What to Do in Perth’s Central Business District
Perth has long been an afterthought to travelers heading Down Under. It makes sense, considering that the capital of Western Australia is one of the most isolated cities in the world, clear across the continent from the country’s most popular destination, Sydney. In the past few years, though, Perth has reinvented itself, offering everything from world-class hotels to amazing restaurants that could rival those of Sydney and Melbourne. These days, you can get your fill of art, food, and great coffee alongside what the city has always been known for—blue skies, outstanding beaches, spectacular weather, and the omnipresent Swan River. And this revitalization can be best seen right in the heart of Perth, in the city’s Central Business District, where a dense collection of new and established businesses are leading the way in breathing new life here—like the six listed below.
For absolute luxury, check in to COMO The Treasury, the first Australian property from the Singapore-based company. Opened in October 2015, the hotel sits within the 140-year-old Heritage-listed State Buildings. The site has 48 spacious yet understated light-filled rooms designed by architect Kerry Hill. The public areas are equally generous. Dining options include the all-day diner, Post, and Wildflower, a rooftop restaurant. The Como Shambhala Urban Escape offers spa treatments, yoga, and personal training, and has a 20-meter infinity pool, which is dappled with sunlight and protected by louvered windows.
There’s a particularly strong focus on local visual arts at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. Since the first piece was acquired, in 1895, the gallery has formed a collection of more than 17,000 works, including many from Indigenous artists.
If modern art is more to your liking, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, known as PICA, runs a program that includes dance and theater, as well as performance and visual art. Both of these galleries are housed in the Perth Cultural Centre.
Set in the old newspaper offices in the city, Print Hall has four levels of dining and drinking options visualized by one of Australia’s best restaurant design crews, Projects of Imagination. Make your way to The Apple Daily Bar & Eating House for Southeast Asian street food, like crispy smoked barramundi with seven-herb salad; oysters with lime and nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce); or grilled pork spare ribs with tamarind, lime, and chili—all of which have been designed to share.
Like most other Australian cities, Perth is cashing in on the small-bar movement, with intimate venues for every occasion opening at a rapid rate. Hula Bula is a tiki bar reminiscent of Hawaii in the 1960s. There, you’ll find crowds sipping on tropical, rum-based cocktails while retro tunes play in the background.
While it’s not technically in the CBD, Kings Park is only a 25 minutes’ walk away from the neighborhood, and home to the Botanic Gardens and 3,000 species of flora native to this part of the world. It covers a total of 990 acres and includes bush trails, play areas, a kids’ nature park, and picnic areas. There are a number of free guided walks every day, as well as Indigenous Heritage Tours, where visitors learn about plants used for bush food, medicine, and the local Wadjuk people.