turnover. Some stores have seating in store or alfresco. The one in Carillon Arcade is nice. Baguette $6-9.
- Hans Cafe, Shop 24/24A 200 Murray Street (Forrest Chase opp train station), ☎ +618 9221 1313, . On the budget end but Hans has some great Asian food at a good price. Many rice, noodle and meat dishes, plus a few vegetarian options. The Thai Tom Yum Noodle Soup is particularly memorable. Noodles $10, Mains $13-16.
- Myong Ga Korean, 536 Hay St. Small but friendly Korean place serving fairly authentic Korean. The noodles are more interesting than the BBQ. Noodles $9-15, BBQ $13-15.
- The New Shima Japanese, 409 Murray St, ☎ +618 93211668. M-F 11:45AM-2PM, M-Sa 6PM-10PM. Very authentic Japanese. Set lunch of sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki or tempura with rice, miso soup and tea. Can be very busy during lunch but worth the wait. Lunch $12-15.
- Taka, 150 Barrack St (on Barrack and Wellington St, and in Shafto Ln btwn Barrack and Wellington), ☎ +618 9221 4771. Extremely cheap Japanese food.
- Etro Bistro, 49 King St, ☎ +61 08 9481 1148, . M-F 7AM-3PM, Sa Su 7:30AM-5PM. A stylish and relaxing cafe is on the pricey side but serves great food with prompt service. The upstairs mezzanine is a nice place to sit with a coffee on a warm day. Coffee $3.60, Meals $24-33.
- King Street Cafe, 44 King St, CBD, ☎ +61 08 9321 4476. In an old warehouse. Does a good breakfast and coffee.
- Nine Fine Foods, 227 Bulwer St, Northbridge, ☎ +61 08 9227 9999. Japanese fusion restaurant with a reputation for delicious and exquisitely presented fare. Mains $28-37.
- Amusé, 64 Bronte St E, ☎ Reservations +61 08 9325 4900. Winner restaurant of the year (2010) and best fine dining restaurant at the National Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards For Excellence.
- Cafe at the Hyatt, Hyatt Regency. A fairly upmarket buffet in a very nice location. One of the more expensive restaurants in Perth. $40 a head (plus drinks).
- C Restaurant Lounge, St Martins Tower, Level 33/44 (Top of the AAPT building, or St Martin's Tower), ☎ +61 08 9220 8333, . Has amazing views of the entire city including Kings Park. The food is good but the view is most definitely the defining feature.
- CBD Restaurant & Bar, 815 Hay St (bottom of the Rydges Hotel), ☎ +61 08 9263 1859.
- Yú Restaurant, Burswood International Resort Casino (Burswood, Casino side), ☎ Reservations +61 08 9362 7551. Fine dining.
Perth is home to a thriving, European-style cafe culture, influenced by the large amount of Italian migrants. There are a number of stylish cafes, including:
- The Moon Cafe, On William St, Northbridge, . Open till late. A staple for university students, gays and coffee-house intellectuals. It has off beat interior design, an assortment of quirky lamps, retro lounges and board games. Hosts a Jazz band every Thursday. Also serves great alcoholic beverages, light meals and snacks.
- Tiger Tiger Coffee Bar, Murray Mews in the CBD, . Some argue that Perth's best coffee can be found here. A remarkably serene and quiet back alley in the middle of the bustling city, it makes a nice escape. In addition, plenty of home made food is on the menu.
- Cafe on Oxford 130, Oxford St, Leederville. Includes board games for hire, and a funky plastic outdoor setting.
- Infusion Coffee, Plaza Arcade, CBD. If you're in the city and want something a little stronger than what Gloria Jeans has to offer, then Infusion Coffee has a pretty good selection.
- Belgian Beer Cafe Westende, 347 Murray St, CBD (Cnr King and Murray Sts), ☎ +61 08 9321 4094 ([email protected]), . Daily 11AM-10PM, later on weekends. Has an impressive selection of imported and local beers on tap, with specialised glassware to match.
- Sassellas Tavern, Third floor Carillon Arcade, CBD, ☎ +61 08 9322 4001. M-Sa 10:30AM-9:30PM. Has a balcony that overlooks Forest Chase, and if you're hungry they have a good selection of food that's ready in 10 minutes. The steak sandwich is good value for around $13.
- Bobby Dazzler's, 300 Murray St, CBD (Cnr Murray and William St), ☎ +61 08 9338 5000, . 10AM-10PM daily. This quintessentially Aussie pub/restaurant (which is adorned by Australian flags as well as sporting and Aussie beer related memorabilia) serves a good selection of draft beers which are complimented nicely by some (albeit overpriced) authentic Aussie grub.
