Two Days of Local Perth Living
Russell Blaikie is a well-known West Aussie chef and partner of Must Winebar who lives in the beachside suburb of Floreat. When he’s not cooking up a storm he loves to surf, fish and enjoy Perth’s fantastic beaches. Here are Russell’s tips for some great places to visit in and around Perth – and where to eat!
I find visitors love the outdoor lifestyle in Perth. People really love to soak up being outside with a blue sky for most of the year, whether it’s at the beach, a café or even at home on the deck. The light, the weather, the space, the outdoor living and dining… when friends visit they really get hold of this and love it. And WA’s friendly people, too.
Getting your bearings
Whenever we have visitors who are new to Perth, we take them straight from the airport up to Kings Park so they can get their bearings, and give them a sense of the beauty of our city. Kings Park is a huge slice of nature including parks and natural bushland, right in the middle of Perth – it’s even bigger than Central Park in New York – where you get sweeping views across the city.
We also go for a quick drive to Odyssea Beach Cafe or Clancy’s Fish Bar at our local City Beach. It gives out-of-towners their first sense of the amazing coastline, white sand and blue water.
We often take first-timers to Rottnest for a day or a weekend trip, as it’s such an easily accessible getaway from town.
Local beach hangouts
I’m a surfer. It’s one of my favourite things to do. When I go surfing with my mates we often drive down south of Mandurah – it’s only an hour away – as there are a whole lot of breaks there, especially at Falcon beach. I love walking at Falcon too, but surfing is my pick!
I also like fishing with the sand in my toes, so I head to the beaches north of Trigg or Hillarys Marina, or all the way up to Guilderton, just an hour out of Perth. I’ve actually just loaned my fishing rods to some friends heading up that way.
If you take a four-wheel drive when you go north, you can visit Ledge Point or Lancelin to fish or catch a wave. A drive to the Pinnacles is also worth it. You go along the Indian Ocean Drive, which is really lovely, and the trip can be done in a day, or overnight if you have the time.
Beautiful walks in Perth
I love to walk. We often drive down to City Beach, park the car and walk north for half an hour then back again, and finish off with a coffee at Odyssea. What you see and soak up when you’re walking in our coastal scenery is just beautiful.
There are plenty of local walks around Perry Lakes, too – you literally walk through bushland and forest, right in the middle of town.
The walk north from Trigg along the coast is an easy one to drive past, but if you walk from Trigg Point up past Mettams Pool you’ll experience some of the most breathtaking scenery in Perth. I love it. It can get busy, but you can still create your own space and have your own experience.
Just out of town: Dwellingup and Mandurah
We often go to Dwellingup and camp with family and friends for a bit of a weekend adventure. If you go, hire a canoe and head down the river. It’s so much fun and the bush is breathtaking – it’s great for walking, too.
While we’re down there, we stop in at the Millbrook Winery in Jarrahdale for lunch, to sample Guy Jeffreys’ food. He’s one of the best chefs in the state, and you feel really good when you eat his food because he has one of the largest fruit and vegetable gardens in WA, and the produce goes straight onto your plate.
For a more serene weekend trip I would drive down to see the Serpentine Falls, on to Millbrook again for lunch, then down to Mandurah on the coast.
Mandurah is only an hour from Perth and is a great overnight stay. You can visit the canals and buy, or even catch, your own local crabs. They are always abundant and are wonderfully tasty. Cook them in a pot for a nice, simple dinner of fresh bread, crabs and a nice bottle of wine. I’ve done it! Just roll out some newspaper on the table, get some white bread and savour it all.
Eating out in the city: The State Buildings
I like what they’ve done at the State Buildings. They’ve created their own gravity there. It’s such great use of the architecture and the buildings, and it’s nice to see the city coming alive with this new development.
I’ve tried all the venues and they’re really well done, with a lot of variety – there’s rustic Thai street food at Long Chim, amazing dishes at Wildflower, and the relaxed but amazing Petition.
I also really like Northbridge. The bars and the restaurants have changed so much in the last decade. We love having fresh, good, family food at Viet Hoa or one of the new spots. There’s always something different to try, and walking up and down (and around) William Street is lovely these days. There are plenty of shops and places to eat during the day, and it’s a vibrant place to be at night for dinner and drinks