Perth 1 Holiday 3 Ways
The Western Australian capital harbours glittering beaches, a secluded island and native bush brimming with wildlife. It's an ideal destination for romance, a return to nature - or a carefully nurtured suntan
Words Fleur Bainger
Take Me There
Charter1 Catamaran Tel: +61 428 604 794, www.charter1.com.au
Yanchep Inn Yanchep National Park 3499 Wanneroo Rd, Yanchep Tel: +61 (8) 9561 1001, www.yanchepinn.com.au
Ocean Beach Hotel Apartments Cnr Marine Parade and Eric St, Cottesloe Tel: +61 (8) 9384 2555, www.obh.com.au
Riva Rottnest Lodge, Kitson St, Rottnest Island Tel: +61 (8) 9292 5161, www.rottnestlodge.com.au/the-food
Chocolate Drop Tearooms Yanchep National Park Wanneroo Rd, Yanchep Tel: +61 (8) 9561 6699, www.chocolatedrops.com.au
Il Lido 88 Marine Parade, Cottesloe Tel: +61 (8) 9286 1111, www.illido.com.au
Rottnest Island Bike Hire Cnr Bedford Ave and Welch Rd, Rottnest Island Tel: +61 (8) 9292 5105, www.rottnestisland.com/about/rottnest-island-bike-hire
McNess house Visitor Centre Yanchep National Park Tel: +61 (8) 9405 0759, www.dec.wa.gov.au/yanchep National Park Permit: $11 per vehicle
1 Rottnest Island For Honeymooners
Stay: Cuddle up onboard a 12.5m catamaran that offers snorkelling and dolphin-spotting adventures to Rottnest Island's isolated bays by day and gently rocking accommodation complete with stargazing at night. "Rotto", as the island is known locally, is only 19km from Perth and boasts 63 sandy beaches, making it one of Western Australia's favourite playgrounds.
Eat: Newly opened in the island's largest hotel, RIVA restaurant offers Mediterranean fare, and will even deliver wood-fired pizzas to your yacht. Signature dishes include prawns sautéed in chilli garlic white wine, grilled lamb chops on Mediterranean vegetables, and peas with pancetta and white wine.
Do: Cars aren't allowed on the island, so hire a bike and scope out the former penal colony's history, protected coves and snorkelling spots.
2 Yanchep National Park For Nature Lovers
Stay: Forty-five minutes north of Perth's city centre, Yanchep Inn allows you to wake up to birdsong and watch kangaroos graze at sundown. Ask to stay in the new section - and expect traditional, English-style ambience and food.
Eat: Spoil yourself with themed treats at the park's Chocolate Drop Tearooms, where they hand-make chocolates in the shape of Australian animals as well as serve light lunches, infusion teas and, naturally, hot chocolate.
Do: It's nice to cuddle a koala in an enclosure, but far more exciting to see them in the wild. Take the 240m Koala Board Walk, watch for western grey kangaroos on the 2km wetland walk trail around Loch McNess lake and join an underground tour of Crystal Cave ($10 adults, $5 children), revealing stalagmites and stalactites. Yanchep National Park is open every day of the year.
Craig Smith-gander, PreSident of north Cottesloe Surf life Saving Club
"For me, the best time to be at the beach is in the evening, watching the sun sink below rottnest island as the wind dies down. Sitting there with a margaret river Chardonnay and some tapas, i think: 'there's not too much in the world better than this.'
"I live, work and play in Cottesloe, and i absolutely love it. i train in a surf boat in the morning, and i'm also a competitive cyclist, so i do a lot of cycling up and down the coast. if you come to the beach at 6am during the week, or from 7am to 9am on weekends, you'll see surf boats in the water. they were the first boats used for ocean rescues back in the 1920s and they've become an iconic part of the surf life-saving movement."
3 Cottesloe For Beach Lovers
Stay: Ocean Beach Hotel Apartments gets you ringside to Cottesloe's beach culture. Step outside, cross Marine Parade and five seconds later - dodging joggers, dog walkers and cyclists - you'll be gazing at the sea. The apartments are a short stroll from the OBH Hotel, where WA's legendary Sunday Sessions see locals flooding in to drink beer as the sun sets. Go at another time to avoid the crowds, and grab a pub meal like a steak sandwich or salt-and-pepper squid.
Eat: With its alfresco, beach-facing communal tables, Il Lido boasts a convivial atmosphere and serves great coffee and fresh, inventive tucker. Casual by day, sultry by night, it offers Italian fare specialising in home-made pasta, braised meats and seafood.
Do: When you're not lazing on the beach, head to Napoleon Street and its glamorous boutiques: local designer Flannel (www.flannel.com.au) for beachy, textured garments; Elissa Coleman (www.elissacoleman.com/boutique) for beaded, sequinned and embellished clothing; Elba (www.elbacottesloe.com.au) for a glass of champagne; or Vans (www.vanscafe.com.au) for coffee. The annual outdoor exhibition of giant artworks known as Sculpture by the Sea is from 8 to 25 March 2013.