It would be “too easy” to focus on the obvious upsurge of wealthy young tradies in this post. As the CUBs (cashed up bogans) as they are know to the locals, over populate the capital of Australia’s largest state, Perth, WA. But, to quote a friend, a young arts director/film maker whom appeared in the latter stages of my ‘BOOM town’ adventure… “The CUBs are… Yawn… boring”!! And I couldn’t agree more!
Perth is a vibrant and exciting city, with a voice that just gets louder and louder! I was lucky to have arrived in the midst of the fringe festival (late Jan’ to early March), a time where art, fashion and music trumps all, and the artist within expels itself from all that are willing to participate. Which is a whole lot of people. And why wouldn’t you get involved? The festivals central playground is right bang smack in the middle in Perth’s “Cultural Centre”. A large pedestrian laced area filled with strategically place art and exhibitions, placed right between Perth’s largest transport hub; the Wellington street train and bus station, and the well facilitated public library. That’s right, free wifi all round!!.
Truly a magical place to be, the Cultural Centre held not one, but two festival gardens. The softly lit “Orchard Gardens” was a fairy tailors dream. With lounge furniture, sleepy flowerbeds, and a bandstand or two. It set the pace at for Perth’s ‘young and free’ at this nightly social gathering. Pop up bars serving the finest local brew, “Little Creatures” made it all the easier to procrastinate here.
Over at “Chevron Gardens”, the pre cursor to Fringe’s Main Stage, Perth’s very own little creatures were settling in for a night of rants, bants and dance! DJ’s would play on into the night, with influences from Berlin to New Orleans. A little something for every one!
Only a stones throw away from the cultural centre is the alternative mecca of Northbridge. Home to cheap eats, vintage wear, and some of the cities most lively watering holes, it is the cultural melting pot of WA. Hot Tip: Vintage shoppers run upstairs to ‘Oh Henry’ on the corner of William and Francis. A vision of quality over quantity, it’s definitely the slickest vintage that side of the tracks.
For those who enjoy ethical eats, find ‘source cafe’ at the east end of brisbane street (opposite the the brisbane pub, also worth a tipple). At source, it local fair. Organic (where possible), and definitely delicious. They cater for all tastes, including the gluten frees, veggies, vegans, and what ever else you can throw at them.
By night head to ‘Bird’, the all female bar staff were fantastic; the cocktails weren’t too bad either. The bar tends to get a little heavy with all its props so head to the backyard. Its has a second bar and seating so you can settle in for the long haul.
Prefer something a little more chilled? Jump down the road to ‘Ezra pound bar’. No need to choose a drink, these bar tenders can read your mind. Just take a seat and enjoy the ride. Ezra’s private alley way is locked by 8pm so make your way around the back. If you’re getting there late expect to queue!
For those who intend to push on till the early hours there is only one place I would spend my mornings. Dancing away on the terrace at ‘Connections’ nightclub! The club itself has a good vibe but the “electro” music is generally not my thing. However, make you way to the smokers terrace to immerse yourself in great music, beautiful people, and a view only matched by midnight walk in Kings Park. This venue proudly fly’s the rainbow flag at the door, so non-liberals need not apply!
From one great view to the next, take a picnic up to aptly named ‘King’s Park’. A mecca where Perthites paying homage to there city. Arrive early evening to admire the views and wait as the sunsets and darkness prevails. In true hero fashion, the city fights back the darkness and comes alive with an unintentionally spectacular display of city lights. Keep an eye out for a particularly colourful building and its secret messages.
The not so big secret about perth is obviously the beaches. They define its cultural spirit; so dive right in. The beaches stretch for miles so take a trip down ‘sunset drive’, starting at Fremantel port finishing at the Hillary’s (great for all the family). Each beach has an individual charm, so try them all. My favorite was ‘city beach’ but don’t let me decide, find out for yourself. Don’t forget to stop at cafe ‘YELLO’ about halfway down the sunset drive for a serious slice of chill!
Chilling is what Perth does best so take a leaf out of their book and follow the crowd. Do everything you need and want to do, just don’t rush to do it. Perth is an exciting, cultured city, which grows inside and out with everyday that blows by at its leisurely chilled out pace. Its cool! Some might say its not as cool as the other well know Australian cities. But you know what… when you’re this chilled out… who cares!!