With pristine white-sand beaches stretching northwards up the coast, swimming and surfing are a way of life in Perth. Several stunning beaches, including Cottlesoe, are close to the city. Scattered along these beach-fronts are lovely cafes, restaurants and bars. Enjoy the sublime Perth experience of sipping a glass of Western Australian wine as you watch the sun sink into the Indian Ocean.
Cottesloe is distinguished by its towering Norfolk Island pines and the Indiana Cottesloe Beach Restaurant, a neo-colonial building of grand proportions that sits right on the beach. 91 Marine Pde, Cottesloe; (08) 9385 5005.
The Spanish-style Cottesloe Civic Centre, once the private mansion of flamboyant millionaire Claude de Bernales, boasts magnificent gardens with sweeping views of the Indian Ocean. 109 Broome St; (08) 9285 5000; open daily; admission free.
This up-market suburb is home to Perth’s swankiest shopping area, centred around Bay View Terrace. The Claremont Museum, on Victoria Avenue, was built in 1862 by convicts and the Pensioner Guards as the Freshwater Bay School. It now offers an interesting social-history display of more than 9000 items related to the district, including artefacts, photographs, oral history tapes and documents. The main exhibitions are housed in the schoolhouse, which has been carefully preserved to provide a glimpse into the colonial education system. Nearby is a children’s playground and picnic area. 66 Victoria Ave, Claremont; (08) 9340 6983; open 12–4pm Mon–Fri; admission free.
Peppermint Grove boasts some of Perth’s grandest homes. A drive along The Esplanade takes you past grass-backed riverside beaches, natural bushland and shady picnic areas. Follow the road around to Bay View Park – another great place for picnicking – in Mosman Park, and up the hill for sweeping views of Mosman Bay, the Swan River and Perth city skyline.