Along the beach at Cottesloe and by the river from Old Perth
Port at Barrack Square to the foreshore at South Perth, Crawley,
Mosman Park and East Fremantle are some of the more fashionable
restaurants for eating out in style.
The alfresco cafes and coffee houses which line Fremantle's cappuccino
strip and the cluster of fish restaurants around the Fishing Boat
Harbour draw big crowds at weekends as the historic port city
bursts into life, drawing people from far afield to revel in its
But West Australians prefer nothing better than setting up their
own table and chairs at a picturesque picnic spot for a do-it-yourself
family barbecue. And Perth boasts countless barbecue facilities
- from Kings Park on the city's doorstep and riverside locations
to get-away-from-it-all retreats in the hills area of the Darling
A piece of prime real estate on the Swan River - named after
a midshipman who was the first European to set foot on the land
- is set to play a major role with Perth's barbecue aficionados.
The Heathcote site in suburban Applecross, with sweeping views
over the river and the city, had been used as a psychiatric hospital
for 60 years. It's now been opened up for public use and offers
visitors, not only the majestic views, but the very latest in
barbecue facilities. There's also a children's playground with
a difference to keep the young ones active while dad gets to work
on the sausage sizzle. Future plans for Heathcote include a museum
- due to open later this year - which will represent life as it
once was for patients of the old institution, a community arts
facility, youth leadership training and a restaurant.
Across the river from Heathcote is Kings Park, Perth's most popular
public playground, just a short stroll up St Georges Terrace from
the hustle and bustle of the city. Famous for its birdlife and
wildflowers (the Botanic Garden has more than 1700 native species)
as well as its views, the park has two small lakes around which
are popular picnic areas, while there are barbecue facilities
in a number of places within its 400 hectares of natural vegetation.
Kings Park stands on the brow of a noble hill called Mount Eliza
overlooking the city and another new attraction - a seven-storey
high bell tower, home of the 18 Swan Bells, a gift from the British
Government. The bells of Barrack Square are based on the original
12 bells in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, which
rang out to welcome back Captain James Cook from his Australian
voyage in 1788.
Barrack Street jetty is the launch pad for ferries to Rottnest
Island, another favourite playground for West Australians and
overseas visitors who lap up the island's varied leisure pursuits.
Famous for its quokkas, small marsupials which inhabit the island,
Rottnest has a rich natural and cultural heritage. Its pristine
beaches and crystal clear bays are a haven for swimming, snorkelling,
diving, surfing, boating and fishing.
Just an hour from Perth by ferry (30 minutes from Fremantle),
Rottnest has amazing diving with its coral reefs and a number
of shipwrecks. A ban on cars on the island leaves the humble bicycle
as the best way of getting around. Bicycles can be hired on the
island or visitors can take their own on the ferries).
Bicycles are also a popular mode of transport for sightseeing
on the mainland where hundreds of kilometres of recreational cycleways
weave their way around the river from Perth to Fremantle and many
other surburban areas. Alongside some of the cycleways are jogging
and walking lanes.
Even in winter, the ocean beckons hordes of surfers and some
diehard swimming enthusiasts who brave the cold for their regular
early morning dip. Beach jogging is a favourite pastime for many,
while the less energetic walk their dogs by the ocean (there are
designated beach areas where dogs are allowed), or simply find
a top spot to watch the world go by.
Of Perth's 19 beaches, Cottesloe is the most famous and, arguably,
the most popular - followed by Scarborough and City Beach.