Latest travel & lifestyle news from Western Australia

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May 2019


Travel and Lifestyle News from Western Australia


Welcome to the May edition of This is WA, bringing you the latest travel and lifestyle news from across Western Australia.

What's Hot

Reduced air fares to Exmouth and Broome

Go swimming with manta rays year round at Ningaloo Reef. Image: Sean Scott Photography

Perth to Exmouth for less

Discovering the wonders of World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef on WA’s Coral Coast is now more affordable thanks to new reduced fares for flights between Perth and Exmouth. From June 2, 2019 Qantas will offer $169 fares for flights from Friday to Monday if booked 45 days ahead of travel. This is a saving of about $180 for a return trip. Visitors looking to discover more of WA’s Coral Coast on a road trip to or from Exmouth, can also save by booking with Avis who is trialing discounted relocation fees for one-way hires. Between April 1 to October 31, in 2019 and 2020, customers will only pay a $250 relocation fee if hiring a car to drive from Perth to Exmouth, and $150 if hiring from Exmouth and driving to Perth (additional daily hire fees still apply).

Perth to Broome special fares to continue

In addition to the cheaper Exmouth flights, Qantas will also be extending the special weekend fares to Broome in WA’s North West. The special fares offer passengers the opportunity to fly between Perth and Broome from $199 one-way during high season (between August 17, 2019 and October 16, 2019 and June 20, 2020 and August 16, 2020) and $179 during low season (between October 17, 2019 and June 19, 2020). The two levels of discounts are available on one-way fares travelling from Friday to Sunday and booked 60 days or 45 days in advance, offering savings of more than $200 for a return trip. Qantas will make 500 of the discounted seats available per week during the high season and 600 per week during the low season on its A320 aircraft operating on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

New Accor Art Series Hotel for Perth

Accor has announced it will open its ninth Art Series hotel in Perth’s CBD, heralding the arrival of the Art Series brand in WA. Set to open in October 2019, the $90 million hotel stands at 27 storeys high, with the design concept dedicated to Australia’s contemporary artists. The 250-room Art Series hotel will draw inspiration from its incoming namesake artist, and will feature contemporary furnishings and original artworks and prints. The hotel will also be home to a signature Mediterranean inspired restaurant located on the first level and located around the hotel’s pool area. Other features include a ground floor café, gymnasium and a function room.

Guest chefs announced for Shinju Matsuri

Shinju Matsuri Sunset Long Table Dinner

Australian Masterchef favourites Diana Chan and Brendan Pang will headline this year’s Shinju Matsuri (festival of the pearl) to be held September 7 to 15 in Broome - the pearling capital of Australia in WA’s Kimberley region. The event is a celebration of the four diverse cultures that have come together in Broome over the past century for pearls: Japanese, Malaysian, Chinese and Aboriginal. Diana and Brendan will join forces for the iconic Sunset Long Table Dinner - a formal, five-course dinner held on Broome’s Cable Beach on September 14. Broome’s best chefs will compete to create the best pearl meat dish at the returning Willie Creek Pearl Meat Cook-Off, while a new addition to the festival - Makan Dulu - will see guests enjoy traditional Malaysian and Chinese delicacies. Other event highlights include a Float Parade through the streets of Broome, Art Awards, the popular Floating Lantern Matsuri and a Festival Finale concert. Tickets for the festival are now on sale, with travel packages available featuring accommodation and tickets to selected events.

New Aboriginal tours at Rottnest

Visitors to Perth’s Rottnest Island – known as Wadjemup to the local Noongar people - can now experience traditional Aboriginal culture as part of new cultural tours on the island. Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences offers visitors a walking tour to learn about Rottnest’s history and the spiritual significance to the Noongar people. The 90-minute walking tour includes a Welcome to Country, traditional sand ceremony, and song and storytelling with an Aboriginal guide.

