The West Coast’s coolest city

The city of Perth on Australia’s West Coast has blossomed over the past few years, transitioning from somewhere known for its small-town feel and ever-burgeoning population of off-duty miners to becoming one of Australia’s hippest cities.

It sprawls from a CBD of skyscrapers set against historic, convict-built architecture – majestic but squat in comparison to modernity’s high-rises – to quiet, beachy suburbs overlooking the glittering Indian Ocean (next stop, Africa). Everywhere though is centred around water, from the Swan River which splices through Perth’s heart, to the long coastline which boasts some of the best beaches in Australia.

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From incredible art galleries to the top spots for food

Thanks to its mineral-rich land Perth has a reputation for wealth, and with that, comes amazing art collections. First stop on your art gallery hotlist should be the world-class Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) in Perth-central.

Aside from engaging, changing exhibitions, it also plays host to one of Australia’s most impressive collections of Aboriginal art – check out the Six Seasons Gallery. For something more modern, head over to the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA). Set in a heritage building that was once the Perth Central School, this is where locals go to see cutting-edge art and performance pieces.

Right outside AGWA and PICA, there’s an adorable, pink-toned shipping container called Pretzel where you can (perhaps unsurprisingly) pick up sweet or savoury hot pretzels. Or continue down the road to Toastface Grillah – a hole-in-the-wall café specialising in super cheesy toasties. Around here you’ll also get to experience Perth’s flourishing street art scene, where there are plenty of murals painted on the neighbourhood walls. Gordon Street Garage in West Perth is just the spot for a caffeine fix among stunning post-industrial interiors, or for amazing Mexican, go to El Publico in Highgate. With Mexican folk on staff, and a chef who cares about the tiniest details of his dishes (even the taco shells are handmade in house), this is some of the best Mexican food you’ll eat outside of Mexico (try the pumpkin and pepita taco and never scorn vegetables again).

There is one experience in Perth that really sets it apart from the rest of the country, and that’s the sunset over the Indian Ocean. Swing by for aperitivo overlooking the sands, under the shade of a yellow and white striped canopy, at The Shorehouse in Swanbourne, or make a beeline for beachy Fremantle (known to locals as ‘Freo’, pronounced ‘free-o’) where you can sample some of the city’s best cafés (Bread in Common’s freshly baked bread is a must-eat), coolest shopping (check out Corner Store) and have a squiz at Western Australia’s oldest surviving building, the Round House, built as a prison in 1830. On the way back up to Perth-proper, a swim and snorkel at Cottesloe Beach guarantees you’ll be in a chilled state of mind.

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