Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My Favourite Perth and Perth Area Stuff to Do

I can't believe our time in Perth is already over. Perth is an absolutely beautiful, wonderful city. Steven and I spent a good 10 days in the city and the area, I could definitely imagine myself living there.

View from the Botanic Gardens in Kings Park

The city is built around Swan River, so you'll see a lot of names using the word "Swan" like names of coffee shops and stuff. It's basically the gateway city to the West (after all, it's in the state called Western Australia), so there are plenty of business people here for the mining industry. As such, you'll find the major hotel brands, plenty of shops, food, arts, etc. Like I've blogged about before, there are walkways built all down the river and around the parks, so walking, running and biking are all easy and beautiful.

So, I've decided to compile a list of some of Steven and my favourite Perth area things to do. This list really only covers our FAVOURITE things, so we're missing a ton of Perth City's attractions, restaurants and laneways. Spending 10 days in the area really didn't give us enough time to try out all the restaurants we wanted to, but here are my personal favourite experiences.

1. Margaret River Vineyards

I had some of the best food and experiences here in Margaret River. Some very famous and good vineyards are here in Margaret River, so if you're really into that stuff, this is the place to go!

It all started with our accomodation. It was literally perfect: Prideau's of Margaret River is right in the middle of town, luxurious, gorgeous, and relatively cheap! 

I had one of the most delicious breakfasts I've ever had at Margaret River Bakery: Feta and Avocado with Tomato salsa on toast.

We had an expensive fancy lunch at the oldest vineyard in Margaret River, Vasse Felix. The chips were so fresh and delicious. I didn't really like the wine, but that could have been because of the specific vintage we had with lunch.

The grounds, like all vineyards, are beautifully maintained. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day so we couldn't take a walk around the vines.

We did a guided tour of the amazing Jewel Cave a short drive south of Margaret River. I've never seen stalagmites or stalactites before, so learning about all of these plus the straws and curtains was really cool. Jewel Cave is completely dry, and has been since 1992, so there was no option to do a paddle tour, but other caves near by are still full of water. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to try one of those caves, but I think that would be really amazing.

I would definitely do Margaret River again. In fact, I would even stay for 2 nights or more to get in a surf at the nearby Prevally beach town, and explore more caves. Oh, and drink some more wine!

2. East Perth and Toast 

The best breakfast we have had in Australia by FAR was at Toast. I have never had such buttery hollondaise sauce and perfectly cooked eggs....mmmm..... butter....

The East Perth area is new and shiny and beautiful. They recently re-did this small man-made lake, bringing in cleaner waters and more wildlife. This is where we spotted the grey cormorant in the above photo drying his wings in the sun, and these black swans and their little babies. 

Steven's favourite bird is the Willy Wagtail. He literally perched over my shoulder and watched me eat breakfast. If birds could beg for breakfast, this one was doing a great job at it.

Breakfast and birds? Best way to start the day. :) 

3. Wave Rock and The Pinnacles

I've already blogged about The Pinnacles, but both it and Wave Rock really deserve to be on this list. They're both day-trip-distance from Perth, so 3 or 4 hours one way. We even took our sweet time to get snacks, gas, and breaks along the way. 

Out of the two, I'd have to say Wave Rock is cooler. There are a whole bunch of walks in and around the area, even up on top of the wave. If you venture a few kilometers up north, there's a lake and walks around there too. Unfortunately, we didn't plan to spend hours exploring Hyden (the name of the area), so we couldn't do much but take photos atop a big rock.

4. Fremantle, the Hollywood set

So many people have told Steven and I about the wonderful Fremantle, only a 20 minute train ride from central Perth. Unfortunately, we set our expectations too high and were a bit disappointed.

The town is full of old buildings, like the town hall and round house, but in the dead of winter on a weekday, the streets are bare and storefronts are empty. Against the beauty of the old buildings and streets, the emptiness of the town made it really feel like a creepy Hollywood set, like it was all fake.

A short walk away from the bustling Cappuccino Strip (which disappointed both of us with its food options...vegetarians always get the short end of the cuisine spectrum...), we explored the Fremantle Prison. I wish we had planned for more time to do one of these tours, but they're both pricey and lengthy. From what we learned from the public displays, this prison was built by and housed prisoners from England. There were great fires, escapes, and executions on these grounds. The underground tunnels are half-filled with water, so you can even paddle under the prisons and learn about all the escape attempts.

So there you have it: our favourite Perth area things to do! If you've ever been to Perth, what's your favourite experience there?

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