COMO The Treasury named in world’s best rooms list

COMO The Treasury studio suite

Forbes Travel Guide has named Perth’s COMO The Treasury in its verified list for the 2019 World’s Best Hotel Rooms - the only property in Australia to receive the accolade. Only 41 properties across 17 countries made the list, achieving perfect scores in guest room and bathroom standards for luxury, comfort and convenience. COMO The Treasury is located in the heart of Perth, within the historic 19th century State Buildings, and comprises 48 elegant and contemporary rooms and suites, and award-wining dining experiences including rooftop restaurant Wildlfower, where the menu revolves around the indigenous ethos of six seasons.

Lifestyle and Culture

Winter markets at Scarborough beach

A winter edition of the popular Scarborough Beach Sunset Markets will warm up the newly revitalised Scarborough Beach precinct – located only 20 minutes from Perth’s CBD – every Saturday from 3 to 8pm until August 10, 2019. Up to 40 of Perth’s mobile food vendors and retailers will meet around the Scarborough Clock Tower and along the Scarborough Square to showcase global cuisines, local treats and handcrafted winter wares. Also enjoy red hot beats from the resident DJ and roaring fire pits with marshmallow roasting. Continuing a Scarborough tradition, each night will also feature the Scarborough Sunset Applause – a celebration of Perth’s Indian Ocean sunsets, where visitors and locals are encouraged to applaud the sunset.

Perth to host its first day-night test match

Perth's Optus Stadium

Perth’s world-class Optus Stadium will host WA’s first day-night Test match when Australia takes on trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on December 12. Cricket Australia’s recently announced summer schedule will see some major clashes come to Perth. As part of the fixtures, Perth will also host its first Twenty 20 International in nearly a decade, with world number one-ranked Pakistan taking on Australia on November 8.

Winterworld in Fremantle

Winterworld is returning to the historic port city of Fremantle, located a 30 minute drive from Perth city, from June 29 to July 21. Celebrating all things winter, the event will feature Australia’s largest open-air skating rink with falling ‘snow,’ a real snow pit, a giant inflatable slide, art activities and unicorn rides. Guests can get cosy in the Winter Lounge, and a Market Square will showcase local producers and food stalls, with a themed outdoor area scattered with blazing fire pits for roasting marshmallows. Winterworld is a free event however tickets are required for various activities.

Food and Wine

Perth’s first full time food truck park

Credit: Perth Mess Hall, Facebook

The historic Old Swan Barracks in Perth’s cultural hub of Northbridge is now home to a full-time food truck park - the Perth Mess Hall.  Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, eight of Perth’s 50 food trucks will offer a variety of different cuisines, with tap beers from WA local breweries Gage Roads and Matso’s. The 1,000 capacity venue also has an indoor dining space and pool tables.

Whipper Snapper Distillery launch a quinoa whisky

In a first for Australia - and only the second world-wide – Perth-based Whipper Snapper Distillery recently launched its first batch of quinoa whisky. Named Project Q, the whisky blend is 65 percent quinoa, along with 25 percent corn and 10 percent malted barley. All of the grains are WA grown, and the quinoa is sourced from Three Farmers – a sustainable quinoa farm located near Narrogin in WA’s South West.  Whipper Snapper Distillery is located in East Perth, and offers whiskey tours and masterclasses, as well as serving coffee and whisky seven days a week.

Victory Point winery’s new award winning cellar door

Victory Point winery opened its cellar door in October 2018, and has since been awarded the Best Small Cellar Door in Margaret River for 2019 in Gourmet Traveller WINE’S Best Cellar Door Awards. Located south of Cowaramup in the Margaret River region, the opening of the family run winery's cellar door marked the vineyard’s 20th anniversary last year. Made from locally sourced materials, including the property's marri and jarrah trees, the rustic cellar door offers stunning views over the vineyard.

Binchotan Grill & Tapas opens in Perth

Opening in Perth city’s Shafto Lane this month, Binchotan Grill and Tapas is a new venture from two Michelin Star awarded chef James Park. The unique dining experience features signature dishes with top-quality ingredients sourced from Korea and Japan, with meats cooked over a traditional Binchotan Japanese charcoal grill.

