Stories of 2019 #61: 8 Reasons to Visit Perth, Australia

One in 10 people who live in Perth was born in the UK and they often faced the question, why Perth? The WA for Western Australia was replaced with ‘wait awhile’ as the world’s most isolated city had little going for it. But they have waited, and now the city is booming with pop-ups, bars and hip suburbs. So much so The New York Times named it one of the top places to visit in 2019. From Leaderville to Fremantle, to the Hummus Club restaurant to secret speak-easy bars – Perth has come out from under-the-radar and put itself on the map. 

I was lucky enough to visit and here are my top 8 reasons to visit Perth.

1 The CBD

Perth is a young city and one that is continuing to grow year on year. With exciting things happening right in the heart of the it, there is no better time than to experience Perth. When I was thinking about going, I did not really know what to expect. This would be my first experience of Australia and whilst I have family who live in Perth, you hear and read much more about what to do in the glamorous city of Sydney or the cool city of Melbourne. But what about Perth? Fortunately, I was very surprised. While it is not quiet a big as other cities in Australia, Perth packs a punch with what they have to offer to tourists with a growing set of shopping malls, museums, parks and places to eat and drinks.

Attractions include; Yagan Square, Elizabeth Quays, Perth Zoo, the Perth Mint and the Bell Tower to name a few spots.

2 Rottnest Island

Only 19km from the coast of Perth, Rottnest Island boasts some of the best coastline, marine life and the iconic smiling quokkas. This little island got its name when the Dutch explorer – William De Vlamingh – found this island and mistook these quokkas for the common rat and the name Rottnest translates simply to, rats nest! But now, having a selfie with these smiling ‘rats’ has become a main attraction for visitors. So when you are making your way around the island, be sure to keep your eye out for the happiest animal on the planet.

Once you have arrived in ‘Rotto’ as it is better know as to the local Aussie’s, this idyllic island playground offers up 63 beaches, 20 pristine bays, and plenty of coral reefs to snorkel in. But to make sure this beautiful reserve stays in its pristine state, the island is car-free with the exception of the Bayseeker Bus. The best way to explore Rottnest is to hire a bicycle and explore this 11km long and 4km wide island. Cycle to Cathedral Rocks and see the seals or to the Wadjemup Lighthouse to take in the view from the highest point. Take a picnic (watch out for seagulls if you stop for lunch at The Settlement – they got lucky and left with our pies), your bathers and suncream for the perfect day trip from the city.

Get there by ferry from Perth City, Fremantle and Hilarys.

3 The Coastline

From a morning dip to a dazzling Indian Ocean sunset – you can play all day at Perth’s many beaches. Think crystal blue seas and white, soft sand and you have the Western Australia coastline. Forget the bar crawl and do a beach crawl up the coast in your car or you can even walk, run or cycle! One day, when I was in Perth, I choose to walk from North beach to Scarborough and then up to Hilary’s.

Cottesloe beach is the poster girl for Perth’s coastline and it is not a surprise when the beach has 1km of paper-white sand and some of WA’s best swimming spots. Generations of families have spent over 100 years of summers here, cooling off in the ocean with the iconic Indian teahouse in the background and the floating bell on the distant shore. This is also the beach that you may have seen many people standing on in their swimming costumes and santa hats on Good Morning Britain on Christmas Day.

Further up the coast is City Beach, Scarborough, North Beach and at the top of the coastal path, Sorrento’s where Hilary’s Harbour is. All just as breathtaking as each other and all have restaurants, bars and playgrounds for the children. Make sure you catch the sun set into the ocean, as the sky lights up with vivid oranges and deep reds!

4 Wineries

Several wine regions are waiting to be sampled by you. But the closest one to Perth’s city is the Swan Valley. Easily reached by car or you can enjoy a scenic cruise on the river from the city centre.

Swan Valley is the oldest wine region in WA and you can taste your way around the valley from wine to chocolate to cheese! Make sure you have lots of room in your belly to fit it all in – especially at the chocolate factory where there is plenty to try! Swan Valley is a 32km loop that is home to over 200 attractions. If you are here for the wine, maybe join a tour or get yourself a driver so you can have a few (or many) glasses of fine wine. All the wines are paired with a breathtaking view over the valley and you can meet all the makers of these delicious products. The Swan Valley is renowned for its Verdelho, Shiraz and Cabernet.

A little further afield is the Great Southern wine region and Margaret River. I did not get to visit these other two but what I saw of Swan Valley has made me add the others to my bucket list.

5 Food and Drink

Chefs, baristas, mixologists and winemakers. In Perth you can now indulge your senses in the city that is making waves in the culinary world. Roof-top eateries, whole-food cafes and speakeasy bars are constantly opening in the hip suburb of Northbridge and the CBD.

As Perth is one of the sunniest places in Australia, Perth is blessed with a climate that can grow avocados, kiwis, papaya and everything in between! And being sat on-top of the Indian Ocean, they have a sea that is brimming with fresh fish and seafood. So, with local produce fresh and available pretty much on their door-step, you can see why Perth is making waves. This is not just in the CBD either, head to suburbs outside of the city precinct and find yourself cafe and restaurant hopping.

