The capital of cool

09 Dec 2019 / 15:38 H.

IT SEEMS that the best things in life do actually come free – at least in Western Australia. From trailing along the coast to the bushland, from sailing down the Margaret River to whale watching in Fremantle, the list goes on.

Western Australia (known colloquially as WA) truly has it all, but to the locals, it’s just another day in paradise.

Here are the top six ways you can experience the wonders of Western Australia on a shoestring.

City Beach. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
City Beach. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

1. Heavenly beaches

You’ll be spoilt for choice with not one, not two, but 19 pristine metropolitan beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters scattered across Perth. It’s easy for you to find your own piece of paradise, where you can sit back, relax and enjoy one of WA’s famous coastal sunsets.

Just 20 minutes from Perth City, iconic Scarborough Beach is one of Australia’s most popular spots for swimming, snorkelling and surfing. It even has a geothermal-heated beachfront pool that is open to the public.

Not far away, the City Beach is home to lush lawns and white sand, with waterfront dining options, including the deck at Odyssea Beach Cafe and Clancy Fish’s Bar.

Kings Park & Botanic Garden. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Kings Park & Botanic Garden. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

2. Kings Park free guided walks

Besides sun-kissed beaches, Perth is sprawling with nature reserves, which explains why hiking and nature walks are one of the best free things to do in the city.

At 400 hectares, Kings Park and Botanic Garden display around 3,000 out of 25,000 of WA plant species, featuring cultivated gardens and untamed bushlands.

You may make yourself comfortable and have a picnic on the grassy lawns, or take a jog through the park which overlooks the sweeping panoramic view of Perth’s city skyline and the Swan River.

The Perth City Visitor Kiosk in Murray Street Mall.- TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Perth City Visitor Kiosk in Murray Street Mall.- TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

3. Perth City free guided tours

The Perth City Visitor Kiosk is a free information service located in the heart of Perth’s shopping precinct in the Murray Street Mall, Forrest Chase intersection, where the city’s ambassador volunteers are on hand to assist with everything and anything visitors require, from transportation advice, to attractions and activities to explore.

If you love to walk, the variety of self-guided or guided walking tours offered by them could be just the ticket.

Newcomers eager to learn about Perth can join the Orientation Tour; or take the Art City Tour to discover the city’s numerous public artworks synonymous to its identity, reflecting both its past and present. For history buffs, get transported back in time and experience the period of convicts in the Swan River Colony with the Convicts & Colonials Tour.

The Art Gallery of Western Australia. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Art Gallery of Western Australia. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

4. Perth Cultural Centre

Home to some of WA’s major cultural and educational institutions, the Perth Cultural Centre is centred in the Northbridge suburb with seasonal events and festivals all year round. It blends a vibrant mix of art galleries and museums, with a state library and theatre to explore.

So whether you’ve got an hour to kill – where you can choose to surround yourself in the peace and serenity of an art gallery and expand your mind – the Perth Cultural Centre is the place to be.

Some of the institutions include the State Library of Western Australia, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Art Gallery of Western Australia – in which all are free to visit. Best of all, the New Museum of WA is set to be opened in 2020.

Scour the street for cool street art in Fremantle. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Scour the street for cool street art in Fremantle. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

5. Cycle around Fremantle

Fremantle, or ‘Freo’ as the locals call it, despite being a bustling, dynamic port city, has long been renowned for its burgeoning arts, culture and music scene.

Strolling around the city, you’ll immediately notice the larger than life street art and vivid murals occupying every corner of the coastal city, some out in the open, others hidden away from plain sight.

And what better way to tour around town than by cycling? Grab a bike for free at the Fremantle Visitor Centre located next to Fremantle Town Hall in Kings Square, and go explore the city at your own leisurely pace, while scouring the streets for spectacular street art.

These murals and street artworks add vibrancy to the city’s evolving urban art scene, with works by some of the world’s best street artists gracing concrete buildings and sideways. Some of the works are impermanent, lasting only for a short time before being painted over with something new.

Northbridge Piazza. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Northbridge Piazza. - TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

6. Public transport

There is absolutely no excuse to not explore when the city’s Public Transport Authority offers free Transperth Central Area Transit (CAT) bus services around Perth City, Fremantle and Joondalup.

The buses adopt a colour-coded system – Red, Blue, Yellow and Green – to identify the different routes, with the earliest service beginning at 6am, with frequencies up to every five minutes, depending on the CAT services.

This means you may get on and off as often as you like, without paying a fare. What a score!

This Australian adventure was part of a Muslim-friendly media familiarisation trip courtesy of Tourism Western Australia together with AirAsia X. AirAsia X flies once daily from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Perth, Western Australia (PER), and has increased to twice-daily flights on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat from now until Jan 31, 2020.

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