Kings Park Start or end the day with Kings Park, though as long as the sun is shining, any time is a great time to visit and linger a while. We always discover new things when we visit - whether it be changes to Perth's skyline from this fabulous vantage, or additions to the many gardens that make up the park.
There is much to see and do around Kings Park and if you have longer to spend - check out some of the music or outdoor cinema events (mostly in Spring and Summer) or pack a picnic and the bocce/cricket set and while away a couple of hours on any of the expansive lawns. The area along Fraser Avenue and around the War Memorial overlooks the city and river and you will find lots of picnickers in this area well into the evening.
If you visit in the morning grab your walking or running shoes - there are lots of lovely walks to be done around the Park - and you will be joined by throngs of fitness lovers - runners, walkers and cyclists.
For fitness folks, while you are in the area you might also like to climb Jacob's Ladder - basically a staircase located just outside of the Park - that attracts lots of locals to get their heart started in the morning.
After taking in a couple of sights around the Park - there are plenty of spots to find a smackerel of something. For fairly pricey but beautiful gifts Aspects of Kings Park is a great place for locally produced handicrafts and artworks.
Perth CBD A quick ride on a local bus will deposit you in Perth city proper. Note that buses are free if you are travelling within the city and immediate suburbs - so no need to pay the bus driver on the quick hop from Kings Park into town (or vice versa if you are travelling that way).
The city area stretches a long way, roughly in parallel with the Swan River - from East Perth to West Perth - and there are a number of very long thoroughfares that traverse the city East to West. So when asking for directions - asking 'where is Hay St/Murray St/St George's Terrace?' will only get you part of the answer - these are long roads, so you need a landmark in mind.
If you would like to start by the Swan River, Barrack Square has the Belltower and a few restaurants and pubs and this area is in the process of being expanded to connect the city to the river. Consequently the surrounding area is a construction site at present and will be for some time, so it isn't really a spot to linger very long.
Wander up Barrack Street and you will pass the Supreme Court Gardens and cross St Georges Terrace - mainly commercial buildings line 'the Terrace', with the odd smattering food and shops. Carry on up Barrack Street, which will bring you to the eastern end of the pedestrianised Hay Street Mall and Murray Street Mall. Both malls run parallel to each other and are connected by a number of linking arcades.
Hay and Murray St Malls and their westward extensions are Perth's 'high street' - anchored by large department stores David Jones and Myer, and most brand names are located here. For very high end shopping, a short walk west to King Street will bring you to Gucci, Prada, Tiffany and other places I can't afford to shop.
At this point you may well need some lunch or at least a coffee. There are plenty of places for both, especially on week days, when you will be joined by the office crowd. My favourite lunch and coffee places are to the west of the malls - probably because that's where my office is located.
The Stables Bar is my current favourite. The dishes are small but moderately priced and delicious. For more budget eats every office worker in this neck of the woods knows and generally loves Mama Tran for Vietnamese delights. And tucked in the always-under-construction Cloisters Square Arcade are amazing sandwiches (get in early!) and serious coffee from Lowdown.
After lunch head across the train tracks to the Cultural Precinct - home to WA's main Art Gallery and Museum, and perhaps take a wander down William St in Northbridge as evening sets in.
My map of favourite Perth City spots can be found here:
A 30 minute drive out of the CBD feels like a world away in the Swan Valley, a collection of somewhat bucolic outer suburbs of Perth. You can certainly plan a day around this area and its sights are within fairly short drives of one another.
Along the Great Northern Highway and West Swan Road and their various interconnecting tributaries are a range of activities that the whole family can enjoy. There are restaurants, ice cream parlours, an offshoot of the Margaret River Chocolate Factory and next door Providore, breweries, a distillery and plenty of edible/drinkable options. I have made a little map of my favourites which you can find here.
Caversham Wildlife Park If you are keen on a picnic, there is also no shortage of spots. Whiteman Park is very popular - not just as a picnic spot, but it also has a range of other attractions including the Caversham Wildlife Park - a great spot for visitors to meet Australian animals.
The Swan Valley also has its fair share of wineries - the area produces a number of grape varieties and is particularly notable for its fortified wines. Lancaster Wines has a simple, pretty cellar door overlooking the vines where you can also sample cheeses. For a more established winery with extensive grounds, a full restaurant as well as wine tastings one choice is Sandalford Wines.
Leave a little time for other seasonal discoveries - in summer you can pick up lovely table grapes, watermelon from sellers here and there around the area.
Fremantle is our port city and makes for a pleasant day trip, accessible by train from Perth, which can be combined with some lovely beaches if you have time.