I was only in Perth for just over two weeks and I think I gave it a pretty good go at tasting some of their culinary delights. My favourite being The Hummus Club in Northbridge. Yes, that is a whole tapas style menu dedicated to hummus… I mean, it cannot get better than that! I also tried charcoal ice-cream from Hilary’s harbour, had falafel bowls at Glory Bowls in Scarborough, dukkah avocado toast in the city, smoothie bowls in Freo and BBQ breakfasts at my uncles!

The question really is, where should you go first?

6 Sunshine

Did you know they get an average of 8.8 hours of sunshine everyday throughout the year? However, I beg to differ as when I was there most of my days consisted of rain but I shall continue to have faith in the stats… But because there is so much sunshine, the people of Perth make the most of it and head outdoors to enjoy walking, cycling, running or playing games in the park. So make sure you soak up some of the delicious Aussie sunshine!

7 Fremantle

A short train ride away from downtown Perth is Frementle or ‘Freo’ as the locals call it. A history but hip area in Perth.

Freo is more commonly known for being the world’s best-preserved example of the 19th century port streetscape. But this is not all the suburb has to offer. You can have a coffee along their iconic Cappuccino Strip, shop at the Fremantle market or delve into the history at the prison. The streets buzz with buskers jamming in the streets and quirky, cool people as they dine in hipster style pop-ups, trendy coffee bars or rummage through thrift stores.

Head to Freo for a day trip, like I did, or better yet, stay for a night or two and soak up the nightlife.

Fremantle is not the only hip place to explore in Perth. In the heart of the city – Northbridge is a place not to miss – as well as, Leaderville.

8 Kings Park

Forget New York’s Central Park – Perth is actually home to the largest inner-city park.

Perched high on the hill, Kings Park provides the cities best panoramic views of the CBD and the river. Try to imagine 400 hectares of bushland, flowers, local WA plants, 75-year-old trees, shrubs and colourful birds. Pretty impressive! Simply wander around and take in the beauty of the nature and think to yourself, “I can’t believe I am in Australia.” (Like I was)


Stories of 2019 #60: Cornwall’s Hound Hotels

With summer just around the corner (hopefully, who knows with the UK), it is the time to start organising your staycation with friends, family and pups! We love Cornwall and always go with dogs in tow. With tons of walks, plenty of cafes selling cream teas and pubs serving up the finest of Cornish scrumpy’s – Cornwall is the best spot for you and your furry friends. So, grab a slice of Cornish luxury with these four pawfect hotels!

The Seafood Restaurant – Padstow

Opened in  1975, with red-checked tablecloths and candles in Verdicchio wine bottles. to today, where Rick Stein has become renowned for his imaginative shellfish and seafood cooking. The pilgrimage to Padstow for the Seafood Restaurant is on any food lovers bucket list. Your pooch can even taste the exquisite cuisine with all the organic dog treats on offer. Stay in the Master bedroom and have your own private Terrace overlooking beautiful estuary views – the perfect sun spot to rest your paws.

Pet privileges: A chalky’s blanket, dog toys, organic treats and a rick stein jute bag on arrival.

Experience nearby: Head over the water to the island of rock. the haunt of holidaying royals and celebrity stars.

Eat-up owners: You’ll be spoilt for choice at Rick Stein’s restaurant. Go simple and order the fruits de mer; seafood left in the shell, served on ice. A real taste of the seaside.

Book it: Double rooms from £120 including breakfast. Extra charges for dogs; £30 first night and £5 for any additional night stays.

The Artists Residence – Penzance

Tucked away on Chapel Street, this Georgian building is bursting with eccentric seaside charm the minute you step inside. With 22 rooms all uniquely designed by local artists from Jo Peel to Sinead Geary, you will want to visit this hotel until you have seen them all. you can Cosy up in front of the wood-burning stove or chill out on the hammocks in the fairy-lit garden. but best of all, Situated only a stone’s throw away from all the Cornish delights, this seaside retreat provides the coolest bolthole for you and Fido to explore cornwall.

Pet privileges: Dog beds, bowls and Lily’s Kitchen dog treats.

Experience nearby: Dive into the jubilee pool – Penzance’s Lido, sandwiched between the promenade and the harbour. By far the best spot in town on a summers day.

Eat-up owners: At the hotels Cornish Barn restaurant tuck into the black treacle beef brisket with, of course, all the trimmings. Washed down with bottomless prosecco, mimosas and bloody mary’s. We don’t mind if we do!

Book it: Double rooms from £84 including breakfast. Extra charges for dogs, £20 per night.