Tours, Attraction and Accommodation

World’s largest whale migration begins

Humpback whale. Image credit: David Ashley

This month marks the beginning of the annual whale migration in Western Australia, which is one of the longest in the world. From now until December, humpback, southern right and the rare blue whales can be spotted along WA’s coastline. Each year thousands of humpback whales will make their way from the feeding grounds of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, to the South West region of WA, along the Coral Coast and up to the warmer waters of the Kimberley in WA’s North West where they give birth. The whales will then suckle their calves in the protected waters of Camden Sound Marine Park – located 300 kilometres north-east of Broome – where they will build up their strength for the journey back along WA’s coastline to the Antarctica. Throughout the season, visitors can take a whale watching tour departing from Albany, the Margaret River region (Augusta, Busselton and Dunsborough), Esperance, Perth, Kalbarri, Shark Bay and Broome - while in Exmouth and Coral Bay, visitors can swim with the humpback whales. The swim with humpbacks experience generally runs from July to October, just off Ningaloo Reef.

Winter accommodation deals at Rottnest Island

Visitors to Perth’s island playground Rottnest can now stay on the island for up to 15 weeks as part of a new extended stay season. Guests can choose from a range of accommodation options, with prices starting from $530 per week for a four-bedroom unit. For those looking for a shorter stay, Rottnest is also offering a number of winter deals, including three night midweek stays from $345, three night weekend stays from $388, and five night midweek stays from $480. The winter months on Rottnest can bring a range of different experiences, including wildlife encounters, unique walk trails, exhilarating surf breaks and historical and cultural experiences. The short-stay deals are available until September 2019, and the extended stay season runs from June to September.

New Aboriginal experience with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures

Jilinya Adventures guides

Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures has partnered with Jilinya Adventures to bring a fascinating Aboriginal cultural experience to its popular Kimberley tours in WA’s North West. The Thousand Island & Horizontal Falls Adventure is a one day tour departing from either Broome or Cape Leveque. Guests will depart from Cape Leveque on a scenic cruise through the thousand islands of the Buccaneer Archipelago on-board a luxurious, high-speed 15 metre vessel while listening to a Jilinya Adventures guide share the history of the local Wandjina culture. After the cruise, guests will jump onboard a seaplane for a scenic flight over the Horizontal Waterfalls, landing at Talbot Bay for an exhilarating high-speed cruise through the falls, followed by a relaxing cruise at Cyclone Creek then a barbecue barramundi lunch. The full day tours start from $850 per adult.

New walking and tasting tour for Margaret River town

Experience a different side to the Margaret River region in WA’s South West with a new guided walking tour. Walk Talk Taste Margaret River is a half-day tour, hosted by local guide and passionate foodie Kellie Tannock, which allows guests to discover the history of the region, while sampling some of the award-winning produce available in the town centre. Starting at the Margaret River Old Settlement, guests walk to the heart of the town, stopping in at around six venues to sample local coffee, produce and wine. The tour goes behind-the-scenes and into kitchens to speak to chefs and baristas, as well as discovering plenty of interesting Margaret River facts. The only walking tour in town, the tours take a maximum of 10 people and operate on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am to 1.30pm.

Coral Expeditions launches a new ship

Operating in the Kimberley for over 23 years, Australian cruise company Coral Expeditions has recently launched its fourth and largest expedition ship, the Coral Adventurer. The brand new 120 passenger ship is a culmination of two years of design and 34 years’ experience building and operating expedition ships. Built to take guests closer to unspoilt vistas in comfort, style and safety, the Coral Adventurer features living spaces, an observation lounge located on the bridge, and lightweight dual Xplorer expedition tenders for on shore excursions. The new Coral Adventurer ship has availability for the 2019 Kimberley season.

