I now understand what it was like for my Southern Hemisphere friends whilst I was living in London, spending every other weekend (or every weekend, some months) gallivanting about Europe (sorry guys). Living through my second consecutive winter, whilst photos and Insta-stories of sunshine and azure water stream from Europe hasn't been all that fun. Jealousy levels are running high.
Moving back to Melbourne, I thought it was about time to make an effort to see more of the country I've called home for most of my life, Australia, and the country of my birth, New Zealand. Little did I realise just how expensive it is, to get to places such as Broome, Uluru, and Kakadu. I've been missing the regular travel (though in reality, I'm probably healthier for it), so last weekend I headed to Perth... not quite as exotic, but great all the same!
My family lived in Perth for a couple of years when we first moved to Australia from New Zealand, over 20 years ago (eek, as if that isn't enough to make one feel old). I have fond memories of our time in Perth and I hadn't been back since I was a kid, so I was excited to spend a few days reacquainting myself with the city (and even more excited to spend time with one of my best friends, Luce).
Being so isolated from the eastern states of Australia, Perth has always been a step or two behind, but isolation can foster creativity and from what I saw, Perth really does have a lot going for it (if nothing else, the weather is pretty amazing; didn't see a single cloud all weekend). Here are some of my favourites, hope you enjoy. L x
Normally I'd give a recommendation of where to stay, but I was lucky enough to stay with my friends Luce and Damian at their home in Wembley (complete with pre-delivery of keys, a welcome sign, a list of local places, a super comfy bed, and turn down chocolate... 3 Lindor balls, no less!). Scratch that, if you can stay with Luce and Damian, do. It's great!
ARCHITECTURE & SIGHTS
Without a doubt one of the most beautiful pieces of contemporary Australian architecture I've had the pleasure to experience, the City of Perth Library is a must visit even for the non-Archinerds out there. Climbing the sweeping staircase, the facade fins cast shadows on the timber battened walls. The detailing is impeccable and the palette of materials is wonderfully restrained. Stunning work by Kerry Hill Architects.
Another beautiful building by the WA based (and seriously talented) Kerry Hill Architects, the WA State Theatre features a gold mirror stair. Need I say more? I may or may not have spent a little bit of time in front of the gold mirror #refloyctions.
I wish I had more time last weekend to explore the State Buildings and the restaurants inside. FJM Property led what was no doubt a painstaking restoration of the former Lands, Titles, and Treasury buildings. Will be back here for sure.
If you know me, or have followed my instagram at all, you'll know I'm a long time shoe addict and a more recently converted sneaker head. As luck would have it, the WA Art Gallery is currently showing a rare and iconic collection of sneakers, the Rise of Sneaker Culture. Seeing the full catalogue of Air Jordans was pretty special.
With all of that good weather, it's lucky that Perth has some beautiful beaches to match. We headed to City Beach to watch the sunset (be warned, blink and the sun will have dipped below the horizon before you know it). I don't take the time to watch the sunset (and certainly not sunrise) very often, and this was a reminder that I need to.
Perth's most popular beach, Cottesloe Beach and it's grassy terraces are an ideal spot to while the day away (or eat calamari and chips).
FOOD & DRINK
I caught the early morning flight out of Melbourne, so after dumping my bags, the first thing I did was find myself sustenance! Tiisch was my stop of choice, after chancing across some photos of the gorgeous space and their food on instagram (if you hadn't already realised, I'm sort of obsessed with insta). The space is light and airy with beautiful original coffered high ceilings, and plants cascading down the walls. My smashed avocado was nothing short of delicious.
I had heard from a couple of coffee fiends that good coffee in Perth is hard to come by. Kafka does great coffee in even greater dip dyed pink cups, just make sure you specify cup size/milk quantity if you prefer your coffee on the stronger, less milky side.
I had heard of Mary Street Bakery and it's salted caramel donuts. Just yum.
Piccolo's Corner is a quaint little spot in West Leederville popular with the locals. My smashed avocado (seeing a pattern here?) with mashed peas and a chorizo crumb, was a delightful combination.
Bread and cheese are two foods that form about two thirds of my diet, so Toastface Grillah was always going to be on this list.
David Thompson's Long Chim is located in the basement of the State Buildings. I'd eaten at the Melbourne branch previously, and honestly, I wasn't terribly impressed by the food or the ambiance. The Perth location was totally different. There restaurant was buzzing on the Friday night; our waiter was helpful with recommendations to the point we just had him order for us; and the food was deliciously spicy (beware the Larp, it packs a serious punch, and I LOVE my chilli).
We popped into Wildflower, on the rooftop of the State Buildings, for a cocktail before dinner. The terrace is equipped with blankets and a spectacular view, and the Australian botanics inspired cocktails are interesting. On the list for next time, is Petition Kitchen, also located within the same complex.
Another one for next time is Bib & Tucker in North Freo. It was packed the day we visited and it's little wonder, when it has one of the breathtaking views from its dining room.
Whilst in Perth I had the privilege of catching up on the last two decades with my primary school best friend, Natalia. It was fun reminiscing with both her and her Dad. It was even more fun tucking into the exquisite platter of food (and feast for the eyes) Natalia put up for lunch. If you are a Perth local, Table & Plate do the most insane platters and grazing tables. Trust me, you've not seen food look this pretty before (and it's tasty too).
The find of the weekend would definitely be Chi Cho. Chez and Carly craft artisanal gelati in Perth that rivals the best I've eaten in Italy (and if you've read any of my Italy posts, you'll know I've sampled a lot). Malted milk and Cornflake Cookie, Roasted Macadamia with White Choc Chips, Grapefruit and Campari, were just some of the flavours we tried. It was so good, Luce and I made sure to make a second trip back before I headed to the airport!