Images and story: Lynn Gail
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Pretty, perfect, Perth. Way out west in Australia, Perth is a city waiting to be slowly unwrapped. Some say it’s isolated. Others say it’s small smoke when compared to the ‘big smoke’. But peel back the lustrous layers, and it is near impossible to resist its cool and collective inner-city charm.
Each city compass point boasts a must-see highlight. To the west, Kings Park, one of the world’s largest inner-city parks, sprawls across 400 hectares and showcases over 3,000 species of West Australian flora. More than vibrant fauna, and floral fringed pathways, Fraser’s, the park’s fine dining restaurant, has panoramic views over the city and beyond. All aspects of the city tie together.
The park’s Kakoda Track snakes back into the city where Hay Street and Murray Street’s no-car malls brew some of the best coffee in town. Boutique shops, welcoming wine bars, and cosy cafes, frequented by suburbanites add magic to the city’s flawless makeup.
New kids on the block, Yagan Square - architecturally inspired by Aboriginal heritage, takes the north point – the design was named after Noongar warrior, Yagan, whose head was sent to England, no less – and Elizabeth Quay, warmly dubbed Betty’s Jetty, named after Queen Elizabeth II sits to the south. A 20-metre high and 120-metre long suspension pedestrian bridge spans over the quay and morphs into stylish shapes from each selective viewpoint.
A coffee bean’s throw from the Adina Apartments on Barrack Street is Petition Kitchen housed in a step-back-in-time, 1878 historic State Building. Their creative contemporary menu offers tasty tantalising morsels to start and end the day. Hop across the road, and the Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart shop sells addictive melt-in-your-mouth treats. Tart in hand, turn sharp right to The Bell Tower, Perth’s 82.5-metre-high glass needle where the ANZAC Centenary Bell chimes at 12pm every day. Level six has an open-air observation deck with a spectacular 360° view of the city and South Perth.
Progressive, growing and forever changing architecturally, a new addition to Perth’s artistic aerial landscape is the Optus Stadium. Ticking the eastern compass point, the multi-purpose arena has a 60,000-seat capacity; the creative design took out the Most Beautiful Sports Facility in the Prix Versailles 2019 International Architecture awards.
Leaving the best to last, Perth’s art scene is a bolshy brush stroke – the finishing touch to a culturally diverse city. The Cultural Centre in Northbridge, the city’s east-meets-west district, is home to the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Talented artist - indigenous, international, and student artwork are continuously displayed. Within the same precinct, vibrant laneways showcase talented street artists of the same calibre.