Insider's guide to... Perth


What's the weather like now?

What's the weather like now?

It's balmy and autumnal. The sun hasn't disappeared completely and some days are still quite warm, but when the Fremantle Doctor (a wind, not a medic) blows up in the afternoon there's a chill in the air. Perth's glamour set are secretly thrilled as it means that they can dust off their pashminas and don their knee-length black leather coats.

What are locals complaining about?

The dreaded GST (Goods and Services Tax), a form of VAT which is to be introduced on 1 July, and will make pashminas and black leather coats about 10 per cent more expensive. Even the government still can't get to grips with how exactly the new system is going to be implemented or how consumer prices will be affected, let alone inform shops and businesses about how to make the change. It's such a problem that accountants (as boring in Perth as anywhere else in the world) are even being invited to dinner parties to explain it.

Who's the talk of the town?

The luminous and talented actress Frances O'Connor, dubbed "the new Cate Blanchett", who trained at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth and is now making waves both in Australia and abroad. Mansfield Park, the screen adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, in which O'Connor stars as heroine Fanny Price, has just opened to excellent reviews here, although the lesbian undertones in the film hasn't endeared it to all Austen fans.

What's the cool drink to order?

"Darling, do have a riesling". So say ladies lunching around town. Grape varieties are as fashionable as designer shoes and handbags in some Perth quarters, and riesling is as popular as Prada right now. Of course if you're truly hip and groovy then it's water, water, water - to wash down those little pills.

What are people eating?

Things out of boxes. In a gimmicky take on the American take-away tradition, several trendy eateries are serving up Asian fusion fare in cardboard cartons, eaten with chopsticks.

What's the latest outrageous stuff on TV?

Popstars. It's a cross between a documentary and a soap opera and charts the creation of girl band Bardot, Australia's answer to the Spice Girls. Viewers were treated to a no-holds-barred coverage of the audition process, the selection, the styling, the tantrums and finally the star-studded concert debut in front of thousands of screaming teeny-bopper fans. There was even some high drama when one of the girls (Perth-born as it happens) was thrown out of the group, allegedly for stealing from the others. It's gripping.

Where won't the locals dream of going?

To the controversial bell tower at Barrack Square. Western Australia's premier Richard Court rather fancied the idea of having the bells of St Martin's-in-the-Fields (given to WA by the British Government in 1988) ringing out over Perth, so he fast-tracked a millennium project to build a bell tower for them, using more than $6 million of taxpayers' money.

Where are locals going that tourists don't know about?

The "new" suburb of East Perth is big news. It offers the ultimate yuppified lifestyle and water views to die for. Former swamp land has been reclaimed and, thanks to Perth's buoyant economy, is now decorated by a kaleidoscope of multi-million dollar houses and apartment buildings. The central business district is minutes away by car or bike (the preferred form of transport in Perth), where there's a fabulous new restaurant, Lamonts, and Perth's secret gem, the Holmes à Court Gallery. The latter, Australia's finest private art collection, was started by millionaire industrialist Robert Holmes à Court in the 1970s and continued by his widow Janet. It includes Australia's leading contemporary artists and the best canvases and bark paintings by Aboriginal artists in private hands.

Where are the chic doing their shopping?

The nooks and crannies of suburban Perth hide delightful, European-style shopping strips. In Nedlands, the eclectic stores range from a showcase for WA's finest artisans to chic homewares and recycled designer gear. Claremont and Subiaco are also groovy places to go - for anything from a silk kimono, stunning bed linen or a great first edition book.

What's the trendy place to escape for the weekend?

Margaret River, about three hours' drive south-west of Perth, is the ultimate weekend escape, which is responsible for 80 per cent of Australia's top wines, some of the finest restaurants in the state and some of the best beaches in the country. Summer or winter, it's the place to be.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project