An old pavilion at Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Western Australia.
Photo: ZambeziShark/Getty Images
It’s commonly understood that the best way to explore a new place is to go straight to the locals. Each week in the Urbanist, we take that wisdom one step further by seeking out not just locals but local experts — those who are especially well versed in their cities’ newest and most noteworthy scenes — to give us insider recommendations. This week, we asked Australian singer-songwriter Katy Steele, frontwoman of Perth indie rock band Little Birdy, for her picks in Western Australia’s state capital.
“The isolation makes Perth an anomaly — you won’t see anywhere as untouched. The best thing about Perth is the beaches. It’s a huge part of our lifestyle. We have some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. City Beach, Cottesloe, and Fremantle are just some of the beaches that will absolutely blow your mind. Cottesloe Beach is my top pick. It looks like a postcard. It’s beautiful for swimming but also to sunbathe and to enjoy the view. I love going there at dusk and getting takeaway fish and chips from North Street Store (16 North St.) and watching the sun go down. It’s peaceful and romantic. Otherwise you could head to Il Lido (88 Marine Parade) for a sit down meal. The best time to visit is January and February when Fringe Festival and PIAF (Perth International Arts Festival) take over Northbridge. The whole city is really buzzing. The consistently beautiful weather makes Perth a great place in the summer, when it’s so hot all you want to do is cruise in shorts, singlet, sandals, and a big floppy hat. I really recommend a really great sunscreen too as the sun is brutal here — you can burn within five minutes of full sun. Summer here is December to February but usually continues all through March. Perth doesn’t have much of a winter, but even then the sun shines.”
“Rottnest Island is really dope for a day trip. You just jump on the ferry which takes about an hour and head over. Once there you can hire bikes and ride the whole island in two to five hours. You can go snorkeling and see some exotic fish and meet some quokkas. Quokkas are a species of marsupial that looks like a small squirrel crossed with a wombat with a rat’s tail. I have no idea why people are obsessed, but they’ve been called the ‘world’s happiest animal’ and are only found on Rottnest. They just roam around everywhere, and you have to be careful you don’t ride over them. If you have more time, I highly suggest heading down south to see some of the coast. Hire a car and go and see these towns: Yallingup, Margaret River, and Walpole. The beaches have some of the best surf in the world and the wineries and restaurants are beautiful. At Leeuwin Estate (Stevens Rd.) in Margaret River, they have concerts. Near Walpole, you can do the ancient tree top walk and walk amongst some of the tallest trees out there. Seeing the forest and nature so far down the coast is just breathtaking. Swan Valley is another nice idea for a day trip. There are loads of wineries and restaurants and it’s only 30 mins from city centre. Stop in at French Accent Restaurant (100 Benara Rd.) for some dinner.”