It is especially good to visit when the Fremantle Markets are open - Friday to Sunday and public holidays. Not only for good quality fresh produce, there are lots of interesting stalls - food and non-food sections are worth a wander. My favourite stall is Levi's Donuts - I can't walk past without grabbing a blackberry donut - they are just too good.
Fremantle has lots of areas to explore. Around the markets is South Terrace - otherwise known as 'the Cappucino Strip' - but you'll find much more than coffee along this stretch - there are lots of pubs, restaurants, cafes and gelaterias to choose from.
As you follow South Terrace around to Market and High Streets, eats give way to lots of interesting shops - particularly along High Street - the boutiques are well worth browsing.
Fremantle is famous for Fishing Boat Harbour - where folks and seagulls flock to sample the famous fish and chips of Cicerellos, Kailis or a handful of other options. If battered and fried goodness isn't doing it for you - there are plenty of other options, including Little Creatures brewery and Creatures Loft.
Just north of Fremantle are a couple of very nice beaches. Leighton and Port beach are great swimming beaches, but featuring on many an itinerary (and postcard) is pretty Cottesloe Beach. Cott is a great place to start the day with a wander, swim and breakfast - but any time of day is lovely. There are many cafes right on the beach - for breakfast my choice would be Barchetta, but there are lots of options.
Both these little day trips have their charms - Rottnest is a ferry trip and the Pinnacles a road trip - it is possible to make a lot more of both these trips but a day is sufficient to enjoy either Rottnest or the Pinnacles nicely in one day - without it feeling too rushed.
1. Rottnest Island
Long a favourite playground of many Perth folks, especially Perth folks with boats, there is something about stepping off the ferry on Rottnest Island - I always feel instantly relaxed.
Although it is very expensive to stay (or eat) on the island and options are quite limited - many families return to the island year after year thanks to the great beaches, car-free environment (bikes are the common mode of transport) and relaxed vibe.
It is possible to enjoy a great deal of what the island has to offer by taking your bike or renting one and just going exploring.
You can pick up provisions for a picnic at the Rottnest Island General Store - though prices are much inflated, or there are a couple of cafes and fast food outlets around.
A nice place to relax with a beverage, particularly in the evening, is the Quokka's Arms - a tavern with a beer garden overlooking the beach - where you will most likely be joined by the tavern's (and island's) namesake - the Quokka.
Quokkas are rather cute marsupials that, while not entirely unique to Rottnest Island, are certainly synonymous with the place. Dutch explorers mistook them for large rats - hence the name - Rottnest.
Two ferry companies provide journeys to the island from Perth's Barrack St Jetty (90 mins); Fremantle (Rous Head or Victoria Quay - 25 mins) or Hillarys Boat Harbour (45 mins). If you head out from Hillarys Boat Harbour, the Marina is also worth exploring - with good dinner options on your return. Check the ferry companies' websites for timetables and specials.
If you fancy a mini-road trip, there are a couple of sleepy spots north of Perth that make for some relaxing sight-seeing, culminating in the rather curious phenomenon that is The Pinnacles, within the Nambung National Park.
The Pinnacles are limestone formations in the dunes that are make for lovely photos at any time of day. A natural phenomenon, I only recently discovered the Pinnacles have featured in a couple of film clips - even in this Bollywood one from the movie Daud.
The Pinnacles are close to the towns of Cervantes and, a little further north, Jurien Bay. We went all the way to Jurien Bay the day we visited. A fishing town with nice beaches - we were there in time for a seafood lunch, before calling back to the Pinnacles.
The Pinnacles are a three hour drive from Perth - and the drive itself is very pretty, with views of the ocean and huge sand dunes.
Another stop-off town is Lancelin if you need a pitstop, but more interesting is the little township of Guilderton or Moore River, at the mouth of the river by the same name. This place has changed very little since the family camping trips I went on as a ten year old - but that is the charm of this area. There is lots to do here - there is a camping ground and the area is popular for fishing, canoeing (it is possible to hire canoes) and lazy walks along the beach.
If you have a little spare time on a sunny day, it is a pleasure to head up to the Perth Hills where there are plenty of little gems in the suburbs like Mundaring and Kalamunda.
Kalamunda has some terrific weekend markets and a main street worth exploring. A short drive away in Carmel is the lovely Melville Nurseries and Rose Heritage Cafe. Or sit among the orchards at Core Cidery in Pickering Brook with a platter lunch and a glass of cider.
Mundaring is also a great area to explore, with the lovely John Forrest National Park and historic Mundaring Weir.
Our main sporting grounds are the WA Cricket Ground and Paterson's Stadium (Subiaco Oval), which host mainly cricket and Aussie Rules football fixtures in season.
Alok has become a keen golfer since coming to Perth, and there are some spectacular courses around the place - there are a wide range of options including the world class resort courses at Joondalup and The Vines, as well as great public courses.