Talland Bay Hotel – Killigarth

Dating back to the 16th century this boutique property offers eclectic interiors and pine-fringed lawns stretching down to the sea. making this hotel a truly special place to escape to.  Sea-view or garden suite, you and your canine companion can walk the sandy shores on your doorstep or completely relax and settle down with the hotels luxury pamper packs – for you and your pooch. Set yourself up for a day of exploring with an english breakfast full of locally sourced produce and even the dogs can woof down their own Kittow’s butchers’ sausage. Delicious!

Pet privileges: Bespoke Talland Bay dog biscuits, all-day pet menus and pamper packs for pooches.

Experience nearby: The South West Coastal Path from Somerset to Dorset. Where else can you walk along 630 miles of superb coastline. Who will tire first – you or the dog?

Eat-up owners: Cornish strawberries with elderflower marshmallows, tonka bean meringue and honeycomb. Whilst the pups enjoy freshly cooked chicken.

Book it: Rooms from £160 per night including breakfast. Extra charges for dogs, £12.50 per night.

Talland Bay Hotel

Mullion Cove Hotel – Helston

Perched upon the cliffs, this luxury hotel boasts sweeping views over the national trust’s Lizard Peninsula. By day this is a dog walker’s paradise, where you and your four-legged friend can spend the day wandering through the banks of wildflowers and quaint fishing harbours, or you can dip your paws in the sea on secluded white sand beaches. At night retire to the dedicated doggy lounge to watch the sunset, where you’ll find Edwardian décor and a glowing warmth that only comes with a family run hotel. Keep your puppy-dog eyes peeled for seals or two.

Pet privileges: Luxury Vispring dog beds, doggy towels and delicious canine cocktails.

Experience nearby: Take the short stroll into Helston and enjoy a pint of local Spingo ale in the 600-year-old Blue Anchor pub to get a real taste of Helston’s history first-hand. Dogs welcome but must be kept on lead.

Eat-up owners: At the Atlantic View restaurant tick into the pancetta crusted pork lion with cider poached apples, peas and beans.

Book it: Double rooms from £100 including breakfast. Extra charges for dogs, £9 per night.

Mullion Cove Hotel

Stories of 2019 #59: The Best Place for Breakfast in Seville – Filo

Three out of the four days we were in Seville, we ate at Filo. And everyday we both ordered the same thing. It turns out we are not the only ones either mad for this cafe, on TripAdvisor several people had visited on multiply occasions during their short stays. If this does not tell you how good this little cafe is, then I do not know what will!

Both me and Jessamyn, as avocado lovers, have both had our fair share of avocado on toast but then we came across this gem who made it like no other and the future of avocado on toast for us had changed. I just feel like no other cafe/restaurant can now compare. It sounds like I am going a bit OTT here with my statements but I would happily visit Seville again, alone, for this avocado on toast. And if you are not an avo toast fan (aka, my mum) – you are missing out.

Where did I come across this cafe?

Instagram. Like everything I place I find to eat or drink, I have found it on Instagram using hashtags or the location tool. It is actually a pretty useful tool for finding nice cafes and especially vegan/veggie eateries or, you know, a good bar…

As I am into eating healthily, when I saw delicious bowls of greens, granola and bright coloured smoothies, I was sold. Filo became a must visit place in Seville for me. Digging a little deeper, I also found out that it had two cafes and one was literally just around the corner from our hostel and we visited this cafe on our first full day in Seville before getting the train to Cadíz, and then everyday since that first visit (lol).

This quaint cafe is on Calle Hernando Colón down the road from Seville’s town hall. Inside is an intimate eating space with lots of wooden benches and stools. White walls provide the background for the rustic furniture, hanging plants and quirky features. However, due to the cafes small size it can get busy pretty quickly but there are two tables outside and a standing area.

From sandwiches, to salads, to sweet treats, Filo provides Seville with tasty and healthy food from breakfast to dinner. And whilst the decor is simple, the food and drinks are vibrant and freshly made right in front of us! One thing we loved as we now know how to make these slices of avocado bliss.

You order from the till so grab a seat and a flick through the menu. Choose between the various breakfast combinations or if is later in the day, choose between the sandwiches or build your own salad. But be ready to be tempted by all the cakes on display as you wait in line to order. Or if you were fans like us, head straight to the bar and order two energy combinations which includes, dark rye toast, tomato, avocado and seeds alongside freshly squeezed orange juice and an expresso. All for €6.50!

Take a seat, relax and watch the cooks at work whilst you wait for your name to be called. I think on our third return, all we spoke about was how excited we were to eat our breakfast!

The service is quick and it is not long until you are ready to eat and enter a dream like avocado toast state. Even the freshly squeezed orange juice is yum. In Seville their chosen breakfast dish is called ‘tostada’ which is toasted bread topped with olive oil and grated tomato or for the meat eaters ham is added. However, Filo took the tostado up a notch with their choice to use dark rye and add avocado and lots of seeds. We tried a tostado at another cafe but without the avocado and it just did not compare to Filo.

So, if you are ever in Seville and you are amongst the avocado toast tribe be sure to visit Filo for breakfast, lunch and dinner… because you can honestly can!