Microbrewery amid skycrapers and open space in relaxed beautiful Perth Australia

Travel | | October 6, 2011 at 11:33
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The most populous (and pretty much only) city on the West Coast of Australia, Perth was very different than the other Aussie cities I”ve traveled to with a much more relaxed feeling and a lot less people around. The place felt kind of empty. While there were people walking the streets and cars on the road, it seemed like a ghost town compared to Melbourne or Sydney. But this is also part of the charm of the city.

It was well developed with lots of tall buildings and a pretty fun CBD with a decent amount to do, including some good art galleries. And while there didn’t seem to be many people on the streets, anytime I went inside a place there were always customers, especially at night. The various bars I went to were always packed.

It seemed that parking was readily available wherever we went – amazing in my opinion. I don’t know if anyone else reading this has been to places like San Francisco where it can take 30 minutes or more to find parking, and often ending up in a garage that will cost you $20 .

Aesthetically the city was very beautiful. The architecture lacked any historical buildings, so most of it was built in the drab 70″s-80″s style, but a few cool looking skyscrapers did dot the skyline. There was good amount of art and little parks and fountains around town that made up for it.

The most notable thing was a huge grass expanse that went all along the river front in downtown. It made the city feel much more open; all too often massive skyscrapers are built up to water”s edge. Kings Park, located on the western side of the city, was up on a hill and provided a birds-eye view of the river and the entire downtown district. An amazing sight, especially at night. A complete unobstructed view of the downtown is a rarity in the cities I”ve visited.

I was absolutely thrilled to stumble on Perth”s microbrewery scene. Not being the biggest fan of most the Australian beers, I was very happy to be able to taste something new and have enough of a selection that I never drank the same beer twice – all on draft.

Perth Harbour - photo by Britanny du Boulay

I headed over to a town called Fremantle – about 30 minutes or so outside the city -which had a small town atmosphere and a very fun little downtown area with lots of shops, bars and restaurants. The nice little brewery called “Little Creatures” produced some of the more popular beers I saw around the city. They had a bar/restaurant on site which was completely packed. I had an amazing dinner there, even more amazing beer; there was a 20 to 30 minute wait for a table the entire evening despite the torrential downpour outside.

Far (literally) from the hustle and bustle of Sydney and Melbourne, Perth offers a much more relaxed lifestyle and slower pace of living while still offering a lot to do. I found it very attractive and would be a place I would consider living. Although I must say it helps when you have a cute local who”s willing to be a tour guide. I highly recommend trying to find one before going anywhere. :)

Perth Skyline - photo by Britanny du Boulay

The Barracks (Youth Hostel)
After booking my plane ticket to Perth, I needed a place to stay. Having asked the girl I was visited some suggested hostels, I had it narrowed down to the YHA Perth or a place called the Barracks. I ended up settling on the Barracks which was aptly named for it was a converted old military barracks from when the city was first founded. And while I did not experience the nightlife here at the hostel (I was always out in the city), I didn”t like this hostel at all. It was very dirty and old looking. The bathroom usually looked nasty; the night I checked in one of the sinks was just draining straight onto the floor and one of the toilets was seriously clogged. The sink was fixed the next day, but the toilet remained disgusting for the rest of the 3 days I stayed there.

The place appeared to be more of a working house for the Irish as there were work boots everywhere out in the hallway (they stank from being in the yard all day) and about 75% of the people I talked to were from Ireland working construction. My room was all Irish working, which meant they got up just before 6 to get ready for work. Which doesn’t matter that much but when I stay at hostels, I like to meet other travelers and vacationers so I can hear stories or exchange information on good things to see.

The beds were surprisingly comfortable but the walls were paper thin. It”s not bad enough when the person in your room snores really loud but when you can hear the person on the next room snoring at about the same volume… lets just say Thank God for industrial grade ear plugs.

The place did have some amenities such as computers, 2 TV areas and a very large bar area in what used to be the main staging area for the barracks.

And like I said, I didn’t get to experience the night life here, but it seemed very lively with people singing songs and carrying on til 1 or 2 in the morning. (I did say Irish, didn”t I?)

Overall however I was happy I only needed to use this place as a bed. I wouldn”t recommend it as there are plenty of other hostels in Perth charging the same rate.

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