- The Moon & Sixpence, 300 Murray St, CBD (Next to Bobby Dazzler's), . M-Th 11AM-12AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. This authentic British-theme pub has a wide and ever changing selection of local, British, Irish and European beers and ales, and as one might expect, the food isn't bad either (although this is where the authenticity ends, thankfully!).
- Carnegie's, 356 Murray St, CBD, ☎ +61 8 9481 3222 ([email protected]), . The motto of this very impressive pub/bar is "The Spirit of Rock" and, as such, the music policy leans towards contemporary rock and pop music (when the resident DJ isn't spinning, punters can select from a wide range of tunes from a state of the art video jukebox). The towering liquor cabinets are almost two stories high and as one might imagine, the draft beer, cocktail and "shooter" list is equally as monumental (Carnegie's has the longest cocktails list in Perth according to local press) and it is all complimented by a friendly and outgoing team of bar-staff. Tuesday night is quiz and $6 pints night whilst Wednesday nights feature half-price cocktails from 6PM.
- Amplifier Bar/Capitol Nightclub. Head here late on a Saturday night for some indie dance hits and an eclectic crowd.
- Ambar, 104 Murray St. Friday or Saturday night. This unpretentious bar/club, which serves some very tasty cocktails to compliment its uber-cool music policy, was the highest ranking Australian club in a DJ Magazine poll in 2005. Many local punters say that this accolade could be attributed to the crowd's friendly and "up for it" attitude.
- Nowhere, Cnr Murray Street, Irwin Street. An alternative/gothic nightclub. Little to no entry standards, show up however you please, baring plenty of skin. Fun atmosphere, friendly and interesting people. Club plays a variety of music, mostly centered on metal, gothic rock, industrial/electronic rock and punk. Drinks are very expensive, with the standard price of a cocktail being $17.
- Globe Backpackers, 561 Wellington St, cnr of Queen St, ☎ +61 8 9321 4080. Nice staff. Computers and internet by reception. $24 and up.
- Kings Perth Hotel, 517 Hay St (cnr Pier St), ☎ +61 8 9325 6555 ([email protected], fax: +61 8 9221 1539), . Double rooms from $86.
- Best Western Emerald Hotel, 24 Mount St, ☎ +61 8 9481 0866 ([email protected], fax: +61 8 9321 4789), . 4 star: large rooms with kitchenettes from $99. Close to King's Park.
- Citigate Perth, 707 Wellington St, ☎ +61 8 9327 7000, . Close to St George's Terrace, Northbridge entertainment precinct.
- Duxton Hotel Perth, 1 St George's Ter, ☎ 1800 681 118 (within Australia) or +61 8 9261 8000 ([email protected], fax: +61 8 9261 8020), . Twin rooms from $139, double rooms (king sized bed) form $159.
- Goodearth Hotel, 195 Adelaide Ter, ☎ +61 8 9492 7777, . 3.5 star hotel, offers 181 apartments, 1-2 bedrooms and studios
- Mercure Perth, 10 Irwin St, ☎ +61 8 9326 7000 ([email protected], fax: +61 8 9221 3344), . Rooms from $115.
- Metro Hotel Perth, 61 Canning Hwy S Perth, ☎ +61 8 9367 6122, . Stunning view of the City and Swan River. 3.5-star hotel, offers 94 hotel rooms and apartments.
- Perth Ambassador, 196 Adelaide Ter (East Perth), ☎ +61 8 9325 1455, . 3.5 star hotel, offers 170 rooms
- Rydges Perth, Cnr Hay & King Sts, ☎ 1300 857 922, . Adjacent to the West End entertainment and retail district.
- Somerset St Georges Terrace Perth, No 185 St Georges Ter, ☎ +61 8 9226 3355 ([email protected], fax: +61 8 9226 1055), . Stylish contemporary studios, spa studios and 1 bedroom apartments. Home entertainment system and internet access provided. Nearby to CBD, convention and cultural centre, 24 hr reception and business centre. From $175.
- Sullivans Hotel, 166 Mounts Bay Rd (Overlooking the City Centre and the Swan River), ☎ +61 8 9321 8022, . A family operated 3.5 star hotel.
- Hyatt Regency Perth, 99 Adelaide Ter (on the eastern edge of Perth's central business district), ☎ +61 8 9225 1234 ([email protected]), . 5 star hotel with extensive conference facilities and large rooms.
- Sheraton Hotel, 207 Adelaide Ter (overlooks the Swan River), ☎ +61 8 9224 7777, . Good quality 5+ star hotel.
Internet cafes are abundant.