Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia © Tourism Australia
Perth suburb guide
Whether you want to soak up a beachside lifestyle or revel among inner-city buzz, in Perth, you can have it all.
By Ute Junker and Carly Spek
Perth is known for enjoying more sunny days than any other Australian capital city, making it the perfect place to enjoy the gorgeous beaches fringing the wine bars, museums, sprawling parks and restaurants of the inner city.
Where: City centre, Northbridge, Mount Lawley
Expect the unexpected in Perth’s most central neighbourhoods: heritage buildings reinvented as restaurants, laneways that double as alfresco bars and metres-high murals decorating the sides of office blocks. A natural escape is never far away, with the tranquil Swan River and the sprawling Kings Park easily accessible from the heart of town. In Northbridge, find a congregation of Perth’s best museums, theatres and galleries.
Just how many top-notch bars and eateries can you fit under one roof? In the city centre, the beautifully restored State Buildings are home to some of Perth’s best restaurants – including Long Chim’s authentic Thai cuisine and the rooftop fine diner, Wildflower – but the place to be for breakfast is Petition Kitchen. Hit trendy William Street in Northbridge for cocktail bars like the swanky Picabar, Asian eateries and vibrant LGBTQI+ nightlife.
Take a wander down to the lively Elizabeth Quay by the river, or stroll along quirky King Street where the high fashion boutiques at one end give way to hip speakeasy bars at the other. Join a walking tour through Kings Park with Nyungar Tours to learn more about Perth’s Aboriginal history, or explore the colourful street art and pocket bars tucked away down Wolf Lane. For a spot of shopping, stop by Mount Lawley’s Beaufort Street’s boutiques.
Perth's inner city hotels tend to be stylish and playful, with many offering some of the area's best dining in-house. Sip a nightcap at one of Northbridge’s bars before laying your head at the minimalist-chic Alex Hotel and take advantage of their complimentary bikes to get around the city the next day. You could also check in to a bright and airy room at the elegant city centre hotel, COMO The Treasury, or stay a while at the playful QT Perth.
Any local will tell you: the beach is an integral part of daily life in Perth. Local residents often start the day with a quick dip and return at the end of the day to watch the sun sink into the horizon from a beachside bar, as Perth’s beaches are easy to get to from the city. But there is more to its most well-known trio of coastal hubs (Fremantle, Scarborough and Cottesloe) than just swimming, surfing and socialising, especially in historic Fremantle.
Thirty minutes’ drive south-west of the city centre, Fremantle (“Freo” to locals) is home to the lively Fremantle Markets, a thriving craft beer scene and some of Perth’s best cafés and restaurants such as Bread in Common. Over in Cottesloe, 15 minutes from the city centre by public transport, foodies can enjoy the delights of The Cottesloe Beach Hotel, a favourite weekend hangout with locals.
You'll find people swimming, surfing and snorkelling the coast in all of Perth's beachside suburbs. Cottesloe ticks all the boxes for a relaxing day out, with its gentle ocean swell and picnic-ready lawns shaded by Norfolk Pine trees. The warm breeze of Scarborough Beach draws kite surfers, and a host of shoreline cafés make the perfect viewing point. History buffs can't skip a visit to Fremantle for the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison.
Comfortable, laid-back stays are sprinkled throughout Perth's shores. In the heart of Fremantle, the Hougoumont Hotel offers an innovative boutique sleeping option honouring Freo’s seafaring past. For something completely different, you can even sleep in a former prison cell at the Fremantle Prison YHA. Further north, enjoy ocean views from The Cottesloe Beach Hotel, or relax by the lagoon-style pool at Scarborough’s Rendezvous Hotel.