I traveled via Malaysia Airlines using my accumulated enrich miles point (it was also a promotional period that month) and landed at Perth on 19th Feb 2015. After all the hassles at the airport, I began my first easygoing exploration of food, stay, and activity on 20th Feb in Perth Central Business District (CBD). The weather was great – sunny, but still breezy. Initially, I had pre-booked a stay at Murdoch University Village, but decided to change to Sullivans Hotel at the very last minute due to its central location that makes it easier to commute to multiple places and closer to the writer’s workshop that I’m going. I arrived in Australia for the very first time with no plans, no special itinerary or whatsoever. Everything happened on the fly.
I met with several travel buddies at random, but most of the time I was all by myself. It’s a safe bet to say that Perth, or Australia in general, is a safe place to travel alone; everyone were very friendly and you wouldn’t face any difficulties especially on the language barrier – their native language is English, and every signboards were written in English. One thing that I love is the accent – it may seemed hard to understand Australian’s accent at first (more like a UK accent), but it wasn’t a problem for me after a couple of conversation with the locals.
During my trip, I didn’t rent a car because their mode of public transportation were very reliable. My life-saver was the detailed and accurate information (bus number, route, timing, etc) displayed by Google Map on my phone every time I navigate. I mostly traveled by bus and trains, and practically on foot walking from places to places. There’s always a diner at every whereabouts, or that you may wind up at parks at almost every suburbs you visited. It was no surprise to see people going for a jog in the middle of afternoon, or skate geezers commuting to work riding his skateboard along the sidewalk, or couples lying on the grass reading a book. I guess this scenery is pretty common in Western countries, but I was definitely amazed by these, especially in the city.
Perth CBD houses many attractions of shopping and food places, including street performances and a bunch of food trucks on Friday. I bought most of the souvenirs here, also books and some of my clothes from retails like Cotton On, Target and Roxy. On regular days, I would buy groceries from Woolworths to save some money and restocked my food. Other than plenty of coffee bars that I mostly hang around at, one of the restaurant that I discovered in the city was Jamie Oliver’s Italian Resto near William St. I expected it to be highly exclusive place serving expensive menu due to its well-known brand, but Jamie’s restaurant appeared to be cozy, affordable and greeted you with humble settings.
Near the place I stay, I went for a hiking to Kings Park via Kokoda Track on one late evening. It was a very steep climb of 150 steps that ascends a height of 62m. Within the inner city park itself, there were plenty of other trail walks, botanical gardens and several memorials (Kings Park was also previously featured in The Amazing Race show). Although I was exhausted after the climb, I was absolutely fortunate to be able to catch a magnificent view that overlook the entire city, partly covered by Swan River before and after sunset.
After several times wandering around the city, I decided to celebrate the Fringe World Festival by watching a movie near Roe St. (FWF is a multi-art festival during summer that crossover with Perth International Art Festival). But it wasn’t an ordinary movie, it was an indie movie on the rooftop. Yes, an open-air Rooftop Cinema! I watched ‘Zero Charisma’ – a geeky comedy film about a guy who’s a fan of fantasy role-playing games and a metalhead, where he’s the Game Master for his friends.
I made a mistake earlier that day by wearing thin layer of clothes and a pair of shorts, that I ended up freezing while waiting for the movie to start. I was there very early – which gave me the privilege to save a nice spot and catch a sunset view among the Perth city skylines from the top of the building. I didn’t realized at first that the movie had beanbags too, so that was a great surprise for me. There were on-site pop-out restaurant in vintage caravans that sells on-the-spot freshly baked pizza, candies, and beverages. I was told later that they provide blankets too, so everything went really smooth eventually. Together with the other visitors, we played game puzzles and Family Feud before the movie started. It was one the best experience that I had.
On the next episode, I will share some other activities and places that I explored outside the city, so stay tune guys!
- Summer is the best time to visit Perth – many happenings, big events and art festivals throughout the metropolitan area.
- Travelling by bus: There’s a sign at every stop that display the bus number, colour codes and its respective timetables. The busses operate at major routes in CBD and regions, usually at every 10–15 minutes. Even during weekdays, their timings were very accurate. Some of the buses are free to travel in the city (lookout for CAT lines), or you can save your travel fares via Transperth single ticket (on any combination of bus, train or ferry) that allows you to travel anywhere within a certain distance until the time limit expires.
- Wear comfy clothes. At night in February, it can be quite windy on certain days. Bring a soft-material jacket.
- Perth CBD closes its business early (around 5:30 PM) on most days except Thursday and Friday (about 9:00 PM). Therefore, plan your trip wisely if you have things to buy.
>> NEXT: Read Part THREE of the travelogue series.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Currently Listening: Wonderful – Stone Temple Pilot