We have friends coming to Australia for the first time in April. They only have 4 days. That’s pretty much a long weekend. I’ve been thinking of all the things we have done with our kids and our other friends who recently stayed with us who were here for a much longer stay.
But what if you are from Melbourne or Sydney, or anywhere else, and you are only here for a weekend?
Looking for adventure? Well, this is my ideal summer weekend in the city I know best.
Fly in to Perth and rent or borrow a car. Check out hotels in the city or Fremantle beforehand and book a room. If staying in Fremantle this is the place you will want to be on a Friday night.
“Freo” as the locals know it, is home to a 500-strong fishing fleet and a vast number of yachts. The port city of Fremantle is located at the mouth of the Swan River on the west coast of Western Australia and is part of the Perth metropolitan area.
Fremantle is an architectural time capsule. It provides a range of cultural activities in a very relaxed atmosphere. There are numerous cafes and restaurants, you can browse markets (open till 8pm) or enjoy the ever-increasing number of street-performers and artists that line the streets.
I have two favourite breakfast places. For Saturday I would head to Café Elixir in Wanneroo. Owned and operated by a Melbournite, you are sure to have the best eggs benedict ever. Make a booking if you can because Saturday will get popular with the locals.
Since you are in the northern suburbs, you may as well take the kids to The Maze for fun in the sun. Complete with Australian animals like kangaroos and koalas, all types of mazes and now a new waterpark it will keep everyone happy and give you an authentic taste of Australia.
If you don’t feel like slipping into your swimmers, no worries, head over to the Swan Valley to sample wine, cheese, chocolate, ice cream and berry tastings. This region is home to wineries and fine food producers. Enjoy a late lunch at a brewery for something really special. This is a similar experience as heading “down south” for a few days, just more condensed.
On the way back to the city, stop at a supermarket to grab food for a picnic. Around 7pm head to the Crown Casino. Right next door is Movies By Burswood. This is an outdoor cinema playing all through summer - one of my favourite things to do in Perth.
Rent a beanbag, lay out your picnic and settle on the grass to enjoy the theatre in the warm summer evenings under the stars. If movies aren’t your style perhaps a theatrical production in King’s Park or a concert at Perth Zoo or a musical at Crown Casino?
Late Saturday Night
If you are still on the go after all of this (you mustn’t have kids) then simply slip off the sneakers for a pair of heels and walk next door to the Crown Casino. Enjoy some fine dining, dance at a number of clubs or gamble the night away with your awesome blackjack skills.
Possibly Saturday was full on so this morning you need some down time. Why not head to the Voyage Kitchen Café for breakfast on the beach. After brekkie you can hit Hillarys Boat Harbour for some well-needed beach time. If you have kids, they will love the playground, or for the young-at-heart a jetty for diving (or belly flops), and a multitude of restaurants all there right on the ocean.
Sunday Late Afternoon
After you’ve spent time relaxing at the beach, head to King’s Park. It’s one of the largest inner city parks in the world. You can visit the Rio Tinto Nature Scape or the Synergy Playground if you have kids – they will love you for it.
Adults might be keener to try the treetop walk, the DNA tower (the highest point in the park) or Jacobs Ladder with its 242 steps, an exerciser’s dream.
Watch as the sunset sends a warm shimmering glow off the skyscrapers in the city until just the twinkling city lights appear.
Head into Perth city for a night of fine dining, choose the revolving C Restaurant or any other popular city restaurants – for Thai try our favourite, Red Opium. If clubs and pubs are more your scene you can head to Northbridge for a bit more street atmosphere and a dance or three.
It’s time to bid your amazing weekend goodbye. Pack your bags, return the car and buy a souvenir featuring black swans at the airport gift shop to remember your dream weekend in Perth.