Lobster, golf and wildlife: Reasons to visit Perth, Western Australia

From curious dolphins to roof top vistas, this unhurried gem has it all

Perth in Western Australia is a city that boasts both ardent greenery and a waterfront location. Photo: Ronan O’Connell
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Perth may lack the fame of Sydney, but wealthy tourists will appreciate the upmarket travel experiences offered by the modern capital of Western Australia, not to mention the fact that it is the country’s sunniest state capital.

Visitors to this clean, green, riverside metropolis can stay in opulent hotels, dine high in the night sky, golf amid a national park, swim with dolphins, walk with kangaroos and feast at a world-class buffet.

Here are five of Perth’s best luxury travel activities.

Wildlife and seafood adventure

Perth has generous opportunities to commune with animals in their natural habitats, something few large cities can claim to offer. Tourists can cuddle koalas amid the woodlands of Caversham Wildlife Park, or swim alongside seals and sea lions in Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. They can also stroke friendly kangaroos at Serpentine Falls, where verdant forest meets a majestic waterfall.

Visitors can swim with dolphins, if their timing is right, when visiting Rockingham Beach or Mandurah foreshore. Or they can just admire those aquatic beauties from the deck of a boat during a luxurious seafood lunch cruise. These three-and-a-half-hour tours pierce the dolphin-rich waterways near Mandurah. Run by Mandurah Cruises, they include an eight-course banquet featuring local lobster, oysters, prawns, crab, salmon, barramundi and scallops.

Ritz and the glamour

Only a decade ago, Perth severely lacked high-end accommodation. Back then, its chief five-star hotels were tired old properties that, even in their distant heydays, were unimpressive by global standards. Now, however, it has a host of ultra-luxe lodgings that offer great variety.

There’s the stately European chic of Como The Treasury, built in a 19th-century heritage building, the ostentatious Crown Towers with its $16,200-a-night villas and the more refined modernity of The Ritz-Carlton Perth. The last anchors Perth’s picturesque and fashionable Elizabeth Quay waterfront precinct.

Ritz-Carlton’s first Perth hotel has 205 rooms and suites. Each has captivating views of the adjacent city skyline or the gleaming Swan River. Similar vistas are provided by its infinity pool and fifth-floor Songbird Bar and Lounge, where local oysters and truffles are in generous supply. Guests can indulge further at Ritz-Carlton Spa, which offers a variety of treatments, as well as a swimming pool and fitness centre.

Haute cuisine

Hotel buffets can be very hit or miss. Some lack variety, while others favour quantity over quality. But when they strike the correct balance, a buffet can be glorious, such as Epicurean’s at the Crown Towers hotel. Inside its colossal dining room, charcuterie spreads brim with meats, vegetables, olives and chutneys, as well as endless varieties of bread and cheese.

Salads of salmon, prawn, beef, squid, octopus or mussels are also an enticing starter. Heartier seafood fare includes crab, oysters, prawns, sushi and sashimi. Asian dishes, meanwhile, range from Thai steamed barramundi to Korean slow-cooked Galbi beef, Chinese honey sesame chicken, Indian butter chicken and Indonesian mie goreng.

Tasty western fare includes Italian pizzas and pasta, Spanish Catalan roasted fish, Portuguese peri peri prawns, duck and plum ravioli, seared beef medallions and a variety of turkey and lamb dishes.

All of which are satisfying routes to Epicurean’s bonanza of desserts. Tiramisu, macarons, panna cotta, shortcake, lemon tart, walnut brownies, berry pudding, chocolate mousse, New York cheesecake, green tea fruit cake and an array of ice creams. Hunger destroyed.

Par for the course

Perth is one of the world’s most underrated golf destinations, offering about 30 courses, from championship-style layouts, to seaside links and woodland courses, such as Araluen Estate.

One of the most scenic courses in Australia, Araluen Estate is located inside Midgegooroo National Park and flows through dense forest brimming with native flora and fauna.

As golfers negotiate the 18-hole course, past ponds, rivers and ravines, they may spot kangaroos, wallabies or echidnas frolicking amid jarrah trees. The layout, too, is magnificent, with pristine fairways, fast greens and a challenging design. Standing out is the dramatic 16th hole, where golfers tee off from 30 metres above the green, tucked behind a pond.

The Araluen Estate runs high along hills in Perth’s south-east. This lofty vantage provides memorable views of the surrounding idyllic countryside. So, too, does its impressive clubhouse, which overlooks a verdant valley. Golfers can relax here, before or after their round, to eat charcuterie, a cheese board or Italian-style ciabatta sandwiches.

Scenic memories

Perth is blessed by its natural environment, like few cities on earth. This is abundantly clear from the towering vantage point of 18 Knots, a glamorous rooftop bar and restaurant on the 18th floor of the new DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Waterfront.

As guests relax on its terrace, to the east looms the forested hills of the Darling Range; to the south, the crystalline waters of the Swan River; and to the west, one of the world’s largest inner-city green spaces, Kings Park and Botanic Garden. These surrounding views alone make 18 Knots a must-visit for any tourist travelling to Perth.

There is no better spot to secure photos of all this natural splendour or of the adjacent Elizabeth Quay, a fresh waterfront development that’s now one of the city’s key luxury dining and accommodation precincts.

18 Knots also delights the taste buds. The highlight is its shared plates. Locally sourced oysters, rock lobster, octopus, king prawns and snapper fillet fill the seafood platter. Meanwhile, the mixed grill is an alluring assortment of black Angus beef, buffalo chicken kebabs and lamb koftas.

The writer was a guest of Araluen Estate, Epicurean and 18 Knots

Updated: March 20, 2024, 3:58 AM