New Walk into Luxury South Coast Walk

Walk into Luxury - Greens Pool, Denmark

Award winning tour company Walk into Luxury has released a new South Coast Walk covering the Great Southern region of WA’s South West. The fully guided three day walk offers a small group experience combining coastal walking, gourmet food and wine, and luxury accommodation at Parry Beach Breaks near Denmark. The three day walk covers 28 kilometres of the Bibbulmun Track, with shorter and extended options available that showcase the best coastal and forest sections from Walpole to Albany. Guests finish the walk with a four course winery lunch at Pepper and Salt Restaurant, and enjoy complimentary wine tastings from Forest Hill Estate. The tour starts at $1950 per person, and is all inclusive – with all meals prepared by a private chef. Bookings are being taken now for departures in 2020.


AFL legend Shane Crawford experiences Perth’s Optus Stadium

Shane Crawford at Optus Stadium

Australian Rules Footballer (AFL) legend and television personality Shane Crawford headed to Perth recently for a weekend getaway to check out the city’s new world-class Optus Stadium. Voted by fans as the best venue in Australia to watch AFL, the world-class stadium will play host to a number of major sporting events this year, including the 2019 Rugby League State of Origin, and the Manchester United Football Club matches.

Shane Crawford also spent time exploring Perth, which has undergone a transformation in recent years, welcoming an array of new hotels, dining options and public precincts. Alongside this, the city offers an incredible nature-based experiences including Rottnest Island, Kings Park, the Swan Valley and a line-up of pristine beaches – which are all really accessible from the city centre. It’s the ultimate destination for an AFL getaway, and a number of packages are available which include flights and accommodation.


What would be your top tips for an AFL weekend in Perth?
Do a walking tour, I’ve never done a walking tour before. I did two, one in the city which was great, learning about all the hidden gems and the places you probably don’t think about or know about. Fremantle was a place of great history, which is full of beautiful buildings and beautiful coffee. I always like walking along the river, I enjoy looking for dolphins - it’s not every day you can be virtually in the city and see dolphins swimming past. And also Optus Stadium is one of the best in the world, surrounded by nice green space and water, it really is a stadium like no other - Rottnest Island, if you have half a day head out to Rottnest Island and run free and feel like you have the whole space to yourself.

What were the highlights of your Perth visit and was there anything that surprised you?
The Optus Stadium experience surprised me the most. I had visited the stadium and was blown away by the structure and the facilities. We’re lucky to have such a state of the art facility here in Australia.

How would you describe Perth to someone who has never visited?
Combination of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Perth is very relaxed with a cruisy vibe, and it has become more modern with all the new developments and infrastructure, which is really exciting and a must see.

What do you think sets Perth apart from other capital cities?
Relaxed city, friendly city, being surrounded by the water one side, and lots of open spaces on the other. Although you’re part of a big city, it has a vibe about it that you don’t need to stress and which sets itself apart from other major cities.

Did you notice any changes in Perth, compared to previous visits?
Absolutely, there has been more accommodation built. A lot more nice restaurants, and break off areas established. The laneways - I didn’t know that Perth boasted some great laneways with trendy bars and night spots which was great to see first hand.

What did you think of Optus Stadium, and the experience fans can have?
I think it’s the best in the world – from the outside it’s a beautiful structure, and from the inside it’s an experience like no other. Fans can have so many different levels of experience, the ability to get up close to the players (you can virtually have a conversation with them) the comfort level and just the colosseum feel, it really is a world-class stadium.

AFL Packages



Margaret River Pro

May 29 to June 7 | Margaret River | Australia’s South West

The top 34 ranked male and top 17 ranked female surfers in the world will descend upon the Margaret River region to surf its world-class waves at the 2019 Margaret River Pro. The event will see thousands of spectators flock to Surfers Point in Prevelly to watch the world’s best surfers take on the famous Margaret River Main Break. The Margaret River Pro has been awarded World Championship Tour status as it offers some of the best surfing conditions in the world. In a recent deal between the World Surf League and the State Government, the Margaret River Pro will continue to retain its World Championship Tour status until at least 2021 - as the event offers some of the best surfing conditions in the world.


