Australia’s largest State, Western Australia, is home to many extraordinary attractions and experiences. Here, travellers will find a lively capital city, pristine beaches, ancient landscapes, towering forests, secluded waterfalls, bright pink lakes and the world’s largest wildflower collection.
Long celebrated as one of the world’s prettiest and most liveable cities, the State’s capital city Perth is now striding confidently on to the international stage as a leading player in Australia’s cultural, hospitality and events scene.
Tourism Western Australia Chief Executive Officer Gwyn Dolphin said more visitors than ever are marvelling at the explosion in attractions, accommodation and nightlife which complements the city’s natural beauty – delivering an all-round, exceptional destination.
“Perth now offers some of the best value hotel and short stay accommodation in Australia following the raft of new and refurbished properties that have opened in the CBD and surrounding urban and coastal areas,” Mr Dolphin said.
“Not only are visitors enjoying more choice in accommodation, they’re also saving with Perth hoteliers offering up some great deals.”
Recent statistics show that WA has seen a significant increase in Malaysian visitors, totalling more than 109,000 in year ending December 2016 – a 35% increase from the year prior. Adding to this, WA takes a 31% market share of Malaysian travellers to Australia.
Since 2012, 20 new or redeveloped hotels have opened in and around Perth, adding nearly 1,800 new rooms to the local market. These include COMO at the Treasury which has been named as Australia’s best city hotel, and the six-star Crown Towers Perth. Other hotels to recently open include Peppers Kings Square, Tribe in West Perth, Alex Hotel in Northbridge, Aloft Hotel in Rivervale and Quest Fremantle. In the next four years, a further 16 new or redeveloped hotels will come online, adding more than 2,800 new rooms. It’s about quality and quantity with a broad selection of boutique, big name and luxury accommodation options coming online including the Ritz-Carlton’s first Australian property in 10 years, The Westin in the eastern CBD and three developments from the DoubleTree group.
Wining and dining boom
Perth’s redevelopment has inevitably led to a wining and dining boom. Fresh WA produce and wines are available at new bars, cafes, and restaurants in or near the city’s centre, including Shadow Bar and Dining Room, Ku De Ta, The Standard, Isle of Voyage and The Reveley to name a few. The recently renovated State Buildings precinct, with its high ceilings and grand halls, is home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants including Petition Kitchen, Long Chim and Wildflower. WA is fast developing a reputation as a world-class food and wine destination, with its gourmet produce, fresh seafood, award-winning wines and beverages and premium events including the Margaret River Gourmet Escape in Margaret River (November).
New tours in Perth are enabling visitors to discover more about the city and its past, including its Aboriginal history. Jump on board a solar electric boat for Indigenous Experiences Australia’s two-hour cruise along the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River), learning about ancestral stories and sacred places. Back on land, walking tours with GoCultural’s Noongar guides reveal fascinating alignments between modern Perth and ancient Aboriginal sites and tracks. Launched in early 2016, Swan River Seaplanes offer day return tours from Perth to Margaret River aboard a seaplane. The aircraft flies passengers along WA’s stunning coast before landing at Margaret River for a day of gourmet food and wine tasting. There are also new tour offerings available in the Swan Valley, including Explore Tours Perth’s Cheese and Wine Making experience.
• Fremantle was included in Lonely Planet’s 2016 Best in Travel guide for good reason. With more than $1 billion dollars of redevelopment in the planning pipeline, look out for new venues such as Seashells and the Sweetwater rooftop bar in the Richmond Quarter, COAST at Port Beach, Segway and self-guided walking tours, a range of cruises and a thriving craft beer scene.
• Scarborough Beach is on its way to becoming one of Australia’s best beachfronts. A $100 million foreshore redevelopment is set to be unveiled in early 2018, including a beachside swimming pool, cafes, restaurants, kiosks, public art and a skate park, as well as improved transport.
• Slightly further south, popular City Beach is home to lush lawns, white sand and an expanding range of waterfront dining options including the chilled-out deck at newly opened Odyssea Beach Café and watching sunsets from Clancy’s Fish Bar.
• Visitors to Rottnest Island will see upgrades to the golf course and walk trails, as well as a new marina. Luxury refurbishments are complete at the Hotel Rottnest while an upmarket ‘glamping’ experience is expected to open at Pinky’s Beach in late 2017.
Public and cultural spaces
• In 2016, stage one of the city’s new waterfront development, Elizabeth Quay, opened to the public. The precinct, which has reconnected the city to the Swan River, is home to a number of wining and dining options, pedestrian and cyclists’ bridge, promenades, public art, island playground and event spaces, including the annual Perth International Arts Festival (February/March) and Fringe Festival (February).
• The Perth City Link project is another major development for Perth that will reconnect Perth City with Northbridge (a cultural and entertainment precinct) for the first time in 100 years. As part of the project, a new public space is being developed – Yagan Square – which will be a place to have fun, meet, play, eat and shop from a showcase of WA produce, with permanent markets, kiosks, cafes, interactive displays, native gardens and public art on offer.
• Perth Stadium will be one of the major sporting and entertainment venues for Perth, and one of the major international sporting venues for Australia when it opens early 2018. Premier League powerhouse Chelsea Football Club will play an international match at the stadium next year.
OTHER EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES IN WA:
• Get a taste of Margaret River. A three hour drive south of Perth, Margaret River produces some of the best wine in Australia with more than 200 wineries, as well as stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, caves and world-class surf breaks.
• Snorkel World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef. Visitors can walk straight off the beach and snorkel over superb coral gardens teeming with colourful fish mere metres from the shore at World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef. The world’s longest fringing reef has long been regarded as one of the most reliable places in the world to swim with the gentle whale shark (March to July), and now visitors can experience a humpback whale swimming interaction tour too (August to October).
• Discover Australia’s last great wilderness, the Kimberley. The gateway to the Kimberley, Broome, is only a 2.5 hour flight from Perth. Take a camel ride along the 22km white sands of Cable Beach, explore the mangroves with an aboriginal guide, experience untouched savannah landscapes, swim under stunning waterfalls, and see the world’s only horizontal waterfalls.
• Watch kangaroos lazing on the sand at Lucky Bay in Esperance. With its sweeping stretches of white sand, Cape Le Grand National Park in Esperance is a place so relaxed, even the kangaroos can’t resist lazing on the sand here.