AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GIRLS: #65
With sun, sand, and ridiculously adorable koalas, there’s a whole lot to love about Australia. Most tourists hit the country’s major travel destinations, like Melbourne, Sydney, or the Gold Coast. And while those places are fun, the insider’s gem is Perth. Located in Western Australia, this coastal city has a population of 1.9 million people, and killer vistas: go west and you’ll be swimming in the Indian Ocean, head east and you’re in the outback, mate. Perth’s isolation means travelers often overlook it, but a visit is well worth the effort. This city’s got fantastic cafés, cute shops, ridiculously talented musicians, and arguably the best weather in the world. (Seriously, the sun shines every single day.) June through August might be too chilly to swim, but the rest of the year is fair game for a dip in the clean, clear ocean. So book your ticket now and get ready to fall in love.
Perth’s Southeast Asian restaurants are delicious, authentic, and cheap—head to the Central Business District and Northbridge neighborhoods for a tastebud explosion. Also check out Cafe Mueller (12 William St.), a house in the eastern suburbs that operates as a German restaurant. This intimate, menu-less, BYOB spot serves whatever the owners feel like making. Solomon’s Café (487 Beaufort St.) is owned by a famous Perth hip-hop artist, and serves up organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and processed-sugar-free food. The raw “Snickers bar” is to die for.
The staff at The Bird (181 William St.) is lovely, the lights are low, and the bands it hosts are awesome—stop by soon before everyone else discovers it. Hula Bula Bar (12 Victoria Ave.) offers Tiki-themed fun and amazing cocktails. The first Thursday night of each month is devoted to ’60s, garage, and psych music. At Mechanics Institute (222 William St.), popular with the young after-work crowd, you can get a delicious burger from the downstairs restaurant Flipside delivered to your barstool.
Little Willy’s (267 William St.) serves the best coffee in town and has drool-worthy baristas. A few steps from the Maylands train station is Mrs. S (178 Whatley Cres.), a fairytale/Mad Hatter-themed café that serves mindblowing cakes and superb coffee.
Ruck Rover General Store
The Ruck Rover General Store (242 William St.) stocks adorable clothing and accessories for women, men, and even babies. Choice options range from twee brooches to retro dresses fit for Betty Draper. The comprehensive Dada’s Record Store (36 Pier St.) is a fave of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, and is presided over by a guy who looks like a Tolkien wizard.
Dada’s Record Store
Perth’s got some amazing beaches, but Australian sun is brutal, so make like a local and “slip, slop, slap.” (That’s Aussie speak for slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, and slap on a hat.) One of the best places to catch some rays is the touristy-yet-beautiful Cottesloe Beach, where you can eat some fish and chips as you watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. Also check out the less-trafficked City Beach, and cook up your dinner on one of the free barbeque grills.
Imagine an island where bikes rule and cars are outlawed, where you can lounge on pristine beaches and watch mini-kangaroo-like quokkas (Google ‘em) bounce carefree through the streets. It’s all happening on Rottnest Island, a mere 30-minute ferry ride from downtown. (For schedules, visit rottnestexpress.com.au). Or rent a car and drive (on the left!) three hours from Perth to Margaret River, a region full of cute wineries, hip breweries, rugged beaches, and views of the stunning night sky.
Ferry to Rottnest
Travel Tips and Tricks
Don’t spend all your time downtown; hip suburbs like Northbridge, Mt. Lawley, Leederville, and North Perth are great spots for coffee, indie shopping, attractive Australians, and good vibes.
Up-to-date info on cultural events in the city can be found at: thethousands.com.au/perth
Save money by using the free CAT buses that service the central part of Perth and by buying a Smartrider (a transit card that gives you a discount on railway tickets). Or consider renting a car, because taxis are super expensive and public transport can be inefficient on weekends.
By Melissa Coci
Photographed by Jacqueline Jane
This article first appeared in our Dec/Jan print edition of BUST
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