Truffle Kerfuffle

June 21 to 23 | Manjmup | Australia’s South West

Pete Evans, Poh, Tony Howell, Aaron Carr and Amy Hamilton are just some of the culinary personalities participating in this year’s Truffle Kerfuffle - a weekend long celebration of Manjimup’s famous black truffles and the region’s local produce. Held at the beginning of truffle season in WA’s South West, festival goers will enjoy interactive and hands on experiences. Join truffle hunters and their truffle dogs to search out prized truffles, visit the festival village to meet the producers and get a taste of the region, or get a truffle fix at a range of exclusive dining events. The region is the largest producer of black truffle in the Southern Hemisphere.


Holden State of Origin 2019

June 23 | Optus Stadium | Destination Perth

Arguably Australia’s biggest sporting rivalry will be on display at Optus Stadium on June 23, 2019 when it hosts game two of the 2019 Rugby League State of Origin series. Tickets are now on sale for the first ever State of Origin game in Perth – which sees the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons battle it out in an annual best-of-three rugby league football match series. The 2019 game will be only the 10th time in State of Origin history that part of the series has been played outside New South Wales or Queensland.



Revelation Perth International Film Festival

July 4 to 17 | Perth | Destination Perth

Revelation Perth International Film Festival began in 1997 to showcase a large range of independent feature films, documentaries, short films, and experimental works. During the 2019 festival, more than 120 international films will be presented at cinemas, galleries, cafes and bars across the Perth city.


Mowanjum Festival

July 12 | Derby | Australia’s North West

One of WA’s biggest cultural celebrations is hosted each year by the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre, which is located in Derby in WA’s Kimberley region. The unique Mowanjum Festival brings together locals and visitors to share the vibrant, living culture of the Ngarinyin, Worrorra and Wunambal peoples through powerful traditional dances and storytelling, complemented with demonstrations and workshops, under the vast northern skies.


Manchester United vs Perth Glory & Manchester United vs Leeds United

July 13 & July 15 | Optus Stadium | Destination Perth

In an Australian Exclusive, and for the first time in more than 40 years, the world’s biggest sporting team will visit Perth to play two friendly matches at Optus Stadium. Manchester United Football Club will bring its entire squad to WA as part of the team’s preparation for the 2019-20 season. The Red Devils will also host training clinics, participate in an open training session, take part in a corporate golf day, and enjoy a day in the Swan Valley. The team’s first football game will be against Perth Glory on July 13, and they’ll then take on long-time rivals Leeds United on July 17.



Bledisloe Cup – Wallabies v All Blacks

August 10 | Optus Stadium | Destination Perth

See the Qantas Wallabies when they take on the New Zealand All Blacks in rugby’s ultimate rivalry. This Bledisloe Cup fixture is the first time Perth has hosted this epic trans-Tasman battle and will be the only time these two teams will play on Australian soil before embarking on their 2019 Rugby World Cup mission.


Nannup Flower and Garden Festival

August 15 to 18 | Nannup | Australia’s South West

See why relaxed and rural Nannup in WA’s South West is known as the ‘garden village.’ Nestled by the Blackwood River – around three hours’ drive south of Perth – the tranquil town is a perfect winter getaway during the annual Nannup Flower and Garden Festival. The four day event features stunning floral displays; open gardens; talks and workshops; unique arts, crafts, quilts and souvenirs; market stalls; children’s activities; and choir performances.


CinefestOz Film Festival

August 28 to September 1 | Busselton | Australia’s South West

A celebration of Australian film, the 12th annual CinefestOz Film Festival will showcase an extraordinary line-up of new and exciting films. Set against the stunning backdrop of WA’s South West, the film festival premieres feature films and events in the region’s cinemas, wineries, boutique breweries, small bars and galleries. Cinema stars, top screen industry professionals and thousands of film lovers will enjoy over 150 film and event options on offer during the five day festival.



Media contact:
Tiana Anderson

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