Australia's sunniest city just got cool

In Perth, Western Australia, the sun shines for 3,000 hours a year. Thanks to a thriving arts, bar and restaurant scene the city's international reputation is hotting up too…

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 28 Jan 2013, 16:02 GMT

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With 19 city beaches and year-round sunshine, it's not surprising Perth is regularly voted one of the world's most liveable cities. This uniquely alfresco destination is also home to a city-centre park larger than New York's and the iconic Swan River, where wild dolphins swim among boaties and bathers.

From fashion to art and design, Perth is riding the wave of a creative boom (in summer, its beaches are as likely to host art exhibitions as surf schools). Following a relaxation in licensing laws, the city's social scene is thriving too. Once sleepy sidestreets now teem with boutique bars and chic eateries, gaining international renown for their creative interiors and artsy ambience.

See & do

Cottesloe Beach, just 15 minutes from the city centre, is the most popular of Perth's 19 beaches. The city's buff-bodied and well-heeled flock here to swim, surf and marvel at the stunning sunsets. The vast Kings Park, home to an extraordinary array of wildflowers and an outdoor cinema, is a favourite with picnickers.

Popular day-trip destinations from the city include Fremantle (markets, buskers and stunning colonial architecture), the Swan Valley wine region (wine tasting and gastro safaris) and Rottnest Island, a car-free paradise of unspoilt bays and beaches just a short ferry ride from Perth's Barrack Street jetty. For an aquatic adventure to remember, head south of the city to Rockingham to swim with wild dolphins.

Eat & drink

Wolf Lane, a loft-style bar nestled in one of the city's intimate laneways, embodies all the creative quintessence of 'new' Perth. Order a beer or cocktail and lounge in vintage sofas among artfully exposed brickwork. Comparable experiences, plus tasty small plates, are also on offer at Helvetica and Venn (the latter doubling up as a gallery/design shop).

Other places attracting acclaim include new rooftop venues The Aviary bar and eco-restaurant Greenhouse, where 4,000 plant pots create walls of vertical gardens. Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle is unmissable too – enjoy craft beers, fresh seafood and kangaroo tapas overlooking the harbour.

When to go

Perth enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate. Sunny year-round, December to February are the warmest months. If you're considering visiting at this time of year, plan your trip to catch the electric Perth International Arts Festival, held every February.

Getting there

Malaysia Airlines operates a double daily non-stop A380 service from London to Kuala Lumpar, with 10 weekly convenient connections to Perth. Total flying time is around 18 hours from the UK. For its quality of product and service, Malaysia Airlines was recently awarded five-star status in the 2012 SKYTRAX World Airline Awards™ and named 'World's Best Airline Cabin Crew.' So, as well as internationally acclaimed comfort on board, you can look forward to sky-high standards of customer care too. For further details and bookings, visit

Warm welcome

1 The sun-drenched beaches of Rottnest Island are just a 60-minute cruise from central Perth.
2 Join the locals and cycle, walk or barbecue next to Perth's iconic Swan River.
3 Malaysia Airlines' five-star service and amenities make travelling a real treat

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